Back to The Opposite Poles of Cessationism & Charismania

So wrote a host of a Christian radio program to me in July 2011. I had been corresponding with her after she had scheduled us to be interviewed on her program. But after she read through our Training Manual, she sent us the following email:

“We copied your manual at Kinko’s and have been reading it. And, I regret to tell you that we will absolutely be unable to interview you tonight. There are those you spoke out against, [Rev. A] of the Toronto Blessing being one, that we know first-hand that they are of the Lord, and that they DO NOT operate out of a Kundalini spirit. I just did a Preach Like Paul about the occult and the devil and new age and yoga, and if you’d like to know more about the occult, go there. Not [Rev. A]’s meetings.

Please repent for attacking these mighty men of God. It’s my desire that you humble yourself. Just because someone may quake under the power of God doesn’t mean they have a serpent spirit going up and down their back. Since when is no one allowed to manifest under the power of God? It’s Satan who counterfeits. Have you ever thought of that line of reasoning?

It’s like, someone may say, “ALL MODELS ARE OF THE DEVIL. We’ve been watching models for many years and they are all lust minded.” I mean, what kind of reasoning is this? It’s demonic. It’s the Galatian syndrome. It’s bringing people under the law. It’s cursing those who could very well receive from these ministers. It’s wrong.

Your unfound prejudices hurt my heart. 

By the way, [Rev. B] sees EXPLOSIVE miracles in Brazil like you did. He sees the greatest miracles in his ministry in Brazil than in any other place, and he’s been going there for YEARS. And, he’s the one who started the Toronto Blessing. He goes there often, and he is one of many who have helped pave the way for you, my brother. What have you done for him? Scorned his name and spoken devilish things about him? I can’t believe it. You should be ashamed of your behavior” [italics ours].

Actually in our Training Manual we ourselves never personally refer to Rev. A or Rev. B by name as alleged, although we do not believe some of the manifestations seen in their ministries are from the Lord. That is clear from some of the articles or links which are posted on our website. Click here for discernment and understanding about the Toronto Blessing.

Publicly rebuked from the pulpit of our home church on a Sunday morning (ca. 2008)

Prior to this incident we had been members of a church in Houston. They had been extremely gracious to us, inviting us to preach and to teach The Elijah Challenge for their congregation on various occasions. They allowed us free use of their facility for our events, and even supported us each month financially. Indeed they were most kind to us. But all of this came to a screeching halt apparently when the Senior Pastor was alerted to the articles and links on our website mentioned above. Evidently he was a devotee of the Toronto Blessing movement.

On a certain Sunday morning when we were out of town on a mission trip, the Senior Pastor spent about fifteen minutes speaking very critically of us before the congregation. We were informed about this by a friend who was present at that morning service. Their monthly financial support of The Elijah Challenge also ended at that time.

We no longer felt welcome at our home church.

The “offending” links and articles were likely False spirits invade the Church (YouTube video) and Kundalini Warning by Andrew Strom.

For our own position on these matters, please go to “The anointing” as found in the Church today: scriptural or not?.

We were also criticized for mentioning in passing that God does not heal everyone, even though we and those we train have seen so many people miraculously healed. For that, the Senior Pastor would not even allow us to come to Sunday School to announce a special event we were having.

And then hit hard from the opposite extreme

On a certain weekend in 2013 I had been scheduled to teach The Elijah Challenge in California. A dedicated servant of God whom I will call Melissa was involved in a mission trip to Russia in July. She had heard about The Elijah Challenge at an e3 Partners Conference in Dallas, and had invited me to California to train the team members to heal the sick effectively for the purpose of confirming the truth of the gospel on their mission trip.

She had diligently organized the event and made all the necessary preparations including reserving a classroom in a local school and accommodations for me. I had made my own reservations to fly out to California. People were coming from Dallas and San Diego in part for the event. The only problem, she told me, would be the leadership of the Conservative Baptist Church which she attended. The Conservative Baptists are strict dispensationalists or cessationists, and do not believe that the Lord heals the sick miraculously in this current “dispensation” and has in fact “ceased” from such activity. But she calculated that since the event would not be hosted by the church in any way but by her personally, there would be no problem.

The Training was scheduled for a Saturday. Thursday evening before that Saturday she met with the elders at her church. They shared with her their doctrinal doubts concerning the soundness of The Elijah Challenge teaching. And perhaps even reminded her that she was to submit to the authority the Lord had placed over her.

After the meeting, Melissa prayed to the Lord. In submission to her elders, she then decided to cancel the entire Training event.

We received her email about the cancellation the following morning—of the day I was to fly out to California for the event.

 

Taking crossfire from both sides

And so we have experienced rejection from both sides of the Church spectrum, from both charismatics as well as from conservative evangelicals. Because of some extremes at the charismatic end—perhaps most notably the “Toronto Blessing”—evangelicals can be very wary and have understandably thrown out the baby with the bathwater. They tend to shrink from any teaching that deals with miraculous healing and miraculous signs. We personally are also very wary of any ministry specializing in and focusing on miracles which are not strongly taught in Scripture. Then at the opposite extreme there are conservative churches which exclude the miraculous altogether based on the teaching of cessationism.

So we are caught in the middle taking fire from both sides. One side faults us for saying that God does not heal everyone, while the other side applies the heretic label to us because we teach that as in Acts the Lord continues to perform miraculous healings through His disciples as evidence to the lost that Jesus is the Promised Messiah and the only way to the Father. But perhaps our position is not such a bad place to be in terms of scriptural balance. We may actually in fact be more conservative than traditional evangelicals in terms of staying very close to Scripture in our teaching—rather than adhering to denominational traditions about healing which might not be scriptural and not particularly effective in ministering healing. Perhaps that is where the Lord has us for a time such as this.

“The Anointing” Revisited: Studies from Scripture