Showing posts with label charismatic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charismatic. Show all posts

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Gift of the Spirit Fewer Want to Exercise - JENNIFER LECLAIRE CHARISMA MAGAZINE

Few people these days want to exercise the gift of repentance.
Few people these days want to exercise the gift of repentance. (Flickr )

The Plumb Line, by Jennifer LeClaire
Jennifer LeClaire is now sharing her reflections and revelations through Walking in the Spirit, a new podcast from Charisma. Listen at

The charismatic world is known for embracing the gifts of the Spirit. Who doesn't like to get a prophetic word? See a miracle, sign or wonder? Receive a healing? Discern a spirit? Flow in words of knowledge and words of wisdom? Pray in tongues and hear the interpretation?
I love to operate in the gifts of the Spirit and watch others step into that stream. It's refreshing—and it's the sign of a healthy congregation. Where the Spirit of the Lord is given liberty—when we get out of the way and let Him have His way—He will often manifest His gifts in our midst. Of course, the greatest gift of all is His presence. Ultimately, that's all we need.
But there is a gift of the Spirit fewer seem to want to exercise in this hour. It's not one of the nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, but it's a gift from the Spirit of God just the same. It's the gift of repentance.
Listen to Jennifer's podcast on this topic: The Spiritual Gift Every Believer Can Exercise.
With hypergrace movement—a wave of teaching that stresses the grace of God while de-emphasizing or negating the need to confess sins and repent—gaining momentum, there's a disturbing trend to approach boldly the throne of grace to find grace while ignoring the need for an ever-flowing river of mercy.
The 1 John 1:8 Reality
The truth is, we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). In fact, we all fall short of the glory of God every day. That's why we need a Savior, and that's why we are charged with working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).
Father doesn't expect us to achieve 100 percent obedience while we are living in these fleshly tents. We will only reach perfection in our resurrected, glorified bodies. But He does expect us to tap into His grace to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us (Heb. 12:1); to run to Him instead of away from Him when we sin; to wage war on our flesh and spirits tempting us away from His heart; to seek and receive His forgiveness, grace and mercy when we miss the mark (1 John 1:9); and to press toward the mark of the prize (Phil. 3:14). We can't do that if we are not willing to repent.
1 John 1:8 tells us, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." John also tells us, "Whoever has been born of God does not practice sin, for His seed remains in him. And he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God" (1 John 3:9). Hebrews 13:5 assures us Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, but hiding unrepentant sin in our lives causes us to miss out on deeper intimacy with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We may hide it from others, but we're not hiding it from Him.
A Lifestyle of Repentance
We like to pray 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
That's a strategic prayer. I believe the church needs to repent. But I also believe if we're not individually walking in a lifestyle of repentance—if we're not exercising this gift of the Spirit of God—it hinders corporate repentance. Again, God doesn't expect us to walk in perfection. He knew every single sin you'd commit before He saved you. But let's remember Israel lost a war against its enemy because there was sin in the camp (Josh. 7). We must not tolerate sin in our lives, or families—or anywhere. Where we see a brother or sister in sin, we need to pray and, if we're in relationship, kindly approach them unto Galatians 6:1 restoration.
I am praying that a spirit of repentance is poured over the church in this hour as false prophets continue rising, as apostles merchandise the saints, as sexual immorality and financial impropriety runs rampant and all manner of wicked sin is coming to light in the church. But it starts with each one of us. If we aren't willing to repent on a personal level—to exercise this spiritual gift—we cannot decry the conditions in the church or in society. Let's all model the way. 
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening;Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of GodThe Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer onFacebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sad Day: A 10,000-Seat Charismatic Church Building Will Be Torn Down - Carpenter's Home Church

