Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Strange Fire Hub-bub

Dave Miller and many others have been blogging about the recent Conference at Grace Community in LA where John MacArthur pastors. Some say His 'thugs', the Pyromaniacs, have been doing the heavy lifting for him and that his broad brush approach to Charismaticism has damaged the unity of the body. They are tired of these "bashing" conferences. And any conference they are suspect of is a "bashing" conference.

What about the damage of the charismatic movement? I don't have to agree with everything that was said at the conference, nor do I have to believe every so-called quote that someone says MacArthur et.al. said.
I don't care to accuse or criticize, defend or attack until and unless I see something that is clearly damaging and see it in it's context. MacArthur doesn't need my help, nor do those who accuse without all the facts.

I know that MacArthur invited Charismatics, some are in agreement that certain aspects and leaders within the movement are heretical and dangerous. I wish they'd spoken up. Maybe some did and I didn't hear about it.

But let me say something about MacArthur's so-called "broad brushing" and "bashing". Its not just the Benny Hinns and the Copelands, the Rodney Howard Browns and the vineyards etc. that are a problem.  There are in fact many Charismatics who don't follow after those types.
I know this because I WAS a Charismatic. I graduated from a Charismatic Bible College. I know what is taught in many Charismatic circles. I have friends who still are Charismatic.
But "many" of those who reject the Charismatic extremists still open the door to rate experientia above the Word of God. They defend the teachings of Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen, who are both so unbiblical at times it's amazing. They often encourage "words of knowledge" with: A) No Idea whatsoever whether God has truly said it and B) No Biblical Basis for supporting the idea that the "sure Word" (2Pe1:19) we have from God is open to modifications and additions by modern day prophets.

There have been Baptists who have taught these dangerous doctrines that people can get these 'leadings from God' and go do some of the most assinine things, and fall back on the old slogan: "God told me to." To which I always want to reply, "OK, show me the chapter and verse."
"Oh He didn't show in the Bible, He spoke to my Spirit."
"OK, show me the chapter and verse where it says He will do that!"
I know that Rom 8:16 says the Spirit will bear witness with our spirits that we are His children, but it doesn't say His Spirit speaks to ours about what we are supposed to do today.
And that doesn't mean that God doesn't guide our steps, or that God doesn't give us opportunities to be witnesses for him, or to help the widow and fatherless, or to pray for someone who comes to mind. YES, certainly. But I would be so careful to NOT attribute to God words that HE may never have said. That is blasphemy.  And yet all too common in Charismatic, Baptist, Methodist, and maybe even (really? could it be?) Presbyterian circles!

The Spirit speaking to the churches during the 1st Century, Apostolic, times is very prevalent in the New Testament. But even during that time, before the Apostles died out, there is a verse that I think should be an example to all of us.

Act 15:25  it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul...
"It Seemed Good." What a wonderfully liberating way of saying why we do what we do as believers.
It seemed good to John MacArthur to held a conference warning people of the unbiblical excesses of the Charismatic movement.
It "seemed Good" to Ed Stetzer to write another missional comeback church planting book with lots of charts and statistics.
Attack Cat
It "Seemed Good" for me to write this blog.
You know what? The Proof is in the pudding. We'll see A) if it was good or not, and B) we'll analyze the things that were actually said, in their various contexts, and hold people accountable for saying things untruthful or unloving. (Just remember, the person who is trying to hurt someone else will say you're unloving if you call them on it.)

So, all of you who feel free to 'go after' the people whom you disagree, who are going after MacArthur and company, get all your ducks in a row, verify the quotes that bother you, and then if it "seems good to you" go after John MacArthur.

Then it will be someone else's turn, to go after you.

One last comment. There are many Charismatics or Charismatic defenders whom I admire and appreciate. I'm sure they have many of the same concerns that MacArthur has expressed. Chuck Smith was one of them. And the Matt Chandlers and John Pipers have good reputations and good track records for Godly preaching and ministry, just as John MacArthur does. Maybe we should stop and ponder what they all have to say, and what they all bring to the discussion. We might reject some of it. I've become a cessationist, but I'll listen to a continuationist if he is attempting to make a valid biblical point. But I am quite sure MacArthur has listened to many of these comments and it seemed good to him to warn people of the dangers of what is held dear in much, maybe most, of the charismatic movement.
And I'm glad he did.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Memorial (For a Dear Sister in Christ)

Now and then someone comes along who is the picture of humility and a tender heart: 

