Yesterday, I did a bit of shopping with Mom. We went to the grocery store and then I walked her to her car and I went over to the thrift store. I need to add height to one of my counter tops but I cannot afford a full kitchen make over although one is desperately needed.
I looked through the available furniture, saw a couple of, ‘maybes’ and was just ready to head over to the book section when I was stopped by a woman sitting at a desk. We got to talking and turns out, she is a recent graduate of a local church college of a man who probably should never have started a ministry let-alone a college to teach and spread his heresies. yes… I said heresies.
Back in my house of prayer days, there was a scandal in a big ‘faith healing movement’ and ministry. Todd Bentley had an affair, divorced his wife and married the woman who helped him crater his marriage. He should have been immediately removed from ministry and banned from teaching but golly gee he brings in the money so all of that flood water under the bridge was forgotten and things were swept under the rug with pithy sayings such as, ‘We don’t know his heart. Only God knows his heart.’. Um… what? I’m pretty sure he revealed the contents of his heart when he 1. Cheated on his wife. 2. Divorced his wife. 3. Married the woman with whom he had his affair, 4. Kept teaching and preaching. The bible says men who pastor must be the husband of one wife. That does not mean one wife at a time. It means ONE wife EVER AND EVER AMEN.
Bentley should have stepped down from ministry forever and if his wife would not take him back and they divorced he should have stayed single.
What does, Bentley’s story have to do with what happened to me in the thrift store? The woman with whom I was conversing (it is conversing not conversating), kept going on about how wonder so-and-so, the ministry leader, was. How his books were so great, how he had such great information and insight about God, and Jesus, etc. Most of our conversation revolved aroudn the greatness of this man and very little actual conversation about Jesus. I am going to call this man, ‘John Doe’.
During the pandemic, John Doe and his ‘healing ministry’ are singularly responsible for a major outbreak in their city during the pandemic. They refused to wear masks, social distance, or cancel a ‘healing’ retreat. They cited; religious freedom, constitutional freedom, Holy spirit will protect us from anything and everything, etc. He is now being sued.
His attitude although fairly popular among the religious unhinged does not mirror the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 8
Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols
8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.[a]
4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
So many times during the pandemic I read, and heard, people ‘losing it’ because the precautions used to prevent the spread of the virus were violating their rights and they mocked those they considered to be in fear, or weak. This is NOT the mind of Christ. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HUMBLE AND THEREFORE LOVING TOWARD THOSE WHO ARE WEAK, CARRYING THEM UNTIL THEY STRENGTHEN. John Doe’s arrogance and misinterpretation of scripture combined with his lack of humility caused others to become ill. His failure to adhere to state guidelines caused his ministry to become ‘super spreaders’ of the virus. There are more reasons than that as to why I greatly dislike his particular brand of ‘Christianity’ but I neither have the space or the desire to go into all of that right now.
So there I was at the thrift store being bombarded by this woman about how great ‘Super Spreader Ministry- John Doe’ was. she mentioned a church I used to attend and how they are partnered with SSMJD and his ministry, etc., etc. and I’m standing there trying not to vomit. I finally break away and head to the door but not before she and I ask each other if we have prayer needs. Her prayer request was so very telling. ‘I struggle from time to time with a little bit of depression.’ I don’t doubt it, I thought to myself. In the kind of ministry and ‘Christianity’ SSMJD and his ilk promote, you are not allowed to be weak or ill in anyway, shape or form. To be so is to declare you are not a ‘good enough’ Christian. They teach you are not filled with the Holy Spirit. You are defective in some way. Well yes, we all are which is why we need a Savior. They misinterpret the bible and great these ministries filled with false information and then declare that if you; fall ill, your kids act up, you have financial difficulty, you struggle in your marriage it is because you lack faith. Which means, SSMJD thinks that anyone who attend his ‘awesome’ healing ministry shindig and came down with the virus wasn’t filled up enough of the Holy Spirit to keep themselves from becoming ill… it’s THEIR fault they fell ill.
Someone truly filled with the Holy spirit who was seeking the mind of Christ and becoming Christ minded would never come to that conclusion. They would never say; “I will do what I want and if you don’t like it that’s your problem I will not be confined by your weaknesses.’. Well, la-dee-dah! Some days it is difficult to almost impossible to tell the Christians from the heathens.
King James Version
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. … He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
We see in scripture that people do fall ill. They need prayer. In orthodoxy we are told that praying for the sick is good for us. It reminds us we too are frail and can fall at any time for any reason. It gives us an opportunity to humble ourselves and to pray for one another. We all need more humility. We kid ourselves if we deny the need for personal humility. This is one of the reasons why I left Protestantism but especially evangelical Protestantism; it is full of false hope. Hope in man not Christ. Hope in ourselves and yes in works. For a group of people who vilify the Orthodox chruch for doing works, Protestantism is full of messed up backwards works. If you tithe you are protected-we tithed and the devil had us for lunch. If you have enough faith… XYZ will never happen- we believed, we had faith, we prayed, we fasted, we tithed, we did all the ‘works’ and we still had calamity come to us.
What this sort of messed up Christianity does is it leaves people without answers, comfort hope, or anyone to ask for prayer because this sort of ‘Christianity’ is full of condemnation and judgement. No one this woman stopped me in the middle of a store. she needed prayer for her depression but who could she have gone to in her sphere of friends, family or ministry people? No one. If she does, she will be marked as being faithless. There is a misconception in Evangelical Protestantism that once you become ‘saved’ you should never need anything again. Your marriage is perfect, your children are perfect, your health, your wealth, etc. Evangelicalism is like a hyper type A personality with no boundaries on a massive sugar and caffeine high. It is aggressive and unmerciful.
Conversely, Orthodoxy recognizes the church is a hospital and the participants within its walls are weak and in need of excessive mercy and grace poured out from the BIG pitcher.
I need to wrap this up but the woman I encountered brought up something interesting I wish to discuss in the next blog post; having a personal relationship with Jesus. She had converted from Roman Catholicism to EPC (Evangelical Protestant Christianity). Oh they are seductive… those lies from the Enemy. Promises made that never quite come true… and of course it’s all YOUR fault and never the fault of the false teachings you encounter along the way. They use ‘faith’ as a scapegoat. ‘Oh, tithing did not bring you health, wealth, good kids, and a strong marriage? You must not have done it with enough faith.’. Mmm-hmm.
Be careful about following one man’s or one woman’s ministry. Be part of a church community. Find and read books from the ancient fathers. Break off the strong hold on your mind these false teachers, false prophets, and heretics have placed upon you, In Jesus name. have the right kind of breakthrough where you decide to chase after ancient wisdom and not these leis that are only about 60 years old.
There is nothing new under the sun.
New King James Version
9 That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.