Tagged in: John Arnott

What the Vineyard churches taught about community : Broken state of the Ekklisía of the United States

I am a Pentecostal. I will never deny that. However, I also am open and minister in the other streams. Having grew up around Metro Vineyard, it is natural that I have a tendency to be around the Vineyard churches. I also dance around the prophetic movement as well. I would say that my theology is a mixture of the Pentecostalism with some Vineyard theology undertones with a high regard for the prophetic.

The Vineyard used to be very radical and I loved them. I have sit under Mike Bickle. I met John Wimber in 1996. I have traveled to South America with Randy Clark. I have been laid out on the floor from John Arnott praying for me. There is no denying that the Vineyard movement and the extension of it being the Toronto Blessing had an impact on my life.

One of the challenges has been finding places to discuss theological concepts because many of my Pentecostal friends that I went to bible college with are not really that versed in the perspective of George Eldon Ladd and later John Wimber. While Pentecostal theology and Vineyard churches can agree, they just have not done the study so I needed to find other venues to discuss these themes.

What I found is a very liberal, broken, and in some way apostate group that call themselves, ” to discuss theology, issues, concepts, ideas, experiences and stories that affect church life, particularly (but not exclusively) as they relate to the Vineyard movement.” You would think that would be the place to discuss the theological paradigm of the Vineyard and other related movements, right? Wrong! 

Before we get started, I am going to name names as that is Paul did in the New Testament. At one point, he said that Hymenaeus and Alexander could be delivered to Satan. (1 Timothy 1:18-20) Paul had not read How to make friends and influence people, yet.

Vineyard Churches and theology forums

There is the official  Society for Vineyard Scholars that I had planned to get involved with (until this last week) and there is this unofficial Vineyard Theology forum. You would think it was about Vineyard theology, right? Come to find out that it is about liberalism and about anything but actual theology. Nothing to do with the doctrine of the Vineyard churches in any way, shape or form.

You would think that in a theology discussion, people can openly share their conviction with passion without facing censorship. Well, not when you have a guy by the name of Brian Goodwin as the sheriff in town. He thinks any form of passion makes you a jerk and unkind. Yes, he cares more about being “nice” than being holy and righteous.

Without failure, he would jump on the whole 1 Corinthians 13 bandwagon and try and use “love” to beat people into submission of being tempted. I am not sure what this Brian Goodwin guy thinks he will do by making demands to “be nice.” Let’s get real, has anyone ever became loving by some random guy on the internet telling them to do it? You have a better chance of the Pope getting married.

The sad thing is this guy claims to have been to Metro Vineyard and a few years later become the International House of Prayer in Kansas City many times. He even claimed that his wife has been deeply touched by the Bridal paradigm message from Mike Bickle. However, he never really like the Forerunner message and he seems to have especially distaste for people operating in the mantle of John the Baptist. Yes, he is going to have a hard time in the coming years when Stadium Christianity breaks out because it will not be “kind” or “nice.” The coming end time revival will be marked by signs and wonders that confirm the classic hellfire and brimstone preaching of the gospel.

Prophetic picture of the American Ekklisía

Let’s get real. Vineyard churches are a shell of what they use to be. The Holy Spirit is not honored and most of the people in these churches would be shocked at the statements and ministry of John Wimber. You can forget Lonnie Frisbee. He would be too “unloving” and be condemned as a false prophet on the spot.

Let’s consider two passages in Acts. This is the story of the early church. Let’s start in Acts 2

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

There is something in this very familiar passage that we sometimes overlook. The believers were all together in one place or as the King James puts it, “in one accord.” Basically, what the original language here is pointing to is that they were all in agreement for a common purpose or goal. They all have signed up to tarry for the the power of the Spirit (dunamis power). They did not know what it would look like or how it would come but they all agreed and encouraged each other to press in deeply for more of the Spirit.

Everyone that was presented received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. The reason that everyone was filled was because they never broke their desire to tarry. If Peter would have said, “I don’t want to wait anymore,” who knows how the history of the church would have been different?

One thing we do know is that Peter did not agree with some of the people in the room and he had some personal beef with some of the other disciplines as well. They also still remember him as a month before having that deal with the rooster (denying Christ). They was in agreement for the breaking in of the Spirit but they were not in complete conformity as many churches, such as Brian Goodwin, demands today.

