Passionately Wrong

runner 2This week  I received a comment from a man named Ethan who disagreed with my last post, in which I lamented Bible teacher Francis Chan’s participation in an upcoming conference at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri.

I share Ethan’s comment below because I believe it is representative of a serious error that is being made by many people who are part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement–namely, that the supreme virtue to be had by a professing Christian is being “passionate” about one’s faith.

Here is his comment.

Ethan’s Comment

I couldn’t be more excited to see Francis Chan at Onething 2013! I believe that God is using the ministry of IHOP to influence a generation of passionate people crying out Come Lord Jesus, Come. Its very sad to see blogs and comments like these that bring so much division in the church.  What I find interesting is that it’s always the SUPER conservative Christians (like most people who follow blogs like these) that are in a witch hunt to prove every Charismatic ministry out there is not of God. 

Personally, I dislike labels, but for sake of you reading this blog I’ll use them. ‘The Charismatic movement’ is allowing God to usher in HIS supernatural works.  We live in a day and age where ‘reason’ will not be enough.  Proving God by your writings and reason will not be enough.  People are hungry to see a supernatural God display his love to humanity.  God is raising up a generation that believes we are the modern church of ACTS that are willing to walk up to people and expect to see the lame walk, the blind see, the sick healed, and the death raised to life all in JESUS name!  Our BEST days as a church body are yet to come…

My Thoughts

I have two thoughts to share.

First, I’d like to point out that Ethan has misrepresented my position by claiming that I am against every charismatic ministry. This is a common, logical fallacy known as a “straw man.” My blog does not critique charismatic teachings,  but rather it critiques the teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation movement–which go way beyond traditional charismatic teachings.

Second, notice that the reason Ethan admires the International House of Prayer is because he believes this organization is influencing “a generation of passionate people crying out ‘Come Lord Jesus, Come.'” Indeed, passion is what attracts many people to the teachings of IHOP, as these IHOP followers often describe themselves as “passionate followers of Jesus.” IHOP even holds an annual conference titled “Passion For Jesus.”

But passion, in and of itself, is not a virtue. One can be passionately mistaken. So, passion should be directed toward truth, which is found in God’s Word–that is, the Bible.

To be fair, many NAR followers will say they are passionate about Jesus. Even Ethan said IHOP’s followers are passionately crying out, “Come Lord Jesus.”

In response, I must point out that many people name the name of Jesus–even people in cults and false religions. So, saying that people are passionate about Jesus is not enough. They must be passionate about the correct Jesus–that is, the Jesus revealed in the Bible.

Furthermore, if you pay close attention to the words of NAR followers, it seems that they are especially passionate about being used by God to work miracles and be part of the glorious church of the last days. Recall Ethan’s words again: “God is raising up a generation that believes we are the modern church of ACTS that are willing to walk up to people and expect to see the lame walk, the blind see, the sick healed, and the death raised to life all in JESUS name!  Our BEST days as a church body are yet to come…”

Yet, these common NAR beliefs Ethan is reflecting–that God is raising up an end-time church that will walk in unprecedented supernatural power–simply cannot be found in the Bible. Sure, NAR followers will point to some verses they claim support these teachings–but the verses are cherry-picked and ripped out of context.

So, the passion Ethan is so impressed with is a misdirected passion. It is like the passion of a runner in a race, sprinting as fast and hard as he can only to realize that he ran the wrong direction. It doesn’t matter how passionate that runner was–his passion was worthless.

Yet, people in the NAR movement like to point to the church of Ephesus–in the Book of Revelation–to support their emphasis on passion. This church was rebuked by Christ for losing its early love for him (Revelation 2:4). Yet these same people often forget about another church that also was rebuked by Christ–the church in Thyatira.

Unlike the church in Ephesus, this church in Thyatira did have great love–or passion–but it also tolerated a false prophetess in its midst (Revelation 2:20). And Christ was not pleased–to say the least (Revelation 2:22-23). The lesson from these two churches should be clear: passion for Jesus is important, but so is faithfulness to God’s Word.

