Category Archives: leadership

Liberalism, – Legalism versus Obedience

Leonard Ravenhill once said: “When there’s something in the Bible that churches don’t like, they call it ‘legalism.'” I have been stunned, as I have realized the degree of liberalism, which has entered our churches in the recent years. Actually one should never get stunned over anything because the depth of the falleness of humankind and our willingness to compromise are closely connected to our deep yearning for comfort and affirmation.

When we find our beliefs and praxis too far removed from what is acceptable and passable in the world around us (or should I say politically correct?), we are tempted to remove our convictions to the fringes of daily life, where they soon are intertwined with non-essentials, leaving only an empty shell of what once was core fruit of existence!

Ravenhill’s observation is like a prophetic voice going against the stream of a Christianity, which has removed the cross from its very center. Jesus once said: “I will call you friends if you do what I command (tell you)”. You want to be liberated? Obey Him and do what He tells you to without asking “why?”!

That’s the Way I see it!

John

STOCKHOLM2020 – starting 50 new churches by 2020 in Stockholm!

Finally the press (Dagen) and bloggers are catching up (here, here) and give some attention to the new Stockholm2020 network that has as goal to start 50 new churches by 2020! In a time when so much attention is given to discussion about Christian faith here in Sweden we have forgotten to be doers of the Word.
We are great in talking, ruminating and discussing all aspects of Christian faith, Christian walk and Christian initiatives but are rather handicapped when it comes to flesh out the “Mission of God” (Missio Dei) into our world.
"Stockholm by night" - “The light that shines farthest, shines brightest at home.”
The recent research about the state of the Church in Sweden (here) and especially Stockholm has created within me a determination and a single mind approach in regards to the planting of new churches in Stockholm to be able to reach new people with the not only “Good News”, but “Great News” that we have!
My wife and I have been part of the planting of churches since 1986 which today are still functioning and have released many other church plants and initiatives. It is not only Peter Wagner who thinks that the “planting of churches is the most effective evangelistic method under the sun”. I am a true believer of that as well!

Church Planters needed!
I want to give a challenge to those of you who read this; ask God whether you might be one of those who will be part of any of the new church plants in the near future… I am challenging our own church; New Life Church in Stockholm, to plant 20 of the 50, which I mentioned earlier. We could use some help!

In two weeks I will start a church planting course in Stockholm during two (2) Saturdays, information can be obtained from this website.

I hope to see you involved in the planting of many new churches in Stockholm… and by the way you don’t need to be a Swede to be part of such initiatives!

That’s the Way I see it!
John

Svenska Kyrkan – The Swedish Church – Politics as usual! Please: R.I.P

Svenska Kyrkan is top news again (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). In the “dry-spell of news” during the summer a discussion has blown up again about the acknowledgement and praxis of having same-sex-marriages performed with the Church context. It was ignited because of reaction from representatives of the Anglican Church in England who warn against a potential isolation because of this issue.

The large majority of the Swedish church, with the exception of a minority of local congregations, has lost its spiritual identity since many years ago. I remember discussing the process of the separation of Church and State with students from RMI Bergs the renowned commercial communication school enhancing different disciplines. Students of that school were to develop a marketing plan for the separation of Church and State (at that moment in time until the 1990ties, The Lutheran Church was the State Church).

As a number of their students and I were meeting, I suggested that a big advertisement campaign would be launched with photos and text displaying the funeral of the former State Church with the clear message R.I.P. (Rest In Peace). The students of Bergs were quite excited about that idea, but, as they later met with representatives of the Church, the idea was discarded. It was too radical, and it was probably too painful to admit that the Church needed a death to be able to resurrect.

RIP

The problem with the Swedish Church is that it never was separated from the State… It was done in name only and it is therefore that political powers and lobbying organizations like the RFSL do everything within their might to push their political and social agendas. (RFSL—The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights).

I personally look forward to an isolation of the Swedish Church! The Church with an agenda run by politicians and lobbying organizations needs to be isolated from the rest of the “Body of believers” to not spread its unhealthy unbiblical message poisoning the rest of Christianity. You don’t need to be a prophet to be able to “predict” where the Swedish Church is heading… and although there will remain a remnant of faithful and Biblically sound pockets of believers in the different congregations and fellowships, the Church as movement needs to undergo the long awaited and necessary funeral to be able finish the grieving process so that the ones who are still alive will be able to move on.

