Two years ago this week, Grace to You hosted the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church. Coinciding with the launch of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire, the conference featured a comprehensive critique of the charismatic movement and the blasphemous abuse of the Holy Spirit that goes on under its purview. While the response to the conference was overwhelming, many of the issues that were raised have yet to be seriously acted upon. Our goal is to fan the flames of this important discussion and continue the call for discernment and discipline in the charismatic movement. To that end, we want to rerun some of the important articles from before and after the conference, and encourage you to visit the Strange Fire website for all the sermons, articles, and videos from that landmark event. –GTY Staff
Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?
I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.
The African Spiritual Worldview
Let me explain what I mean. The African spiritual worldview consists of four tiers.
2. Angels and demons
3. Ancestral spirits
4. Human beings
It is because of this reality that Africans do not question the existence of God, as is the case with many people in the Western world. To an African, God is there. He is the Creator and ultimate Governor and Benefactor of the whole universe.
Rather, in our spiritual worldview, although God is there he is very far away. Between him and us as human beings lie two layers in the spirit world. One is that of angels and demons (i.e. bad angels) and the other—which is even closer to us—is that of the spirits of the departed.
So, although God is a benevolent, loving, and caring Being, unless the beings that dwell in these two layers that lie between him and us are appeased, his blessings cannot reach us. It is, therefore, important to appease the ancestral spirits and defeat the demons. Only after that will God’s blessings come upon us.
This is where in African traditional religions witchdoctors come in. They are the people with the mysterious power to break through these two layers. They tell us what we must do in order to appease the spirits of our forefathers. They also engage the demons for us through their midnight trances, dances, and incense.
So, a person who is beset with perennial illnesses, failing to get a job, failing to find a spouse or to have children, whose business is failing to thrive, etc., simply goes to the witchdoctor who alone has the key to look into the spirit world. He is told that it is either a deceased person or an evil spirit who is frustrating him.
Sometimes the enemy is a person who is alive. However, the reason why this living individual seems to have a mysterious hold over your life is because he has plugged into those two layers (of either dead ancestors or evil spirits) and you have not. With the help of a powerful witchdoctor you can outsmart him in those two layers, and the blessings of God can once again begin to flow into your life.
Whichever way, the power of the witchdoctor is not in explaining truth but in mindless frenzy. His grip upon the popular mind is his eerie mysteriousness and his capacity to knock you out of your senses and then pronounce you delivered. Of course, this is never done by benevolence. You pay for his services.
The Charismatic Movement’s Rendition
I do not mean to be unkind, but what the modern Charismatic movement in Africa has done is to simply take this entire erroneous superstructure of African religious worldview and baptise it with wrongly applied Bible verses and Christian language. The only difference is that the layer of dead ancestors and evil spirits is now one hotchpotch of confusion. This is why the nonsense of demons becoming spirit husbands and wives, and wrecking havoc in marriages, is taken for granted! This is also why the heresy of generation curses has become so popular. In our minds, bad luck can be passed on from that layer of dead ancestors.
In the African Charismatic circles, the “man of God” has replaced the witchdoctor. He is the one who oozes with mysterious power that enables him to break through those two impregnable layers, which us lesser mortals cannot penetrate. So, when blessings are not flowing our way despite our prayers, we make a beeline to his quarters or his church for help. This explains the throngs in these circles. The crowds are not looking for someone to explain to them the way to find pardon with God. No! They want the “man of God” to pray for them.
This also explains the stranglehold that “men of God” have on the minds of their devotees in these circles. In the Evangelicalism of a former generation “men of God” were primarily preachers of the word of God, but in the new setup they are primarily priests who enter the inner sanctuaries to bring down blessings to us.
This also explains why the answer to almost any problem that you take to these “men of God” is “deliverance” and “breakthrough”. God wants to bless you, but you need to break through these impregnable layers before those blessings can reach you. The prayers of the “man of God” will bring deliverance because at the overnight prayer meeting or on the hill he will bring about a breakthrough. Who can doubt that these two phrases have become the key words of this movement?
This also explains why prayer in the modern Charismatic movement in Africa is literally a fight. In fact, the people praying are called “prayer warriors”. Although they begin by addressing God, within the first few seconds they divert from God and begin to fight the spirits in these impregnable layers with their bare knuckles. The language is almost always, “We bind every unclean spirit in Jesus' name! We loose the Spirit that breaks the yoke in Jesus' name!”
The “prayer warriors” scream at the top of their voices and chant the name of Jesus. They sweat as they put up a gallant fight with these spirits, straining every muscle of their beings until they prevail (so they think). That is when they reach through to God and his blessings begin to flow. This is nothing more than the African traditional religious worldview sprinkled with a thin layer of Christianity.
Notice also how teaching is not the strength of the modern Charismatic movement in Africa. Its chief proponents survive on a few, well-worn, tortured verses: “By his stripes we are healed,” “We are not the tail but the head,” etc. There is absolutely no effort to properly exegete Scripture. Rather, by chanting phrases and making people drop under some trance, in witchdoctor fashion, they are holding sway over the popular mind. The people love it and are paying for it! The “men of God” are becoming stinking rich as the crowds just keep on coming.
This Is Not Christianity
What worries me is that this is so obvious that I am wondering why we are not seeing this. Or if we are, why we are not warning Christians against this. For the love of crowds, we have allowed African traditional religion to enter the church through the back door. Like the Arabian camel, it has since kicked out the truth. This is why I am not excited by the multiplication of churches—or ministries—under this banner.
We need to sound the warning that this is not Christianity. I know that this approach is filling our church buildings and classrooms to overflowing, until we have to multiply church services in order to accommodate the crowds. But this is not Christianity. It does not lead to heaven. It is a thin coating over the religion that has been on African soil for time immemorial, which Christianity was meant to replace. We have lost the Christian faith while we are holding the Bible in our hands and using some of its words. This is really sad.
The religion of the Bible does not teach a God who is so far away from us that unless some powerful humans come in and give us a breakthrough he cannot bless us. No! The Bible teaches a God who is near us. The only barrier between God and us is our sin, and Jesus has dealt with that by his death on the cross.
When we pray, we are in the throne room of divine grace talking directly to God. We do not need to address demons and ancestral spirits before we break through to him. We do not need to chant and jump around like witchdoctors around their fire under the midnight moonlight. God is our heavenly Father. Only our sin can hinder our prayers.