To be fair, in Vineyard theology, they try and take the Pentecostal experience of Acts 2 and bring it into reformed/Anabaptist frameworks so it is a little weird.

Later in Acts 4:32, the issue comes up again,

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

What does it mean they were of one heart? What does one mind mean? They had the passion for the things of God at the core of everything they did. It was who they were and what they were about. They wanted to see the Kingdom come and they wanted to destroy the works of the devil. While they did not agree on everything (there was trouble brewing with egos) at this point, they all had the same vision for the gospel of the Kingdom to be preached (Matthew 24:14)

They cared so much about the mission that God had given them that they would allow that to over ride any personality differences that they had. It did not matter that one felt one way about meat offerings and nothing was struggling about doing ministry to Gentiles. They let the over riding passion for the Kingdom consume their very being. That mean everything to them.

This use to be how the Vineyard churches believes and what they practiced. I am not sure what happened to them. I do not know if it was when John Wimber grieved the Holy Spirit in Toronto that things changed or after Wimber was taken home. However, something serious changed and this is not the Vineyard Christian Fellowship that I grew up in.

How not to be offended by personality

What we are dealing with here is someone that is offended by another personality and expectation based on local culture and norms. I do not believe all Vineyard churches would agree that “people skills” are more important than anointing or theological correctness. While having what he determines to be matters which is vary from California where he lives to the Midwest where I am was raised. This would especially be true for someone internationally like I am currently.

The question remains: are we willing to receive from those whom have an offensive package? The Vineyard movement was directly impacted (but Brian Goodwin is too proud to admit it) by Bob Jones that offended Mike Bickle is about every way possible when they met for the first time. Mike believed that Bob was a false prophet until Art Katz confirmed that Bob Jones was a prophet of the Lord. People like Brian will miss the coming revival and the forerunners because he will be offend at their mannerism.

Imagine what someone that wants a “cleaned up revival” will think when there are modern Jack Coe that rip people out of wheel chairs in the middle of Wal-Mart. The person will walk for the first time or fall on the floor based on their willingness to believe the report of the Lord. We can not imagine how offensive this could be to someone who is worried about being “nice” and having good “manners.” I am sure they will struggle with offense.

What is coming is the going to look much more like Jimmy Swaggart preaching than the TV ready personality of Joel Osteen. It will be fire brand holiness preaching but it will have the theology of the Vineyard churches for the Kingdom with the eschatology of the Brownsville Revival. To miss with the Pharisees even more, the forerunners will have an intimacy with the Father that was the message sounded from the mountaintop during the Toronto Blessing.

For those like this Brian Goodwin that are more interested in having “a nice revival” and “well manners preaching,” they will be busy counting their 30 pieces of silver. I have an odd feeling that we will find many pastors within the Vineyard movement sitting there counting it as they protest the forerunner as social justice warriors crying about the poor.

How to deal with the offended saints?

First of all, it is important to understand that people like Brian is a believer. While they might want to make the forerunner gentle wimps, they believe they are doing the right thing. It is fleshly and based on cultural expectation but you can’t blame them. They firmly believe that the prophets are to sweet little grandmas. They do not have a grid for people who are committed to revival and will be fire brands. It just do not register to their mental understanding of their theological pursuit.

The best thing to do is try your best to reason with them without compromising your calling before the Lord. True community happens when we celebrate each other without trying to make the other into an image of ourselves. This is where the problems remains. A lot of people want to make forerunner compromise. This is the spirit of Delilah at work. 

What needs to happen is what the early church saw happen. They have minor disagreements and they have very different styles but had a deeper commitment for the outpouring of the Spirit. They did not pretend those differences was not there but it was not important as the lame walking and blind seeing. The question becomes, “are you more committed to offense or raising the dead?”

Does what happened to me hurt? No question about it. Every time we are rejected, it hurts. Paul Cain struggle with hurt from a rejection for over a decade once. It really does hurt but does our committed to seeing a one billion soul harvest outweigh our pain? Completely. We just have to forgive them and hope they were pure their desire.

Note: I did reach out to Brian Goodman that is part of the Vineyard churches before writing this and I made every attempt (without compromising my calling) to find a middle ground and bring restoration. He had made zero attempt to find a resolution. 

