Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spiritual Deception: Soul Power 2 --Hindrances to recognizing the problem

I was involved in a charismatic "parachurch" organization in the early 90s but some happenings and teachings, and the "tone" of it, started getting to me after a while. I couldn't discern clearly what was wrong, it just FELT wrong. Even back then I knew the Catholic Church was not Christian so when my group prayed for the Pope to be blessed I refused to join in and that was the beginning of the end. I was finally driven to pray for understanding and God showed me things I was accepting that I shouldn't have been accepting and I left.

Something similar may possibly be the case with others inside that movement. You can get into a position where you feel, even quite strongly, that there's something wrong with, say, the "Toronto Blessing," the Brownsville "revival," "holy laughter" and the like, can even think of Biblical objections to it, but you doubt your own impression because you're told it's of the Holy Spirit. Since you don't want to offend the Holy Spirit you just keep going along with such things though in a chronic state of unease. (Oh and try telling someone you're "confused" about this or that charismatic phenomenon, and see if you get back in a chirpy dismissive tone of voice "God is not the author of confusion!" Hoo boy, thanks.)

I did read critical studies of those things to see if they would convince me, but they always left some questions hanging in my mind, enough to prevent me from taking a definite stand one way or the other. Even after all this time I still have some questions left hanging in my mind, though I think my rereading of Nee's Latent Power of the Soul may yet give me a handle on some of it.

Side note on being at odds with your conscience: I was just reminded of a book I recently read, that I've been planning to post on when I can get to it, that shows that a person can go on in such a conflicted state of mind for years, possibly even indefinitely. This book is Fifty Years in the "Church" of Rome, written in the 19th century by Charles Chiniquy, an ex-Catholic priest. For years he was greatly disturbed by the corruptions he kept seeing in priests and bishops of the Church, also great evils in the confessional where people were more likely to be corrupted than encouraged to holiness. He read and loved the Bible and found many things there contradicted by Roman tradition. He worked for reform within the Church, denying that the problems were in the Church institution itself. He had strong prickings of conscience but because he was committed to his Church and believed its teachings he denied his conscience, told himself it was the devil trying to lead him away from the truth, and he went on in that uncomfortable state of mind until a series of events finally drove him out of the Church and he found true salvation in Christ -- after twenty-five years as a priest.

Richard Bennett is another ex-Catholic priest whose story is similar, also unable to bring himself to leave the Roman Church for many years despite seeing many ways its teachings contradict the Bible. He has the website Berean Beacon, and you can find many of his videos at You Tube as well.

I wonder how many are in the Roman Church in a similar state of mind, clinging loyally to their "Church" and constantly in conflict with their consciences. Or the charismatic movement. Or any of the other apostate or cultic "churches" that are springing up like weeds these days. Suppressing their conscience, perhaps even to the point that they hardly detect it any more.

Poor blind humanity. And that includes most of us Christians who have received light from God but let ourselves be blinded and act blind so much of the time nevertheless. We know so little of the realities we live in, the dangers that surround us. We have spiritual enemies in high places working constantly to keep us in the dark, to convince us that good is evil and evil is good, or at least keep us so busy with irrelevancies we are useless as God's servants. But although we know from the Bible the reality of such enemies, how many of us really take it seriously and apply ourselves with the appropriate fervency to protecting ourselves and each other?

God WILL give us light, but we can even ask for light wrongly, we can have a wrong idea of God that can lead us astray and so on. The perils are everywhere.

As Nee points out, we can sing too much, we can even PRAY wrongly, focusing on the wrong object as we pray, or even study the Bible wrongly -- YES, isn't that a depressing thought? Simply concentrating hard on a passage of scripture can release what Nee calls soul power that can bring an answer -- even a true answer -- but if it doesn't come from God it remains a mental exercise rather than a spiritual illumination. As Nee says [p. 71] if it's not from God it will not bear spiritual fruit.
Not only he himself may not derive life from it, he may also have no way to impart life to others while giving out his interpretation. All he can do is help the mind of people a little.
The Spirit, indwelling the human spirit upon salvation, IMPARTS LIFE, not just knowledge, not just experiences, but actual SAVING LIFE. If we use our soul powers without their being submitted to the Spirit we impart nothing of God's life. Much preaching is done in soul power rather than spiritual power, imparting only intellectual knowledge or human compassion and not spiritual life.

So often I've thought about my own blogging here: I know I'm doing this in the flesh, in my own natural abilities, I so much want to do it in the spirit but I don't know how, Lord help me.

And now I'm led to Nee's writings once again and hoping that God will help me with this.

What we want as Christians is to be able to release the LIFE that God gives us upon believing in Christ, so that LIFE can be LIFE to others as well. All our best thoughts, our true thoughts, do not impart LIFE. All our deepest emotions, of compassion and concern for others, do not impart LIFE if they come only from our own soul powers.

And, another depressing thought for you -- spiritual life iteself can be counterfeited BY the soul powers. We can think we have the "anointing" of the Spirit when it's nothing but a heightening of the natural powers left over from the Adamic life in us, OR even sometimes something coming from demonic activity. As Nee says in Latent Power of the Soul there is a false salvation counterfeited by the soul powers, a false regeneration, a false repentance and so on and so forth. Mere human powers can be dazzling and convincing.

False conversions, false prayer, false Bible reading, false visions, false dreams, false prophecies, false healings, false miracles, false anointing, false spiritual life . . .

The answer, again, is DYING TO SELF, mortification of sin, mortification of Self, crucifixion of everything of the Adamic life, submitting to the crosses that the Lord sends us daily -- how often we fight them but we need to submit to them because they are for our eternal good.

More to come.