Monday, November 12, 2007

As The Stomach Turns: The Charismatic Circus Continues To Travel

The Pentecostal and Charismatic worlds have learned nothing from the "mistakes" of the past.

After having been in ministry since 1983 as a Pentecostal minister, I can testify that this is as plain as an elephant in a phone booth. And this leviathan beast comprised of catastrophic and titanic blindness to the immorality, compromise and flat out sinful ways in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles wallows all over us yet. Isn't it obvious?

Let's use the overworked canard of those credulous Christians of today who want to dismiss the rough edges of the reality they live in denial of: "Just look at the fruit!"

Yes, let's look at the fruit of ..

.. the PTL abomination and the "Holy Wars" of the 1980's. (" .. isn't that special ..")

Too easy a target? Let's look a bit more at:

.. the secular TV exposes of Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton and Kenneth Copeland's "irregularities" regarding how they handle the resources God gave them

.. the predatory sexual and spiritual excesses pioneered by "Archbishop" Earl Paulk's filthy example and enthusiastically being replicated all around the world

.. the never ending support of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda's cultic church movement Creciendo en Gracia throughout Latin America ..

.. the revolving door of spiritualized Ponzi schemes that both denominational and NON denominational church leaders have been caught in, where millions of dollars of money given to them as stewards is lost to crooks who know how to manipulate them through gullibility or good old fashioned avarice ..

.. the lone ranger Christianity of Juanita Bynum, Randy and Paula White and soooo many others who reckon themselves above admonition or accountability for the sanctity of their "marriages" and their "ministries: and who live in a way that neatly hides the horrible double lives they live .. (dare we mention the names of Ted Haggard, Paul Cain, Jimmy Swaggart, Stan Johnson and others .. nahh, we don't want to sound "judgmental" or as if we're "touching the anointed, now, do we?")

.. and the band played on ..

That's just a few examples off the top of my balding old pate that show that the "full gospel" church, so self-anointed with spiritual power, wisdom and "revelation knowledge" is pathetically bereft of true discernment of the more weightier things like truth, integrity, accountability and humility. It's a horror beyond comprehension! And who cares? Who really gives a rip? Where is the outrage in our churches? These grotesque things have been seen so often for the past three decades that I believe the Pentecostal/Charismatic worlds are now so completely desensitized to it that we no longer care. We tolerate it because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, seem politically incorrect or "intolerant." The massive yawn over the general malaise of the church of the last days is truly our collective slouching to Gommorah.

This ex-Catholic and now Church of God (Cleveland) preacher has been tempted several times to believe that we do live in a "church age" the dispensationalists like to label "Laodicean." I simply don't buy dispensationalism at all, but it's easy to see why so many fundamental brothers would feel that way. It's easy to see why so many people abandon the church for the siren song of the cults that our ministry does its best to counter .. because of the rank sin they see in US while we piously shout, dance, jump pews and preach "empowering" messages while avoiding things like holiness, purity and death to self.

And it's Pentecostals and Charismatics who lead the way .. we, the tongue talking "elite" whose members increasingly conduct themselves more shamefully these days then ever before. The "seed" for the "harvest" keeps rolling in. Why, we want our Best Lives Now, don't we?

The cash flow won't miss a beat after the Tearful Apology or the Official Statement. Money makes the world go around .. and enables these "ministries" to not only keep floating and reinventing themselves, but enable their "ministers" to live like kings and soothingly persuade us that this is our destiny too, if we would only "sow" into their "work."

We forget completely that Jesus said it would be like this. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone. It's a testimony to how spiritually shortsighted we've become when we find ourselves "shocked" by our sins when our Lord warned us so clearly that end time deception is THE sign of the end times, not some narrow eschatological / ecclesiastical agenda

.. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. .. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Matthew 24:3-4, 11-14

I'm going to keep preaching. I'm going to go out fighting against this, speaking the truth in love and with enough hard sayings that I hope shake the sleeping. I'm ready to fill any pulpit anywhere, go to any street corner anywhere, go to any door of any home anywhere and preach, publish and defend the Faith we've been so wonderfully given at such great cost.

But come quickly Lord Jesus, I'm tired of seeing this. So tired. Really.