12 May 2008

A recent email

This is an email I recently received and my response.
I should say as I post this, that while I get pretty fired up by the end of my response, I really do appreciate the sentiment my friend expressed. And since I don’t have his permission to post this, I’ll expunge any identifying notes. Still – if you (the author) don’t mind identifying yourself – this is perhaps a great place to have a very germane discussion on this topic.


On 5/12/08 10:09 AM, somebody wrote:

Hey Man,

I spent a bunch of time yesterday getting caught up on your blog, reading your friend Rick's blog, and then reading what I could find about Morningstar ministries and the Lakeland revival.  Then I spent the rest of the day agonizing over whether to write this e-mail or not.

A bit of disclosure.

I believe in healing and in all sorts of gifts (that is to say - I am not a cessationist), but I am very skeptical of big revival events like this.  God can move however He pleases, of course - and it is possible that this whole thing is of God, but I am skeptical.

I don't want to try to talk you out of anything and I really really don't want to discourage you if God is in fact leading in all of this.  All I want to say is "Be careful".

I've read (and heard from Mike) about how God is using you and the ministry up there to work in men's lives.  It's good stuff, and clearly of God.  It is possible that God wants you to go to this event to learn more.  Its also possible that the enemy wants to use this as a distraction and even a source of discouragement to pull you away from that work.

I should tell you a couple of the things that caused me to pause as I examined Morningstar.

-The first was that reading some stuff on the Lakeland (or was it the Morningstar?) site and seeing them refer - in a positive way – to Benny Hinn.  Yikes.

-The second was reading an article on the Lakeland site where he was talking about how the Holy Spirit wants us to know Him and pray to Him by name.  That to me goes against everything I've ever seen in scripture.  No one ever talks directly to the Spirit.  In his book "Keep in Step with the Spirit", JI Packer makes the case that the role of the spirit is to illuminate and put glory on the Son.

-The third was this page on the apologetics index:

I don't know that much about the folks that run this web site.  It's just another data point.

All I'm saying - and I say this knowing that I could be very, very wrong in all of this - is be careful.  Be sure that beyond external signs, you have God's word and sound doctrine leading you in all of this.

Looking forward to hearing what God does in all of this, and praying that God continues to bless your ministry.


------ Reply

Hey man,

Thanks very much for your letter and at every point I agree.

I don’t know how well it comes through on my blog (maybe not very well at all) but I too approach this whole thing with a great deal of caution and skepticism. I think what happens on the blog is that I hold my tongue on something until I’m convinced, and then I post. But by that time of course, I’m moved though my doubts and then you only get to see the enthusiasm. You see only the product, not the process so to speak.

Without question, there are lots of reasons, both scriptural and logical, to proceed with caution. That said, I’m also acutely aware that it was doubt and skepticism that prevented Jesus from healing people in his home town. (Mat 13:54-58) Fear and suspicion that often made Jesus unwelcome directly after performing miracles (ex: Luke 8:35-37). [Added: For that matter, can’t we say that doubt and skepticism played a major role in Christ wholesale rejection by the religious authorities who should have recognized him]

I really do appreciate your words, and I’m not trying to change your mind on this matter or any other, but for myself I see that I have spent far too much of my Christian life, a life that is by its own definition supernatural, defending against and doubting the supernatural. For me I realize that I’ve given the Devil more attention in his ability to deceive than to Jesus and his ability to protect me. The result of that has been a faith that calls suspicion ‘discernment,’ stinginess ‘stewardship’, and inaction ‘God’s timing.’

It’s a documented aspect of our generation, this profound unwillingness to commit, to act. We are always keeping our options open and weighing the possibilities. I, for one, long for more Peter in me and less Thomas.

Teddy Roosevelt said: It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

I have spent far too many years as the critic. It’s the season (and I’m convinced this too is from God) to dare greatly. Any good thing I’ve been able to do in Boot Camp NW only exists because I moved past caution and listen first and foremost to God’s voice. Getting over the innumerable (or so they seemed) reasons why I obviously couldn’t participate. In this, all I know is that God is calling me and he’s confirmed that in many ways over and over. Whether Rick Joyner, Todd Bently or Benny Hinn are frauds or demons IS NOT RELEVANT. What’s relevant is God’s invitation, His call, and His will. If He leads me smack in the valley of the shadow of death that is where He is my strong shield, my rod, my staff. In fact, more and more I’ve come to believe that walking with God ALWAYS leads to that valley eventually. The table prepared for David in that 23rd Psalm is in the presence of his enemies...not in their absence.

So I guess I’m on the soap box now. :) Sorry about that. It’s just that, and please don’t take this the wrong way, I’m frustrated with charges of caution and excess from a world satisfied with the status quo. As a church, we’ve become so hypersensitive to ‘angel of light’ that we’ve stopped accepting and watching for the author of light.

Wise or foolish, measured of reckless, I have to obey.


Chris said...

I'll stand up. 'Twas my e-mail.

Chris said...

Thinking about this some more...

I think that it is incredibly relevant whether those men are frauds or not. You know that you are called to go, but how you go - what your attitude is - colors everything.

The fact is that if I went to one of those revival meetings, I might become convinced, based on my experience, that what they are teaching is true. You can't discount the ability of group effect and men of charisma to influence us.

Is it possible that God is calling you to go to this event to warn you of the dangers out there for those who delve deep into the things of the Spirit?

From what I can tell, you and the men in your church are learning these things, and seeing things happen. Possibly God wants to show you what can happen if you try to make it too much about you, or even about the miracles, rather than about Jesus.

I don't know. Just a thought.

Silverback said...

Well spoken. Note that I said their fraud (or not) was not relevant. Which is not to say (in ANY way) that it's not important.

For me, 'relevant' in this case refers strictly to whether or not God is calling me to get over there.

You may be totally right in the purpose of that visit and it's something I'm considering quite a bit.

That said, the WAY in which God has been leading here and the things that have gone together. lead me to think it's unlikely.

I also want to say that I really don't have any sense that God is talking to me about what's happening in Lakeland, only at Morningstar. I don't know if that's particulalry meaningful, but it does narrow my focus.

Chris said...

Well sheesh. Hurry up and get over there then so we can find out and quit speculating :)

Silverback said...


Dude – be part of the solution! Kick a buck or two into the kitty. :)
I’m waiting for you folks.

Ricker said...

Just wanted to respond to Chris' comment:

"Possibly God wants to show you what can happen if you try to make it too much about you, or even about the miracles, rather than about Jesus."

I'll blog more about this when I have time but I just wanted to say that glory is being given to Jesus for what is happening at Morningstar. I know on Sunday night for sure they said this is all about you Jesus and not us. I don't recall if that was mentioned the other nights or not but when I heard that it really put my over zealous, western cultured, skeptical and unbelieving mind at rest.

It's when I was at rest and just allowed God to be God that things started to happen.