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What are the dangers of ‘Treasure-Hunting’ evangelism?

Treasure Hunting is a new type of evangelistic outreach that has been popularized by Bethel Church in Redding, California, and has been picked up by many well-known evangelistic groups such as YWAM. It’s also sometimes referred to as “prophetic evangelism” or “supernatural evangelism.” Yet despite its popularity, this practice of Treasure Hunting is one that ought to be avoided by Christians because of its many inherent problems and dangers.

Before I talk about some of the problems with Treasure Hunting, I want to fill you in on how it works. This is what might typically happen: a team of three or four people will choose a place to conduct their hunt, such as a park or grocery store. Then, before the Treasure Hunt, team members ask God to give them prophetic “words of knowledge” —  called “clues”— about specific people they will find at that location. The clues they seek include a person’s name, descriptions of that person’s appearance, and any ailments (such as recurring headaches or a bad knee). Team members mark these clues on a treasure map, which they then use to guide them to a person — called a “treasure” — who matches their clues.

For example, in his book called The Ultimate Treasure Hunt: A Guide to Supernatural Evangelism through Supernatural Encounters, Kevin Dedmon – who was on the leadership team at Bethel Redding – recounts a treasure hunt. During one hunt conducted in a Wal-Mart, the clues included “Starbucks coffee,” “hurt right arm,” and “frozen foods.” The treasure hunters located a woman buying Starbucks coffee-flavored ice cream in the frozen food section. When they approached the woman and told her about their activity, she looked at their list of other clues and revealed that she had an injured right arm. She allowed the team members to pray for her and, according to their reports, her arm was  immediately healed.

This account, if accurate, sounds great: a woman was found and prayed for, and then healed. It seems all good, so someone might ask, “What’s wrong with Treasure Hunting?”

Lots, unfortunately. Here are several problems with this novel practice.

It’s not supported by Scripture

This practice does not have the support of Scripture. Nowhere does the Bible ever record a Treasure Hunt or instruct people to engage in anything like a Treasure Hunt. The biblical stories Dedmon has presented as examples of Treasure Hunts are a stretch. For example, he suggests that the time when Jesus spoke with the woman at the well (John 4:1-26), he was engaged in something like a Treasure Hunt. But Jesus did not pray for clues and then seek a person matching those clues. Also, the story of his encounter with this woman is descriptive; it’s doesn’t prescribe a new practice for his followers. And it misses the important fact that Jesus, as the divine Son of God, had omniscient knowledge of this woman’s life that mere mortals would not have.

Another passage of Scripture that Dedmon has misused to support Treasure Hunting is Acts 9:11-12. This passage supposedly records the first ever Treasure Hunt, when Ananias was given clues to find Saul at a house on Straight Street. But Ananias wasn’t engaging in a Treasure Hunt, like those being practiced today. He didn’t plan to go on a hunt, nor did he pray for clues. He didn’t initiate anything. Rather, the Lord called to him in a vision and commanded him to go and find Saul. Ananias simply obeyed. There’s no notion that this watershed event in church history – which led to Saul (the apostle Paul) being given a special calling and role to play in redemptive history – was intended to become a practice for all believers to follow.

 

It’s highly presumptive

The idea of expecting God to provide clues, on demand, and to work within other specified parameters established by the teams (including expecting him to work at a specific time, in a specific location, and in specific ways) is highly presumptive. It borders on manipulation of God. Some have likened this practice to expecting God to play parlor games. But he is sovereign; we shouldn’t venture to tell him when and how he must work.

 

It doesn’t leave enough room for discernment

Treasure Hunters are taught to take the first thoughts that pop into their heads, after they pray, as clues from God to direct them to specific individuals. In fact, Dedmon says that, when he’s teaching people to Treasure Hunt, he gives them a three-minute time limit to receive clues from God.