 

 

 

 

 

7 things I learned from Mike Bickle

Mike Bickle was my pastor for quite some time. He imparted alot of practical knowledge, wisdom and prophetic revelation into me. I was just a teenager when it started and I was in my late 20’s when I left the International House of Prayer movement in Kansas City. I have always look back and realized that my time home in Kansas City was some of the best times of my life. Thank you, Mike. Continue reading…

Power Healing & John Wimber

John Wimber believed in what we called Power Healing. It changed the church world as we know it. I would say that John Wimber did more to bring renewal to the Bride of Christ than anyone we know. In fact, the renewal outlived him if we are to honest.

I did not know much about John Wimber as a kid. I do remember my grandparents flying us to California for a conference and we went to Disneyland while there. They was always going to meetings when my grandpa was not preaching a “revival.” I was more interested in the roller coasters than I was sitting in church meetings at seven.

I look back and realize that those meeting was really important and they was at the Vineyard Church that John Wimber pastored. We enjoyed the services and I knew that grandpa spend a morning in a special meeting with leaders. I did not know (nor cared) then but he was sitting down with John Wimber to talk about world missions.

Thinking back, I would have loved to be in that meeting. A hard core classic Pentecostal that built his ministry on telling people to “Rapture ready” and a pastor that was Amillenialist and disagree with many of the core values of Pentecostals. They did embrace each other.

John Arnott

Power Healing renewal in Toronto

The renewal in Toronto, or the Toronto Blessing, came out of the Vineyard movement and started the Airport Vineyard Fellowship with John and Carol Arnott as pastor and through the ministry of Randy Clark, the pastor of the Vineyard in Saint Louis. The early days of it was mainly to people in the movement. It was not until late 1995 that it really started to spread to everyone.

On December 5, 1995; a sick John Wimber along with Todd Hunter made a very hard call: they asked John Arnott to leave the Vineyard unless they submitted to things that would make the religious people less angry. In some ways, this was not like Wimber. However, no one really know he was sick with cancer either.

What I get from this was no as much a rebuke but a promotion. He knew that the Vineyard could not last with him and in the middle of a renewal as well. Something had to give somewhere. They had to kill the renewal or remove it. They removed it and the Toronto Blessing went on without Wimber and the movement.

I see the move as the continuation of the movement, not the split of it. The Vineyard became a more traditional church that focused on people’s need and pastoring people. The Toronto movement would focus on bringing renewal to the church. Both were who John Wimber was.

Both ministries would focus on Power Healing to some degree. Many of the ministries that was born out of the renewal would focus on different truth that they learned from John Wimber and the wider Vineyard movement. Randy Clark, a major leader would go on to build his whole ministry on power healing and power evangelism.

Mike Bickle

What about the Kansas City Prophets?

I was attending Metro Christian Fellowship under Mike Bickle. We was a member of the movement and we was very close to what was happening in Canada. There was no way that they could be gone and we could stay. We both had very strong emphasis on power healing and the prophetic. Either Toronto had to stay or we had to go.

Well, a few months later, Mike Bickle told the church that we were not a member of the Vineyard Association of Churches anymore and we were on our own again. It was a bitter moment as my mother (and others) felt that power healing had been put on trail by the man that introduced all of us to it. Was John Wimber rejecting his own teaching? People were starting to wonder.

Many of us in Kansas City was trying very hard to honor Wimber and bless him but the actions over the last few months left us completely undone. Was Wimber becoming a heresy hunter, was he in bed with John McArthur, was he looking for “brownie points” with evangelicals or was something deeper going on?

We did not know it then but shortly after, we learned that he was sick and was battling cancer. It made things make sense alot more. He was taking action so that the Vineyard could go on without him. Having people running around doing power healing and the prophetic without any real leadership was not going to work out.

vineyard columbus

Was John Wimber right?

Looking back at it twenty years later, I still believe that John made the wrong call. I get it but I do not agree with it. It seems that John Wimber put Power Healing on the altar as a sacrifice. Vineyard Churches today look more like Baptist than Pentecostals currently. The few Vineyard pastors I know do not talk much about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit anymore.

It seems like they have went Baptist on us and believe in healing like them. They love to talk about Jesus healing people in the Bible but don’t focus too much on healing the sick today. This was the fundamentals of John Wimber and the Vineyard’s core teachings. They have lost power healing!

