Monday, February 1, 2016

Balancing the Confession Message

Recently I had a brother ask my opinion concerning what he deemed “a popular” but perhaps “dangerous and false doctrine,” the idea and teaching about “calling things into existence, decreeing and declaring.”  Another brother, in a similar vein, called this doctrine “THE CONFESSION MESSAGE.”  I responded as follows,

This doctrine you speak of, like many false doctrines (if indeed it is one...we shall see as we go along), is grounded in much truth (else it would get no traction).  We know that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, therefore we also know that false doctrines promoted by devils within the church are likewise disguised as revelation and enlightenment.  Satan twists the word of God, bending it to man.  This bent in the wrong direction (toward man) is the core problem.

Only someone “in the Spirit”—someone outside the scope of themselves as the ruling principle—is qualified to decree and declare anything in a doctrinally correct way.  The power of life and death that is in the tongue calls things into existence only insofar as God sanctions it.  Of course, a foul, abusive and dead making tongue creates a dark and oppressive atmosphere (sort of like that dirt cloud that always hung over and in the midst of the “Peanuts” character “Pig-pen”).  But always, we need to remember, “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God” (Psalm 62:11).

Jesus declared that He only spoke and did what His Father spoke and did; likewise, we are merely ambassadors of another country, ONLY declaring and doing what has been delegated to us.  Our authority is therefore delegated authority, not autonomous authority.  Some who call things into existence and who also declare and decree, do so from this legitimate legal premise of delegated authority (and then only on a partial basis, being only able to speak into a limited sphere of influence); unfortunately, an imbalanced teaching concerning this matter has proliferated a deception about what kind of authority we have (too many are ungoverned except by their own vain imaginations and false arguments).  Only those governed by the Holy Spirit, those ruled by Him in their spirits, are qualified to judge spiritual matters.  All the judges in the book of Judges, and even Jesus Christ Himself (when He rode into Jerusalem), rode donkeys; I believe this picture of man riding upon a donkey is pictorially symbolical of spiritual authority.  The donkey (representing flesh) ridden by man is the picture of man controlling his flesh; this man is a spiritual man and therefore empowered.  He “judges all things” (see 1 Corinthians 2:15).  Only in spiritual maturity is there proper and sound delegated authority—and only to the carnal eye—what looks like “autonomous authority.”

There is also an extreme and obviously fleshly version of “calling things into existence, decreeing and declaring.”  To the extent of how it is sometimes preached and taught flies in the face of the injunction that “ye are gods but will die like men.”  Or, to put it another way, “You are gods [SINCE YOU JUDGE ON MY BEHALF, AS MY REPRESENTATIVES]; indeed, all of you are children of the Most High.  But you shall die as men and fall as one of the princes” (Psalm 82:6-7).  Jesus Christ quoted this verse (John 10:34) speaking to the Jews that were ready to stone Him for blasphemy, and no doubt, when we ONLY do what the Father does and says (“It is enough for the disciple that he becomes like his teacher, and the slave like his master”—Matthew 10:25), we too appear as God to the people and incite their anger as a result.  They suppose this high standard is unobtainable and therefore blasphemous only because they cannot come up to it.  They are offended by mere men walking like Christ upon the earth (even though every Christian is commanded to do so); “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).  Now if the apostle can ask this question, “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3), then we can infer from his question that the normal Christian walk is beyond the pale of carnality and higher than mortal accomplishment and conversation.  Thus, we cannot avoid the seemingly impossible mandate to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). 
Gary Burge, in the NIV Application Commentary regarding Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34, said this,

“Now, let’s look at how Jesus uses this passage. Jesus had just claimed to be the Son of God (John 10:25-30).  The unbelieving Jews respond by charging Jesus with blasphemy, since He claimed to be God (verse 33). Jesus then quotes Psalm 82:6, reminding the Jews that the Law refers to mere men—albeit men of authority and prestige—as “gods.” Jesus’ point is this: you charge me with blasphemy based on my use of the title “Son of God”; yet your own Scriptures apply the same term to magistrates in general. If those who hold a divinely appointed office can be considered “gods,” how much more can the One whom God has chosen and sent (verses 34-36)?

“IN CONTRAST [emphasis mine], we have the serpent’s lie to Eve in the Garden. His statement, “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5), was a half-truth. Their eyes were opened (verse 7), but they did not become like God. In fact, they lost authority, rather than gaining it. Satan deceived Eve about her ability to become like the one true God, and so led her into a lie. Jesus defended His claim to be the Son of God on biblical and semantic grounds—there is a sense in which influential men can be thought of as gods; therefore, the Messiah can rightly apply the term to Himself. Human beings are not “gods” or “little gods.” We are not God. God is God, and we who know Christ are His children.”

