Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. -- 1Peter 5: 8 (ESV)
There has been an ongoing campaign against the religion of Christianity. It does not come from the world beloved. It comes from the church. As the end times grow thicker, we see the mass proliferation of false doctrines that have become more and more brazen in their disregard for Scripture and for abusing what God has said. The only way to get away with it is to sprinkle some piety dust on their verbiage and attack anyone who wields the Bible as being "religious" or having a "religious spirit." This is a common refrain from people like Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Charisma News and the false bands of prophets emerging from the NAR; just to name a few. To them everything is about experience and a sense of relationship. I have dealt with many of these folks and can tell you that there is no point in having a lucid biblical discussion with them. They always take any Biblical criticism as trying to put God in a box. The truth beloved is that God created the box and it is called doctrine. He did so for a very good reason. The human heart is the most wickedly deceitful thing known to man. When we rely upon our experience, no matter how much we spiritualize it, we are in fact relying upon our heart which will always lie to us. The Word of God however never lies. It never changes. It transcends all time and culture. Make no mistake about it. That is what this argument has always been about. Man has always wanted to be God. It is the very sin that Lucifer was cast out of heaven for and the very sin he then tempted Eve into transgression with. Now the hyper-spiritualists are pushing the same thing. Instead of saying, "surely God did not say" they are telling you to not even worry about what He has said in that old dusty book. Come get some fresh revelation! Except it is not fresh. It is rancid and not from God. The word religion was ordained by God. He wrote it in His Word. Cast aside what God has instituted at your own risk beloved. At your own peril. I say this as the backdrop of a new article on Charisma News by someone named Dawn Hill. To be honest I do not know Dawn Hill and have never heard of her. This article however could have been written by Bill Johnson. It is entitled, "Why the Devil Wants to Fill the Church With Lion Tamers ." Let us reason together and see the game plan of the hyper-spiritualists at work in attacking the religion of Christianity.
"As I glanced around the room this past Sunday morning, I saw bodies prostrate in the altar, and I heard the cries and the worship of those pressing into the Lord. The service had taken a different course as the Holy Spirit manifested in our midst through us. I remained kneeling on the floor, pouring out my adoration to God, and grateful to be in such a place where He is permitted to have His way. This is what happens when the lion is unleashed from within His people. This is what happens when lion tamers are abandoned." -- Dawn Hill
The first hallmark of the experiential hyper-spiritualist is the loss of control. This is always portrayed as a good thing. This is the same argument from the Toronto Blessing heresy, where people rolled around on the ground and barked like dogs. It is the same heresy from Brownsville that saw uncontrolled spasmodic shaking going on and blamed on the Holy Spirit. It is the same argument for the extreme theologies of drunk in the spirit, toking the Holy Ghost and of course the physically assaultive ministry of Todd Bentley. None of it is from God however. The Bible says that God is a God of order. For goodness sake, self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit! Loss of control is not from God. The second hallmark we see here is the notion that God is somehow helpless without us. She was grateful to be in a place where God is permitted to have His way? Permitted? Are we serious here? Is there anywhere on the face of the earth that God is not sovereign over? The late Myles Munroe and Creflo Dollar both have preached that God cannot even operate on the earth without permission from us through prayer. How utterly blasphemous! Dawn Hill has now laid the groundwork for her argument and the central thesis is that the people lying on the ground rolling around and delving deeper into their "experience" are the lions. Those who would point out how unbiblical they are behaving? They are the lion tamers. She continues:
"The night before the service, I heard the words, "lion tamer" in my spirit. God directed me to the well-known story about David dancing with all his might before the presence of God while bringing the ark of the covenant to the city of David (2 Sam. 6). He reminded me that King David was part of the tribe of Judah, and he refused to keep the lion tame when in the presence of the Lord. David made no apologies to his wife afterward, despite her demeanor toward him. He knew how to handle lion tamers. God desires for us to learn something from David." -- Dawn Hill
I heard the words. God directed me. He reminded me. The third hallmark for this false teaching is direct revelation. You see the problem they have is real. The Bible speaks against everything they do and teach so to combat that they pretend that God told them directly -- bypassing the Word -- and thus adding to the Canon of Scripture. We see Joseph Prince, Bill Johnson and the like do this all the time. It is a core shtick we even see from the lesser known false prophets like Jennifer Leclaire. By claiming to get direct downloads from heaven, they try to mitigate the complete unbiblical nature of what they teach and represent.
The fourth hallmark is twisting the Bible. I do not blame them actually because they do not rely upon the Bible to begin with so it is of no surprise to me that they mishandle God's Word. They usually engage in what is called proof-texting. This is where they have already decided what they want to teach/preach on and they scour the Bible to find verse fragments or stories that they can leverage to make their point appear biblical. Since they were out of control, Dawn Hill remembers the story about David dancing with all his might and voila! Instant Biblical credibility! Except that is not what this story represents. Here are the verses in question:
And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. 2Samuel 6: 14-15 (ESV)
This is problem when you engage in proof texting and it is the practice of too many of the new breed of preachers these days. Did David dance before the Lord? Yes. Does this mean that churches today should encourage rolling around on the floor, animal noises and uncontrolled body spasms? Of course not. Self-control beloved. Self-control. David's wife Michal was not a "lion tamer." That assertion is ridiculous. The issue she was complaining about was not the removal of clothing per se but the removal of David's "kingly" garments. She was not upset that David was dancing. Michal came from aristocracy. She was the daughter of King Saul. She apparently did not like the fact that David "lowered" himself to the level of "common" servants. I agree that God desires us to learn something from David but dancing is not one of those lessons. I am going to show you why from the very same story
And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songsand lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. -- 2Samuel 6: 5-7 (ESV)
Wait a minute! They were celebrating and dancing and just as undignified as the later story! The Yet God was clearly more concerned with the manner of worship than the act itself. You see Uzzah was not supposed to touch the ark. God had ordained that only the Kohathites were allowed to transport the ark and Uzzah was not a Kohathite. Additionally, it was not meant to be transported on a cart but rather on the shoulders of the Kohathites by using poles. You may be saying what's the big deal? Uzzah was ordered by his king to do this and was only trying to prevent the ark from spilling onto the ground. Why couldn't God just be happy with the worship that was being offered? That seems to be the logic today as well with lion tamer teachings. They think that God should be happy with the authenticity of the person regardless of the manner in which they present themselves before the Lord. They think that their zeal or sincerity makes up for their blatant disobedience to the Word of God. They are dancing spiritually naked before the Lord and like Uzzah before them; they have no idea how offensive they are to God. Hill would continue:
"The lion tamers are ever present within the body of Christ, manifesting in different ways. Truthfully, we all have an issue wanting to tame the lion. Many step into a three-ring circus every week, taking their chair of dignity and complacency, content to keep the lion at bay. There is no passion for God or His presence. You may be wondering what chairs have to do with this. Chairs were used to tame natural lions. The chair legs caused a loss of focus. When we have no desire to press beyond our comfort zone, we lose focus of the One we are to adore." -- Dawn Hill