In short, Christians should be passionate–yes!–but they should be passionate about what is true.

— By Holly Pivec

  • No Related Post
Follow Discussion

13 Responses to “Passionately Wrong”

  1. Juan1715 Says:

    Ethan, are you saying that you love Jesus with passion and that those who don’t talk the words you use don’t?

    If it were that easy to dispatch, but it’s not that simple with christians in the church today.

    When you look at the apostle Peter, when he was asked by Jesus if he loved him, he answered Lord, you know I would do anything for you.

    Later on , Peter cursed and rejected Jesus. And point in case, when the persecution confronted him, he denied his lord.

    Ethan,
    We all love (agape) the Lord. Those that follow Mike Bickles and the others that follow other ministries.

    And we all are appointed for affliction and persecution in the end days.

    The gifts of the Holy Spirit in the ecclessia of the books of Acts, those gifts were meant
    to build strenth and equip the saints, those who would witness to the nations, IN THE MIDST OF TRIBULATION AND AFFLICTION.

    The gifts on its own are not a seal of infability.

    So now is the same as in the primitive church. The Gifts will prepare all christians to OVERCOME the hour of darkness that will cautivate the earth. AND THERE IS A LOT OF PASSION IN TRIBULATION.

    Our love will be put to the test soon enough Ethan, then everybodys passion for christ will be manifest in front of all and hosts of angels who watch us daily.

    There is no single person who can claim to have the full understanding of the prophetic in the end times.

    There is no perfect  denomination, we all have accepted Jesus, and rest in his promise of salvation by faith, not by works, not by passion.

    I believe that IHOP has done a lot of good. I dont believe that for itself is proof of rightstanding with God.

    I see dangerous tendencies in the New Apostolic Reformation.

    They call men their spiritual fathers and worship them like idols.

    The people you know and love who have taught you the good things about Jesus,
    make it impossible for you or anyone to see behind the veil of dominionism inside
    the NAR.

    And still, I know that those NAR people are standing by grace and faith too, like you and me.

    So wheres the harm?

    When you believe that you have to take the 7 mountains of influence to prepare the world
    as a kingdom so that Jesus might return.

    This is where it gets tricky, this is where you build an Empire of subjugated christians,
    and set up a world religion in anticipation of the man of iniquity, who will take over the seven
    mountains and declare himself the annointed one.

    Here is a group of people with passion for Jesus, the counterfeit Jesus.

    Read the word, let the Holy Spirit show you and teach you.

    Juan715

  2. Diana Lesperance Says:

    One of the biggest problems with Mike Bickle is that he has turned to the Catholic mystics in his passion. He has embraced Teresa of Avila, who spiritually wandered around the rooms of the Interior Castle of her heart. She opposed Martin Luther and the Reformation, becoming one of the greatest proponents of the Counter-Reformation. 

    The rallying cry of the Reformation was “grace alone, scripture alone, faith alone, Christ alone.” Yet Teresa, who “loved” Jesus passionately, opposed this message. She pursued God on her own terms, rather than entering boldly to the throne of grace by the blood of the Lamb.  

    I don’t know if Francis Chan has gone the route of Catholic mysticism or not, but it is troubling to me that he is willing to join with a person that has opposed grace, leading his people into a false passion. 

    This is of the utmost importance! How do we please God? Is it by entering into His rest and trusting in his blood ALONE–or is it by blending grace with works–corrupting the grace message and not keeping it pure and simple. 

    The paradox is that these are the lukewarm saints who blend the message of truth with lies. Jesus would rather we be hot or cold–not a mixture–making us lukewarm. While believing they are HOT — they are instead the kind of believer that he will spew out of his mouth!

  3. Nancy Says:

    Diana, very well articulated. Let’s continue to pray that God would help his people to see the truth and that He would grant repentence to those in error.

