An interesting post from Jeff Dunn at InternetMonk.com on the phenomenon of church-hopping.
“Most pastors will tell you it is most common to have a person or family stay for an average of two years. What happens to cause people to change churches after such a relatively short period of time?”
From Brennan Manning’s “Reflections for Ragamuffins”
Christmas is the promise that the God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory. God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be alright. Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive.
Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; He simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father’s love is so prodigal that no evil could possibly resist it.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away”
“Good laws cannot change bad people. Only grace can do that.”
This may be an US-focussed article on a US-based blog, but it makes timely reading for those of us in the middle of a British General Election campaign. Especially for those who may believe that a right-wing/conservative future may help to bring about more of a ‘Christian’ society!
Look what I stumbled upon the other day:
“One erroneous principle, that which scare any has proved more mischievous to the present glorious work of God, is a notion that it is God’s manner in these days, to guide his saints, at least some that are more eminent, by inspiration, or immediate revelation.
They suppose he makes known to them what shall come to pass hereafter, or what it is his will that they should do, by impressions made upon their minds, either with or without texts of Scripture; whereby something is made know to them, that is not taught in the Scripture.
By such a notion the devil has a great door opened for him; and if once this opinion should come to be fully yielded to, and established in the church of God, Satan would have opportunity thereby to set up himself as the guide and oracle of God’s people, and to have his word regarded as their infallible rule, and so to lead them where he would, and to introduce what he pleased, and soon to bring the Bible into neglect and contempt … till we have quite taken this handle out of the devil’s hands, the work of God will never go on without great clogs and hindrances. “
“Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England”
The church God took me out of still teaches that the Bible is “a book of experiences of men and women of God throughout history”. This allows them to add to those experiences, even things that are not taught in Scripture. For example, ‘The River’ – whatever that is. I genuinely still don’t know. Can someone enlighten me?
As soon as you downgrade the inspired Word of God to a historical list of ‘experiences’ you’re on the slippery slope.
Jonathan Edwards knew this in 1742!
How many have been led astray since then? How many have put down the Bible and relied on ‘anointed preaching’, ‘words of knowledge’, ‘total dependence on the Holy Spirit’ to guide them?
The Bible is a book of experiences of men and women of God throughout history, whose lives were changed through divine encounter.
The church I left almost exactly four years ago has a new website.
My favourite page reads…
Pastor ——– ——– was touched dramatically by the Holy Spirit in 2003. Praise God he never recovered! His desire now is to see others enter into true fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
——– is a powerful anointed preacher and teacher who flows in powerful demonstrations of the Holy Spirit. ——– also carries a strong prophetic anointing which is used to help believers in Edification, Encouragement, Discernment, Stirring up of Spiritual Gifts, and Prophetic Confirmation of God’s direction.
——– also encourages believers to enjoy God’s presence, and to hear from Him for themselves.
——– will pray for and minister to you personally as the Spirit Leads! Come Expecting!
Over the years I’ve occasionally had my doubts. Maybe I should have stayed. Maybe I’m missing out on something amazing. Then I read stuff like this and thank God that he opened my eyes.
Perhaps I should be grateful. I suspect many church leaders – of all flavours – believe that they have ‘special powers’ to impart to their flock. That they ARE their church. Most don’t have the balls to actually state it on a public website. At least it’s clear here.
Or rather, it’s copied from elsewhere. Copied from here, in fact – http://jfmin.org/jfm_events.htm (scroll down past the various, erm, interesting individuals and you’ll get to Prophetess Katherine Ruonala claiming an identical ‘anointing’, word for word, to the one mentioned above).
You see, this is my problem with my old church. It’s based on trying to copy what’s happened and fizzled out elsewhere.
Let’s open a Bible, shall we:
19“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
And Jesus speaks to us still. Through his Word and through the Holy Spirit.
Because He’s not dead. That’s the whole point of Christianity you see. Jesus is alive.
No intermediary or ‘medium’ required.
It’s 5am, I’m far too awake and it’s probably not wise to be nodding this vigorously…
“Their sins are no more offensive than yours, and Jesus hasn’t asked you to make sure everyone knows how really offended you are. Plus, it’s not a witness to be offended and angry.”
Could this be Todd Bentley’s own personal blog?
It would appear to be, though he hasn’t written a great deal.
I’ll keep in eye on it, and I’ll know whether it’s the real thing as soon as the one word we’ve been waiting for appears – ‘Sorry’.
There have been a lot of carefully chosen words surrounding Todd’s demise – regret, discipline, restoration etc. etc. Just not a huge amount of good-old-fashioned repentance.
You need to say sorry, Todd. As publicly as you said all those other things. Give GodTV a call. Maybe they’ll run a month of TV specials, just featuring you saying sorry.