An Uncomfortable Truth? – Believers or Quenchers II

Jesus, who was, is, and ever will be  God, did not use His own divine power and authority during His life and ministry on earth.

He ministered and lived as a flesh and blood man, anointed by the Holy Spirit and in complete obedience to the will of the Father.

After He ascended back to heaven, He sent the same Holy Spirit that had empowered His own ministry to enable believers to do the same works (and greater) as those He had done.

Many try hard to undermine this “uncomfortable truth” because it contradicts their powerless theologies and they do their best to discredit those who have accepted it. Often they will make questionable charges against those they oppose, accusing them of heresies, such as the denial of Jesus’ divinity.

However, if there is any “denial of divinity at work”, it was in Jesus denying Himself the option of exercising His own divine rights and abilities, electing to submit to His Father and the Holy Spirit so He could perfectly identify with us in all ways and in all temptations, with the exception of committing sin.

When people deny the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit and His gifts in the church today, they then have the need to “explain” away all claims of that ministry being done by professing believers. They are therefore quick to attribute it all to Satan, and level accusations of heresy, potentially stepping into the dangerous territory of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.

Scripture makes it very clear, to those willing to believe the Bible instead of traditions they’ve been taught, that the Holy Spirit did not withdraw His gifts and ministry with the death of the apostles. Those gifts have never been withdrawn from the church and are no less needed today than they were in the early church era.

There seem to be two opposing, extreme camps. The deniers who do whatever they can to denigrate and accuse, versus those who get up to a lot of extra-biblical activities, supposedly “in the name of Jesus”.
I suspect that both categories could very well fall under the following warning given by Jesus, if an activity is not in scripture, or at least consistent with scripture, it is almost certainly NOT the Father’s will:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! (Matt 7) NIV

Are those who are so openly antagonistic to Spiritual gifts in general so confident of their own stance that they KNOW they are doing the will of the Father?

Are they so sure that THEY will not be counted among those Jesus didn’t know, because they are NOT actually doing his will with their heresy-hunting? Are their pronouncements not a form of “prophecy”? Claiming to be words representing God’s judgements?
Did Jesus commission His church to go into the all the world and expose heretics?

I’d also like to point out that those that Jesus did not know, were not necessarily doing deeds through demonic empowerment. They only CLAIM to have prophesied, driven out demons, and performed miracles. The likelihood of demonic spiritual empowerment seems unlikely when the name of Jesus was being used, although demonic deception in the mind of those doing the deeds is most likely, making them believe their own claims, rather than them actually performing the miraculous.

The above warning from Jesus ought to be balanced by another.
Where the one already cited relates to people DOING things that were NOT sanctioned by God, there is another related to doing nothing, where a servant chose to bury what his master had given him rather than use it as intended.

The church has been given a gift: the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit who empowered Jesus and His ministry. If we choose to ignore the gift, or bury it through denial,  how can we expect to avoid the fate of the servant who out of fear buried his Masters bag of gold instead of putting it to use as he was required, especially when Jesus instructed His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until the gift was given to equip them to be His witnesses throughout the world. Are later generations superior to the apostles and early church and able to be His witnesses without the empowerment and gifts of His Spirit?

…throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (matt 25) NIV

A Story of Redemption

I’ve usually been hesitant to post ministry videos, mainly because I’ve found it hard to find anything I was comfortable promoting.

In the past I’ve included some David Pawson sermons, and more recently some series by David Servant. Both are teachers I’ve trusted, having found that for the most part their teaching is soundly Bible based.

I post the following after seeing several Todd White videos.
I have seen he’s a man who attracts some opposition and criticism. He looks different and his style is different, but for the most part I’ve personally found no problem with him.

A few days ago I read an article* opposing both him and what he does. It was written by a woman who encountered him at her local gym and took the opportunity to confront him and accuse him of being a false teacher.

I found her public attack was graceless and full of false accusation, including claims that he doesn’t preach from scripture and that he preaches a repentance-less gospel.
After seeing many of his preaching and ministry videos I categorically state that his talks are often full of scripture, and his public street ministry is probably closer to the biblical example in Acts than most street ministry I’ve witnessed before. He also doesn’t dilute the need for repentance, as can be seen in this video with regard to couples living together before marriage.

The accuser asked him if he has ever had anyone take him verse by verse through the scriptures. His reply to her was to point out that he has the scriptures and can read them himself. She also claimed she had never seen him carrying a Bible. If she meant a big black leather bound book her observation was probably valid –  he tends to refer to scripture via a tablet instead of a physical book, and he frequently quotes scripture from memory rather than reading it from a page.

It didn’t surprise me to see that the woman confronting him was a disciple of John MacArthur, a Calvinist hero and spiritual gifts denying celebrity preacher.

My own background has been in Pentecostal churches, but I have a lot of reservations regarding a lot of ministry claimed to be in the name of Jesus, particularly anything that includes “signs and wonders” of a type NOT seen in scripture. (Gold dust, gem stone appearances, angel feathers…)

Todd White doesn’t seem to be a promoter of that kind of false miracle, although he has an occasional  connection to some who do ; instead he takes the gospel and healing to the streets, restaurants, shopping malls, gymnasiums – everywhere that he goes, and he gets results with healings that lead to multiple people turning to Jesus. That approach is far more in line with scripture than the modern attempts to entertain people into the Kingdom.

The following video gives a short example of what he does.

For anyone who might still have objections for whatever reason, I refer them to Jesus and Paul:

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9) NIV

And

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Personally I believe he’s preaching from true motives, not false. As for whether the gospel he preaches is adequate: does anyone doing and preaching less than him have any right to criticise someone who is at least doing as much as he is?