  4. M. K. Says:

    I am stunned still by the infection as I term it. I’ve been calling it that since the late 90’s.

    Apostasy behaves like a virulent infection passing from one person to another who then infects many more. Passion without grounding in good teaching is like a being a human petri dish, ready to feed all kinds of infectious microbes.

    Anyone can fall. I think it’s a test that Jesus allows. He gives us His Word, then it seems like He allows us to be tempted or sifted like wheat as He said to Peter. Will we rely on His Word, or will we happily accept anything a passing teacher says is Christ’s “new” word. Especially if it feels right.

    The Word of God allows us to critically examine any claims made by passing preachers and teachers. It doesn’t rely on our feelings of the day.

    But it can only help us if we spend time in the Word. A workman needing not to be ashamed. Paul asks Timothy to guard his doctrine. So doctrine is important too.

    Paul commends the Bereans for checking up on Paul’s claims by going to the Word of God and earnestly searching to see if what Paul said was correct.

    Time in the Word of God will give us passion for Christ, for His Word, for missions, for others. It won’t dry us up, it will feed us and inoculate us against spiritual infections.

    This washing of the water of the Word will keep us safe and clean. It leads us to the Blood of Christ, our salvation, to God the Father who so loved us, that He gave His Son for us, to the Holy Spirit who seals us.

    God’s Word will never leave us “cold” in Christ’s eyes. His Word leads us to Him, into His Presence, into His thoughts, His HEART!!!!

    Being aware of the gift we have, the written Word of God, to keep us safe from harm should humble us, cause us great joy.

    Instead, we have preachers who denigrate it to something less than experiances, less than a feeling we get at a service, less than the HOLY WORD OF GOD!!! They call it “yesterdays manna”. And they offer a NEW word from the Lord.

    If a preacher says that his new preaching is a word for today, more passionate than the Bible, which he terms as yesterday’s manna THEN How is that not “adding to the Word”?????

    That preacher is then placing himself and his “new teaching” ABOVE the Word of God. Furthermore, people are told that God offends the mind to teach the heart, subtly emphasizing a priority of feeling over thought of experience over the Written Word of God.

    That should ALWAYS set off warning bells.

    Remember the Bereans, who were more noble because they searched the Scripture BEFORE accepting Paul’s teaching.

    They weren’t passionate about anything except God, so they treated His Word as the ultimate authority. If Paul’s teaching didn’t line up, no passion, no mystical experience was going to move them towards accepting Paul and his new teaching.

    Mystics are always passionate about their subjective experiences. And they are usually really sincere.

    But we can be sincerely passionately WRONG if we ignore the plumbline that God gave us. His WRITTEN WORD. Unchanging, unaltered. His Word for all time and eternity.

    The Word is our safeguard, our protection. The Holy Spirit inspired it, caused men of old to write it, helped the church to see what was included and excluded from it, and never ever goes against it. We must judge all teaching against it.

    Even if angels come teaching something new and different, if it’s against the written Word of God, it’s from the enemy.

    The best lie, the best counterfeit is always the most sincere, real looking copy. The most humble looking. Angels of LIGHT so to speak.

    God’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, but it isn’t the New Apostolic knowledge or the latest gnostic heresy from a “prophet”, it’s the ability to know the SCRIPTURE first, to be able to compare and contrast the counterfeit.

    Know the Word. Examine every teaching against it. Automatically discard any teacher however good they appeared in the past who goes against the WORD.

    Anyone can fall, anyone can be misled. Our hearts are sin sick by nature. Our natural inclination is towards sin. The Word transforms us, challenging us and our thinking, confronts our sins, our lives. The Word is what brings repentance.

    No matter if the apsotasy is dominionism, latter rain, new apostles, shepherding, word of faith, one-ness pentecostalism, vineyard a la Toronto or Brownsville it all seems to attack the Bible by placing our feelings above the Word.

    By elevating feelings and passion above the Word of God, we set ourselves up for error.