Mrs. Viola Barron, Born Dec 18, 1930, went to be with her Savior and Lord Oct 16 2013, just a couple months shy of turning 83.
And interestingly, she went into that good night without fear or sadness. In fact, she went willingly and gladly into the embrace of God. She was telling family members goodbye and promising to see them on the other side.
That sounds like Viola. The only answer I ever got, when I would visit her in the hospital, or call her on the phone, and I would ask how she was doing was “I’m fine.” There she be in the hospital with IVs and breathing treatments and she’d say, “I’m fine.”
Well it’s true; she was a very Fine lady. But she didn’t want to be a burden or a bother.
She didn’t think of herself as special or heroic or interesting when she was actually all of those things!
She was special to so many people; to her husband of 65 years, to her children and grandchildren. She was special to her Sunday School class and to her church family.
She was heroic. She took 5 little children, all under 6, by herself, to Germany in the mid-1950s. It wasn’t that easy to travel the world in the 50s. Of course she got a little help on the flight when a different soldier looked after each child on the troop carrier that she got to travel on. She was a heroic teenage girl working as a waitress who was willing to go on a date with a truck-driver named Harold. A truck-driver of all people! She was heroic as a grandmother always willing to do projects with the grand-kids around the house no matter what kind of mess they made.
And she was interesting. As a 12 year old she made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized at First Baptist Seymour, Tx. At around 14 she was working in the fields picking cotton. At 17 she got married to a man who went from being a truck-driver to a soldier.
She made all these moves with a house full of little children, moving between the USA, Germany and England, and from Washington State, to Hawaii, to Texas and several different places in Texas! She studied to be Nurses aid and worked at a State school for a while. When they lived on military housing she kept her house and her husband in tip-top condition and she became an expert at packing and unpacking for the many times they moved.
Yes She Was interesting, but I think for another reason. She embodied Ephesians 4:32 – Be Ye Kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
Someone who lives such a compassionate, tenderhearted life is interesting to behold.

So there are a number of things we know about her. But one thing I haven’t mentioned too much about was her relationship with Jesus Christ!
Thumbing through someone else’s Bible is almost like reading their diary. You feel like you are getting a glimpse of someone that maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have.
But you can learn what was important to them about their faith.
I want to share a few scriptures that I know were important to Viola:
At the very front of her Bible she had written Psa 71:3 Be thou my strong habitation, whereto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
In fact she has a number of verses from Psalms highlighted.
Psa 16:7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my heart instructs me in the night seasons. 8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Psa 18:1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
And Psalm 20 and 23, and 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. And 31 and 32 and 37 and 40 and 42:11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
And on it goes through the Psalms and then we get to Psa 147:3 He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds. 4 He counts the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names. 5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
Its not just the Psalms there were many proverbs marked, like Pro 24:17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falls, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbles…
There are places in her Bible where you can’t turn very many pages without finding a verse that has been highlighted or has parentheses around it. And many of her verses have to do with the Salvation of the Lord. Like Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear:
Or Jer 29:11 I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
She had some of my favorite verses highlighted like Lam 3:22!
Then you come to the New Testament and find many verses there, too; in the gospels and the letters. But I want to get to 2 Tim 4:7 where she highlighted: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
You know, you can’t say that about everybody, but you can say it about Viola Marie Barron. And one of the reasons she fought to the end, and ran the race and kept the faith is because of Jesus Christ. She knew she was loved by God.
She knew He was and is a saving God.

And today, right at this moment, we are remembering Viola, a mom and grandmother, a sister and wife, and our friend – Right At This Very Moment – She’s basking in the presence of Jesus Christ. Bowing at His feet, or singing a new song, casting down her golden crown around the glassy sea; or who knows, dancing with abandon because of the unadulterated joy of His Presence.

     And I know, beyond any doubt whatsoever, she wants to see each and every one of you there - someday.
And she wants you to know, here, in this life, your sins can be forgiven. Your past can come to an end and your future can begin down a brand new road leading to Heaven. That if you will believe in your heart the Lord Jesus was crucified for you, died in your place, and took the punishment that you deserved; and trust with your whole heart that He rose from the dead to give you eternal life, then you will be saved. You will receive eternal life right now, and that life will carry you beyond the grave.

And that’s why Jesus said:
Joh 14:1 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


    Viola went to meet her Lord on October 16, 2013 in Fort Worth. She was born December 18, 1930 to T.A. and Lilly Watts Copeland in Seymour. Left behind to cherish her memory are her husband Harold Barron, sons Danny Barron and his wife Marie, Steve Barron and his wife Frances, Mitchell Barron and his wife Judy, daughters Joan Williams and her husband Rick, Jan Copeland and her husband James, Jane Stephen and her husband Bill, sisters Katherine Miller and Roberta Bradley and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Viola is preceded in death by her parents, three brothers, two sisters and grandson Lee Williams.