Down to the Wire at my Old Church.
Today, I’m writing a letter to the board of elders at my old church. The letter is including a lot of things, some of which I’ve blogged about here. This is an important point – I’m not blogging about anything that is not public knowledge – this church is not hiding what they are doing,
Maybe it’s better put “hiding in plain sight”. Many people aren’t familiar with the website, so they wouldn’t know that piece. Many people aren’t familiar with Pentecostalism so they wouldn’t know that piece. Many people aren’t familiar with the language of “modalism” so they wouldn’t know that piece. Many people aren’t familiar with the words of “healing” ministries so they wouldn’t know that piece.
But when you put these things together, I believe it means trouble in a Reformed Church.
The first piece is setting the groundwork for obedience to church leaders, no matter what. I want to make it very clear that I'm not advocating rebelling against leaders for a minor reason.
What I am talking about is questioning a planned and deliberate departure from the policies of the denomination of which Sunshine is a part. My higher leadership is not the pastors of Sunshine Church. My higher leadership is the denomination of which Sunshine is a part - the Christian Reformed Church of North America.
Here are the steps to "follow the leader - no matter what"
- God put the authorities in place
- To question the authorities is to question God
- To question the authorities is to be in rebellion of God
- If we don’t follow the leader, God will punish us (deal with our flesh/give us a curse)
The "leaders" in all these contexts are pastors, not denominational leaders.
Indeed, in the past months, as I’ve discussed these issues with members of Sunshine, I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody has said, “But will you submit to the leadership?”
Here’s a first look at the website pieces. A cached webpage, "Prayer Thoughts" by Pastor Dave, is found here.
December 30, 2005:
People of prayer like Daniel are those that are pursuing intimacy with God - Intimacy that is possible through Jesus Christ and only through a yielding to the Holy Spirit. What comes out of this intimacy is a trust in the authorities that God puts in our lives. Sometimes these authorities act and talk in ways that don't represent us, yet to trust God is to submit to their leadership.
If you rebel against this prayer thought, ask God about it, he put the authorities in place.
A friend put it this way: anyone in an “authority” position is on a mission from God (all apologies to the Blues Brothers). If “we” see an authority that is acting, talking and leading in ways that don’t represent “us”, submit anyway.
This “follow the leader no matter what” mindset is mirrored in “apostle” Sherman Shelton’s (Firehouse Ministries) message at Sunshine Community Church in January.
The text is “if you love me, you will keep my commandments” The entire message is posted here (MP3) – the January 8 service.
Shelton says: “I have summed it up into something else. This is what God is saying to us. The love God is looking for is a love that chooses to keep its eye on the authority in your life”
(at minute 29) “We as the body of Christ are better off stepping in the wrong direction unified than to be right and side against what God is doing.” (Question: how can you be “right” and side against what God is doing?)
Shermon Shelton outright said that if we question the leadership, we are second-guessing God and it is “possible” that God may give us a little curse.
This also reflects the “prophecy” of the “prophetess” Corine given at Sunshine Church: “God says whoever does not cooperate with the unity that is between the two of you God says if they do not obey by the Spirit He will have to deal with their flesh.”
Again, I'm NOT suggesting that disobeying leadership is good - BUT - my higher leadership is not the pastors of Sunshine Church. My higher leadership is the denomination of which Sunshine is a part - the Christian Reformed Church of North America.
Just because Leadership says something doesn't necessarily mean it is right.....not questioning authority sometimes leads to Jones Town and other various cult phenomenons.