In conducting first-time Treasure Hunts, I always limit the time to get “words of knowledge” to three minutes. The first reason is that most of the people do not have confidence that they will hear from God even if they were to wait for three hours. I want them to have a practical experience of how easy it is to hear from God. And second, I do not want to give them too much time to change their minds as they do hear from God.

But taking unfiltered thoughts, as directions from God, is a very unwise practice. What process is in place to discern that a particular thought is actually from God and not merely from one’s imagination or even from a demonic source?

 

It’s built on a faulty assumption that everyone can have the miraculous gift of prophecy

Treasure Hunting is basically — what is known in the New Apostolic Reformation — as a “prophetic activation” exercise. In other words, by engaging in a Treasure Hunt, participants can be “activated” in the gift of prophecy described in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.  But the idea that people can learn to prophesy —  or can learn to “activate” other miraculous gifts — has no support in Scripture. The apostle Paul wrote that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts. They are not powers that can be learned or activated. And they are distributed directly by the Holy Spirit to individuals as he alone decides (1 Corinthians 12:11). They cannot be acquired by individuals at will. Furthermore, Paul makes it very clear that not all can have each of these gifts. He asks rhetorically, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Corinthians 12:29–30). The intended answer is no. Not all have the gift of prophesying or the working of miracles or healing.

The idea that miraculous gifts can be learned or activated has more in common with New Age teachings than with biblical Christianity. New Agers believe that everyone is born with supernatural powers they can “activate” or “awaken” or “unlock” by engaging in various New Age practices. This concept of activating the gifts is foreign to the New Testament.

 

It misrepresents God

Approaching a person and claiming that God intends to heal that person – or claiming that God has given a direct message for that person – is a misrepresentation of God, if he hasn’t actually spoken. To do so would make the Treasure Hunter guilty of speaking falsely for God, which is a serious offense according to Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). Speaking falsely for God harms the church’s witness to the world. A person may reject Christianity based on the false promises of a Treasure Hunter.

 

It minimizes true gospel proclamation in favor of promoting “supernatural encounters”

Treasure Hunting is promoted as a new form of evangelism. In an endorsement of Dedmon’s book, the “apostle” Randy Clark, of Global Awakening, says that it “will change your view and understanding of evangelism.” But that’s not necessarily a good thing. The question is, how, exactly, is evangelism – or the gospel itself – being defined? During many Treasure Hunts, the teams speak of Jesus, but it’s not clear what message they communicate about him. It seems that the message is often that Jesus loves someone or wants to heal someone. There’s a reason for this. In his book, Dedmon explains that the purpose of a Treasure Hunt is to lead a person to having a supernatural encounter with God, such as receiving a healing or prophetic word that shows God’s love for them. The first line of his book’s introduction states, “The Ultimate Treasure Hunt is about supernatural encounters.” It’s not to convince people, through reasoned argumentation, of their need to confess Christ.

Yet, unlike Treasure Hunting, it’s clear that reasoned argumentation played a central role in the apostles’ presentation of the gospel in the book of Acts. For example, you can see this in Acts 2:14-41, starting with their very first sermon. And take note that, in this passage, the apostle Peter proclaimed Christ’s resurrection. He didn’t merely lead them to warm, fuzzy encounters of God’s love. And he directly confronted his listeners with their sin and their need to repent and receive forgiveness. No true sharing of the gospel would place the focus on a supernatural encounter and downplay these important messages.

To be fair to Dedmon, he agrees that people need to be made aware of their sin. Yet he makes the message secondary to an encounter. And he never seems to explicitly state what the gospel is.

We can certainly look for new ways to creatively share the gospel. But we must be certain that those ways have the support of Scripture and that the gospel is actually being shared. Thus, Treasure Hunts might actually distract believers from biblical forms of evangelism that emphasize sharing the gospel. Rather than fulfilling the Great Commission, Treasure Hunting may hinder it.

Have you seen this activity being practiced in your church or community?

—–

Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University

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16 Responses to “What are the dangers of ‘Treasure-Hunting’ evangelism?”

