Sunday, May 20, 2018

Calvary Temple - No, You Are Not Free

Recently the pastor of the church I attend taught from Isaiah 6. Toward the end of the teaching, he referenced verse 8.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

The pastor spoke to those who might feel a call on their lives to enter full time ministry. Acknowledging that it can be a struggle to make this life changing decision, he asked them to come forward that he might pray for them. His comments and prayer encouraged each man and woman to seek God for direction. He said "This is your decision, between you and God". "He will speak to you". "I cannot give you the answer, only God can." "Lord, as you call these folks....begin to clarify things for them". "However long it might be, give them patience to wait on You." As two of my family members went forward, I joined with the pastor and the rest of the congregation praying for direction and confirmation.

I have continued to think about Isaiah, a man who desired to be used of God. Isaiah stood before the Lord and heard His voice speaking to him. And he answered- "Here am I. Send me!" The Lord has been calling men into ministries for thousands of years. He called Abraham out of Ur; Moses out of Egypt; and Aaron from the Levites. God called Paul, the disciples, and others into ministry.

So now some thoughts concerning Calvary Temple members.

It has been interesting that many in CT are quick to let us know that they are free to make their own decisions. They assure us that the pastors or deacons do not control their lives, they are free to choose their spouses, vocations, ministries, friends, etc. But I would assert that Calvary Temple members are not free. 

How many of you have felt a call into ministry but were told by leadership that they did not agree? And not only that they did not agree but you did not hear from God. Many have had to leave CT in order to fulfill the call of God on their lives. You are not free to make your own decisions, you are not free to stand before God and hear His voice leading and guiding you.

(The following statements of Star Scott are from Supernatural Yet Orderly September 26, 2005)

"We had an incident here recently when someone came and said, 'I feel that the Lord might be leading me to do this.' Unless it was confirmed of us, it wasn't God."

So in other words, Star Scott will supposedly tell you if you heard from God. Or not. Why not skip to the end and just do whatever they tell you? (Well, I guess that's exactly what you already do.) If they don't agree with you, you are apparently the one who is wrong.

"It's important to understand that God emphasizes to a far greater degree the principles of spiritual leadership, of the multitude of counsel, of spiritual gifts, and give them far more credibility than your individual impulses and intuitive notions."

Why does Star Scott refer to church members hearing the voice of God as "individual impulses and intuitive notions"?  Doesn't Scott's choice of vocabulary minimize the mighty and awesome truth that we are guided by the in-dwelt Holy Spirit? And yet he has "far more credibility" than you do. In fact, God emphasizes to a far greater degree the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, given to us by God Himself, to be able to hear and walk in His will.

"We're down here fleshing out at whatever it is that we might be doing. We're on mall patrol shopping, maxing out our fourth credit card, stopping at this ice cream place and this candy store, and then we get a "word from the Lord." It's probably a reaction to all that chocolate and ice cream! So many of us are so confident in what we hear--that intuitive voice, "I believe God just told me." How can you hear Him in the midst of all this noise of playtime?"

Why does Star Scott portray those believing they should go into ministry as ones who are fleshing out at the mall? Most likely the ones maxing out their credit card and eating their way through candy and ice cream buffets are probably not thinking they want to go to India to share the gospel.

Scott speaks as though the church members are living a life of playtime while he has a direct line to God for the direction of your life. If that's what he thinks about the members of CT, it's no wonder he "lords it over" you. He has no respect for your individual relationship with God and does not believe you are capable of hearing from Him.

So, if you approach leadership and express a desire to completely turn your life upside down, move to a third world country, give up friends and family back home, live in austere conditions, and quit well paying jobs, how will you be thought of? Is Star Scott going to accuse of you of having a reaction to too much pizza the night before? Of fleshing out and wanting to have party time? Are you going to be told that the voice you hear is just an impulse? Just a notion? And that you are a fleshpot waiting to happen?

Now compare the above statements by Star Scott with the opening remarks of the pastor quoted at the opening of this post. His encouragement to the believer is to trust the voice and leading of God, to have patience as He sets His plans in motion, and to know He will order your steps. He knows and understands that if you seek God, you will find Him. And if you make a mistake, God will set you back on the right path. He respects your individual relationship with God. In other words, he trusts God and encourages you to do the same.

Is there a time to seek counsel from other Christians? Of course! There is safety in a multitude of counselors. Seeking counsel is part of the wisdom God imparts to His children. 

Proverbs 1:5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.

Note that we are to listen and add to our learning. It is part of the process of hearing and confirming God's voice to us. Our confidence comes from our relationship with Jesus, the One who came to dwell within our hearts. We cannot defer to pastors for decisions about our life's direction. One day we will stand before God; we cannot say we didn't follow His will for our lives because our pastor said no.

The word of God is our final authority, not the word of Star Scott. 

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

The leading of the Holy Spirit is our promise from God:

John 10: 3-5 I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. I will by no means follow a stranger. 

Isaiah 30: 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Romans 8:14 I am led by the Spirit of God for I am a son of God. 

Sadly, Star Scott has taught for years that you are incapable of hearing from God for your own life.  And at the very least, he can hear much better than you. For your life. Which means he is in charge of your life. You are not making your own decisions, he is. 

Star Scott should take heed to the following scripture:  

Mark 10:42-43 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.

I don't often post videos, but this song beautifully expresses our freedom in Jesus.

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