I attended Justin Peters’ seminar on the Word of Faith Movement, A Call for Discernment, yesterday and today (15 and 16 June 2012). These are a few of my impressions on the information presented.
1. I once again came under the impression of man’s ability to exalt himself to godhead
Man lacks nothing in this regard. The quotes and video clips shows that man is a master when it comes to this. Considering that the devil himself is the master, and that our nature is inclined to seek our own glory in stead of God’s, it is understandable that man is so good in doing this.
It does ask of us to be cautious and seek God’s presence continously in submission and obedience. As believers we ought to continuously endeavour for that state where we are dead to ourselves and our spirit alive for Christ. Church leaders should be extra cautious, for if they are not carefull, they could lead the sheep in arrogant pride.
I read in James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Is the opposite of this not also true? Exalt yourself above God and you will fall pray to the devil’s attacks.
2. Man’s ability to follow is amazing
Focus on the members for now and not on the leaders. It is striking how members of these groups will listen to their leaders’ gobbledeegoo without discernment. Just think about it, if Tod Bentley joyfully reports how he kicked an old lady in the face with his biker boot, they believe it to be the work of God.
Looking deeper though, I am struck by the power of deception by the evil spirit world. I am also struck anew by the implications a very poor view and handling of God’s Word has on the believer’s spiritual well-being.
3. Man is not only focussed on power, but also on material comfort
The wealth these people promise is irresistible! Especially when you have nothing and your faith can become a tool to get more. Believe that the more you sow, the more you will reap (and that is not talking about souls).
Unfortunately it does not come back to the giver, but to the wolf that bellows out these lies. It is definitely not what the Word teaches us.
4. We need to truly have a high view of the Word of God
I realise that this is our only safe guard, as it is through the Word that we come to learn about the Triune God. It is the infallible, full revelation of God. It is the full truth and has final authority in our lives. The Word itself says we perish because of our lack of knowledge (Hosea) and we stray from truth because we do not know the Word (Matthew 22).
5. We need to have a high view of God
The Word reveals God to us in His fullness as Creator, King, Eternal, Almighty, Omnipotent, Saviour, etc. He is not on man’s level, but exalted far above him. He did create him from a bucket of sand for crying out loud! Who are we to think we can control God, that we can manipulate Him or submit Him to our reign? He shares His glory with no-one, not even the pinnacle of His creation.
6. We need to love the people to whom we minister
Treat others as you would like to be treated; you must love your neighbour as you love yourself. These are principles from God’s Word. I am of the opinion that a lot if these leaders would rather lead because they are afraid to go through the humiliations they bring on their followers.
Jesus wept for as He saw the crowds as sheep without a shepherd. He did not humiliate them, but led them to truth. His heart for them was restoration, not riches and glory for Himself.
I think Justin Peters does a good work to present the stacks of data in a structured way without clogging it with too much evidence (of which I reckon he must have a ton). I also think his direction on difficult issues like the gifts, the baptism of the Spirit and the call to discernment is clear and sound.