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Revival or Carnival?

Revival or Carnival?

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Published by Patricia Backora
Preachers are doing crazier and crazier things to persuade Christians to empty their wallets to come see their show. And the Holy Name of Jesus is being made a mockery by their foolish stunts.
Preachers are doing crazier and crazier things to persuade Christians to empty their wallets to come see their show. And the Holy Name of Jesus is being made a mockery by their foolish stunts.

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Published by: Patricia Backora on Aug 28, 2012
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08/29/2012

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Revival orCarnival?
By Patricia Backora
 
Lust for power and money has turned many praying shepherds into preying wolveswho devour helpless sheep. Unscrupulous pulpiteers count on the fact that most of their congregation lead harried, busy lives and don’t have the time to carefullyscrutinize their church’s teachings in the light of CORRECTLY APPLIED Scripture.Christians are lectured incessantly about “submission to God’s authority”, even whiletheir “spiritual father” lacks Scriptural authority for what he teaches.As lies flow from powerful pulpits, money flows into jeweled hands outstretched toimpart a pretend anointing to those desperate for solutions. Christ Himself recedesinto the background as exciting personalities take center stage, dispensing spiritualdope to folks high on religion and spiritual candy to spiritual infants who neverquestion what they hear, and never grow up. In days gone by, emotional fanatics jumped the pews and pranced around the piano. Now the spirit (which one?) notonly blesses people, he BLASTS them when the preacher imparts his anointing. Butlet the buyer at the religious meat market beware! Satan is an old pro atcounterfeiting the Oil of the Spirit with his own snake oil and greasy gospel of religious carnival tricks. When it suits his long-term purposes, the devil is even ableto counterfeit the miracles of God (2 Thes.2:9; Rev.13:13). Satan often appears asan angel of light (2 Cor.11:14).
 
WHOOSH! I’m gonna bring down the FIRE! (Just don’t get burnt when offering timerolls around). One humble-looking “charismatic” guru gets Christians so worked upthey wriggle on the floor giggling in self-indulgent delight. Some bark like dogs. Hehangs out with angels (what kind?). He even takes people on trips to heaven(without Ecstasy). Lines of people tumble over like dominoes as he blows on them to “slay them in the spirit”. Maybe he’s got garlic breath, eh?In Genesis 2:7, GOD, not some man, blew the breath of life into Adam. In Ezekiel37:9 God tells Ezekiel to PROPHESY TO THE WIND to blow upon dead bodies to bringthem back to life. Wind symbolizes the moving of the Holy Spirit in power (Acts 2:2-4). Significantly, God did not tell Ezekiel to “help the Holy Spirit out” by blowing onthe dead himself! Only ONE incident of blowing on anyone, dead or living, occurs inthe New Testament, but it was done by Jesus Himself, not by any minister of theGospel. Jesus breathed upon (blew on) His disciples and said: “Receive ye the HolyGhost” (John 20:22). Jesus did NOT instruct any of his disciples to follow Hisexample in this. He promised that they would lay hands on the sick and they wouldrecover (Mark 16:18).Recently I read a newspaper article about a certain cartoon character preachercoming to our area soon. He is alleged to have punched or shoved people and evenkicked them in the face to “release the power of god”. If this spiritual quack hadlive back in the days of the early apostles, Simon Magus might have offered him afew bucks to learn this new way of channeling “god’s” power (Acts 8:9-24.Jesus is God in the flesh. He blew physical life into Adam. So He was perfectlyentitled to blow spiritual life (the Holy Ghost) into His disciples. As God, only Christhas the right to do this. Anyone else who “blows the Holy Ghost” on people today isdoing something the apostles didn’t do and is “playing God”.Peter passed by so many sick people that it was physically impossible for him to layhands on them all. So he imparted healing virtue by means of his passing shadow(Acts 5:15). Paul had the same problem of being unable to touch each and everyperson seeking healing, and he wanted to impart healing from a great distance. Sohe sent out cloths as a point of contact (Acts 19:11-12). These two examples werethe most unusual means used by the apostles to convey healing virtue. But how didthese methods differ from what is commonly done today by “healing evangelists”?Peter and Paul simply got the job done, and that was it! No melodrama, no theatrics,no hyperventilating, no shouting, no jumping! They didn’t follow any orchestratedprogram to “build the crowd up to the climax of the service”. No mention of musicians, special lighting, victory marches, angel feathers, or fancy fanfare! The BigFisherman didn’t do the jerk and shriek “FIRE!” as his shadow quietly passed thecrowd. Most telling is the fact that when Paul sent out his prayer cloths to the sick,he didn’t include instructions to sign your name to the cloth and wrap it around yourbiggest shekel! Those men might not have been perfect, but they weren’t circusclowns doing zany tricks to milk cash cows!Seriously, as I watched a couple of this one preacher’s videos, the “slaying in thespiritphenomena made red flags go up for me. Outward evidence of thesupernatural must NOT shape our beliefs, especially when it clashes with the writtenWord of God. There is NO Biblical precedent for any Christian believer “falling underthe power” in front of a preacher, except for backslidden Ananias and Sapphira.They fell dead in front of Peter for lying to the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:1-11). John on the
 