Carpenter's Home Church in 1985
Carpenter's Home Church in 1985 (File photo)
Strang Report, by Steven Strang, Founder of Charisma magazine
In 1985, Charisma ran a cover story about Karl Strader with the headline: "This man stepped out in faith and built a 10,000-seat church in a city of 58,000."  
Now, only 30 years later, the Carpenter's Home Church building, which cost $9 million to erect, is being torn down and the property will be converted into a retirement facility.  
When we covered this story, I knew the church and its history well. I grew up in Lakeland and was a teenager at that church—then called First Assembly of God—when Karl Strader became pastor in 1966. I saw the church grow during the heyday of the charismatic movement and Jesus movement. Back in that era, it was one of the largest and most respected churches in the Assemblies of God.
So I was sad when a relative emailed the online article from The Ledger newspaper (where I interned as a reporter) saying a developer had decided to tear down the massive worship center.
Although it's the end of an era, the story is not all negative. Maybe it shows that overbuilding is never wise, and no matter how successful a church is today, there is no way to know what the future holds. Meanwhile, several thriving congregations grew out of what was once Karl Strader's congregation.
After having outgrown two previous sanctuaries, in 1982 the church bought 488 acres on the north edge of Lakeland for $7.8 million from the Carpenters' Union, locally called The Carpenters' Home—hence the name of the church. The church quickly sold off 300 acres along a major highway that today is full of shopping centers and car dealerships, and started construction on the 10,000-seat auditorium. It sold its original location to Family Worship Center, pastored by Reggie Scarborough, which today has 3,500 members.
Never afraid of controversy, Strader brought some flamboyant speakers in his pulpit in the 1970s and 1980s like Oral Roberts, Rex Humbard, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and T.D. Jakes, all who drew huge crowds. The church was also venue for huge Christian concerts for singers such as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman.
CM-Karl-StraderWhen Strader was featured on the cover of Charismamagazine we reported that the total project cost $12 million. That was a lot of money back then. It was interesting for me to pull out that article and reread it.
"Although it sometimes has immersed him and his church in unwanted controversy, Karl Strader never has been afraid to step out in faith and befriend the unwanted, welcome the outcast, dream the impossible or stand up for what is right. In the process, he's built an enormous church on the grounds of an old carpenter's home retirement center in a small city almost in the shadow of Walt Disney World," the article reported.
Then in 1989, the church had a well-publicized split over Strader's leadership and reports surfaced that some members objected to charismatic elements in services. Another church—Victory Assembly, pastored by Wayne Blackburn—started only a few miles away. Today, that church's membership has reached 3,000, according to Wikipedia. Following the split, Carpenter's Home attendance dropped to about 1,800, and the church never seemed to recover.
At the time, the Assemblies of God denomination conducted an investigation into complaints and news reports about "spontaneous dancing, singing and an emphasis on prophecy," The Ledger reported. The denomination took 18 months to investigate and found nothing to be out of line.
Meanwhile, Strader's family suffered tragedy when the youngest son, Danny, was convicted of a white collar crime after a highly publicized trial, and he is still in prison. During that era, the church continued to decline. Even with 1,800 members, the 10,000-seat sanctuary looked empty when I'd visit, as I often did.
By 2005, the church was not able to pay its bills because it did not have enough members in the congregation to sustain a 10,000-seat auditorium, and so Carpenter's Home Church was sold to Without Walls Church in Tampa, pastored then by Randy and Paula White.
The Whites renamed the church Without Walls Central Church. Meanwhile, the existing Carpenter's Home Church membership split into two churches—Ignited Church and Auburndale Life Church.
Later, amid mounting debts and other problems, Without Walls Central Church closed and the 10,000-seat facility became "an abandoned building" until the recent sale.
"We're disappointed that the building and the property has been lost to the kingdom of God and that it's not going to be used for spiritual purposes or kingdom purposes," says Karl's son, Stephen Strader, who today pastors Ignited Church in north Lakeland.
"I hate to see the building torn down, but the building is not the church," Karl Strader, 85, told Charisma. "The people are the church, and they are in about 12 different churches in Lakeland now. It's painful to see the building torn down, of course, but I'm not groveling on the ground because of it or putting ashes on my head. I just thank God for being involved in it for (nearly) 40 years."
The church and its successors have also been associated with several revivals, including the Howard-Brownes' extended meetings in the 1990s and the "Florida Outpouring" (or Lakeland Revival as it is also known) in 2008 with Evangelist Todd Bentley.
"When I wrote the book The Lakeland Outpouring in 2008, we did the research and discovered there had been 12 major moves of God that had either been birthed at the First Assembly of God and Carpenter's Home Church under my dad's ministry or were amplified through my dad's ministry," says Stephen Strader.
"As examples, the prophetic movement, the worship movement—both received a national boost when it began to happen at Carpenter's Home Church. Rodney Howard-Browne had three or four years of revival across the U.S., but when he came to Carpenter's Home Church it just blew up globally. You can go back through 12 different movements from the Word of Faith to the healing movement with Benny Hinn. Benny Hinn was coming to Carpenter's before he (became well-known)."
Stephen Strader estimates hundreds of thousands of people came to know Jesus directly or indirectly through the ministry of Carpenter's Home Church. I can testify that my life was impacted and my view of the charismatic renewal of that era was shaped by what I saw and learned from Karl Strader.
Looking back on his years of ministry, Strader, who now lives in The Estates near the church he pastored for four decades, says he's thankful for all that God did.  
"We were part of the Jesus movement and the charismatic movement from 1966 on," Strader says. "We had people coming to the church from under the bridges where the homeless lived and people driving down from Tampa and from Sarasota. We ended up on national TV for several years. So God had a wonderful impact. I just tried to yield to God so I give Him all the credit for anything that was accomplished."
When the church was built, "I'm sure no one foresaw the problems that resulted in the church split or the dwindling membership.
Time has shown the church building was too big for a town the size of Lakeland. Even back in the early 1980s, the church was growing so much the leadership must have thought it would continue forever. But it didn't. In fact, I doubt the 10,000 seats were ever filled. Other large churches need to learn from this and not overbuild.
For all his amazing leadership abilities, Karl Strader often was at odds with his own denomination and other churches in town. He wasn't intimidated and I'm sure he felt he could survive all the problems, many of which weren't his fault. Yet some of these problems have come home to roost. Leaders must know they can't go it alone in the body of Christ.
So, a great church closes its doors. Yet other great churches exist in Lakeland as a result. It was probably inevitable that such a massive church structure would eventually be impossible to fill.
Yet through it all, Strader had been a man of impeccable character who has never seemed to waiver in his love for the Lord. And in the end, isn't that what's important?
Final note: This report began with us reporting nationally what The Ledger reported in Lakeland about the decision to tear down the sanctuary building and to turn the 1920's era "Carpenters Home" (which had been remodeled into a school) back to retirement villas. I know there is more to the story than what I had the space to include here. I also know there are "two sides" to every story. So I reached out to my longtime friend Stephen Strader (who I've known since I was in junior high) to read over my report to be sure all the facts were right. His reply was so interesting I decided to include it as a link for any readers who would like more behind-the-scene information from the Strader family's point of view.
Steve Strang is the founding editor and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter@sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).
Troy Anderson, executive editor of Charisma, and Bob Cruz contributed to this report.
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rick Joyner: Christianity Is Moving West Again - To Asia!