Listen! Angels and demons exist, but they are not an impregnable spiritual strata that needs someone reeking with anointing to breakthrough their layer before we can access God’s blessing. They are simply beings that either carry out God’s commands or the devil’s commands. They are not between God and us!
Finally, we do not need “men of God” to lay hands on us every Sunday (or at Friday overnight prayer meetings, or on hills in the outskirts of our cities) in order for us to know God’s blessings. There is only one Mediator between God and us—it is the man, Christ Jesus. All others are imposters and must be rejected with the contempt they deserve.
Conrad Mbewe is the pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia, Africa.
#1 Posted by
Gary Lee Fennimore | Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at
How tragic that the Church people of Africa have been duped into apostasy. GOD's word warns us that false pastors, teachers and believers will proliferate in the last days. Africans and their sought after blessings are in essence no different than the same USA crowd that does not discern in the midst of suffering that you are being blessed by GOD. The scriptures do not promise our "defined blessings", but GOD's definition of blessings; namely suffering and afflictions for HIS Glory. Lack of biblical discernment is "spiritual illiteracy" and it is rampant all over the world and yet people still try to claim that more education is the key. The key is more Scriptural Literacy along with growth in the Grace and the Knowledge of our LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST. No counterfeits!
#2 Posted by
Russell Aubrey | Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at
I'm sorry to hear this, and would like to know how the true church can go about fixing it - if it can be fixed. I regret that I won't be able to attend the "Strange Fire" conference, and hope to see some of the results and reactions here. Good luck, Africa.
#4 Posted by
Andres Webber | Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at
You described with great detail what it´s happening in Latin America. Sadly a very similar situation.
#5 Posted by
Robin Lane | Thursday, July 25, 2013 at
This is a very helpful explanation, thank you Conrad. We can hear the influence of this in some of the prayers spoken in some churches in the UK.
#6 Posted by
Tom Mcmichael | Thursday, July 25, 2013 at
I fear this is similar to what is going on in the USA. Thank you for the insight.
#7 Posted by
Kaleb Martens | Thursday, July 25, 2013 at
"There is only one Mediator between God and us—it is the man, Christ Jesus. All others are imposters and must be rejected with the contempt they deserve."
Preach it, Brother! Amen!
#8 Posted by
Matthew Hach | Thursday, July 25, 2013 at
This has been happening in Africa? During my youth (about 15 or so years ago) I had thought this was the Christianity to seek! A "prayer warrior," "intercessor," were titles to obtain; we would hold prayer meetings until we felt a "breakthrough." I'm from middle America, and this brand of Christianity has been prevailing for decades.
#9 Posted by
Joane M. | Thursday, July 25, 2013 at
I'm not African but I was attending an African Pentecostal church that originates out of Africa and now has several branches in every state in the United States and around the world. I attended there for approximately 8 years. Everything described here is truly what goes on, including several overnight prayer services per month where you supposedly confront those enemies who are fighting you in the spirit and preventing your breakthrough in finances, marriage and health. Attending such a church is absolutely exhausting because one is constantly "fighting in the spirit" through "violent" prayer, among other things. They rely heavily on Matthew 11:12 as justification that Christians must "fight" to take God's blessings which are being held hostage by the devil and his demons who war against us because they do not want Christians blessed. My experience was that the word of God wasn't preached at all. The people in these churches have no clue about the true nature and character of God. Moreover, when the word is preached, it's completely taken out of context. I began to study the Word on my own, although I remained a regular member of that church. Thankfully, the Lord led me to www.gty.org where I began to listen to Pastor MacArthur's sermons. I've been listening and studying for 3 years now. Only four (4) days ago did I decide to leave that church and fellowship elsewhere. I left amicably by approaching the pastor and letting him know that I was moving on. Since that day, I have struggled with whether I was just being overly critical and too judgmental. I am so thankful to the Lord for this piece written by Pastor Mbewe, which is so timely for me. It's confirmation that I'm not just being overly critical and validates everything I began identifying as unbiblical and problematic in that church. We need to pray for people in these churches. Many of them truly love the Lord, but don't know any better.
Thanks and may the Lord continue to bless the Grace to You ministry and Pastor MacArthur!
#10 Posted by
Joshua Bolaji | Thursday, July 25, 2013 at
I am very thankful for Pastor Mbewe for crystallising what I have struggled to encapsulate for a long time.
I am an Anglo/Nigerian pastoring a church here in South Africa (Welkom Baptist Church). One of the reasons my family and I returned to the continent was because of the dire proliferation of this brand of religion, sadly categorised as, "Christianity". Back in the UK, you are forever hearing of "revivals" in Africa and it is a perception I have argued against for a long time - a losing battle.
When you raise the issue addressed in this blog with other believers, one is labelled arrogant for standing in judgement of another brother. When we first served in SA as missionaries (2004-2008), we struggled to raise any support because our focus was not humanitarian enough (i.e. feed the hungry children, HIV/AIDS etc...), although these were part of our church outreach work; our focus was church planting gospel-centred churches and training people in the word.
Since our return (June 2011) to SA, we have continued with this approach...focusing on equipping, church planting, reaching out to churches that want to change; and in the process being labelled "judgemental".
This kind of "Christianity" and the proliferation of the Word of Faith (WoF) doctrines is wreaking havoc on this continent. We keep shouting to our friends back in the UK not to turn their backs on Africa just yet, thinking there's one revival after another happening here - not the case at all. We need help with setting up good, affordable, robust Seminaries/Bible colleges. On that point, I'd like to say, well done to the Masters Seminary for their work through Christ Seminary here in SA - we need more of these.
We thank God for people like Pastor Mbewe, Pastor Kalifungwa and others that are leading the charge here. There are good and bold initiatives like the African Pastors Conference, and others.
We have set up the Welkom Gospel Coalition (a partnership of 18 churches in our local area). Here we host workshops such as: "What is the Gospel?"; "The Authority of Scripture"; "Introduction to Hermeunetics" and others. There are good things happening here, but we are swimming against a tide, but God is almighty.
If you want to know how bad things are; just visit Lagos (Nigeria) where there's nearly a church on every street corner, but you will struggle to find one where the Scriptures are expounded.