Without a death and funeral there will be no resurrection and new life! We will continue to see the rise of discussions, dissensions and frustrations as long as we don’t acknowledge the true state of the Swedish Church (and, let me add the spiritual state of many of our other churches as well!) Without that recognition we will continue to use the spiritual arena to fight our political and social battles. Jesus once said to people who were wondering about paying taxes (and fulfilling the obligation as a citizen): (Mark 12: 17) “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

For me, the idea of being an errand-boy of the State is far removed from my call to be faithful to God as His child, His son and His servant. I am for the implementation of keeping marriage sacred between one man and one woman… and to keep it as sacrament within the church where it belongs. Other, legal and juridical matters should be where they belong; in the hands of our government.

That’s the Way I see it!

John


What have same sex relationships and kleptomania to do with each other?

There are so many different opinions and interpretations about the present theological “hot potatoes’ that one easily looses one’s way in its jungle. (Here, here, here, here and here… People question the way I relate to Scriptures where the Apostle Paul writes about homosexuality. Their statement is: “What did the apostle Paul really know about same-sex relations? There are so many new things that we have learned since New Testament times about the complexities of sexuality!”

They make a good point. By the Way: after having allowed myself a “slumbering blog state” for a number of months (it was hard to find time to write and express my deepest feelings), I am encouraged by different people to NOT GIVE UP writing blogs. I feel that the discussion on same sex relationships needs yet another perspective and I am motivated to use this occasion as a re-entry to the blog sphere.

“They make a good point”, I stated earlier. It is true that since the writings of the New Testament many more things have become clear to us; the (dark) wrestles of life and our soul have been brought to the surface and have been examined, analyzed, evaluated, and explained like never before.

I know that not everything we need to know about sex is right there on the pages of the Bible. Many authors who have written about sex and who researched sex had an awful lot of good things to say. Yet, I dare say that the Bible is my only and supreme authority on the subject of sex.

With that I don’t mean that it is our only source on the subject. There is a whole lot to learn from tradition, experience, and reason (including scientific investigation). But these latter mentioned sources are not authoritative. While they can provide important information and insights, it is clear to me that what the Bible is actually teaching us on a given subject supersedes all other sources. Again, we know more about sex in general, and about same-sex relations in particular, than the Apostle Paul did. It would be unwise to ignore what we can learn, there is a whole lot to learn from what people tell us about the experience of same-sex attractions, and what scientific investigation tells us about the complex issues of attraction and sexuality. All different aspects of humankind as expressed through our genes, cultures, social circumstances and theological insights need to be brought together to help us understand the question at hand. But yet… how do I dare to say that the Bible supersedes all of our insights by speaking with authority to a subject like sexuality?

Well, here we finally come in on the subject of kleptomania…It is at this point that a parallel can be drawn to sexuality. The majority of the people living in the world today have probably a greater insight and knowledge about stealing than Moses ever had. In the Ten Commandments a simple and straightforward commandment is given: “You shall not steal!”

There is really no nuance nor is any explanation given about the way this should (could) be considered. There are no links to praxis, history, experiences or principles. You shall not steal. That’s it. Don’t steal; IT IS WRONG!

During my years as pastor in New Life Church Stockholm (www.newlife.nu) I have had to deal with some people who were compulsive thieves. When meeting with them, one thing they told me was the fact that they could not help doing it… they stole things that were of no interest or value to them, and yet, time after time they stole even if it meant that their relationships and trust with other people and friends got broken. The surge to steal was like a beast within them they could not handle.

In regards to this matter, there are major drives and issues which drive people into such destructive behavior. There are psychological, social and other issues involved… YET, time after time again I had to come back in my conversations with them to that same statement, or commandment: You shall not steal!

That statement did not give me room for interpretation, or nuances. It did not give room to wiggle. It was one of those “one liners”, almost too clear, too obvious… It was unnegotionable. A cold fact… You shall not steal. No explanation, no excuses. Although much reasoning and information could be brought into the matter, only one thing remained the same: “You shall not steal!”

The point I want to make is the following: when it comes to the basics, what is right and what is wrong; the Bible supersedes all other sources. It is our authoritative guide on ethical issues. Of course we will have to consider where the rubber hits the road; that’s in the praxis in our pastoral dimension. I know there are people who steal because they have nothing to eat, others because they have a responsibility for their families. Others because they have been abused and victimized by greedy economic systems (I will in the near future write more about greed and such systems). But no matter what we can give as explanation for our actions, stealing was, is and remains wrong!