Rick Joyner:
The Elijah List

Rick JoynerChurch in America

There is a saying that contains an important insight: "In Jerusalem, Christianity became a religion. In Greece, it became a philosophy. In Rome, it became an institution. In Britain, it became a tradition, and in America, it became an enterprise."

There is some truth to this, and it is not all bad or unintended. The new creation culture that was to be received by all nations was also intended to receive from all nations. This is not to imply that the basic tenets of the faith were to be modified, but that the Gospel would help apply the best of all nations to a culture that would become the highway Isaiah spoke of that would be built to prepare the way for the Lord.

However, some of the worst of these nations also entered into the fabric of Christianity and, to a degree, corrupted the application of the Gospel. Each time the center of gravity for the advancing Church moved, there would be some purification, but not total. In the American Church, we have reflected some the best and worst of religion, philosophy, institutions, traditions, and business all mixed together.

Many have learned to take the best and leave the rest. Some of the most remarkable expressions of Christianity through the Church are now found in America, as well as probably some of the worst. Many Christians from around the world have come to learn from churches in America and have taken what they learned back to their countries.

Many of these did a great job filtering out what should not be applied in their home countries and have raised up works that are truly exceptional. Now many Americans, and others, are going to them to learn. This interchange has increased dramatically during this time of easy travel and communications. For this reason, there are truly remarkable churches growing up all over the world.

Church in Asia

Welcome to Mississippi!As the center of gravity of Christianity moved west from Jerusalem (for the last century it seemed centered in America, even though some of the greatest works and revivals were elsewhere), it is about to make another major leap to the west. 

The center of gravity of Christianity is going to move to Asia. Then it will find its way back to Jerusalem

(Photo via

So what will be the contribution of Asia to Christianity? For one thing, it will be a filter that removes many of the impurities added to Christianity by other cultures that have influenced it. They will do an even better job of holding to the good and removing the bad. This is not all they will do, but it will be a major contribution. 

We can expect to start hearing two great questions from Asia:

"What is the pure Gospel?"

"What is the purest expression of Christianity?"