  1. Daniel Walter Says:

    Where in the Bible does it say that “All truth in the Bible?”

  2. Paula Southworth Says:

    Great article. It reminds me of Elmer Towns, a Spiritual Gifts Inventory. 80, or 100 questions to determine your Spiritual Gifts. I think it’s still used. Baptist also. NOT BIBLICAL! They are big into signs.

  3. R. R. Says:

    Another great expose Holly, thank you for information.

  4. Chris Says:

    Thanks for another well-written article, Holly. It really is heart-breaking to consider the number of people who are caught up in NAR/neocharismatic shenanigans and who are completely blinded to its obvious failings and shortcomings, as well as deaf to the plain teachings of Scripture. Yet thanks in part to efforts like yours, a few are coming out of it. Keep up the good work!

  5. Carol Berubee Says:

    Holly, thanks for explaining this perverse practice.

    You said, “But taking unfiltered thoughts, as directions from God, is a very unwise practice. What process is in place to discern that a particular thought is actually from God and not merely from one’s imagination or even from a demonic source?”

    God is not speaking to us today. He spoke (past tense) in His Son at the First Coming (Hebrews 1:1-2). He left it to His chosen writers to record epistles for us. He made sure we have this collection of writings as His revelation of Himself.

    The Scriptures are all we need (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If I should think of something, I hope that it’s in accord with Scripture, but it’s still my own thought, not “God speaking.” There is no new revelation.

    These “words of knowledge” that people claim to have are not what Paul defines as words of knowledge. Knowledge, in the Pauline epistles, is always knowledge of Christ (which we now have written for us), not knowledge of Joe Blow and his personal problems.

  6. Delkin Says:

    Full disclosure – my Baptist church does Treasure Hunts on some of our mission trips. Also, I’m familiar with a missions organization that has found it to be the most effective form of evangelism in a northern European (largely atheistic) country. Also, I’ve been on maybe 40 Treasure Hunts and I’ve seen the amazing things God has done through them, so I’m speaking from personal experience as someone who comes from a denomination that prides itself on its ability to articulate the Gospel message and reach out to the lost.

    “It’s not supported by Scripture”

    Neither are riding cars to work or brushing our teeth. That can’t seriously be the justification for not doing something.

    It’s a simple synthesis of the concepts that God wants to reach the lost, we are his preferred agents, and he gives us power for ministry. It’s also combined with the clear biblical instruction that we can seek after gifts and that gifts attest to the Gospel message (Hebrews 2:4, Romans 15:9, 1 Corinthians 2:4).

    “And it misses the important fact that Jesus, as the divine Son of God, had omniscient knowledge of this woman’s life that mere mortals would not have.”

    Debated by theologians. We know for a fact that Jesus wasn’t 100% omniscient (Mark 13:32) and that he “emptied himself” (Philippians 2:7) to some extent. We don’t know all that that entails, but it is entirely possible that Jesus was modelling a relationship with the Holy Spirit as well as fulfilling his unique role as the Son of God. We just don’t have clear enough Scripture to figure out where the lines lie.

    “Also, the story of his encounter with this woman is descriptive; it’s doesn’t prescribe a new practice for his followers.”

    Is there any Scripture that is excluded from “all”? If not, then this passage can help me as a follower of Christ be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained in righteousness.

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    It seems there are a few presuppositions shaping your understanding of what is “prescriptive”. We are called multiple times to imitate (exactly replicate) Christ – surely that would included doing a few of the things Christ actually did from time to time. Christ definitely had his own calling (die for the sins of the world, etc.), but if our ministries look nothing like the heart of what Christ did, we surely must question the degree to which we are honestly seeking to imitate him.

    “It’s built on a faulty assumption that everyone can have the miraculous gift of prophecy…Paul makes it very clear that not all can have each of these gifts.”

