Posted by: tscottmorton | December 2, 2008

Legalism in Discipleship

12/1/08

A commentary in part as a response to the article “Beware of Strange Fire”, by Peter Horrobin. His essay appears in Charisma Magazine, dated September, 2008.

We are getting closer to the time when the supernatural will no longer just be a curiosity. It will become absolutely necessary. But there will always be those who will come against it, even when the miracle stands right before them. So it was also in the life of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago.

Forward

I have the greatest respect for Peter Horrobin. This forerunning man of God has been an inspiration to my wife and I when we delved some years ago into the ministry of deliverance. Peter broke the mold of religious thinkers that said that demonic manifestations were few and far between in our day. Through Peter, many have seen the light of truth of our authority in Jesus Christ to rightly wage war against the devil’s schemes, that the devil is fast at work in the world, and that people can be healed and delivered from these manifestations by dealing with root issues. In my opinion, his pair of books, Healing Through Deliverance, Part 1 and Part 2, are the books to read for those moving in the ministry of healing and deliverance.

What I write is more in addition to Peter’s writing than it is a critique. I hope you will take it in that vein of heart as you read? Peter raises some very important points regarding false manifestations in revival that we need to consider as we progress in successful end time ministry. However, there are even more important issues that I would respectfully debate and which I speak to herein.

Regarding Lakeland

I have been a study of revival for many years now. Having witnessed many events of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in many countries, I have become experientially convinced that this is the only right way for church to operate effectively in the world in the days ahead.

What I have found is that in as many places as the Holy Spirit has manifested, there have been great volumes of criticism from both the world and the church who had heard of what was happening in revival. Sadly there has been volumes more criticism then there has been affirmation of events of God’s manifest presence. Every experience of revival fire I have witness has come with radical, and when seen with worldly eyes, very controversial manifestations. However, without fail, every place I have witnessed the manifesting presence of God, I have found great evidences of healing, deliverance, the even the dead being raised and certainly large numbers of salvations. I have come to know that when God manifests his power in the earth it always offends the flesh of the people who hear of it, and certainly so when it visibly and forcibly displaces darkness. But why so much criticism when God’s manifestations have lead to so much supernatural godly change?

We have two forms of existence that are in constant enmity with what God does in the world. They are the devil and our own flesh that we each wrestle with in our members. Paul writes about this flesh curse that he personally dealt with in his letter to the Romans, chapter 7.

Sadly, I have found there to be far more questioning and judgment against such moves of God than there has been excitement and agreement. Even more disturbing are the critical words coming from the church rather than from the world.

It’s human nature to question that which we do not understand. Likewise it is biblical to question supernatural manifestations to ensure their origins. Certainly it is a good thing to weigh what we are witnessing from God. We must assure that what is happening aligns with the word of God coupled with Father’s revelation knowledge, so that those ministering are doing so under the authority of Holy Spirit filled apostolic coverage, and that they are doing so by revelation given by the Holy Spirit. However, the error in almost all critiques I have witnessed comes into play when people evaluate by what they think rather than by faith centered revelation. Many argue by their own interpretation of the Bible over revelation given through the Holy Spirit of that very word. The word alone is not enough. For events of supernatural change can only be understood and then accepted from a heart of faith rather than by logical conclusion or literal and legalistic translation. In fact everything of the Kingdom of God can only be understood within the context of faith and then revelation.

All down the history of the church, it has been the error of making cranial judgments outside of revelation knowledge that has silenced so many revivals since Jesus completed work on the cross.

Simply said, when we argue with our very limited mental conclusions, we do so from the flesh of what we think rather than from the revelation of what God knows. As such, one cannot police the flesh with the flesh. It must be done only by way of the revelation of the Holy Spirit coupled with the word of God. Otherwise we heap division upon division. Error, disunity, division and degradation result from such ways. What my flesh believes is in error might very well be of the Lord. So if I attempt to erroneously correct that which needs no correction, I establish division when such was not warranted. It is to this very serious issue of error that I speak.