I am not saying the movement is completely dead. It is not. They are meeting alot of good people’s needs. They are doing alot of social justice, something renewal churches suck at. They are serving a purpose but miracles, signs and wonders is something that they suck at pretty bad if you ask me.

I have been very impressed with Rich Nathan out of Columbus. He has really made a practical outreach to his city and he really does Columbus and especially Westerville area. I honor that.

Add to the mix, the whole servant evangelism movement came out of the Vineyard. While they may not have power healing happening anymore, they are still doing alot of things right.

 

John Wimber: Prophet of Justice

One of my heroes of the faith is John Wimber. I love how real he was and he tried to live the Kingdom of God to the best of his ability. He was not perfect and I completely disagree with how he handled the renewal at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (now Catch the fire Toronto)

However, his realness is something you just have to love. He was as real it is gets. He always believed that the way on is by living the way in (Gospel of Jesus). You can’t help but love that the guy.

The Church, especially in North America is better because of John Wimber than we would have been without him. He was critical to getting us out of the hymnals and worshiping Jesus in a way that pleasing Him and was not a jail sentence to us at the same time.

I believe he took the renewal as far as he took and knowing the medical issues he was facing, he just let guys like John Arnott and Randy Clark tell the baton and run with it from there in his absence.

 

wimber, john

John Wimber loves Justice

One thing that impresses me about him was his love for the social justice. This is really lacking in the American Church, and especially in the renewal movement. We could use a good dose of justice. It would be to our benefit, actually.

“When we stand for social justice, we testify to the presence of the Kingdom.” –John Wimber

While the Vineyard was better known for healing and power evangelism back then, I think the issue of justice for the poor was just as important to John. It is just not what draws the masses to conferences. People want to hear about healing, not ministry to the poor.

However, you could not be more biblical to understand that in our justice, we are releasing the Kingdom of God through us.

The spiritual almost always a practical parrell and the Kingdom of God is spiritual but it has a practical application: ministry to the poor.

John Wimber marked his life with the concept that we should take a portion of our time, our treasures and our talents to give to those in need. He believed that we was to redeem people and to care for them as people, not just as lost souls.

As an Evangelist, it is easy to lose touch with the humanity of the world. We see people rushing the altars but each them have a story and many need justice to overcome their issues. They likely can’t do on their own.

He also hold that view that the poor have an impartation for us just as much as we can physically help them. They have a word, a song, and a hymnal to release unto the Bride of Christ. We need to allow them the opportunity to do so but help with through social justice.

“We will never step out of our middle class mindset and do anything for the poor until we’ve caught God’s heart for them. Our actions will change when our heart is changed.”—John Wimber

 

Wimber Jesus

He was a prophet of Justice

At one point, he was said to have told pastors that they should live very modest lives so they could invest as much as possible into helping the less fortune. He told to live on less so they could give liberally to the Kingdom works and to social justice.

The reason I believe that he was a prophet crying out is this went against everything that most Charismatics believed at that time. This was the late 1980’s when the prosperity movement was in full operation. Living modest was a hallmark of the word of faith.

He was like a modern Jeremiah that cried with fire in his bones for the famous to Jesus to be known, not how blessed a televangelist could become. Wimber really went against the grain on so much.

In fact, he told a group of pastors once that greed and materialism was the two things was undoing healing ministries globally. He was not impressed with Italians suits and private jets. It just wasn’t the Wimber way.

“The same Lord who gives sight to the blind and creates miracles through our hands is the very One who feeds the hungry through our hands and watches over the immigrant. We must never ignore the poor & needy. We must never spend any outpouring of Gods Spirit on ourselves.”—John Wimber

 

IHOP confernce

Have we fallen short?

I am not here to throw stones at anyone but there is one area that I believe in our ministries, we have become anti-poor: Conference ministry! I have watch this get out of control. Meetings that use to be free or very cheap (only to pay the travel for speakers) are starting to get into the $100 mark.

If a person is struggling to put food on the table but has the time to go to a meeting; we should not tell them to make a choice between dinner and impartation. I find this to be problematic for us and it is not the heart of Jesus.

I get that conferences are pricy and they cost a lot to put on. I have done them, I know that. However, we have to be more mindful of those who are hungry but can’t afford to pay the money to come. It really does happen.

