The Christian life is something that has to be experienced. We have too many “Christians” who really have never experienced the Christian life or to put it another way, they have never been born again. They have never come to the place of having a saving knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior and have never placed their faith in Him and His sacrifice for them that he paid on that cruel cross. As such they have never experienced the joy that comes through being born from above through His shed blood. These “Christians” have not experienced the joy of having the Spirit of the living God whisper to their spirit, “You are mine, you were bought with a price and that price was God’s only begotten Son.” The Christian life needs to be experienced and must be experienced if a person is saved or is going to be saved. What a glorious thing to experience this life of Christ Himself living in us through His Holy Spirit.
The Christianity that I am speaking of today though is a Christianity that is based on my experiences or those experiences of others. This is what I refer to as Experiential Christianity. While there are those, as stated above, who have never experienced the Christian life, there are also those who base this Christian life on personal experience. We need to filter our experiences through scripture to see if these experiences were of God, of the flesh, or of the Devil. I have heard people who would consider themselves Christians if asked, I know because I’ve asked, who have said that they didn’t see anything wrong with having a seance to obtain an answer to a difficult problem in life.
What reason was given for a séance to be all right for Christians? The answer was, “It works”. Experiential Christianity will say,
If it works, it’s of God, so do it.
What does the Bible say about consulting the dead for the living? Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says,
“There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things [are] an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”
So we see that consulting familiar spirits and necromancy are both abominations to God. So even though Experiential Christianity might say that séances are fine for “Christians” because they work, God says in His own law that this is an abomination to Him. It is not my purpose to debate whether consulting the dead for the living works or not. It is my purpose to say whether it “works” or not, it is an abomination to God. What burning question or problem could be worth losing your soul for eternity? If we put our experiences above or equal to scripture we will lose our souls. That is what Experiential Christianity has to offer.
Then we also have modern day prophets. Most of these self proclaimed prophets told of impending doom and gloom that was coming at midnight on January 1st of the year 2000. This was called Y2K and many who listened to these “prophets” bought rations of food and stocked their shelves with water. The “prophets” told them that people would be coming to them for these supplies so either you needed to have enough for yourself and others or you needed to invest in some sort of security means to protect your food and water. I know one person who attended a church of these “prophets” who spent about $1,500.00 on food and water for this impending collapse of civilization due to the limitations of the calendars on PCs.
You would think that this alone would have discredited these “prophets”, but people still flock to hear the latest pontification of these men who are thought to be “God’s men”. Of course the acid test of a prophet in determining whether he is from God or not is the truthfulness of his prophecies. Do his prophecies come true? These churches have “prophecy schools”. That these prophets have to be taught how to prophesy should tell us something about whether God’s power is working in them and through them or not. I’m not sure which church Elijah attended to go through their school of prophecy, but maybe someone could enlighten me on that.
Another test of these prophets is to look at what they are promoting. Is what they promote scriptural or does it just amount to nothing more than a charismatic séance? Remember if a so-called prophet misses on one prophecy then that prophecy was not from God. God doesn’t make mistakes in prophecy or anything else. If that one prophecy did not come from God then what about the one he is making this Sunday morning? Is this one really from God? Where might it be from? The answer to that question is that the prophecy could have three possible sources, and they are God, flesh, or the devil. If the prophecy does not have God as it’s source that leaves the flesh or the Devil as the source. Neither of those are credible sources. Might I add a little opinion into this discussion? God has always had very few prophets at one time. Today we have thousands of “prophets” running around. Probably God has one or two true prophets at the most.
The best thing to do is to stick with scripture. It will lead you in the way you should go. It’s prophecies are true and clear. One of these prophets prophesied that Jesus Himself will soon appear with him on stage at a crusade. What does the Bible say? Revelation 1:7 says,
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Will every eye see Him at Benny Hinn’s crusade, even those who drove the nails in His hands and feet? Will all the kindreds of the earth wail because of Him at Benny Hinn’s crusade? How ridiculous this is that Jesus Himself will be at Benny Hinn’s crusade. Maybe Jesus was booked when Billy Graham had his last crusade? Maybe Mr. Hinn has delusions of grandeur? What delusions his followers are under is what is most troubling, though. If we put our experiences above or equal to scripture we will lose our souls. That is what Experiential Christianity has to offer.
