THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH




Evangelical Christianity is fast becoming an event-based religion.

Is this what Jesus envisioned when He commanded us to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”? Mark 16:15

This is what the world sees today when they look at the Church, especially the western, evangelical, pentecostal variety:

• Massive “prophet”-led prayer gatherings in stadiums and arenas, calling for “divorcing Baal and remarrying Jesus” and other strange spiritual exercises. People who call themselves Prophets and Apostles set themselves up to be the Oracles of God. They claim God-given revelation and say that if we just pray hard enough, entire cities will repent in a day. Of course, when that doesn’t happen they blame regular church folks for not praying hard enough, or not being devoted enough to effect these kinds of miracles.

• Fiery, so-called revivals where miracles happen and gold dust falls on attendees – except that no miracles happen and there is no gold dust. And really, how do you advertise for “signs, wonders & miracles”? I distinctly remember that Jesus always said “to tell no man what I’ve done.”

• Slickly produced church services with all the latest gadgetry, professional musicians and live streaming on the web.

• Million-dollar game rooms, paintball fights, camping excursions and other activities designed to bring youth into the church.

• Money-making in-church cafes, restaurants, bookstores and clothing lines – “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple.” Matt. 21:12

I remember back when Jim and Tammy Bakker were building Heritage Village and the PTL Network, which eventually was destroyed by deception, thievery, sexual perversion and the inability to sustain the monster they had created. Churches today do the same thing when they overbuild and concentrate most of their money, time and energy on church programs that minister primarily to the people who attend that church. The pastor now has to sustain what he’s created, and that means bringing more people – and money – into the church. The command of Jesus to “Go out into all the world” is quickly forgotten, and subsumed by the need to pay for high salaries, church programs, toys and games, and expensive buildings.

How about digging wells in Africa, feeding and bringing medical help to refugees in war-torn lands, clothing the naked, loving the unlovely, and rescuing those in slavery instead? Wouldn’t those actions reflect the Spirit of Jesus Christ? And for those of you who would say, “We’re doing that!” I’d ask you – “How much?” Exactly how much of the church budget is spent on actually carrying out the commands of Jesus, doing the things He did? Is it 5%? 10%? 30%?

Are we called to follow Jesus 10% of the way, or even 50%?

Is the primary focus of your church devoted to physically going to the people who have never heard the name of Jesus – isn’t that what He’s called us to do? I maintain that if we are not giving everything for outward expressions of the love of God to the world, then we’re not doing enough. If pastors are not truly discipling their church members and giving them opportunities to become “ambassadors of Christ,” they are failing in their calling as shepherds and mentors of God’s people. If we’re not sacrificing building space, high-tech equipment, inflated salaries and fancy church programs for those who are daily dying without Jesus, then we are not obeying the final and most important command of the One who we say we follow. We deceive ourselves if we think otherwise.

I hear Christians moan and complain all the time about the church being attacked in the media, and how Christians are portrayed unfairly. Don’t we bring this on ourselves, when we try to be like the world, using superlatives and ridiculous claims to try to “sell” coming to church? Here’s just one recent example – and believe me, I could list hundreds if I thought you’d actually want to read them. Can you picture Jesus talking like this, or trying to make His followers feel like they’re part of an exclusive club?


How to catch a ride on the Revival Rocket

Choose your seat! There are three easy ways to start your journey into another realm at Revival Church!

Revival is about to launch and you are invited to join our company of burning ones!

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The “Revival Rocket”?  Start your “journey into another realm”? A “company of burning ones”? “Ridiculous” faith? Not much there for the world to mock, right?

So how do we ensure that more and more people come in to a church, and keep the monster alive? How do we pay for $7 million buildings and $8 million renovations, while people are starving and dying without Jesus? How do we sit in our church cafes drinking lattes, while children are being abandoned and thrown away with the garbage? How do we keep church folks coming back for more, giving their money, time and effort in order to become one of “the burning ones”? The same way that Hollywood does – by entertaining and appealing to the flesh. Bigger explosions. More drama. “Going to the next level.” Being on the cutting edge. We appeal to people’s egos and desire to “experience” God’s wonder-working power.

