Friday, January 23, 2009

Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century

Twenty years ago I began working on a book that would become a runaway best seller. It won the prestigious ```Gold Medallion Book Award for excellence in Evangelical Christian literature. That book was titled Christianity in Crisis. It unmasked the fatal flaws of a movement that threatens to undermine the very foundations of the faith once for all delivered for the saints.


Back when I originally wrote Christianity in Crisis Kenneth Hagin was the prime mover behind the message, while his platform was certainly enormous, and his influence global. There is a new breed of prosperity teachers today that have taken his preaching and his practices to unimaginable heights, or maybe more appropriately unimaginable depths. Indeed men who followed in his train like Joel Osteen or women like Joyce Meyer are living proof that error begets `` error and heresy begets heresy. As such, they have taken the crisis spawned in Christianity by Hagin, and popularized by disciples like Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn, and took it to levels I could have scarcely imagined when I wrote the original book in the 20th century.




This is one of the reasons I have now released Christianity in Crisis 21st Century. I believe this book like its predecessor needed to be written. In the end, it’s not as much about the faith teachers as it is about faith followers, who are inevitably distracted, disillusioned, discouraged, and some even die. My heart aches for the parent, who puts his dead baby on ice, and in the midst of tears, drove 350 miles because he trusted the testimony of faith preachers who were touting resurrections from the dead. I equally grieve for the millions who have left faith churches in the midst of failed faith formulas. Some conclude that God must not love them; others question the integrity of the Christian enterprise.



The tragedy is that all too often we look for God in all the wrong places. The real experience is found not in counterfeit formulas but in Christian fundamentals. Think for a moment about prayer, rather than seeking formulas through which we can get things from God, we must be ever mindful that prayer is an opportunity for developing intimacy with the lover of our souls. If we were honest, most of us have learned to pray backwards. We hurry and rush into God’s presence with techniques and incessant babblings, and in the process we drown out the very one who’s voice we so long to hear. All too often we want God to move the fence posts and enlarge our houses and lands, but God wants something far better for us. He wants us to be still, so He can enlarge the territory of our hearts. He sent us sixty-six love letters etched in heavenly handwriting, and the more we meditate upon those Words, the clearer His voice will become when we meditate in the sounds of our silence.



As the original Christianity in Crisis has impacted the lives of literally thousands of people from Nairobi, Kenya to Seoul, Korea, from Beijing, China to Los Angeles, California, it’s my prayer that Christianity in Crisis 21st Century will likewise turn the hearts of millions towards home.

6 comments:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Benny Hinn doesn't like you? I thought there was something good about your teaching.
http://archives.wittenburgdoor.com/archives/hinnloser.html
The Holy Spirit still offers Hinn mercy, but I don't know if he is listening.

In Faith said...

In Faith--It Is Not The Critic Who Counts
"It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Well, you certainly know your Theodore Roosevelt. Who exactly would you nominate as "daring greatly"? Hank perhaps? Or did you mean to post this as an answer to another set of comments, the ones carping about what they don't like in our new president, who is actually in the arena?

jim tedder said...

Not a day goes by that i do not encounter haginites and the like with their voo doo christianity. The students of his nefarious school have shaken most evangelical churches right down to their foundations. Who would have thought that this movement would have surpassed Modernism and
Romanism as the greatest dangers to the Gospel and the Church in the 21st century?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Jim, I took the trouble to check out your blog before attempting to reply. Considering that you severely chastise the whole gospel of prosperity yourself, particularly in your little item on Jim Baker, I can't quite place what you are saying about Hank, particularly taking your post onto this particular article. On the other hand, neither Modernism nor Romanism strike me as posing great dangers to the 21st century. Of course I deny that any bishop inherited a mandate from Christ to rule the world or the church, but at present, only those who choose to do so recognize the Pope's authority. That is what is important. Hank isn't an authority, but he is worth listening to. (For someone who often disagrees, I seem to be spending a lot of time defending him this month.)

Bryan said...

I saw that you mentioned Joyce Meyer. I have listened to her a lot and have not heard her teach a prosperity gospel. I have only heard her preach from the Bible. The others you mentioned a agree with you. I just haven't heard Joyce do that...