The Call of Chaos

I don’t think I can adequately describe the chaos I witnessed in the above video so I’ll let that speak for itself. I will say this though: it is impossible to reconcile that bedlam of madness with what the Word of God has to say about how we ought to behave.

Yet the things that men like Lou Engle (the balding guy with the mustache rocking back and forth telling people to do stuff) and Mike Bickle teach are right in my back yard at IHOP, and even those who I believe are my brothers and sisters are being deceived by them. These men are spiritually dangerous and we should have nothing to do with them in partnering in any manner, whether it’s a rally, a social action group, a youth camp, their books, or anything else.

They are damaging or destroying the faith of thousands of young men and women who are so eager to serve God but who are also naive and uninformed so they are unable to discern these teachings as the lies they really are. These men bring strange new doctrines which tickle the ears of their audience. So crafty are they that they will deceive even the elect if it is possible for them to do so.

May God grant that we are able to see clearly so that we are not deceived by the doctrines of demons and may discern what is true.

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11 Responses to The Call of Chaos

  1. Josh Dermer says:

    As weird as that video is, it’s really nothing new. Remember the “revivalism” of Charles Finney in the 19th century? Same thing. Raw emotionalism does not constitute real revival.

    By the way, I don’t know too much about Engle or Bickle, but do they teach a form of semi-Pelagianism? It wouldn’t surprise me if they did. Most “charismatic” movements like this completely deny the sovereign grace of God. Funny how they mentioned Jonathan Edwards when he would no doubt find this “revival” appalling.

    If there is to be a third Great Awakening, then I hope it will be one in which the people of God recover the doctrines of grace so well articulated by John Calvin and the other magisterial Reformers. We don’t need another group of Anabaptist-like fanatics to take root as they did in New England during the Second Great Awakening.

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts on the matter.

  2. Bill says:

    You know Josh, something Drew over at Sign of Jonah has mentioned after his firsthand experience at Onething is that these guys don’t really preach any Gospel.

    That’s frightening to say the least. All this talk of emotional experiences and revival and power and nothing of missions or preaching Christ crucified.

    These men are essentially setting up a huge distraction to the *real* work of the Church of Jesus Christ: to preach the Gospel of salvation to all, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded.

    Even if I agreed that their doctrines and practices were biblical (I do not), what use are they if that’s all they ever do?! They’ve set up 24-7 places where the Gospel is never preached and where the idea is to pretty much always be there and never anywhere else.

    The Kingdom is meant to come, but the Church is commanded to go.

  3. Felix says:

    The shame of your position, is that you could believe that Jesus would want us to divide on preferences (rocking while praying, etc.) instead of having unity around the Cross of Christ.

  4. Bill says:

    Felix

    Their rocking back and forth is merely a symptom of the bigger problem: unabashed appeal to fleshly emotions with the promise of some spiritual “experience” combined with zero preaching of the Gospel.

    I’d love it if Lou Engle and Mike Bickle preached the Gospel, because then I could call them brothers in Christ and still disagree with them and say that they have serious errors in their teaching. But they don’t even do that. Their primary concern is distracting young people from the Great Commission with the siren song of signs, wonders, and mystical spiritual powers.

    Unity at the cost of the Truth is unacceptable. Lou Engle, Mike Bickle, and their likes are false teachers and should be recognized as such by the Church. The unGospel these men preach has its origin in the father of all lies and it is poison to the true spiritual growth of the young people of the Church.

  5. Brian says:

    Bill,

    You stated that “Their rocking back and forth is merely a symptom of the bigger problem: unabashed appeal to fleshly emotions…”

    What you essentially said, is that anyone who rocks while they pray is displaying an obvious desire to satisfy themselves instead of God. I know of many, many people who rock while they pray and I would like you know how you can jump to such a far-reaching conclusion. Your brothers and sisters at 707 hold their hands in front of them, sway, rock, and lift their hands in the air during prayer and worship. Are they also displaying the desire to please their flesh instead of God?

    You said there is “zero preaching of the Gospel.” You are basing the above statement on the video you posted, which lasts about 10 minutes and 30 seconds. What changes would have to be made to this video to meet your requirement for preaching the Gospel?

    My next question is more relevant: What are God’s requirements for preaching the Gospel, and how are we to go about carrying them out?

    What I see in this video is people crying out to their Savior, Jesus Christ, to send revival to this country. I am sure you’ll agree that it’s needed. They state “thousands swept into the kingdom” several times. I see people passionately praying their innermost desires out to a loving God. I see people praying for their schools, their cities, their friends, their loved ones, the unborn, any God only knows what else. I see them praying that whatever has a foundation of sin would be brought to its rightful destiny. The last thing said in the video is, “We need you God.”

    I just don’t understand what is so wrong with this. I hope you can explain it to me.

  6. Lima Bean says:

    Bill-

    I’m not sure I see what is so dangerous about this clip, in fact, I found it quite moving. The heartfelt and dynamic prayers of people reaching out to God is probably one of the most touching things of all time. Apparently you have never experienced this type of dynamic prayer. Sure, it seems a bit foreign, especially coming from our culture that is not so expressive, but it seems to me that these people, Lou Engle included truly seem to have a heart for America. I saw nothing in this clip that would suggest herecy or being a sprirtual danger.

    Felix brings up a good point, in that I don’t believe that God would want us debating over whether or not it is right or wrong to rock while praying… the only thing that God cares about is our hearts and that we are focused solely on Him. Just as Josh said, this clip reminded me of the revival movements of old– of the greats… Charles Finney and Reverend Beecher… this is the same thing that took place then, and we need it so much more now, more than we ever have before. I think that we as Americanized Christians have taken the emphasis off the power of prayer and are content to stay within the shelter of our bland churches. What this clip suggests to me is that there is someone who is wanting to stir the hearts of Americans and reinforce the power of prayer. The rocking back and forth is simply an exhibit to God of surrendering our total control to Him… the rocking is an outward product of God moving in our lives at that very moment. Brian brings up the point about people at 707 and I think that it is so right– people that find themselves ensconced in the Holy Spirit naturally find themselves actually and physically moved by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus resulting in physical movement of some sort.

    ~Lima~

  7. Bill says:

    Lima and Brian, the question neither you nor anyone else seems to be asking is this:

    Is any of what he is doing or saying Scriptural?

    What I see in this video is blatant emotionalism. What I see is absolute foolishness in the name of the manufactured spiritual experiences commonly found in other charismatic settings (think Toronto).

    This is charismatic excess, plain and simple. This isn’t an isolated incident, either. The man rocks back and forth any time there’s a microphone near his face. It’s simply more of the same from a guy who thinks that Dr. Seuss is prophetic. And no, that’s not a cheap shot. Lou Engle actually believes that Dr. Seuss is prophecy. I’ll post the video so you can watch for yourself.

    The charismatic camp has apparently forgotten how we are supposed to pray. They would do well to read through the Sermon on the Mount a few times.

    Even though we are saved and are God’s children, that does not mean we can simply approach God in any manner in which we please. God is a God of order and peace, not of chaos and foolishness.

    I’ll link you to one of Sign of Jonah’s posts on Engle so you can read a little more about him. I assure you that my assertions do not come in a vacuum. Read more here.

  8. Lima Bean says:

    Bill-

    I have no actual knowledge of Lou Engle or any of his followers and I would like to do my own research on him… but I can’t possibly believe from what I have witnessed in the video clip you have posted that he is trying to decieve people. I see nothing wrong with what you call the “charismatic excess.” Is God insulted when we lift our hands in prayer for example?… I daresay not- Psalm 141:2- “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” 1 Tim. 2:8- “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” There are many Christian/Worship songs that refer to people trebling or showing other outward signs of God’s hand- “Tremble” by Audio Adrenaline, “Tremble” by Nicole Nordeman, just to name a few… I just did a simple Google search.

    I just don’t see what you call “blatant emotionalism.” Like I stated previously, I was very moved by this clip- it gave me goosebumps. I only wish that I could be so in-tune to God as to feel his prescense that way. I would love to find out more about Engle, but from what I know of him through your clip, I think he’s dead on. Christ never specified in his Sermon on the Mount that we were supposed to stand stock-still while praying verbatim “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name…” If you took the Sermon on the Mount literally you would *only* be praying following those *exact* words instead of using it as model of prayer.

    I think the fact that you believe the people in the clip are wrong for their prayers would make Jesus very sad. You are missing the forest for the trees my friend.

    I would like to challenge you to submit yourself FULLY to the will of God, submit your body and your actions to Him and see what happens. I challenge you to do this in a time of worship… either public or private… submit yourself to Him and be prepared for a wholly worshipful experience. By holding back and inhibiting yourself, telling yourself “I can’t ‘rock’ while praying,” you are limiting God’s power over yourself.

