Here in the Uk in the last 4-5 years, the influence of Bethel Church Redding has steadily impacted the charismatic church . My personal story is that it was the leadership who got very “enamoured” with all that was going on, starting just after the bubble of the Lakeland Outpouring burst.. People from my neck of the woods had been to Lakeland, & watched a lot of it on TV. They got “Hungry” for what they felt God was doing…
Slowly through their persistent hype for Spiritual experiences or what they would term “encounters” they introduced everything to the church that they could. Straight from Bethel… we had dvd teaching by Danny Silk on the culture of honour. Impartation & soaking sessions, spiritual drunkenness – wild manifestations of the spirit – reports of Glory clouds & Gold dust & Angelic visitations. The introduction of healing rooms, exclusively sang only Bethel songs.. & had a visit from BSSM students. We went totally overboard on the prophetic & talked about the anointing a lot. Did some treasure hunting, went through the Fire Tunnels, decided to set up our own supernatural school of ministry. & started talking just like them about being whacked in the spirit & having breakthroughs
What we didn’t do was stop to weigh all these things against the full counsel of the scriptures… & we stopped talking about Jesus, the cross & resurrection – Sin & repentance. The focus became all about entering into God’s presence- the prophetic, Healings, miracles Signs & wonders…. Does any of this sound familiar?
One of the things that this movement does is to take an OT concept or principle & redeem it or reclaim it as valid for today. When in reality it has already been ‘overruled’ as irrelevant. Because, the nature of Christ’s sacrifice has dealt with the problem ( which is sin ) once & for all.
In this way the cross is undermined & the Gospel of Christ Jesus not only misrepresented but denied.
This is a very very serious error… Please don’t be fooled..
Supporters of this movement will say & have said: Theology is not important”. Look & see just how far, if we add that thinking to our mindsets, people can be led astray from the centrality of a risen saviour.
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signs & wonders are in the bible right? so that, makes them biblical right? Jesus did them – the early church experienced them- the devil counterfeited them – yep yep all true..
however, todays “church” is off base with the signs & wonders culture & here’s why.
- S & W are a one time, in the moment event – even if we claim to be in a environment or culture where S&W are expected to be our normal experience… they only serve the purpose of that one moment…. Now, I believe our God can perform miracles & healings & I would never would want to deny someone their healing.. the problem is that the S&W culture which is created becomes addictive…. there is always a cry for more… & an expectation that God will “do the wow factor” – the mindset undergoes the change of being & taking responsibility for ones life – to a snap my fingers & God will do it for me approach..
- S&W are not a right – purchased through Christ’s atonement on the cross……. if they were so, it would automatically follow that all people after salvation would have such an experience
- Galatians 5 talks about the fruit of the spirit being “longsuffering” the S & W culture teaches the exact opposite in receiving “your breakthrough” & the implications of Kingdom now theology are that the perfection that is found in heaven is for us here on earth right now… ie : no “longsuffering”
- in the S & W culture, because of high expectation, everything is a sign… not much discernment is offered & if it is it isn’t honoured but dismissed… S& W are often exaggerated…. & embellished beyond the originators testimony. because in this environment EXPERIENCES trump everything else
- there is an undercurrent belief that the more S&W in the mix – the more God is present. & therefore it follows that the more S & W – the more spiritual or favoured a particular person or group is.
- the word of God says that S&W follow the Gospel- but if no Gospel is ever shared – how can we be sure that the S &W are genuinely of God
- even receiving a personal miracle (such as being raised from the dead) is no guarantee of a persons salvation. why because- we cannot “purchase” people into the kingdom of God this way – Jesus is the only one who has literally paid for our own salvation through his sacrifice on the cross.
- in this movement – moving in a S & W realm is all about exercising personal risk – & developing ones gifting.. the person receiving the miracle is pretty much secondary – in the equation… on the streets this is highly irresponsible because there is no care or concern for follow up for the individual unless they themselves initiate it
- risk is confused with exercising faith… & in actual fact developing a S & W culture undermines faith rather than promoting it…… I know that sounds strange. but if we are in an environment where we always need to experience “God” in a tangible & definable his presence is measured.. where then is the ability to stand through adversity & trials going to be tested out in our lives..? we need faith to know that God has that totally covered… but if that process is continually linked to our experiences- that’s not really faith…
remember the children of Israel – they had supernatural provision every day for 40 years in the wilderness.. manna, shoes that didn’t wear out, direction by a pillar of fire….. & in that 40 year moment the day came when it ended… they settled in the land & had to work for their provision- instead of God providing they had to grow up & take responsibility – they had to process that out instead of living of in the moment of the “event”
now am I saying im anti S & W nope! not at all… what i’m saying is let’s be wise, lets understand this better- S &W as part of a journey not the ultimate destination.