Just a few things I was thinking about or read elsewhere and thought were worth sharing…
Given the hoopla over this “revival” in Florida (which I spoke of earlier this week) and the rise of prophetic ministries across this nation, consider what revivalist Leonard Ravenhill said were the marks of a true prophet and see if any of those characteristics match prophets in today’s modern charismatic movement. (Ravenhill’s comment that “The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity” should be a good indicator of direction.)
Also in this vein, with people obsessed with signs and wonders, consider what David Wilkerson authored in his message “A Christless Pentecost: Is Christ Becoming a Stranger in Our Midst?“
What is it with people acting like animals at some of these supposed revivals we keep hearing about? Nothing disturbs me more than to hear this kind of nonsense. The late Derek Prince offers some discernment that is much needed but rarely heeded.
Had enough charismatic-bashing from me, a charismatic? Well, how about this for positive spin?
Because I write Christian fiction, I’m all too aware of the traps that such an endeavor poses. It’s very easy to lead one’s readers into a ditch. Tim Challies does a worthy job dismantling the questionable theology of the über-bestseller The Shack.
I’m finding that the latest version of WordPress is much slower than previous versions, not only in the Admin pages, but in loading the blog itself. WordPress dropped gzip compression and their object caching. Without them, this site loaded like molasses, so I restored that functionality and cut load speeds to a third of what they were after the upgrade. I’ve spent several hours trying to optimize Cerulean Sanctum for faster loading.
Firefox 3.0 RC1 is a fine update, but it proved devastating to the way my computer ran. I have an old PC running XP that has 512 MB of RAM (and the cost of 1GB of 168-pin ECC PC-133 DRAM for it is ridiculously high, so I’m stuck with the following issue and solution). Between all the bloatware updates on Windows and most other software out there, my processes were paging, including my satellite Internet drivers, causing them to spontaneously unload when Firefox grabbed all the CPU cycles and RAM. Grr. If you have a similar problem, setting Firefox 3.0’s process priority to “Below Normal” will solve that problem. Don’t understand why the software slams the CPU so hard, but there you go. If the upcoming update of Firefox were a kid, the verdict would be “Doesn’t play nice with other children.”
I’m surprised that no one is looking at the upcoming Beijing Olympics as the cauldron of some future pandemic. You’ll have people from all over the world descending en masse on China—the world’s petri dish for disease. The Asian continent, and China in particular, serves as the birthplace of many communicable diseases, influenza being only the most prominent example. The Beijing Olympics will concentrate groups of far-flung people who normally never congregate and do so in that disease-spawning region. It not only offers the possibility that people dispersing after the Olympics will take disease worldwide, but also that people will bring diseases into the region that may find the environment to their liking, either mutating into something more virulent or finding some combination of factors that encourage DNA-swapping. No matter what occurs, we should keep our eye on this.
I think this is one of the coolest, wettest springtimes I can remember. What does this say about global warming?
On the other hand, scientists are finding that the massive increase in carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere since the 1950s has created ultra-potent poison ivy. As someone who never used to be bothered by the stuff during my years in Christian camping ministry, I can attest to the change.
As an Audubon member (and treasurer of my local chapter), I keep a lookout for birds. My neighbor, the chapter president, and I both note an alarming lack of bluebirds this year after years of increases. Anyone out there seeing bluebirds or noting changes in their numbers?
On the other hand, we have plenty of meadowlarks on our property, a bird that is rapidly dying out due to the overdevelopment of pasture land. This article at Audubon notes other familiar birds that were once common but are now in trouble.
I continues to grieve me how carelessly we trash the world God gave us in pursuit of avarice. On another blog, a commenter lambasted me for my concern that putting in a massive Wal-Mart superstore in my little town would ruin the night sky. He told me in no uncertain terms that if I cared about that loss I should move out of the area. My valid question: Are there any such places left, and if so, how long before they, too, get turned into a strip mall? Sometimes I am just staggered at our willingness to defecate all over our living spaces and think nothing of it. Heck, even dogs don’t do that.
Think deep thoughts this weekend. When we get opportunities to relax, we need to be considerate and thinking people. Christians, more than any other people, must be wise. We know the Source of wisdom, right?