On Discipleship

Generally speaking, discipleship can only be done one of two ways. Discipleship can be done of the law and which is based upon what man thinks. Or, discipleship can be done by people filled with the revelation wisdom given by the Holy Spirit which leads to a radical life of spiritual maturity. One leads to bondage, the latter leads to spiritual and supernatural growth in the Holy Spirit.

Either through teaching, impartation through words of knowledge and the prophetic, or impartation through the laying on of hands, indeed ministry through impartation is a critical part of discipleship and which is what Paul and the apostles regularly ministered in (Hebrews 6:1-3, Romans 1:11).

Those who disciple by the Holy Spirit act as transferring agents who take what they have received from the word, complete that knowledge by revelation understanding through the Holy Spirit, wait for the supernatural anointing and then give it away to the church according to each person’s need. At its’ most basic, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the basis of the very church of God is first to be received in power and then transferred to others. How can this be done without impartation in all its’ forms? The most basic call to the church is to “impart” truth supernaturally.

A leader that operates successfully in the Holy Spirit by revelation and anointing ministers out of the experiences of God. To minister out of what one has concluded alone is by a dead faith. For faith to result in real change requires the event of change we witness. That witness becomes our experience. The experience leads to a higher faith. Faith without experience therefore is dead. As such, discipleship from head knowledge is all but lifeless teaching.

Book knowledge alone is not enough, and so the Bible alone is not enough. However, when the Holy Spirit shows up with experiences of God, our faith is raised up and it becomes alive. It quickly transfers from babies level head knowledge to maturing heart knowledge, followed by the reception of anointing born from experiences in the Holy Spirit that lead people to Kingdom success. This form of discipleship is right discipleship and which is the only effective means to spiritual growth for those being discipled. For without the revelation knowledge of the Holy Spirit given in times of dependant intimacy, discipleship can only be by conclusions of the intelligence of the mind of people. It takes both the absolutely necessary word of God and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit coupled together to gain right discipleship. It is this latter ingredient that so many who speak of revival error so totally miss.

The word alone is not enough for right discipleship nor is it so for right correction. That is legalism by good sounding arguments and mental conclusions. The word and the Spirit are required for right understanding and right leadership. Discipleship then falls right in line with the heart of the Father in a radical Kingdom way rather than a limited worldly way.

It is this false notion of discipleship through the word and blind submission to authority that is the very root of so much division and woundedness in the Body of Christ today. It is a strategy that is demonic and which is how the devil controls large church structures to keep them powerless and devoid of the Holy Spirit. When we trust in the mind of man alone and willfully reject the manifestations of the Holy Spirit from a lack of understanding or for form of order, we cut off the lines of power from Heaven to earth and become dependent on people for spiritual growth rather than Father God. The result becomes a church full of many ideas and theological deviations born from the mind of people rather than by a singular supply of Kingdom truth that manifests by revelation of the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit will not show up unless he is fully given the reins of control of our meetings. This is not a giving up of control as so many religious leaders would suggest, this is true biblical submission of a leadership to the authority of the Holy Spirit, a trusting in faith.

Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we would have all that we need to defeat satan in all that satan brings. According to John 15-16, Jesus left earth and ascended into Heaven, but would not leave us as orphans. He gave us the Holy Spirit in all his glory so that we would be rightly equipped to win every fight. Now, with Jesus back with the Father, the Holy Spirit would become the revealer of all truth. One then can easily see that the number one goal of satan is to render the church Spiritless. He knows that if he can do this, he can silence the flow of revelation knowledge, prevent spiritual growth and block the power to heal, deliver, and raise the dead. We lose faith, start to think and then think our way into lower lesser arguments that place man in control of our meetings instead of God.

If where the Holy Spirit is, there is liberty, then what does this say about places where the Holy Spirit is not? In a word… bondage. Therefore, satan’s number one goal is to put the fire out wherever and whenever the fire starts. Like an effective military general, the devil will strategize and attack with high priority places of high Kingdom effectiveness. So it is with satan against the Spirit filled church, or wherever the Holy Spirit shows up. Sadly, so it also is with most arguments that have been leveled against revival fire in Lakeland Florida and on down the ages of revival history.

