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Am I 'Harsh' on Toronto Blessing-ites?

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TORONTO BLESSING HELPLINE ARCHIVE DOCUMENT

I have had comments from some, that I am being too tough on those who lead, or follow, the Toronto Blessing. More accurately, I am told that the content of what I say is fine, but that the way I say it is 'harsh'. One dictionary defines this word as: (1) rough, (2) discordant, (3) severe, (4) unfeeling. Which of these definitions is meant by such critics? And, what is their justification for applying it to me?

For example, in what way is my opposition to the TB 'rough'? (Much would depend on what you mean by 'rough'). Are they referring to my methodology? My work is painstaking and methodical. I only use verifiable facts and scriptural truths. So, what is 'rough' about it?

'Discordant'? If so, with what? I am certainly discordant with TB teachers and followers, because they teach and follow 'damnable heresies'. To oppose something is to be discordant with it. Critics should bear in mind thatit is the TB'ers who are discordant - with scripture. Therefore, whilst I am discordant with TB people, I am in accord with scripture. Which is more important: to be true to God's word, or to be 'nice' to heretics?

And what about 'severe'? In which way am I 'severe'? Am I more severe than scripture allows? If some think this is so, then I invite them to read God's word and see how severe the Lordis, to those who continue in their sins after they know the truth! If they think I am 'severe', then perhaps they have not yet read the Bible!

Unfeeling? As Paul said to the constantly rebellious Corinthians, when he made them 'sorry' he did so out of care and love, not simply to show he was right. That is how I see my work. Yes, it is meant to expose evil. But, it is also to cause TB followers to repent and to warn those observing not to get involved. In which way is that 'unfeeling'?

Let me express the priorities I have when opposing the TB:

Firstly, I am compelled to expose the error, which is gross. In doing so, God's truth is revealed and declared. I do these things without thought for the 'feelings' of those who commit heresy. God does not spare the sensibilities of heretics: read scripture and see what He says to them! Rather, he tells them, unequivocally, that they are sinning. He tells them to repent and to turn back to Him. If they do not, then He pronounces His judgement upon them and tells them they are under His curse and heading for destruction. That is all I do. I cannot do any more, or any less, than God does! Frankly, the honour of the Lord is of higher import to me than are the feelings of heretics. The only time I allow for their sensibilities is if and when they turn back to God and repent. Otherwise there is no Biblical warrant to offer pleasant and compromising words. There is no interest within me to 'win the argument' or to promote my own ideas. If there was such an interest, then I would be just as guilty as those I oppose!

Secondly, it is my solemn duty to give proper and Biblical pastoral guidance to the flock entrusted to my keeping by Jesus Christ. This involves describing the evils of the TB, identifying its leaders as heretics, warning against following the same paths, and, if necessary, administering disciplinary measures if some deliberately reject such Biblical counsel. Automatically, this also means avoiding followers and leaders of the TB. My concern as a pastor is bound only to those I pastor, but I also have a duty under the covenant between the Lord and myself to carry out my broader ministry, as given by God. That means publicly pronouncing God's judgement upon evildoers: in this case, TB leaders (in particular) and those who follow them. There is NO WAY, Biblically, logically, or sensibly, that this can be done in anything other than a 'tough' way! How can condemnation of heresy ever be dressed in fine clothing? How can it ever be put in anything other than hard words?

Thirdly, it is my priority to re-teach those who come away from the TB and charismaticism (the two must be synonymous). Inevitably, this means using uncompromising language to oppose the TB, charismatic theology, its leaders and its teachers. This is done parallel to teaching what scripture really says concerning its own truths, as opposed to the violations of truth taught by charismatics.

It is notable that those who complain of my 'harshness' are either charismatic or sympathetic towards charismaticism. Those who believe in 'salvation for all' are part of this grouping and these folks come from a wide spectrum of denominations and churches. God does not love evil and heresy, but denounces those who practice them. Who am I to contradict the ways of God?

Why do I denounce the TB and its leaders in hard words? The answer is very simple:

The TB is a foul movement of Satan and is not of God. None of it! It is being spread by demonic influence, through several major foundational characters, who are known heretics. These men teach vile perversions of the truth and they reject scripture as the only and final arbiter of truth. They are condemned from their own mouths! Look in scripture - you will NOT find God speaking sweetly to such men! These leaders have contaminated thousands of church pastors and those who call themselves 'leaders'... and all of them must answer to the Lord for their deliberate evasion of truth and spiritual perversion of others. There can be no fine words for such men, who, with evil contempt for God's word, despise scripture and teach heresy, leading many more to spiritual destruction.

In their false preaching they also mislead countless numbers into believing they are saved! Many leaders are afraid to stand out against the crowd, so they blindly follow those who shout the loudest about 'quenching the Spirit'. Thus, they hypocritically follow the TB whilst also-hypocritically believing the Lord! They have no excuse, for they stand alongside those whose hearts are wicked and whose minds are corrupt. For such men, wicked and perverse, there can be no nice words - only condemnation and tough talk. Anyone who has a problem with this should refer back to scripture, to see how God deals with those who deliberately mislead flocks and who deliberately reject His word. Then, when that is done, they will see that my words pale into insignificance by comparison!

I have asked critics who call me 'harsh' to define their accusation and to give me examples. To date, they have not responded adequately! What these folk really mean is that I am touching a raw nerve in their consciences, overturning their comfortable but erroneous belief that God loves everybody, regardless of their evil ways. By believing this lie, they allow all manner of evil to grow and spread! People do not like to be reminded of the truth. Anyone who reminds them is charged with 'harshness'. There is nothing harsh about exposing error and upholding truth. It is not harsh to inform people of their evil and to call them back to repentance. It is not harsh to use tough words when thousands - no millions - are being deceived by leaders whose spiritual sense has flown far away from them.

A very small number tell me I am ‘harsh’. Another small number tell me I am not hard enough! Yet another (greater) number tell me they are blessed by our work and that we ought to continue as we are. So - who speaks the truth? Who should I rely on when preparing words of opposition? NONE OF THEM! It is not easy to be charged with harshness. On the other hand, only a fool builds his ministry upon words of praise. That is why I listen only to God's Spirit speaking to my spirit. Yes, I am human and am prone to make mistakes, but I write as I do because that is how the Lord leads me, not out of personal chagrine or some inner need to win my argument! If that was the basis for my ministry, then my words would be puerile, worthy only of punishment by a Holy God. So, if the content of my words is correct, comply with them, for they are not my words, but His!

© November 1995

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