Over the years I have seen many instances where it was clear that God was active and moving. I have also seen that there are VERY often agents of the enemy working and plotting to interfere with the men and women who are trying to do Gods work. I was once in an environment where Christianity was a dirty word and prayer and Bible reading on breaks had to be done in a conference room so we wouldn’t upset anyone else. In that environment we had openly gay individuals, female “Spiritualist Ministers”, people who had been on Jerry Springer and more. No one seemed to care if Christians were offended. In that place we tried to do what we could. We witnessed as the Lord provided opportunity (on breaks and in the parking lot etc) we made sure to bring our Bibles and to try to be a good witness and example in thought and deed.
In this place I had made the mistake of speaking the truth as I knew it; when someone mentioned the Spiritualist camp and the Female minister. (PLEASE be patient for just a few minutes more as I finish two examples and I will lay out my position on this more completely using the Bible) I told them that according to scripture there was no such thing as a female preacher and that the entire spiritualist movement was shrouded in secrecy and scandal. It abounded with frauds throughout history and that it was NOT Christian. Two or three days later I was confronted by the “Spiritualist Minister” who came up to me while I was eating my lunch. She stood over me clenching her fists, her face contorted by barely concealed rage. She started to loudly bark “Woman is strong, woman is powerful, woman can do anything man can do.” At the end of each one of her pronouncements she struck herself in the chest hard enough to make a thump.
Strong, thump. Powerful, thump. Do, thump. For a moment I was uncertain of what to say or do in the face of this bizarre behavior. I was gripped by the Holy Spirit and saw that this woman had a familiar spirit or demon with her! The only answer I gave her was to say “Silence Demon in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” She opened her mouth to say something else, so angry that it appeared she either couldn’t frame a response or was unable to speak! She opened and closed her mouth two or three times and then stomped off. To the people around me it must have appeared that I had angered her so completely she was unable answer for fear of her response. I strongly suspected another reason.
I recently encountered a woman whose openness to this ministry hinged on the answer to one question; what was my position on tongues. I politely told her that I firmly believed tongues to be just one of an assortment of proofs given to the apostles to demonstrate the power and authority of the Lord Jesus as God. That I could show her scripturally that tongues were to have an end and that Paul, late in his ministry was apparently unable to heal a brother (Epaphroditus) he had been traveling with and sent the brother back to the church at Philippi with no mention of healing (Re: Philippians 2:25-30). Her answers to these points were “Certainly tongues will have an end, when Jesus returns” and “healing is dependent on the recipients’ faith too!” I tried to point out that neither of these positions could be shown scripturally. (Later I looked into this only to find that it seems to be the faith of the HEALER/s and those asking for the healing that really matters i.e. Matthew 8:8-13, etc. etc ad infinitum. ALL scripture refers to the faith of the healers with a few references to people having faith for those under their charge (mother, roman centurion etc.) not ONE scripture shows that someone wasn’t healed and that it was because of THEIR lack of faith. That is a convenient excuse for those who purport to be doing healings) the conversation took a real turn for the worse when we started to discuss the biblical admonitions for men and women. As I recited scriptures trying to be in agreement with her that a man was to love his wife as his own flesh etc. I mentioned 1 Peter 3:7 and when I got to “giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel” a marked and serious change overcame her. She clenched her fists and the muscles around her eyes actually began to twitch with anger! She said it doesn’t say that! I assured her it did and told her I would show her in my Bible. She then decided to get angry and leave trying to say that we can each believe in God and serve him our own way. I explained this wasn’t an option as we were to settle all things with scripture and that we were to be of one mind.
Here were two examples of rebellious minds. The Bible tells us that the Lord told Samuel to tell Saul in 1 Samuel 15:23 for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
We may not always agree with what God has to say. Thing is, we are the creation and he is the creator. We need to be willing to submit our feelings and understanding to his Word. As promised earlier I now lay out my case that there is NO such thing as a woman preacher. 1 Timothy 2:11-14 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 1 Timothy 3:1-51This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) There are LOADS more scripture I could use here.
