At times we get e-mail asking what our doctrinal position is, or what we think about a certain work or ministry...
I have tried to steer clear of these questions for several reasons...
I believe that with regard to a ministry, spoken or written, the most important thing is the sense of inspiration, authority and quickening of the Spirit of God which is transmitted to the hearer. Our problem is... to what extent is the hearer able to discern these things? Is our questioning motivated by a spiritual impulse or by the desire to be able to categorize that to which we have been exposed? Do our answers really bring light, or will they be taken as siding with one or another faction within the church? We all judge the new by the knowledge which we already possess and sadly, in our churches today,
Emotion has been confused with unction,
Ability to communicate has been confused with Revelation,
And man's projects have taken the place of God-given vision.
Today these things run the church!
Years ago I came across the phrase, "The set will of the weak." At first this seems contradictory - how can the weak person have a set will?
The answer is, I believe, that the weak person is afraid to let go of his beliefs - because he has nothing to replace them with!
This is where the nominal church stands at the end of the twentieth century.
As we ask our questions I am afraid that there are answers which we want [or must] hear. If we don't get the answers which confirm our hopes, then what have we left?
If our emotions, mechanics of communication, and our projects were taken away we would find on our lips the cry of Micah [Judges 18:24] "Ye have taken away my gods which I made...and what have I more (left)?"
We all accept the fact that human relationships are formed on the basis of a meeting of minds - a communication - a subjective response. No one falls in love with a cold description of height, weight, hair color, etc. ... one falls in love with a person. The problem with our Christianity, is that we have exchanged the Person, and the living contact with Him for explanations... interpretations... extrapolations.
The spiritual substance has been replaced with our Christian projects and our Christian personalities.
The scaffolding has become the building.
We have leaned on these crutches until we are unable to walk without them.
Let me ask you... does God need made-over artists from the world? It is a sad day when singers with worldly charisma become "Spirit anointed" singers in the church, when a good scholar becomes a teacher with "gifts of spiritual insight".
Who are we kidding? - We are kidding ourselves.
We have many floating around the periphery of God's working in these days who have never really tasted its life.
God desires a people to whom He can show His Glory!
God's word to us is still, "Look up to Me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth."
It is not a looking to our pastors and leaders as the source of our life, faith, and revelation, but a faith that God himself cares...and speaks...and meets us as individuals.
At the beginning God said to His newborn creation, "Let there be Light"...
now is the time for us to say over the darkened creation of our lives and churches, "Let God be my Light."
Now is the time to hallow His Name - that is, to set Him apart from all else... to look to Him alone... to find Him to be as He has promised,
Salvation to the ends of the earth.
Salvation to the farthest reaches of geography.
Salvation to the farthest reaches of need.
Salvation to the farthest reaches of darkness and despair.
Salvation to the utmost heights of union with Him.
God desires to take us beyond our human definitions,
God desires to take us beyond our human loyalties -
He would have us know Him through the revelation of His Spirit within... finding in Him fullness of Light and fullness of Life.
Copyright © 1998 by Paul Ravenhill - http://www.ravenhill.org/