By most accounts of Lakeland, millions of souls have been saved and/or affected in a godly way. Thousands of people have been confirmed healed. Many confirmed dead people were raised during the Lakeland Revival, and we are to call this strange fire? By whose argument are we declaring this so? Is this God’s argument or by the words of good sounding mental assumptions?

Beware of strange fire? As for me, I am far more concerned to expose the leaven of legalistic worldly arguments that put Holy Spirit fires out. Such arguments bring way too much credit to the ability of the devil to warp people’s minds. Somehow we have assumed that God is or has become incapable of silencing demonic forces whenever God decides to show up in meetings with supernatural power. We tend to far more fear that what is happening is demonic rather than to consider that what is happening is of Father God. We have decided that by our policing efforts, we can do better than the Holy Spirit at silencing the enemy’s strategies.

Likewise, one must be there and personally experience a thing to rightly discern the thing. There is a favorite bumper sticker I have seen and which holds true in regards to this discussion. It reads as follows: “If you haven’t been to Iraq or Afghanistan then shut up about it.” Harsh as this might sound, the same concept applies here. If one has not clearly heard from the Lord about it, then one has no place speaking of it.

In reality, when we step in front of God to silence what we presume are demonic manifestations, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Who actually departs is not the devil, but the Holy Spirit. And this is exactly what the devil wants. So I must then ask, whose argument are we making when we criticize unusual manifestations of the Holy Spirit by what we think rather than by what we have been revealed to?

Indeed there were errors in Lakeland and which has been so in every revival that ever was (…of which none of them are my place to judge). No person is without internal flaws. However, in shedding light on these errors, let us not throw the baby out with the bath water? Revival is messy. People’s issues get dealt with in mass, even leadership… God’s plan accelerates in ways we do not understand. Light get’s shown on the devil’s works and the devil does not like that at all. It’s a messy business. Indeed revival will never look like a dead religious church service that results in little or no ground gained. We just cannot apply our cranial conclusions to what God does and how he does it.

On the other hand we cannot stand by and allow the devil to infiltrate revival with any level of error. So how do we rightly discern and intervene? The answer is found in intimacy and dependency.

Intimacy leads to revelation knowledge straight from the throne room of God. When two become intimate with each other, both expose what is in their hearts. Our dependant heart results in Kingdom knowledge being purified by the desire to be sure that what we speak is Father’s truth alone, not our own. The result becomes what Father knows about us and his plans. It’s the very Father heart of God that becomes known in revival. And when we know what God thinks over what we think, the picture is always so much better, bigger, brighter and more beautiful. Independent thinking therefore blocks these truths, as it does Father’s heart, as it does revelation knowledge as it does supernatural manifestations! Independent thinking is a deadly way as to Kingdom business.

Discipleship can be ministered out of relationship or out of the law. One way leads to radical supernatural life. The other way leads to darkness and lifelessness. In essence, one can say that dependant intimacy leads to life from the dead. Certainly if intimacy leads to a vibrant unified marriage, is it not far more so the same with our intimacy with the Father and with King Jesus?

The entire process of spiritual growth is found not in the literal word of the law, but within the intimacy of relationship that manifests a deep relationship between people and Father God inside and then outside of the church. Intimacy leads to the deep thoughts of your partner… Then, God becomes pleased to let us know what’s in his heart.

Offendability from the Supernatural

I’ve seen just about every manifestation in the Holy Spirit we read about. Shakes, quakes, laughter, tears, simultaneous laughter and tears, flailing about, running, running in place, cat calls and the like. I’ve seen it all. Well, maybe not… But in every single event, my flesh was definitely challenged. Every single time it was as if the Lord was asking me, “Well son, what do you think about this?” In each event I had never once entertained the notion to allow evil to coexist in the room with what God was doing. So pure had been the manifestation of God’s heart in these experiences that I would not dare to presume to step in his way.

