I believe that the modern institutional church has made a concerted effort to remove the question marks from the Christian journey. Today, many pastors excel in peddling surety, control over one’s destiny, and instant gratification, all under the guise of ‘faith’. For example, in the charismatic Word-of-Faith churches, congregants are taught that man has been given the answer to every problem in life through God’s Word. Believers are instructed to find a scripture that applies to their situation and “stand on it” until they receive the outcome they desire.
“Standing” involves decreeing the Word over their situation, meditating on that scripture while also looking for a deeper revelation of it, and making a firm resolution not to say anything that would conflict with or negate their desired outcome. In this way, man is in control of his destiny as he stands in his supposedly God-given dominion and authority. From this perspective, God’s will remains easily known and always accessible, a tool for man to use at his discretion. Thus, man becomes the author and finisher of his faith while God is relegated to the back seat. Any results outside of the desired outcome are seen as either an attack of the enemy or the result of the believers lack of faith. This brazen arrogance is clearly reflected in the modern interpretation of some of the foundational doctrines that comprise Christianity.
Every Sunday, pastors around the world encourage their parishioners to ‘make a choice for God’ and thus accept Jesus into their hearts. Those that comply are led to believe that as a result of doing so, they are now ‘saved’ and will spend eternity in heaven. All sins will be forgiven, Jesus will be their Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit will now come to reside on the inside of them. Most likely, the pastor will then explain to them that they are now free to claim every ‘benefit’ of salvation for themselves- health, wealth, soundness of mind, etc.. This practice is a complete perversion of the foundational doctrine of salvation and ultimately results in a false conversion. It is a prime example of the modern church’s portrayal of man as being in control of his destiny. Because of this ‘choice’, man is deceived into believing that he can be assured of his salvation and acceptance before God. When thinking this way, there is no need to question one’s experience or examine it for oneself. Another Biblical truth that has been completely distorted is healing.
From the charismatic Word-of-Faith perspective, it is the legal right of every believer to be healed and walking free of all diseases. Anything contrary to that is an attack of the enemy or a clear indication of a lack of faith. My church always taught that the moment a sick person was prayed for, that person was instantly healed, regardless of whether or not the person still had symptoms. It was then up to the person to ‘claim their healing’ and continue to ‘stand on the Word’ while rebuking any pain or other symptoms. This expectation of an immediate answer to prayer was considered to be ‘faith’. Even if it is God’s desire to heal a person, are we to always assume that He is going to do that at our request? Under our terms and when we ‘command’ it? This is a deception that puts man in control and opens the door to the enemy. When one considers the primary people through whom these false doctrines are being preached, it’s not surprising that instant material gratification and surety are emphasized. Sitting atop their ministerial empires, the mega-preachers teach their followers to control their destiny by demanding that God do as they say, when, where, and how they want it done. I am so grateful that I am no longer under their influence.
Are you wondering about what’s going on in your church? If you are looking for a place where your doubts are welcomed and questions are encouraged, Rescue is a great place to be. In Rescue I’ve found a supportive community that has helped me to uncover my deception and opened my eyes to the truth. For that I am so grateful!
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