The Danger of Bad Theology
I came across a very sad article on the American Atheists website (incidentally, it’s full of sad articles) about a former Word-Faith Charismatic preacher who became disillusioned and eventually completely rejected Christianity and God. I found it interesting, however, because it gives an inside look into how someone can trick themselves into believing all sorts of things are happening when they really aren’t. It also exposes the danger of abusing God’s Word; holding God to promises that He has not made to you. When you eisegete passages, assuming every word applies directly to you—as long as it’s not negative of course—it’s only a matter of time before you come up against a wall.
He recounts some of his experiences,
I heard God audibly and I became so bold that I would throw people out of wheel chairs. I would lay people down who had back injuries flat on their stomachs and run on their backs believing that I was carried along by the wind of God (Mal 4:2 The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings). For this was the demonstration of the Holy Ghost and power (1Cor 2:4)! And my language and message were not set forth in persuasive, enticing and plausible words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power, proof by the Spirit and power of God that was operating in me and stirring the most holy emotions in the minds of my listeners and thus persuading them.
I believed I could raise the dead back to life and that I was endowed with supernatural power from on high. I was baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4). There was a radical evidence of the call of God on my life. God called me to be a prophet. “Miracles and Wonders” would flow through my life. I would be used by God to raise the dead, so why wait? God would honor my faith, so twice I went to the local morgue to raise the dead. After all, that’s where the dead were. I had never seen a dead man in my life, yet Jesus spoke to me in “red” and said, “go raise the dead, my boy, go raise the dead, (Matt10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, RAISE THE DEAD, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give ). The second time I arrived to raise the dead I had caused a disturbance and was told by the authorities if I ever returned with this nonsense I would be arrested for harassment.
When God Doesn’t Answer
The inciting incident that drove him to scrutinize his beliefs was the unanswered prayers for the healing of his son’s hearing. He now says that his denying of medical treatment to his son was tantamount to child abuse.
It all came to a head when he discovered what he thought was a contradiction in the Bible. Mind you, this man read the Bible a lot; cover to cover every two months.
Each morning I read my five chapters in the Old Testament, five in the New, five Psalms and one Proverb a day. This didn’t including my daily studies that I would do in the evening.
Even with this constant exposure to the Scriptures, the flimsy, self-focused, emotion laden, hermeneutic that he was taught couldn’t hold up to scrutiny. You can feel his pain as his describes how his world crumbled around him. He considered suicide. He lost his closest friends. He was outcast by the ones he trusted most. Needless to say, he’s mad. And even 5 years later, the wounds are still fresh. He now goes by the moniker theSaint’sRevenge, showing up at Christian rallys/protests and stirring up trouble.
I’d be mad too.
What’s really sad is what this man is rejecting isn’t even Biblical Christianity, or God for that matter, but what do you think the likelihood is of someone even gaining a hearing with him for the gospel now? This is why theology matters.We must rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) and train others to do the same. Understand what God has promised and hold tight to those things by the mighty faith that He provides. Do not shut your mind off, for that is no faith at all, merely fancy. Let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
Take Him at His Promises, but First Know What They Are
The amazing thing about God is that He is faithful! He cannot fail to keep His promises. But if we do not know or rightly understand the promises He has revealed in His Word, if we construe the Bible to create promises that He has not made, or if we imagine He is giving us new promises when He is not, then it doesn’t matter how much faith we have. Faith is only as good as it’s object. Sure your petition may come to pass by His providence, and we certainly ought to pray persistently, but you have no sure thing apart from what He has promised to do. If He chooses not to answer your prayer He has not failed you. He hasn’t promised the perfect life for you on this earth—this is where the Word Faith movement blows it big time.
And we must take care to trust in God’s character. He is faithful, He is sovereign, He always does right. He has promised good to me, so I will trust Him in the storm. Even if I am cast into the sea I am in Christ and my very drowning will not separate me from the love of God in Jesus (Romans 8:39).
What God Hath Not Promised:
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.