It’s time we put away the desire to make a name for ourselves, or to see God “show up” at a meeting, or to hear God through the prophecies and revelations of a self-proclaimed “Prophet” or “Apostle.”

It’s time we stop making our faith a spectator sport, with bigger and better meetings. The only time Christianity was truly a spectator sport was in the Roman Coliseum, where followers of Jesus were being slaughtered and fed to the lions, and I don’t imagine any of us want that, do we?

It’s time we give up the ego-driven desire to be “one of the special ones” in someone else’s vision of grandeur. We need to become less, not more.

Now is the time to legitimately walk in what Jesus has called us to be and to do – follow Him to the ends of the earth. We can only do this by ending the hemorrhage of money and resources that’s wasted on ourselves and transfer that wealth to actually going out to the world.

How do we do that?

How about starting very simply. Check out Gospel for Asia, and their ministry to people who have never heard of Jesus. They take care of thousands of children, as well as send out thousands of evangelists on pennies a day to villages without hope. Believe it or not, every donation you send to them to do this work goes 100% to the field. Every penny reaches its intended destination, without stopping at the administration building or the Director’s pocket or the utility company. Every penny.

If you can’t go yourself, and you agree with me that way too much is wasted on us here while the world is dying, then give a little. Click on the link, read through the site, pray with an open heart and follow what the Spirit of God leads you to do.

“But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” I John 3:17




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Posted on November 11, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Matthew 7:21-23
    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

    Matthew 24:4-5
    “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

    Mark 13:21-23
    “And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.”

    Romans 16:17-18
    “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

    Galatians 1:8-10
    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

    2 Peter 2:1-3
    “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

    2 Peter 2:18
    “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.”

    2 Corinthians 11:13-15
    “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

    2 Timothy 3:1-7
    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    2 Timothy 4:2-5
    “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

  2. I agree with you Dennis. Let’s do it together AS the church.

  3. Liz,

    Thanks for the reference – I’ll check it out. That sounds like a fine example of what I’m talking about here – my main point is that we should consider where we spend most of the resources God has given us. Are they being spent on ourselves or others? It’s as simple as that. No divisiveness intended, just trying to shine a light on ourselves. God knows we need it more than we’ll admit. I think you can agree with that. I’m not trying to breed discontent, I have no axe to grind, and trust me, I don’t write out of hurt or a wounded spirit. We, as the Body of Christ need to be honest with ourselves, and that means occasionally examining our practices and doctrines. If there is deception in the Church, I want to know about it. I don’t want to be deceived by someone trying to make a name for himself when I can be using my time and the talents God has given me in more productive ways, like ministering to the homeless, orphans and widows that Mike refers to. That’s what Jesus did, and I just want to follow Him.

  4. If you only look at “godly” sources, you may not be getting all of the information…. Just something to consider.

  5. The point is not mega church, the point is that we have lost our way.

    The gathering of the saints was never meant to be a huge congregation led by one man and his board of elders (yes men). In the New Testament Paul says, when you gather together let one bring a Psalm, and one a song and another a word. This is a congregation ‘BODY’-run gathering. We DO NOT SEE THIS anywhere save the Plymouth Brethren.

    Communion was never meant to be a ‘sacrament’ or for that matter a nasty tasting wafer with a plastic cup of grape juice. Jesus said, when you eat, remember me. Broken into modern terms: When you break (slice) your bread remember my body being broken, and when you drink your drink, remember my blood being spilled out for you.

    I say this to paint a simple picture that what people call “CHURCH” today is not church. Too many Pharaohs today building their own kingdoms and propagating them so they can keep their salary and perks, cause you know, being a Pastor is a full-time job and you need to get paid well. Just ask Paul, formally known as Saul of Tarsus. Like he said in his letters, “Don’t ever let me come into your town with out showering gifts and money on me… you see I am Paul, anointed of God…. you need and must care for my every need.”

