Wow, its been awhile since I have posted anything. A lot has changed since I started this blog and I want to post a personal update about me, mainly I go to a different church since starting this blog.
For those who don’t know most of my Christian upbringing I was part of the charismatic and word of faith movement. In high school I even went to the Brownsville Revival in Florida. Shortly after moving to the Twin Cities I started attending Living Word Christian Center. I became a member and went there for about nine years. The Lord opened my eyes to much of the false teaching in the Word of Faith by the ministry of Justin Peter’s and my husband and I left that church. I won’t go into what’s wrong and even heretical but here is a link to some videos of Justin Peter’s. Youtube video. Also check out What is Word of Faith?
When Joel, my husband, and I left we started attending and becoming members at Bethany Missions Church. It was such a relief to not have to hear a twenty-minute offering message every week. For some that might not be a big deal but for me tithing was such a burden and to hear week in and week out that you must tithe in order for God to bless me was heavy burden on me.
Joel and I enjoyed going there but there was a few things we were unaware of. The leadership at Bethany was involved with International House of Prayer and fully supported their teaching. We knew very little of what they teach. At first we didn’t see anything wrong with IHOP but when there was an awaking (revival) there it became much more apparent how involved Bethany was involved with IHOP. Shortly after the awaking most of the leadership went to Kansas City to participate. I asked Pastor Matt many questions regarding to IHOP. He posted a blog as his response but it seems his blog is down so I can’t link to it.
But here is my response — ( One of my questions is how can you equate “holding to a form of godliness, although they denied its power” (2Tim3:5) to those who deny prophecy, tongues ect… Isn’t that making Scripture say something it doesn’t? Wasn’t Paul speaking to those who played lip service but still walked in the flesh.? And what is the “test” for feathers from heaven and gold teeth? What’s the purpose? But I can see where you are coming from on “if it’s not all of God then none of it can be of God” silliness. Those who say that need to read 1 Corinthians. Church was messy and Paul was writing to bring order. Thanks for the blog post with all the “controversy” over it all ) I never got a response. I also thought it was strange how a pastor would respond with a blog and not face to face.
Here are a few links concerning IHOP and its strange theology. The \”Harp and Bowl\” 24-Hour Prayer Initiative, video of a prophecy from IHOP concerning media, and CBN clip. After watching the CBN news clip Joel and I decided it was best that we find a new church. Bethany is Arminian and Joel and I were becoming more and more Calvinist in our theology so we would have left anyway but the controversy over IHOP made it sooner than later.
Joel and I went to Sovereign Grace Fellowship for two weeks but felt that it wasn’t home. I liked it but Joel didn’t.
Joel heard from a friend of ours of a church plant in St. Paul that he wanted to check out. I didn’t want to since it is about thirty minutes away. But obviously the Lord was leading us through Joel and we checked out Beacon of Hope church. I was surprised when Joel told me he liked it. It’s obviously not a charismatic church but it felt home. Pastor Steve was a missionary for about seventeen years and worked with John MacArthur for about seven years.
Thats about it for now. We are not members at Beacon of Hope but do feel that this is the place we want to stay. Also I didn’t go into depth on why we left the churches we did but I might in other posts. The links do help with understanding why we left so I just might leave it at that. If you have questions or concerns feel free commenting your questions.
Thanks for the story, Elise. Praise God for his direction in your lives.
You forgot to mention the church we went and didn’t even stay for the service before Beacon of Hope.
Also we received a lot of people that won’t even associate with us because of us Leaving LWCC. It’s unfortunate but good to know who your real friends are.
With Bethany Missions it was a process of about a month starting with some of the IHOP “stuff” and ending on a Weds with me leaving a youth ministry role when some Emotional unaligned with the Bible false word was spoken over a youth and I said no it wasn’t a good word. It was very difficult (I miss working with the kids) and yet easy to leave due to the emotionalisms of what was going on
Great story. Kinda parallells the story of my family. We went to the Brownseville thing. We attended a Word of Faith church for ten years that pounded people over the heads about tithing. It’s good to be free. John Macarthur’s ministry was vital in helping us understand what we’ve been through. I’m glad you found a good church. It’s been two years and we finally found a good bible-believing church. It’s not pentecostal or charismatic:
I have a website called, http://freedomfromwolves.blogspot.com
With your permission, I’d love to include your testimony on my site. Just let me know.
This post of Matt’s is no longer available on his website. I sent it as a direct message to someone on Facebook so I still have it.
Student Awakening at IHOP… 0 January 29, 2010 • Posted in Uncategorized
“So Matt – what are your thoughts on what is happening at the Awakening Meetings at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City?” I’ve been asked… so let me tell you. But before I get to that question, allow me to give a bit of background to my thoughts on it. I get a lot of emails. That probably isn’t terribly surprising. But what might be surprising is the incredible variety that I get. With the advent of the internet and bloggers, we have unprecedented and immediate access to the thoughts of preachers and “spiritual pundits” all over the country and all over the world. Some of these are men and women that are known and respected in the Body of Christ. Others are somewhat anonymous people, either unfamiliar to us or ones who are actually utilizing online aliases to conceal their identity.
