The enemies of the cross wield a two-edged sword. One edge is the self-esteem edge…this would be found in the teachings of Joel Osteen or Joseph Prince. A message that stresses “you” and “your best life”, “grace” and the “goodness” of God over and against anything else found in Scripture or reality. It is a feelings based and appearance based Christianity. A kind of Kingdom of Cognitive (Christian)Therapy…feeling good and looking good is god. If you mention the cross or the cost…you will be labeled a Pharisee, religious, or judgmental. Encouragement is important. It is not the Gospel. It is not central to our walk. Grace is essential, but is never the excuse. Many who support a Joel Osteen or a Joseph Prince have never encountered the Cross. Many attend their meetings, read their books, and follow them on Twitter, but don’t know Christ and if they do…they don’t understand the walk or depth of our calling.
The other edge of the sword is the Dominion/Kingdom Now/Nar/Manifested Sons of God message. This is the edge that takes the man-centered gospel of “feeling good” and inflates into a mandate for the Church. Add a little leaven to the Kingdom of Cognitive (Christian) Therapy and it grows into a message of godhood. It is the “kingdom” message as written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It appeals to the masses and is mastered by men who misunderstand the nature of Jesus Christ (and His message) or by men who believe their mandate is the answer. The cross was merely the starting point for them to, “Go forth and conquer.”
Man creates a narrative and pushes it no matter the cost.
Man has always and will always want to be his own savior, lord, or king and will always choose to “serve” by controlling or dominating.
Man wants power; wants the feeling of being in charge; and ultimately vindication.
The Cross deflates.
The Cross is the narrative and is its own cost.
The Cross is the power of God and the answer to and for man…believers included.
Remember…many in Israel missed the purpose and work of Jesus Christ because they expected Him to destroy Rome’s dominion, take the throne of David, and govern from Jerusalem. They did not understand or accept the Cross. Today…many (of the same spirit) are now saying that the Church’s mandate is to do what Jesus didn’t do the first time. They do not understand or accept the Cross.
This is a bit personal for me. My uncle left me his library many years ago. It was full of books and audiotapes of William Branham’s sermons/teachings. When I first was born from above (coming out of Mormonism) I went to a church where the pastor idolized William Branham and John Alexander Dowie. Branham pushed the manifested sons of God theology/latter rain etc…, He gave it a voice. Others have picked it up…especially Earl Paulk. Oh…by the way…if you use Branham to prove your points on Christology or if your teaching is similar to his..YOU NEED HELP. Likewise…if you base your marriage on the practices of John Alexander Dowie…YOU NEED HELP.
Here are a few examples of the shades and shadows of the “modernized” manifested sons of God theology.
Bill Johnson version…
There are measures and levels of anointing that cause the reality of the Scripture to change for us. A generation is forming now that will walk in an anointing that has never been known by mankind, including the original 12 disciples. This generation won’t need natural illustrations to help them understand what their spiritual task is. They will move into spiritual territory that defies the natural order. God wants to give us revelations and experiences of Heaven that have no earthly parallel. Jesus told Nicodemus, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things ?” (John 3:12) He longed to talk about things that His disciples were not ready to receive…Jesus walked in an anointing of the Spirit beyond measure. He constantly illustrated superior truths by stepping outside the boundaries of nature. The more you and I become empowered and directed by the Spirit of God, the more our lives should defy natural principles, and release the spiritual realities God intended for us to enjoy. (Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Power p.191)
Rick Joyner version…
The apostles will rule the Church through establishing independent churches, unaffiliated with the corrupt denominations. The exception which is currently underway, is that denominational churches would abandon being separate, join the movement coming under their leadership. It is essential to the Latter Rain movement for the church to be unified as one, under a central leadership. Otherwise Christ cannot be incarnated (manifested) in the Church and give his power to conquer the world for Christ.
That the world will be conquered through an elite group of overcomers who produce signs and wonders unlike anything ever seen, even in the early church by the apostles. This they believe will lead us to the greatest revival of history. An endtime harvest of billions of souls, where the majority of the world will be won to Christ and the kingdom would be established or ready to be received by Christ. “This harvest will be so great that no one will look back at the early church as a standard; all will be saying that the Lord has certainly saved His best wine for last. The early church was a firstfruits offering, truly this will be a harvest! It was said of the Apostle Paul that he was turning the world upside down; it will be said of the apostles soon to be anointed that they have turned an upside down world right side up. Nations will tremble at the mention of their name.” (Rick Joyner, Restoration, may/June 1988, the Harvest)
“Angelic appearances will be common to the saints and a visible glory of the Lord will appear upon some for extended periods of time as power flows through them. There will be no plague, disease, or physical condition, including lost limbs, AIDS, poison gas, or radiation, which will resist the healing and miracle gifts working in the saints during this time” (Rick Joyner, The Harvest, 128-129)
Bill Hamon version…
“The Church will gain victory over the last enemy, death. Victory speaks of a battle being fought. The last day saints will wage and win a warfare against death. The last generation saints will come to translating faith in preparation for participation in the translation.” (The Eternal Church, P.349)
“The Earth and all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the time when they will come into their maturity and immortalization… When the Church receives its full inheritance and redemption then creation will be redeemed from its cursed condition of decay, change and death… the Church has a responsibility and ministry to the rest of creation. Earth and Its natural creation Is anxiously waiting for the Church to reach full maturity and come to full sonship. When the Church realizes its full sonship, its bodily redemption will cause a redemptive chain reaction throughout all of creation.” (Bill Hamon p. 385 The Eternal Church)
Johnny Enlow version…
“We have entered an age when aging will be reversed. There is now a glory invading the atmosphere that carries a new grace of longevity. It will become common for God’s kids to carry on in strength while 100 years old. Then it will extend beyond that. I see this new descending glory as a cloud touching our atmosphere. It is necessary to live “tall” enough to touch this glory. This is not about being holy enough but about carrying the right narrative of this age of restoration of all things. Those who will carry the glory of this His story will begin to see this shift in their own bodies. This is not going to be able to be accessed if you are in “I’ll fly away” mode. If your mind is in escape mode your body will follow. Rather this will be a progressive reality for those willing to contend for the goodness of God in the land of the living.”
