Saturday, May 8, 2021

Masking Tape is not Binding

 This blog post will also serve as Episode 34 of my podcast. You can listen here: 

Ok. I know that might be a strange title for a blog post. Here is what I am talking about: On Wednesday night, I attended an event in my city where there were several pastors, with one in particular, that bound... in Jesus' name... all violence, violent crimes, sexual immorality, etc. This binding of these sins occurred at approximately 6:45 pm on Wednesday, May 5th, 2021. These pastors didn't ask that these sins be bound, they declared them bound. And they declared them bound throughout the city. 

Before the next twenty four hours had passed, there had already been a few more violent crimes committed in Danville. I am also fairly certain that sexual immorality, in all of its various forms, was still running rampant. Now, I will freely admit that I have done nothing to verify this second claim, and though I am not in doubt of its truth, I will set it off to the side and focus on the one that I have verified. There were documented cases of violence and violent crime that still happened. 

Now, if I could do it without being snarky, I would genuinely like to call up these pastors to let them know that their binding didn't hold. I would like to inform them that I am fairly certain that it didn't even hold for an hour. I want to ask them if they should try gorilla glue or duct tape instead, I've had really good luck with that. I want to channel my inner Elijah and ask them if their god was asleep or relieving himself (1 Kings 18:27). I don't know how it normally works for them, but I want to ask them if maybe they didn't do enough inhales after their proclamations of binding for it to work. I want to ask these things, but I am not sure I can pull it off without veering into sinful form of sarcasm. 

For the record, during the event, while they were speaking, I really wanted to be happy for them and get excited with them when they were praying these things, but I was experiencing these proclamations in about the same way that I experience a student's claim of an NBA future or when an American Idol contestant doesn't even make the initial tryouts, and yet they claim that we haven't seen the last of them!  I genuinely want to be happy for these people, but I can't help but think that the most compassionate thing that happens is when Simon Cowell tells them that they should pursue a different career -- NOT when their grandma says that they will be a superstar one day. 

To come at this a little more directly, I will say this: There are people who lead churches that ought not to be followed. There are people who claim to be pastors (and sometimes even claim to be prophets or apostles), who ought not to hold this title. The Bible is very clear on this topic. In addition to the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-16 -- which would disqualify some of the people that I am referring to -- there is another ancient test to verify if a person is even speaking on behalf of God anyway. (Side note: This is important to ask because some of these people who get up to speak, even though they are not your pastor, are claiming much authority and power in our communities.)  This test can be found in Deuteronomy 18:21–22, which says,

[21] And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’—[22] when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (ESV)

"You need not be afraid of him." is telling us that there doesn't need to be any reverential acknowledgement of such a person. They are not speaking the words of God nor are they speaking on behalf of God... they are speaking "presumptuously."  It is easy for a person to get up and say that God gave them a word... or God has a word for the listeners... or God has something specific that we need to hear... But when a person goes the next step and tells us that something is happening or will happen in the name of Jesus, by the power of God... we have a unique opportunity to determine whether or not this person is truly of God and speaking on God's behalf.  As it says, "... when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken..."  The real world has become a testifier to the origin of that person's words. When "all violence and violent crimes" were not bound in Danville on Wednesday, May 5th, 2021... then we can say with absolute assurety, that those who made that claim are speaking presumptuously and we ought not to give them the time of day.

If you go to a church where these people have made these claims, you ought to either find a new church or if you occupy a place of leadership in that church, bar them from the pulpit... do not be afraid of them. These Wormtongues ought to keep their forked tongues behind their teeth.  No one ought to presume on what God has said or is saying. When someone does, don't ignore the opportunity to verify their claims when those claims intersect with the observable world. 

In addition to all I've already said, I feel compelled to add that I, personally, don't find this version of falsified enthusiasm helpful or beneficial, not only for the church, but also the community-at-large. This is just my opinion, but I believe that it is an educated opinion. 

There is no benefit to the church for at least two reasons. The first reason is that presumptuous claims will shore up shaky faith with constantly failing braces. There are many in the church who, whether because they are new to the faith or have never grown in the faith, stand on shaky ground. The slightest wind of false doctrine or false teaching could blow them over and these bold sounding claims that lack any real substance will eventually lead to a shipwrecked faith for many. The other reason is that it ignores the real ministry of the Word that has everything we need for all areas of life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). There is work to be done by many in our churches that could lead to an explosion of the actual gospel message that might actually speak to those wrapped up in the empty life that produces violent crime and sexual immorality. Big-lunged "preachers" do literally nothing in comparison to one who will simply preach the word in season, out of season; always ready to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV)

And as far as the community at large, there are also two reasons why I, personally, don't find this helpful or beneficial. First, to the outside world, it makes Jesus look weak.  What does it mean when Jesus binds something and that binding doesn't hold? Is this really what the work of Jesus looks like? ... absolutely not. When Jesus says a leprous person is clean, they are clean (Luke 5:12-13). When He tells the wind and the waves to be quiet, they cease all stormy activity to result in peace (Matthew 8:24-27). Paralytics walk (Luke 5:18-25), blind see (Mark 10:51-52), dead people come out of their tombs (Luke 11:33-34), sins are forgiven (also Luke 5:18-25), and all righteousness for mankind is accomplished (John 19:28-30). The second reason is that it make his ministers look like blow-hards that cannot be trusted. There is enough of a challenge already facing those who minister the word of God, but when loud-mouth preachers make weak-_ _ _ claims, the already shaky trust that the outside world has for the church becomes even shakier. In other words, if they are wrong about this then they might be wrong about who will inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Cor. 6:9-10) or that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6).

I want to apologize if I have come off a little too harsh for your taste. If someone out there would actually speak on the Lord's behalf and actually bind all violent sin in Danville, that would be awesome to see... but I believe that the one who will say those things, won't be saying them until he returns with a trumpet sound and heaven and earth melt away in his presence. 

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