Lately, I have been sensing the devil has been playing a game of truth or dare with the church.
When I was a young person, Sunday morning services were a place the sermon was the center of focus. Music and worship were also prominent, but not pre-eminent. The church of Christ has been transformed over the past 20 years by waves of "new truth" or "new revelation" styled movements. How different the landscape of Christianity looks from the time I first entered the faith 40 years earlier. The teachings I received centered around salvation and repentance, and a biblical discovery of who God is.
Today, the emphasis is all about praying to a God of "love," and a God of "revival," but nothing is mentioned about Jesus, salvation, repentance or the Great Commission.
Recently, I was asked to make a film for a "prophetic musician." I have met many prophetic musicians, and I have been blessed by them. However, this particular musician has a twist. The musician plays a resonance bowl among other instruments. A resonance bowl is a crystal glass bowl, with a separate pistol, which when put in gentle contact with the edge of the bowl and moved around it in a circular motion, creates a harmonic resonance. The sound has been described to me as a new form of prophetic prayer and a kind of Holy Spirit vibration, if you will.
I was told this is on the cutting edge of prophetic ministry today, and I have the chance to make a film about something no one else has ever done. Wow. Sounds like a unique opportunity. Then once again that question came to mind—truth or dare?
There are people in my congregation who came to Christ out of Buddhism and New Age practices, and their reaction was one of alarm. One friend told me it's a Buddhist singing bowl. The former Buddhist asked, "why would a prophetic musician bring an instrument designed to worship another deity into the church?" My friend's question challenged me, so I went back to the prophetic ministry to get some clarity on a question which was growing weightier on my conscience.
I was told things used in the occult and New Age were originally part of God's creation, and the devil stole them, therefore, the church needs to take them back. Once again, that question popped into my mind—truth or dare?
The answers I received to my questions did not satisfy me. The ministry in question pointed me to one of the new apostolic-prophetic teachers known for their expertise on the subject of renewal. I researched his teaching on taking back what the devil has corrupted. On the surface the teaching sounds perfectly reasonable, yet again that certain question came to mind—truth or dare?
So what Scripture can be found to support the redemption of occultic practices and "Christianize" them? I was unable to find any Scriptures, but I did find this one, which reads, "And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things are exposed when they are revealed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light'" (Eph. 5:11-14).
I was told the shofar is an instrument in the Bible whose tonal resonance is God-designed and changes the atmosphere proclaiming God's presence. Where in Scripture does it say resonance bowls do the same thing?
If I follow the logic of this "new teaching," then why not start wearing pentagrams in the church? By wearing pentagrams, are we not making the declaration, "We are taking back that which the devil corrupted"? Do you see the pattern yet?
Perhaps this is more like a game of chicken. with the problem being the devil is not the one who is flinching! Do these folks have special revelation to unlock new truths that the church has not discovered in 2019 years? If these new revelations are clearly where the Holy Spirit is leading, why do I have this unsettled feeling? Where is my peace?
Perhaps it's no surprise we are seeing these things entering into the church today. We are steadily replacing our old truths with new ones. Can truth ever become obsolete? I think there is a big problem when we cannot tell the difference between the Holy Spirit and the devil in the church.
When the Great Commission of Matthew 28 is being replaced by praying for revival instead, we are making a choice. (Ironically, if you carry out Matthew 28, you get revival). There is an ever-increasing number of people who are choosing to ignore what they already know and replace it with new half-truths.
Maybe Christian yoga, Christian resonance ministry and so-called Christian destiny cards, which some critics have likened to a form of tarot cards in the church, are allowed to enter because people are being tricked into reflecting the world when they think they are changing it.
When the emphasis is on the talented worship team, and this is who we look at to get an understanding of who God is instead of searching through the Word of God, then why would we be surprised if we reflect the world more than reflecting God? What happens when we replace anointing with talent because we can't tell the difference between the two anymore?
In the worldly realm, we know talent fills stadiums; yet is it also filling our churches. Do our leaders still have an anointing to break chains of darkness and set people free, or are they just super-talented people with electric personalities?
I have asked many questions. I don't have all the answers, but I strongly believe in someone who does. His name is Jesus.
I cannot help but apply the great test of Scripture to the issues facing the church, and I struggle with the Word until I achieve the renewing of my mind in so doing. I hear the words of Jesus, recorded in the Gospels, as the first opening act of His ministry on earth. It says He went into the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, and as was His custom on the Sabbath, He then opened the scroll of Isaiah, and began to read it,
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
May we all have eyes to see, ears to hear and a conscience to convict us in following Jesus.
Mark Andrew Job is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker. He has worked as a cinematographer, broadcast TV camera operator, film and television editor, documentary film maker and also a digital/multimedia technology journalist, with several published articles in Red Shark News Magazine in London, England. Mark lives where faith meets commercial film production, with a deep fascination for motion picture and digital cinema camera technology, and how Christian belief can impact a digital-savvy world.
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