Toronto Blessing

Despising God, Extravagantly

Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,
    but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.  Prov. 13:13

In the sea of confusion surrounding the charismatic church and prophetic movement, perhaps the most confusing thing is the good intentions and upright character of those involved.  Moral, kind, well-meaning, godly, wonderful people on both sides of every debate.  What do we make of this?  How could such anointed men as Bill Johnson or holy men as Mike Bickle be wrong?  How could I have been so wrong?

Let’s step out of the flimsy world of opinions of men and look at the scripture.

Does the word say that by their good intentions, excellent teaching, and upright character we’ll know them? 

NO.  It says that by their FRUIT, we’ll know them.  Mat. 7:15-16

Does it say that by the feelings of our heart, we’ll discern rightly?

No, it says the heart is deceitful above all else.  Jer. 17:9

Does it say that by the sensations produced by powerful worship unto the Lord, we’ll be made sure? 

No, it tells us that from the beginning of human history with Cain and Abel, man would offer up unclean worship of his own making, that does not please the Lord, though it appear beautiful and sacrificial.   It is in the human heart to decide on his own way to worship the Lord, one filled with good intentions, but that requires no atonement or holiness, and offer up this “strange fire.”  Gen. 4, Lev. 10:1-7

Does it say that by the experience of a spirit, we’ll know its origin? 

NO, it says to “test the spirits,” and not to be quick to lay on hands.  1 Jn. 4:1, 1 Tim. 5:22

When the fog began to lift, and I could actually read these simple scriptures with understanding, it was amzing how clear they are.  The scriptures about these matters are simple.  They are so straightforward, a child could understand them.    What is complicated about being told, “Don’t run around receiving new spiritual impartations; test them!  There are many false spirits, but only ONE is true…”

Of all the hundreds of people I have known to stand in lines to receive a spiritual impartation (let’s just say, to receive a spirit), I have never known ONE PERSON IN THE PROPHETIC MOVEMENT or IHOPKC who has ever personally tested a spirit, or asked the most basic questions of the person about to lay hands and impart it to them.  Ever.

Even a child could tell you what that is:  it’s disobedience.

“What?  Disobedience?  People singing, weeping, worshiping, praying, dancing, crying out for the Holy Spirit…how can you call that disobedience?  If one of these little ones asks for bread, would their Father (in heaven) give them a stone?  Surely, this is God.  Surely, I can safely put out my hands and open my spirit to receive.   Surely…I need not obey the word.”   Translation: surely, in our highly spiritual state, we are above the word of God.

Let’s break it down:  If the Scriptures command you to do it, and you haven’t done it, that’s disobedience.

I was there right after the beginning of the “outpouring” in Toronto.  I came to see and get what was being released.  There was a spirit being poured out, all right.  And I drank of it.  I didn’t test it.  Neither did the hundreds of people to my right or my left, who were running up for a touch.

I will speak more later about why I didn’t personally test (I was trusting my leadership).  But I will say that my pastor thought he did test.  How?  According to the fruit, as the scriptures say?

No, he applied the test of his own experience.  He went there skeptical, and had a dramatic experience.  He came back convinced, imparting the spirit.  Everyone he led was convinced by his testimony.  They didn’t test.  Nobody tested.  An impartation, a spirit running like wildfire through a church.  A healthy, precious, solid, loving, Bible-believing church.

Within a few years, that church was gone.  The membership had turned over.  All the stable families left, and a dysfunctional, raucous circus took its place.  The pastor moved on to a “greater” ministry that had been prophesied (but never materialized), and now it is utterly destroyed.  Gone.

What spirit was imparted?  What was its fruit?  I can tell you.  The fruit was destruction.

In a couple sentences, I told you of a church that is now gone.  But that one short story of a church holds within it hundreds of individual stories of families and people who were scattered, broken down, and some totally devoured, alone and unshepherded.  I am sure there are a few survivors somewhere, but not without wounds.  I survived, but oh how much pain I have endured.

But my pastor?  His heart had told him, because of a dramatic experience of spiritual power, that this was God.

Let’s go back to the beginning, and consider whether my pastor, my friends, and I obeyed the word or despised it.

Doesn’t the word say that by their good intentions, we’ll know them? 

NO.  It says that by their FRUIT, we’ll know them.  Mat. 7:15-16

Does it say that by the feelings of our heart, we’ll discern rightly?

No, it says the heart is deceitful above all else.  Jer. 17:9

And then this Scripture I began with:  Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,
    but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.  Prov. 13:13

“Despise” is the perfect description for the attitude of myself  and every charismatic I have faced with the question of whether they have obeyed to test the spirits they receive and watch others receive all around them.  It goes something like this:

“How stupid, how foolish, how religious…you don’t get it.  My own excellent heart, my gut instincts, my spiritual keenness, my vast knowledge of God would certainly alert me if I were being deceived by a false spirit.  You just don’t know the spiritual feelings, the revelations, the excellent times with Jesus I have had.”  The pride is almost tangible, but I had not the slightest idea of it when I was stuck in it.  And so the promises of God bear out:  such pride that despises  simple obedience to His word, believes itself to be above it, will be repaid with destruction.

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5 thoughts on “Despising God, Extravagantly

  1. Beth: This is excellent and so accurate. When I started to become involved at IHOPKC, around the time of the “awakening”, I would ask simple questions, honestly trying to get some kind of biblical explanation or answer. The answer again and again was something like, “you just don’t understand the ways of the spirit”. No one ever could show me from the Bible where they were getting these things they were doing. The irony is so profound. They were walking in unbelievable spiritual pride and blindness and yet were accusing me of pride for asking any questions. At the time it was confusing and really hard. I struggled many nights with whether I was just prideful and too “religious” and maybe I was missing out on what God was doing. Thank the Lord that He saved me from this occultic mess! Thanks for your blog and the humble way you present things through your own life experience. It is so helpful and healing for many I am sure. Praise God for the real power of the gospel of being saved from sin and called according to His purposes!

    • Dear ts,

      Thanks for the comment. I always look for fruit when I consider someone’s counsel, so I don’t mind being asked about mine.

      Obviously, it could be a pretty long-winded response, so I’ll just share something I think is most pertinent.

      My husband and I (particularly my husband, as Paul has instructed, but we move as one), have led a small but growing number of families out of the deceptions of which I write. Many when we met them were suffering in various ways, laboring in these deceptions, doing their best to serve and devote themselves to what they knew of (were being taught was of) God, only to be reaping brokenness and destruction in return. Depression, hopelessness, anger, and confusion and many forms of destruction were common to these beautiful people who truly loved God.

      It was our joy to preach the simple gospel to them, reintroducing the power of salvation, repentance, and significance not through works, but as the “Living stones” of the house of God. Some were moved just to rise up and leave these false movements, rejoining the wider body of Christ. Some stayed with us and formed a small church, as we continued to disciple them into marriage unity, fruitful stability of the family, and love for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

      We are so happy to see people who were failing for hunger for the true God, but being fed sawdust, now thriving on the Word of God. No matter where they go, they now know the source of truth (the Bible) and to test all teaching and prophecy against the Word of God, in light of His gospel message to humanity. We think we have only begun to reach people with the joyful news of abundant life in Christ.

      Thank you for asking.

  2. Beth, the so-called Toronto Blessing was such a blatant mockery of God; it was blasphemous, to say the very least. And God’s Holy Spirit was nowhere in sight. So, guess whose spirit was there?

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