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.
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.
Professional Christian “ministry” attracts insecure people looking for validation and significance like flies to manure. In this guest blog by my friend David Fredrickson, he shares what real servanthood is about and where real validation and significance come from.
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.
When individuals decide not to attend a traditional church structure, they are often challenged by others as being “out from under authority or “not in submission” or “out from spiritual covering” or similar threats and warnings. Starting with a quick look at some church history, this lesson deconstructs some common teaching on these topics. These things should not be defined by church meetings, church activities, rank, hierarchy, and position in a system. Rather, in Christ’s kingdom authority and submission must be defined by relational trust, love, and expressed in an ethos of family. Where love abounds, all these other things happen effortlessly and without a need for emphasis.
When you and I decide to follow Christ outside of traditional church structures, one of the biggest challenges faced is navigating relationships with friends and family. The need of, and fear of losing our social relationships can very easily become our God. I hear statements like this all the time: “Well, I know what Christ is requiring of me, but if I do that, I will lose all my friends, and I won’t do that.” Even more relationally threatening is: “If we make this change our children will lose all their friendships, and I am unwilling to let that happen.” This installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide presents some insights and suggestions on how we can navigate these difficult situations with friends and family–how to walk in your own convictions with love and charity toward others who do not understand and perhaps strongly disagree with you.
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.
Spiritual covering is a biblically illegitimate, bad idea, that just won’t go away.
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.