Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer is Almost Gone

Summer is almost over and school is soon to start for many. I would like to say thank you for all who have been patient waiting for me to post. I have been just trying to unplug a bit and will be back at it in September.

Every once in a while I get a great quote thrown across my screen and here it is...

Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It's way past time for us to grow up.

Now, let me say that in no way am I anti charismatic, actually quite the opposite contrary to some people's opinion! What are your thoughts on this quote?


10 comments:

Misty B said...

I don't think anyone would ever characterize me as being a charismatic. Yet in a way I really understand the feeling of wanting a more tangible experience of faith. Often when I don't have an emotional experience of something (worship, prayer, reading the Bible etc) I think that it isn't 'working.' Yet I have noticed real change in my life often comes more from a series of events that might even go unnoticed on their own. Although times that have been emotionally charged often serve as markers for me I know that these are really just a culmination of events.

I would never want to set myself out as the model of maturity. However I have noticed that the longer I am a Christian the less stake I put in huge euphoric spiritual experiences. Some would say I am cynical. I might be. I have noticed that those experiences can't be sustained, at least for me. Part of me wonders if I am missing something or gaining something deeper.

kmawesome said...

I think it happens becasue it makes it easier to believe. when you see a miracle you can't help but believe, you've seen and felt the power. often times i wonder if it is my lack of faith or a lack of depth in realtionship that prevents these things in my life. but i also tend to miss the everyday miracles in my search for the big fireworks display of a miracle or the angel showing up, rather than noticing the well timed phone call of a friend, or the "i love you and hug" of a forgiving child when i've been a less than stellar parent that day.
but if i really think about it fireworks are beautiful but if you saw them every day they would loose something because they would seem commonplace.
i think about the story of "doubting thomas" who refused to believe untill he saw and wonder if that is much like many people today.

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

in my case i have a limited attention span too. so sometimes it is hard to stay focused in quiet study times, but i have also learned a lot from small group discussion times.
i think it all depends on how you learn.
there doesn't need to be huge productions but perhaps some adaptation of how it's run to include everyone in the way they learn.

The Drew said...

Sweet Quote, where is it from?

shantala said...

I think its easier to watch a loud and sometimes obnoxious display of miracles, signs and wonders. I think a lot of people would rather do that than really get down to talking about what we really believe. Those quiet bible study moments are vulnerable moments. We open ourselves up to those around us. Some people find that hard. On the other hand there are those that find the loud and in-your-face anitcs of some church services just as akward. I do think we as christians as a whole need to be more mature. We need to grow up in the Lord and move forward. But not at the expense of zeal. There will always be people who think we are nuts. Be who God has made you to be. Be sensitive to those around you. Be the one that people go to to talk about God with. If people can't relate in any way to you... they won't talk to you about God, and/or their beliefs. Be yourself. Be it loud and crazy full of zeal... or quiet and thoughtful and just as full of zeal!

SoulPastor said...

Unfortunately here is where I got the quote from:

From J. Lee Grady - Charisma Magazine

Life After Lakeland: Sorting Out the Confusion

By J. Lee Grady

Todd Bentley's announcement that his marriage is ending has thrown
our movement into a tailspin—and questions need to be answered.

It was not supposed to end like this.

Evangelist Todd Bentley had heralded the Lakeland revival as the greatest Pentecostal outpouring since Azusa Street. From his stage in a gigantic tent in Florida, Bentley preached to thousands, bringing many of them to the stage for prayer. Many claimed to be healed of
deafness, blindness, heart problems, depression and dozens of other conditions in the Lakeland services, which ran for more than 100 consecutive nights. Bentley announced confidently that dozens of people had been raised from the dead during the revival.

But this week, a few days after the Canadian preacher announced the end of his visits to Lakeland, he told his staff that his marriage is ending. Without blaming the pace of the revival for Bentley's personal problems, his board released a public statement saying that he and his wife, Shonnah, are separating. The news shocked Bentley's adoring fans and saddened those who have questioned his credibility since the Lakeland movement erupted in early April.

I'm sad. I'm disappointed. And I'm angry. Here are few of my many,
many questions about this fiasco:

Why did so many people flock to Lakeland from around the world to
rally behind an evangelist who had serious credibility issues from
the beginning?

To put it bluntly, we're just plain gullible.

From the first week of the Lakeland revival, many discerning
Christians raised questions about Bentley's beliefs and practices.
They felt uneasy when he said he talked to an angel in his hotel
room. They sensed something amiss when he wore a T-shirt with a
skeleton on it. They wondered why a man of God would cover himself
with tattoos. They were horrified when they heard him describe how he tackled a man and knocked his tooth out during prayer.

