Saturday, October 30, 2010

Check The Spirits...And Not Just At The Door!

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 1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1, King James Version)
 1 My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. (1 John 4:1, The Message)

Pastor Gene Jennings at True North Church preached last Sunday on hearing the voice of God. (Just to be clear: this is my wonderful new very safe church...not the spooky old church)

Pastor Jennings presented the litmus test to know if the "voice" (thoughts, impressions,other's words) is of God:
  • agrees with Scripture
  • makes one's actions more Christ-like
  • is confirmed by other believers
  • gives a sense of peace
He noted that if the "voice" directs away from the Scriptures it is false.

Pastor Jennings, I wish I believed that truth eleven years ago...heck make that twenty years ago. (Though as a twelve year old I'm not sure how I could have left the cult behind...well, anyhoo)

The cult leader of a Dade City church told a congregant to leave his wife as she was not attending the cult. Let's see...hmm...didn't Jesus say:
 5-9Jesus said, "Moses wrote this command only as a concession to your hardhearted ways. In the original creation, God made male and female to be together. Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart." (Mark 10:5, The Message)
She told another congregant that she should not care for her ailing mother. She went so far as to quote:
20Jesus was curt: "Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know."
 21Another follower said, "Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father's funeral to take care of."
 22Jesus refused. "First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life." (Matthew 8:20-22, The Message)
 I'm not a scholar so I don't understand why Christ was telling the man not to attend his father's funeral. What I do understand is that she put herself in the place of Christ by saying that the adult child should give more loyalty to the church (a.k.a her) than to a biological mother.
Paul said:
 3-8 Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That's worse than refusing to believe in the first place. (1 Timothy 5:3, The Message)
She instructed church members to shun young children as they were "under an evil influence". We are talking six, seven, eight year olds. Can you imagine the devastating effect this had on the child?

I failed and made wrong decisions that hurt others while in the Dade City cult. One thing I did do right and I am fiercely glad and yes, PROUD of was refusing to ignore a child. I was yelled at over the pulpit and called proud and a promoter of rebellion. After the service I confronted the pastor and told her why I refused to "shun" a child. I told her that there is a Scripture that actually suggests suicide:
 1Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
 2It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
 3Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. (Luke 17:1-3, King James Version)

I quoted the King James as any other version was 'worldly'.

Here is how the 'worldly' version, The Message, reads:
 1-2He said to his disciples, "Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on! Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!
 3-4"Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it's personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, 'I'm sorry, I won't do it again,' forgive him." (Luke 17:1-3, The Message)

Ohhhhh! So we're supposed to forgive! It's not our job to enforce a repentant spirit....hmmmm! Jesus says it is better to end your life than to give a little one a hard time... Sounds like her theology wasn't from God!

Thankfully my family and I finally "tested" her spirit and let tell ain't from God, friend.

And we got the hell out of that church-or rather, we left the hell of that church behind.

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I beg you, reader, test the spirit. Test the words. Test the pastor.

There are zombie pastors out there my friend and they want your brain. 

1-6 God's Message came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, 'God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren't shepherds supposed to feed sheep? You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don't feed the sheep. You don't build up the weak ones, don't heal the sick, don't doctor the injured, don't go after the strays, don't look for the lost. You bully and badger them. And now they're scattered every which way because there was no shepherd—scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. Scattered—my sheep!—exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them! (Ezekiel 34:1-3, The Message)

 15 The gullible believe anything they're told;
   the prudent sift and weigh every word. (Proverbs 14:15, The Message)

On a more positive note...The series "Hear God Speak" will be available for listening on the True North website. Absolutely worth your listening time. As stated above I wish I had heard this sermon twenty years ago. Many thanks to Pastor Steve and Gene for speaking on the subject.


Eric said...

Excellent post!

FYI, I've read that "Bury my father" is a Middle-Eastern euphemism for "Wait until my father is dead so I can get my inheritance without having to worry that he'll disown me if I offend him." It makes sense that Jesus would say he had his priorities wrong, in that case.

The Cult Next Door said...

Thanks, Eric!
With that understanding the Scripture does make sense!
Loved the new post over at Quivering about rest...great stuff!

Gene said...

Don't forget the 2nd point: Will it make me more like Jesus?

"What would Jesus do?" is a good question to ask.


The Cult Next Door said...

Thanks, Pastor Jennings!
I was so focused on 'directs away from Scripture' I missed that one!
Thanks for commenting :)
I really, really enjoyed that series :)