    The whole thing is upside down, and it needs to be shaken up from its root.

    The doctrine is flawed and skewed and the corporate mindset is an abomination. Billions of dollars are spent every year in the ‘christian’ church to pay full-time employees and fuel these large buildings and less than 1% actually is spent on the Widow, Orphan and Homeless.

    THE CALL DETROIT: At the most liberal estimates, they maybe had 20K people, they paid for the stadium and all of the advertising hype. Now what….???? Like I said in one of my previous posts on my blog (http://thecommonprophet.wordpress.com/) … Still 80,000 kids in our state are waiting for adoptive parents; still homeless families living from place to place; still poverty and unemployment; still hungry people.

    Hey Lou, what would be wrong with taking the millions that you spent on The Call Detroit and giving it to the local Soup Kitchens in the D? Maybe you would then REALLY HAVE some impact on this community so that people would be BLESSED in a tangible way.

    I’M DONE. This is not worth my breath right now, I’m getting frustrated. Spade being a Spade…. they will have to answer to the Almighty for their actions. I will keep on loving the Orphan.

    PEACE

  6. Not sure why this was received as a personal attack. This was not a personal attack. I mistakenly thought we had reached a point where there could be a reasonable discussion.

    I do not, and would not look to a liberally-biased, and ungodly media source like the Huffington Post as a legitmate source for anything, let alone truth.

    Dennis, I am in the middle of reading “Radical Together” by David Platt, a 33 yr.old with a Doctorate, who became the pastor of Brook Hills, a mega-church in Birmingham, AL (like the one you described above) with a heart to fulfill the great commission. Together with his church, they revamped the budget and cut programs and were able to free up 1.5 million to use in ministry to the inner city and India. He didn’t do it by coming against the mega churches. He worked with his own people within his church and taught by example. And he challenges others to do the same. If you have not read it, I think you would like it as he has a heart for missions like you.

  7. PS….it is very possible that this time, my feathers were ruffled for me. I hate when I allow that to happen. But anyway, I stand by my comments regarding my sources of information and the state of the church.

  8. Your dismissive comments are duly noted Liz. Obviously, the Huffington Post is well below your standards. But let’s get this straight…I always consider the “source” of my evidence and I have so much more time to do so since I am not running after every charlatan that comes down the pike with their particular brand of “the call,” and praying for “God” to do something with the Muslims and gays and whatever else is on the Christian Conservative Republican agenda. Neither do I “believe every truth” because it is on the internet. I want to know if they are posting accurate info and quotes and if this info can be verified elsewhere. It can.

    And speaking of catchy titles….ahem, that was borderline insulting – even with the talented writer part….glad I didn’t write that or I might feel offended. Dennis, stop putting those catchy titles in your posts when you’re trying to share your heart! It is not just a catchy title Liz – it is the truth. The church today is a social club that is by Christians, about Christians and FOR CHRISTIANS – not, I think, what Jesus had in mind. But you don’t want to get into a lengthy discussion on the state of the church right? Especially with those of us who are the dearly departed. You just want reconciliation….whatever that means to you.

    Consider this….perhaps you are among the fringe and don’t know it.

  9. Kate, thank you for the kind words about me. I’m sure you are a nice person as well, but I have no interest in reading what the Huffington Post has to say about Lou Engle or anyone else for that matter. You have to consider the source of your evidence, and not believe every ‘truth’ just because it was on the Internet. I can Google Billy Graham and find something evil about him too (just did in fact), but that doesn’t make it factual. Whether or not Kamal Saleem is phoney or not is yet to be proven.

    As for “Christianity becoming an “events-based religion’.” That’s a catchy title. On it’s face, who in their right mind would agree with that? Talented and creative writers have a way of grabbing their audience that way. Dennis is very gifted in his writing. I don’t want to get into a lengthy dissertation about whether this is the current state of the church as a whole. I do not believe it is. It is the fringe at best.