In some occasions we choose to forgive and forget, in other occasions we counsel, yet in others we send people to jail. But no matter what the cause and circumstances might be the basics are: It is wrong to steal! In the discussion on the so-called “sin catalogues” which were used by Christians and churches 30-60 years ago we have heard time after time again how insensitive the Church has been. OK! Many leaders have crawled to the cross a number of time and affirmed their guilt in these matters… But we have to realize that the large majority of the people using “the sin catalogue arguments” have not received the kind of insensitive treatment they are relating to. It’s “hear-say” in most occasions. The Church, because of its historical guilt complex has gone the opposite direction and has allowed everything without nuances as an appeasement to the guilt memory.

In days past, conservative Christians have often done a terrible job in dealing with the complexities and nuances of human sexuality. But no matter what these complexities and nuances might be… the fact remains the same: the word of God remains true and it supersedes all other sources, whether they are endorsed or not by our society or ideologies. I might be politically incorrect but I will continue to follow His Word and Truth as a basic authority yet, with a heart open to be touched to be able understand the complexities people experience.

That’s the Way I see it!

John van Dinther

Courageous steps of Obama and Rick Warren!

I find the invitation of Obama to Rick Warren to offer the Invocation at the Inaugural ceremony a daring and courageous step! I don’t know the inner motivation of Obama; whether this is a step to appease the “Christians on the right” (Does Warren really belong to them? He has been fighting numerous battles and issues that the religious right hardly has considered until now). Or whether this is a step to engage a trust worthy spiritual leader in his responsibility I don’t know.

Whatever the reason I find this a courageous step… across differences of thinking and across some of those unnecessary walls that so many people build between them and those who think differently. We don’t need to agree on everything if we are to work together with our governments whether local or national.

To my understanding Warren is practicing the Jeremiah 29:7 principles which God gave to his people who were brought in exile in Babylon. “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Well done Warren, may the Lord bless you and give you favor to carry His glory with you wherever you go…Well done Obama! May the Lord bless you in your presidency and form in you the character and mind of Christ Jesus!

That’s the Way I see it!

John van Dinther

Below you will find a short press release from warren about this invitation…

LAKE FOREST, Calif., Dec. 18 /Christian Newswire/ — “I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn’t agree on every issue, to offer the Invocation at his historic Inaugural ceremony.

“Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America.

“The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation’s history.”

Rick Warren

What does the call to unity stand for? Or, down to earth: where does the rubber meets the road?

Dagen reports about an article in the November issue of the Charisma magazine written by Tomas Dixon concerning Ulf Ekman’s involvement with the Catholic Church. Those who know me and the ministries that I have been involved in during the last 25 years know that I have always been an advocate of unity in the body of Christ. Since the beginning of the 80ties I have related and worked for unity across denominational and cultural borders. Even our own church (www.newlife.nu) is an example of that as people from over 40 nations from all kind of different backgrounds, cultures, ages, and languages experience “togetherness” in Christ Jesus in the centre of Stockholm.

A foundational value that has characterized our church and which I have taught from the early stages on is found in the history of the Moravian Movement (by the way, my view on what church is to be is grounded in numerous teachings and praxis from the beginning stages of the Salvation Army, the Moravian Movement, the Anabaptists and the Methodist church). The Moravian Movement declared:”In essential beliefs we have unity. In non-essential beliefs we have diversity. In all our beliefs we show charity.”

For me the teachings of Jesus as found in the New Testament become alive in this quote… It gives me hand and feet to flesh out the unity Christ called for. It helps me understand where the rubber meets the road; with other words how I can implement true unity.

I have always looked for common ground within essential beliefs among those of a Christian tradition and/or background and have made it my core value to speak and live in such way by affirming this common ground. However, if I have to live as I teach there are obvious boundaries or if you will, limitations to what I can stand for.

The Church political climate in Sweden is such that it is hard to step out of line… after many years of divisions, church-cultural and theological misunderstandings and disunity, the ones who consider themselves “Church” have gone into what I would call “survival mode”. Finally we have started to look at the “essentials” but at the same time have overemphasized the “united front outlook” which removes the differences and hot potatoes which still make us different.

I understand Ulf Ekman’s approach after having been isolated from the rest of the “Church” in Sweden in many different ways (isolation, not only because his/their former approach and teachings, but also because of the unwillingness of the rest of us to understand and embrace them).