    It’s probably the gift “words of knowledge” which I would say is in the family of prophecy. But you’re also skipping the clear verses where Paul says, “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy…So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy…”

    Paul wanted us to earnestly desire the prophetic gifts. Desire looks like something more than just a wistful thought. It is expressed through hunger, risk, experimentation. If I desire a cheeseburger, it is expressed through me getting out of my house, driving to the restaurant, ordering, and eating a cheeseburger. I don’t sit on the couch, watch TV, and wait for a sign from heaven before doing something about it.

    We can’t honestly say we are obeying Paul’s command to “desire” if we aren’t doing anything to see if the prophetic gifts are at work in our lives and where we are in the process. There really is no other way to see if the gift of healing is at work in your life without…praying for the sick. There’s no way to see if the gift of prophecy is at work in your life…without taking risk and prophesying.

    “But the idea that people can learn to prophesy — or can learn to “activate” other miraculous gifts — has no support in Scripture.”

    Gifts can be imparted (Romans 1:11, 1 Timothy 1:16).

    Gifts can be fanned to flame (2 Timothy 1:6)

    Gifts can be neglected (1 Timothy 1:14)

    Gifts can be desired (1 Corinthians 14)

    “Learning” a gift is part of fanning it to flame. “Activating” it is part of imparting. Sure there are abuses, misunderstandings, and what not – but that’s the idea behind these words.

    “A person may reject Christianity based on the false promises of a Treasure Hunter.”

    A person may reject Christianity because the music is bad on a Sunday morning. Or a prominent pastor has an affair. Or the parking lot was full. Does that mean we shouldn’t go to church? Or have pastors? Or have parking lots?

    People make mistakes, say stupid things, and speak presumptuously from time to time…that isn’t a reason to remove people from the mission field. The answer isn’t to throw out the baby – it’s to clean up the bathwater.

    “What process is in place to discern that a particular thought is actually from God and not merely from one’s imagination or even from a demonic source?”

    If Satan begins injecting thoughts into the minds of believers and directing them to people to receive prayer, hear the Gospel, and become saved, then Satan’s doing some pretty dumb stuff these days.

    When I go on a Treasure Hunt I begin from a place of this: “God – I want the world to know your glorious Gospel. I want to be led by you, guided by you, empowered by you. I want everyone to know that Jesus is the only way. Please lead me. Please guide me. I ask you to speak to me now so that I can reach the lost through your power.”

    And the fruit bears witness that the Holy Spirit is at work and that God delights to save the lost. God looks for willing vessels and empowers those who honestly seek his guidance. Unfortunately many miss out become of fear of presumption. I’ve taken statistics – about 80% of the outreaches I’ve gone on have resulted in “chance” meetings with people who needed an encouragement from God, a shoulder to cry on, or some other demonstration that Jesus is good news. When the lost begin crying and some say, “God sent you to me”, it’s hard to seriously consider that it’s a demon calling the shots. You know a tree by its fruit – this is bearing good fruit.

    “No true sharing of the gospel would place the focus on a supernatural encounter and downplay these important messages.”

    You’re attacking your own strawman here. Treasure Hunting is a tool – nothing more, nothing less. In the hands of some, it isn’t that effective and can even be damaging. In the hands of others, it is effectively being used to share the Gospel and proclaim Christ.

  7. Delkin Says:

    Hey Carol Berubee –

    “God is not speaking to us today. He spoke (past tense) in His Son at the First Coming (Hebrews 1:1-2). He left it to His chosen writers to record epistles for us. He made sure we have this collection of writings as His revelation of Himself.”

    Sorry, this is not correct:

    Hebrews 3:7 – Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says [present, active tense], Today, if you hear his voice [present, active tense], do not harden your hearts…”

    John 10:27-28 – My sheep hear my voice [Active tense], and I know them [Active tense], and they follow me [Active tense]. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

    Romans 10:17 – So faith comes from hearing [Active tense], and hearing through the word of Christ [Not limited to Scripture – “word of Christ” = words which Christ speaks].

    Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active [Active tense], sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. [No where does Scripture confine the “word of God” to be Scripture]

    “The Scriptures are all we need (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If I should think of something, I hope that it’s in accord with Scripture, but it’s still my own thought, not “God speaking.” There is no new revelation.”

    Also, this is not correct either. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “all Scripture is useful” it does not say that “Scripture is all that is useful”.

    If you are open to a theologian challenging this viewpoint, I’d recommend “What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology” by Dr. Jon Ruthven. This is basically a Reformation view you’re arguing and resulted from debates with the Catholics over papal authority and ongoing miracles attesting to the Catholic church’s claim of authenticity. The view that God no longer speaks is not only unbiblical, it challenges the central character of the Bible – namely, a God who speaks to humanity.

  8. Jaeson Says:

    Treasure hunts, and anything to do with the New Apostolic Reformation’s man made “prophecies” are evil. In some cases I think it is entirely demonic- even if the prophecy sounds good. You know why? The people who hear these, many times unsaved, or even saved, begin to rely on the words in the prophecy more than the Bible. It invariably happens if someone seems more spiritual, or that God is speaking to them all the time. Even if it is something positive like “God will give you a great ministry, you will be a blessing, he hears your prayers for a spouse,” or something like that, it can devastate a person when it does not come to pass, then what, was/is God lying to me? That is where it leads.

    In the case of these treasure hunts, the gospel and repentance is not taught. I’ve seen these things first hand- they “pray for someone,” which yes there is no harm in praying for another, but it doesn’t lead people to Jesus at all. Like ‘oh here is a bandaid, remember God gave you it.” um?? Their souls are far more important than their bodies in the long run, or a crisis they are going through. Does God care about their health or crisis? I’m sure, but it is the emphasis on prosperity, and not truth faith and repentance in Jesus Christ which leads men astray. I believe this movement has more unsaved than any other.

    Their chasing of the “gifts” and not the “fruit” of the Spirit is pure deception. I have yet to see someone be truly saved from a supposed “treasure hunt.” Of course, you’ll gain a lot of attention from them, your followers if you are a “church leader” will think you are doing something good (without any verifiable proof), and you can go and say you did your good deed for the day without discipling a person to a humble faith in Christ.

    God does speak today- in the Bible. I think outside of that it is a RARE thing in a person’s Christian life. In 30 years of being a Christian, and a “charismatic one” at that for a good 25 of those 30 years, I can only say God actually spoke to me without a doubt maybe 3 times. Yes 1x every 10 years. It isn’t like God is perpetually nonstop a blabbermouth. Now I hear more clearly just reading scripture instead of constantly trying to find vague impressions that may or may not be Jesus.

  9. Delkin Says:

    Hey Jaeson,

    “In the case of these treasure hunts, the gospel and repentance is not taught. I’ve seen these things first hand- they “pray for someone,” which yes there is no harm in praying for another, but it doesn’t lead people to Jesus at all.”

    I almost answered this point in my previous post, but it was getting too long. This mindset forgets the clear teaching of Scripture regarding evangelism and growing the Body:

    “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

    Some plant. Some water. God gives the growth.

    How many times did you have to hear the Gospel message and see Christian love in action to actually become a believer and call yourself a Christian? How many weeks does a seeker have to sit in the audience of your church before coming to Christ? How many times do you have to share the Gospel with your aunt before it “clicks” and she understands? Often, it takes years of intentional planting and watering for an adult to come to Christ.

    This mindset expects people to spend 10-15 minutes expounding Scripture in someone’s face in anticipation of them immediately coming to Christ on the spot. Sometimes it happens that way. But often, it’s a chain of events where several individuals share Christ’s love combined with a gradual and growing understanding of the Gospel.

    To give some statistics from personal evangelism – maybe 5-10% of outreaches that I’ve gone on have actually resulted in an immediate salvation. In each of these salvations, God worked a strong miracle that opened their eyes.