Maybe, before offering judgement, people need to ask themselves whether “my” no gospel is preferable to “his” partial gospel.

Todd White is accountable for what he does and we are no less accountable to God for what WE do. If we all play our own part we’ll be working together in fruitful service to God, complementing each other’s contribution to the work of His Kingdom.

the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. For we are co-workers in God’s service. ! Cor 3) NIV

 

POST SCRIPT added 12 Feb 2020 :

The comments below show a lot of concern about Todd White’s ministry.

I can only advise the same as I did at the end of my article “Is David Pawson a False Teacher?“:

Is David Pawson (Todd White, or anyone else) a false teacher?

Search the scriptures for yourself and find out.

Don’t be swayed by view points or claims that others make – whether a good report or a condemnation – but check everything out for yourself.

If you are not willing to do that – no matter who the teacher in question may be, then you make yourself very susceptible to being deceived.

 

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*  I originally thought of linking to the article but chose not to – deciding I didn’t want to give its spurious claims any hint of value.

Foundation of Faith: God’s Word And His Will

My recent writings have made it clear that I’ve been pursuing a very personal journey of faith building. The reasons that journey became necessary have been covered in what I’ve written recently. (See my testimony posts).

The first part of that journey was surprisingly easy: to find a BIBLICAL foundation establishing God’s will regarding healing. I thought I’d have a harder task than I experienced.

God’s will regarding healing couldn’t have been made more obvious.

It IS His will for His people to live in health.

The importance of that can’t be emphasised enough. By ignoring it, or worse rejecting it, member’s of Christ’s body have been robbed of their health and even their lives, being deceived into thinking there was something noble in suffering sickness; that suffering their illness was for God’s glory.

God gets no glory from His children being hampered by sickness, especially when He’s made it so clear that He wants them healthy and able to serve as workers in His harvest field.

What I’ve written throughout my recent articles hasn’t been intended as a be-all and end-all study of healing.
My intent was to discover the very basic truth of God’s will, not necessarily how we are to obtain healing or how to lead others to healing.
It is futile to venture into the territory of receiving and imparting healing without establishing a foundational understanding of God’s willingness to heal.

Without knowledge of God’s will, anything we pray is merely a shot in the dark, hoping for results that we have no assurance of obtaining. And scripture makes it clear that we need to BELIEVE if we are to receive – vague hopeful prayers don’t have that same guaranteed outcome of receiving “whatever you ask for in prayer”, given to those prayed with BELIEF.

Not only has the church been robbed of health and life, its witness and message have also been compromised. While allowing ourselves to be denied the health God wants His children to “enjoy” – we also deny a very important aspect of the gospel we are supposed to be sharing, in word and deed, with the world.

The ministry of Jesus, the apostles and the early church was not a matter of word only.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Cor 2) NIV

…our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. (1 Thess 1) NIV

The public preaching of the gospel was almost always accompanied by the healing of the sick.

While the initial motivation for starting this healing journey had a significant personal emphasis – being a literal battle for my own life – the ramifications are significantly broader than my own situation.

 

Assurance of Salvation.

How can we be sure that we are saved?

How can we be sure of eternal life?

Some seem to think all we need to do is start a walk with Christ – that as long as we believe in Him at some time, then we’re okay. We’ll make it. No matter what we do after that initial faith experience, that one time belief is sufficient to guarantee our eternal security.

Recently I saw a quote in a book review expressing that view: “The Bible clearly teaches that God’s love for His people is of such magnitude that even those who walk away from the faith have not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand” [cited as from “A Review of Charles Stanley’s Book, Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?“],

I have to wonder what kind of value that writer places on “salvation” or “eternal life” if they can be gained and retained so cheaply. I can’t see it is anything close to that kind of cheap gospel in the Bible.

In the Bible I don’t see a God so desperate for company that he’ll continue to accept those who have turned their back on Him, those who “walk away from the faith”.

In scripture we are told of people who will claim to serve Jesus who will be told He never knew them.

He compares those who don’t remain in Him to unfruitful branches that will be cut off and burned.

Paul writes to the Colossians about being  presented “holy, and blameless, and above reproach” to God, but ONLY those who “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel

And to the Romans he writes of a promise that  God will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, but to those that go astray, “God will pour out his great anger on them”

How can we be assured of our salvation?

By continuing IN HIM.

By remaining on the narrow road to life.

If I want to get home at the end of a work day, how can I be assured of getting there?

Firstly I have to get on the right road, then I have to maintain my course, staying on the required route until I arrive. If I do that, avoiding all obstacles and distractions that would hinder or put a halt to my journey I’m assured to get home.

It’s not enough to start the journey home, I have to ensure I continue until I arrive.

It’s not enough to start a life with Christ, we have to ensure we continue it.

 

I Am Not Ashamed

Too many Christian films I’ve seen have been very disappointing, with poor acting, weak writing, and dodgy theology.

I Am Not Ashamed is an exception.

It focuses on the faith of Rachel Scott, a student at Columbine school at the time of the shootings in 1999.

Like many normal teenage Christians, she faced difficulties balancing her faith with the societal pressures of peer acceptance: until she chose to not be ashamed of her faith in Jesus, whatever the cost.

The film shows the various relationships, the loyalties, the prejudices, the cliquiness, and the bullying within the school, but without making any individuals, even the eventual perpetrators of the violence, into one dimensional characters.
It even gets the Christian characters right. They come across as real people, facing real life struggles, with faith but no instant, glib solutions to the problems they face.