  5. Ehtan Says:

    Holly,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this blog post! Healthy doubt is definitely good. Secondly,
    there are lots of opinions in the comments above! And believe me, to the best of my ability I am trying to understand your point of view, but the comments above are EXTREME.  No one in these ministries EVER claims that their ‘word’ is above the Word of God. EVER. Jesus is at the center of everything and HE is and always will be higher above everything.

    One comment I often hear is that these ministries are all about ‘experiences’ and not foundational doctrine…which is probably one of the BIGGEST mis-concpetions people have about them.  If you read and few blogs or watch a few youtube videos…anyone can take a snip from anything teaching and make it into whatever their agenda is.  Have you sat under these ministires, or talked one on one with their leadership or teachers of their schools.  You CANNOT make assumptions based on something you read and through everything away. This is why I read this blog.  I like to keep myself balanced. We obviously have different points of views on  A LOT of things, but that’s how we keep each other accountable.  The problem with the blog above and the comments that followed is that everyone is throwing rocks, based on ASSUMPTIONS and hide behind this ‘NAR false teaching’ wall.

    Are these ministries perfect? Of course not…but can you tell one that is? MAN is not God and MAN will make mistakes, and hurt people, and mess the church up, and fall,  and get it wrong at times.  But Thank God for repentance right?

    What I do believe is that Jesus stated, “Greater things YOU shall do.” “In my name…you will heal the sick, cast out demons, …etc…” I choose to believe the EXACT words of Jesus rather a theologian that claims they have the correct interpretation of this.  It’s actually very simple. Jesus said it clearly and I believe it.

    YES! There are ministers and leaders that have gotten it wrong, and don’t live lives of integrity, and have abused teachings, and abused the church, and have ‘prophesied’ things that were in error.  YES. And if they TRULY are men/women of God full of the fruits of the Spirit, they would be wise to admit their error, and repent.  BUT that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING goes to waste because of some bad apples. 

    Instead of going out to prove everyone is wrong and YOU’RE right…how about we focus on preaching the gospel, taking HIS kingdom to this lost world, and loving them as God loves, so much that HE sent his son JESUS to die on cross for our sins. 

    Personally, I believe in the years to come we will see the GREATEST harvest of souls our generation has ever seen… as the world gets darker…the light gets brighter…yes…OUR BEST DAYS ARE AHEAD.

    Thanks for reading!