Please, keep praying with us. For those who would be critical of my assessment of the church on this continent, I offer the following: I speak from personal experience from visiting various countries in Africa, and I grew up in one of these churches. John Stott's book: "The Cross of Christ" was an eye opener for me at the age of 17. This started me on a road of discovery that I have not turned from since. I only desire that many more would come to the knowledge of the truth.
Peace and love.
#43 Posted by
Charles Okojie | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
I am a Nigerian like you sir...There is no more truth than that which Conrad has spoken of. African especially Nigeria needs help. Churches no longer focus on expository biblical teachings but now focus on breaking that great wall which the devil and his agents including ancestral fathers, mothers, spirit wives and husbands has created between us and "our" blessings. If you need a new car or Job and you are having difficulties getting them, the only solution is to go for deliverance where you have to "fight" with the devil. Sorry to mention church names but the "Mountain of fire and Miracles ministries" uses psalm 144:1 as a supporting verse for this "fights". Some times you are asked to keep coming for continues sections of deliverance until the "great wall" is brought down. Then you have won the battle.
I am still in this church but thinking of leaving soon but then the problem is getting a church which teaches sound doctrines is really difficult.
I remain grateful to God and how he has used John's messages to transform my thinking and increase knowledge of God's word.
#50 Posted by
Tee | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
Charles, look up Sovereign Grace Bible Church in Lagos. It is a doctrinally sound church committed to upholding God's word and proclaiming the Gospel in its entirety
#75 Posted by
Edidiong | Monday, October 19, 2015 at
I'm Nigerian also and this is exactly what happens... Going to church in Nigeria has become an exhausting chore, and the worst part is people just aren't honest, they are at best self-righteous, and at worst judgemental.
#11 Posted by
Mae Ella Jones | Friday, July 26, 2013 at
Thank you Pastor for explaining what is going on.
I have seen this movement in my own community.
Let us pray for the churches here and around the world that are truly preaching God's truth. Also, for those who are in bondage to this false religion.
#12 Posted by
Babajide Ajayi | Saturday, July 27, 2013 at
This is so well said it could not have been presented better. If you live in Africa especially countries where you have some economic improvement in the urban areas, you see a lot of Churches basically pouring this out everywhere you go like you said under every hut and tree. It is hugely unfortunate because people are not desirous of the word of God or the true gospel. There is an expectation that as a church you must function along these lines otherwise something is wrong with you. I bless the Lord for you for how you have been put some flesh on the malaise. This is the reason it is so hard to find a church because there is just no way your spirit can agree with this teaching and approach.
The word will endure in the midst of falsehood. I believe there is hope and this blog is an encouragement because I was beginning to wonder if the strength of this movement will wane in any way. By the grace of God it can and it will.
Blessed by the name of the Lord
#13 Posted by
David Barnes | Saturday, July 27, 2013 at
I think we can easily get off track when we fail to remember who the initiated the salvation plan. It was Father God who sent His beautiful Son to the world as a guilt offering to redeem man. This was Gods' perfect idea/plan, and this tells me alot about our Father,who in the midst of our rejection and rebellion to Him, still sent His Son. He deserves all the glory that He shares this with his children. Let us go back to our Father and worship him for His unbelievable gift. I think Jesus is directing us to this in Jn. 17 when He asks His Father many times to remind/LET THE WORLD KNOW, that the Father sent the Son.
#14 Posted by
Kelly Whalen | Saturday, July 27, 2013 at
Pastor Mbewe thank you, for the very first time since leaving the charismatic movement someone has put into word EXACTLY how this movement works. I was very deeply in this movement and left it quite confused and there are still some gray areas I still have no answer for. But I better understand their draw for me by the way you show the relationship of the witch doctor to the people who come to him. I'm finding the more the charismatic movement is exposed the more I understand and the more I heal in the gray areas.
Thank you so much for your faith and courage.
#15 Posted by
Caroline Wise | Sunday, July 28, 2013 at
A women apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation reports extraordinary numbers of decisions for Christ and hundreds of profound signs and wonders in Africa experienced by her ministry. The NAR movement validates one's apostleship or ministry by signs and wonders alone not by sound biblical teaching. This woman apostle is greatly loved and considered by some as the "Mother Teresa of Pentecostalism" Providing homes for 10000 orphans is pretty impressive after all.
The erratic and extreme emotionalism and the statement made by this apostle that "it doesn't have to be in the book (meaning bible) to be of the Holy Spirit" was troubling to me when I visited one of the NAR churches at a friends request. Her fellow apostle sharing the platform repeatedly stated "the Holy Spirit trumps the bible" By that he meant any experience they claimed was authored by the Holy Spirit no matter how bizarre was more relevant than the Scriptures. At that moment I saw the red flag "cult in the making"
What I couldn't explain was the authorship of the miracle. Lets say someone is healed miraculously after prayer. Who did the miracle? I was afraid that if something was of divine origin I would be guilty of accusing the Spirit of devilish activity. For a long time I let my question of "who did the miracle" many of which are proven clearly to be supernatural, sit on the shelf unanswered.
This article helped me answer that question and understand the danger of relying on signs and wonders instead of the infallible scriptures in which a believer has all they need for life, godliness and salvation In other words, everything.
I understand now why this "apostle" can report such extraordinary numbers of gospel responses because it is not the gospel being taught but some hybrid in which she merely replaces the witch doctor. All of this reminds me of the passage in Matthew 7:27 "but Lord I did many signs and wonders in your name" and He responds by saying depart from me I don't know you"
God gave us a way to know Him through His word, those who toss the word in favor of an experience will not really know Him. The Charismatic movement mistakes "fruit" for signs and wonders. When Jesus said "by their fruit you will know them he wasn't referring to signs and wonders as fruit or he would not have disqualified those who had signs and wonders but were cast out of His presence.
#26 Posted by
Charles Pack | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
The first sentence in your post should tell everyone this is false - "A women apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation" Women have no Biblical authority to lead in the TRUE church, and there are no modern-day Apostles.
#28 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
#16 Posted by
Moroti Olowonyo | Monday, July 29, 2013 at
Comment deleted by user.
#17 Posted by
Larry Miles | Thursday, August 1, 2013 at
God bless Conrad Mbewe
#21 Posted by
David Smith | Monday, August 12, 2013 at
What Conrad convincingly argues is very similar to what I've seen written about Korean Pentecostalism. Korean culture is steeped in shamanism, and Christianity did not make much progress there until pentecostalism arrived. Pentecostal churches then grew rapidly as their worldview was one that people could relate to. Sadly, this worldview was not Biblical, but reflected the pagan beliefs that were present in the society.