I get a lot of emails from people who forward the comments and thoughts of these bloggers and preachers. And yes, the variety is quite interesting. I get several email forwards from those in the prophetic/charismatic circles that draw attention to the unique things that God is doing in Toronto or Pensacola or Lakeland or Kansas City – and why we all need to go there and get what’s to be gotten. However, these will often do so with very little discernment and a recognition that we need to test things, sift through it, and determine what is of God and what is not. On the other hand, I get lots of email forwards that also talk about some of these same places where God is “supposedly” moving. They are quick to point out the sins (or past sins) of the teachers or leaders, the false-teaching (or past false-teaching) of these men or women. They highlight the strange manifestations of the meetings or the preachers. One that I recently read made the case that the manifestations that we see in some of these so called centers of renewal or revival bear more resemblance to a weird sect in Hinduism than New Testament Christianity. There is one critical problem that I keep running into with almost all of these emails. Both sides suffer from the same false assumption when they look at these so-called moves of God. The one side says, “If any of it is of God, then all of it is of God.” Therefore discernment is unnecessary. The other side says, “If any of it isn’t of God, then none of it is of God.” Therefore total avoidance and warning others to do the same is the way forward. Although this might be offensive to some, I believe both of these responses are examples of immature ways to respond. Maturity recognizes that when God genuinely moves, there will be often be a mixture. Not because there is a problem with God – but because we are broken people who respond in brokenness. Both in the leaders and in the participants. God may genuinely be moving but there is some brokenness and some self that gets mixed in. Is that surprising? It shouldn’t be. That is why we are commanded to test things and to be discerning.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 says, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” Immaturity disobeys this instruction by failing to test things and be discerning. Immaturity also disobeys this instruction by quenching the work of the Spirit and despising true prophecy because God doesn’t come in a manner that they expect or understand. I don’t want to fail on either point. I don’t want to quench the Spirit by moving from a discerning spirit to a critical one. I definitely don’t want to be guilty of attributing something to Satan that is genuinely of God. (Jesus had some strong words for the Pharisees in Matthew 12 about that.) It doesn’t surprise me that there will be this mixture because I know my own heart. When I preach, when I teach, when I give, when I offer hospitality, when I pray – there is mixture that shows up in my own heart at times. So when the Spirit is genuinely moving, there is going to be a mixture in the way ministry is lead and in the way in which it is received. Maturity, I believe, recognizes this mixture and wades into the messiness to discern what is truly of God (and worthy to be held onto) and what is not (and needs to be avoided.) So in this range of the emails that I get, I tend to have problems with both sides. Many are way too undiscerning and unwilling to say when something is not right. For many more though, I believe they are overly critical and fail to acknowledge God’s wonderful work – in the midst of the messiness – to save and heal and set free and deliver and to communicate aspects of God’s heart. The reality is that their critique cuts in both directions.
Frankly, many of these preachers and bloggers are from churches and spiritual communities that have meetings that bear more resemblance to a meeting of the Socialist Party of Yugoslavia in 1970 than the New Testament Church. There is some fellowship and socialization. There is some care and concern for one another expressed. There is a recruitment of others into their group. There is some teaching. There is some instruction for their children. There are some planned activities to better the community. There is even some singing – and financial contribution. But when was the last time they saw somebody healed or delivered of a demon or a prophetic message from the Lord given or a tongue with an interpretation. (Read Mark 16:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 14:26.) But I wonder why there aren’t bloggers and pundits exposing these “false teachers” and leaders for their failure to represent New Testament Christianity.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul warns us that in the last days there would be men and women “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people…. (they are ones who are) always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” From my evaluation, most of these bloggers and pundits seem to fall in that category. Many of them speak and write in a manner that seems to have wisdom – but fail at what James tells us is “true wisdom” in James 3. He says in verse seventeen, “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” Most of these bloggers and spiritual pundits fail on this account as well. But you know what… even that’s okay with me. In the same manner, I can recognize they are also broken people who are allowing their brokenness and flesh to get mixed into some of what they are speaking and representing as well. In a similar manner, I try to wade into the fleshly messiness of their “expose” and receive that which is good and avoid that which is evil.
So that brings me back to my thoughts on what is happening in Kansas City. For those of you who do not know, there has been a rather significant move of God that began in one their student classes at the International House of Prayer and has lead to a series of nightly Awakening Services. Earlier this month, I went to IHOP with a few other leaders from Bethany Church and we had the opportunity to be in some of these services. So what do I think?
1. I believe it is a genuine and true move of God. I know and trust many of the leaders. There have been countless powerful testimonies of God’s saving, healing, and delivering work. The fruit of it has been so good in so many ways. Personally, I received a couple of powerful things from the Lord during these services – and frankly, experienced some spiritual “manifestation” stuff that I wouldn’t have ever asked for and really didn’t want. But you know what? Thankfully, God sometimes gives you what you need and not what you want. I personally needed to experience some of the things that I did to break me free from the fear of man, from control, and from a religious spirit. I needed to experience some of what I did to break me into a greater place of joy in the Holy Spirit. (That is a fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives by the way.) Looking back on those days, the fruit in my life has been tremendously good. I love God more. I love people more. I am more deeply committed to God’s purposes in my life. That is the store that I tell – not the specific kind of manifestation that I experienced, etc.
I live in Kansas City. IHOP is very prevalent here. I attend Christ Fellowship of KC, if you are interested in looking into more churches. We are not associated in any way to IHOP. Christfellowshipkc.org
I enjoyed reading the post. Thanks!
I don’t live any where near Kansas. But thank you.