Then we will see a relentless pursuit of these. 

ElijahList Prophetic Resources

History of Christianity

We addressed the elements of truth in the saying, "In Jerusalem, Christianity became a religion. In Greece, it became a philosophy. In Rome, it became an institution. In Britain, it became a tradition. In America, it became an enterprise." Not all of this was bad or unintended. The Christian culture that was to be received by all nations was also intended to receive from all nations.

Even so, the expression of Christianity has picked up a lot of baggage from its passage through the nations that it needs to get rid of. Much of this will come as the center of gravity of Christianity transfers to Asia. One thing we can expect to see is Asia becoming a great filter that removes many of the impurities that the expression of Christianity has picked up. 

This will come from one of the great strengths of the Asian culture—its honor of history. They will be prone to go back to the roots of the faith, to the purest forms, and embrace them more than trends and fads that were added.

As we look at the history of Christianity, we can also note that its center would transfer from one place to another at different rates. It was only centered in Jerusalem for a few years. Then it remained in Greece, or to be more accurate, where the Greek culture was dominant which included Asia Minor, or what is now modern day Turkey. This is the region of the Seven Churches of Revelation and Constantinople, one of the most influential of all Christian cities, where it remained for centuries.

Rome emerged as the dominant center of gravity, as a counterpoint to Constantinople, and held the dominant position in European Christianity for over a thousand years. Then Germany and Switzerland became two of the most powerful centers of the advancing church with the birth of the Protestant Reformation.
Welcome to Mississippi!
America's time as the center of the advancing church has been short, but powerful. This is typical of the innovation and initiative America is known for. The Evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Third Wave movements all were either birthed in America, or quickly found a receptive home there. 

Many other smaller but very influential movements were spun off of these. 

(Photo via

However, many problems and heresies spun off of these movements as well, probably due to the great weakness of the Church in America—its lack of devotion to knowing and understanding the lessons of history. For all of its talk about devotion to Biblical truth, studies have revealed that even in the Evangelical movement, less than 10% have a Biblical worldview. This is bad, but not surprising.

America's DNA is from pioneers and risk takers—those always trying to expand the limits and look to the future. 

Such are not prone to stop and look backwards into history, or take much time on the slow, tedious work of laying strong foundations. Therefore, it seems fitting that the Christian center of gravity is moving toward a culture where the lessons of history are so honored. The balance is needed.

Of course, over the last century some of the greatest revivals in history were ignited in South and Central America, as well as Africa

Their contributions have been great and will likely be even greater in the future. Such paradigms for understanding history are never completely smooth or perfect, but the centers where the biggest and most enduring influences were brought has mostly been in the Northern Hemisphere, and moved from east to west.

The Center of Christianity

The Lord said that the end of the age is the harvest

The greatest ingathering of all time is beginning, but it is also more than this. The harvest is when all of the seeds that have been planted mature. 

Even as the center of Christianity moves to Asia, we can expect all of the other homes of the faith to come into a greater maturity

Just because the center of gravity may have moved elsewhere, it does not mean that their contributions are over.

How long will the center of Christianity remain in Asia? Could it be that their contribution, rooted in depth and long history, can be accomplished quickly? Regardless of how long it takes, the center of gravity of Christianity will return to Jerusalem before the end comes. At that time, we can expect Isaiah 19:19-25 to be fulfilled.

Rick Joyner
MorningStar Ministries

Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church. He is the author of more than forty books, including The Final QuestA Prophetic History, and Church History

He is also the president of The OAK Initiative, an interdenominational movement that is mobilizing thousands of Christians to be engaged in the great issues of our times, being the salt and light that they are called to be. Rick and his wife, Julie, have five children: Anna, Aaryn, Amber, Ben, and Sam.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

World Ready for a Second Pentecost Outpouring? - CBN News

Bill Johnson, Bethel Church

World Ready for a Second 

Pentecost Outpouring?

