…When the time was come that [Jesus] should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before him. The messengers went, and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. But the Samaritans did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?” But Jesus turned, and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man has not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” — Luke 9:51-56
For some time, I’ve been troubled at the number of websites and blogs devoted solely to criticizing various brothers and sisters in the Christian apostolic/prophetic community. Google the name of any well-known prophet, apostle, or revivalist, and you’ll find that the top ten sites are primarily run by people who feel their God-given mission in life is to expose the “heresy” of others. Some are so obsessed with harassing and discrediting a particular person that it almost smacks of stalking. Talk about having a “ministry” specialty!
As I’ve said before, apostolic/prophetic Christianity is my particular circle. I see the problems too, and there are times I get pretty perturbed. Yes, some are teaching things that are not biblically supportable. Yes, some are hiding sin. A lot of housecleaning is needed, and I believe God is in the process of doing that. He wants a pure and spotless Bride.
But there is something more disturbing to me than doctrinal aberrations and high-profile sin. It is the hardness of heart that causes Christians to think they can mock and curse other believers and not have a twinge of conscience in doing so. It doesn’t matter if we agree with someone’s doctrine and mode of ministry or not. The Lord Jesus has not given us permission to tear members of the Body of Christ apart. Pointing the finger and screaming, “Heretic!” or licking our chops over the latest one to fall aligns us with an entirely different spirit than the Holy Spirit. Revelation 12:10 describes Satan as “the accuser of our brethren … which accused them before our God day and night.”
I’m not saying we should whitewash sin and doctrinal error. They are a shame and a blot on the Body of Christ. I am asking what spirit we are of — the spirit of hatred, anger, and criticalness? Or the spirit of mercy, humility, and godly sorrow when a brother sins? Jesus was grieved with the Pharisees of His day for their lack of mercy and their prideful delusion that they were several notches above other people. The Pharisaical spirit is alive and well in the Church today. It is a spirit totally aligned with hell, not the righteous purity of the Holy Spirit.
There is a better way to address the problems in Christianity today. For those of us who teach, we can continue to patiently lay down biblical foundations and warn against pitfalls, so that those who truly want to do right can learn to move in life-giving, Spirit-filled patterns. We don’t need to point fingers and name names in the process of bringing God’s people into maturity. Let’s teach the principles, so that people can learn to discern between the good and the bad, while keeping our fingers to ourselves.
And all of us can learn to mind our own business — spending our time in sober prayer and fasting, rather than wasting precious hours at Internet forums, blogs, and chat rooms, talking, talking, always talking, about the latest ministry flap or failure.
Let’s encourage and build up one another, lifting each other out of the muck if any of us should fall. The devil doesn’t need our help in beating up on the Body– but he’s more than happy to let us join hands with him if we want to.