#23 Posted by
Daniel Wilson | Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at
Wonder why so many poor in Africa.... They are deceive by those false preachers then gave their money to them thinking money given can heal them and the community... sad.. :(
#24 Posted by
Sander G. | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
This is pretty shocking. A lot of this type of teaching is also running through the charismatic church in the Netherlands. It is not prevalent, but it has been poured in a lot of minds that God wants to bless us (but without the spiritual warfare involved). How must I help friends who believe this?
#25 Posted by
Jason Larose | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
I used to attend an Assemblies of God church here in America and this teaching was making it's way into the congregation, which ultimately is what finally forced me out. IHOP and Vineyard churches were getting to be all the craze with the pastor and the more active membership, and they were starting to incorporate a lot of the spiritual warfare terminology and tactics (I.E. praying demons out of certain local areas to "win territory for Christ"). Just after I left they brought in the School of Kingdom Ministry (a Vineyard Church group) to teach courses.
The truth is all a person born of the spirit needs to get out of any error. Studying verses like 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Romans 5:3-5, Philippians 4:12-13 (not just 13, which is generally used out of context), etc... can help to really understand the value of worldly discomfort and lack. Also, verses like Hebrews 12:6 should be a serious warning to anyone who thinks their faith is what causes them to lead a charmed life. The entire book of Job is evidence of God's sovereignty in our suffering and what our response ought to be.
If the problem is that the truth of God is foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 2:14) the best thing to do is pray that God open their eyes so they can actually believe.
If they just feel trapped by the social conventions of the congregation they attend (this is where I was) encourage them to fellowship with you instead.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 was the key to helping me understand how I'd felt back then, and still helps me understand why people I'm certain are brothers and sisters still attend these congregations. These groups are full of people who are *really* good at convincing people that any conviction that leads us to say that something is not of God is really just our own lack of faith and/or understanding.
I beat myself up, buried my convictions, and quenched the Spirit for fear of doing what everyone swore verse 20 says I was doing, while verse 21 explicitly tells a believer not to ignore those convictions and that it's *mandatory* for a believer to ask the questions I was asking instead of it being a lack of faith.
#27 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
One talks negatively about something they don't personally experience themselves. If they don't believe it or try to say it is non-biblical without experiencing it of coarse they will give a personal opinion. God's Word says "Oh taste and see." There are millions of Spirit Filled people. I encourage you first to "taste" before speaking. Just saying.
#33 Posted by
Cameron Buettel (GTY Admin) | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Pastor Ray, how do you respond to experiences that conflict with Scripture?
#34 Posted by
David Smith | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Pastor Ray (#27) - I was a charismatic for well over 20 years. I've seen and experienced it all, from classical Pentecostals to charismatic catholics and everything inbetween. I heard many of the big names including John Wimber himself. God's word also tells us to "test all things" and "take heed that no-one deceives you". It's hard to see the deception when you're part of it, but eventually I realised that the so-called spiritual gifts practiced today are all fake. Yes, there are plenty of devout Christians in the charismatic and Pentecostal movements, many of whom put cessationists to shame, but they have been deceived by their churches. Ask yourself - where are the genuine foreign languages (as in the biblical gift of tongues)? Where are the genuine physical healings that all can see (as in the Bible)? And where are the predictive prophecies that come true (as in the Bible)?
#35 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Just my personal beliefs and 53 yrs experience. For every scripture that you bring that's conflict there is just as many that enforce mine. Yes there is counter-fit with anything and I have seen a lot of that but there is a real biblical experience that is genuine.
By the way I have been a follower of John for all the years of being a Christian. I respect him very much, the only disagreement I have is his beliefs on the Holy Spirit. He is a great man of God and great expositor.
#38 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Thanks for your observation David. I never make it a point to disagree over things that don't determine my eternal destiny. People that have different beliefs over non-eternal issues, we have come together for the cause of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. So if you are trying to have me to prove you wrong or you to prove me wrong.....is wrong. Your sins as well as mine are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. So here is my question to you....does this issue determine my eternal destiny??? If not then lets put our energy winning souls for Jesus.
Like I said I have been a devote follower of John for 45+ years. I have all his software and books and no where in his writings have I found that he addresses the eternal fate of those that disagree on the Holy Spirit. Correct me if I'm wrong. Hopefully we can come to some mutual agreement on this issue. Blessings
#40 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
David why would you be so arguementative with such ardent followers of GTY. Please respond to the above message. Just asking.
#41 Posted by
David Smith | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Pastor Ray (#38), I would agree that the cessationist / continuationist question does not affect eternal destinies. I never suggested that it does, and you'll note that I indicated that many charismatics and Pentecostals are devout Christians. However, as a pastor, are you not zealous for the truth? Do you not want to make sure that you are teaching sound doctrine to your church? So you should be concerned for the whole counsel of God, and be willing to listen to those who feel that your beliefs are wrong.
#42 Posted by
David Smith | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Pastor Ray (#40), I have just responded to #38. Sorry if I was a bit forthright. But, since you said in #35 that you have 53 years experience, perhaps you could answer my questions in #34 about genuine spiritual gifts. Please give me some examples - you must have seen a lot in your time.
#46 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
I have been a Pastor for 47 years and believe me I have seen extremes that really made me grieve. But I also have "tested" the spirit and I am seasoned enough to know when I am being deceived. Your interpation and mine seeming at much different. The gifts flow through me and in our church. But "let all things be done decently and in order." I do not let according to my beliefs get "out of hand." We do believe in "speaking in tongues" and in divine healing. Yes we differ on these things but your thinking I am not conforming to scripture I feel the same with you but we need to also disagree agreeably for the sake of Christ.
Question for you...Does John read these comments. If he does tell him I appriecate all he does and the works he contributes. Blessings
#52 Posted by
Jason Larose | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
"So if you are trying to have me to prove you wrong or you to prove me wrong.....is wrong."
Depends on motive, but to try to remove falsehoods for the sake of unity of mind (1 Peter 3:8) is to seek the scriptural definition of church unity. It is a necessary process for the sake of building one another up into maturity (which is the purpose of spiritual gifts [Ephesians 4:11-16]).
