Sunday, May 20, 2007


Can a person have a mind which is so set in the concrete of man-made tradition, that they are totally insensitive to the fact that God, by His Spirit is shaking that which we have come to know as the "orthodox" Protestant church of today?

It's not comfortable, as the Pharisees found, having one's traditions challenged. As has always been the case through history, there are those who are moved by the Spirit , such as Luther and the other Reformers, and stay firmly fixed to the Scriptural light that they have. There are others who run off at tangents, as we see today, but as is historically the case. There are those who self appoint themselves as "orthodox", who, with their "orthodoxy" build a fortress around their hearts and minds. The fortress keepers are adept at using an extremely broad brush to paint anyone who is motivated
, through their study of the Scriptures, to step outside the safety of the fortress to follow the Holy Spirit's leading along a path which has become overgrown through misuse, labeling such as misguided, apostate, backslidden, or even, never Christians.

This happened during the rise of the charismatic/Pentecostal movement thirty or so years ago. I was one of those who used that broad brush, and am now very ashamed of the fact. It is a fact that there were many ugly aberrations, some of which grew into the prominent ,so called, "ministries" which are poked under our noses on a regular basis, especially on public access TV.

But there were, and are many, who though accepting some of what they learned, still adhered to the great doctrines of orthodox Protestantism, and went on to serve God and bring glory to His Name, but, who were, and are, shunned by those who are so proud of their "orthodoxy", that they refuse to see legitimacy in anyone else. Those who do this refuse to intelligently acquaint themselves with the beliefs of those who are being shunned, remaining ignorant in the belief that the differences they imagine, are enough reason to not accept them as brethren in Christ, or to charge them with apostasy.

To illustrate what this ignorance does I'll tell you about something which happened in a church I was pastoring: The local community was being turned upside down by the development of the charismatic movement. Much of what was happening I disapproved of, and still do, on Scriptural grounds. The church I was leading wasn't left untouched by what was happening, as long standing members went to charismatic meetings and were influenced in one way or another. Those so touched were treated by their pastors and peers, in a manner which left a lot to be desired. Some were counseled that they had been invaded by demons, all, without exception were shunned and had no option but to leave the church. Some were long standing, valued members.

I decided to teach about the Holy Spirit and His workings, and took pains to be thoroughly "orthodox" , and, as well as the Scriptures, deliberately used well recognized orthodox men of God as reference. After the second such message, one deacon, in a fury, attacked me for preaching "charismatic" sermons. It was the first time I had ever seen someone actually frothing at the mouth. I learned later that he had never considered the place of the Holy Spirit in God's order of things, much less heard a sermon on His ministry.

That ignorance wasn't only amongst untrained men!

Those who claim "orthodoxy" must accept a large part of the blame for the schism between different groups of Christians today, and the further development of the aberrant "ministries". Obviously I can only conjecture at this point, but it is my contention that if we had handled ourselves as men of God instead of petulant school children, we may not have seen the furthering of the schisms we see today, by the aberrant ones or those who still use a broad brush to paint anyone, who differs to their "orthodoxy".

When will we ever learn to take the time and trouble to be informed, and acquaint our selves with the truth, about others before making our "orthodoxy" the standard by which our acceptance of them as brethren stands or falls.

I was prompted to write the above by the words of Alan Knox, who says in his blog:

"Was Jesus serious when he said, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you"? Could it apply to those of us who are religious today? Or does it only apply to the chief priests and elders to whom Jesus originally spoke the parable?

Before we dismiss how applicable this may be to us, remember that the chief priests and elders thought that they were orthodox as well. They had all the right answers."


Elder's Wife said...

I've appreciated Alan's posts, too. You don't suppose the Holy Spirit is using the "unorthodox" means of the internet to speak to hearts across the world today, do you?

Aussie John said...


Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm certain that the Holy Spirit is active wherever mankind is.As the Psalmist realized in Psa;m 139: 7-10 "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me."

Even on the internet! After all! Isn't a large part of "orthodoxy" what mankind has deemed to be so?

God bless!

Alan Knox said...


Thank you for continuing this discussion. You picked up on the theme of my post and personalized it, which I greatly appreciate. One of the things that I keep reminding myself and others is that the things we are discussing are not merely abstract and hypothetical. They are real with real ramifications into the lives of other people - even other brothers and sisters in Christ. Your post demonstrated just that! Thank you!


Brandon said...

Excellent post! This was a timely message. Alan linked this post to my blog. I had written, though less eloquently, some very similar thoughts and experiences on my blog. It's very good to know that Father has others on very similar journeys.

Blessings to you...

Aussie John said...

Alan & Brandon,

Thank you for your comments. I am encouraged by you both.

Aussie John

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