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Charismania - Setting the Church and Sound Doctrine on Fire

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I was not at Azusa Street and neither was John Burton. It is amazing however how we worship our history when it fits our narrative. I was taught about Azusa by the Assemblies of God. I do not recall my textbook describing it as "they cry and make howling noises all day and into the night. They run, jump, shake all over, shout to the top of their voice, spin around in circles, fall out on the sawdust blanketed floor jerking, kicking and rolling all over it. Some of them pass out and do not move for hours as though they were dead. These people appear to be mad, mentally deranged or under a spell. They claim to be filled with the spirit." That doesn't sound Christian to me. That does not sound like the God of order was present. The bible warns us to redeem the time with unbelievers - not act as if we are deranged. What is getting "revived" in Burton's vision? It certainly will not be the lost who will correctly look upon the "on fire" church as crazy or under a spell. It will not be those who believed in orderly church service because you kicked them out. So, revival will only come then to those few people who buy into this nonsense over the sound doctrine found in scripture? Good luck with that.

"I'm not talking about worldly vision or an entrepreneur spirit. I mean pastors and leaders must be living their lives saturated in prayer and the Word to such a degree that God exploded supernatural vision into their spirits. Dreams, visions and encounters will rock and shock them to such a degree that little else matters than running toward the fulfillment of what God has revealed to them. Happy sing-a-longs, tepid prayer times, powerless sermons and a nice little family environment will give way to a vibrant, anointed, fearful and weighty atmosphere. Joshuas, Gideons and other bold, relentless biblically-modeled men and women of God will lead the charge into the great unknown. They know that only a remnant can get them where they need to go. Most will need to be released into the deserts of their own makings as they identify the few who have the courage to advance into the land of promise." - John Burton

Where does God intimate that church is about forging ahead into the great unknown? Are not all things known and revealed through His word? I share Burton's apparent displeasure with churchianity, but his solution is unbiblical and mentally unhinged. Is the gospel not bold enough for John Burton that he must have a side show with it? The bible is the supernatural vision from God! Do not add to it!

"If authentic prophecy isn't predominant in each and every gathering, the advance toward a glorious revival will be stunted. While low-level, carnal, fake and invented "prophecy" must be rejected wholesale, true prophetic revelation must be embraced. Decrees and declarations based on the timely insight that God has revealed to that local body will shock the atmosphere with authority. The people, the remnant soldiers, should be trained and empowered to prophesy, and the entire body must be ready to shift and redirect as the winds of the Spirit move them. Fire and brimstone preaching will have to make an appearance in such a revival-focused environment. Unapologetic calls to radical consecration are absolutely mandatory. Holiness and repentance must be a common thread through everything in the ministry. While an atmosphere of grace is key, allowing people to authentically reveal their struggles in a loving atmosphere, the severity of the fear of the Lord must also be felt." - John Burton

There is nothing for us to declare and decree except what God has already said! Beloved, there has been no fear of the Lord displayed throughout this entire article. What there has been, is a display of sheer, unbridled Charismania and how they view the takeover of the church they wish to undertake. People rolling around on the ground, glory clouds and uncontrolled winds, guttural groans throughout the church service intermingled with random gibberish, people declaring and decreeing false prophecies and all in the name of a revival never promised in scripture. John Burton needs to repent and stop chasing carnal signs and lying wonders. He needs to stop leading people down the broad path.

"The Word of God must be read and fully believed, proclaimed and boldly decreed if revival is to be had. The mission must be based on extreme adherence to the challenging truths of Scripture. Those who know God will be strong and do great exploits, and the revelation of the Word along with an atmosphere of fervent prayer will result in a people who know their God. Simply, Sunday School style Bible teaching won't cut it. We need faith-filled, vision-driven and fearless proclamations of Scripture that rips apart strongholds and shatters the teeth of the enemy. We need biblical revelation that strikes us, marks us and wrecks us. We need the Word of God to pierce our hearts, captivate our minds and overwhelm our intellect." - John Burton

Yeah, no. This is just another extension of the me-centric spirit of Charismania. We will be strong and do great exploits? Regular teaching will not cut it? Instead of scripture it needs to be "proclamations" of scripture? That sounds an awful lot like what Bill Johnson does at Bethel where he references scripture but does not actually read it all in context. The scripture must be vision driven? Whose vision? From where? Is there anything wrong with the vision God has already given us in His word? Why are all of John Burton's "solutions" found outside of the word? He should probably try understanding scripture before seeking to be "wrecked" by it.

