[anzac] A CHRISTIAN CIVIL WAR?? - Andrew Strom

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 22:41:59 +1200
A CHRISTIAN CIVIL WAR??
-Andrew Strom.

This week the editor of Charisma Magazine, Lee Grady, published
an article on a topic that I have very much been wanting to comment
on myself for some time. His article is called "Can We Avoid a 
Charismatic Civil War?" Below are some large extracts from the
article - with my comments at the end. Friends, this is a topic that 
truly concerns us all:

Lee Grady writes: 
"Some leaders say the controversial Lakeland Revival is forcing us 
to choose sides. But I don't believe God wants to split our movement.

"It's been more than 10 years since charismatic prophet Rick Joyner 
predicted in his popular book The Final Quest that believers would 
experience a Civil War in the church. Joyner's book, based on a 
series of visions he says God showed him, describes in graphic 
detail a turbulent conflict that redefines Christianity as we know it.

"Other charismatic leaders have echoed this theme since Joyner's 
book was published in 1996. They have predicted that our move-
ment will be divided between "Blues" (those who constantly live 
in the supernatural realm of dreams, visions and miracles) and 
"Grays" (those who rely more on their intellect), and that the Blues 
will win and usher in true revival as champions of the Holy Spirit's power.

"Even in early 2008, before the Lakeland Revival erupted in Florida 
in April, some charismatic prophets were declaring that a great 
rift would divide those who believe in "the glory realm" and those
who have a more conservative, left-brained approach to their faith. 
When God TV began its nightly broadcasts of evangelist Todd 
Bentley's healing meetings in Lakeland, the Civil War prophecies 
reappeared overnight on hundreds of blogs and e-mail blasts.

"I'll admit I was not paying too much attention to these Civil War 
predictions 10 years ago. But I was jolted into reality in May after 
I wrote an online column in which I raised honest questions about 
some of Bentley's teachings and techniques. Even though I 
celebrated his passion and zeal, and praised God for the healings 
that were reported in Lakeland, I was immediately branded a revival 
critic and banished to the Gray camp.

"I became the bad guy because, by asking questions, I was 
'relying on my intellect.' To those in the Blue camp, my skepticism
made me an enemy of the Holy Spirit and all things supernatural -
even though I believe that all the supernatural gifts of the Holy 
Spirit are for today!

"I tried to laugh this off at first. Surely, I imagined, my Christian 
brothers and sisters do not really think it is wrong for a Spirit-filled
believer to test the spirits (which we are instructed to do in 1 John 
4:1), discern truth (see 2 Pet. 3:17) or evaluate prophecies and 
angelic encounters (see 1 Cor. 14:29, Gal. 1:6-8).

"But now I realize that some people really want a war. They want 
the charismatic movement to split right down the middle. They 
imply that all those who do not embrace 100 percent of the current
movement in Lakeland are "old wineskins" that cannot be used by 
God in the coming revival.

"I can't even describe how much this hurts because I love people 
on both sides of this conflict. I love the Blues and the Grays, along 
with every other color in the body of Christ. I refuse to believe that 
God is trying to split us. Division is the devil's work.

"I want to plead with everyone in our movement to reconsider the 
whole Civil War scenario. Instead of rattling sabers and stockpiling 
gunpowder, maybe we need to take steps in the opposite direction:

1. Let's accept one another... 

2. Let's admonish one another.... 
[B]ecause I embrace Todd Bentley as my brother in Christ, I must 
take a higher road even if I don't agree with his prayer methods or 
his claims regarding angels. Anything I say, even if it is corrective, 
must be said in love (see Eph. 4:15).

3. Let's pray for one another (see James 5:16). Jesus prayed that 
we would be one. There is no record of Him praying that we would 
split over doctrine. So why in the world would any of us hope for
a Civil War?