22 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts”
I have yet to come down on any side on the Florida outpouring, although your points yesterday were convincing (particularly on repentance being a sign of true revival), however – I’m not sure that Ravenhill’s comment that “The degree of [a prophet’s] effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity helps your case – a quick browse through the blogosphere will show that Todd ain’t the most popular character at the moment! In fact almost every result on a Google Blogsearch is a negative one!
Bentley isn’t a tough discern. A few solid Christians can see through him. Ravenhill’s talking about those false prophets who can even deceive the elect. People will swarm after those guys. It’s the lone voice crying in the wilderness that supports Ravenhill’s “unpopularity” remark. That’s the guy even the elect won’t listen to, not because he’s so obviously wrong, but because few can stomach his intensity and message.
Dan, do you, by chance, have the “Google XML Sitemaps” plugin running? My WordPress site was achingly slow after the upgrade. Somewhere I read about problems with that plugin, so I deactivated it. Since then, I can’t tell any difference from the earlier versions.
Actually, Randy, I am running that plugin. Has it always been problematical or just the recent update?
As of 5/22/08, it appears the developer has updated the plugin to fix performance problems.
I was very influenced by Mr. Princes ministry in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I rarely missed him on christian radio for decades and still have many of his teaching tapes. He did a 3 part tape series in 2002 ( ? ) I think about the Brownsville revival and promptly shot it full of holes,thank goodness. In his later years he seperated himself from earlier shepherding influences and more of the bizarre type manifestations that were seen in the prior decade. Many of these things are more soulish or fleshly type of behaviors. You are right though in where is the discernment over it all ? So much can be learned from history in just the past decade or two…. why it is repeating itself I don’t know. I stay clear of it. I don’t want to go down that path again. No way.
The shepherding thing is a different kind of error, in my view, because it was a good idea that got out of hand (rather than a foundationally bad idea). Too much of what might have been a good thing. That happens in a lot of Christian ministries. The concept isn’t bad, but the implementation and tendency to go too far that damns the entire enterprise.
I’ve read Tim Challies dismantling of the Shack. I don’t think he did a good job, probably because the Shack does not say what Tim wants it to say.
Please expand your thoughts here. Your comments intrigue me since I have not personally read the book except for a few excerpts that trouble me.
Anais Nin said “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
There’s a lot of stuff Christians struggle with in this day and age. A lot. We struggle with the God of the old testament. We struggle to explain pain. We struggle with the trinity. We struggle with the Bible. We struggle with the church. Above water, we look fine, but underneath we are paddeling like hell.
Along comes a little book written by someone who is not really an author. He wrote it mainly for his children. The idea was not really to make money. Somehow however, the book took Christians to some of the answers we found difficult to explain. More than that, a lot of people started to believe in God again. A lot of my friends read the book and in some of them there is a profound change. Their love for God has grown. Something happened on a deeper level. And they are sharing that love. All this from reading a fictional book.
Now I know the book is not theologically correct. Their are stuff in there that I differ a lot from. God the Father, will always be a manly figure to me. But I also know that God uses whom He pleases and this is the problem I have with this review. Tim wrote a book about Spiritual Discernment. That is the lenses he uses to review the book. Problem is, especially when I am an expert in spiritual discernment I tend to overlook grace.
Let me give you an example. I tell you that I recently read a book where the author brought me closer to God. The problem is that the author killed another man in order that he could marry the man’s wife. Do you think that the writings of such a man could bring me closer to God? Or a man comes by and tell me that God told him to marry a prostitue. Yeah, right. Can such a man give me God? What does spiritual discernment say? I don’t know about you, but I kinda like David and Hosea. Perhaps Tim could give God advise on what kind of people He should use for authors. Perhaps God should have more spiritual discernment.
Tim has a column on spiritual discerment in that review. Go and read it. It says a lot about the author. It’s a shame not all of us is as mature as he is.
The Shack is a book full of grace. It is full of God. If Tim took the time to be a like child, then perhaps he would have seen God between the pages.