    Most of the time it is simply sharing God’s love and giving a brief 15-second Gospel message, and inviting them to church next Sunday. This is the “real-world” for street evangelism. People are busy, and even if they feel loved, they still have kids waiting in the car or have an appointment they must keep. We plant, we water, but God ultimately brings the growth.

  10. Michael Says:

    Hello Delkin,

    I appreciate your diligence in searching the scriptures on these matters. I observe you being open to what the text says and healthy reasoning and logic.

    A couple of questions that i had when reading your comments:

    ““It’s not supported by Scripture”: Neither are riding cars to work or brushing our teeth. That can’t seriously be the justification for not doing something.”

    While I will continue to drive my car and brush my teeth (scripture is silent on these items, and they are not acts related to Christianity), I would caution you that this is not a logical argument when the question of doing things in the name of Christianity is concerned. I think Revelation 22 is the chapter that comes to mind related to looking at Treasure Hunting.

    I’ll give you an example of when adding to what is in the Bible is a problem: Joseph Smith adds quite a bit in the Book of Mormon that is not in the Bible.

    I think much of where I see it differently than you is the responsibility of teachers and elders within the church – We should never knowingly expand scripture and teach that expansion as truth from the Bible.

    This is the same impasse you and I have related to Brian Simmons and his self labeled God breathed Passion Translation. I’d never argue that there would never be some good outcomes from treasure hunting or from reading that so called translation. (I learned this when we had a person with MS come to Christ after not being healed at a Benny Hinn crusade). It’s the fact that it’s not accurate to represent either of these items as they are being represented. And just because there are some good outcomes does not excuse the lack of accountability for these leaders.

    I was so thankful that when my son was asked to Treasure hunt with his youth group, his response was “I did it, but i don’t understand why we just didn’t walk to someone and apply the great commission to achieve the purpose.” A proud moment for this dad when he realized we didn’t need to add a practice / custom.

    God Bless you Delkin,

    Michael

  11. Delkin Says:

    Hey Michael,

    “While I will continue to drive my car and brush my teeth (scripture is silent on these items, and they are not acts related to Christianity), I would caution you that this is not a logical argument when the question of doing things in the name of Christianity is concerned.”

    Here is a direct example that could be added to the list: door to door evangelism. We have zero Scriptural mandate supporting the practice. There is nothing in the Bible that gives us an example to follow that even remotely models knocking on people’s doors and telling them the Romans Road and asking them to come to church next Sunday.

    Jesus left us a general directive – make disciples. He didn’t give us specifics. We are left to fill in the gaps under the guidance of the Spirit and the clear boundaries and examples of Scripture.

    “I was so thankful that when my son was asked to Treasure hunt with his youth group, his response was “I did it, but i don’t understand why we just didn’t walk to someone and apply the great commission to achieve the purpose.” A proud moment for this dad when he realized we didn’t need to add a practice / custom.”

    I’m glad that your son sees straight to the heart of sharing the Gospel and applying the Great Commission – that is wonderful! I hope someday to raise children who are able to do the same!

  12. Carol Berubee Says:

    “Jesus left us a general directive – make disciples. He didn’t give us specifics. We are left to fill in the gaps under the guidance of the Spirit and the clear boundaries and examples of Scripture.”

    Delkin, the commission given to the Eleven in Matthew 28 must be viewed in light of the three years the disciples spent with the Lord. He had already taught them about evangelism. The events of Matthew 10 and Luke 10 would certainly have been brought to the minds of the Eleven as they were being commissioned as Apostles.

    As for the rest of us, we aren’t given the same commission. Only a relative few are Evangelists (Ephesians 4:11). (I’m not saying that only those who are true Evangelists should share the Gospel with people.) Those who present Christ to the lost must preach the Gospel that Christ died for sins, was buried, and was raised three days later in a flesh and bones body. It is only this Gospel that saves (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). “Treasure hunting” clutters up the Gospel with a bunch of magic tricks (if the Gospel is preached at all!) which saves no one because it’s an appeal to the flesh. Only the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17).