    C. Prophet – ‘hello’. Thank you as well for the accolades. I am short on time right now, and I am not able to reply, but what you shared was interesting. I will have to get back to you.

    I am also interested in researching the Latter Rain Movement and Dominionist Theology, but this will take some time.

  10. Liz, I do not know you, but I applaud you for taking time to at least involve yourself in this discourse. You have more courage than most of the ‘professing believers’ that I know and I think that is one of the largest problems among the charismatic evangelical movement. No one wants to really discuss the subjects that need to be discussed.

    Dennis and Kath/Kate I applaud you all also for having the courage to take on the tough issues that seem to be a plague in much of the church these days. I think that we all can agree that there are many topics that need to be discussed and fleshed out by ‘candling’ them to scripture.

    Liz, I would like to say that your assessment of the ‘event’ is right on the money. Most of the grand scale events produced by this group are harmless in nature and usually don’t have a lot of controversial preaching or teaching. It is that which is under the surface that is so disturbing. I want to make one thing perfectly clear, I was deeply rooted in the teachings of Mike Bickle and Lou Engle for a couple of years. I even spent time in deep study to teach Mike Bickle’s “Omega” course, which is an eschatological teaching of the end times. I lived a couple of years in the ‘prayer life’ culture and affiliated with many people who spent time or came from the Kansas City movement.

    That which is under the surface is a history of false prophecy and an attachment to doctrines that were deemed heretical in the ’40s as Dennis said above. Furthermore, there is no real scriptural basis to what they do. They believe based on a couple of ‘old testament’ scriptures that this ‘praying’ house of worship will bring back the Lord and that they are fulfilling some kind of Davidic Prophecy by recreating the 24/7 Music (harp) and Prayer (bowl) as written in the Bible.

    Quote from Mike Bickle: “The International House of Prayer is a 24-hours a day, citywide, worship and warfare, interdenominational prayer ministry serving the body of Christ. This ministry is modeled after the tabernacle of David with singers and musicians being released to lead corporate intercession and worship 24-hours a day. This is an effective method for the churches in the country to come together and DWELL in unity so that God can unlock His commanded blessing. …The Word of God Declares “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations” Mark 11:17. … This House of Prayer for All Nations ministry includes continuous praise and prayer, dethroning the principalities and power over a region, declaring God’s sovereignty. This is in the spirit of Revelation 4-5 “Harp & Bowl” worship and warfare prayer gatherings, the harp representing praise and the bowl representing the prayers of the saints, which is at the heart of David’s Tabernacle.”

    Their constant pursuit of ‘evil’ in the country and their ideas of how to remedy these ‘evils’ is so far off base that it borders on madness. After Jesus came, lived, died and lived again He charged us with a simple task of sharing His love, which is the love of the Father to all, and to care for those who are less fortunate than we are (widows, orphans, poor, those in prison). He did not tell us to Chase Evil around the nation and to have ‘prayer walks’ in front of Masonic Lodges and Muslim houses of Prayer. He told us to do, to give, to feed, to cloth and to Love….

    If we go even deeper into Bickle’s theology we can find that he speaks often that the ‘END’ will be a “BATTLE” of the Two houses of prayer. Now, there is only one ‘people’ group that we can point to as a ‘praying’ people, and that is the Muslim people. So, this is a direct attack on the Muslims and MB is stating that there is a good and an evil – and the Muslim is evil. Simple, right? Well, Jesus really did not do things this way and He never really told us to do things this way. In fact, if the Muslim is the enemy of MB then why doesn’t he follow Jesus, and in the footsteps of the “REAL” Apostles and move to the Middle East where he could actually do what Jesus called us to do – Love your enemy by living among them and loving them into a relationship with the King of Kings?

    Again, Liz, I am not bashing anyone here based upon their desire to serve Jesus. I am basing my opinion and perspective on what I experienced and what I was taught by these and their followers.

