GOD IS STILL RESTORING TRUTH TO HIS CHURCH TODAY
My Last blog on “Deception” made me think about the great men of God who have brought truth to us starting at what is called the Reformation. Nearly all major truth had got lost in a cloud of tradition, religion and liturgy. These great men, were called deceivers, heretics, and that they were “of the devil”.
I want to express my deep thanks and appreciation to these men of God who birthed what we call the Reformation, but it was not just reformation they brought, but restoration of important essential truths, and since that day God has been seeking to restore many more truths that had been lost
I thank God for the courage of men like Martin Luther and John Calvin who had the courage to take a stand for truth, and were willing to die for truth if that is what it required. Where would be today if the teaching they brought had been totally rejected, remember it was rejected but much of the “church” of their day. Are you glad today that:
Salvation is by grace alone
Salvation is by faith alone
Salvation is by Christ alone
Let me remind you that although they saw these essential truths, there was “stuff” from their past church experience that was still mixed up with some of their other teachings. Historians tell us that within eighty years Lutheranism sadly started to lose its uniqueness, Calvinism remained strong for at least three hundred years because Calvin said we must go back to the New Testament church and take our beliefs and practices from there. Sadly within Calvinism is the teaching of Cessationism, that is that the gifts of the Holy Spirit likes speaking in tongues, and prophecy and healing all ceased on the death of the last Apostle, so Believers who saw these truths and practiced them were told “they were of the devil”. Today Charismatic Christians make up half a billion Believers on the earth !!!!!
LET US NOT FORGET THAT TRUTH IS PROGRESSIVE
I want to express my thanks to God for the Anabaptists who saw the truth of Believer’s Baptism, that Baptism (by immersion) follows when a person becomes a Believer and comes to faith. There are no references to “infant Baptism” in the Word of God. The Anabaptists were massively persecuted by the Protestant Church of the day, and many became martyrs for embracing this truth.
We then come to John Wesley, an Anglican Minister (and his brother Charles) who preached such a powerful Gospel message that saved England from a revolution similar to what France experienced. Wesley also embraced the truth that a person was not only saved from the penalty of sin, but also the power of sin that through the death and resurrection of Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, a Believer can live in holiness and victory. Within this teaching was the doctrine of Eradication (that the old nature was plucked out of the believer). This teaching is called the “Second Blessing doctrine”. Although this teaching was strong for over two hundred years this aspect of the doctrine was a stumbling block. We now see that as a Believer learns to live the “surrendered life continually” the old nature is “rendered powerless”. Remember truth is progressive.
I want to thank God for William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army who saw the truth and sure practiced it that of Evangelism. This movement turned England upside down in the later nineteenth century. Lord raise up anointed signs following Evangelists in our day, and let every believer see he is called to be a witness. The 2 S’s on a Salvation Army uniform stand for saved to serve.
I want to express my thanks to God for A.B.Simpson one of the founders of the great Christian & Missionary Alliance church (especially in North America) Simpson saw and practiced that God still heals today, plus the need to be pro-active and aggressive in Missions. In my personal experience I have seen the impact of C.M.A. in the three Indo China countries of Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam where a strong national church was established.
I want to thank God for men like J.N.Darby of the Christian Brethren movement who brought fresh truth and understanding regarding the second coming of Christ.
I want to thank God for the early Pentecostal pioneers around the world, who embraced the “second blessing” teaching and also saw the truth of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit still functioning in these last days. They were greatly persecuted and thousands kicked out of their local churches. There were extreme teachings and behaviour at times, and many threw out the baby (the glorious truth) with the dirty bathwater. Believers need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to live holy lives but also to be filled with the Holy Spirit to be witnesses. To also experience spiritual gifts and I believe a personal prayer language (often the early Pentecostals put too much emphasis on the public use and virtually none on the private use. Remember truth is progressive.
Historically every group and denomination rejected the next truth (as I have laid out above) there was so much persecution and things said that must have grieved the heart of God.
IS GOD STILL RESTORING TRUTH TO HIS CHURCH TODAY? YES,YES, YES.
Has there been more truth restored in the last hundred years, the answer is YES, but as always the preceding group rejected and persecuted the group that saw further truth in the Word of God.
I want to personally thank God for a Bible teacher called Kevin Conner who had a great impact on my life because he has been a part of further development of truth, he has seen the extremes, and experienced the persecution, but has continued to be a voice to the Church regarding God continuing to restore truth to the Church and the need for the truth to be held in balance.
There has come some fresh emphases of truth in the time that I have been in the Ministry, and I will list them, yes, there were extremes, yes, there was rejection. Why God uses man to restore truth I do not know, as so often the pendulum swings way out when a new truth or emphasis comes, some say we would not notice unless there is a pendulum swing, many of the emphases I will list were initially seen as extreme and sadly rejected. Kevin Conner taught me to hold truth in balance, and seek to rightly divide the Word of Truth. These are some of the teachings I have had to consider:
The Shepherding movement, great principles (now generally totally rejected sadly. but too authoritarian. We need Biblical Discipleship in the now more than ever.
Deliverance ministry, yes demons can and do impact believers lives, but much of the time it is our carnal flesh not demons that need to be dealt with.
The Healing of the memories, thank God, our emotions and past can be healed by the power of God, but must never replace the importance of the need to forgive and restoration of relationships.
The Word of Faith movement, so many important truths but so often in the recent past taken to extremes.
The Ministry of Praise & Worship, such an important aspect of truth, but got either re-directed to the importance of “excellence” in the Singer or Musician, and the congregation became spectators, or the danger of simply worshipping worship.
The “Grace teaching” we sure need to be reminded regarding the place of Grace in our lives, but again in so many places it has degenerated into “cheap grace”, we don’t need to ask forgiveness of our sins anymore, “we have the righteousness of God, and can live the way we like no, we can’t.
I am sure God wanted the Church to embrace every truth as it was restored, but the Church camped at their denominational corner, and would not move, I trust I have been delivered from denominationalism, but also that I have not settled down, I want to be able to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today.
So I thank God, for the men I have mentioned in this blog, all mightily used of God to restore truth to His Church, of course there are many others, some I may know of, many I am sure I don’t.
Let us never settle down and say “I know it all” but still seek to let the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth.