The Gospel of Experience or The Gospel of Jesus Christ?

My heart is utterly grieved.

I don’t even really know what to say.

I have had to repent of SO MUCH, over the last couple of months.

This isn’t the first time I have had the very foundation of what I believe in, shaken. When I turned from my New Age beliefs and returned to my first love, who is Jesus Christ, I had to let go of beliefs and practices that had become a part of the very core of who I was! I returned to God’s Word and worship of Him, alone (or so I thought). But because of my – very real – supernatural encounters and experiences, I still felt like there was MORE than what I was experiencing at church on Sunday mornings. How could I have had so many unexplainable encounters within New Age and feel almost nothing in church? How was it that I felt closer to God in my living room than in a place set aside for the corporate worship of Him? Surely, someone within the Church Body was struggling with the same things I was! God is GOD!! He is all-powerful, all-knowing, unchanging! Jesus said we, as His followers, would do the works He did and even greater works! But sitting in a church service for an hour or two, once a week, didn’t seem very “greater” to me. Even leading small groups and serving in a number of different ministries left me wanting. Why was I filled with so much discontentment? Why didn’t I see anyone walking in miracles, signs and wonders? Why was I still sick, even though people had laid hands on me and prayed for my healing? If Christians are called to be salt and light and love, then why are so many of them hateful and judgmental…even to each other? Somebody must have the answers to my many unanswered questions. Somewhere, there must be a group of believers who are walking in the “greater.”

NAR and WoF

Cue the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) and the WoF (Word of Faith) movements.

On the surface, these movements sounded legit. They even sounded like they might have answers to my questions. They quote Scripture and talk about “Jesus,” a lot; however, if you take the time to dig deeper into both the Word, and the teachings of the leaders of the NAR and WoF, you start to wonder just what “Jesus” they are talking about…because it certainly isn’t the Jesus of the Bible.

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.Their end will be what their actions deserve. 2 Corinthians 11:2-15 (emphasis mine)

Sometimes, the TRUTH hurts.

Sometimes, the Truth hurts. That’s exactly what I have been wrestling with over the last few months…the last few years, really. Because I now realize that God has been revealing His truth to me (concerning what I believe about Him) for a long time, but I haven’t wanted to fully open my eyes to it. Oftentimes, I would choose the gospel of an experience over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I wanted to believe what I wanted to believe, and I would counter my disobedience and rebelliousness with a statement such as “I love Jesus, so much!” and “Well, God knows my heart.” Yes, God knows my heart…the ugly, selfish, depths of my heart.

Because of my refusal to listen to God fully, I recently found myself wrapped up in some of the New Age beliefs that have infiltrated Christianity. There is nothing “new” about the New Age. The beliefs go all the way back to Genesis 3 when the serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say…?” and said, “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” His message hasn’t changed. And our desire to unlock deeper mysteries and new, secret revelation (beyond the already revealed Word of God) still holds strong. Satan continues to tempt us with being like God, outside of what God wills for us. He is all too happy to deceive us while masquerading as an angel of light. He is a liar and the father of lies…seeking whom he may devour.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:13-15 (emphasis mine)

When we base what we believe on an emotion or experience, it is easy to be deceived. Truth becomes subjective or “our truth,” which may or may not be actual truth. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9) When we base what we believe on God’s Word as TRUTH, then we always have a firm foundation on which we can stand, even when we are wrestling with what we believe about something. Truth becomes objective and is TRUE, whether we are ready or willing to believe it, or not.

Test the Spirits

Whenever we see, hear or experience anything that “feels” to be of God (miracles, signs, wonders, prophecy, etc…) we MUST test the spirits. Not every spirit is from God. No matter how real it may seem, beautiful it may look or good it may feel. 

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:1-5

By the way, I am not a cessationist. I still believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders. I just don’t believe that every experience is of God and I am learning to be much more discerning, using the Word of God as my standard.

our standard is the Word of God.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

God does not change

God does not change. What was considered an abomination during Old Testament days is an abomination, today. Some things are irredeemable and must be avoided and/or destroyed. The following conversation on the book The Physics of Heaven is a prime example of how New Age has folded itself into the Church.

The deception runs deep, beloved. This book has been on my “to-read” list for a couple of years, now. I have to wonder if I would have fallen for its blatant New Age spirituality had I read it, back then. I probably would have celebrated that the Church was finally beginning to allow the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in and through us. I shudder to think…

This video may sting, a bit. And it may make some of you angry. That is not my intent, nor am I looking to throw anyone under the bus. All of this breaks my heart. I have listened to the music, gone to the concerts, shared the inspiring memes and teachings of the leaders of the NAR…and probably some WoF, too. And I have had to repent. If you watch the video and feel yourself getting angry or offended, please take it to God, in prayer. It is only by His Holy Spirit that we are convicted, and convinced of the TRUTH. I am praying for the leaders of these movements and their followers. There isn’t much that is worse than finding out that you have been deceived…especially on a spiritual level. Thankfully, we can have an intimate relationship with Jesus, who is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). 

Below the video is a list of Scripture (though, not an exhaustive list) that warns believers of deception, especially in the last days. I highly encourage you to spend some time meditating on those verses. All Scripture has been taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted. Be blessed! I am praying for you!

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10 (emphasis mine)

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In the book of Matthew, the disciples ask Jesus what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. We tend to focus on the “wars and rumors of wars” and “famines and earthquakes” part. But take a look at the very first thing Jesus says:

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-15 NIV (emphasis mine)

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At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.

So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:23-27 (emphasis mine)

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I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. Colossians 2:1-10 (emphasis mine)

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Dawn says:

    This was a really good article! I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the reminder that we should measure truth by the Word of God. We can’t just go solely on feelings and or experiences.We also can’t allow ourselves to fall prey to the tricks and temptations of the enemy. We must stand on God’s truth. Thanks for sharing this. ❤️

    Like

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