Some more thoughts:

I’ve heard many proponents of this doctrine use Job 22:28 as the basis for the legitimacy of their position, however, look at the context.  It was Eliphaz the Temanite, who was soundly rebuked by God for NOT SPEAKING “what is right,” who said these words (remember...these words are already determined not to be right), “You will also DECLARE A THING [emphasis mine], and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways” (Job 22:28 NKJV).  Here is God’s scathing rebuke to Eliphaz and his fellow “miserable comforters”: “The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.  Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has” (Job 42:7 NKJV).  To “declare a thing,” at least in this context, is therefore wrong.
But let’s delve a little deeper.  A minister friend of mine who I believe is honest and knowledgeable, ironically (just this day—the date of this writing—1/28/2016), said this on FB, “‘Lord, help me to stay balanced.’  Mark 11:23 tells me that I can have what I say if I believe in my heart.  But the Bible also says: ‘Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?’ (Lam. 3:37).  So, faith is not a formula. THE ‘CONFESSION MESSAGE’ IS TRUE WHEN BALANCED WITH OTHER SCRIPTURE [emphasis mine].  I must know His Word, and have fellowship with His Spirit. When I say what agrees with His Word, and I’m in communion with Him to know His will for my life, then I can have what I say. ‘Lord, help me to stay balanced’”—Tony McCanless.

Obviously, any true Christian in ministry has a great responsibility before God and man to represent Christ honestly and fully.  Our whole life is to speak—declaring and decreeing the Word of the Lord—in everything we do; we are epistles of Christ, read and known by all men!  We are the personification of His flesh and blood, His words digested and assimilated into our DNA.  We are regularly partaking of the divine nature.  We are made into His image.  We are His children.  We are not, however, sovereign like God, but what is “free will” in us?  I would suggest that it is sovereignty in limitation.  If we are made in His image, and the image of Christ perfectly reflects the Father, than the aspect of His nature called sovereignty must have a reflection in us.  We are autonomous within a scope, sovereign within a limit.  We cannot in the purest sense “speak things into existence,” however, whenever we “forward” His words spoken to us to others, we join our free will offering to His sovereign decree (we agree with Him!) and therefore we speak as it were the oracles of God.  We are as God to the people!  A prophet is God’s mouthpiece, and in office and function a prophet lawfully speaks forward/forth God’s creative word.  He also decrees and declares the mind of God.  Also, since “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10), anyone who testifies of Jesus is—at least in some measure—“speaking things into existence, decreeing and declaring.”

Another thought:
Does God share His glory?  He declares unequivocally that He will share His glory with no man (Isaiah 42:8).  Then Simeon, holding the baby Jesus, said that Christ Jesus would be “A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was before unknown] and [to bring] praise and honor and GLORY TO YOUR PEOPLE ISRAEL [emphasis mine]” (Luke 2:32 AMPC).  Of course, not all Israel is TRUE Israel.  For neither is circumcision [now] of any importance, nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus, the Messiah].  Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule [who discipline themselves and regulate their lives by this principle], even upon THE [TRUE] ISRAEL OF GOD!” (Galatians 6:15-16).  Now I said all that to come to this.  The only way God “shares” His glory is through marriage/oneness; thus if we are married to God we are no longer two but one (spirit/Spirit).  When we realize that “man is the image and glory of God,” and “woman...the glory of man” (1 Corinthians 11:7), we see that the bride of Christ is Jesus’ glory extended (emanating) in and through her.  God does not share His glory!  He simply emanates His glory through His bride attached to Him in holy matrimony.  All of this speaks to the question about the audacity of some making themselves as God before others, having the brashness to declare and decree and speak things into existence as if they are God.  Only those FAITHFUL to Christ, married to Him, one in thought, intent, and sentiment, speak for Him; and whether it is her (His bride/the church) or Christ who speaks, is hardly distinguishable (when this perfect alignment and full maturity is reached).

In the final analysis, I think perhaps our confusion over this matter is superficial.  There are no doubt those who speak in His name unlawfully, those who do so unattached to His Person, and are therefore speaking presumptuously.  This is what causes confusion (especially to those that are young in Christ)—those speaking from themselves (seeking their own glory) instead of His glory.  Most are simply immature (and regrettably, taught inadequately) and would do well to sit down and be quiet until the Teacher promotes them.  Others, however, are more egregiously misguided, like the sons of Sceva as an example, attempting to exercise power and authority without marriage and intimacy.
These last days are marked by deception, and I have often said to others that we will see two people doing exactly the same thing, one will be wrong and the other right.  The only way to know the difference is by spiritual discernment.  I believe the lying signs and wonders is not inherent in the actual signs and wonders themselves per se, but in the off-centeredness of their promulgators.  A liar is not a liar merely because he gets the facts wrong (anyone can and does that sometimes), but a liar is a liar because he is dispositionally off-center.  “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29), but character is not.  Thus to sum it all up, to decree, declare, promulgate, preach, teach, and call things into existence through the power of the tongue, are only true when that tongue originates from God (and the promulgator attached to God in faithful marriage bond).