    ~Lima~

  9. Bill says:

    Listen to the things they say. They mention “Latter Rain” several times. Latter Rain is a heretical movement that The Call has associated itself with. Over at Sign of Jonah there has been plenty written about it and you can find other information elsewhere online about the heresies so rampant in this movement.

    The implication of their speech regarding Elijah’s declarations and prayers is that Elijah, not God, was the one who caused it to rain. These people essntially believe in an impotent God who cannot move without the say-so of man. We give the word and then God is empowered to do something. Their God is too small to accomplish anything apart from the will of man.

    According to them, we need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit we received at our salvation apparently isn’t enough. The Holy Spirit doesn’t move when we preach the Gospel, but rather when we seek an experience. The miracles we witness are not the regeneration of sinful men and conviction unto repentance and faith, but rather emotional experiences having no basis in scripture.

    The rampant appeal to emotion is evident in the response it manifested in you. That’s the kind of response they want, Lima. They want you to be so distracted by the warm fuzzies and Jesusy language that discernment never enters the picture and you never ask or answer the question “Is this Scriptural?”

    My friend, may I remind you that you still have yet to ask or answer that question. Is what they are saying and praying Scriptural, and is the manner in which they are doing it according to how we ought to conduct ourselves in light of scripture?

    Christ told people to go into their closets to pray because hypocrites pray on the streets to be seen by men. He told people not to pray like the Pagans and vainly repeat themselves (“send the rain! send the rain! send the rain!”). God is not deaf! He hears us the first time we speak. Not only that, but our heavenly Father knows what we need before we even ask of Him!

    If we took the Sermon on the Mount literally, we would be praying in the manner that Jesus prayed, that is to say like Jesus prayed, not necessarily verbatim what Jesus prayed. Listen to Jesus Himself speak:

    “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'”
    (Mat 6:5-13)

    All things must be done properly and in an orderly manner (1 Cor 14:40). Christian conduct, both corporate and individual, is to be characterized by order. Wild gesticulating and repeating ourselves over and over while screaming at the top of our lungs hardly falls into that category.

    Do you know what happens when I worship God and submit myself to His will? I will tell you friend. I am moved by His holiness and the goodness of everything that He is. I approach the throne of Grace with confidence, yes, but I do so with reverence because though I stand justified by Christ’s imputed righteousness, I am still unworthy. The moment we start thinking ourselves worthy of anything which God gives is the moment we prove that we do not know Grace of God in the slightest.

    God is to be feared, for He is the thrice holy judge of the universe. He alone is sovereign and by His grace and mercy do our hearts beat once more or do we draw another breath. I challenge you to submit yourself fully to the Word, for it is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.

    By seeking hyper-emotional “worship experiences” and something “deeper” than the awe-inspiring yet simple truths of the Gospel, we have elevated human emotion above true, reverent worship of the God of the Bible.

  10. roxy says:

    bill. what you are saying is very ritual. If you belive in a god who ignores a prayer just because i was swaying, then i want nothing to do with that god. my god is more concerned about a relationship with his people then how his people pray. and if that is not the god of the bible then i dont believe the god in the bible. but the truth is that it is the god of the bible. the fact that you are critizing the video and rob bell really angers me. its ok to disagree with them but to say that people who follow them are niave or uniformed based on Your view points is not smart. if you think i am wrong show me a scripture verse (not taken out of context) that proves your point.

  11. Bill says:

    Friend,

    I do not criticize the men themselves. They and I are all sinners, so our estate is the same in that regard. However, I do criticize their teachings and actions based on what the Bible says. I do not believe that their behavior lines up with what the Bible exhorts us to be, say, and do. I have cited scriptures which illustrate my point.

    Again, it is not the swaying in and of itself that I have a problem with. It is the rampant emotionalism and the unscriptural approach to prayer (among other things) that I have a problem with. The appeal of my criticisms has always been “What does the Bible say about this?”

    The appeal of men like Engle and Bell is not to the authority of scripture, but to the authority of feelings and of the teachings of men. My thought is that this is likely the primary contributing factor the false teaching and aberrant theology that comes out of their teachings.

    Contrary to what you might think, Jesus did tell us the manner in which we are to pray. Jesus also told us how we are not to pray. Lou and those who would defend him might want to take a closer look at what Matthew 6 has to say.

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