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The False Charismatic Authority Paradigm

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So we now have the premise. We will get into the exegesis of this text in a moment but the mere notion that there are things we are not bring to God at all is biblically absurd and unbelievably arrogant and carnal. The issue is not whether God will respond why are you fearful but whether or not you actually are fearful. Even if you choose to not bring it to God you will remain fearful. You will remain faithless in that scenario. We continue:

"I realize that God loves it when we pray, and there are many types and ways to pray that are applicable for various situations, but I have learned to consider my heart condition and motive behind the prayer. Both matter. It's extremely easy to function from a place of doubt when we consult with God. It's common, for example, to doubt our needs will be met, and this can manifest through prayer, hoping that God does something to remedy our situation. While it's good to have any sort of conversation with God, we also need to know that his response will be tied closely to our faith that's connected to our prayer." -- John Burton

Let me assure Mr. Burton that he need not worry about the condition of his heart in prayer. It is wickedly deceitful in prayer and out of prayer. Motivations should be examined but not to determine if there is doubt. God does not dismiss us if there is doubt. The human condition is to doubt, especially when dealing with spiritual matters we cannot tangibly see. In fact what Burton is intimating runs contrary to what God wants. He wants us to bring Him our doubts and our fears. His Word can then comfort us and build our strength. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. There is also nothing wrong with petitioning the Lord in prayer. In Gethsemane Jesus Himself petitioned the Lord to remove the cup He was facing on the cross. Like Jesus we need to realize that our petitions need to end with not our will but Yours be done. Burton continues:

"Let's look at the entirety of the well-known passage in Mark 4: 35-41. Don't Bother Jesus. The obvious thing for Christians to do when in a time of trouble is to go to God. I want to propose you may have more success at times by not going to God. If you are in relationship with him, and are living a life of overcoming faith, and you know your authority, it's not necessary to have a consultation with God every time you have to make a decision or every time the going gets tough. Quite often, the correct step is to refuse to bother Jesus. He was asleep on the boat in the midst of the storm--and he should have been left alone. This principle is true for us today as well. Many of us have a habit of attempting to shake God awake to our situation, and instead of him resolving the problem, he asks, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" The correct thing to do would then be to resolve the situation ourselves!" -- John Burton

I want to propose that this is ridiculous. Did you notice the subtle turn here though? Exactly what do we have overcoming faith in beloved? The answer is God, specifically through His written Word. What is it that John Burton is selling here that our overcoming faith is rooted in? Knowing our authority. Instead of our faith being in God it has shifted to being in ourselves. The oldest sin emerging clearly. Things suddenly changed in your life? Don't bother Jesus with it. Fearful of some impending calamity? It's not necessary to consult God. Before you say those are extreme examples remember that is exactly what the disciples were facing in the passage from Mark's Gospel. There is no principle that says leave Jesus alone beloved. There is zero indication in the text, which are the key verses today, that it is teaching Jesus should have been left alone. Let us exegete this story correctly.

The backstory is pretty straightforward. The disciples were out on the water when a windstorm arose and threatened to swamp their boat and quite possibly kill them. By the time they panicked, the boat was already filling up with water and the waves were breaking over it. Jesus amazingly was asleep through all of this. The disciples awoke Him by accusing Him of not caring if they perished. Here is the exposition from Gill:

And they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? The disciples came to him and jogged him, and awoke him out of sleep; saying, Master, arise, and save us, or we are lost: hast thou no concern for us? how canst thou lie sleeping here, when we are in such danger? are our lives of no account with thee? is it a matter of no moment with thee, whether we are saved or lost? They seem to say this, not so much praying and interrogating, as complaining and reproving. -- Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Burton's mistake is equating this rebuke of Christ as "prayer." Is Jesus upset that they woke Him? No. He is upset that they allowed their fear and lack of faith to affect how they viewed God. That after seeing the great miracles and healings, they assumed He did not care if they drowned. Even this upset though is not a great rebuke. Jesus was teaching as He always does. Have you no faith? Why do you fear? There is no instruction about not coming to Him with their fears or faith issues. In the aforementioned Gethsemane prayer, Jesus is facing the cross. He knows the suffering He is about to endure and in His humanity He cries out to God and says if possible take this cup from me. He did not interrogate God as to why this was the plan. He did not rebuke God for the pain He was about to bear. He petitioned the Lord and said not my will but yours be done. John Burton would have coached Him to suck it up and don't bother God with that!

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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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