  13. Michael Says:

    Hello Delkin,

    Thanks for your reply. I trust that you know i am wanting to hear you and have a healthy discussion.

    “Here is a direct example that could be added to the list: door to door evangelism. We have zero Scriptural mandate supporting the practice. There is nothing in the Bible that gives us an example to follow that even remotely models knocking on people’s doors and telling them the Romans Road and asking them to come to church next Sunday.”

    While I’m not the #1 fan of door to door evangelism, I’m fine with door to door evangelism done well. I also am not a fan of it when done not in line with example that Jesus indeed did model for his disciples – I can’t see where you can say he didn’t model evangelism, door to door or walking a road, or sitting at a well….or…or…or…

    So, like with Treasure Hunting, door to door (or any type) of evangelism that is not done with love and that is done in a way that misrepresents scripture teaching would be something I wouldn’t support.

    My point is this – while good can come from something, if it’s based on incorrect exegesis or implies an unbalanced view of scripture, there is indeed a more excellent way.

    With regard to this: “I hope someday to raise children who are able to do the same!”

    Don’t settle for hope. Teach it! Model it! Require it from those that speak into the lives of your kids!

    – teach them that not all have the gift of prophecy, therefore treasure hunting is less than the best of for helping people live out the great commission. They should always be sharing the good news! But by all means, if the Holy Spirit nudges you to talk with someone, follow that. It doesn’t require some vision or dream…. Then they will learn to listen to the still small voice as well as the ‘billboard’ visions.

    – teach them that while Paul says i wish that we all prophesy and asks ‘do all prophesy?’ (implying some do not), he calls us to a more excellent way of love. Then they will realize that sometimes meeting a spiritual needs many times comes because they met a physical or emotional need. And they will learn to seek out their spiritual gifts and use them. People like me with the gift of administration will not feel less than those with the sign gifts.

    – teach them to love the word and to be discerning, because many will improperly exegete scripture and teach the things that distract them from love. Then they will not feel lost or forgotten or less than others because they are not manifesting in a way that is elevated / worshipped by this movement.

    – teach them that while they may not be healed from every sickness or hardship that comes their way, God still loves them as His children. They don’t need to be dismayed or feel guilt or shame if God does not heal them in this age. They will also realize that not providing medicine to themselves or their kids as a sign of faith is actually wrong, let alone illegal in almost every state in the USA.

    – teach them Jesus was God AND Man. Then they won’t accept a teaching of anything that Jesus could do, they should also do. They would stay on the more excellent way by avoiding distraction and danger of setting up Dead Raising Teams, trying to forgive sins (as Jesus did), read/tell fortunes and astral projections/out of body experiences.

    – teach them that prophecy must be judged (whether you use a NT only view or NT and OT view of judging) then they will know what leaders to follow an not follow to enable them to not be deceived.

    – teach them that there are authority structures in scripture and seek an elder led church model with strong levels of accountability for Pastor and Teachers. Teach them from observing how a church corrects it’s leaders or it’s flock when appropriate. Then they will avoid those that lead them away from the truth in scripture.

    Well – i could go on…but if you ask me why i stay away and recommend to all that I am in relationship with to stay away from the NAR – those are the examples.

    For me this is not cessationist vs. continuationist. (I’m not a cessationist).
    For me this is not about charismatic vs. non-charismatic. I have relationships with Christians in both and have attended both.

    For me this is about a more excellent way and holding strongly to a right view of scripture.

    God Bless You!

    Michael

  14. Delkin Says:

    Hey Carol:

    “As for the rest of us, we aren’t given the same commission. Only a relative few are Evangelists (Ephesians 4:11).”