    Read some of these:

    “God’s justice may be slow in the way it is meted out. However, suddenly in one generation the sins are required for the sins of past generations. Lincoln cried out that God’s judgments would come to the USA because of slavery. Lincoln understood the civil war was God’s judgment on USA. The Civil War was the day of reckoning for America for the bloodshed of slavery – 600,000 men died in God’s day of reckoning in America for slavery. If we do not deal with this blood in the courts of man, then it will be dealt with in the court of God.

    “What will it mean for God to deal with us for the shed blood of 50 million babies? Allen Hood had a dream of his sons in military fatigues. IHOP’s youth will not be at IHOP, but will be in military uniforms in foreign nations. We must stop abortion in America to stop this.”
    – Lou Engle

    “If we actually have The Call and you don’t sustain prayer ongoing, you open a vacuum for demons seven times worse to come in. If black and white can’t move together in prayer and sustain it, forget it – let’s not even go there, you get demons seven times worse. So yeah, there’s that to chew on.”
    – Lou Engle

    “If we are to have global revival and awakening we need to have a restoration of 24-hour praise and intercession all over the world. It’s time that the fulfillment of the prophecies of Old become reality. It is time that we fulfill the word of God and obey the commands of Jesus, to make it an occupation of occupying the enemy’s camp.”
    – Mike Bickle

    “Mystics is a legitimate term … I don’t want to fight the war … so I’m just saying contemplative prayer, but I mean the mystics — even here at IHOP I say, let’s just stay with contemplatives … I don’t have time to argue … so I call them the contemplatives …. I don’t want to go into the semantics, the debates … so, I’m calling it the contemplatives … I don’t have time to argue … but I need the mystics.”
    – Mike Bickle

    Speaking about John MacArthur: “If I had my Holy Spirit Machine Gun I would blow his head right off” – Benny Hinn

    “There will be a manifestation of the sons of God. And it won’t be this baloney that we’ve heard of in the past; I mean there’s been a few people tried to walk through a wall like this one over here and knocked their brain loose, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a true manifested son of God; if anyone walks through this wall, over here, they’re not going to tell you about it, I mean, they’re just going to do it. And sons of God don’t tell you they’re sons of God, they’ll just show you! Amen!”
    – Paul Cain

  11. TheCall Detroit Mixes Anti-Muslim Rhetoric With Message Of Racial Reconciliation
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/13/thecall-detroit-mixes-mes_n_1090983.html

    ” He (Lou Engle) is notorious for speaking in support of legislation in Uganda that would have sentenced gays to death simply for being gay.”

    Phony Ex-Terrorist Kamal Saleem in Reconciliation Ceremony at TheCall Detroit
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/11/13/142342/27

    I don’t know about spiritual antennae. These are facts about the people running “The Call.” It really doesn’t matter how good it looks if this is what it’s spawned from.

    You sound like a really nice and caring person Liz. But I think it is much more appropriate to approach a post like this one with discussion and an open mind. While I know you didn’t like the tone of the post, I still wonder what you think about Christianity becoming an “events-based religion.

  12. Part of me wishes I had never commented at all to this post, but my heart was just to share from the perspective of someone who had been to the event that was alluded to, and to say that it was NOT what the media portrayed it to be. (i.e. ‘hatemongers’). I went there with my spiritual antennae up and my ear tuned to the Holy Spirit for anything that may be off base. I can say with all confidence that if anyone was looking for a ‘bless me” service, or was looking to be ‘entertained’, they left disappointed! There was no altar call or laying on of hands, or personal prophecy given, The only prayer I saw (and I was there for 18 of the 24 hrs.), was a couple one-on-one prayers – no doubt for strength to endure the 24 hrs. and to stay engaged in prayer and focus of the ‘event’. It was what they said it was going to be. “No cost. Just sacrifice.”
    The rest of the observations I noted maybe should have been kept to myself. God knows.