    In Christ,

    Ethan

  6. Chad Says:

    I happen to know better, what you call opinions are based in fact, and I don’t need to go to youtube or blogs, because I have been there, particularly with ihop. I have met not a few of these ‘apostles’ as well, some just in passing in a crowd and many in small intimate company as well.
    My take on parts of the comment (which by the way is almost word for word verbatim of their website content):
    “…is allowing God to usher in HIS supernatural works…” ALLOWING GOD? This is an attitude found in ihop the n.a.r. whereby God cannot do anything unless they do something first, i.e. by doing thus we allow go to… There are lots of examples in this theology and it is a tenet of the revamped Montanism of the Kingdom Now/Dominionists which the n.a.r., ihop, bethel etc sprang from. I wonder how many of these folks understand their usage of the buzzwords “usher” or “ushering” in.
    “…People are hungry to see a supernatural God display his love to humanity…” People are ‘hungry’ to see power displays and be entertained, once again verbatim website content, nothing of original thought or opinion. You would think with the world in the state it is in, people would be ‘hungry’ to see souls saved. Miracle ‘displays’ would FOLLOW the preaching of the Gospel. Scripture tells us that God SHOWED His love towards us (humanity) in that while we were disobedient sinners, He sent Jesus to die on a cross for us, where He was ‘displayed’ hanging, between heaven and earth, apparently that’s not good enough. It’s interesting -a supernatural God- A” God? if referring to God, well of course He would be supernatural.
    “…God is raising up a generation that believes we are the modern church of ACTS…” More from the various websites of the movement, and not true, where is anything like this found in the scripture? Not there, in fact not what we are to ‘believe’ at all.
    “…that are willing to walk up to people and expect to see the lame walk, the blind see, the sick healed, and the death raised to life all in JESUS name!..” Actually, we are supposed to be willing to set our own will aside and to do His will, even delight in it. Nowhere do I see in any of this, or even the following comments anything about preaching the Gospel. I do not discount healing, nor do I see, barring the Lord’s will in any given situation, any impediment to the dead being raised either. But all of this is given foremost place in the teaching, the Gospel, unfortunately is given NO place at all. These groups are all about ‘social justice’ you know, ‘showing the love of Jesus’ when they ignore the primary expression of the love of Jesus, His willing atonement. 
    At the very beginning of the comment after repeating a few party line statements, we have these two little snippets:
    “…Its very sad to see blogs and comments like these that bring so much division in the church…” How does this bring division? The only ‘division’ I can see is godly people urging SEPARATION from unfruitful works and warning against doctrines of demons (no way to put that nicely) just as the scriptures teach and indeed, command us. All in love.
    “…What I find interesting is that it’s always the SUPER conservative Christians…” This is a common theme in these organizations that target young people, you see the parents don’t understand, because they are locked into their dried out crusty religion. Or the teachings on how they are going to change the ‘expression of Christianity’ etc etc. The conservatives (i.e mature Christians) just don’t get it since we don’t have these ‘apostles’ or these ‘prophets’, nor their ‘special revelation’. It’s all very exciting and gives a “sense of purpose”, by twisting the scripture so it is barely recognisable. Bickle’s organization, it’s partners, the n.a.r. and it’s ‘companies’ and prophets, bethel etc are a lot farther off the derech than most people realise.It’s meetings, conferences and ‘services’ are tailored specifically to titillate the flesh and emotions of impressionable youth and even an unlikely large number of older adults as well. All the while masking the truth with a palatable substitute. I had been in the midst of these movements until several years ago, deep. And it gets worse, the things believed by these folks are not very much different than the denizens inhabiting the various, yoga studios, coffee shops and boutiques I pass daily at lunch in the city. The difference being most of them don’t mix Jesus, the Holy Spirit or scripture into their worldview. While this theology mixes in paganism and ‘new’ ageism and twists scripture to fit it.
    All in all, I do not doubt the sincerity of any of these adherents, but it is not Christianity, it is not the Gospel and most certainly it is not ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’.

  7. Diana Lesperance Says:

    Amen, Chad! And yet Francis Chan is willing to yoke himself with the N.A.R.?

  8. Rich Kelley Says:

    I always want to know where in the scripture it says in the end times, last days, there is going to be a big revival?

    None of these movements or people behind them can provide scripture to show the “Great revival” or “Many souls coming to Christ”.

    I’m not trying to imply that because scripture say there is going to be a falling away that we should’nt continue to be good examples of Christ as we go about our daily lives.  I just don’t want the finger pointed at me as the falling away because I will not get behind these ministries that push “The things of Christ” instead of Christ. 

    It is becoming very common today to point to works, natural or spiritual and then dig in the scripture to justify them.  When Christ says away from me I never knew you it isn’t because you haven’t done “Things”, it is because you were more worried about the things of Christ instead of a relationship with Christ.

  9. Diana Lesperance Says:

    Amen, Rich! I agree with you!

  10. Juan1715 Says:

    I have also been a participant of a New Apostolic Reformation church. I have sat down and confronted face to face with the pioneers of the movement , one of the founders with Peter C Wagner.

    They are a product of the Latter Day Rain movement of the 50-70’s.

    Basically if you follow their teachings, you are anti-semitic. With or without your knowledege
    you are claiming to be the chosen people, you follow the replacement theology. You are 
    opposing Gods plans for the kingdom in Jerusalem, in Israel, with jews from all nations
    restored into one new man with us the gentiles. It’s in your NAR books, if you look for it.