Along with the “If it works it’s of God”, crowd and the Jesus is coming to dinner or my crusade crowd, is the “New Revelation” crowd. These new revelations usually come out of a person’s unwillingness to accept God’s will and way of doing things. A Word Faith preacher is being called a heretic by other WOF preachers because of a recent revelation he had. (This is rich having a bunch of heretics call another heretic a heretic.) He said that he thought it very unfair that people, especially black people, (his words), would go to Hell because they never accepted Christ. The people he referred to had never heard the Gospel of Christ. Conveniently he had a revelation of God telling him that everyone goes to heaven. Hell is a bad place or time here on earth. Now I am not discounting that Carlton Pearson had some sort of revelation. Again my question is concerning the source from which the revelation came. It did not come from God, so from where did it come? It had to come from the flesh or the Devil. It came from Mr. Pearson’s own mind or from the mind of the Devil. Hell is spoken of in scripture as an actual place that was built for the Devil and his angels. We are told in Revelation 21:8 that all liars will spend eternity there. They won’t spend an hour or two in a bad place or time on earth, they will spend eternity there. All liars will include preachers who resort to teaching their own gospel. If we put our experiences above or equal to scripture we will lose our souls. That is what Experiential Christianity has to offer.
Another preacher, Kenneth Hagin, had a revelation of the keys to the scriptures. Funny that his revelation is identical to writings by a New Ager named E.W. Kenyon. You would think God could come up with new material. This doctrine that Hagin preached was also very similar to that of Mary Baker Eddy who wrote a book as she was given a revelation named, “Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures”. The book has nothing to do with Science or scriptures and if it contains a key it is used to lock up the scriptures against her followers reading the scriptures. Mary Baker Eddy founded a well known cult named Christian Science. Hagin’s group should also be appropriately called a cult. So Hagin couldn’t even come up with his own fake revelation but had to plagiarize the 18 writings of Mr. Kenyon by lifting text word-for-word from the pages. He also plagiarized the work of John A. MacMillan. In this case Hagin even plagiarized the title, “The Authoritiy of the Believer”. “This information is available from Oral Roberts University in Dale H. Simmons’ Master’s thesis, “An Evaluation of Kenneth E. Hagin’s Claim To Be A Prophet”. Simmons repeats these charges in his 1997 book, “E.W. Kenyon: The Postbellum Pursuit of Peace, Prosperity, And Plenty”. Hagin did, however, give credit to MacMillan when a new copy with a new title (“The Believer’s Authority”) was released in 1984.” This quote is taken from the following web site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Hagin. I am really not concerned in this case with whether or not Hagin plagiarized other than the fact that he claimed to receive this information through special revelation. Again, what he pretended to receive through special revelation does not stack up with scripture. What he received through revelation or plagerized documents is anti scripture. Hagin taught that Jesus died spiritually and went to the burning part of Hell to be tortured of the Devil. When the Devil thought enough torture had been endured he stopped and Jesus was born again spiritually in Hell and was the first born again man. This is totally anti scripture and it is another Gospel. Paul said in Galations 1:8-9,
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Strong language by the Apostle, “Let him be accursed”. Mr. Hagin has slipped into eternity and I am sure by the grace of God that a saved person would not be kept out of heaven by plagiarism. Preaching another gospel and blaming this different way of salvation on a revelation from God is another matter altogether. I have heard it a hundred times if I’ve heard it once concerning this damnable doctrine, “It works, so it must be from God. I get everything I pray for”. If we put our experiences above or equal to scripture we will lose our souls. That is what Experiential Christianity has to offer. I don’t want what works, I want what God has for me. I want the truth. That works and will work for eternity, and it is straight from God. For your sake, for the sake of Christ who died for you, search the scriptures and see what saith the Lord. Don’t be swayed by experience but be convinced and convicted by what God says.