JERUSALEM, Israel - Could the world experience a second Pentecost? That's the hope of a global movement called Empowered 21, with organizers setting their sights on Jerusalem, where the first Pentecost took place.
Recently, Christian leaders came from around the world to Jerusalem to worship, pray, and plan for what they call E-21.
"It's amazing to see how many wonderful leaders God has raised up to partner with this goal of seeing every individual touched by a real encounter with the Holy Spirit by the year 2033. It's stunning," Bill Johnson, from Bethel Church, said.
Oral Roberts University President Billy Wilson, director of E-21, spoke at a recent event for global movement.
"Tonight we stand on history and we come to worship the King of Jerusalem who is our Lord Jesus," Wilson said.
"Our big, big vision is bigger than all of us. It comes out of Habakkuk 2:14 that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. And the big vision is that every person on earth will have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit by Pentecost 2033," he continued.
The first Pentecost recorded in the book of Acts took place on Mount Zion in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. During the next Pentecost, May 24, 2015, organizers of E-21 are inviting Christians from around the world to pray for a fresh Pentecost on a new generation.
"You know in Acts chapter 1:8 Jesus said after the Holy Spirit comes on you, you'll be my witnesses in Jerusalem first, Judea, sort of where we are right now, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. So the theme of the conference is to the ends of the earth," Wilson explained.
"We're calling on believers from around the world to converge back on Jerusalem to celebrate the Holy Spirit, to look at what it means to be Spirit-filled in the 21st century and to pray for a new generation to experience God," Wilson said.
As they prepare to pass the spiritual baton to a new generation, some leaders say they already see God at work.
"Thank God E-21 is doing transformation among the leaders in India. Unity has been the key," Al Hollingsworth said.
"I see Empowered 21 as the Body coming together again. So important. So necessary," Dr. Paul Dhinakaran predicted. "When brothers dwell together in unity, the Lord commands a blessing. And I believe the blessing of the end time is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit."
The leaders represent the spectrum of charismatic and pentecostal groups.
Cindy Jacobs

"It's really end time stuff. I mean to have all these streams come together in the mountain of the Lord is, you know, something we dreamed of," Cindy Jacobs said.
Their next dream is Pentecost 2015.
"To experience a fresh Pentecost in our generation will be life changing so your life will never be the same if you come," Wilson promised.
Watch more here: CBN News - Pentecost article
Chris Mitchell, CBN News Jerusalem

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Prophetic Words Point to Move of Spirit in Ukraine - R. LOREN SANDFORD

Prophetic Words Point to Move of Spirit in Ukraine - CHARISMA NEWS

R. Loren Sandford
I feel compelled to call for intense and concentrated prayer for the situation inUkraine.
On the surface, it may appear to be only a political struggle between those who desire closer ties with Russia and those who want to integrate more closely with Europe. Having spent many weeks over a seven-year period ministering in Ukraine in both the eastern and western regions, I believe I can say with some certainty that a majority of Ukrainians in both the east and west do not desire a close alignment with Russia.
That being said, the real battle isn’t about political alignments or economics, although those things are indeed important. I believe there are underlying spiritual realities to be considered. I have long prophesied that Ukraine is a spiritual stealth torpedo in the arsenal of the Lord, a weapon of power that the enemy of our soul has not seen coming until now.
Historically, Ukraine has been a kind of innocent player on the world stage, ravaged by armies from Europe rampaging over it on their way to attack Russia and then trampled again by the armies of Russia driving back the armies of Europe. Ukraine itself has had little blood on its hands. Who would expect anything world-changing to come out of Ukraine? A parallel might be what the Jews said about Galilee: “They answered him, ‘You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee’” (John 7:52, NASB). The Jews used to ask, “Can anything good come out of Galilee?” And yet from Galilee came Jesus and the 12.
Powerful voices will arise out of Ukraine carrying a fresh stream of the Spirit and of power. Out of Ukraine’s relative innocence—and since the dissolution of the Soviet Union—a number of strong Christian leaders have been rising, mostly unknown and in hiddenness—hence my “stealth torpedo” metaphor. These are among the finest men of God I have met or had the privilege to know in my travels over the years. Although the number of charismatic and evangelical Christians in Ukraine remains small relative to the overall population, in terms of spiritual power and maturity their growth has been strong and wonderful to see. This has often been accompanied by signs and wonders that have garnered little attention outside of Ukraine.
It is my opinion that this political turmoil over the determination of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to align Ukraine with Russia and to turn away from economic alliance with the European Union strategically coincides with a time of ripeness for Ukrainian Christians. An underlying intent of the spiritual hosts of wickedness in this conflict is to dampen, squelch or hide the influence of a Ukrainian revival and Ukrainian spiritual leaders upon the rest of the world, as well as to simply create as much human suffering as possible.
In short, please pray for Ukraine. The consequences of what happens there go well beyond what you see in the news. There are kingdom of God issues at stake.
R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic PeopleThe Prophetic Church and his latest, Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare, which are available with other resources at the church's website.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sexual Abuse in the Church Needs to Stop! by JENNIFER LECLAIRE

Sexual Abuse in the Church Needs to Stop!

