June 23, 2017 by missionsandmysticism
We have pointed out on numerous occasions that Seth Barnes, founder and President of Adventures in Missions, often mishandles the Word of God. This is not a minor issue since he professes to have begun this organization with his own vision and leads thousands of young people by his leadership.
In a recent blog post he writes,
“The Bible tells us we defeat [the enemy] with our story or testimony.“For the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down…They have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” Revelations 12:10-11 My story is one of a young man looking for acceptance and adventure. I traveled the world, wanting to make a difference while caring for the least and the lost. Eventually I began to realize that a whole generation of young people had the same foundational urges that I did. When I realized that Jesus gives us all the opportunity to live a good story journeying the world with him, everything changed. Since then, I’ve devoted my life to helping people trust Jesus in crazy ways and then to tell others about it. My call is to help others live a good story and then share it. God wants us to fish for people who are ready to answer Jesus’ call to change their vocations to become fishermen (and women).”
This is another clear example of teaching that sounds pretty good but is not Biblical. Seth is not handling the Word of God accurately; he is making it say what he needs it to say to fit his own story.
It is important to look at the entire passage that Seth referenced.
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
In these verses the accuser (Satan) had been defeated. How was he defeated? By the blood of the Lamb (Christ). Satan had been rightly accusing the people of God of their sin that separated them from God. It was the word of their testimony, the preaching of the GOSPEL and it’s life changing power to break the grip of sin, that defeated the accuser. It was their reliance on the blood of Christ to cover their transgressions that gave them hope. The entire passage is in praise of CHRIST. The testimony of the redeemed was not to “live a good story and then share it” as Seth says. In fact, this passage has nothing to do with our story and everything to do with the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
In a different post Seth affirms his confusion over what a true testimony is,
“Too many people have failed to understand that Jesus is still calling his disciples to go looking in places where people have hidden their hearts. When we help love them to a place of freedom, they suddenly have some very good news – a story worth telling!”
We cannot emphasize enough that the “good news” is the message of Jesus, not our story.
For reference, let’s look at renowned preacher Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on Revelation 12, (**see note)
“It is time that I now showed you how this same fight is carried on ON EARTH. Amongst men, in these lower places of conflict, saints overcome through the blood of the Lamb by their testimony to that blood. Every believer is to bear witness to the atoning sacrifice and its power to save.
He is to tell out the doctrine;
he is to emphasize it by earnest faith in it;
and he is to support it
and prove it by his experience of the effect of it.
You cannot all speak from the pulpit, but you can all speak for Jesus as opportunity is given you. Our main business is to bear witness with the blood in the power of the Spirit. To this point we can all testify. You cannot go into all manner of deep doctrines or curious points, but you can tell to all those round about you that “There is life in a look at the Crucified One.”
You can bear witness to the power of the blood of Jesus in your own soul. If you do this, you will overcome men in many ways.”
This is an accurate definition of testimony.
“The doctrine of the blood of the Lamb prevents or scatters error… the doctrine of the precious blood, when it once gets into the heart, drives error out of it, and sets up the throne of truth. You cannot be clinging to an atoning sacrifice, and still delight in modern heresies… Let us go on proclaiming the doctrine of the great sacrifice, and this will kill the vipers of heresy. Let us uplift the cross, and never mind what other people say. Perhaps we have taken too much notice of them already. Let the dogs bark, it is their nature to. Go on preaching Christ crucified. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
Only the GOSPEL has an answer, truly Good News! Jesus died for our sins. He died for every sin. He has defeated death in His resurrection so that we have a “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) that this world is not all there is. If we have put our faith and trust in Him, repenting for our sins, He will clothe us in His righteousness. He will justify us before the Father for a debt we could not pay having lived the perfect life we could not live. We can be confident that whatever sorrow this world holds for us now is not part of the life to come.
Praise Him that our testimony has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with Him who died to save us from our story.
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me
**Note: for those who are not familiar with Charles Spurgeon. “Mr. Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a Baptist minister in London who preached the Gospel to multitudes at a time when dreadful apostasy was entering Britain, when “the truth as it is in Jesus” was largely being despised.” He is one of our favorite resources for sound teaching!