I read your blog because you have integrity. Read the Shack for yourself. The few excerpts that trouble you probably troubled me as well, but I know God is big enough to overcome such things.
Thanks for responding!
I write fiction and I must always remember that fiction is like a lubricant. It makes what it coats go down more easily. For this reason, the Christian fiction writer has great responsibility. An author can say just about anything she wants in the guise of creativity and yet the heart of her message can still be from hell. No one can have a free pass here simply because something is fiction.
Nor would I contend that novelists write in a vacuum. In fact, most ARE trying to get an agenda across. That agenda MUST espouse a worldview. If that worldview is tainted, then so is the message. Again, no free passes.
To me the closer the world the writer creates to our own, the more onus is on him to make it conform to a godly one that sticks to Scriptural understanding. Start messing with that and he runs the risk of angering the Lord. It is a fearful thing to anger the Lord by espousing a bogus theology.
People teach through fiction. The writers who cannot get a publishing contract writing non-fiction (because they are not a household name or Christian celebrity) often turn to fiction to get their teaching out.
I don’t buy the novel origin tale promulgated by the author of The Shack. No one gets a book published today without naked intentionality and a lot of hard work. This book was not an accident.
I know a lot of Christians who jettisoned their moral beliefs when the book The Bridges of Madison County came out, letting the “love story” overwhelm their spiritual shields. I see no reason to believe that The Shack is any different. If a different view of God is relayed in the story, one at odds with the true God of the Bible, then the book is in error, plain and simple.
Do I agree with Tim on everything? No. But I think he’s right in most cases with The Shack.
I agree with you on the responsiblity that rest on the shoulders of the christian fiction writer. I would like to ask you. You talk about the true God of the Bible. Which denomination gives you the “best” true God of the Bible? Do all the people in your congregation have the same “view” of God?
I’ve known about The Shack 15 months before it was published. Yes it was a lot of hard work, especially because no publisher would touch it. Perhaps you can give the author the benefit of doubt on it’s novel origin. He was not the one trying to get it published 🙂
Some tech sugestions:Crucial seems to have the best prices on memory. They’ve got a 512 like you described for about $60. If you can add to what you’ve got that’s not bad to get to 1GB.
Drop FireFox and get Maxthon. It’s an IE based browser that’s loaded with great features, faster than FF and uses less memory. Also, if you minimize the browse is clears most of the memory (with 2 tabs open, minimizing dropped memory form 40 MB to 10MB). I found FF to be slow and painful to maintain. I needed several plug-ins to get the functionality I wanted and they broke when I upgraded FF. Maxthon has all I need and about 90% of what I want out of the box. Just a few plug-ins and I’ve got a seriously powerful browser.
I have noticed more bluebirds here in Granville County, NC. It may have something to do with the wonderful spring we have had. The cool sunny weather has caused me to be out in the bee yard more than in years past; therefore, I just may be out in the middle of the day when they are moving. I seem to be seeing the flash of bright blue and orange everywhere…..
Perhaps they did not come as far north because the weather has been cooler.
Quoth: “The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity.”
Well, if anything, even if I can’t go to Florida myself to check things out, I at least know that it’s highly unpopular with Dan.
Just chiming in to say I’ve been enjoying my eastern OH spring. We have a pair of bluebirds, but I’m not sure where they are nesting. For a third year in a row we have a nesting mockingbird pair that are very verbal in a lovely way. We’ve also been blessed with a Baltimore Oriole on several occasions. We have a few hummingbirds. Have you seen a hummingbird moth? That is an odd creature, but fun to watch. We are low on honey bee sitings but have plenty of bumble bees. So far a cool, wet, but good spring.
Love the shout out to Leonard Ravenhill. When I was a wee teen I was really influenced by Keith Green, who was influenced by Ravenhill. Cool beans!
Also, really didn’t like the review of The Shack, and here is why. The writer makes an assumption that since the book is written about God and the things of God, then it must be theological endeavor. And who is to decide which theological school has purview over fiction? It seems to me for all of the things he defined (Trinity, Redemption etc, etc) he failed to define the most important word –fiction. As a reader, you take from it what you will, because it is (steady now, here we go) a work of fiction.