Jonathan Welton (author of Raptureless) version…
“You are an ambassador and citizen of heaven. You have the fullness of the Godhead in you. You are not to live merely as a human. Yet we must not forget that we live in an active warzone with a rebellious defeated enemy that won’t quit fighting.” (FB post)
“Clement of Alexandria, one of the early Church fathers, described the atonement this way: “The Logos of God had become man so that you might learn from a man how a man may become God.” Similarly, the third century theologian, Origen, wrote, “From Christ began the union of the Divine with the human nature in order that the human, by communion with the Divine, might rise and also become Divine.” Athanasius, a significant father within the Eastern Orthodox Church, had a grasp of the incarnation and an understanding of God apart from the Platonism that muddled Augustine’s thinking. About the incarnation, he wrote, “The Word was made man so that we might be made God.”
Quotes like these can sound scary to a lot of people. It sounds too much, perhaps, like claiming to be God. However, our participation in the divine nature is really important to our identity as the Bride of Christ, because Christ needs to marry an equal. This, of course, does not mean we become God. The Trinity, the Godhead, is uncreated divinity, self-existing, eternal, always omnipresent and omnipotent. The Godhead is unique and will never be replicated. However, as the Bride of Christ, we become “created divinity”. God incarnated to help humans become incarnate…”
“As citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), and as ambassadors of heaven (2 Cor. 5:20), we are here with a mission. Jesus is not coming back until we finish the “Apostolic Mission” the mission of the Apostolos, to implement the Culture of Heaven into the Culture of the Earth.
Yes, someday the Church will have completed this mission. Sons and daughters of King Jesus will know who they are and will live out their identity as righteous people. Suffering will be brought to a minimum in the earth realm. Sin will have been massively decreased. The sex industry will have collapsed and broken families will be restored. People will live longer, healthier and more joy-filled lives. There will be no more orphans, no more starvation, and sickness will be rare.
All the enemies of God will bow under Jesus’ feet until finally death is put under His feet as the last foe (1 Cor. 15:26). All other foes will be subdued as we put them under our feet (Romans 16:20).
The day will come when the culturing of the Apostolos has completed the Apostolic Mission. On that day, Jesus will be able to touch His toe to earth in physical form and finally say as the Roman Emperor’s did in days past, “This place feels a lot like home!”(Raptureless pp.233-34)
Martin Trench (Co-author of Victorious Eschatology with Harold Eberle ) version…
“I don’t know how you imagine it; maybe as some futuristic utopia, or maybe like the beautiful paradise of Pandora in the movie Avatar (minus the scary reptiles and the mercenary invaders), but whatever metaphor we imagine, the future is bright, because God is moving in many ways, exposing corruption, inspiring change, increasing our knowledge, working through all people and all creation to lead is onto a brighter, better world – a truly Golden Age. In this current Age we live in, we get the opportunity to “taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8) we get to have a foretaste of “the powers of the Age to come” (Hebrews 6:5). It seems, in the context of the book of Hebrews (which is all about the very near end of the Old Covenant and its Age, and the full meaning of the Old Covenant symbols and promises as fulfilled spiritually in Christ and in our lives as his followers), the writer is telling his readers that not only should they now totally discard all the trappings of the former Age, and not only should they live in the reality of a new life of faith in Christ in this Age, but he tells them that what they are experiencing in this newly born Age is simply a foretaste of what is to come in the next Age – as the kingdom is ever-increasing, so their foretaste is destined to increase and enlarge until it blossoms into another, yet future, coming Age where such experiences are normal, common place, part of life.
If our eyes were opened, to quote Elizabeth Barrat Browing – “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes – The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries” – we would see that “ever bush is ablaze ” – Moses eyes were opened. He saw the blazing glory of that other world shining and burning in a non destructive way through the bush. But one day it will be as if heaven and earth merge into one – the whole universe suddenly evolves into an upgrade, as it is visible, tangibly, eternally infused with the life-force of God’s very self – the whole of creation is divinized, it becomes timeless, no longer subject to decay, because that is only a phenomena of time. And what about us? We have had this wonderful “Age-enduring life” in our “spiritual bodies” expressing our individual separateness still, to a certain extent. But now, we all become fully divinized as well. I don’t image that we will “lose ourselves” in God, but I think we will be fully God-realized, for want of a better term. I suppose there is a better term in theology, it called Theosis – the experience of being divinized by being so full in union with God, that the two are one – not just it principle, but in experience. That is when “the end shall come”. “(http://martintrench.com/the-ancient-biblical-teaching-of-the-ages-part-8/)
Any thoughts ?