The only reason to win someone over is to introduce them to the body that has thriving spiritual growth. We can't have spiritual growth without conforming ourselves to the Spirit of truth (John 16:13), which means rebukes and corrections are necessary.
#58 Posted by
Thomas Ngugi | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
Brother Ray, I address you with honour especially in light of your long walk with Christ. I'm less than half of a decade in Christ.
I join hands with Charles Pack above who you have refuted as being wrong. The NAR of which I believe there could be some well meaning members and brethren in Christ is not new, neither is it apostolic nor reformative in any way. Kindly look into the new heaven and earth in Rev 21 and its clear that Christ is with His 12 apostles. So, where did all the other "apostles" disappear to?
I appreciate your open esteem for John MacArthur's teaching of the Bible and that raises the bar for you in light of the exposure you have had through his preaching added to your personal study of the truth. John in numerous sermons has set forth the Biblical distinctions of the Apostle, his office and reason for God manifesting His miraculous power during their ministry which ended with John. I know I'm preaching to the choir here but I would kindly encourage you to listen to Tom Pennington's message given at the Strange Fire conference.
Besides that, if the Apostolic office continued after John; where were they to heal the masses when the influenza struck from Kansas in 1915? where were the apostles to heal people during the Bubonic plague? why don't they go to hospitals and heal the sick there without cameras and not get rich in the process?
I'm Kenyan and even though I live in North Europe, what Conrad Mbewe describes is chapter and verse of what is in large scale presented as the life of faith in Kenya. While certain "men and women of God" thrive, drive Range Rovers and are surrounded by security men (FBI style) when they get out of their limos, their flock is sowing and sowing and sowing waiting for the miracle. The churches that are faithful to scripture and anti-glamour are the tiny minority.
It is heart-wrenching to see the deception so much so that we have a self acclaimed " doctor, prophet, pastor" who anoints water, it is bottled in 500ml bottles with a photo of him on the covering on sale to the congregation. This anointed water apparently prevents demons from entering your food as you are cooking it!
While you are at it find "seeds of sin" on you tube, an expose' done by a major media house in Kenya on how many are being duped.
Contend for the truth, graciously.
#60 Posted by
pASTOR rAY | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
Thank you for your input my brother. I believe that there has been a great number of deceiving and false preachers, teachers and churches. The deceiver is definite at work. I have seen many, many so called spirit filled and so called "gifted" false representatives proclaiming deceiving and false doctrines. This includes any form of "wild fire" so called Christians. I have also seen many "faith healers" in there big crusades. I question why these so called faith healers don't walk down the isles of a hospital or mental ward. There is for sure a lot of misled "Christians" But when anyone calls into question my personal and intimate relationship I raise the red flag. One really know when "He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells my I am His own" Again on non-eternal issues don't you think we should disagree agreeably. I again thank you my brother for your input and send you blessings.
#72 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Saturday, October 17, 2015 at
Again David I am asking...does John read these comments. Are you speaking on behalf of John or your own beliefs? Like I said I highly respect John and his works and I do not personally lets this view on "Strange Fire" change my beliefs in honoring him as a blessing in my life for some 40+ years. I appriciate the GTY ministry.
#29 Posted by
theodore | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Great article and so true.
#30 Posted by
Pamela U. McKinney | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
#31 Posted by
Shaun Ince | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
This kind of false teachings are not done only in Africa but Olso in USA, UK and Europe in a more professional and polish manners all you have to do is turn TBN.
#32 Posted by
Pamela U. McKinney | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
#37 Posted by
Stephen Cox | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Great insight from a man of God who knows His countryman and the God of heaven. This is written by a true under Shepherd of Jesus Christ who knows His voice and will not follow another. thank you Pastor for your sound words and doctrine.
#36 Posted by
Joseph Bukuru | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
I wonder if Conrad Mbewe, even though a pastor, has ever encountered Jesus the Christ as his Lord and Savior. If so, has he been Spririt filled? If Spirit filled, has he received ever the fruit fo the Spirit?
Being Spirit filled, walking in the miraculous, ministering with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and signs and wonders being manifested in their ministerial services is not enough. Even the devil performs miracles; what is important is to receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is the fence that protects the gifts of the Spirit. So, it is not good for Conrad Mbewe to generalize saying that African churches have been altered with the traditional religions.
Elijah told God that he was the only one prophet remaining, others had been killed; that was not the truth at all. I can even say that the African churches are walking indimensions of the Holy Spririt ( not the evil spirit dimension) more than the Western churches.
It is easy for African churches to discern evil spirit from the Holy Spirit move within a church, and even choose. The reaon is that the African ancestors practiced witchcraft and traditional rreligions under the influence of evil spirits.
#39 Posted by
Joe Thwagi | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
What? You have read the part about exegesis of Scripture and you're still twisting Scripture? What do you mean "what is important is to receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is the fence that protects the gifts of the Spirit"? Where do we find this in Scripture- that the fruit of the Spirit is what protects the gifts of the Spirit? Read Galatians in context. Secondly, what do you mean by "Spirit filled"? I ask because you seem to show that one can be Spirit filled and not display the fruit of the Spirit? You make it seem like a one-time event that is a door to all these other things - like the Holy Spirit is a means to those things; only a means! You do realize that the Holy Spirit is God Almighty, Who indwells the bodies of the Saints, that is, us? And what of this - "It is easy for African churches to discern evil spirit from the Holy Spirit move within a church, and even choose. The reason is that the African ancestors practiced witchcraft and traditional religions under the influence of evil spirits."? Your statements seem loaded with traditional mysticism. In addition to providing the chapter and verse supporting your views that I have highlighted, kindly explain them clearly. The African pulpit needs, more than ever, cleansing - it is either we are cleansed by the Lord Jesus or He spews us out of His mouth. May God have mercy while there is yet mercy! The article by Mbewe is spot on!
#44 Posted by
Peter | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
As a native of Johannesburg, South Africa and also having visited SA in the last 4 months I found this interesting. I am currently reading Nelson Mandela's book "Long Walk to Freedom", and putting two and two together, if you are right that "teaching is not the strength of the modern Charismatic movement in Africa", which sounds plausible to me, and that sangoma-like behavior among "men of God" pleases the masses because it's what Africans have known from time immemorial, then to introduce anything else will run up against African nationalism - a resistance to anything that seems like a Western version of Christianity. I wish Nelson Mandela had been more guided by Christianity and less by African nationalism!