Still though, my flesh was offended by many things I saw. However, there had always been this wonderful sense that the Father and Jesus were in the room. I had no fear that darkness was anywhere near what was going on. Oh there were demons in the room, in people who were being healed. But they were being dealt with by the Holy Spirit and angels authoritatively resident in the room as well! Jesus was being testified to in an unmistakable way. I knew that when the Holy Spirit was in residence, that he was in control of the meeting, not man and certainly not the devil.

It was obvious to me that God created the devil and had all power over him. So I never feared the devil in these meetings, however strange the manifestations became. God was dealing with many of our issues, however that looked like. I wonder, come to think of it, what are those things supposed to look like?

When the Holy Spirit shows up, people’s issues get dealt with, and darkness flees. What does that look like in the natural eye? Well, I can testify… wonderfully wild! This is not an allowing of evil to coexist with good as some would suggest. It is an inviting of wounded people into Father’s loving presence who are dealing with issues to be set free from those demonic forces. Devils become exposed and then depart forcibly! Can you imagine how quiet a meeting would be if no one with demonic influence was allowed into our meetings? There would be no one to minister to! (This, by the way, also speaks to the need to take this radical Spirit filled way out into the streets!)

Now there were times that I had witnessed demonic interruption, but those times were patently obvious and very easily dealt with. Likewise when people were ministering out of the flesh or worse, that too was easily known by submitted leadership who were being made known of it by the Holy Spirit. The difference between darkness and light is spiritually obvious for those who are moving in the Holy Spirit. Even for those who are not Christian, the difference between love and hate, between Christ and antichrist, between light and darkness are very obvious.

Ultimately, the witness and revelation of what is of light or of darkness can be completely blocked by what we choose to think, by what we accept or reject or by what we believe or do not believe. Therefore the very key to an understanding of what is light or what is darkness is found not in the intelligence of what one thinks, but rather in the condition of one’s heart and the state of one’s faith. The unyeilded mind can do nothing but get in the way of God.

What I have found in every experience of the Holy Spirit were those who got it and those who judged it. For truly I have seen that it has always been and will always be that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are a great offense to those who do not get it. This very truth was recorded in Acts as an end result of Pentecost. There were many people who were drunk in the Holy Spirit as Peter spoke of, but there were many who questioned what they were seeing and then rejected it. Reference Acts 2: 13

Discernment

I completely agree with the argument that we must never allow things that are demonic or fleshly to have safe passage within revival. But the problem is in how we discern what is or is not of God. The very essence of revival is the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. However, when the Holy Spirit shows up, he does so almost always in ways that people would not expect. Just as Jesus showed up as a carpenter to confound the wise, so the Holy Spirit shows up with manifestations that also confound the wise. Herein is a key principle in that God always asks the question, “Who is in control of this meeting? Is it man or the Holy Spirit? Is it what you think or what I know?”

Certainly the devil works to counterfeit what God does so as to gain a divisive “in.” But when the Holy Spirit is moving in revival, the “Helper who leads us into all truth” makes known those strategies easily to those who are in charge by way of discernment. In such a case, we need to silence those voices. But we need to do so without getting in the way of God. And so the only way to rightly discern is to allow God to supernaturally lead from the heart. We hear his voice and only then do we act as the Spirit leads.

I cannot witness a manifestation and because of my offense say that this is not of God. I must be in connection with the Holy Spirit, hear what he says about it and only then take action according to his desire. In so doing I overcome my fleshly disagreement with God. This is what “testing and approving” is all about. Right testing and approving is found in the hearing, not by conclusion. It starts with the written word but then is finalized with the Spirit’s revelation; only then can right action be taken. When the Holy Spirit shows up, it’s easy to gain the truth. Darkness is very easy to discern in times of God’s manifest presence to those who lead.

In regards to “testing and approving”, those who use this argument to criticize spiritual manifestations almost always take the focus of this statement out of context. One must continue past 1 John 4:1 and read through to verse 6:

1 John 4:1-6 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

There is one and only test as to the validity of any ministry or manifestation. Does it testify the full gospel of Jesus Christ into a dying world? What is demonic will not testify to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s that simple. We make it much harder than it really is by applying this concept falsely against those who are honestly ministering in the Lord. We go well beyond what this testing and approving means when we focus this argument against manifestations we do not understand. The simple question to ask those who manifest in the supernatural is this, “In what you are ministering, do you testify to Jesus Christ in all his truth?” Demoniacs will recoil when asked this question. Error is based in antichrist. It is easily found out. Using the above scripture to criticize against what is a God thing is an act of agreement with an antichrist argument.

