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Should Christians Experience the Supernatural?

March 6th, 2007 | 54 Comments | Posted in Charisma Magazine, Twisted Scriptures

Charisma cover, Feb. 2007 The February 2007 issue of Charisma magazine (pictured here) featured an article by Patricia King, titled “Living in the Throne Room. King (a “prophet” in the apostolic-prophetic movement and founder of Extreme Prophetic Television in Canada) argues that supernatural experiences — like seeing the Lord on His throne, being visited by angels, or being transported from one geographical location to another by the Holy Spirit — should be a “normal part of a believer’s experience.”

This, of course, is a big claim. If such experiences should be a normal part of the Christian’s life, then many of us — myself included — are falling far short. Yet, this teaching is common in the apostolic-prophetic movement. So, I think it’s important to consider it. After reading King’s article, I found at least five key errors in her reasoning.

Error 1: She equates these types of experiences with God’s love

Patricia King headshot The first major error King (pictured here) makes is she claims that these types of supernatural experiences should be ours because God loves us.

She starts off this argument with a correct statement. She says that an intimate relationship with God, like a marriage relationship, should include experience of His love for us. I agree. In the Bible, we see that God’s people not only had sound doctrinal knowledge about Him, but they also had a loving relationship with Him. King David’s psalms express great depth of feeling and experience with God. Unfortunately, some Christians today stress the importance of doctrine, but they undervalue the roles of experience and emotions in our relationship with God.

So, King starts off correct. But then she makes a huge logical leap. She argues that experiencing God’s love includes experiencing the wonders of the heavenly realm, here and now — including God’s throne, angels and golden streets. She says that because God loves us, “we have been invited to discover and partake of it all.”

But King can’t support this teaching from Scripture. True, the church is called the “bride of Christ.” But we’re currently betrothed to Christ. The marriage — though certain — won’t take place until He returns for us and takes us to our new home with Him in heaven. Until then, we can’t expect to experience the wonders of our heavenly home.

I’m afraid many Christians may be burdened in their relationship to God because of King’s mistaken teaching. When they don’t have the supernatural experiences she speaks of, then they may feel disheartened that God doesn’t love them or that they’re not pleasing Him. But, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christians should expect to see heavenly scenes or experience such overtly supernatural occurences during their earthly lives.

Error 2: Her main biblical support is a passage that she quotes out of its context

In her article, King says: “Not only are we to seek Jesus, but we are to actually seek the things of the kingdom — the things of the unseen realm” (emphasis hers). To make her point, she quotes Colossians 3:1-2, where Paul urges the Colossians to “set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

King’s argument hinges on this Scripture passage. But, when you read it carefully, in context, you may see that the “things above” do not refer to angels or throne room scenes. In fact, far from it — just six verses before this verse — Paul warns the Colossians about false teachers who were promoting angel worship and who were claiming to be spiritually superior because of visions they received. Colossians 2:18

The “things above” that Paul told Christians to focus on are the truths that (1) we have died to our old sinful nature, and (2) we have been resurrected to new life with Christ, which will be fully revealed at Christ’s second coming. As a result of these truths, we should no longer engage in the sinful things listed in verses 5-9, but we should do the holy things listed in verses 12 through chapter 4 verse 6.

So, the passage does not tell Christians to seek supernatural encounters — as King claims it does.

Error 3: These types of supernatural experiences were never sought in the Bible

King also fails to recognize that, in the Bible, God’s people never sought after these types of supernatural experiences.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t think of one instance where we have an indication that the prophets, apostles or evangelists sought out the amazing, otherworldly experiences they had. Instead, these experiences happened to them when they least expected it. Phillip was suddenly visited by an angel who told him where to go. Phillip didn’t seem to know that he was being directed to the right place at the right time to share the gospel with an Ethiopian eunuch. As soon as he finished baptizing the eunuch, Phillip found himself whisked away to another location. The angels who visited Abraham, Mary and the apostle John all showed up — seemingly unexpected. And the list goes on.

Error 4: These types of experiences weren’t typical in the Bible

King also misrepresents these types of supernatural experiences as normal occurrences in the Bible.

Yes, there are many miracles in the Bible. Yet, for the patriarchs, prophets and apostles who experienced them, they weren’t typical occurrences in their lives. Whenever Paul spoke of his Damascus Road encounter with God, for example, he always spoke of it with amazement. He didn’t treat it like it was no big deal — just another, run-of-the-mill supernatural experience.

