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Saturday, 14 August 2010

Demons, delusion, and discernment.

Sometimes the subject of a post comes to me just as I read the newspapers; sometimes I realise that I haven't posted for a few days, and have to work at a post. This post is one that has been on my heart for some 36 hours - since I received a regular mailing that pointed me to a video by a New Zealand preacher named Andrew Strom (see below- it's in two parts).

It's many, many years since I first became involved in the Charismatic Movement. My early objections to it were based on what I considered to be an inappropriate use of some of the more spectacular gifts of God the Holy Spirit. However, I would have claimed that the Lord sorted all of that out for me and, eventually, I found myself in a leadership role in one of Scotland's larger Charismatic Fellowships. It would be churlish of me not to admit that, during my years in that Fellowship, I received much that truly blessed me. However, although it was not the ultimate reason for my leaving the Fellowship, I was concerned by some of the behaviour that was manifest by many of the members - including some of those who were with me in leadership - when the so-called 'Toronto Blessing' was believed to have arrived among us. I was concerned when a specific prophesy that was given, by a visiting speaker, failed to come to pass. I wasn't prepared, under the New Covenant, to approve his death - but I expected that at least the senior pastor would have publically acknowledged that the prophecy had been false, and accepted some of the responsibility for allowing it to have been made 'on his watch'!

All of this, and more, came back to me yesterday, when I watched these videos. I recalled that I, myself, had been 'affected' by some of the phenomena that I was now seeing others manifest. For years, I had been saying (and would continue to say) that there is a sad lack of the gift of discernment in the Body of Christ. That, I believe, is at least partly because, in some places, it is so far divorced from the Head - even the Lord Himself. In those cases where I was laughing uncontrollably; going into involuntary spasms; even encouraging others in those areas that I found to be acceptable; I confess that I allowed my own better judgement to be clouded - which may be why the Lord used something much more personal to sever my relationship with that Fellowship.

I believe that these videos, and the message that they give, may be very timely. I have had to renounce a number of things in my life and, although no longer participating in most of these activities (I am happy to raise my hands in worship to the Lord; to dance; and to pray, in my own devotions, in tongues), I confess that I was once involved, and renounce all that was not of God the Holy Spirit, but of a false spirit that had wormed its way into the chuurch - and that appears to be gaining an increasing influence in certain circles.

Do take the time to watch the videos.

"He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Rev.2:7, inter al)


Thomas Roarty said...

I've noticed a trend in the cases of those who appear "possessed" by spirits, whether they be considered malicious or not. Those who mostly claim to be affected by such possession are mostly in a religious position to begin with (such as yourself). I know this is a very unknown subject to pick at, but could it be right in saying that people who have their hearts set on their belief are more succeptable to these spirits?

Mind you, I'm completely shooting in the dark here. I could be incorrect on so many levels.

C.Brian Ross said...

Hi Thomas!
“... people who have their hearts set on their belief are more susceptible to these spirits?”
I would suggest that it is not as much a case of susceptibility as it is of recognition. I believe that humans are spiritual beings, and are “hard-wired” to worship. So Paul, writing to the early Roman church, points out that certain people “... exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator.” (Rom 1:25; NIV)
We see this, today, in the adulation piled upon sporting personalities, pop stars, actors/actresses, fashion models, and the like. We seem to have something inside that needs something on which to lavish our affections. Sometimes, of course, that ‘something’ can be ourselves – I won’t go into my personal opinion of Tony Blair just now!
I don’t think that one needs to have a postgraduate Master’s degree in Sociology to recognise that there are many ‘spirits’ operating in our contemporary world – spirits of envy, greed, hatred, violence, sexual gratification, hedonism: the list could go on! However, I think that you are correct insofar as ‘spiritual’ people (like me!) who are actually those who recognise the spiritual dimension in life, are more aware of spiritual influences. Unfortunately, not everyone in a materialistic culture does so. However, Einstein was correct when he said “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”; while Shakespeare’s character, Hamlet, makes the valid point – supported by modern quantum physics – that “There are stranger things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are thought of in all your philosophies”!
I hope that that goes some way towards answering your query. If not, you know that you have only to get back to me!