An Example

What if someone were screaming on the floor in joy and tears? What if many were doing so? This sounds out of order and just plain weird doesn’t it? As a leader assessing the situation, I might be offended at what I am witnessing. It seems out of order. It just doesn’t feel right as I think of it. My fleshly response might very well be that these people are manifesting demons. And this very well might be true even when God has a plan in it all! But then the Holy Spirit tells me that he is “working something out in these people, leave them alone and let them release it.” If I choose, out of my offense to get up and move a certain person out of the meeting, what have I just done? I have just stepped in the way of God. Specifically, I have just placed a block between the Holy Spirit and this person who is being ministered to. On the larger scale, I have without discernment just said “no” to Holy Spirit manifesting what he wants to bring into the church meeting. How grievous is this error! This very error is the quickest way to stop the manifestation of God’s Presence in a place. The authority has just gotten in the way of The Authority for fear in whatever form.

Every revival that has ever been has been silenced in this very same way… someone in charge got in the way of God. Someone declared that which was of God as something that was of the flesh or demonic. This is a false accusation of the Holy Spirit. My goodness this is a form of blasphemy to the Holy Spirit! Let us not forget how many times Jesus was accused of being a demoniac. Jesus offended their thinking by what he did that was outside of their mental comfort zones.

We must understand that our flesh is in enmity with the Lord, however mature or however in submission we might be. Therefore we all deal with the flesh until the day we go to Heaven. True spiritual maturity is found in the sign of how well we keep our flesh in check. Paul calls this perseverance (among other things we persevere through). Therefore a key part of good discernment is found in the ability to persevere.

Inside the church circle, as leadership, our flesh will always be challenged by what the Holy Spirit brings. The Pharisees were confronted with the very same decision process. Was Jesus and his miraculous ways of God or not? For us, how offendable will we be when God shows up with the radical stuff? Will we get in his way by what we think, feel or fear? Or will we let God be God as he does his great works in our meetings? If God created the devil, does God not have all power and authority over whatever the devil might do? Indeed yes! But how we overcome the devil, in all his wares, is not by our own strength. As the Word says, “It is not by power, nor by might, but by the Holy Spirit, says the Lord!”

How very important is the position of leadership! How very important is a right understanding of discipleship based upon complete spiritual dependence. For the difference is life or death, liberty or bondage within the church, joy in the Holy Spirit or religious country club meetings of little worth. No wonder why satan is so interested to put the fire of the Holy Spirit out whenever it manifests!

By the way… Scriptures say that perfect love casts out fear. So when perfect love manifests in our meetings, what do we have to fear? Intimate dependent leadership discerns these things.

True Authority

God forever seeks to know from leadership if we are going to give up the reins of control or keep them for ourselves. True revival manifests only when we give up the reins of control in a willful state of complete dependence to the Lord. This is not giving up our need and biblical call to exercise authority in our meetings, rather this is a new way of understanding how to minister that control. This is right authority exercised in the church. The Bible says to submit to all authorities we are under. But for the authority structure of the church to be in right order, church leadership must themselves be under the direct authority of the Holy Spirit in every meeting.

Jesus exemplified pure authority in that he did nothing but what the Father willed. Likewise the Holy Spirit brings nothing but what Jesus speaks. The three are in agreement in everything. That agreement is born out of relationship. Relationship is born out of intimate dependence. Therefore, as goes the leader so goes the church. Spiritually, as a member of my church, I can only go as far as my leadership is willing to go. This is why when leadership buys into arguments that silence the Holy Spirit, the whole church gets silenced.

