How often do we get or give the impression that God seems quite helpless somewhat? This is often the picture we paint when we try to present God the way we think He should be portrayed aside from scripture. Our bit of PR unwittingly creates new unbiblical doctrines, which we present as God’s word.
God is omnipotent, omniscience and omnipresent and definitely does not need our help or validation. He has been from the beginning and would continue to be.
The most popular of these practises is placing your personal experiences above God’s word i.e. anything that works for you becomes a Christian doctrine even if the word of God suggests otherwise. You then make yourself the authority. A good example would be the doctrine of seed faith, whereby you release you faith by giving money to a “man of God” or to his ministry and God then answers your prayers or meets your needs quite speedily. Due to the fact that some people have received “miracles” after performing such acts, it has now become a valid doctrine with some scriptures misapplied to give it credence. It does not matter to some that such a practise cannot be found anywhere in the bible but just as long as it produces “results” then God is in it. Even the early apostles did not dare do that. Let us refer to a certain event in Acts 15:
1 While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers[a]: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted.
4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. 5 But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”
6 So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. 7 At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8 God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers[b] with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”
12 Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13 When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Peter[c] has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15 And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:
16 ‘Afterward I will return
and restore the fallen house[d] of David.
I will rebuild its ruins
and restore it,
17 so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord,
including the Gentiles—
all those I have called to be mine.
The Lord has spoken—
18 he who made these things known so long ago.’[e]
19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood.
Here we see certain Jews began to compel the gentile Christians in Antioch to be circumcised before they could be saved. This was brought before the apostles in Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas recounted how many signs and wonders were wrought amongst the gentiles and James also remembered Peter’s encounter with Cornelius, a gentile but these experiences were not enough to validate that the move was from God until James quotes a verse of scripture that attested to the move of God among the gentiles. The apostles did not base this solely on their experiences; they had the backing of God’s word. For some bizarre reason, it works the other way round with today’s church. The Mormons started out this way when its founder Joseph Smith claimed that an angel appeared to him and showed him a set of golden plates, which have become the book of Mormons a book they place above the bible.
Though within the church and in Pentecostalism especially, doctrines are not that outlandish but we seem to be getting there at full speed transforming Christianity into something else with our constant personal experience revelation informed doctrines.
The second practise, which to me is the most dangerous, is the habit of accepting everything preached by so called respected men of God without actually searching scriptures like the Jews at Berea to see if these things are true. Some of these men of God so called even get offended when asked to prove some of their doctrines from scriptures. I wonder who they think they are? A good example is the word of faith doctrine that claims that God needs our (Christians) permission before He can act on the face of the earth. In what version of the bible does this doctrine exist? Christians have been swept by these so called confess and claim, see and get, speak and would come to pass, self-help, helpless god doctrines. If they worked the way these word of faith preachers’ claim, Christians should be the wealthiest people on earth. That has not happened yet.
It is high time we let the bible speak for itself. Enough of this personal opinion and personal revelation interpretation of scriptures. God is so much bigger than us and does not need us to validate Him to the world; that is so patronising. Our preachers too should be more accountable. Do not mount the pulpit or go on air and preach what you like and think you can get away with it. Stop selling or “giving” miracle handkerchiefs, miracle anointing oils from Jerusalem, $5000 pens and all the likes. It is a great abomination before God.