I didn't want to post a comment on TeamPyro, but I had to tell you "thank you" for your work. This post today regarding mystical spirituality hits me very hard. I also loved your answer to the question: "How were you called into the ministry?"
My ministerial call resulted from years of back-and-forth spirituality in an . Having a strong desire to please the Lord but very little doctrinal foundation, I once "was impressed" that I should go into ministry in spite of the fact that I was shy, emotionally immature, highly artistic and analytical, and had very little skill with language in general. Above all, I was 17 and demonstrated very few of the Biblical qualifications.
Since I heard "the voice", no one - including my parents, who understood my temperament and knew too well my weaknesses - had any tool in their toolbox to convince me to think it over. How could I disobey "God's" voice?
I ditched my plans for engineering, art, and architecture, and went into . My pastoral degree is from a Church of God (Cleveland TN) school, where not once was I required to study Greek or Hebrew. I graduated with all sorts of emotional and spiritual conflicts and a very superficial faith. But what could I do? I heard "the voice."
After ten years, ending up moderately successful numbers-wise, it hit me square in the face during a conference on the prophetic movement of which our church was part: Either the Bible is true, or these guys are right; but it can't be both ways.
I began listening to (I had read a few of his books) and studying like crazy. A sickening realization occurred to me: I had no business, Biblically, being in the ministry. With a mortgage, a wife, two children (and a third one due any day), I quit my position without delay.
For two years we've been rebuilding our lives. For the duration of that time I have been reading your blog, and those of Cent and Phil. I now am a member of a small reformed church, and have just begun teaching a Sunday School class on evangelism after several years hiatus. With tears as I write this, I am thankful every day that the Lord had mercy on me to open my eyes to the frightful thing I was doing against his clear Word. I remember realizing how easily someone with basic doctrinal foundations could have shown me why I was not (yet, at the very least) qualified to be an elder. In a church of 2,000 charismatics, no one ever thought to evaluate me on that basis.
It is frustrating to read people's defense of this position, but I want to thank you for your faithfulness in exposing the dangers of it. After several years of discipline at the merciful hands of our Father, I can say I wish someone had told me. However, God has used it for His purposes - but I had to say "thank you" to you as a man whom God has used to encourage me, train me, and educate me on what a man skilled in the scriptures should look like.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Lord willing, today's "Hither and Thither" will come out later. Right now, I am sharing (with permission) a letter from a reader of this blog and Pyro. I found his testimony moving, offered him anonymity, and hope it may be helpful to others. (This is a companion-piece to today's Pyro post concluding the two-parter I started yesterday.)