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Devotionals    H3'ed 2/28/16

Using the Holy Spirit to Defend Charismaniacal Emotionalism

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So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order. - 1Corinthians 14: 39-40 (ESV)

It is a taboo subject in Charismatic circles and the main point for mockery among the cessationists who criticize them. It is often one of the least understood biblical constructs because the teachings are often confused and muddied by people who simply want to excuse their fleshly emotionalism. It is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers and the body of Christ. Perhaps adding to the confusion is the very poor understanding Christians as a whole have when it comes to the spiritual realm. Everyone can more easily relate to Jesus because He was a man. Even God has been given human characteristics and has been portrayed throughout history as such. Not so with the Holy Spirit. So let us lay a quick foundation:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. - 1John 4: 1 (ESV)

The implications of this simple verse are quite powerful for us to consider. Within the unseen spirit realm, there are in fact many spirits. Only one of the is Holy. Only one of them is God. The rest are of this world and the ruler of this world, Satan. For example, when we see psychics who seem legitimate we must understand that they may simply be trafficking in a demonic spirit. The Apostle Paul once ran into one:

As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour. - Acts 16: 16-18 (ESV)

We read stories such as this in the Bible all the time and gloss right over it but consider for a moment that this slave girl essentially was like some psychics we might see today. Her owners made a great deal of money through her but the Word reveals it was actually an evil spirit of divination that gave her these abilities. It is sad to see today that many people claiming to be prophets are really just trafficking in the same exact spirit of divination. This is why John implores us to test every spirit to see if they are in fact from God. And why? Because many false prophets have gone out into the world! Many of these false prophets and false spirits have infiltrated the church and portions of mainstream Christianity. They have managed to convince the hearts of the naïve that personal experience is more important than sound doctrine. That emotionalism can replace orthodoxy. I have often referred to this wing of false teaching as the "False Signs and Lying Wonders" movement. It is led by people like Bill Johnson and Bethel Church. Johnson teaches the most absurd false signs such as gem stones, gold dust, angel feathers and glory clouds. He allows anyone to come to "prophesy" on open mic nights. He runs a school for the supernatural where he teaches people the gifts of the spirit. You know, the same gifts that only God decides when to assign. Johnson is only the tip of the iceberg though. These heresies are fully embraced by IHOP and Mike Bickle, The Kansas City Prophets, the New Apostolic Reformation, and even some well respected theologians such as Dr. Michael Brown. It is this out of control emotionalism that led to the wildly heretical Holy Ghost movies. I say this as a backdrop to an article published yesterday on Charisma News claiming to speak to the "one lie millions of Christians are believing about the Holy Spirit." Here is the link for that article:

Mr. Sparks assertion is that the one lie we all believe is that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. I am sure this is something we have all heard in Pentecostal circles. It is usually used in relation to uncontrolled outbursts from congregants who blame the Holy Spirit and claim they cannot control their outbursts. Sparks main defense seems to be that nowhere in Scripture does it say that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and to that singular point - he is correct. Nowhere does the Bible use the word "rapture" either yet that is a widely held beliefs in the church, so the mere absence of the term is simply not proof of anything. Let us now turn to several points Mr. Sparks tries to make.

Satan hates Holy Spirit intensely for one key reason. The Christian who fully embraces the revelation that he or she is actually filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead becomes a spiritual Joshua or Caleb who enters into and releases the promise land of heaven on earth. We begin thinking, speaking, and acting like people who are, quite literally, possessed by God. Surely, this throws a wrench into Satan's diabolical plans. - Larry Sparks

Right off the bat we see incredibly poor theology mixed with poorer hermeneutics. The one key reason that Satan hates the Holy Spirit is because the Holy Spirit is God. Right away we see the theology of me. Instead of hating God, Satan must hate us. Because of all of our great potential. Because of the power we could wield. Give me a break. Sure Satan hates us but that is because we were made in the image of the one he truly hates, God. The second point here is the unbelievably bad bible interpretation. Where in the Bible does it say that if we could just understand the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us that we would become a spiritual Joshua or Caleb? That's right - absolutely nowhere. It doesn't even vaguely intimate this. The poor hermeneutics do not end there because Mr. Sparks then claims that the creation of his flesh, this "spiritual Joshua and Caleb" means that we can enter into and release the promise land of heaven on earth. What the heck is that even supposed to mean? Does Mr. Sparks forget that Joshua and Caleb still had to walk in the wilderness for forty years while the unbelieving generation died off? How in the world does one conclude that this released heaven on earth? Even within the nation of Israel we saw nothing but a continuous cycle of faithlessness and unbelief. Ironically and sadly, Mr. Sparks misses the real truth which is far more powerful. If we ever were to realize fully that the same power that raised Christ from the dead now lives inside of us that would lead us into a more victorious lifestyle over sin. It would lead us into a better understanding of His Word. That is actually how we bring heaven to earth; through doctrine and right believing. Not through believing that we are "possessed by God." Once again, what the heck is that even supposed to mean? Having watched these false spiritual manifestations over the years, I know exactly what Mr. Sparks means. It is designed to replace what the Bible teaches with personal experience. It is to blame the most absurd fleshly things on God. Here are some examples:

The first clip is from a few years back during the "Lakeland Revival." The "preacher" is Todd Bentley, who was packing 15,000 a night into tent meetings with this nonsense about kicking and punching people in order to heal them. I watched him punch a man with stage four pancreatic cancer in the stomach. His reasoning behind all of it? His excuse? The Holy Spirit. He claimed direct revelation from God through the Holy Spirit and even angelic visitations. You know, being "possessed by God." The second clip is from the Toronto "Blessing" in the 1990's. This was the infamous "Holy Laughter" movement that soon infected American churches as well. Christians rolling around on the ground, barking like dogs, and laughing uncontrollably. Who was to blame for this? The Holy Spirit of course. This was just the end result of being possessed by God. The third clip is from the alleged "Brownsville Revival." The poor girl giving her testimony there certainly seems possessed but not by anything holy. It looks more like the Kundalini spirits you see in Eastern Mysticism. The final clip is from more recent times and shows Heidi Baker spewing nonsensical "prophecies" amidst uncontrolled outbursts such as "shabba." Yet another "possession" blamed on the Holy Ghost. Yet these very things are what Larry Sparks exalts:

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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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