    The problem with this statement is that Jesus told the disciples to teach their following disciples to obey “everything” he commanded them (Matt. 28:20). He commanded them to preach the Kingdom while healing the sick and raising the dead in these very commissions you cite. This means that me, as a disciple of Jesus should be taught to preach the Kingdom in the same way.

    The only way out of this is to allow in an extra-biblical presupposition that these things no longer happen or that Jesus didn’t really mean “everything” when he said it. I can’t be honest to Scripture and accept either of these.

    Here’s Dr. Jon Ruthven, a former professor of theology from Regent Theological Seminary making the argument much better than I could. I quote him often around here because he gives theologically sound answers to much of the attacks leveled against the charismatic world. If someone actually wants a response to the accusations they are leveling against the “NAR” straw-man, then his book “What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology” is a perfect start. Here’s his quote:

    “Protestants claim that all believers were sent in the Great Commission and it merely involves teaching all nations without the miracles seen in the other commissions. There are several problems with this reasoning:

    Jesus prefaces the commission with “all power is given to me”. This is the same power word that is used for authority and power to cast out demons seen in the other commissions.

    This preface is connected by the word “therefore”, meaning a causal connection. Because Jesus has demon-casting authority, therefore disciples are to make other disciples with this kind of authority. To guarantee this authority, Jesus says He will be with them “to the end of the age”.

    Baptism is a sign of entering the New Covenant of the Spirit. The passage specifies that they are to be baptized, not in some ritualized formula, but in the “name” (authority and character) of the Father (who sent Jesus on His mission of power), the Son (who came to baptize in the Spirit and commission His disciples to do the same), and the Spirit (the New Covenant Spirit of prophecy and power).

    Above all, the commission here is to make disciples. Recall an important principle in the New Testament: “imitate me as I imitate Christ”. What are they to imitate? “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Everything? Certainly this includes what Jesus commanded them in other commissioning accounts in which He “gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and heal every disease and sickness.” And it included the activity of the 72 who “returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name’”. What name is that? The name of Jesus, the one who has “all authority in heaven and on earth.”

  15. Delkin Says:

    Hey Michael!

    “Thanks for your reply. I trust that you know i am wanting to hear you and have a healthy discussion.”

    Yep, I am interested in actually talking about this stuff. Most of my experience with “NAR” critics is hit-and-run type behavior. They just drop some super morbid and grim sounding headline with a wall of faulty / half-baked reasoning with quotes taken out of context and ride off into the night.

    “My point is this – while good can come from something, if it’s based on incorrect exegesis or implies an unbalanced view of scripture, there is indeed a more excellent way.”

    This really boils down to a question of freedom. Are you free to evangelize how you want? Or is the New Testament now some sort of Law that constrains all of our actions to only be exactly what is explicitly prescribed? Obviously it cannot be option #2 because then we wouldn’t be able to function.

    Treasure Hunting is taking the freedom we have and Christ and trying to use the gifts of the Spirit to reach the lost in a very tangible format. I mean, it’s going to be virtually impossible to convince me I’m grieving the Spirit by asking for His power and guidance to bring in the lost into His Kingdom. You’d have to convince me to read the Bible as a constrictive set of rules to follow (a new Torah) rather than a guide into a relationship with God in which He walks with me and talks with me and guides me and empowers me.

    “Don’t settle for hope. Teach it! Model it! Require it from those that speak into the lives of your kids!”

    Definitely – teaching our children the way of the Lord and how to walk with Him is critical!

    “For me this is not cessationist vs. continuationist. (I’m not a cessationist).”

    And I can understand and respect your views here. I’ve done a lot of reading on the cessationist debates and attacks against the “NAR”. Almost every single argument against the “NAR” rests on repackaged cessationist arguments. For example, “New Revelation” is what cessationists have called prophecy decades before the “NAR” was named.

  16. Jo Says:

    I have one question for Delkin,
    Why aren’t these “Treasure Hunters” directed to go to medical hospitals or psychiatric hospitals, or homeless camps to “heal”?

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