Month: August 2016

Deceptive Experience

On his blog Seth Barnes writes,

“The problem is, the Bible is a static set of words on a page. To understand them and form beliefs around them, you can’t escape the need to interpret the Bible. And when you interpret the Bible, you do so in part based on your experience…More often than not, we don’t believe ourselves into better experience, we experience our way into a new way of believing.”

In essence he is saying that experience trumps theology. 

God’s word is not static. 

Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

We are not told to have experience, we are told to know Scripture for wisdom. We are also told to be careful to interpret accurately. 

2 Tim 3:15 “how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

2 Tim 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

Experience is not a test for truth, we will give an account to the Lord Jesus based on the truth of Word of God revealed in Scripture, not our experience. How do we interpret Scripture with experience if we are repeatedly warned that false teachers will show us “experience” to lead people astray? 

Missionaries spending time with Racers noted, 

“They are sincere in wanting to serve the Lord with their lives. It looks to me like they are slowly and deliberately being led astray. They don’t have a Bible study they do, but they journal what God speaks to them in the silence….My heart goes out to these young people. Some are true born again believers and I believe they will see the truth and be led by God’s Holy Spirit; but some of these young people are in the process of seeking the truth, of seeking God and have not yet been born again spiritually in Christ Jesus, these will be led by deceiving spirits. The church needs to be protecting these young people.

Matt 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”

Forget the Bible Seth says,

“A tip – if you’re discipling a new believer, don’t give them some kind of devotional book to teach them basic theology. And please, don’t tell them to “read through the Bible in a year.” If you think about it, it probably didn’t do too much for you, and it probably won’t do much to stir up life in a new believer either.Please don’t read Romans or Galatians.  It’s great theology and essential reading at some point, but first, wrestle with the question: “Who is this guy I am supposed to be following?”  Jesus is a radical.  He won’t be tamed or dumbed down. Following him is hard enough without requiring disciples to study theology.  First learn what he says and do what he says.  Then once you have that down, move on to what other people say about him.

This is in direct opposition with Scripture. Is he suggesting Christ is “dumbed down” in the Scriptures? Are we to teach new believers based on our supposed experience? How will they know the Christ they are submitting to?

2 Tim 31;16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

1 Tim 4:2-4 “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

Even Jesus used the Scriptures to explain who He was to his disciples.

Luke 21:24 “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Seth suggests that the apostolic writing’s  are less God’s Word, (“what other people say about Him”).  He also misses the fact that a true disciple of Christ will long to read and study His entire Word…not as a requirement! 

Psalm 119:40 “Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!”.

Does Seth believe we are divine? he writes,

“How does God speak? He spoke through Jesus and he continues to speak thru men and women. We are his word. The word made flesh. It is the magic of the incarnation. The word is made flesh every day. We are his word. Until we enter another person’s world and speak the language of their heart, God lacks the language to speak to them.”

We are his ambassadors to share the Good News of salvation offered to sinners through the blood of Christ only known through the revealed Word in Scripture and Jesus Christ incarnate, we are not the Word made flesh, that is Christ’s privilege alone. We are given a new nature and adopted as beloved children, but we are not divine, nor equal with Christ.

2 Cor 5:17-20 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Is this the simple message of Jesus? Seth says

“We must recognize that God wants us, his creatures, to be happy and gives us a great deal of latitude….Spiritual dominion over evil is the goal that we’ve been given as we interface with an unbelieving world.”

Did Christ suffer so we could be happy?  Note the key words of the Gospel are not in this post.

Evaluating  Todd Bentley’s Lakeland Revival,  Seth writes,
“Others were greatly encouraged and are now growing by leaps and bounds spiritually because of what they experienced.Still, there was excess (huge understatement )  And to be fair, revivals are often that way – when you make pots on a pottery wheel, a lot of excess clay is going to fly off the wheel.  God doesn’t order up tidy ceremonies when he’s dealing with affairs of the heart. He often seems to be more concerned with our healing than he is with our theology.”

 

Clearly experience wins out over any Biblical standard.