Above is the extent of my words concerning this matter, but not one day later, in the normal course of my reading, I came across an extraordinary confirmation.  Note: I am in the practice of reading many books simultaneously, and sometimes I leave off reading a particular book for many months until I return to it.  This is exactly what happened in regards to Phil Mason’s book Quantum Glory: The Science of Heaven Invading Earth.  I had read about one-third of Mason’s book several months ago; then yesterday, I began to read it again where I’d left off.  Here is that portion I read (pages 132-134, XP Publishing, 2010):

You Are Not God!

There is something unique about the observational capabilities of the Divine Observer.  God is more than an Observer of the entire universe; He is the Creator of the universe.  The invisible elements of the universe respond uniquely to His creative voice so that when He observes and when He speaks, the creation literally stands up and is transformed into an entirely new form or position.  God has allowed scientists to discover the “observer effect” and to discover the role that consciousness exercises upon the quantum world, but we must not blur the line between creature and Creator.

As conscious beings our human consciousness has the capacity to interfere with the quantum world, but this is nothing more than an extremely finite reflection of the infinite power of God’s consciousness to create and maintain entirely new realities.  Human beings are “creative” in a secondary sense.  We are endowed with creative and imaginative abilities to manipulate and shape the world around us because we are made in the image and likeness of God.  But God has not endowed human beings with ultimate creative power to speak things into existence in the way that only God can.

This is where the discovery of the so-called “observer effect” is carried beyond the pale of reality by New Age metaphysical speculators.  The observer effect is invoked to assert we humans have the God-like capacity to create our own reality.  But this blurs the biblical line of demarcation between creature and Creator.  New Age metaphysics asserts that you are God and that you are thus endowed with unlimited creative ability to create your own reality.  Eager recipients of this inflated self-perception expend great emotional and mental energy seeking to merely create just one single day of harmony and bliss, only to discover that they are not God and they are not endowed with unlimited creative powers.
At the end of the day they discover that they are still mere mortals and that they are not God.  If humanity were God there would not be so many disillusioned New Agers who are forced to face the reality that they are finite beings.  Beyond all the hype of New Age speculation concerning the God-like status of humans, we are all faced with the limitations of humanity.  This is what the Lord says about Himself: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.” (Isaiah 46:9)

Even though we humans are made in the image and likeness of God, we are nevertheless not God.  We are not the “ultimate observer.”  We are the observed!  We are not endowed with unlimited power.  We are conscious beings and our consciousness interacts with the world around us, even at a quantum level, but we are not endowed with ultimate creative abilities to create entirely new realities out of nothing in the way that the Creator of the heavens and earth can.
To assert that “you are God” as the New Age community wishfully asserts, is to send people forth on a journey that is doomed to end in frustration and despair.  If you still cannot create your own day, let alone create your entire life, you can always tell yourself that you have not fully mastered the secret and you can always try a little harder.  But we will always be humbled at the end of the day by our mortality and the limitations of our humanity.

We are dependent beings who need that gift of spiritual grace and power that only comes through the acknowledgement of our absolute dependency upon God to be the strength of our life.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) God’s power is revealed in the context of the acknowledgement of our weakness. 

What we believe determines what we practice.  Right now at this period in Western history there are tens of millions of people buying into a theology that is being peddled to them that boldly declares that “you are God” and that you have the unlimited power to create reality.  And, they are told, the discoveries of quantum physics prove that you create your own reality.  As human beings we intuitively realise that we were destined for greatness, but this greatness can only be realised through the path of humility and dependency on God, not through puffing ourselves up with over-inflated half truths that capitalise upon people’s intuitive sense of the greatness of their destiny.

New Age practitioners are notorious for borrowing concepts that are true for those who are “in Christ” but are fundamentally false for those who are still “in Adam.”  The Bible reveals that for those who believe in God (as He is revealed in the Bible) “all things are possible for those who believe.”  (Mark 9:23) But the key is to put our faith in God, not in our own abilities and limited resources.

Phil Mason would go on to “delve a little deeper into the creative power of the Word of God that the true believers are given the unique privilege of participating in,” but in the final analysis thus far articulated, I wholeheartedly agree with Mason that we are not God and are therefore unable to operate as He alone operates.  In the end, this insidious doctrine tends toward pride, not humility.  Therefore let us never forget to tremble at His word, even when it is expressed from our own lips and the lips of other mere men.  It is clear that we are murky!  We are acutely obtuse!  “For we know in part and we prophesy in part”; also, “Now we see through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:9, 12).  Ultimately, “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2).  Let us humble ourselves to the point where Moses did—“Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3)—and then, from that exalted position (on our face before the throne of glory), our eyes will open and we will behold Him as He is!  And assuredly, words spoken from this dichotomously lowly and yet high vantage point get filled with the Presence of God.