#45 Posted by
Delton | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
It is happened too in my country! Philippines it is same in Africa, most of all pastor teach prosperity gospel! Thank you to all faithful teachers of Word of God to teach sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords godliness.
#47 Posted by
rich | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
False teaching abounds among the charismatics. Their seed takes quickly in a generation unwilling to be discerning. Searching the scriptures to "see" has taken a back seat to "experiences" backed by claims that they have "tasted and seen". Nowhere in scripture are we told to trust our "experiences" above what is written. I have talked at length with these groups. When faced with sound doctrinal evidence against their beliefs the response is always the same, "we know what we know". It boils down to who are you trusting . God at His word, or trust in yourself. Are we going to allow the Word to shape our understanding or are we going to lean on our own .
#53 Posted by
Peter | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
"When faced with sound doctrinal evidence against their beliefs the response is always the same, 'we know what we know'."
With all due respect, Rich, I find the response of many cessationists is similar when they are challenged to produce Scripture that supports the idea that spiritual gifts such as tongues, healing, prophecy went away when the last Apostle died. I have not yet encountered a cessationist (in the true sense of the word - meaning that these things truly ceased) who could back up their beliefs with Scripture. Instead, they oftentimes appeal to experience - "well, we've never seen any authentic instances of these gifts of the Holy Spirit". My position would be that if Scripture doesn't say the gifts ceased, and doesn't explicitly limit these gifts to the early Church, who are we to place a limitation on the Church that Scripture itself doesn't place? Even if we never once witness an authentic manifestation of the Spirit, we ought to believe Scripture over and above experience or lack thereof!
#54 Posted by
David Smith | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
Peter (#53), for an excellent scriptural case for cessationism, check out Tom Pennington's talk from Strange Fire - https://www.gty.org.uk/resources/sermons/TM13-7/a-case-for-cessationism
I find that very convincing. However, you may not. I am actually open to the idea that the sign gifts haven't ceased as, for all I know, cessationist theology may be wrong. I don't claim to have a perfect understanding of the Bible. If there is credible evidence of genuine spiritual gifts, I will change my views.
But we also have to remember that cessationism was the accepted position prior to 1900, because the gifts were absent from the church. No-one questioned the doctrine. The only reason why things changed was because of Pentecostalism, and then the charismatic movement. But their claims to have spiritual gifts are demonstrably false.
If you believe that scripture teaches the gifts haven't ceased, fine. But you should also compare modern supposed gifts with the Biblical ones and realise that they are totally different and therefore fake.
#55 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
False teaching abounds among the non-charismatics as well.
#56 Posted by
Peter | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
David Smith (#53)
With due respect, there are many at best unprovable, and perhaps disprovable, generalizations in what you say:
"the gifts were absent from the church [prior to 1900]" - really? you can be sure of that in all parts of the world, in every century since the first century AD? In its article on glossolalia, Wikipedia reports that, for example, Hildegard of Bingen is reputed to have spoken and sung in tongues in the 12th Century AD; same for the Prophets of Camisard in France in the 17th century - just 2 examples.
"their claims to have spiritual gifts are demonstrably false" - who is "they"? Are you saying that every single person who claimed to have a spiritual gift since 1900 was lying? Or just Pentecostals or charismatics? If the latter, how can we reliably determine who is a member of the "charismatic movement"? It seems to be a straw-man argument based on an ill-defined concept.
" you should also compare modern supposed gifts with the Biblical ones and realise that they are totally different and therefore fake" - again, you are saying that every single modern instance of a claimed gift differs from the Biblical ones? That strains credulity, and I don't see how you could possibly know about every claimed instance in any case...
#67 Posted by
David Smith | Friday, October 16, 2015 at
You are playing semantic games, but I will give you a detailed response.
By “absent from the church” I meant that there is no credible evidence in recorded church history of spiritual gifts that match the Biblical ones. This particularly applies to the protestant tradition that we all acknowledge as the foundation for our understanding of faith and the Bible, which has a well-documented history. The rediscovery of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith was not accompanied by miraculous gifts. Yes, there have always been fringe groups with aberrant beliefs and practices, but these are outside the mainstream. The Wikipedia article on glossolalia also records tongue-speaking amongst mormons, for example! We have no idea what the people you mention were doing. A claim that someone spoke in tongues does not mean they were exercising the Biblical gift.
By “their claims to have spiritual gifts are demonstrably false”, I was referring to Pentecostals and charismatics. I don’t regard every single person is lying (but some may be) as most are just mistaken, even deluded. People with continuationist beliefs tend to acknowledge it so charismatics are a self-defined group.
By “you should also compare modern supposed gifts with the Biblical ones and realise that they are totally different and therefore fake” I meant that there is no credible evidence in the contemporary church of spiritual gifts that match the Biblical ones.
There’s obviously the theoretical possibility of people with biblical spiritual gifts, either now or in a previous age, but that is irrelevant. It’s in the same category as the suggestion that there are aliens from mars living among us. It’s an idea that can’t be proved either way. I can only go on the evidence, which is that the Biblical spiritual gifts have been absent from the church since the end of the apostolic period. There is good Biblical exegesis to support this cessationist viewpoint.
You are welcome to argue for continuationism from the Bible, but there simply is nothing to validate that belief. If there is, please tell me, because I’d love to know about it. It might even make me change my position.
#68 Posted by
Peter | Friday, October 16, 2015 at
"You are playing semantic games"
Please don't impugn my motives, when, in fact, I have a genuine Biblically-based concern about cessationism!
"There’s obviously the theoretical possibility of people with biblical spiritual gifts, either now or in a previous age, but that is irrelevant. It’s in the same category as the suggestion that there are aliens from mars living among us. "
No, it is not in the same category, simply because the Bible never said aliens from Mars ever lived among us, at any point in history, period! Whereas the Bible does talk about genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Church age, and does NOT say these gifts ceased.
It really seems to me your argument is circular: you are saying all who claim genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit are either frauds or mistaken, simply because that is your preconception - not because there is an actual argument from Scripture or even any evidence external to Scripture!
#48 Posted by
Alex | Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at
Does anyone think that the Charismatic movement will turn into a persecuting power against the true church of Christ? Does anyone think they may eventually become so degenerate that as a whole movement they may label those that are true to the Word of God as coming from Satan? I'm just wondering if there is any evidence for this? Some Charismatics I've seen seem very zealous in defending their positions to the point where it seems like those that have the truth are seen as being evil.