  13. Yes, I have a blog, a website, and a Facebook account where I post challenging and sometimes controversial messages and articles, but I have no problem accepting and respecting those with opposing views. In fact, I expect it. Thus the ‘comments’ field. It’s when something is written, and then it is expected to be accepted as the ONLY view, and then gets defensive when others challenge them (in love). I did not intend anything I said to be ‘indelicate, accusatory or a form of attack’. I do recognize however when someone is filtering through their own emotions, and I do have issue when ‘hurt’ or ‘offended’ people are driven away from not only the church, but God Himself. That is the harm spoken of above. I do appreciate when concerned Christians and leaders ‘warn’ the body of wolves, and that is why I value and appreciate the church and the leadership God has placed over me. We are NOT to forsake the assembling of ourselves for that very reason, and once again I believe the body of Christ should be reconciled to each other, and we should not be breeding the monster of discontent.

  14. So we pray for “Peace in Jerusalem” amongst peoples who have disagreed for centuries, but we ourselves can’t come to a table or blog or debate or have close friends who think differently than us or challenge our beliefs? I have seen too often that people are dubbed “hurting individuals” if they have another opinion than the church status-quo. So people come and go – should that be something to grieve for them about?

    Thanks Dennis, (and not lifting you up) for your research in many different areas and for being willing to post the challenge for people to think, examine closely and not to be just followers. In this day and age, it is sorely needed.

  15. Well, it is apparent that both of you have been hurt to some degree, and it is apparent in your posts. I am sorry for that. I have been a Christian and in the church for more than half of my life, have seen many people come and go, and it grieves me every time. I am not ignorant to the ‘testing the spirits’, or to the offenses that people take on. All I can say is “I will pray”. Love to you both. Liz

  16. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your comments, and for your heartfelt desire for unity in the Body of Christ – but I question whether you truly do “understand the general concern you are (I am) trying to portray here.” Too often, we (as people who want to see God glorify His name in all the Earth) allow ourselves to be swept along with many others in what looks like a move of God, without fully understanding many of the motives – or personalities – behind it. I John 4:1 says: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Now, I’m not calling anybody a false prophet, but I am asking this: “Why would the Bible instruct us to test the spirits unless God wants us to investigate what we’re agreeing to join, whether it be a person, church, prayer group or large gathering?” And if we do investigate and ask questions, is it fair to be branded as someone who “brings more harm than good,” as you so indelicately put it, or someone who is “tearing down what God is doing” – again, an accusation of yours in regard to my questions. As followers of Jesus, we always need to try the spirits before we jump on anybody’s “solemn assembly,” especially if they are calling themselves Prophets and Apostles.

    What I’m trying to do is compare the apparent need of present-day Christians to spend millions of dollars on rallies, concerts (which much of The Call was), and massive demonstrations with the need to take those resources and administer them in a way that would directly bless people around the world – and in our own backyard – with the kind of love Jesus talked about so often. He fed the hungry, clothed the naked, spoke the Word of God to those who had never heard it, gave drink to the thirsty and prayed for the sick. He eschewed publicity, and prayed privately. He never exalted Himself or gave Himself a title. He warned people not to tell others what He had done, even though He performed miracles in their midst. He always glorified God and never Himself.

    The way I see it, Jesus’ life was lived in stark contrast to how today’s “Apostles” and “Prophets” live theirs. I would advise everybody to do their homework and research the roots of this worldwide movement that many people, especially well-intentioned young people, are joining without hesitation. The Assemblies of God, back in the 1940s branded the Latter Rain Movement as heresy, and there is a direct link to that move and the one today, fostered mostly by the people from Kansas City, including Lou Engle, C. Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner and others. There is a dominionist theology that they follow, that if people would only investigate and understand, I believe most clear-thinking, good people would reject out of hand. The problem is, that The Call and other events are presented in such a fashion that they look great on the surface, with good goals stated that everyone can agree to. Underneath, however, there is a much deeper, deceptive theology that I believe is a false move of God.