Isle of Patmos fell in front of Jesus, out of awe for His wonderful Majesty! Saul of Tarsus “fell under the power” too, but without being blown on by any preacher, andBEFORE he became a believer (Acts 9:4). Saul got knocked off his high horse byJesus Himself to stop his persecution of believers. And when Saul got up, he mighthave brushed sand off his cloak, but he didn’t pick any gold dust out of his hair!Preachers know that sound Biblical orthodoxy doesn’t draw big crowds. Crazinessdoes! The solemn worship of Almighty God is being turned into a full-blown freakout!Today’s carnival “revivals” could, at least partially, be bad fruit from the way theGospel was adapted during the Jesus Revolution to make it more appealing to youngpeople who tuned in, turned off, and dropped out of conventional society. Coca-Cola’s theme song got adopted by the Jesus Movement: “He’s the Real Thing”. Butturning Jesus into a cool dude went a bit too far, I think. “Get high on Jesus” waspreached to hippies who found their parentsreligion irrelevant, and would neverlisten to conventional preaching. One guy came up with something that made mehear alarm bells even when I was young and recently Spirit-filled: “We just tell thosehippies they ought to forget drugs and get high on LJC, the Lord Jesus Christ!” The man who said this evangelized young people and was considerably older in theLord than myself, so I wondered if it really WAS all right to promote Jesus as justanother way to get high. It really boils down to this: Young people would give uptheir occult practices and LSD and tune in to Jesus only if the King of Glory would bethe LJC which could give these kids a better high. Sometimes the line betweennatural human emotion and legitimate joy in the Spirit can blur, and discernment iscalled for! So long as Jesus kept the Jesus People on Cloud Nine, He would always bethe Real Thing to these thrill-seeking young believers. Barely stressed was theawesome Majesty and Godhead of Jesus, Who was due reverence for His position asLord of their Lives. It’s hard to truly worship Someone Who is presented as asubstitute for LSD, ONE WAY to everlasting levity!Another of the biggest drawbacks of the Jesus Revolution was its greatest attraction:The Love of Jesus was overemphasized at the expense of neglecting the unpopulartopic of God’s wrath against sin, and the need for true heartfelt repentance. Jesusrallies sometimes were little more than spiritual “love-in’s”. Vast multitudes wereallegedly “swept into” the Kingdom of God, but how long do “conversions” last if thepreaching of repentance is neglected as being “too negative”, because it might”scare the fish away”?One guy I knew was thrilled to pieces about Jesus. Man, this guy would dancearound and shout more in our church than anyone else. But later in life he resentedthe demands the Word of God made for holy living. He married a wonderful womanand had three children with her, then ran off to live in sin with another “Christian” man who had been “on fire for God” but left his own wife! A good dose of repentance preaching wouldn’t have done either of them any harm!Human nature tends to swing from one extreme to the other. I remember thewarmth and “family” feeling of my early church experience. Today “going tomeetings” is just that: a disconnected, often impersonal activity which leaves youfeeling alienated, unless you manage to break into one of the cliques in your localassembly. The Jesus Movement shone brightly with the love of Jesus, and it couldhave kept the fervor of that love even if repentance toward God and faith toward theLord Jesus (Acts 20:21) had been preached as it ought to have been.

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