I could recount all the miraculous times the Lord rescued me from danger over my brief military career. However, let me conclude that it doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to discover that there was purpose on my life. So in Anchorage, AL in 1969, my spiritual journey got a boost from a little red cover book I was introduced to titled “The Spiritual Man” by Watchman Nee. The impact of the insights I gained from this series revolutionized my thinking for years to come.
By the time I returned from the military I was a changed man. I had developed from the boy preacher, I left as, into a developing teacher with some life experience. Somehow I managed to maintain the nick name “rev” throughout my military career. However, various bible schools and self-study materials was now answering questions for me, while my prayer life was blooming.
When I returned to Baltimore I also returned to my Dad’s church as an organist and later assistant pastor of the church. I knew by then that “Bible-Teaching” was going to be my passion. The church atmosphere I found myself in though was more conducive to preaching instead of teaching. It didn’t take me long to figure out people were more interested in having their emotions stirred than their minds caressed. I was often branded “dry” and “slow” in my presentations, so I retreated to my music while secretly increasing my personal bible study.
This is Part 8 of the series “My Personal Journey”
To start at the beginning click here – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/07/24/how-it-all-began/
Or continue on to Part 9 here – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/08/05/ministry-confusion-my-personal-journey/
A Christian is determined simply by how one worships and what one believes. How we live in light of these two pillars is the issue. What is needed today is an investigation into what is the scriptural norm for defining a Christian. We are divided regarding what is essential for a person to be called a Christian and what is the correct way of expressing this. Personal temperaments and traditional upbringing play a greater part than perhaps we realize in determining our view of what is a real “Christian” faith. In order to be a real Christian, one must have a proper Theology of God and a commitment to serve what we believe. To be a progressive Christian one must constantly evolve or mature our perception of God. But our understanding of God is revealed as we become more holy and sanctified in our thoughts and character, rather than our gaining information about Him.
I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God’s Message to you that I became your father. I’m not, you know, asking you to do anything I’m not already doing myself.
(1 Corinthians 4:14-16) The Message (MSG)
Throughout the world, believers have been tempted to look upon those they call “spiritual fathers” who are mere mortals as if they were an individual’s supreme source of spiritual instruction, nourishment, and protection. The tendency to turn mere men into “gurus” is worldwide. The pattern is we honor or respect men in their positions, but we reverence and worship for His person. When this passage is taken in context it makes good sense. Spiritual fathers are not just after instruction, servitude and correction, but maturity and love for the spiritual son to become a proclaimer of the Gospel. Real fathers then proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the elevation of one’s status. Real sons accept it by faith. Ultimately, The Lord is our supreme protector, provider, and instructor. Correspondingly, it is wrong to view any individual other than God as having these roles except as a proclaimer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Spiritual fatherhood should refer to those who are wise counselors, not controlling freaks.
The media attention Christianity is getting lately might cause many to believe what they see rather than what they know to be true. In fact the best way to administer poison is to hide it in something good. So, false teachers are not standing up waving a flag saying they are teaching false doctrine. No, they are mixing truths, lowing standards, and secretly denying canal doctrines of the faith while we celebrate their greatness and are deceived by their glamor.
The body of Christ is in trouble. When I view the competition in ministries, the jealousy regarding spiritual gifts, and the lack of participation among believers to witnessing, I know that we need to recoup our attention. We have enough external problems without creating internal conflicts among ourselves. I wonder sometimes with all the bickering over doctrine, worship, methods, and style when can we hear a fresh word from the Lord regarding direction and purpose? When will we overcome the handicaps of the past while we prepare for the mandates of the future? When will kingdom building and demon chasing become the focus of attention again in the body of Christ?
Let’s examine this power Jesus promised the church at Pentecost. It is not physical power. Nor is it the power of logic. God wants us to convert souls, not argue over them. No, this kind of power is spiritual power. The ability through the Holy Spirit to get the job done. It is a living union with a living God. We have been given the power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. The preparation for this kind of authority is in training and devotion to the cause of Jesus Christ. We must consider that authority and ability go hand in hand to bring us to completion in the kingdom of God. We must pray for the gift of patience to mature the other gifts God has given us. The power of God is not a demonstration of sideshow tricks or magic acts, it is to motivate people to seek the Lord. Having legal power is useless without demonstrative power to enforce it.
We need a new breed of worship leaders that understand the mandate of prayer and praise. New leaders who are not making news headlines, but delivering the Good News of the kingdom; Honest leaders that will take the time to sanctify themselves to and for God in this hour; Charismatic leaders that are not just speaking for God (prophets) but speaking to God (priests) regarding the sins of nations, governments, societies, and churches. Leaders that will propel us into the future with a healthy perspective of lessons from the past. Finally, we need true intercession in this hour, warfare prayer that restores and refreshes the supernatural power of God in the earth. Not by a troop of gossiping prayer bands, but a worship leader who can both discern and command the conflict and calm the storms of life.
The strength of the internal tradition of the Church is the strength of a real spiritual experience and the continuity of the spiritual path. The power of a super-personal spiritual life in which every generation shakes off a consciousness of self-satisfaction and exclusiveness and is united with the spiritual life of all preceding generations back to the Apostles. This should be the ultimate goal of the church. Until Jesus comes, I believe we will see flaws in every reformation. We strive to develop strong fellowship and the purity of Faith, but it is those strong religious demons in the church that are destroying us from within. So then we are back to the mandate of the early apostolic fathers to “keep Truth pure.”
Welcome to the New Gospel Church of the people. Meeting needs and feeding egos. You remember, the Old gospel, getting into the presence of God. Where we sought the righteousness of God.; The New gospel is liberation from low self-esteem, emptiness, and loneliness. In fact, the New gospel is entirely about what one can get out of it, not what one brings to it. The Old gospel was about God, his holiness and love. The New gospel is about loving one’s self and meeting one’s needs. The New Gospel is very ego-centric; the Old gospel was Theo-centric.
The point is “church” has really become selfish and more about our needs than what is required. Yes, the Lord will supply all our deficiencies in time. But the real truth is we present to God what He requires before we get what we desire. In the midst of this great need to get our needs met, have we forgotten the principle of sacrifice and commitment before reward and benefits? So do we allow the New to replace the Old? Do we continue this selfish trend or break these new habits and return to worship as outlined in the scripture?
I hope we are taking a cautious look at what we accept, believe, and declare about our salvation. We are faced with dangerous theological rat traps all the time. The media attention Christianity is getting lately might cause many to believe what they see rather than what they know to be true. I know that the best way to administer poison is to hide it in something good. So, false teachers are not standing up waving a flag saying they are teaching false doctrine. No, they are mixing truths, lowing standards, and secretly denying canal doctrines of the faith. The Word of God is said to be “nourishment, energy, and development” in truth. Any sort of theological poison that is planted in the midst of a solid base of truth will upset the balance. We must be on guard by studying (2 Tim 2:14-15), praying (Eph 6:18), and trusting God (Heb 11:6).