Monday November 11, 2013 – Strange Fire : Personal Testimony
“There is no good tree that produces bad fruit and there is no bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart.” Luke 6:43-45Many of you will by now, know about John McArthur’s conference and book called “Strange Fire”; I do not wish to add to the theological debate, but would just like to share my personal testimony as it relates to this issue.Evengelical ExperienceMy previous church held strongly to the teachings of John McArthur; much of his teaching is good and solid in it’s approach. When I finally left this church thirty years, I was like a parched desert. Having a good understanding that the charismatic movement was false teaching, I felt it was pointless investigating their theology and I started looking to other religions to find what the Bible spoke of - streams of living water flowing from me - even stagnant water seemed at that time better than no water at all.Despite their teaching to the contrary, my first 30 years only led to works, guilt, focus on self and my unworthiness, re-doubled self effort, my relationship with God becoming nothing more than an aspect of culture and meaningless ritual, the roots of which were nothing more than that of non-fiction fantasy. Though I had committed my life to Jesus, I did not know relationship with this distant and unknown God. I could not fear Him because how can you fear something that does not exist? No, the fruit in my life that was born out of the teaching that flowed from this evangelical church was nothing more that dead, powerless, religion.Charismatic ExperienceThe Lord quickly put a halt to my detour into false religions and He brought me into a group of charismatic people who began to disciple me into life-giving relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, guided and nurtured by the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, the Bible has become the life-giving, living Word of God, relevant to my everyday needs and pressures. The Lord is still in the process of setting me free from the bonds of evangelical legalism and judgementalism and bringing me into the fullness and beauty of freedom, healing, unity, and holiness in His love. It is actually only in this past year that the Lord has been able to give me a fuller understanding of His grace and help me to begin to open myself to His love.ConclusionI am in total agreement that not all under the banner of the charismatic is of God, but neither is all of evangelicalism. We cannot judge people on generalities - in fact we are told not to judge people because we do not and cannot see their hearts. We can only judge the fruit and the fruit in my life says enough.