I am not sure I have the answer on how to address this issue and if there is a good way to even address it. It could be a serious challenge to do something in either direction.

However, we can’t exclude the poor from receiving just because they can’t pay a day wages to attend the conference. I do know that.

What is the Biblical Church?

Alot of people have different ideas on what the Church really is. Most have a view that is much too American in its expression. They still see the Church as a building focused concept or they think the emerging house church movement is the answer. Neither really fit the bill for biblical expression of the Church.

Ecclesiology is the study of the Church but what exactly does it include? I believe we could conclude that the Church is two expressions (at least). It is the Bride of Christ and it is the Army of the Lord.

See Dr. Jay Taylor (Assemblies of God Theology Seminary) handouts on Ecclesiology

Two words for the Church are ekklesia and kyriakos . It means quite literally, to called out or summoned and belonging to the Lord Jesus.

Here is the Strong’s says about Ekklesia,

ekklēsía(from 1537 /ek, “out from and to” and 2564 /kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.

As I said, it is about belonging to Jesus (Bride of Christ) and being called out and summoned for His Kingdom (Army of the Lord).

Bride of Christ

The Church is the Bride of Christ

One of the least understood identities of the believer is the Bride of Christ. I rarely hear teaching on this. I find it very odd given the last mention of the saints in the Bible is calling us the Bride.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17) 

When we see ourselves as the Bride, it changes everything. Brides do not work for acceptance; they are accepted because they are loved. My father never stood up and told my mother that is a “to do” list for accepted as his bride. How much more true would that be for our Heavenly Father?

As John Arnott loves to say, “Lovers will always outlast workers.” As believers we should identify ourselves as lovers of Jesus, not as slaves, or “christian workers.” We do not work for God, we are co-labors and that means we are joined hand in hand with the Lord doing His mission to the lost and dying world. A deep understanding being a co-labor changes everything.

One thing that amazes me as I have traveled the world is how few people actually even know where to find the Song of Songs in their bible. Even fewer have read it, understand it and can apply it. I have heard many pastors try and make it about a marriage between two people. The Song of Songs is a prophetic picture of the Bride of Christ and the Bridegroom Jesus.

Songs of Songs 2:10 is an invitation be part with Jesus and walk in Pentecostal authority rooted in the intimacy we have with the Bridegroom.

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. (Song of Songs 2:10) 

Army of the Lord

The Church is the Army of the Lord

Alot of people confuse this with teaching out of the Latter Rain revival, and one of the things we reject, known as Joel’s Army. The Army of the Lord is very biblical but Joel 2 is not the place to find it. The bible talks about the people of the Lord being an army. David, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel, Hosea, Jesus and Paul all talk about it.

I remember growing up in the Assemblies of God and we would sing in Children’s church a song called the Lord’s Army. As I remember it, ” I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery, I may never fly o’er the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army!” The concept is deeply rooted in scripture and Pentecostal tradition.

We are not an Army with M-16 rifles, grenades and tanks. We are an army that will give our lives (martyr) for the mission we have been called to do. Our marching orders are simple, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation… these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:15,17-18) 

Body of Christ

Isn’t the Church the Body of Christ?

Many want to place such a strong emphasis on the conception of koinonia, or collection of a community. I wonder if we are rightly understanding what Paul was saying when he did use that word. One of the easiest ways to misunderstand biblical text is to spiritualize what was first century Jewish culture.

Relationships should be the by-product of people on a common journey and mission to be the Bride of Christ and the Army of the Lord. They should happen naturally and not become an emphasis of theology from America’s pulpit. When we force it, the relationships are normally not organic, not spiritual, and does not last the test of time. The purpose of the Church is to transform the world around us, not having better homes and gardens.

As I travel, I see churches that put relational ministry ahead of the Great Commission quickly die out, lose membership, and end up being little more than a Alcoholics Anonymous with Jesus thrown into the subject matter.

Jesus was pretty serious about the ten virgins. What you do not give away, you lose yourself. If you are not growing with new souls in the Bride of Christ; you are have lost focus. No Army can last and do great exploits for the Lord without recruitment. All armies must be build up!

What is the Church to you?

 

Does the Pope like Pentecostals now?

I was doing some research for another article and I came across an article that Pope Francis visited a Pentecostal church in Italy. I knew about his visit with John and Carol Arnott. 