    That’s what I’ve found. If that makes me someone who is called a divider of the church, and someone who is tearing down the work of God, so be it. I only want to ask questions and get at the truth. That cannot possibly be wrong, can it? My intentions and heart are good, and anybody who knows me knows that I have a true heart for Jesus and for His name to be preached to those who have never heard of Him. I hate wasting time and money on the Body of Christ holding “blessing events” when there’s a world out there dying without Jesus. I also have to say that the formerly Muslim man (Kamal Saleem) who got down on his knees and asked forgiveness from a Jew seemed very contrived to me. I watched it as it happened online, and I predicted to my wife that next the white man would apologize to the Black man, which is what happened. It may have been genuine, but it just seemed pre-planned and spurious.

    It seems that every time I post anything on my blog calling into question radical claims that people are making, I get attacked by fellow believers who accuse me of tearing apart the Church. I agree with Kathy wholeheartedly, when she said, “I would think that active Christians would be interested to hear the viewpoint of those who have abandoned ship.” Don’t you want to know what’s going on in the heads and hearts of those who have been hurt by the Church and by pastors who have either deceived them, used them, or abused them in some manner? I guess not. As I said in a previous post, “Defensiveness is the mark of a closed mind.” I still believe it. And you should also check out my previous post on Kamal Saleem and what some claim about him. He may not be exactly what or who he claims to be, I don’t know, but then you would have to open your mind and ask some questions to even begin to be open to the idea that there are false prophets in the land.

    Is the Church ready for that? Apparently not.

  17. My feathers are not ruffled for myself – and I don’t think I misconstrued your intent. You stated that a response such as mine is “a prime example of why I think a post like this, though you are entitled to your opinion, can bring more harm than good.” What do you mean by that? How does it bring harm? Are you inferring honest discussion makes Christianity look bad?

    “We NEED to be reconciled to each other, and stop tearing down what God may be doing in such a time as this. How can a church divided against itself stand?” What does that mean? What is God doing that can be torn down by another perspective. You’re talking in religious speak Liz. I’m very familiar with it. It sounds nice but doesn’t get anyone anywhere. How can people and groups be reconciled if no one is discussing the problem that has caused the fissure? It can’t be – unless someone tucks his or her tail in and just gives in.

    So, this is a discussion. Dennis started it – I commented on it and so did you. Nothing wrong with that. If I’m not mistaken, it was posted to present another perspective from the current state of evangelical Christianity and encourage discussion.

    I don’t know you or your heart. I do know what you’ve posted and that is what I’m responding to. And, I was not at The Call but I do know a bit about the people who were involved in putting it together and the gold dust and feathers thing is not so off target.

  18. Kate, I am sorry if I ruffled your feathers. You don’t know me or my heart, and you have totally misconstrued my intent in this post. If you were not at The Call, all you know is what the media is reporting which is totally the opposite of what went on there. Dennis does know me, and would appreciate my input as much as yours.

  19. PS….how is this post tearing down what “God may be doing?”

  20. Liz, I am wondering how “a post like this can do more harm than good.” Is it because someone, “like the one above,” who in the past, has been disappointed and you could probably say, damaged by the church, speaks out on this post and says what she thinks? Well let me say then that the church is certainly in delicate condition if it cannot withstand a few comments to a blog post. I would think that active Christians would be interested to hear the viewpoint of those who have abandoned ship. But then again….I know better.

    Furthermore, your saying that “we NEED to be reconciled to each other,” is just a nice way of saying, STOP MAKING WAVES DENNIS. STOP MAKING US LOOK BAD. It would be so much better if he just got back in the boat and shut up wouldn’t it? Newsflash: It’s not posts like this that make the church look bad. It’s more the sheer hypocricy of the Christian Social Club/ church / political party / church….and on and on. Perhaps you should take a moment or two and consider how the rest of the world looks at / perceives the church. I can tell you this….it’s not pretty. I for one dearly hope Dennis does not stop making waves because the church that I left does not in any way resemble what I have read of Jesus Christ in the gospels. .

