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#57060 Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:36 PM
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Johan Offline OP
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Good day everyone! It is quite a long time since I have posted something here. I have been extremely busy over the last almost 24 months.

Recently I noticed something in the weekly newsletter of a local church that made me wonder whether someone can write something as if Christ Himself has dictated the words to the author. The background to my question is the following invitation of the two pastors in this church to the congregation:

Quote
To you, a beloved member of the Reformed Church Potchefstroom-The Bult
These are our words as teachers, shepherds, and servants of the congregation: We are
thankful that the lampstand of the congregation has been giving its light IN, ON and
BEYOND the Bult for the last 10 years. We know that some of you have been part of
the congregation for all ten years and that you also remember a time before The Bult. We
also know that some of us only know this congregation, as she was before Covid, and she
had to continue to be salt and light even in the pandemic. We share in your thankfulness
for the grace of our Lord in Jesus Christ.

During this year’s Focus Season, we listened to Him who holds the seven stars in his right hand
and walks among the seven golden lampstands (Rev 2:1), who is the First and the Last, who
died and came to life again (Rev 2:8), who has the sharp, double-edged sword (Rev 2:12), the
Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze (Rev 2:18),
who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars (Rev 3:1), who is holy and true, who
holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can
open (Rev 3:7), the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation (Rev 3:14).
We listened to what the Spirit is saying to the congregation.

Now we want to hear from you, and your family, and your Small group: What would the Lord
say to us as a congregation or how do we as a congregation look in the eyes of the Lord?
What would He commend us for? Where have we failed or neglected his commands and
therefore need to repent? We are looking forward with great expectation to receive a letter
from you with your answers to these questions. Answer one question or answer them all, share with us what you heard from the Spirit in this time.
We hope to compile these answers into a letter or bundle of letters to The Bult congregation.

Until we hear from you, we will continue to live in our shared hope in the fulfilment of the
Sevenfold promises to the overcomers. We also look forward to the day on which our Lord
Jesus will return. With love from house to house, to everyone who is part of our heavenly
Father’s household here on the Bult.

Signed by the two pastors to whom the letters should be addressed.


Now, I have seen one of the letters written to the pastors and it is the style of the letter that made me wonder what is going on. Unfortunately, the letter is in Afrikaans and it makes no sense to quote it here. The letter starts with "Thus says He who hanged in your place on the cross, Who conquered death, ... He that holds your right hand, and surrounds you with His love so that no virus, no corruption in government and poor service delivery (by local government) can separate you from His love. "
The letter then continues with sentences starting with "I know you in these strange times", "I know that you honestly try to walk in My footsteps as your Saviour to still be the church". "I see that in humbleness you ...." The letter ends with "But I have a few things against you....." Clearly "I" means Christ.

I was just wondering what authority the author of the letter has to formulate it such as if Christ has revealed these things to him or her personally. You will note that in the letter by the two pastors they write "share with us what you heard from the Spirit in this time". What if, say, there are 20 letters, all saying different things. Does the Holy Spirit work in this way? Surely the pastors or church council can ask these questions but I don't think any member has the right to answer as if it is Christ Himself who speaks in the letter.

Btw, this church ordained women as elders and consider what we see in secular society about the role of women as part of the general revelation and that Scripture should be read and interpreted in the light of what happens in society.

I hope my question is clear.

Johan

Last edited by Johan; Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:43 PM.
Johan #57061 Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:18 PM
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Great to see you again, Johan! BigThumbUp

So, along with women elders, and who knows what else... it would appear that Pentecostalism has made entry into that congregation, i.e., non-cessationism where God speaks directly to individuals. Thus, the Scriptures take second place to the source of absolute truth found ONLY in God's infallible revelation to His church; the Bible. Your comment about this is identical to how I have dealt with this issue when it surfaced. IF God, Christ, and/or the Spirit "told you" such and such, and someone else claims the same source but with something that contradicts what the first person claims to have 'heard'... then what? scratch1 R.C. Sproul, Sr. once (perhaps many times) via an anecdote related one individual who said that God spoke to him and told him blah, blah, blah and thus all should heed what he had to say. Sproul responded and said that God also spoke to him that same evening and told him that whatever this individual would say is nothing more than 'horse pucky". There is no effective response to Sproul's counter story. rofl

I am equally offended that the two pastors would frame their letter in the manner they did. It has the appearance of saying that the "Bult" has been the result of Christ's personal and specific work and thus it sits upon a pedestal above and beyond other congregations because of this special working of Christ. And of course, their asking members for what "they heard from the Spirit" (Holy Spirit) and implied that any such communication would be of great interest and possibly need to be obeyed. Of course, IF the Spirit spoke anything, it would have to be infallible and thus worthy of obedience. igiveup


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Johan #57064 Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:08 PM
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Yup, it sounds like some sort of Charismatic "prophetic" writing. I'm surprised to find the word 'Reformed' in the church's name.

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Pilgrim #57071 Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:03 AM
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Johan Offline OP
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Thanks Pilgrim!

Johan #57229 Thu Dec 16, 2021 2:27 PM
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Sounds like textbook Montanism to me.

The Reformers, and Puritans such as John Owen, were pretty clear that to claim special revelation outside of Scripture constitutes a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture.

I'm not sure whether I'd consider it damning heresy, but I think it is close, at best.

There are groups such as the Sovereign Grace movement that try to embrace both "special revelation" and Reformed soteriology . . . I do think it grossly undermines the authority of Scripture, and tends to have corresponding fruits. For instance, in my experience, people can practice all kinds of lawlessness by claiming that "God told me to." "God told me women can preach and lead men." "God told me that we owe reparations to those who were oppressed in the past." "God told me that we should keep our 'church' closed until the 'pandemic' is over." "God told me you should go out with me." "God told me this or that or some other absurd nonsense that is at least outside of, if not in direct conflict with, Scripture." And a lot of these folks also don't even bother to learn Scripture. Why, if we can just let "God" speak to us through our thoughts or through funny voices inside our heads?

What results is not Christianity, and it is not honoring to Christ, and it is indeed a step below Pentecostalism and Charismaticism, in that, at least in theory, the latter two groups do at least claim that "special revelation" ought to be checked against Scripture. Today's Montanists are led about by voices in their head, and in most cases, (provably if those voices contradict Scripture), those voices are not from God, but rather from the world, the flesh, and the enemy.


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Johan #57328 Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:48 PM
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Like the rest of the responses, it does seem like Charismatic influence has permeated this Church. You also mentioned women in leadership and that sends up another red flag!

If I was to ignore all that and give the benefit of the doubt forgetting about the wording.
I would probably say they were trying to be biblical by asking the congregation if they have noticed anything they could do better.

Unfortunately, there are too many red flags to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Tom

jta #57330 Tue Jan 04, 2022 10:41 PM
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See here: Does God Speak Today Apart From the Bible? by R. Fowler White. BigThumbUp


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