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The Other Side of the River Kindle Edition
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The author of this book does a good job of comparing what he was being taught to what the Bible says, and finding the things being taught to not be taught in the Bible. It is a sad testimony about churches that far too many of them don't do the same. The author points out some of the lame excuses church leaders' use to allow unbiblical activities and spiritual manifestation to be practiced in their churches.
One of the best things this author does is to point out what is really behind these practices—elitism. These bizarre manifestation like drunk in the spirit and acting like animals are all dressed up in pride—this is the next big move of God, this is cutting-edge stuff, this puts you ahead of the average church-goer. And going further, if you accept what is being taught and attend the conferences and school and stuff like that, then you'll walk in miracles all the time, you'll become the head and not the foot, you'll be a part of the Elijah or Joshua Generation or Joel's Army or become a super-apostle or some other thing meant to play to your pride.
This book is well worth reading. I can recommend it very highly.
He mentioned esoteric revelations in this book, and his points stood out strongly for me because I have heard this form of teaching. I am so glad that Kevin points out the tendencies of many ministers to add extra-biblical revelations, to lord over church members (doing this in disobedience as Jesus specifically said not to lord over others in Luke 22:24-26), to establish hierarchy among believers, to ostracize people who disagree with strange environments branded as spiritual, to discourage the challenging questions that point out Scriptural references, and to promote disorderly praise. The controlling behavior that this author lived through, under a ministry that gave the appearance of freedom in worship, can actually hurt people who are truly seeking the Lord's gift of assemble in such environments.
I do understand his reservation during praise services where people engaged in strange behaviors like slithering on their bellies like a snake, shaking uncontrollably, or falling under the touch of someone's hand (calling being slain). Growing up in a predominantly African-American Baptist church, I saw strong emotional praise and have found it to be authentic in many people. I have also found it to be Biblical in order of the service. When there is an atmosphere of praise, some people praise self-composed while others "let loose." "Letting loose" can be very Biblical as long as no bystander is accidentally hit in a "crossfire". That's where ushers come to form a circle around the person praising with (jumps, outcries that result in falling out, or wild dancing that was always rhythmic and thus in some form of control, contained within the rhythm, from what I saw). And in those churches, there was no issue really about whether laying on of hands would cause a person to fall out. People, including me, got "slain" without anybody touching them. (People were healed under Peter's shadow in Acts 5). The act of falling out is a result of being touched just like dancing is a result of feeling moved to do so or joy. It's many times an expression of emotion.
But I see Kevin's point about the laying on of hands and how it has been treated. It's still done in an attitude of controlling someone or forcing an experience upon somebody - in some cases. In an atmosphere where joy goes forth and people are touched, it is not controlled by someone. It is opportunity to express joy in the Lord. Healing, miracles, and deliverance do not necessarily take place just in that part of a service where many people have learned to act out such experiences - even when those experiences may not have happened for someone. Many times, deliverance occurs through the going forth of the Word, Which is exactly what sets people free from sins and bondages. Many times that freedom occurs during a quiet moment of repentance hearing the Word go forth. But, as in the book, people sometimes feel like they have to go into a mode of strange behavior in order to experience the Lord. I always saw in certain churches, even Baptist, that a movement of the Lord does not have to be imitated, manipulated, or forced on anyone. If people get touched, people respond to the touch with helpers along the sides to make sure they can do so freely without offending somebody. Music moved people to dance. Even in Baptist churches, when people were touched, regardless of what anyone argued about tongues, upon being filled, people spoke in tongues in praise to God and God alone.
People feel like they have to speak aloud in tongues in such services in order to prove the atmosphere to be spiritual. As a tongue-speaking believer, I have felt that way before in error. Of course, I speak in tongues as my praise to the Lord only and not to be heard in such services. But most of speaking in tongues is in private for me as I have matured and learned to examine the Word and line myself up with it. (I Corinthians 14)
The book ended with Kevin fellowshipping with his family in another church. I hope his experience is better. But I hope his continued growth in the Lord. I agree with him100% that we should examine every experience and teaching in light of God's Word and stop magnifying experiences that seem so real but are contrary to Scripture. I also would encourage anyone who reads this book that they understand emotional and high praise. It does exist. But it exists in order and according to God's Word. High praise is not to be induced by someone unless they are absolutely led by the Lord to do so. Praise is definitely led by other believers, as Miriam led praise and there are worship leaders. But it is not controlled in the way it is seen in the book.