The thing is many women are convinced that these scriptures somehow mean that women are less able, intelligent or important than men. They don’t see the flip side to this. Mans first ordination is as the spiritual head of his house. He is a failed and fallible representation of Christ. He is the head of his family as Christ is the head him! RE: 1 Corinthians 11 1-16 He is also the one that takes the physical and spiritual “heat” as it were. IF the man is trying to follow God he should make decisions that are best for the health, safety and wellbeing of the family. HE is the one held responsible by God for the choices in his family. Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
The scriptures make clear that mans “authority” over women and children is to be judiciously and lovingly used. It was designed for their benefit and protection not their subjugation. Funny isn’t it that someone would have an issue with women being referred to as the “weaker vessel” while claiming that men were to protect their families. How could I protect my wife if I am not physically stronger? Also, I would like to make a point about the chain of command in the family. I was a soldier and I also used to like Star Trek The Next Generation. I use this analogy. God is the Fleet Admiral, I am a Starship captain and my wife is my #1, my executive officer with an authority and power of her own. She makes decisions that reflect my leadership as she is ultimately answerable to me and to God. I make my decisions reflecting the leadership over myself and my responsibility to same. I really fail to see how this is somehow demeaning to women. It is Gods order.
Now I want to touch on clouded minds. I recently had correspondence with someone who had staked out a rather extreme belief. I won’t give away the details or the name of the party. I will just say that he had a really interesting view of eschatology and had started to develop a rather elaborate set of beliefs and statements pertaining to the “New World Order”. His beliefs and views relied almost entirely on VERY subjective and liberal use of scripture out of context and twisted to fit his view. Many people attempted to discuss this with him. He ended up calling people names and saying that he didn’t want to converse on the subject any longer. We believe that Jesus is addressing this brother through our prayers of faith even as we speak. THAT should be our proper response. EVEN when we KNOW someone is wrong scripturally and when they become abusive. We need to realize that VERY often we are dealing with spirits that are designed to hold these people back or to interfere with us and the work that we would do for God…
Going back to the discussion I had with the woman about tongues…To my chagrin I later realized (from the prompts of my wife and my 19 year old son) that I missed an opportunity to witness to another man that had arrived while I was busy with this stubborn and rebellious woman. NOW, I can’t help but see that her spirit/s were not only hindering her but had also been sent to hinder me!
This is where we thank God for the trusted counselors in our lives and learn to realize that sometimes a discussion is unlikely to bear fruit. When you see a person digging in and refusing to talk about scripture, all you can really do is pray for them. I think we have a responsibility to give them an example of how or why they are wrong and then let it go. The Lord will do the rest and you will then have more time to move to more fertile Territory.
Through these recent experiences I have also come to realize that there are SO many different flavors of Christianity specifically because we have so many people insisting on “interpreting” the bible their way. MOST of these people are also completely closed off to having their views or beliefs challenged even with scripture! They will say “well that is YOUR interpretation”! My answer is I don’t “interpret” the Bible I read it and try to accept what it actually says, whether I like it or not.
ALL of us need to be on our guard against the thieves in our lives; the things which rob of us of our time and efforts for God. We also need to be willing to evaluate EVERY thought and belief we have with God’s word. If we would all submit ourselves to this standard we could settle all doubts about Christianity. Just think what we could accomplish through and for Christ if we could just learn to work together as Christians! When we think on all the different beliefs in Christianity we should also evaluate them in light of what fruit they bear for Christ. What fruit does snake handling or speaking in tongues or even healing really bear for Christ? MOST of these things are done IN a church surrounded by other believers. The gifts that God does legitimately give us to use for him are given to us for a specific purpose; to help us spread the gospel.
If that is NOT what the gifts are being used for we must question why? Are you one of those with Rebellious hearts & Clouded Minds? Are you open to discussing Christianity and beliefs with other Christians without losing your temper? If not, you might want to pray on that. Our ultimate goal should be to be right with God, not just to be “right” or think someone else is wrong.