Error 5: Supernatural experiences aren’t always from God

King, rightly, warns her readers that not all supernatural experiences are from God. Her article includes a 2/3-page sidebar, titled “Avoiding Spiritual Pitfalls,” that seeks to warn people of dangers they might encounter in the “invisible realm.” It’s good that she warns her readers of the reality of such dangers and advises them to test all their spiritual encounters by the Bible.

Although these warnings are great, I’m afraid King isn’t heeding them herself. Her Extreme Prophetic Web site and television program promote troubling “prophets” like Todd Bentley. Bentley claims to have supernatural encounters all the time. He says: “Never more than a few days go by that I don’t encounter third heaven and some kind of prophetic experience — at times it happens daily for months. Supernatural experiences have become part of daily Christianity for me.”

But one of the angels that Bentley claims visits him is an angel that was associated with William Branham’s healing ministry, according to Bentley. See Bentley’s report of the “angelic” visits here. This should concern Christians because Branham — a “prophet” in the Latter Rain movement — taught many false and heretical doctrines. See this source for more information. These false teachings include:

• Claiming that he was the angel in Revelation 3:14 and 10:7
• Claiming he was Elijah, who would precede Christ’s return
• Denying the Trinity and calling it a satanic doctrine
• Teaching that Eve had sexual intercourse with the serpent, producing human beings who are destined for hell, which is only a temporal place. But those who receive God’s seed (Branham’s teaching) are the “Bride of Christ”
• Saying that anyone who was a member of any denomination had taken the “mark of the beast”

• Giving a number of false prophecies about the end of the world
• Teaching that the Word of God had been given in two other forms besides the Bible: the zodiac and the Egyptian pyramids
• Some of his followers thought he was God or had been virgin born and, when he died in 1965, they believed he would be resurrected.
• Many of Branham’s critics believe he genuinely had a supernatural gift of healing, but that it wasn’t from God since he promoted heretical teachings

Bentley claims that, whenever Branham’s angel shows up at one of Bentley’s meetings, he gets a supernatural ability in his left hand to diagnose people’s sicknesses, and he also gets correct words of knowledge about details from their lives — just as Branham claimed. In the same article I linked to above, Bentley also talks about another troublesome “angel” named Emma, who I will address in a future post.

How can King claim to practice discernment in the spiritual realm, yet promote “prophets” like Bentley? This should alarm King’s followers.

Important Qualification
So, should we experience the supernatural regularly? My quick answer is “yes.” This may surprise you, given my above response to King’s article. But, it’s all in how you classify the supernatural. If, by supernatural, one means that we should talk with angels and take trips to heaven, then the answer — according to the biblical evidence — is no.

Yet, the Christian life is a supernatural life. First, our new birth is a major miracle — through it, we are convicted of and washed of our sins, we receive eternal life, and we are indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit who starts the work of conforming us to Christ’s image. After this initial miracle, our lives as Christians should continue to be characterized by the supernatural. Here are many types of supernatural works that Christians should consistently seek and see in their daily lives:

• Love for others, including our enemies 1 John 4:7-21
• Fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5:22-23
• Conviction of sin in our lives John 16:8-9
• Gifts of the Spirit 1 Corinthians 14:1
• Assurance of our salvation by God’s Holy Spirit Romans 8:16
• Comfort from the Holy Spirit and direction to truth John 14:15-18
• Inner strength from the Holy Spirit Ephesians 3:16
• Guidance from the Holy Spirit Acts 16:6-7
• Power from God for effective ministry Acts 1:8, Ephesians 3:20, John 15
• Boldness in evangelism Ephesians 6:19-20
• Answered prayers (when they are according to God’s will) John 15:16, 16: 23-24

Follow Discussion

54 Responses to “Should Christians Experience the Supernatural?”

  1. Ms Growing in Christ through the Word Says:

    Christianity is a Supernatural belief system. How else can It be described and or defined? All of It’s transpirations are supernatural.
    Thats where faith comes in. We accept what God has said about Himself by faith and rewards by faith and many of the rewards are manifested in the natural. Once we get to a point where we think that we can explain God away, then we become god. Deut 29:29 states the “The secret thing belong to God, but those that He reveals to us, belong to us, our children and our children’ children.” God deals with as as individuals, based oin what each of us needs in order for Him to accomplish His purpose in us.
    So all of us will not have duplicate experiences. We are all at different places alond the spiritual continueum. We tend to want to put God in a box, so that we can handle Him, rather than Him be in charge of us. We must understand that we do not know every thing, in fact, we know very little. If and when we seek the face of God, that which we need to know, He will reveal to us. Lets allow God to be God, let Him do the correcting while focus on the “great commission”.

