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March 10, 2020

NAR Experiential Christianity Says it is Time to do Away with Church

By Anthony Wade

Another plea from the NAR to eliminate church in favor of our personal experience...


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"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. -- Matthew 10:34-36 (ESV)

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has many facets and one of them is experiential Christianity. The simple understanding of this is that what we experience rises to the level of scripture if not surpasses it. What do you mean preacher? Think of the Holy Laughter abomination. When people would go to church and "experience" God by allegedly being made to roll around on the ground and make animal noises. Think of Pensacola and the Kundalini spirit outpouring where people where demonically influenced to spasm without control. They will swear to this day that this was an experience of God. It was not. The natural enemy of Experiential Christianity is of course the bible because the bible proves it is a fraud. This is why you have heard people like Bill Johnson marginalize scripture by saying we do not worship the bible. Yet the word says that Christ is His word, so maybe Bill ought to actually read his bible instead of trying to find ways to minimize it. Either way it is important to rebuke such teachings as you will find at the above link where Thomas McDaniels suggests that it is time to do away with church as we know it. Let us reason again together.

"The church as we know it has had its day. God has been in a box for thousands of years. The box is the church. This new decade is ushering in new challenges. One new challenge for the church in America is how to stop the bleeding. We have closed out two decades of the contemporary church. Not much has changed. We shifted from paneling to drywall, pews to chairs, Scriptures to stories and well-lit sanctuaries to darker rooms. This worked for a while but ran its course. We dressed it up and made it pretty, only to realize we were doing the same things in a change of clothes. People Want an Experience with God. The same old, same old is not attractive any longer. People are searching for a genuine experience with God." -- Thomas McDaniels

This is the deceptive cry of the NAR experiential preacher. That the problem infecting the church is actually the church but they wildly miss the point. The sad thing here is McDaniels actually highlights part of the problem. The real problem is the purpose driven, seeker friendly models of church have excommunicated the Gospel from the bride of Christ. The church is metaphorically bleeding because it has removed the blood of Christ. McDaniels says it right here. We have replaced scripture with stories. That is the strategy of the purpose driven movement. To replace the Gospel with motivational and self-help stories to meet felt needs of a lost world. The obvious problem is that only helps with the problems of this world and the church was meant to bring people out from this world. The shift from well-lit sanctuaries to darkened rooms is also the NAR strategy of spiritualizing emotion. It has worked in pure carnal terms by creating massive mega-church fiefdoms at the expense of actually saving anyone because we know the bible teaches that only the Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation of man. People do not want an experience with God. The bible says all have turned away. The Gospel can draw them back but make no mistake about what McDaniels is selling here. Experiential Christianity seeks to supplant scripture with personal experience. It is a false gospel. It is anathema.

"Barna research has reported: "While a majority of churchgoers said that enjoying church was a motivation for them to attend (65% of churched adults and 82% of practicing Christians), around half (57% of churched adults and 45% of practicing Christians) said people they know are tired of the typical church experience." Notice that people said "the typical church is tiring." Most churches are so predictable, with three songs, three announcements and a three-point sermon. Even God is tired of that! Is this not what we have defined as insanity? People Are Dealing With Real Problems. This is not the age where chewing gum in the classroom is our most pressing problem. This is the age where our teenagers are getting pregnant or addicted to pornography. Gender issues and suicide are normal struggles for this generation. We must have answers." -- Thomas McDaniels

Enjoying church is a motivational factor? The key verses remind us that Jesus did not come to bring peace but to divide one against one's own family. That is what the Gospel does. It forces you to decide between God and this world. The sadly ironic thing is McDaniels still cannot see that he is the problem he abhors. Think about his logic. A few decades ago the church shifted to this prettier version of church. Lights for darkness and scripture for stories. It worked for a while but now people are on to it. Now people see there is virtually no difference between church and the world. They can get the music from the club on Saturday nights. They can get the pep talk from a Tony Robbins podcast. They can get what the church is offering without having to actually wake up on Sundays. So his answer to these problems are not to return to the Gospel but rather to blow the whole thing up? Never mind that God goes to painstaking details in scripture as to the order and importance of church. He is right of course that people are dealing with real problems. Just like they did 50 years ago and a thousand years ago. Sure the cultural context is different but problems? We live in a sinful fallen world so we can always be assured there will be problems. McDaniels cries out that we must have answers but the truth is that God has the answers! To all of these problems! It is called the Gospel! Only in the heart of the truly depraved is God not enough.

