I have been a Charismatic believer for forty-two years. I was a weekly “worship leader” in Charismatic, “prophetic and apostolic” environments for thirty-five of those years. I get the picture as someone who has been on the inside for a very long time. I thoroughly understand the history, theology, values, beliefs, and practices behind Charismatic praise and worship expression. I also have had serious concerns and uneasiness about the theology and practice for a very long time.
Prayer and intercession ministry can have some common pitfalls to avoid. I understand that not everyone involved in prayer and intercession has issues in the areas I am about to mention. However, many do. After having had exposure for over forty years to prayer and intercession movements across the world, I believe (and have seen) that those given to intercession can be uniquely vulnerable to the following harmful beliefs and practices:
Money is one of the most controversial issues in the life of the church. Is there an alternative to the guilt, shame, coercion, and threat-of-being-cursed-based giving of an alleged Malachi tithe, or “I give when I feel the Lord tells me to” mantra? (Which typically translates into: rarely and not much, or when it is convenient, which it never is). Yes, there is. In this final installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, we talk about giving as an integral part of the new covenant and of the life of Christ. It is not just our money. It is about our time and talents as well. Giving can be done cheerfully with grace, love, and liberty apart from any institutional construct.
In this installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I take a fresh look at the topic of evangelism and discipleship apart from traditional theology, mindsets, and methods.
When it comes to the most sacred of sacred cows in the Christian herd, praise and worship is the lead steer. In this installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I take a look at the theology, methods, and values behind much evangelical worship expression.
Part Four of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, presents ways to recover from the pain we will likely experience in our relationships (church, family, and friends) when we are misunderstood because we no longer participate in traditional forms and expressions of “church.” If you or someone you know has been damaged, accused, threatened or other wise spiritually abused in a religious atmosphere, I entreat you to watch this video (as well as Part Five that will be coming next in this series). I think they are the most helpful and practical things I have ever done in this regard.
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.
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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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.
According to sociologist, Josh Packard, in his scrupulously researched book, Church Refugees, there are currently 65,000,000 individuals in the USA who are “done” with church, 30.5 MM of those, retaining their “faith,” the balance having no “faith affiliation.”