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Charisma News Almost Does the Right Thing

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"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. -- Matthew 18: 15 (ESV)

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Modern Charismania has simply left the building of sound orthodoxy a long time ago. I believe that any fair reading of the New Testament must conclude with the belief that the gifts of the Spirit were meant for today. Cessationism is an argument without biblical foundation. I know why people are drawn to cessationism and it is usually rebellion against the ongoing silliness of modern Charismania. We ought to be careful however to not throw out the Scriptural baby with the Charismatic bathwater. Just from a logical standpoint cessationism makes little sense. The belief is that the gifts were only meant for the Apostolic Age, thus ending with the passing of John somewhere around 100 AD. Looking past the fact that there are no scriptures to support this belief one needs only look at the disconnect to realize God could not have been behind such a plan. No one would argue that the New Testament goes to painstaking detail regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is far from a singular verse. Paul goes into minute detail about how the gifts should be used in church service and even which ones should be pursued, which can be found in the first letter to the Corinthian Church. This letter was written just 45 years before John would die. So in order for cessationism to work, we have to believe that a God who sees all time, went to extensive lengths to make sure the New Testament included these details about how to use to gifts, even though the first Bible would not appear for hundreds of years past the death of John, which is when cessationism believes the gifts became obsolete. That does not pass the common sense test.

What do we do then with rampant abuses we see every single day in Charismania? What do we do with holy laughter, false revivals, slain in the spirit, gibberish tongues, the sneak squid spirit, gold dust, angel feathers, gem stones, glory clouds, and the rest of the side show that the modern church has embraced? What did Paul do when confronted by false teaching in his day? He called them out. And he did so by name.

By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. -- 1Timothy 1: 19-20 (ESV)

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. -- 2Timothy 4: 14-15 (ESV)

Paul did not mince words. He even called Peter out by name once when Peter was being hypocritical. The paramount issue is always the Gospel and the sheep. Not the delicate sensibilities of those who teach falsely or the political correctness of the day. Yet it seems today that people are far more concerned with the wolves who abide in the sheep pen than they are with the sheep being devoured. This despite clear biblical admonishment to the opposite:

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. - Titus 1: 9 (ESV)
If you are called to teach and preach you are REQUIRED to rebuke those who teach falsely. It is not a suggestion beloved. The imagery of a shepherd is used on purpose by God. The shepherd's staff is the doctrine that gives instruction. It guides the sheep along the narrow path that leads to eternal life. The rod however is a blunt instrument to wield against the enemies of doctrine. Against the enemies of the sheep. Against the wolves that seek to devour them. Against the Alexanders and Hymenaeus' of the world. Against the Bill Johnsons, Jennifer Leclaires and Mike Bickles of this world. Against Charisma News.

For the uniformed, Charisma News is an online cesspool of NAR, politics disguised as Christianity, and Charismania that feeds the ongoing disease in the church today. They have not met a false teaching they could not promote nor a false prophet they would refuse air time to. Whenever a discernment ministry runs out of material, Charisma News is always there to provide the most heretical and ridiculous things facing the body of Christ today. Every now and again they get close to doing the right thing in a given article. Today was such a day when I came across the above linked article, "Popular Charismatic Website Promotes Heresy -- Mixes Hinduism, New Age and Christianity," by Mike Shreve. Now admittedly, I do not know Mr. Shreve but his bio says that he has been evangelizing since 1971. I held my breath and onto hope as I read his article. Would Charisma finally do the right thing about whackadoodle Christianity? Not quite.

It seems Shreve's heart might be in the right place. He recently came across a mailer from a popular Charismatic online resource that ascribed to pantheistic beliefs where we all are gods. The author also was espousing the Universalism beliefs that all are saved. He goes through a fine refutation of the beliefs and remains astonished that a website so many Charismatic leaders use would print something so heretical, to which I say, amen. Unfortunately then he reveals two disclosures that show he simply does not get it when it comes to false doctrine. Let's deal with them one at a time:

"First, it is not my normal practice to name specific persons or ministries when opposing false ideas, and for that reason, I have left that kind of information out of this article. I assume that even those in doctrinal error sincerely love God and sincerely feel that they are right in their viewpoint.