What do I want to say? I became converted having a non-believing Roman Catholic background with my whole extended network of former friends and family still within that entity (most of them have remained without faith in Christ and the Bible). I worry when I read in the above mentioned article: In April and October evangelicals gathered in Örebro, Sweden’s evangelical center, to caution against the trend and to point out that unity to Catholics always meant, and still means, bowing to the pope. Bishop Arborelius seemed to affirm that view, saying: “We cannot bypass the personal wish of Jesus that all unity must relate to the apostle Peter,” that is to the papal office… Arborelius continued, “I think that [Ekman and others] now see the key role of the pope as a symbol of unity and the importance of the virgin Mary.”

When reading the quotes by Arborelius I react; here we do not speak about unity in regards to the “essentials” of Christian faith as I see it. These statements call me to a hold. Of course we don’t only deal with the Roman Catholic Church; in our nation we are involved with the different Orthodox churches as well which have their uncompromising views on some of these issues also!

I know it is Church Politically incorrect to even dare touch these issues. Honestly speaking, I can have fellowship with friends in the Roman Catholic Church but some of them have views on the essentials of Christian faith that I know would not be endorsed by the Pope. The fact is that if their views would become publically known by the Vatican that they might be asked to leave the church.

So where does your rubber meet the road? I told you some of my journey, what about yours?

That’s the Way I see it (not necessarily the right way!)

John

It is not the immigrants who should integrate… the church should integrate in society!

A lot can be said about McDonalds… In Sweden we have this love-hate relationship with this hamburger giant. There are voices about their products, their environmental involvement, their low-wages, their franchising, you name it and we will have something to say about it. At the same time there are a few things to be learned from this company. In an article in SVD Raymond Mankowitz, the director of communication of McDonalds said: It is not the immigrants who should integrate but the companies have to integrate into society. Quite a powerful statement! He addressed the inability of Swedish companies to integrate into the reality of the Swedish society which happens to be a multi-cultural society!

If companies have an issue in this regard… so much more has the Church in Sweden! Our middle class “Svensson churches” have a real problem to adjust to the reality of the 21st century and the society we live in… not only in regards to the questions it tries to answer and the issues it tries to address, but especially also in regards to be relevant to a multi-cultural society and context. Our churches as a whole, need to be integrated to the reality of our society… With this I DO NOT MEAN to compromise and to bring a watered down Gospel as a political correct ingredient of multiculturalism (which is very different from being multi-cultural!).

My prayer is that the 11.00 am Sunday morning segregation will be replaced by a multi-cultural in-depth integrated community of believers who celebrate the fact that Jesus broke down all the barriers between us and His heavenly Father and each other in a true spirit of togetherness!

That’s the Way I see it!

John

The Yo-yo of greed – is there hope for the most vulnerable citizens on planet earth?

The whole world holds its breath… what will happen at Wallstreet? Is there anything positive to report?

The good news (WAS) according the Millennium Development Goals:

· Some 400 million fewer people live in absolute poverty today than in 1990.

· At least 90 percent of boys and girls in all but two regions of the world are enrolled in school.

· Deaths from measles fell from 750,000 in 2000 to less than 250,000 in 2006, and 80 percent of children in developing countries are now vaccinated against the disease.

· Some 1.6 billion more people than in 1990 can now get safe drinking water.

These gains and others are the result of a global effort “unsurpassed” in 50 years of development history, according to a new United Nations report on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) based on data from a number of organizations, including the World Bank.

That was the good news until recently; now the bad news: the bad news is that we have not changed in our nature as people! The bad news is that we only can share some of the crumbs of our tables as long as we have abundance!

The fact is that we are caught in a constant swing, a yo-yo if you like, where every effort to break out from our greedy nature seems to release an untamable power bringing us back in the opposite direction leading to a widening gap between the most exposed and vulnerable and the rich to whom the large majority of the Western World belongs.

The current unbelievable and unaccountable $700 billion bailout package which is being discussed for Wall Street by the US government gives us an indication of what is about to happen. According to a fellow blogger the present crisis was addressed on a closed doors session of the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, March 13, 2008.(For English reading check out the end of the text).

It was on that particular meeting that the imminent collapse of the U.S. economy was discussed to occur by September 2008. (A true story? I don’t know, you judge for yourself). The fact is that millions of Americans are thrown back into (Western) poverty level living as a direct result of greedy investors and risk-takers in the economic realm. But there is more to be concerned about… 1.4 billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day and new challenges threaten the achievement of global anti-poverty goals.

