Within Charismatic circles, there is a widely influential subset group called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). One of their strongly held beliefs is the necessity of submitting to an alleged “apostolic covering” or maintaining what is called “governmental alignment” to a “covering apostle.” It is alleged that failure to do so, cuts off heavenly blessing and opens the individual to spiritual dangers and demonic attacks. The Protestant forefathers must be rolling over in their graves. They gave their life’s blood to do away with the belief system that required a class of religious professionals to broker or mediate the blessings of heaven to the believer. It is beyond painful to see the resurrected form of this doctrine being espoused in so-called apostolic churches and foisted under the banner of “new revelation,” “restoring apostolic covering,” and “restoring apostolic authority.” It is not new revelation. It is old heresy in a new dress.
Spiritual covering is a biblically illegitimate, bad idea, that just won’t go away.
In this third installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I talk about understanding and managing the pain and strain that occurs in our social and relational networks during times of transition, particularly when leaving or changing a church affiliation.
The Psychology of Transition – Part One
Leaving an institutional religious expression that you may have invested in for a long time can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and relationally overwhelming. We often do not understand what is happening in us, to us, and around us. For all the alleged “Biblical literacy” that Christians are supposed to possess, we can be very ill-informed and ill-equipped to function well as human beings. Understanding the processes of transition and change (in any arena: job, family, church, relationships, finances, etc.) will help us understand ourselves, and others. We can successfully and fruitfully navigate difficult seasons of change. This second session of the Church Refugee Sanity guide looks at what happens to us psychologically during a major transition: 1) stability/comfort, 2) discontinuity/awareness, 3) disembedding and more. Leaving institutional religious expressions.
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The similarities between a modern youth praise and worship service and a Hitler youth rally are terrifying. Our beliefs and practices regarding what has become a subculture and mega-business of so-called Christian praise and worship, need a complete overhaul. [An excerpt from my book, Praise, Worship, and the Presence of the Lord, available here.]
Next to death of a loved one or a divorce, fewer things are more emotionally and psychologically challenging than changing a “church” association. Often when people begin to question their church experience and consider “leaving,” they feel alone, misunderstood, accused, disoriented, and perhaps even crazy or thinking they are losing their mind. They often feel unloved and unsupported. In this first session of an eleven-part series called the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I introduce the topic and provide a frame of reference for understanding that you are not alone.
I often get asked: “Where should I go to church?” It is the wrong question to ask. Lurking in it are likely inappropriate and unrecognized presuppositions and motives. We need to ask a “who” question, not a what and where question. The correct answer to that question will be found in understanding God-assigned relationships. Relational reality in God-assignments is where you will find your “church,” no other way.
I am pleased to announce the release of our new book, How New is the New Covenant? – Discovering the Implications of Jesus is Lord.
The following is a brief true story from a friend of mine of the conversion of a Papua New Guinea tribesman named “Pully.” The author of this guest blog, Nate Ham, knew Pully personally. I would earnestly pray that any conversion would have as much Holy Spirit ethical substance as Pully’s. I pray that we could live in as much gospel authenticity as this simple, elderly man, from Papua New Guinea. I would ask you, in the midst of much of the theological clamor today regarding God and retributive violence, to humbly and prayerfully consider the many and deep implications of Pully’s story.
Church growth is a phenomenally popular topic of interest. Follow these ten simple steps and you can quickly plant a successful church in your community!