#62 Posted by
David Madden | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
I am in the center of the charismatic world in the center of South America. I can tell you, from innumerable experiences, that many charismatics and pentecostals grow very angry if you challenge some of their favorite positions. A couple examples: I once told a pastor that Christ never promised anyone prosperity, he proceeded to throw an absolute temper tantrum, reading a verse from Malachi (stating that if the Hebrews had lived by the law they would have been wealthy) and screaming "sobreabundante" (over-abundance) at me repeatedly. On another occasion, I tried to explain to another pastor that we are saved only by Grace, not by baptism or repentance or living by the law or by any other thing that we do. The result was the same; he grew very angry and accused me of teaching satanic doctrines. Will they persecute the real church? You better believe it. In fact, they already are.
#49 Posted by
Seth Meyers | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
Tuesday night in the village next to ours, a "preacher" in a shack said this:
"I see many millionaires in front of me right now. I see a double story church coming… (cheers) Come on Jesus, come on. But this place is too small, too small, too small (he said this about 8 times, at the end coming to a pathetic whisper). Listen to me, do you know how I know gold is coming your way? Because when they left Egypt, the Bible says a million people left, and not one of them was sick and all of them left with gold and silver. (Cheers) Come on, Jesus, come on. Listen, when I leave here, no one here will be sick. Wait! I can see as though angels are flying around me (he is trailing off at this time, searching to find something to say). I see them burying gold, burying gold, burying gold…and giving it to you! (Cheers!)"
Pastor Mbewe nailed the obvious: This is not Christianity.
#51 Posted by
Andrew Paul Ward | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
What a timely post! I'm near the end of teaching a 1-week modular course on Angelology & Demonology at our Bible Institute in Kpalimé, Togo. I saw this blog post and immediately translated it into French for our pastoral students then read it to them this morning in class. I said that I know Africa is huge and there is no one unifying African culture or religious tradition. So I asked, "is Conrad's description of traditional religion true of Togolese beliefs?" Also, "is his description of charismatic behavior true in Togo too?" They all shouted, "YES! it's exactly the same here too!" They immediately asked me to make photo copies of the article for each of them.
All week we have been discussing the kingdom of God and the dominion of Satan as a running theme borne out from an inductive study of the texts concerning angels, demons, signs, and miracles. This article posted just as we started focusing on the pastoral application of our study and interpretation. Thank you so much for this post.
#57 Posted by
David Madden | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
As someone wrote years ago in response to this column by Pastor Mbewe, this is very similar to what is occurring in Latin America. The old-school, Assemblies of God Pentecostalism has largely been supplanted by this new "movement."
In order to understand exactly what is happening in Latin America, one must first understand that there never was a Protestant Reformation here. Reformed doctrine, most importantly the doctrines of salvation by GRACE and grace alone and justification by faith and faith alone, never existed in Latin America beyond a few scattered, isolated Baptist churches. In South America, there has only ever been a "Pentecostal" reformation.
Pentecostalism first arrived here not long after the bizarre events at Azusa St. launched the Pentecostal church in 1906. Pentecostal missionaries brought to South America their bizarre obsession with speaking gibberish and their heavy-handed legalism, which was the initial result of any movement which attempts to replace the Holy Spirit who sanctifies with a spirit of signs, tongues, and wonders. This Pentecostalism of works-based salvation and wonders found some adherents among disaffected Catholics, but the movement remained largely along the periphery and was inconsequential until the last 40 years.
As the Pentecostal movement increasingly adopted the prosperity gospel as "their gospel", Pentecostalism began to grow in South America and Latin America, but the real explosion began 30 years ago when the emphasis shifted more to the occult- to battling and renouncing demonic or satanic spirits. Bizarre demonic manifestations became commonplace at many Pentecostal revivals and the ability of some charismatic leaders to renounce these apparent evil spirits prompted a massive charismatic-pentecostal revival here. This was exported to the U.S. by C. Peter Wagner and other North American pentecostal missionaries as part of their "church-growth movement." From there it became a global feature of the new Pentecostal/charismatic movement, adopting the trappings of various local customs and myths in various parts of the world. The basis, however, remains the same- that people must battle against demons, angels, spirits, powers in order to achieve salvation and that some individuals are especially gifted or equipped for this battle.
Another very important, new feature of South American Pentecostal-Charismatic christianity is the idea of the "Presence" of God. They use this concept in a very ill-defined manner, but generally tend to mean some powerful shared emotional experience, usually unleashed by modern music and shouting of vane phrases. They are always praying for this "Presence" and trying to invoke and manipulate it in the worship services.
Given the massive interchange of ideas and concepts between the Latin and North American charismatic/pentecostals, you can be sure that invoking the "Presence" of God will became a key component of the global pentecostal-charismatic movement.
#59 Posted by
Theo | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
I am from South Africa, our church folks will defend a motivational speaker wanna be preacher's wayward ways. these motivational speakers in this country has become gods. they are literally worshipped. you say anything negative against them you are demon possessed and an anti-christ. touch not my anointed has become a buzz word. The worst part you can quote all the scriptures you want, the preacher will still be right and you will be wrong. the fear of God is no more, immorality has reach another level. Sin is now defended by church going people in this country, because no one is talking about it. if you talk about sin you are not under grace, and called names. some churches mix ancestral worship with Christianity and will tell you they don't worship, just honor their ancestors. the situation is frightening, sad and getting worse.
#61 Posted by
Vaughn Ulm | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
I recently had the privilege of teaching a class of seniors at a Bible College in Zambia (I.B.C.Z.). The young men were wonderful students and I treasure my experience with them. The title of the course was "Leadership Principles" found in Old Testament characters. We spent a lot of time on the issue of humility among spiritual leaders (i.e., Biblical Eldership, Strauch). I found that it is a part of their culture to exalt leaders, especially church leaders and borders on cultic allegiance. Titles are very important and were expected by church leaders. Women and children are de-emphasized and are expected to walk behind the men. Reportedly wife-beating is still practiced by some Christians from the 'bush'. Breaking from their animistic past is difficult, but there were strong signs that things are changing. I.M.H.O., until recently there has been a bias towards church planting in Africa at the expense of discipleship and knowledge of the Word. I was pleased to find among these students a new emphasis on the primacy of scripture and the teaching of its principles to converts. Of course, that is the answer: dedication to the detail of the Word.