**See the post, titled Mentors, Influences, Praiseworthy men for more info on Todd Bentley

 

 

What is the 42nd Generation and the G42 Academy-??

Hebrews 13:9-“Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings”

AIM is connected to another organization called the 42nd Generation spearheaded by Andrew Shearman. 

This organization is cause for our warning against Adventures in Missions, as is most every organization that they endorse.

Seth Barnes calls Shearman his “Spiritual Father” and  Seth writes about his organization extensively.

Shearman worked for a number of years with Adventures in Missions and spurred the creation of The World Race.

Like Seth, Andrew is influenced by universalists  Frederick Buechner (see our post, Mentors and Influences) and Henri Nouwen (see post, Mysticism influences AIM).

Andrew founded G42 and the G42 Leadership Academy He says,

“The purpose of life is to die fully alive in God and in yourself; and to die happy with God and yourself…As a prisoner of hope, Andrew is committed to Tabernacle of David and Feast of Tabernacles! He and his friends are committed to government in the Kingdom by servant apostles and prophets, networking with others of the same heart and values…Maybe St. Iraneus was right 1800 years ago: “The Glory of God is a person, fully alive.”

Note the self-centered emphasis of Shearman’s life purpose. In direct contrast, God’s word calls us to glorify Him with our lives.  Also note the lack of the Gospel message or mention of Jesus Christ in Shearman’s Bio.

In contrast, “To glorify God is to extol His attributes—His holiness, faithfulness, mercy, grace, love, majesty, sovereignty, power, and omniscience, to name a few—rehearsing them over and over in our minds and telling others about the singular nature of the salvation only He offers”source .

We will bring God glory either through our repentance and faith in Christ or by our just punishment in eternal hell. (Rom 9:22-23)

Shearman’s organization derived it’s name from the supposed “secret” generation from  genealogy found in the book of Matthew.  Andrew says,

“The 42nd generation is between Jesus and Christ…the 42nd generation will come about when Christ is formed in us as the body of Christ.”

This is nonsense, the Bible is NOT mysterious and there is no secret generation.  There are plenty of better logical explanations for this genealogy than this horrible interpretation.

Matthew Henry’s commentary simply says, “The general summary of all this genealogy we have, v. 17, where it is summed up in three fourteens, signalized by remarkable periods. In the first fourteen, we have the family of David rising, and looking forth as the morning; in the second, we have it flourishing in its meridian lustre; in the third, we have it declining and growing less and less, dwindling into the family of a poor carpenter, and then Christ shines forth out of it, the glory of his people Israel.”

He also explains, “It being Matthew’s design, for the sake of memory, to reduce the number of Christ’s ancestors to three fourteens, it was requisite that in this period three should be left out.”

What Andrew is espousing is dangerous teaching, prideful, deceptive, imaginary…we are never told to look for codes and implanted numerology. The focus of this organization has been put on “us” and taken off Christ, the beauty of the genealogy due to the grace shown sinners to be so honored to be a part of His line. There is good and bad in the successions but, again from the commentary, “Grace does not run in the blood, neither does reigning sin. God’s grace is his own, and he gives or withholds it as he pleases.”

Based on Matthew Henry’s comments, there are actually more generations that are not listed and some were left out for sake of ease of memory so the 42nd generation is not actually the 42nd…Dan Phillips of the Pyromaniacs blog helps us out by explaining,

“There is no evidence that the Bible is meant to be read that way.  God  doesn’t speak in hidden code. When Christ and the apostles handled Scripture, it was never mystical or associated with numerology, it was plain sense. Playing with Jesus’ name is dangerously silly. Matt 1:1  simply says it’s the genealogy of Jesus Christ. He’s one and the same, “Jesus…who is called Christ” (v.16). And, again, it’s the birth of “Jesus Christ” (v. 18) that we read about.”

The foundation of Andrew Shearman’s organization is based on faulty and dangerous interpretation.

1 Tim 1:4 …”charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith…Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,  desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

2 Tim 2:15-17 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.”