But among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. The message was clear: "This is God. Don't question." So before we could all say, "Sheeka Boomba" (as Bentley often prayed from his pulpit), many people went home, prayed for people and shoved them to the floor with reckless abandon, Bentley-style.

I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We're
spiritual hungry—which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry
people will eat anything.

Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles,
signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It's way past time for us to grow up.

Why didn't anyone in Lakeland denounce the favorable comments Bentley made about William Branham?

This one baffles me. Branham embraced horrible deception near the end of his ministry, before he died in 1965. He claimed that he was the reincarnation of Elijah—and his strange doctrines are still embraced by a cultlike following today. When Bentley announced to the world that the same angel that ushered in the 1950s healing revival had come to Lakeland, the entire audience should have run for the exits.

Why didn't anyone correct this error from the pulpit? Godly leaders are supposed to protect the sheep from heresy, not spoon feed deception to them. Only God knows how far this poison traveled from Lakeland to take root elsewhere. May God forgive us for allowing His Word to be so flippantly contaminated.

A prominent Pentecostal evangelist called me this week after Bentley's news hit the fan. He said to me: "I'm now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the anti-Christ when he shows up because they have no discernment." Ouch. Hopefully we'll learn our lesson this time and apply the necessary caution when an imposter shows up.

Why did God TV tell people that "any criticism of Todd Bentley is demonic"?

This ridiculous statement was actually made on one of God TV's pre-shows. In fact, the network's hosts also warned listeners that if they listened to criticism of Bentley, they could lose their healings.

This is cultic manipulation at its worst. The Bible tells us that the
Bereans were noble believers because they studied the Scriptures daily "to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11, NASB). Yet in the case of Lakeland, honest intellectual inquiry was viewed as a sign of weakness. People were expected to jump first and then open their eyes.

Just because we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit does not mean we check our brains at the church door. We are commanded to test the spirits. Jesus wants us to love Him with our hearts and our minds.

Because of the Lakeland scandal, there may be large numbers of people who feel they've been burned by Bentley. Some may give up on church and join the growing ranks of bitter, disenfranchised Christians. Others may suffer total spiritual shipwreck. This could have been avoided if leaders had been more vocal about their objections and urged people to evaluate spiritual experiences through the filter of God's Word.

Why did a group of respected ministers lay hands on Bentley on June 23 and publicly ordain him? Did they know of his personal problems?

This controversial ceremony was organized by Peter Wagner, who felt that one of Bentley's greatest needs was proper spiritual covering. He asked California pastors Che Ahn and Bill Johnson, along with
Canadian pastor John Arnott, to lay hands on Bentley and bring him
under their care.

Bentley certainly needs such covering. No one in ministry today
should be out on their own, living in isolation without checks,
balances and wise counsel. It was commendable that Wagner reached out to Bentley and that Bentley acknowledged his need for spiritual fathers by agreeing to submit to the process. The question remains, however, whether it was wise to commend Bentley during a televised
commissioning service that at times seemed more like a king's
coronation.

In hindsight, we can all see that it would have been better to take
Bentley into a back room and talk about his personal issues.

The Bible tells us that ordination of a minister is a sober
responsibility. Paul wrote: "Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others" (1 Tim. 5:22). We might be tempted to rush the process, but the apostle warned against fast-tracking ordination—and he said that those who commission a minister who is not ready for the job will bear some of the blame for his failures.

I trust that Wagner, Ahn, Johnson and Arnott didn't know of Bentley's problems before they ordained him. I am sure they are saddened by the events of this week and are reaching out to Bentley and his wife to
promote healing and restoration. But I believe that they, along with Bentley and the owners of God TV, owe the body of Christ a
forthright, public apology for thrusting Bentley's ministry into the spotlight prematurely. (Perhaps such an apology should be aired on God TV.)

Can anything good come out of this?

That depends on how people respond. If the men assigned to oversee Bentley offer loving but firm correction, and if Bentley responds humbly to the process by stepping out of ministry for a season of rehabilitation, we could witness a healthy case of church discipline play out the way it is supposed to. If all those who were so eager to promote Bentley now rush just as fast to repent for their errors in judgment, then the rest of us could breathe a huge sigh of relief—and the credibility of our movement could be restored.

I still believe that God desires to visit our nation in supernatural power. I know He wants to heal multitudes, and I will continue praying for a healing revival to sweep across the United States. But we must contend for the genuine, not an imitation. True revival will
be accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype that often was on display in Lakeland.