"The Search for More. Church people are searching for a real God who handles real problems. The church must show their competence in handling the most difficult of life's challenges. There are legitimate answers in God's Word to the most challenging things in life. People have problems. We go to Walmart because it solves a problem; We drive by Chick-fil-A for the excellent food and the convenience. They solve the problem. The church must solve the problems of its members. Yes, then they will come. Traditions Are Not the Answer. Some traditions have value. Others, not so much. When we perform religious acts from tradition, we miss the experience of the action. To pray because it's tradition is not a great reason to pray. To pray and connect to God leads to life. The Spirit of God is the agent who gives life to our worship and our religious activity. "And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God" (Rom. 8:10, NLT). The Spirit gives life. Many are seeking life. Churches that are offering lifeless traditions will become less effective and less attractive. Attendance will continue to decline, and the church will die or only survive. Many churches are on life support." -- Thomas McDaniels

Churches are on life support because they thought they could do it on their own. They usurped the role of God in thinking they had to grow their church when the bible makes it clear that only God decides who and how many get added to the number. Now let's be careful here and cut through the NAR double speak. Churches built on unbiblical traditions, as we see many in the Catholic Church for example, are not what McDaniels is speaking about. Experiential Christianity seeks to do away with church itself as it currently exists. Instead of scripturally based worship music he would replace it with the banal, droning, repetitive chants of today's "worship"; that seeks to glorify oneself and not God. Instead of telling God how great He is, we now tell God how much He loves us and that is a stark difference between worshipping God and worshipping self. Instead of the preeminence of scripture, he would replace it with eastern mysticism schemes like soaking and transcendental prayer. Here is today's deep theology. The church is not supposed to solve your problems on this earth. It is supposed to solve your eternal problem of going to hell. One of the benefits of being saved and having Christ is that you will more effectively deal with your carnal problems but that cannot be the motivational factor. We need a savior not a life coach. Even the disciples wanted Jesus to solve their temporal problems of Roman oppression but He came to deliver them from so much more. He came to deliver them from their sins and bondage to Satan. That is still what the Gospel seeks to do. The NAR would prefer to focus on this world because it worships this world. Our standing before God and eternal destination however, is what the business of the church is supposed to be about.

"What Can Church Leaders Do? Stop relying on yesterday. Refusing to change is a step toward death. Singing songs from 2,000 years ago is noble but irrelevant. Yes, they have meaning, and we should preserve them. But we can sing them with cultural relevance to this generation. And we do not need singers or song leaders with talent alone. We need modern-day psalmists with hearts to connect to God. These men and women do not just sing songs; they connect to God in worship. Their goal is to sing songs in the throne room and take others there with them. Our church members need a touch from God. A touch to get them through the week--a tangible moment where God's presence is real. No, not an emotion. But if God is near, our emotions will be unlocked. Emotions are not a sure sign of God's touch. But when Jesus touched people in the Scriptures, they displayed emotions. "One Sabbath day, as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, 'Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!' Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!" (Luke 13:10--13, NLT). Did you see it? She praised God. If you received your healing after 18 years, are you going to praise God? I think you would. Would churches accept this behavior today? Most wouldn't." -- Thomas McDaniels