Beyond all the pedophilia in the Catholic church, there are plenty Protestant sexual scandals making headlines. The sexual abuse in the church needs to stop! (Stock.xchng)

I’m so absolutely grieved! So tired of reading about sexual abuse scandals in the church. Beyond all the pedophilia in the Catholic Church, there are plenty of Protestant sexual scandals making headlines. The sexual abuse in the church needs to stop!
The latest allegation comes against Jesus People USA in Chicago. A 90-minute documentary film, No Place to Call Home, puts the allegations on the big screen. The Chicago Tribune reports that Heather Kool, 38, has filed a lawsuit saying she was abused in the 1980s by members of Jesus People USA.
For all the high-profile cases, there are many smaller instances that we never hear about. In February, a man was indicted for sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl in a Mountain View church bathroom in Anchorage, Alaska. Also in February, a Maryland man was charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl when he served as a deacon at Grace Apostolic Church.
Again in February, a Southwestern Illinois man was charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on a teenager—and five other males have since come forward with similar complaints about the deacon at the First Baptist Church. And would you believe, in February, a Willow Creek Church volunteer in Chicago was charged with aggravated sexual abuse for molesting two boys. Also in February, a South Jersey church organist was charged with sexually abusing five boys in 30 days.
The reports just go on and on—and on. It’s sickening. Evangelicals put so much effort into battling issues like gay marriage and abortion, which is all well and good, but where is the crusade against sexual abuse in the church? The secular media is reporting these instances, but it seems unless it’s a megachurch pastor or a celebrity preacher involved, cases of kids being molested in Protestant churches continue arising without much attention.
Church, sexual abuse in our sanctuary’s backrooms and playgrounds is a bona fide epidemic. Again, for all the focus on pedophilia in the Catholic Church, it appears the Protestant church is rivaling priestly perversions. Lawsuits are now emerging from folks like Heather Kool—and more are bound make their way from the sanctuary to the courtroom, especially if Kool sees success and especially if the church refuses to keep sweeping these dirty little secrets under the rug.
In my book The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel, I point to one root of this sort of immorality. In charismatic circles, we call it the spirit of Jezebel, which is essentially a spirit of seduction that woos people into immorality and idolatry. (See Revelation 2:20.) Sexual predators carrying the Christian banner have been seduced and deceived by this spirit, which has somehow justified sexual abuse in their darkened minds. The spirit of Jezebel has formed a stronghold over our nation. Lester Sumrall warned about this before he went on to glory—and it’s happening right before our eyes.
The sexual abuse in the church needs to stop! I urge anyone who has been sexually abused at the hand of a pastor, priest, deacon or anyone else who works in the church to rise up and speak out. Go to the police. File a lawsuit. Cry out to God for justice. It’s time to clean house—and judgment begins in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17).
The only way to defeat the spirit of Jezebel is to expose it and confront it. This seducing spirit is targeting the next generation, wounding their souls and leaving them open attacks from other spirits that could destroy their lives. Indeed, I am convinced that many of these sexual abusers had broken, wounded hearts of their own—perhaps they were molested as children—and have given over to the lusts of the flesh through the temptations of seducing spirits that justify the behavior.
Whether you agree that spirits are influencing people to commit sexual crimes or not, can we agree that it’s time for accountability in the house of God? Can we agree that the sexual abuse in the church needs to stop? 

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet. You can email Jennifer t or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Michael Brown - Be Careful Whom You Damn