I do not agree with Pope Francis on a list of issues before you even start talking theology. The man has no business trying to get in the economic discussion of American politics. He is out of his level of influence. He does not understand global economics on any level.

Pope Francis has been making some very bad statements about alot of things; many of them going against the New Testament of late. It is safe to say that I am not a fan of Pope Francis or as we call him, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

So I guess that the Pope made a surprise visit to Christian Fellowship of Caserta, a member of the Apostolic Fellowship International. It is a step in the right direction.

I am sure Mr. Pentecost, David du Plessis would have been pleased.

Pope Francis is asking forgiveness

According to the article, Pope Francis came with a message to the Pentecostals in Italy that would be true for all Pentecostal members globally. I do find it odd he gave it at a small church in Italy, not asking to address the General Council of the Assemblies of God that just happened a few weeks ago.

Among those who persecuted and denounced Pentecostals, almost as if they were crazy people trying to ruin the race, there were also Catholics…I am the pastor of Catholics, and I ask your forgiveness for those Catholic brothers and sisters who didn’t know and were tempted by the devil…We cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world…The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed… it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way.”

Some will read this as he is trying to organize the One World Church (I have my concerns myself) but I will take him at face value and assume that his motive are pure. I will also assume he understand the Pentecostals hold very different views on many issues and as Evangelicals, we believe that only once you accept Jesus as Savior by faith through grace you are born again. I know, I know, that is alot of assuming.

One other thing I know, having listen to John Arnott speak about the issue is that there is a booklet called Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Its opening statement in English states,

The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all those who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.  

Again, we must take all of this at face value and assume the best, not prepare for the worst. In nothing else, he is trying to keep the Charismatic Catholic movement in the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis may not understand Pentecostal doctrine

Most Pentecostals, if not all, believe the the whore of Babylon in Revelation is the Roman Catholic Church. I am not sure that Jorge Mario Bergoglio actually understand this. He seems to be clueless that we think the Anti-Christ will come from his position in the Church.

If you want, you can add the fact that most Pentecostals consider Catholics to be deep in witchcraft and idolatry. We are not about to start praying to Mother Mary or to Saint Peter.

He might understand this a little but I question that he really gets that we have serious reservations about the Catholic Church by and large. We are not going to have open arms to Roman Catholicism in my lifetime. The divide is just too big and too far. You can call it the Grand Canyon.

Again, at this point, I take him at face value and from what the Arnotts have said. John believes that the Pope spoke from the heart of a man of God and he is a man of the heart. I trust the leadership of John and Carol. I am not saying I trust the Pope though.

What I will say is that admitting to the sins of the Catholic Church against Pentecostals is a big step in the right direction. I do not exactly what he motives are. I hold the position of Ronald Reagan, trust but verify.

Thoughts on Pope Francis meeting the Arnotts

John and Carol are leaders in the renewal movement. It was at their church in Toronto that the renewal broke out in 1994. The Holy Spirit was so strong in the meetings that John Wimber, that had cancer, kicked them out in order to save the Vineyard movement once he was gone.

I trust the John and Carol. I semi-trust Kenneth Copeland. I do agree with his theology but I think he is solid on salvation issues.

What I find interesting is Tony Palmer, the guy that pulled it all together and the link between Pope Francis and Kenneth Copeland and the Arnott was killed just weeks after the meetings in London.

While some will go nuts with it, I believe it was a murder because there is a history of anyone bringing change to the Catholic Church ends up dead. Don’t believe me, just ask President John F. Kennedy. The Jesuits and the Free Masons are a powerful bunch of people.

Just as the trust between whites and black in America will take a long time to heal; the division between the Catholics and the Pentecostals will not be healed overnight. The wounds run very deep. It is decades of slander and hatred that will have to be healed up. Pretending it is not there will not work either.

If the Catholic want to heal the relationship, it can. Pentecostals are forgiving (well, some of us) but it will take true repentance and a history of embrace.

Filming God: Judging God Stories

I have had Darren Wilson’s book Filming God on my Amazon Kindle for some time (downloaded it during his free day, thanks Darren) and just had it in line. It was after reading a book about Smith Wigglesworth and reading Daniel Kolenda’s new book. I must say it was in good company.