Food, fuel and other commodity prices have risen dramatically over the last year and threaten to push over 100 million people back into poverty, according to the World Bank.

The current United States-based financial crisis will affect other economies and slow growth that has helped lift many people in emerging nations out of poverty in the last decade.

Greater effort is needed to lift people out of extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, reduce the number of malnourished children, prevent maternal and child deaths, and achieve greater equality for women, among other goals.

As you see, we are living in a global world with all its advantages but surely a multitude of disadvantages… And as usual, the exposed and vulnerable people in our world will be the first (and often) the only true victims… somehow many of us in the West seem to be able to avoid having to live with the disastrous, life threatening consequences of a world gone mad! What to do with it… Don’t ask me for the answers; I’ve only got one, that a man leaves his darkness as he follows the Son!

That’s the Way I see it!

John



True comfort and perspective to a misunderstood church planter and entrepreneur…

Have you felt misunderstood? Have you been questioned lately? Have you been in a position of unbelievable opportunities and open doors and when you try to communicate the excitement of it all people look you squarely in the face and wonder what the fuzz is all about? “Hello, this is the answer on our prayers! These are the works which God has prepared for you and me to move into!” Hello! Is anybody home?!” you wonder.

No matter what you do, no matter what you say, no matter how you live; if you are a pioneer, a church planter or an entrepreneur YOU WILL BE MISUNDERSTOOD! Most people in our churches have something against people with gifts and callings like the once I mentioned. The uneasy awareness of having people like that in your close surrounding is a threat to the very things that most people appreciate and seem to worship, namely: security and stability.

The sheer presence of a person like me tends to shake the fragile equilibrium which has been subconsciously and carefully designed within the group. (By the way; can you do that kind of thing in such way?!) Anyway… I cannot start to even tell you about the number of occasions when I have been accused, questioned, or downright neglected because I was too fast, had too many visions, or was too dissatisfied with the speed or direction we were going. (At times we were going nowhere fast!) People have complained about the lack of structure in the ministries I have been involved in, or the lack of unity, the lack of uniformity, or the lack of conscious majority support of members and regular visitors.

HELLO!? Doesn’t the fact that one is called to be a pioneer, church planter, and or entrepreneur imply that there is no majority vote empowering and enabling the ministry? The essence of such callings imply having to do things other people don’t (yet) do, seeing things others don’t (yet) see, or giving oneself to causes, situations, projects and faith demanding enterprises which seem far too daring, far too insecure and far too challenging to the overwhelming majority of people around you. Structures and organization will always be a few steps behind because of the nature of pioneering.

I believe that we as a church have a unique calling to remain a pioneering and church planting church which means that the fragile equilibrium will be shaken time after time again. It is part of the nature of our calling. Too often I have tried to appease people, too often I have tried to be someone I am not, too often I have felt guilty for being the one I believe I was meant to be. I also have felt guilty for not giving what people wanted.

“True comfort and perspective for a misunderstood church planter and entrepreneur…” was the title of this blog… The other day I was comforted when a man who has perspective, experience and knowhow told me, as I described my inner journey and struggle in regards to this matter; “OF COURSE you cannot provide a secure structure and organization when the development of the church and ministry is going as it does. As long as you are willing and determined to search for people and ministries behind the doors which seem to open to you, structures will have to change and adjust!”

When he pointed out to that I was reminded of the Early Church and God’s unexplainable and incomprehensible move through His Holy Spirit in and through the lives of the believers and beyond them… There was no status quo, there was little security, there were, let’s be honest, numerous potential hazardous situations which could have broken down the fragile balance in this young Body of believers… But they didn’t! The theology, structures and organization of the Early Church were always a few steps behind, but God in His mercy choose this bunch of rather ethnocentric Jewish believers empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring about an all encompassing, multi cultural, cross generational and world sweeping movement which shook and shakes the fragile equilibrium of the world’s value systems and priorities by bringing the up-side-down kingdom.

That awareness made me smile…and it brought comfort to my soul. I realized that for a reason like that I don’t care to be misunderstood! I would love to be part of a new overwhelming minority which will do the same in our world!

That’s the Way I see it!

John

Todd Bentley – the fact that we are spiritually malnourished doesn’t mean we have to eat anything offered to us!

