Tag Archives: theology

Thank God – fewer theologists available in the future!

I really thank God for the potential development, which is taking place in our theological institutions at the universities of Lund, Göteborg, Umeå, Gävle and Uppsala. Dagen reported about the new report from Högskoleverket and the reaction of ”employers” in regard to this development.

In an earlier blog I have addressed the tremendous problems with ”professional hirelings” in contrast to the people who have embraced a calling from God.

I am convinced that many of the educational institutions and especially the universities, have not only contributed but also initiated the tremendous secularization of the Church. To even regard theology as one among many other professions is an abomination before God and it shows how little respect and reference there is for God and His calling.

The basis of a calling of God is a life in obedience to God, to His Word and a life style that reflects willingness to followership of Jesus. That men and women can be educated and released into ministry as pastors and priests without having a confession of faith is like releasing a flock of wolves among the few sheep that are left in out churches. That’s exactly what is happening today.

The apostle Paul warned for such practices as he had called the elders of the church of Ephesus to him; Acts 20: 28-31 Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31So be on your guard!

Too many sheep are spiritually slaughtered in our churches because of lack of discernment and lack of spiritual life in the lives of so-called spiritual leaders. It’s about time that men and women rise up who are hungry for God, willing to be trained and educated but have the maturity and courage to refrain from adjusting to that which is offered in secular institutions. It needs new educational programs and a new perspective on what a calling is all about!

This recent development might show afterwards to be a blessing in disguise as new initiatives will be taken by people, filled with the Holy Spirit and sold to Jesus!

That’s the Way I see it! What do you see?

John

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The Swedish attitude towards the “entrepreneurial spirit” hinders us from the planting of new churches!

I read an article in last Sunday’s SVD under the business and economy section, Linda Skugge quoted Signhild Arnegård Hansen who stated that the attitude of Swedes hinders many from becoming entrepreneurs.

I will not confuse the planting of new churches with business endeavors, but this article confirmed something that I have been fighting against for many years; the fear many Swedes have, both Christian and non-Christian alike for insecurity and instability especially in the financial area of their lives.

I have literally met hundreds of people throughout my years in Sweden who expressed to me the calling and desire to be pioneers and church planters. However, few of them have actually become involved in ministry in these areas.

There are a number of reasons for that… one of the main reasons that I see after having talked with many of them is the unwillingness to make sacrifices. Many of them would be interested to be involved in a church plant or pioneering ministry IF THEY WERE EMPLOYED!

I suspect that the overwhelming majority of our potential pioneers and entrepreneurs are brought to slumber and cuddled to death within our anti-entrepreneurial church environment and society.

Another reason for the quenching of the entrepreneurial spirit is found in the educational modes within our Bible schools and theological institutions which prepare and equip teachers and (maybe) hopefully pastors, but surely not prophets, evangelists and apostles. In these organizations and institutions little attention is given to the development of leadership and the release of entrepreneurs… If you ask me (who is?) we have a whole lot of equipping and releasing to do in the Church to catch up to the challenges of the 21st century. We have a whole lot to learn and to sacrifice if we ever want to regain the kind of pioneering spirit which exploded in tremendous missionary and church planting endeavors within our nation and beyond as found in our rich and courageous history within the Swedish churches!

That’s the Way I see it!

John van Dinther

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





Let’s secularize the Muslims! – Another way to meet the challenges of multi-cultural Sweden

Dagen and Svenska Dagbladet report about the new initiative of Lars Leijenborg, the minister responsible for college and university education in Sweden. The challenges in regard to integration of the Muslim citizens are growing and obviously there is a tremendous need to deal with these aspects of society as segregation continues grows in our nation.

The imams which are employed by the Muslim community are often schooled and supported by more traditional wings of Muslim believers, and are not always good examples of integration as they lack the ability to communicate in Swedish and show little interest in Sweden as a potential “home country”.

From a perspective of a practicing Muslim this is rather understandable; the far gone secularization within our society and the (in their eyes) normless and valueless way of life are truly a threat to the way of life as taught by them.

“The goal is not to have a reform of Islam” says Leijenborg, but let’s be honest, one way to steer away these groups from the feared radicalization of Islam is to secularize them! In the same way as our theological education has been influenced and adjusted to a politically correct perspective, so also will a state led imam education lead to a secularization of Islam.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not a supporter of Islam and its spread in our nation! But, we have to be realistic as we are a multi-cultural society; we have to give room for people and their beliefs as a consequence of their presence here.

If I were to name one of the strongest aspects of Swedish today’s society it is its ability to secularize everything and everyone! That’s not so strange… Some time ago I wrote a blog on a world values survey where Sweden ranked highest in these aspects. READ>

For now, I will not be fighting against the secularization of Islam, but will do everything in my power to remove the entanglements of secularization on the Church, the Body of Christ!

That’s the Way I see it!

John