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.