I just spent about four hours going through some selected posts of a Pastor’s website. This is the same Pastor that I exchanged comments with last week and earlier this week with regard to The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and The Passion Translation (TPT). I am deliberately not identifying this Pastor nor his website because to do so might encourage dialogue that I do not believe he wants to get into and I will respect that.
I did however learn a number of significant things.
1. He is obviously very intelligent and very articulate.
2. He also comes across as convincingly sincere and has been a Pastor for many years.
3. While his overall perspective on the realities of the Christian experience differs from mine with regard to our approach, I have no doubt as to his authentic faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. Numerous posts that he wrote convincingly assured me of that.
4. I read selected posts covering a period of over two years. Although there are a small number of selected quotes from Bill Johnson and Graham Cooke in a couple of the posts that I read, nothing that this Pastor quoted in and of itself where of a nature that would cause alarm. The quotes were short and more of an observation nature and were neither offensive or unbiblical in nature. One should not presume that everything authored by the two NAR authors that I have personally researched (Bill Johnson and Graham Cooke) is totally unbiblical because such is not the case. There are numerous instances in some of their books where their observations are not only accurate but very insightful.
5. Also it was noteworthy that I did not encounter any endorsement for what I would call unbiblical associated activities or doctrinal deviations that are often associated with The New Apostolic Reformation.
6. If I was asked to summarize where our approaches differ, I would have to say they differ with regard to our willingness or openness to learn from sources that we may not necessarily agree with from a doctrinal perspective. This Pastor is more open to that than I am. In addition, this Pastor has a more accommodating approach that I have with regard to the use of The Passion Translation. And most importantly, I would have to say that while I try to maintain what I consider to be a balanced Biblical approach to dealing with repentance and sin, as it pertains to non-believers and believers, this pastor utilizes a more accepting approach where he stresses that getting to know Jesus versus getting to know about Jesus, affords Jesus the opportunity to deal more effectively with sin issues than we can.
7. Are there possible dangers there, I would have to say yes, but the dangers also go both ways when one looks at the tendency for some to become legalistic in approach or possess a judgemental attitude.
8. What I found surprising was the fact that this acknowledged intelligent and sincere Pastor indicated that he had researched and investigated the numerous negative observations about The New Apostolic Reformation movement and found that most of them were based on misinformation or were unfounded. In addition, the dubious origin and documented inaccuracies of The Passion Translation were dismissed as basically inconsequential because of the positive attributes it can often provide.
9. So basically, what I found when I read a good number of posts that he authored, was not what I expected. We obviously disagree on the history, doctrines and practises of The New Apostolic Reformation movement and his endorsed use of The Passion Translation. It should be noted that this Pastor did indicate that the TPT is NOT his primary Bible translation source.
10. One final observation, this sincere, intelligent and articulate Pastor had little difficulty identifying me as being both legalistic and a nitpicker and indicated very clearly that he was not interested in participating in any further discussions on these topics.
THE BIG QUESTION
The question that I was left with was how can this sincere, intelligent and articulate Pastor, seriously and honestly investigate the documented history, doctrines and practises of the NAR and come to the conclusion that the massive criticism against this movement is both misinformed and unfounded plus dismiss the documented highly dubious origin and scholarly criticism of the TPT as inconsequential, due to it’s over riding benefits?
I wish I had one. It just doesn’t make sense. How can one be that sincere, intelligent and well versed in the Scriptures and not connect the dots with respect to the NAR? How can one endorse the TPT and disregard all those red flags? How does that possibly happen?
I do have a Bible verse that immediately comes to mind but I hesitate to use it because of the associated inference and the warning that Jesus gave us about falsely accusing our brothers. I will tell you that the words “strong delusion” are in it. I’m not directly inferring, just indicating that it is a possibility, and it could also apply to me. This has been a very perplexing and unsettling encounter.
FOLLOW-UP (added after prayer and much thought)
Anyone who has taken the time to study the history, doctrines and practises of the NAR movement, which are showcased by the Church at Bethel that Bill Johnson leads and is an ardent student of God’s Word, should have no problem identifying as to whether the fruit that comes from that movement is good or bad. The claimed circumstances of the origin of the TPT and the blatant deception contained within its pages fall into the same category. To accept that fruit as good fruit and eat of it is sheer folly. And to encourage the eating of that fruit, to others, advocating that one can learn or benefit from a source that is clearly tainted with NAR doctrines and not also be affected by the poison therein is also sheer folly. True discernment, as succinctly stated by Charles Spurgeon, is the ability to distinguish between right and almost right–truth from error, and orthodoxy from heresy.
In like manner, the reality and necessity of repentance and the acknowledgement and progressive turning away from our sin is a vital and required component of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to infer that we as Christians may avoid unnecessary confrontation with others within the body of Christ, because as Christians we have already been forgiven, and that Jesus can and will deal with it more effectively than we can, is also sheer folly. The Apostle Paul would have definitely taken issue with this mentality and the biblical passages that negate this type of thinking are many.
Do I know the status of this Pastor’s heart with our Lord? No I do not. And in spite of how convincingly he may appear to be a disciple of our Lord, that is not my decision to make, nor has it ever been my decision to make. But the way and manner in which he advocates following our Lord is NOT the way that I can condone or advocate. That is a decision that I do have a responsibility to make, and I have accordingly done so.
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Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!