"The pursuit of revival is a regional and national pursuit, not a local one. What I mean is, the end goal is not local church growth. It's beyond time to forever surrender the annual goals of more people, more small groups, more offerings, new buildings and any focus on local. If God starts moving powerfully in another local church in the city, pastor, you must shut your thing down for a season and support what God is doing on the other side of town. The goal is regional outpouring. The vision is much greater than four walls. The moment the goal is the development of a single local church is the moment that church has been disqualified from the pursuit of regional revival." - John Burton

Just more and more unbiblical notions from John Burton. This little nugget is his pursuit of what Charismania refers to as the "Apostolic." This is where apostles control regions and pastors are relegated to subservient roles. By the way, Burton fancies himself an apostle too. What a coincidence! Just look at what he is advocating for! If you want to grow a local church, as they did throughout the New Testament, you are disqualified from regional revival? As is typical with self-aggrandizing Charismatics, they are looking in the wrong direction. God does not look for this grander vision beyond the four walls of your church. He is looking smaller. He looks at the individual heart. All of heaven rejoices when ONE sinner repents, not when man organizes a region to run around like their hair is on fire sputtering verse fragments and chasing revival.

"I covered this mostly in the section about tongues and groans, but felt it necessary to doubly impress upon you the need for constant, fervent and powerful intercession. This is not a separate, side ministry that takes place before a service or on an off night. It's not to be relegated to a side room or to be led by anybody other than the senior leader. It's the most important, most powerful and most neglected ministry of the church. The church isn't a house of preaching, a house of relationships, a house of evangelism or a house of anything other than a house of prayer. That's it. Sunday services should be mostly vibrant prayer meetings. The cookie-cutter model we've become so used to must go. The worship, announcements, preaching, altar time paradigm must cease. The new wine skin is bathed in intercession, and every member of the remnant church must deliberately give themselves to it night and day." - John Burton

The parable of the wineskins is literally contrasting the teachings of Christ and the Old Testament teachings of law. It has nothing to do with how we conduct church service. Let me explain where Burton gets this over-obsession with intercession from. He has worked extensively with Mike Bickle and IHOP. It was at IHOP where they dedicated themselves to 24-hour prayer, upheld by their students. This went on for years and still IHOP was one of the most heretical Christian institutions on the planet. Making people scream and moan guttural chants does not make anything better or more holy. Dragging it into the church service certainly will not benefit anyone nor please God. By the way, I am not defending the cookie cutter fraud that is passed off as church either, but the answer is not to be more brazen in your poor theology and heresy.

"We are far from revival. I hear prophets and preachers talking about how near we are, and I just have to shake my head and wonder what exactly they are discerning. In terms of timing, can revival break out sooner than later? Sure. But in terms of distance, in terms of where we are now and were we must be as a church to see revival hit, we are far. The church must experience a reformation that will shock it to its core. It's this shock and awe of God's supernatural invasion that will never let us do church as usual again, Spirit-filled or otherwise. Every goal will change. Board and staff meetings will never be the same. Strategies and how money is spent will morph overnight. When God visits, nothing else matters. The result will be a church on fire that prays night and day with ferocity." - John Burton

I want to make sure we all understand what is going on here. Burton correctly discerns that the modern church is not what God intended. This seeker-friendly, purpose driven, pastoral cult of personality mess is the apostate church in action. What he cannot see is where he fits in the current apostasy. It is a wicked generation that constantly seeks after a sign. False signs and lying wonders are just as much a part of the apostasy he is railing against but he cannot see it. His solutions are not new and are currently in place in several prominent churches. His 24 hour prayer paradigm was tried for decades at IHOP and it did not result in a doctrinally correct church. His out of control moaning church service has occurred in the Toronto Outpouring, the Pensacola debacle, and Lakeland with Todd Bentley. Those are just the prominent ones. The result is indeed a church on fire but the fire did not come from God. Charismania remains one of the leading forces in the great falling away with people like John Burton leading the way. Mark and avoid. Mark and avoid.

Reverend Anthony Wade - September 23, 2021

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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