August 18, 2017 by missionsandmysticism
“My name is Andrew Habermas and I went on the World Race in January of 2011. When I signed up for the Race I was still in the process of recovering from a failed dating relationship and I had recently removed myself from a toxic living environment. I was really looking at the WR as an opportunity for me to turn my life around and get back on the right path, so to speak. At training camp, I was exposed to a lot of new ideas and practices relating to the Christian faith and missions, but at the time I wasn’t overly concerned by anything that took place. I was honestly seeking after God and I was open to experiencing him in new ways.
As my Race progressed, I do remember questioning some of the things I was being taught on the WR, especially by some of my ministry contacts, but over time I began accepting these things as truth and eventually “bought in” to it all. After becoming a team leader in month four, I really didn’t have much of a choice on the matter. My squad leaders were holding me accountable and it was my responsibility to reinforce the mission, practices, and beliefs of AIM within my team. By the end of my Race, I was very much caught up in mysticism and I was always seeking after some out-of-body experience in my personal time with God. When something out of the ordinary did take place (i.e. vision, trance, speaking in tongues) it only fueled my pursuit of this mystical union with God. My spirituality was no longer grounded in the revealed will of God in Scripture, but in my subjective experiences and the affirming words of my peers.
After returning home I was determined to find a church that operated like the WR. For this reason, I actually left the church that had faithfully supported me during the Race simply because I didn’t consider it “spirit-filled”, a rather selfish decision on my part. I was more concerned with joining a like-minded community where my ego would be fed and my ongoing struggles with sin could be ignored. Because of my WR experience, I truly believed that I had ascended the spiritual ladder, so to speak, and that I had broken free from the spirit of religion. I longed to see the American church “awakened” from its slumber, yet I wasn’t willing to admit or confront the deadly seeds of pride that had taken root in my own heart.
I didn’t begin having real questions and concerns about the WR until the summer of 2014 when I came across this document online: An Open Letter to Ingrid Schlueter, VCY Crosstalk America, Concerning Adventures In Missions (AIM). While I did feel as if the author was overreaching on a few points in the letter, there was enough truthfulness to it that I was shaken to the core. More than anything, it made me aware of the various movements, churches, pastors, and writers that have influenced AIM in the past and continue to do so today. That letter served as a springboard of sorts that launched me into an endless sea of reading and research. For a time, my search for answers became an unhealthy obsession and it started taking a toll on me emotionally and spiritually.
However, by God’s grace, the focus of my quest eventually turned from exposing AIM’s errors to discovering the truth of God’s Word. While I still think it is important to respond to and combat the dangerous teachings of AIM, I believe it is even more crucial that we grow in our love for, and commitment to, Scripture. Within the Bible, God has made himself known to us and He has clearly laid out His will for our lives. Because I can rest on the sure foundation of God’s Word and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I no longer feel the need to receive “new revelations” from the Spirit or feel a “spiritual high” from some type of ecstatic experience. Instead, I now have a much deeper understanding of what freedom in Christ truly looks like.”
“It is when we become captive to God’s truth that we find real freedom.” Alistair Begg
We praise the Lord for the truth that prevailed in Andrew’s life. Unless we know our Savior based on the objective truth of the written Word of God, we are in danger of false faith and false impressions that are not from God. God’s Word is sufficient and complete. Only by this external truth, outside of ourselves, can we ever truly trust that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough and our salvation is secure.
“these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
Focus on filling your mind with this objective truth. In time God will use His word to make error very clear in comparison as evidenced in this testimony.
If you have found yourself having questions after the Race about what you have been taught or have experienced, go first to your parents and pastor with your questions.
If you do not have a pastor that can help, consider finding a solid church and getting into a good Bible study. Sit under the men and women described in Titus 2. Unfortunately, there are not good churches on every corner, you must do your homework. Here are a few places to start.
Until you are a part of a good home church that faithfully preaches the “whole counsel of God” these are a few Bible studies you can begin with. They cannot substitute for the local church, but you can trust the teaching you will get here to handle the Word of God with reverence and care.
Every Woman’s Grace Study “Every Woman’s Grace exists to support [Grace Community Church’s] mission through in-depth Bible study, personal application, and Christ-centered fellowship among women.” Material can be downloaded and lessons available to listen to.
Naomi’s Table “We learn together at the feet of our magnificent Savior, Jesus Christ. We study His Word and learn about the often confusing roles the world tells us we need to take on, and compare those pressures with what the Bible says about Godly women and discipleship.” Studies are in a private group or lessons can be found in archives. Founded by Amy Spreeman of Berean Research
Dr. Steve Lawson men’s study Dr. Steven J. Lawson leads a bible study covering Romans Live Stream Bible Studies: 7am CST each morning