Dagen reported about Todd Bentley‘s seperation…I found this out a couple of days ago and latest today I received a mail from a friend addressing the same matter. I feel compelled to write something too, one of those who have their opinions on matters. Here I go: This is only my second blog on Todd Bentley. In an earlier blog I wrote;

There is another reason too for the quick spread of this phenomenon; the sheer absence of the super-natural, the power and the ever present need for EXPERIENCE (a main factor to be reckoned with in our Post-modern, Post-Christian Western world) in our churches has created a tremendous void. So when something supernatural happens we are overly focused on it because we are destitute for it.

Since April I have followed almost every single development in Lakeland, my earliest letter with a journalist in the Lakeland area is already from that time. I have spoken on the telephone with leaders living in the Lakeland area… and have tested and read the teachings and experiences of angels, prophetic words, and visions while this information was still to be found as reference material on Fresh Fire’s homepage.

I have tested Patricia King’s and others involvement, their extreme prophecies and her flirt with “kundalini” dances and the blending with New Age Philosophies left me astonished about the lack of discernment of them and the body of believers that get their “spiritual” input from her and her likes.

Peter Wagner (one of my former favorite professors) and the apostolic team shocked me with their lack of discernment and Bill Johnson’s motivation why he was involved in such a controversial ceremony to affirm Todd Bentley’s ministry puzzled me.

The whole exploitation of God TV as they “launched” this revival and tried to keep it alive through false prophecies and even treats to those who might ask questions shows how deep we have sunk in our desperateness to “get some” power and our how commercially motivated our ministries are!

YET I have publicly been quiet about my observations. WHY? That’s a relevant question. On a personal level I have talked about and explained many of my observations to numerous people as I considered the time and situation right. Besides my many theological questions I have been hurting as I saw how people were treated as gadgets and props in a play which is foreign to me and (I believe) to my Lord.

I have been hurting as I recognized the lack of discernment and the eagerness to embrace anything which was but a weak and (at times) unrecognizable reflection of God and His Power.

Let me continue my line of thought about the why of my quietness. As I said I chose the occasions when to speak, I feel responsible as a pastor of a local church to maintain the focus on the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, His Word and the unity of this local church for which He makes me responsible. If I would have gone out publicly in Stockholm and Sweden I could have created disunity and gaps between believers. That’s why I felt the Lord told me to let it all pass… Time will tell, I wrote months ago, whether this move is from God or people. My conclusion: there was a lot of flesh in it!

And yet… God met with many people on a personal level. I have understood that the worship and adoration to God especially in the worship times through singing and praying might have been the most anointed times of the whole revival. I know God honors the honest search for Him, He recognizes the thirst and hunger in our hearts… But we have to realize that although we have been malnourished of spiritual power, that we cannot eat anything offered to us.

Among those who were touched by this revival there was the attitude to take it or leave. Or, “Don’t question God, “Don’t touch the anointed of the Lord” and “Don’t stand in the way of God!” Every question was unspiritual or showed an attitude of rebellion. We had to eat what was offered to us!

My friends, the fact is that we in the West are malnourished in regard to spiritual power BUT we have the responsibility, discernment and wisdom to not eat anything that is offered to us or shoved down our throats! It is very unhealthy of malnourished people to just eat anything because they lack discernment; they are just hungry and want to eat anything – (here my comparison stops).

After my first blog on Todd Bentley, I have addressed a number of times the issue and characteristics of leadership not necessarily mentioning Todd to avoid unnecessary splits . Here, here, here and here...I did feel from the very beginning as I studied him and his material that there were character flaws and I hoped that they would not blow up in his face and ministry… Unfortunately they did. The latest development where there seems to be a potential divorce on its way between him and his wife confirms this fact. Although some have written about the fact that four months of revival and absence could break down any marriage (on that I agree), we know that Todd’s wife and kids were brought over to Lakeland quite some time ago to avoid such scenario. The present separation had its roots long before the Lakeland period.

What can we learn from this? So much can be said about it… But let me consider a few pointers:

Test everything; this is the responsibility God gives to the New Testament Church. He did not say “Question everything” – but test!

Accountability is needed for every single believer; not only in matters of the heart and character, but also in ministry.

Don’t eat anything that’s thrown at you when you are hungry!

Learn from Church History, and recognize God’s actions and His ways… But look especially for Him!

Don’t allow differences of opinions and style to create division and exclusiveness.

Stay humble! This is say to me as well; I am only one decision away from stumbling! Lord keep me, Lord keep us, close enough to You to become or to remain receptive enough to listen and obey You!

And let’s pray for Todd, his family and all the others that have been influenced for good or bad throughout this process.

That’s the Way I see it!

John