Wow. Singing songs from 2000 years ago is irrelevant? Spoken like a carnal thinking, reprobate and deluded mind. Most of the alleged music today, coming out of Bethel, Hillsong and Elevation is absolute garbage to God. The date of the song is irrelevant -- only the biblical accuracy matters. This esoteric gobbledygook about singing in the throne room is at the heart of the problem with NAR experiential Christianity. We cannot go to throne room beloved. Yes, it is true that Paul was once taken there but the outlier in all of history is not what we base sound doctrine upon. Kim Walker-Smith is the worship leader for Jesus Culture from Bethel and she is firmly entrenched in this experiential mess. She tells of a waking visitation she had from Jesus who whisked her away to the throne room where she met the Father face to face. God ripped out a piece of His own heart to mold a miniature version of Walker-Smith to dance and sing for Him while He clapped maniacally. Seriously. This is her testimony she tells everyone, at every concert. Since we know from the bible that she could not have seen the Father face to face and live, we are left in assuming this was a demonic visitation with Satan's emissaries posing as angels of light and she could not tell the difference. That is what happens when you leave the "box" that is the surety of scripture in order to chase your personal experience. So get over yourself. You are not the Apostle Paul and will not be visiting the throne room any time soon. If we truly want to experience God then we need to read His word, not chase these fleeting emotional flings. As for accepting healing, I think most churches would welcome it. Yet the fake healings passed off by these rogue churches are transparent. If Todd White is so gifted a healer, why not ship him off to China right now and quell this coronavirus outbreak? If Bill Johnson truly fancied himself a healer, why isn't he camped out in the Redding California emergency room? I think we all know the answers to these questions.

"What Was the Bible's Response? But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. "There are six days of the week for working," he said to the crowd. "Come on, those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath." But the Lord replied, "You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don't you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn't it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?" (Luke 13:14--16, NLT). Make note that we have progressed little. Jesus would say the same words to us today. Can you see it? Religion says God can't do that. Not today. Religion cannot handle what cannot explain. John Burton said, "The days of predictable, scheduled, ordered church services must come to an end. We have become so enamored with human order in the church that Holy Spirit, biblical order, is completely rejected."' -- Thomas McDaniels

John Burton is as compromised a NAR adherent as Thomas McDaniels is. This example is ridiculous. The point of the rebuke of the Pharisees was that they used the law without understanding the spirit of the law. They had no mercy. McDaniels wants to make a silly point here that they are somehow a "religious" spirit and the NAR position is the found in the role of Christ in this story. Just because Jesus healed on the Sabbath does not mean that God now wants to eliminate church. The point is beyond vacuously stupid. Listen, I agree that overly formal church services that do not allow for a move of the spirit is not the design found in scripture but to abandon all of it and replace it with the emotional whims of man, deluded into thinking something spiritual is occurring is madness. God is not a God of disorder. Burton and his like have written extensively about church services wildly out of control like we saw in the Toronto demonic outpouring or the Brownsville debacle. No thanks, I think we should stick with what God has already written and stop pretending that it is somehow outdated for this generation. The sheer arrogance of that thinking is staggering.

"God Desires to Do More. God is alive and has never been dead. Do our churches resemble that truth? Jesus was in a tomb. A borrowed one. Jesus only needed that tomb for three days. And on the third day, He rose. And He is alive. Just like Jesus told others to loose Lazarus and let him go, it's time the church loose God and let Him out of the box. Because ... "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Eph. 3:20)." -- Thomas McDaniels

Huh? Is this incoherent rambling supposed to be some new form of eisegesis? Any church that preaches the Gospel is very much alive because only the Gospel brings life to what is dead. We do not need to be rolling around on the floor shouting "shabba!" We do not need to be barking like dogs or twitching uncontrollably to know that we have had church. That is not experiencing God. It is experiencing the devil. These are very dangerous teachings that are deceiving generations. My experience is based upon my flesh and it counts for nothing. The word of God however is eternal and it is life. Give me that.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- March 10, 2020

Authors Bio:
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 His purpose.