"Please pray for Bentley - and for the leaders who are speaking 
into his life during this season. And pray that the church will not 
only experience genuine spiritual revival but also true unity. Let's 
work out our differences, support one another's ministries and 
focus all our efforts on one common goal: To tell a lost world about 
the love of Jesus."  [~Source: www.fireinmybones.com]

Andrew Strom replies:
I am just as strongly against a "Christian Civil War" as Lee Grady,
but there are certain things in his approach that I just cannot
agree with. Back in 1996, when Rick Joyner came out with his
Civil War prophecy I even wrote an article on it entitled "WHY I
OPPOSE the CIVIL WAR". (-A pretty outdated article now, but I 
am just as opposed today as I was then). I have never believed 
in such a thing - especially when it was essentially a call for the
Prophetic/Toronto camp to try and "drive out" those who oppose 
them - right out of the church. It always seemed an utterly ill-
advised and disastrous course to me - to put out a call like that 
just because people are opposing or questioning the "manifestations"
that you are involved with. Is that any excuse for trying to "drive"
them out? -I felt quite sad and shocked by it.

But Lee is right. There is a lot of "aggression" around right now -
and it always happens when these kinds of movements come
along. People get aggressive and nasty on both sides. I noticed 
it with Toronto and I am noticing it now. Suddenly everyone wants 
to "bash" each other. They want to make it "personal". I am not
into this either - not at all.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions or "testing the
spirits". In fact we are COMMANDED to do this in Scripture - "for
many false prophets are gone out into the world." (ie. Because
they did not 'test' the spirits - 1 John 4:1). But I believe we can
do this without becoming harsh or demeaning or 'personal' about 
it. We can simply bring out the facts and let them speak for 
themselves. We don't have to get "nasty" at all. This is one of the
biggest problems I have with the 'heresy hunters' that are all over
the Internet. There is often such a harsh, sarcastic, "personal"
tone to much that they write - and they seem almost eager to
dredge up every little piece of "dirt" that they can. It becomes
literally a "mud-slinging" contest - harsh and ugly - without any 
of the fruit of the Spirit demonstrated at all.

Do I want to be attacking Lakeland or Todd Bentley in that way?
No - I want no part of it at all. I believe we can raise the issues 
and bring forth the facts and "test the spirits" without resorting to
any of these tactics. And our battle is not with flesh and blood
anyway - it is with spiritual deception in "high places". So I am
not at "war" with Todd Bentley. I will be as polite and reasonable 
as I can - while still putting forth the TRUTH about what I regard 
as dangerous heresy.

And here is where Lee Grady and I begin to differ. You see, in the
Bible, heresy and deception and "seducing spirits" were always
treated as deeply serious and horrific things. With serious deception 
it was never a case of being "lovey-dovey" or making mild 'back-
room' corrections. You will notice that in Scripture they always 
corrected large-scale public deception IN PUBLIC. Sometimes 
Paul would even name names in public - or issue public rebukes. 
If there was a private offense or a personal issue between brothers - 
that was different. If at all possible, you deal with personal offense
privately. (Matt 18). But when there is large-scale deception that is 
spreading, you have to speak out boldly, publicly and strongly - 
because the health of the entire body is at stake. This is clearly 
what we see in Scripture. And "lovey-dovey-ness" was out the 
window! Paul and the apostles and Jesus Himself were very strong 
in publicly rebuking these kinds of people and their practices -
whether they were believers or not. They did it for the health of the
whole Body.

Sadly I get the feeling that Lee Grady may be whimping out a
little bit on some of this. It sounds so loving and "tolerant" to 
speak of unity and say things like 'Can't we all just get along?" 
But this is not true biblical unity - which is based on TRUTH.

The fact is, Jesus said, "I have come not to bring peace but a
sword." There is sometimes a division or separating that occurs
over major issues which is unavoidable - and in fact can be totally 
necessary. There are some things that God does not WANT 
connected with His body! A separation is not always bad. It 
happened with Jesus all the time. He came to bring a "sword"
after all - and He promised that such things would happen.

So I can well believe that there may come some kind of separation
in the Charismatic movement. But let it not be because we 
ourselves are trying to "drive" people out or slinging mud - or 
engaging people in ways that are harsh or bitter. Let us preach 
the truth in love, and if there is to be a separation, let God Himself 
bring it about - not us through strife or bitter contention. My friends, 
there is a way to conduct ourselves in these things that should 
speak volumes to all - even the opposers. Let the spirit in which
we do things be truly godly. Amen?

This issue is being discussed at-
http://www.revivalschool.com

God bless you all.

Andrew Strom.