#63 Posted by
Barry K | Thursday, October 15, 2015 at
I understand totally what Conrad is saying here. Being highly strung and battle stressed is a thing of the past for me. I now learn to rest in the confidence, assurance and peace of my saviour and deliverer Jesus Christ. We simply need to trust His words and cast all our cares and anxiety on Him through our prayers and supplication and submit ourselves to His answers, even when He answers differently. Our faith and strength comes from Him who will never leave us nor forsake us . Nothing can separate us for the love of God, not even powers and principalities.
#64 Posted by
Mike | Friday, October 16, 2015 at
Thanks for re-running this hreat article. This make me think of a movie that came out in August : "War room" I haven't seen it but from the trailer it very much look like this. Would anyone have an insight on this movie and the teatchings behind it?
#65 Posted by
Peter | Friday, October 16, 2015 at
I watched the movie "War Room" with my family. I thought it was a great movie. In one of the scenes, the "heroine" of the movie commands a demon or demons to leave her home in Jesus's Name, and leave her and her husband and daughter alone. That scene marks a turnaround in her life in the movie.
The only slight dissonant note for me in the whole movie, and it was in that very scene, was that she also commanded the demon(s) to go to hell. While we see many instances of demons being cast out in Scripture, and I see no reason in Scripture to say that we do not still have that authority today, in none of the instances in Scripture did anyone - even Jesus - send a demon to hell. I believe that is reserved for the future (Revelation 20:10).
#66 Posted by
Paul LaFaver | Friday, October 16, 2015 at
I gained massive respect for Conrad Mbewe after hearing his two addresses at the Strange Fire Conference. Conrad is a gifted speaker and theologian but more importantly he is one of the few individuals serving in the hottest and most aggressive burn areas of the Strange Fire tragedy, Zambia. His sermons were first hand, factual and compelling. Thank you Conrad for your great efforts to bring the truth of the gospel to Zambia.
#69 Posted by
Edward | Friday, October 16, 2015 at
Why it's a puzzle and become more and more challenging for someone to fully trust Jesus Christ and immediately run to the Bible and read and understand. The Bible is so powerful and 100% consistent. The consistency of the Bible and word of God where God repeated He's desiring to guide and feed us (believers) with God's word abundantly with all understand. The clear confusion has been people not fully want to learn and want small portions of food (word of God) then run with it. No no, these kind of people troubling and today they bring confusions to the rest of hunger people (baby Christians or those showing some interests in Christianity). This problem of confusions or not willing to understand all etheir by commitment to the word of God or obedient to the word of God we first see through Christ disciples and Christ repeated rebuked them and command His disciples to learn most important listen, hear and follow everything Christ did. The gospel (new testament and books after Christ) they all teach with great consistency. What we should do about charismatic or all other confused doctrine? Warm the people and quick to correct others and all Christians should love to read the word of God and fully willing to understamd. Let us stop be lazy to read and teach the word of God. The enemy to not understand Gods word is sin nothing else.
#70 Posted by
Bayana | Saturday, October 17, 2015 at
#71 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Saturday, October 17, 2015 at
Not to contradict anybody views as we all have our own interpatation of God's Word. But just the title "Strange Fire" tells me that it is strange to those that have not experienced the REAL fire of the Holy Spirit. I read a lot of these comments and come to the conclusion that many try to prove each others beliefs wrong. Come one believers when are we going to display some unity among ourselves for the winning of souls instead of those non-eternal issues that we want to separate us.
The things we let divide us! God shakes His head in disbelief at the contempt we hold for others who don't quite agree with us. We live a country where there are almost three hundred different denominations, all claiming to have a special understanding of the Christian Gospel. What is more important than any point of faith is that we love one another, and that we treat one another accordingly. We need to ask God's forgiveness for our bent toward judging others. Each of us has enough to keep us busy with his own faith. When we start pointing fingers at others, that's when we prove positively that our own faith is in serious need of help.
#74 Posted by
Pastor Ray | Monday, October 19, 2015 at
I would also like to say, I personally have seen a lot of "strange fire" down through the years that I don't condone. There are many "extremes" when it comes to the Holy Spirit. But there is a REAL, TRUE experience available to all. But be sure to "let all things be done decently and in order." Make sure it glorifies Jesus Christ and is edifying to the body of Christ.
Just voicing my personal opinion for having and serving my Lord and Savior for 53 years.
Not voicing this to offend anyone but hoping all can come to some kind of resolve being part of God's family.
Blessings to all.
#73 Posted by
Phyllis Drane | Monday, October 19, 2015 at
This is very disturbing to me. I had not heard it before. Thanks for this article. It is very informing and I am glad to be aware of this.
#76 Posted by
Rich | Monday, October 19, 2015 at
Pastor Ray is right. There is much false teaching in many denominations as well as the charismatics. I had to leave a church I was a member of for over 20 yrs. as they decided that fellowship with churches that are blatantly teaching lies is more important than sound doctrine.
Just as Jesus said , the end will be marked by apostasy. We are in the last days. It should be a red flag to any discerning christian that if a particular church group is growing fast in this age there is likely something wrong.
Peter, I have studied the scriptures much and listened to All sides of this argument from all the horses mouths in person . I am considerably more convinced by both the cessation argument as well as the lack of real evidence in the lives of the charismatics I kno well. And dont ask me to get into an endless and pointless keyboard warrior run here. There are countless exceptional sermons etc. that have all the info you need IF you are willing to put the time in to it.
#77 Posted by
Rich | Monday, October 19, 2015 at
BTW division for the truth is a good thing. It purifies the church. Unity for the sake of unity alone is a very dangerous thing. One of Satans tools in these days is to list any christian standing firm in the truth as divisive. Jesus said "dont think I came here to bring you together, I came to bring a sword" . Throughout history the great men and women of faith have been persecuted for standing on sound doctrine. Today the big push among so many "churches" is to put aside our differences so we can take a united stand against the problems of our world and supposedly win souls.
This will be Satans most cunning method to water down the Word and put doctrine aside. The result will be many on that day that say " Lord lord didn't we do great and mighty things in your name. " and as the "Jesus" they knew was not the Jesus of scripture He will have to say " I never knew you".
Dont be deceived by the push for unity in the name of Christ. Souls are not saved by false doctrine.