Then your article is meaningless. It is like telling someone that something they eat in the next 30 days could kill them but out of some warped sense of fairness, you won't disclose what it is. Shreve has already admitted that the website in question is very popular in the Charismatic world. The damage wrought by pantheistic teaching and universalism could be devastating. Countless people could be swayed away from Christ as the only way to heaven. What is perhaps worse is the disclosure as to why he refuses to reveal the source of the poison. He wrongly believes that those in doctrinal error sincerely love God and believe they are right. Who cares? Does God care? No He does not. A false teacher will not be able to stand before Christ with the blood of innocents upon his head and claim he was well intended. This is why the Bible says that a higher standard will apply to teachers and preachers -- not a lower standard. The bible is very clear. We are either gathering people to Christ or scattering them away. I have said all along I can live with the fact that there are "accidental wolves." People who think they are doing the work of the Lord but are egregiously wrong. I can live with the idea that even someone like Joel Osteen wakes up each day believing he is doing the right thing. The fact is that 55,000 people show up each weekend and hundreds of thousands if not millions via media to listen to a man who refuses to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are lured into saying a diabetic sinner's prayer that saves no one and are then proclaimed saved by Joel. There is no reason to try and protect Joel Osteen. He is well aware of the criticisms made against him and he dismisses them outright. He is on record as saying doctrine is not his gifting and that people do not need to hear about their sins. He sincerely loves the god he created and preaches but it is not the God of the universe. If it were, he would not twist His Word and would proclaim repentance for the forgiveness of sins. While Shreve appears worried about offending someone like Joel Osteen, where is that same concern for the people he keeps away from heaven and the sheep he leads astray?

The other point missed here is does Mike Shreve honestly believe everyone who is in error loves God and believes they are correct? No one is deceptively lying? No one is preaching for shameful gain? Does he believe that when Mike Murdoch gives his money money money spiel that he does so sincerely? Does he believe that when Benny Hinn waves his coat and people fall down on purpose as part of his fake healing shtick that somehow he thinks this is what God wants? Does he believe that when Creflo Dollar asks his congregants to fund his new 65 million dollar private jet that God is behind such actions? Or the 7 million dollar mansion Kenneth Copeland lives in that he writes off to the IRS as a parsonage? Seriously? We do not need to judge their hearts beloved. We just need to hold the Bible up to their teachings. Several years ago, Rob Bell ran an evangelical church of over 10,000 people. Then he woke up one day and decided he was a Universalist and that everyone was going to heaven. He lost his church but wound up as a permanent guest on the Oprah Winfrey show. I believe Rob Bell was sincere when he converted but that had no relevance. The only thing that mattered was snatching the bloody sheep out of his jowls. Shreve finishes:

Second, I contacted both the author and the owner/manager of the website concerning the grave error promoted in this article. The author was kind, but unreceptive about changing his stance; the owner was gracious, and told me he would check the article, but nothing was ever done. So now I am taking this issue to the church, even as Jesus taught us to do (Matt. 18:17). Why? Because many who respect that website could potentially be swayed to believe a heretical doctrine that could completely derail them spiritually." -- Mike Shreve

This is a fundamentally poor understanding of Scriptures that are used frequently to not expose false teaching. The verses from Matthew 18, which start with the key verse today, have absolutely nothing to do with dealing with false teachers. It has to do with when a brother or sister sins against you personally. This website and author in question did not sin against Mike Shreve personally. There is no need to misapply Matthew 18 to this case. To make matters worse however, he still will not reveal the wolves after they told him they were not going to do anything about the doctrinal error! The totally sad disconnect is Shreve sees what is at stake! He understands that people who respect the website could end up believing in a heretical doctrine that could complete derail them spiritually! Yet he remains more concerned about the wolf than about the potentially derailed sheep.

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