Remember in days gone by when if you were taking a trip somewhere you would purchase a road map for the specific area that you were going to so that you would or could arrive at your destination without getting lost or spending too much time on the road? Times change, most people use a GPS (Global Positioning System) that works with satellites and computer systems that operate in your car now.
Yesterday I got off the beaten road a little bit. It wasn’t a big diversion, minor actually, but a bit of a diversion nonetheless. And it made me realise that I, as a Christian, am constantly in desperate need of a spiritual road map, something that will keep me on that straight and narrow road that Jesus talks about. It is so easy to get into an area that one is not familiar with, it is so easy to pick the wrong map or go down the wrong road. And, most importantly, it is so easy to misread a map and plan to go to one destination and end up in an entirely different one.
And there are so many different maps to choose from. There are philosophy maps, atheist maps, naturalist maps, religion maps, Christian maps, Conservative maps, Liberal maps, Bible maps, to name but just a few. And each of these assorted maps have highways and roads that can lead us to a particular point of view or perspective.
When Jesus walked on this earth, He told us that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. So, in essence, He is the ultimate road map, He shows us how to get to the Father, He tells and shows us of the Father and He is the means whereby we are joined in never ending life with the Father. That’s pretty big. But if you view Jesus as the ultimate road map, there are some prerequisites that you have to adhere to and some that you have to reject along the way. The naturalist road map would be one of them, non-Christian religion road maps would be another, and then this is where it starts to get a little tricky. There are a lot of different roads on the Christian road map, and side maps with secondary issues etc. Once again, it can be a difficult road to plot out and maintain a straight course to the desired destination.
Most of us have looked at some of these alternate maps that we have ended up rejecting. And once we decided to follow Jesus, there are a good number of us who have taken a side road or two along the way, some to never return to the main highway and others who took a while to get back to where we wanted to originally get to. The problem is, once you get close on the main highway, there are so many turn offs along the way that we can be enticed to turn off to. There is the legalist turnoff, the watered down Gospel turnoff, the signs and wonders turnoff plus many many others. And most maps have legends positioned somewhere on them so that you can understand the various instructions and distances along the way. Ignore the legends and one can also easily get waylaid or even lost.
My little trip off the beaten road yesterday gave me a renewed awareness of the depth and level of deception that has infiltrated the church. I conversed with a person who led a church, had a decidedly different perspective of what constituted the Gospel of Jesus Christ than myself and endorsed the use of a Bible “translation” that literally stretched the meaning of “translation” beyond the limits of any credible validation by recognized scholars. He is an intelligent person who articulated his perspective in a seemingly logical manner and used scripture verses to validate his perspective. I thanked him for responding and made a graceful retreat. Not because I wasn’t able to challenge his perspective, not because I hadn’t done my homework, but because it was his forum and the manner in which he articulated himself, indicated to me, that I was voicing opinions that he considered as being representative of, and I quote:
“The problem is that some zealous Christians have taken it upon themselves to be self-appointed watchdogs for the body of Christ and it becomes nothing more than an evangelical witch hunt.”
We consequently agreed to disagree and called it a day.
In our discussion, concerns that I had expressed about the New Apostolic Reformation movement, where responded to with, his statement that, criticism against the “so called” New Apostolic Reformation movement was either misinformed or unfounded. Concerns I had about The Passion Translation met an equally staunch dismissal.
We are obviously talking about a church that embraces the logic, teachings and doctrines of the various apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation such as Bill Johnson and Graham Cooke, who subsequently endorse the use of The Passion Translation. I’ve already addressed the history and doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation in numerous previous posts and a relatively short fact sheet on The Passion Translation can be viewed here: http://www.spiritoferror.org/2018/06/important-facts-about-the-passion-translation/7962
How anyone could read this fact sheet, validate it’s direct quotes from indicated sources and come to the conclusion that it is a useful tool with which one may deepen their understanding of the Biblical scriptures, is totally beyond me. Evidently to even question the validity of this “tool” gets one labelled as being a zealous Christian who is a self appointed watchdog who subsequently participates in evangelical witch hunts. If that isn’t an effective method of trying to silence any potential opposition, then please tell me what is.
How anyone can trace the history, development and rampant growth of the New Apostolic Reformation and compare it’s claims, doctrines and practises with God’s Word and come away thinking that this is a new legitimate movement of God is also totally beyond me.
Any possible reason for concern here?
What ever happened to the road map (God’s Word) that we have been given? What ever happened to the legends (teachings, doctrines and commandments) that are spelled out with in or on this map of God’s Word, in the New Covenant of the New Testament? What part does repentance for our sin play in us receiving God’s salvation through His Son? What part does discernment of the endtimes play? What constitutes the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
“Correctly handles the word of truth”. In order to correctly handle the word of truth one must be knowledgeable about all of the word of truth. We’re not talking about some of it, we’re talking about all of God’s Word. And that would mean from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. And that takes time, real time, devoted and prayerful time. And I find that there is a balance within God’s Word, where grace is balanced with being crucified with Christ, mercy is balanced with justice and forgiveness is balanced with God’s sacrifice for us and our forgiveness to others. When the balance is distorted we error and candidly we can error a lot.
Teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Sounds a bit like weighing all the factors, not just some of them.
My trip down the side road was sad and honestly bothered me because these are real people, a supposedly sincere shepherd and a flock, who follow this shepherd, and the overview on my questioning was cast with dismissal, with hardly a thought. Who knows, maybe he thought the same thing about me. Two ships bumping in the night but never stopping to take the time to honestly hear one another out. There’s an awful lot of this happening these days and that in itself is also sad.
Just sharing, food for thought.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!