Saturday, August 2, 2008

Let's Have Some Balance

Lately I have begun to wonder how so many churches can get so far in the ditch so to speak on one side or another. On one side you have the churches who do not believe in the gifts of the Spirit at all and on the other side you have all the churches who have perverted it to the extreme.

I grew up in a denominational church. I learned a lot about the love of God there. That He loved us so much He sent His only son to suffer and die on the cross for us in order to pay the price for our sin. I learned what true repentance was. That no one could go to heaven unless they realized that they were a sinner, repented of their sin, asked Jesus into their heart and made Him the lord of their life. I learned how to treat other people according to the teachings of Jesus and the letters to the church in the new testament. I learned about baptism. That when a person is born again (asks Jesus into their heart), that water baptism represents the old man dying to sin and the new man being alive in Jesus. This was such an important thing to God that even Jesus was baptised. I learned about the Lord's supper,or communion, that it was a practice of drinking juice and eating bread during the church service to remind us of what Jesus has done for us. He gave His blood and His body as the ultimate sacrifice. I learned about giving offerings and that it was important to be in church on a regular basis. That it was important to help those in need, those who were poor, those who were hurt, and those who asked.

Then I had my first taste of a full gospel church. I heard things being taught that I had never heard before. That being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues was for today. That He speaks to us regularly and if we will listen to His still small voice He will lead us and guide us daily. That God still heals people and I can trust and believe Him for my health. That He is our provision. That the things that I say and do have a direct affect on the life that I live and that everything that happens is not God's will. I learned for the first time that God has given dominion on earth to us. He is not up in heaven playing us like a game. That He never causes bad things to happen or makes us sick to teach us something. That the Bible means what it says....period. That God's will is made evident in the Bible and I can pray, knowing His will and believe Him to watch over His word to perform it in my life.

In the denominational church we were taught that no matter what happens, it is God's will. That we have nothing to do with what happens in life. Basically that you are born again and you just do the best you can until you die and go to heaven or until Jesus comes back. If you get cancer, fall off a cliff, your infant dies, you get a great job, you avoid a car crash....anything: it is all God's will. That once you are born again, that is all there is. You have no responsibility for anything that comes along in your life. Just love God and obey Him.

In the full gospel church we were taught that everything that comes along is not necessarily God's will. That the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy. That the Word of God (the Bible) is alive and powerful. That we reap according to what we sow (and this is not talking about money). That we are redeemed from the curse of the law. That we have been given authority over the devil and that we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. That we are to be doers of the word and not just hearers. That we have a responsibility to take the Word of God and apply it to our lives.

In the denominational church that I grew up in, it was impossible for anyone to come more than once or twice and not hear the good news that Jesus died for their sins. It was fully explained on a regular basis from the pulpit what it meant to be born again, exactly what that involved and then how to live a Godly and holy life with Jesus as Lord. They had the Lord's supper and baptism services several times a year. Messages were taught on what it meant to live a holy life and live for Jesus. WE were taught that every Christian made up the body of Christ and we could love and fellowship with them whether they attended our church or another church. It was all about us serving Him and bringing others to Him.

In the full gospel church it was impossible, at one time, for anyone to come and not be taught about who they were in Christ. That the work on the cross was all encompassing.... salvation includes health, provision, security, peace and joy. That we have authority over the enemy and we can exercise that authority in our lives. That God wants to be an active part of every tiny aspect of our lives. That we can believe the Word of God, stand on it and see it come to pass in our lives.

Yet in the full gospel church that I was in these teachings began to take a wrong turn. Forgiveness became and excuse for some to get involved in atrocious sin and never have to accept any responsibility for it. The tithes and offerings became a way to buy God's blessing and "miracles" or a way to incur His curse if you did not meet the letter of the law. The Word of God and the blood of Jesus became a basis for people to get what they wanted from God not give their lives in humble service to Him. The prayer of salvation became an after thought on services that were predominately centered around money and things and how to get them from God. Baptism services became a thing of the past with no plans to provide for them in the future. Living holy lives became not so important as long as you had a Godly goal in mind. All Christians were not worthy of our fellowship. It was dangerous to talk and spend time with those who were not as "spiritually mature or knowledgeable" as those at our church. If anyone left our church to go to another we were to break ties with them. They were wrong and deceived. It stopped being all about Jesus and us serving Him and it became all about us and what we could get from Him, what we could demand because of His Word and what we could get using His name. People in need, the poor, those hurting needed to use their faith and sow a seed.... not receive help from the church.

Somewhere there must be churches with balance. People who can believe the full gospel and still put the emphasis on salvation, winning the lost to Jesus and living holy lives. People that can live in the full blessings of God and still put Him first all the time. People who love EVERYONE with the love of God and put others before themselves. Pastors and preachers who can live in the blessings of God without allowing greed and pride to poison everything and everyone around them. People who live the truth for all to see and not an illusion or image that they have created to disguise who and what they really are.

Time is short. His return is soon. It is time for us to find the road of His love, His compassion, His completeness, His calling, His fullness, His fruit and stay out of the ditches.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I came from a denominational background and then experienced a Word of Faith church, just like you. You made many insightful observations and comparisons. I agree that there should be balance. Thank you for your blog.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is wow! You said all of this so good and the insight you have is awesome. Thanks for opening up your heart.

D said...

Another excellent post!
Can't wait to read more.