My journey with Darren is very, very loose. I use to see a girl very shortly (as in weeks) that was a student of his as a professor at Judson University. She gave me an email to him because he was looking for people who knew people in revival for a film he was trying to do. It was his first film, Finger of God.

Outside of being Facebook friends and have a chat here and there about camera gear and camera stuff; I do not have much of a relationship to him. With that said, our mutual friends in real life is growing. We run in the stream of the river of God.

Is Filming God about God Stories?

In his book, he openly says the following,

Do people lie about the spiritual things that happen to them? Of course they do. Could some of these people be lying to me? I would be naive if I said no. But no one ever told me a story because they thought I might put it in a book. Many times the camera wasn’t even rolling. There is little motivation to lie.

While I would not go as far as say people lie about them, even though I do know of cases that they happened and it is sin when it does happen. I think more often, people do not know the different between imaginations and the prophetic. It can lead to some people coming up with some pretty wild ideas about God, the Kingdom and especially revival.

This is especially true when it comes to raising the dead! As a standard, if you claim you have raised the dead, you better get medical verification or people will eat you alive. Hank Hanegraaff lives for things like this.

With that said, people DO have wild experiences with the Holy Spirit. I tend to believe that God could be moving in their dream life and prayer journey more that He is not. The world is full of doubting Thomas wannabee. I might be from the Show Me State but I tend to trust people’s spiritual encounters.

I am glad to see that Filming God is full of faith, not doubt. What we need is people telling us what is possible in the Holy Spirit, not why we shouldn’t expect Him to speak.

How do you discern God Stories?

Well, there is a test that I use. It is really three simple questions and if the answer is yes to each of them; I accept it as from the Holy Spirit.

  1. Is it the heart of the Father?
  2. Is it in accordance with message of Jesus?
  3. Is it in line with the history of the Holy Spirit?

The heart of the Father is one of love for humanity and one of protection from Evil. If someone has a prophetic experience, is the heart of the Father revealed through their experience. If they came to me with a “God is pissed off” message; I discard it right away. God is not mad at humanity. He loves them enough to send His Son to die for their sins. (If you need more information, Check out Floyd McClung’s book on the Fatherhood of God)

The gospel of Jesus, red letters, are the center point of the faith. Any prophetic experience will bring the gospel closer to the hearts of men. I believe in the prophets, Pauline letters and the epistles but I put the words of Christ on a whole new level. If your encounter does not make you burn more for souls and give you a new passion for the lost; Sorry but I question if it is from the Lord of the Harvest.

The Holy Spirit has a long history of speaking. He has been speaking for a long time to alot of people. He doesn’t change. Does your spiritual experience line up with what the Holy Spirit has been speaking to us over the last decade to a century? Runaway prophetic experiences can’t be trusted.

What about the person having the experience?

So you noticed I did not talk at all about the messenger in judging the prophetic encounter? You are right. I do not determine what the Holy Spirit is saying based on who He is speaking it through. Church history is full of screw ups with all types of problems that God used powerfully. Where would be with the Charles Fox Parham, a known cold molester? What about the self-kidnapped Aimee Simple McPherson? Healing ministry would not be where it is today with self-proclaimed Elijah, aka, John Alexander Dowie or the drunk A.A. Allen. The Jesus People movement started using flaming homosexual on a acid trip known as Lonnie Frisbee.

While there is a place and a time to do a “fruit inspection,” I do not believe trashing a prophetic word that gives life and deliverance is the right thing to do. The Bible is full of screw ups that God used. He is even know to have a jackass prophesy.

Randy Clark, a traveling minister, that started the renewal in Toronto, that is led by John and Carol Arnott, said one of the early prophetic words he saw in his Baptist church was from a man known to be a complete hypocrite living a double life. God really does use the foolish to conform the wise, doesn’t He?

Is filming God worth reading?

It is very much worth a read. It will encourage you to go deeper in the Spirit and have more expectation for the Kingdom of God to be tangible in your life.

I am done with doubting people’s experiences and treating prophetic people guilty until proven innocent. I have had enough of that for my lifetime and the next. I just don’t see a need for it anymore.

As we grow in the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know the Lord of the Harvest better, (Eph 1:17) I hope we can move towards “Come, Holy Spirit, do it today,” instead of doubting every prophetic word that we hear.