We are weathering an unprecedented season of moral failure and
spiritual compromise in our nation today. I urge everyone in the
charismatic world to pray for Bentley; his wife, Shonnah; his three young children; Bentley's ministry staff; and the men and women who serve as his counselors and advisers. Let's pray that God will turn this embarrassing debacle into an opportunity for miraculous restoration.

Jean said...

ooh. Ouch. "sometimes, hungry
people will eat anything".
I agree. I think we need to be hungry for God, and more of God, but not to the point where we are not "feeding" ourselves, reading the Bible, questioning and researching for ourselves. Pretty pathetic when we sit back, couch potato style, expecting to be entertained without exercising our own minds.
I need to think on this more and kick myself in the pants to read and know the Bible, spend more time with God to hear his voice, discern for myself, and not rely solely on others for my own spiritual wellness.

kmawesome said...

ok so now that i see it in context i think i understand it better.
we live in an instant world people want miracles becasue they're instant and fast, we don't want to wait more than 10 minutes for a meal why would we wiat too long on God?
the moral of the story i think is to think before you jump in, which seems like comon sense but it is so easy to get all caught up in things and trust teh judgement of otheres without thinking for yourself.

"I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We're
spiritual hungry—which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry
people will eat anything."
wow what an amazing quote and so true, i never thought about it like that.
it is unfortunate that when things like this happen it turns more people away from God becasue of the things that people do.

"Just because we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit does not mean we check our brains at the church door. We are commanded to test the spirits. Jesus wants us to love Him with our hearts and our minds."
thi is also excellent and reminds us to still be cautious.


"A prominent Pentecostal evangelist called me this week after Bentley's news hit the fan. He said to me: "I'm now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the anti-Christ when he shows up because they have no discernment." Ouch. Hopefully we'll learn our lesson this time and apply the necessary caution when an imposter shows up."
WOW that is such a scary thought.

these are good things to think upon and to remind myself to watch out for.

thanks for sharing this article it was very thought provoking.

RosalieG said...

I know you don't want to hear our baggage but something in your post was all too familiar.

The connection to John Arnott alone makes me queezy.

My husband and I were members of a Baptist church in Mississauga when our new associate pastor was wooed by John Arnott and his teachings...and our senior pastor followed suit. The special "gifts, signs and miracles" and unusual teachings going on at TAC combined with our senior pastor's desire to become famous (and one day he did get to be on tv) lured him to seek "something more" for our church. He & the associat pastor sought to change the church structure, and manipulated the membership numbers and voting practices to get their way. In the months following was fighting, pastors accusing members of having demons in their homes and curses on their possessions - all kinds of wierd stuff - arguing to the point of divisions and finally dissolution of what was once a wonderful church that had many young new believers. Some new believers (to coin your words) suffered terminal spiritual shipwreck. Others suffered disenfranchisement and bitter disappointment and distrust. My husand was a new believer and was wounded greatly because the pastor had also been his friend and married us and this had been his first church experience.

After dissolution, the two pastors were hired by TAC to work with John Arnott. I occasionally followed (with discerment and skepticism) what was happening "over there". When I saw people were having tooth fillings changed to gold I'd heard enough. I thought, "boy people will buy anything". What exactly is the point of the gold fillings!?

Some of their practices of phrophecying I feel is little different than fortune telling or the work of pscychics.

I still can't help but as this important question:

"would God forge a new movement (TAC)utilizing pastors through a path of destruction? Is destroying a church that was reaching the lost, and disillusioniong new & existing believers so they would never return to church again, or never trust again be a qualification a pastor should put on his resume? Did anyone really question Freel & Long about their recent history?

Should pastors ever humble themselves enough to admit blame, ask forgiveness or at least seek reconciliation with the wounded?

From now on I will always (as much as the Lord allows) remain cautious and discerning, and run whenever I smell something rotten.

Anonymous said...

I feel as though I've spent my whole life going to quiet Bible studies. Why would we rather sit around being vulnerable with each other, talking about our issues, and do yet another study on Romans than seeing God's power in action? Hey, we all need teaching, we all need people to keep us accountable - but more than that we need to finally begin walking in the authority God gave us. From what I can tell, that means life may look a little messy sometimes. It may mean making mistakes. It may mean standing by someone who's messed up rather than shooting more arrows...if any christians end up falling away because of Todd Bentley, it's more likely to be those who listen to how we judgemental christians point fingers at others.

Nickel said...

Thanks to anonymous for the above comment. God's grace is huge.