As to demonic forces, we know that the devil is fast at work to infiltrate the church with sin, good sounding arguments that introduce false leaven and forms of manipulation that lead to internal control. But how we are revealed to these strategies and how we successfully silence them can only be by the ongoing manifestation of the Holy Spirit to bring revelation knowledge that they even exist. If the church is devoid of the revival Spirit, it has become devoid of the only means to be made known of such demonic strategies! The result is that the church can only be in error as to how it deals with the demonic and the flesh. The result can only be forms of legalistic control by the mind of people. If the Holy Spirit is out of the church, the devil is most certainly in the church!

In order to keep the devil and the flesh of people out of our church meetings we must be seekers of intimate relationship with the Father, with Jesus and now more than ever with the Holy Spirit. Out of this relationship we gain the heart of the Father. When we gain his heart, we gain deep understandings of what he loves and what he hates. We start to see Father’s plans and then he shows us the plans of the devil that comes against him. God knows everything, including all of the devils schemes. Our spiritual eyesight becomes far clearer than it would be without Father’s presence and synergistically so. In a word, we gain discernment.

The scriptures are not the only means to gain right answers to these questions. Bill Johnson says, and I agree, “The Bible defines God, it does not contain him.” The devil knows the scriptures better than any person does. But does satan’s knowledge of scriptures make him right? He uses the scriptures legally to attempt to gain ground against people and the church. He succeeds in that when we come into agreement with his lower arguments. What we agree with, either knowingly or unknowingly is so very powerful as to our success in all things.

What the devil does not have is the revelation power of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus. The church must recognize that Jesus did it all. His blood is our weapon and the release of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is our power behind this blood. Both are required for success against all things false. The blood is powerless without the Spirit. Jesus would not have been raised outside of the Holy Spirit’s power to be risen. If God is the entire flashlight and Jesus is the light bulb of truth, then the batteries that are the very power of the Holy Spirit are necessary to make it all work.

If I simply demand submission to authority by what I read and mentally conclude from the biblical word, without the blood and the manifesting presence of God, I can only be but in error. This, in time, results in the manifestation or religious demonic spirits who, through our flesh, control and manipulate the religious church by legalism and condescending authoritarianism.

Church leadership has no right to just demand parishioners to blindly “submit” without being in total submission to the Holy Spirit first in their own walk. That is not a right exercise of authority; it is more a form of legalistic dictatorship.

One Last Point

Take a very careful read of Romans Chapter 7. You know that Saul of Tarsus (Paul) was a murderer as he persecuted the Christians. Then God shed his supernatural light of revelation on Paul and Paul changed. But according to Romans 7 we are made clear to the fact that Paul still had issues he constantly dealt with. Here, Paul speaks to the law that reveals sin as sin. He then says that the law only has shed light on his miserable state. This was not a declaration of who he was as the former Saul; he spoke this of his present state.

Romans: 7:15-25 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living within me. I know that nothing good lives within me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul was transparently exposing his existing fleshly nature to the Roman church. By his honesty, he was showing us all how invaluable was the complete work of Jesus cross to his current soul. The simple truth is that Paul was not without sin, even while he was in the highest place of leadership.

When Todd Bentley made whatever mistake he made while at Lakeland, who are we to slap him down and say that this whole thing in Lakeland was “Strange Fire?” I can imagine how many critics there were of Paul’s ministry in his day that came against Paul with these same accusations, with Paul openly admitting that he was dealing with issues of the flesh.

If a prerequisite for leadership were perfection from sin, if all leadership were to be completely honest, there would be no church at all, and no one in Heaven. So maybe Todd blew it. And certainly there needs to be repentance. But to disqualify him is like saying to the apostle Paul, “Paul, here is where you sinned. Therefore, what you are manifesting is strange fire, and you are now disqualified to continue in ministry. Likewise we all need to beware of your strange fire.” This is great error.

Who is without sin today? Let him cast the first stone at Todd Bentley. As Jesus said to the Jews who were about to stone him in John 10:32, “I have shown you great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

Conclusion

Who is in control of our meetings? Is it the law or is it the Holy Spirit? When the Holy Spirit shows up in unique power how will we respond when the Lord asks the question, “Well, smarty pants, what do you think about that? Is this the devil or is it me?” Leadership must know, they will forever be asked these very questions.