    The NAR is the kingdom NOW. Not the kingdom that our beloved Messiah WILL STABLISH upon
    his return. Do you think Jesus needs help in stablishing his reign? 

    He is the image of the living god, everything is sustainned by
    the power of his spoken word.

    His kingdom will come by his power, not by our works.

    It doesn’t need Mike Bickle, What it needs is for us to believe
    and love one another LIKE HE LOVED US ( john 13:34).

    And he loved us till death. If there’s going to be a revival, you better
    get a grip, because it will be provoked by persecution and affliction. And
    Grace will super abound.

    It is not easy to hold to your crown, in the midst of tribulation.

    But I know that is not whats being taught in the NAR.

    Will see everything clearly when he comes.

    So for those who understand the Gospel, prepare.

  11. CG Says:

    Rich, one thing they use to support this unscriptural ‘end time revival’ teaching is the great number of people flocking to the trough

  12. steven Says:

    I am very thankful for sites like this that will engage movements such as the NRA.  I live in an area that is saturated in this stuff.  I feel like I’m living on a little island in the middle of a hurricane.  I grew up in pentecostal/charismatic churches.  I know many wonderful people in them, and I do not want to paint them all with one general stroke, but its hard not to from my experience.  The focus is NOT on the scripture and the truth of scripture but emotions, signs and wonders.  There is an arms race around this area for which church as the most “spiritual” service, and by that I mean emotional.  Humbly, thankfully, I was introduced to reformed theology and God in Christ reconciled me to himself, Glory to God alone.  So thank you again for your site.

  13. mo smith Says:

    I am responding to only reading Ethan’s first post, that was posted by Holly, and Holly’s reply to it. Sorry to the others I did not take the time to read but I might a little later.

    First, I will say I was a part of the Charismatic movement in a church in Abbottstown, PA (Harvest Chapel). Then this NAR stuff started creeping in, slowly, of course. So, I got decieved slowly. I was at one point fully immersed in this NAR movement. Read all the books of all the top level people; especially Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, James Goll, Todd Bentley and many more. I probably read over 50 books or more of these people and listened every week to Bill Johnson’s podcast.

    Second, they do seem to be very passionate about Jesus, as Ethan says. I believe Ethan is probably passionate for Jesus. Holly, makes the most important point and that is “What Jesus?” Ethan before you throw out that statement realize that the NAR are preaching “Another Jesus”. The bible warns specifically about “another Jesus” and “another gospel” being preached as a deception. Now, I know the NAR movement mock those who speak about deception. I have heard it out of Bill Johnson’s mouth in his podcasts. This is done to shut down any critical thinking skills you may have and yes, we are to have critical thinking skills according to Acts 17:11. Even the Apostle Paul said not to even take his “word” for it.

    Ethan if you are truly born again, which is not for me to judge, then the Holy Spirit is already talking to you about things you are hearing. He was speaking to me the whole time I was in it but the many statements made by these leaders mocking “discernement ministries” and calling people “critical” or “of a religious spirit” are done to manipulate your mind. In other words, it is mind control. This is done to keep you from using critical thinking skills. Remember, Jesus said to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Please don’t forget you “MIND”. This is was they are trying to “turn off” in you. That is how I stayed in this movement for around 6-7 years and even when I got out of it I didn’t realize at first why God led me out. I thought it was for another reason but now I really know that he needed to get me out so he could open my eyes to the deception.

    You can still believe in the “gifts of the Spirit” without being part of this movement. Not all who are against this movement are cessasionists. You don’t need a vision or dream to hear the Holy Spirit telling you this. Like I said if you are born again he will lead you out of this. Just listen for his “still small voice”. It will be a conviction.

    Blessings to You!
     
    To Holly,

    You are doing a wonderful job here! I haven’t read your books yet but I heard you on Derek Gilbert’s radio program.

Leave a Reply

* Please read my Comment Policy