Sunday, November 15, 2009

Knowing Better Than God (Or, Why I Don't Roll Charismatic Redux)

My family, again due to weather, visited a local church rather than going to our usual home church for the Lord's day. This church was fairly charismatic, but to my relief the pastor stuck to the Bible in his preaching and although the gospel wasn't preached he did a fair job of expounding the text. This is leaps and bounds beyond what I have experienced in churches that are into charismatic expression where often the service disintegrates into utter chaos and subjective expressions because "the spirit is moving".

What I found in the book sale area was a book by Bill Johnson, a pastor whom many of my charismatic friends admire and see as a sort of mentor. It is by no means my goal to slander men, I let them slander themselves with their own words. The book title is "Face to Face with God" and this book seems like your standard technique type book seeking to arm the reader with tools to manipulate God into doing things we want, to put it crassly. I merely had to read the back of the book and the urge welled up within me to throw it across the room (as I did with another tawdry installment by Mr. Johnson), the only thing that restrained me from taking such appropriate action is that it was marked at $10, and I certainly did not desire to pay for this book as a result of the damage that surely would have been incurred.

These technique books are a dime a dozen and it really is a marvel to me that people continue to lap them up like chicken soup on a cold day. The back cover is what betrays the genre as it always has a list of what the book promises to deliver to the reader in the form of new and cutting edge insights. This book by Johnson fits the mold to the T, and one of the techniques contained in the book highlighted on the back cover that enraged me read:

"How to "set up an ambush" to apprehend God rather than just waiting on God"

I simply don't know how anyone who fears God can read that as anything but blasphemous. If you need help seeing the problem let me point it out.

1.) God's word commands us to wait on Him, Johnson says we shouldn't, he seems to think he has a better technique than God. This is a prevalent theme in charismatic fanaticism, our experiences and feelings and impressions are right up there in authority with scripture. (See my previous post on Bentley for another example of Johnson knowing better than God)

2.) God is omniscient, He's not going to be taken off guard by our efforts to "trap or ambush" Him, it is He who has decreed all of history. We come to Him as beggars with outstretched hands.

3.) God is a person, He is not some force that we tap into, the treatment of God like some sort of cosmic force comes up over and over with these types of writings, and no doubt that is in the work on techniques to manipulate God by Mr. Johnson.

I really don't know how bible believing Christians can make these sorts of statements, it shows gross misunderstanding of God's character and nature, and therefore it betrays ignorance of scripture itself or in this case just outright disobedience to or slighting of what scripture says. In short, this sort of stuff just makes me tired.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, well now, huh?

The God I serve sets up the ambushes:::>

Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
Rom 5:4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Rom 5:5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Rom 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Bob said...

indeed, He is not subject to our whims but we to His. I like the phrase from Gospel Outreach that "We were going along living our lives and Christ interrupted us".

So I heartily second your sentiment Micheal. I am sure Bill Johnson in the book simply advocates under the name of "setting up an ambush" inane things, but it is the slighting of scripture that bothers me.