Strange fires can only be exposed by revelation knowledge, not by what we think. Revelation knowledge comes only by way of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. But if the Holy Spirit is not welcome because of “people in the way”, we are left with nothing but fine sounding arguments. This is what the Lord is warning us so seriously about in our day. Fine sounding arguments are no less than the tools the devil uses to silence God’s power in the earth. When the devil has done that, he traffics without check to bring division and destruction into the church. For the Holy Spirit is the power behind the light that sheds on darkness; no power… no light. We have to ask ourselves this very serious question, “Who are we arguing against when we judge revivals by what we think?”

Therefore, error is not found where the Holy Spirit manifests the Kingdom of God on earth in ways that confound people’s thinking, as was seen in Lakeland. Error is found where the Holy Spirit is not in residence. These places are where today’s Pharisees are found. These places are where there is so little Kingdom expression manifested outside church walls. Today, God is very much in the business of restoring his church to these radical Spirit filled standards as in Pentecost that resulted in such miracles as 3000 souls saved in a day.

Strange fire must be come against indeed. But it can only be revealed by Spirit filled people. Strange fire manifests in witch covens. It traffics in humanism, worldly spiritualism and in false cultic religions and to those who are deeply blinded by false doctrines. We know these false doctrines by who they testify to, Jesus or the world. Strange fire manifests to those who seek only what their itching ears want to hear. To apply this argument to those who love the Lord from the heart is way out of order.

There are many who would warn to beware of “strange fires.” When such warnings come by way of those truly moving in the Holy Spirit with revelation knowledge that has come from the Lord, then such warnings are critical. However, when such warnings come from those who are not operating in revelation, they do so of the flesh. To correct the flesh with the flesh is sure to put whatever fire is of God out. That which is supernatural is always in enmity with the flesh of man’s thinking.

I personally witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Lakeland. I watched the Holy Spirit do miracle after miracle, including for my mother and my wife. I personally know that what happened there was very much in line with the Father’s heart. Had the manifestation of “strange fires” occurred there, even the most casual of godly observers in residence would have recognized it.

T. Scott Morton
http://www.tscottmorton.wordpress.com
tscottmorton@hotmail.com

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Responses

  1. Scott, this was a fabulous article! I learned alot! I’m curious about whether you believe in Pre-Mid-Post Trib?
    Blessings to you my friend!
    Tracy

  2. Hi Tracy,

    Bless you greatly in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Your question, like that of so many debated issues all through the years such as the concept of baptisms, can be answered by two means. Both means are required for truth to be known; namely the word and the Spirit.

    Again as I said in my writing, one must comb the word but then hear from the Holy Spirit to finalize the concept. The problem is that so many people build theologies on what they read alone. Worse, many build theologies on what they mentally concluded from only snippets of the word, while wholesale rejecting other scriptures that contain the real answer. The result are thousands of different opinions on any one issue. This is exactly what I speak of in much of my writings.

    There is no scriptural evidence that suggests that we will be taken up prior to hard times in the world.

    The Holy Spirit was given at the point of the Cross so that we would be able to walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil. What this means is that we are supposed to be here in times of great trouble so as to save those who are savable. The key ingredient is the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. You have nothing to worry about in times of tribulation if you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Even greater will be the wonderful successes you will see when the Holy Spirit ministers through you to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and see many saved. Though even if all hell is breaking loose around you, you will move in the joy of your salvation as you lead others out of worldly fear into that very same joy!

    However, besides what I have just said, allow the Holy Spirit to speak truth into your heart as you read the word of God for yourself. You will find that He will show you what He wants you to see in the word. Don’t be surprised if what Father gives you in revelation departs from conventional thinking on any given issue? So I pray the fullness of he Holy Spirit both on you and in you as you seek on your own to confirm what I have just suggested.

    Main point is to be very careful what you hear, particularly when it comes from the religious church. Not to suggest disrespect to those who are leading you, rather that you know that you have a Councilor who is ready and able to show you the real truth on any given issue. And, that you know that the Lord will open doors for you to release that which he has given you.

    Bless you!

    Scott


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