  2. Servant2112 Says:

    Holly,

    I staunchly support your ministry and encourage you to continue. It’s sad that so many are so blind that they are incapable or unwilling to see or hear the truth. I haven’t seen in any of your blogs where you have attacked anyone personally or besmirched their character out of spite. What you do is expose false teachings, and are always able to solidly back up your claims with scripture. Many of the people who post in disagreement usually base their arguments/rebuttals on emotionalism or personal experience, and they almost always parrot the teachings or poor hermeneutics of their pet sacred cow. I have yet to read a biblically sound defense by any poster for any of the people you expose.

    I laughed when one of your posters claimed that Bentley had “Way over 1 million decisions for Christ. DOCUMENTED healings of cancer gone, blind eyes opened, deaf ears hearing, limbs restored, etc.” I haven’t seen one shred of evidence to support this, nor has anyone anywhere been able to produce it. “Decisions for Christ” and true conversion are two different things. Anyone can get caught up in emotionalism at altar call, but it takes the Holy Spirit to truly convert, and true conversion is life-long. From what I can discern, Bentley’s meetings were chock full of spirit, but it certainly wasn’t the Holy Spirit. Can God save souls at these abominable meetings? God can save anywhere. But if people were saved there, it was in spite of Bentley’s carnival of crazy rather than because of it.

    I was born-again at a church that was biblically unsound. Although I love the people at my old church, like these people, they are deceived. The only reason I was able to escape from that church unscathed is because of God’s grace. He gave me His precious Word; He gave me wisdom, He gave me discernment, and He gave me a teachable heart. He also gave me internet service and book stores which allowed me to investigate my pastor’s errant teachings. It’s more difficult to convince a deceived Christian of the truth of God’s Word than it is to convince an atheist. Your work is certainly cut out for you!

    Thank you, Holly, for your ministry. I’m sure you get discouraged, but keep contending for the truth. This is what each of us is called to do. With all my heart, I encourage you to keep your eyes heaven-ward and your heart pure and obedient before our Lord. Remember that these same people who “pooh-pooh” your efforts are the ones that most need your help. There are no coincidences. They came to your site for a reason, and I’d like to think that it’s because God is trying to reveal the truth to them. So what if they leave angry or outraged; so what if they think you’re judgmental or jealous or wrong. You planted a seed of truth, whether they like it or not. God is faithful and He always leads to truth. Now it’s up to them to either respond to God’s truth, or turn away from it in favor of their favorite preacher.

    God bless you, sister.

    All my love, Lu

  3. Servant2112 Says:

    I like what Ms Growing says — good post! Not only will God reveal to us what we need to know — He already has through His Word. It’s true that God will communicate to us individually in whatever way He chooses, however, He will never communicate anything that would contradict the completed canon of His Word or induce us to lose control of ourselves or behave in a way that would not bring glory to Him.

    Experiences are largely unreliable. The bible says”the heart is desperately wicked — who can know it?” and as scripture shows, the kinds of supernatural phenonmenon that Patricia King and Todd Bentley tout are simply not normative. Therefore, we must test all things in light of scripture. I believe that is the point Holly is trying to make.

    Regarding Ms Growing’s statement that we ought to allow God to do the correcting: Of course, it is only God’s perogative to judge a person’s heart. But it is our responsibility to rightly divide the Word of God, to ensure that we are not ensnared by extra-biblical teachings that can lead us into dangerous supernatural or gnostic realms.

    Thanks, again, for a great post! God bless you!

  4. Brenda Culver Says:

    Thank you Holly for your ministry of watching out for God’s remnant, and discerning the true ministers from the false. Even Paul named names and warned the churches of wolves in sheep clothing. If you are grounded in the Word and lead by the Spirit you want be fooled by the men and women masquerading as angels of light. These are the last days and there is going on right now a great falling away from the truth because of the false teachers. People will listen because they have itching ears and no love for the Truth. You talk of unity… well there can be no unity where truth is discarded. Wake up church! Pray that the Lord will give you eyes to see and ears to hear.

    Love to ALL brothers and sisters in Christ,

    Brenda Culver

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