Be Careful Whom You Damn

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It is true that the Scriptures often warn us against deception, and it is true that some preach “another Jesus” (who is not Jesus at all) and “another gospel” (which is no gospel at all; see 2 Cor. 11:1-4; Gal. 1:6-9). And it is true that many false converts will be shocked when Jesus says to them on that great and dreadful Day, “Depart from me” (see Matt. 7:21-23; 25:31-46).
All of us should examine ourselves to be sure that we are “in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5) and all of us should be diligent to “confirm [our] calling and election” (2 Pet. 1:10), and this does mean falling into performance-based religious exercises but rather living out our calling to be God’s children (see 2 Pet. 1:3-11; this is our response to what God has graciously done for us).
At the same time, we need to be very careful about setting ourselves up as the ultimate judge of who is saved and who is lost--meaning, among those who claim to be followers of the Jesus of the Scriptures.
Some have decided that I cannot possibly be saved because I am not a Calvinist (seriously), as exemplified by this comment posted to one of my YouTube debates: “I certainly wouldn't call Brown a brother, he denies the gospel, he denies what Christ did on the cross and denies Jesus has the power to save and keep His Church without man's help. Brown’s God is not God.”
So, according to Tim, because I don’t believe, with Calvin, that some “individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction,” that I’m not actually saved. (And yes, I hear from those who assure me that Calvinists are not saved.)
How myopic and wrongheaded can we be?
Most recently, because of my appearances on Benny Hinn’s TV show, talking about the Messiah in the Old Testament and the errors of hypergrace, I am now being damned to hell, along with him.
Benny Hinn and Michael Brown
Responding to a blog article highly critical of me, Denise, wrote, “According to [2 John] v. 11 God counts Brown as guilty of the SAME wickedness as Hinn precisely because Brown not only greets the man, but promotes and endorses Hinn and his pulpit. Therefore he too, is to be just as rejected as the false teacher he welcomes. It is THAT serious to God.”
Another commenter wrote, “I would hope that God grants Mr. Brown repentance not only of his charismatic heresies but also the arminian (remonstrant) heresy and that by God's gracious Holy Spirit, He would convert him to the True Gospel which we are to contend for.”
So, I’m doubly damned, being both a charismatic as well as a non-Calvinist--actually triply damned, because I appeared on Benny Hinn’s TV show too.
But it gets worse. According to Brad, “I know it is the will of God that none perish, but it is also his will that men who teach little ones to sin would have been better off not to have been born. These men love mammon and hate God. I’m hoping Brown repents, leaves the ministry, and serves in a local church after his salvation. It would be better off for Hinn had he never been born. If either of you [referring to the bloggers] get the opportunity to plead with Brown to come clean, do so. It may not be too late for him.” (He actually wrote some stuff that was even more rancid, but this quote is sufficient.)
Worse still, a brother on Twitter was so upset with me appearing on Benny Hinn’s show, that he not only decided I was a charlatan but also claimed that God was not my Father. I had tweeted out to my Twitter followers, “What a longsuffering, merciful Father we have!” He responded by calling God my “imaginary friend”--in other words, he can’t be my Father.
This is nothing less than pathetic.

Others have come out of the woodwork with comments like, “What part of, ‘be not unevenly yoked together with unbelievers’ was optional for you all at Brownsville?” (I’ll be sure to let Steve Hill and John Kilpatrick know that they’re not saved either!)
Or this one, stating, “This is the ‘gospel’ Brown is now defending [with a link to a service at the Brownsville Revival]… Sorry, that looks a lot like satanism.”
And this one, which followed a YouTube link to the one of the most powerful altar calls I ever witnessed in my life: “Brown, repent of all your Charles Finney type emotional manipulation and semi-pelagian errors and learn to preach the true gospel.”
And how about this comment to my debate on cessationism with Dr. Sam Waldron, “Dr Brown claims to be sola scriptura [meaning, that the Scriptures alone are our authority for doctrine and practice] but how can I believe him, knowing he is an Arminian and a trinitarian, worse he is a charismatic.”
It looks I’m in really big trouble, being an Arminian (rather than a Calvinist), as well as believing in God’s triune nature (what a crime!) and--perish the thought!--being a charismatic.
To be perfectly clear, I’m not hurt by these comments, nor is this persecution for the gospel. (Obviously.) But I do hurt for the body of Christ and I do hurt for these misguided individuals (on all sides of the debate), and I long to see God’s people--those who are truly is--unite around his Son.
Because of that, I am truly blessed when readers of my Authentic Fire book post reviews stating that they were moved by my heart of reconciliation and honor towards those with whom I differ--and this truly is the expression of my heart.
So, let us all humble ourselves before the Lord, let us search our own hearts prayerfully, let us address clear error where we see it, and let us be careful whom we damn.
I for one am very glad that you are not my final judge, and I’m sure you’re quite glad that I am not yours.
Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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Love For His People Editor's Note: I loved seeing Michael on Benny Hinn's program! It was great! (The week of Jan. 13-17, 2014). 

Here is the link: Benny Hinn TV

Steve Martin