Wednesday, April 02, 2008

CROSS PURPOSES 112

CROSS PURPOSES 112

‘When joining “The Chorus” might be a betrayal of your own truths.’

Hi People. Trust you are well.

Just before Easter the Sydney Morning Herald ran a series of “Special Investigation” articles concerning “Mercy Ministries”, a program for helping young women in trouble of one sort or another. Mercy Ministries was introduced to Australia through people connected with Hillsong. It receives substantial support from the Gloria Jeans Coffee organization.

A number of young women who had not had ‘good experiences’ in the program were interviewed. You can imagine the headlines and the “horror stories”. Newspapers and other media love that stuff. And if we have a bias against Hillsong we’re tempted to ‘silently applaud’ as well.

Now I’ll admit upfront that I have personal reservations about some things Pentecostal. I have my own questions. But I have my own questions and reservations about the media presentation and hype as well. What’s true and what is not can be hard to know.

HOWEVER… HOWEVER…

There was a sub-text running through the SMH articles and subsequent media commentary which is important for us to discern, evaluate, acknowledge and disown. Let me give you some examples. (The best way for me to capture the tone is to paraphrase.)

“These young women had to participate in daily bible studies as part of their ‘healing’. Can you believe that? It’s laughable that anybody would entertain the idea that bible study would help young women in trouble.”

My comment: Jesus said to the tempter, “Humans shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus said “if you continue in my word you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Paul says “be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
To know Jesus Christ ,and Jesus Christ centred truth is, for us, the beginning and end of all healing! It’s why we put high value on Bible reading and Bible Study.

“Oh dearie, dearie me. These people actually believe that prayer for healing can lead to healing! How fanciful is that? I mean, this is the 21st century after all. How naïve can you be?”

My comment: Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Hebrews on prayer and healing. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful in its effects”.

“These fundamentalist Christians think the ideas of Jesus, spoken 2000 years ago for heaven’s sake, are the way to understand the issues of our modern world. They even want to talk about guilt and shame. That’s ridiculous, let alone dangerous to a person’s mental health”.

My comment: It’s clear that if we unthinkingly join the chorus of ridicule and criticism being sung over that ministry, which is being carried out in the name of Jesus Christ, then we sacrifice our own identity and foundations on the altar of secular acceptance.

Jesus saw, identified and recognized the Prince of Darkness and his Kingdom for what they were. He understood the enslavement and burden of sin, guilt, shame, fear and condemnation. Good Friday, and all that led up to it, was an utterly necessary action on God’s part for human forgiveness, freedom and fellowship with God.

SO THERE. Have your questions. Ask them. But let’s resist with fierce love the possibility that we deny our own truths, and condemn our brothers and sisters without cause. Jesus is Lord.

Fred

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