    And as for reconciliation – Just wondering…which type of reconciliation are you really interested in?

    Reconcile: to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired.

    or

    To bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent: to reconcile differing statements; to reconcile accounts.

    The Call…….my response to the gathering at the call is, “Go home haters!” Take your terror of the Muslim religion and your distaste for homosexuals and your prejudice and bigotry and hit the road.

    Dennis – I hope you keep making waves. Maybe someday they will listen.

  21. I don’t know Dennis. I understand the general concern you are trying to portray here, and I personally don’t chase after the sensational, or the signs and wonders. I am also cautious about how loosely prophecy is used or misused, but I am most concerned about those like the one above who has ‘removed myself from Christianity’, and doesn’t ‘claim to believe or rely on the tenets of Christianity and am not even sure what God’s name is’. And that is a prime example of why I think a post like this, though you are entitled to your opinion, can bring more harm than good. We NEED to be reconciled to each other, and stop tearing down what God may be doing in such a time as this. How can a church divided against itself stand?
    I DID attend one of those ‘events’ this past weekend, and what I saw was a call to the church to lay down our differences, take up the cross, and go forward to BE the church in this city, country and around the world. I did not see or hear any bizarre claims or see any feathers falling from the sky. I saw a Muslim man turned Christian on his knees asking forgiveness from the Jew he once hated, and prayer to end abortion, and for healing of those damaged by it. I saw black Pastors hugging white Pastors, and commitments to work together to further the gospel. I did not see big named Preachers promoted, or the call to the ‘ridiculous’.
    My prayer is for the church, you and I, and all those others that have strayed from the ministries we have been called to; to be restored, strengthened and DO the work of the ministry.

  22. What a wonderful post Dennis. The path that the evangelical / Christian churches overall have taken have long been repugnant to me. So much so that I have removed myself from Christianity as a religion and perhaps even a belief. Even so, I still love Jesus who has been the face of God to me my whole life – even now, when I don’t claim to believe or rely on the tenets of Christianity and am not even sure what God’s name is.

    I do believe that the few words of Jesus in the new testament tell it all. I don’t know where the church comes up with all the other shit. It is a mixture of old testament law, new testament opinions, fairy tales and god knows what else. It seems to be a circus with a few good deeds thrown in for good measure.

    Do you remember years ago when the movie “The Mission” came out? I remember discussing it with you and Sharon. We were all very touched by that movie. I remember saying, that looks like true Christianity to me. So, I don’t know what I really meant by that for sure because they all died at the end and I guess you won’t win a lot of people to Christ if that’s what they have to look forward to. But it was the goodness, the pureness of heart, the pouring out of themselves for others that got me.

    I’ve seen that other places too…In people in the city who having barely anything for themselves, still go that extra mile for those even less fortunate. I’ve seen it in Christians and non-Christians alike. I’ve read about it in men such as Gandhi and Gautama Buddha. I’ve seen it in you and Sharon.

    I guess I said all that to say thank you for remaining two of the few people I know who exemplify what I think Jesus was trying to get across. I’m glad I know you and I know Tim is too.

  23. Thank you for all of your words and insights in “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Too many church-related events and churches themselves seem like they’re trying to operate three-ring circuses instead of following Christ. In the recently released movie, “Water for Elephants”, the ringmaster steps into the ring to stir up excitement about the circus acts to follow. “Laaadiiieeess and Gentlemennn! And Children of all Ages! Welcome to the most extravagant extravagancy the human eye can behold!…..” “The extraordinary grandeur of the spectacle – every act….in full regalia as the band plays!…”
    Honestly, if you listen to some of the leaders advertising church events, prayer meetings or running services, you could swear you were going to the circus, or maybe even a monster truck show. Instead of REVIVAL!, how about simple surrender? Instead of APOSTLE, PROPHET or ANOINTED PASTOR, how about just being human beings?

    Can’t we just love God so much that we want to helplessly fall into His arms and share His love in our everyday lives to every nation, tribe and tongue?

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