So it seems that lately there has been a resurgence of biblical discernment, which is absolutely awesome. The response to much of the correction has been the typical ad hominem attack of accusing anyone who disagrees or voices any concern as being basement-dwelling haters. Stephen Furtick has recently released a book about it (Crash the Chatterbox) and preached sermons promoting it. Having listened to 3 of these sermons, this book has nothing to do with sound biblical doctrine; rather, it is Furtick sermonizing his struggle with “the voices of haters” that are countering his vision. Recently, Beth Moore spoke at the awaken conference and spent a great deal of time “preparing” the audience for some big change that was coming, but rather than talk about the change directly, she spent the whole time giving a pep-talk about “scoffers”. (YouTube clip from 2/20/14). For today’s CTT, I want to focus on her introduction to the scoffers.
I believe that God placed it on my heart to tell you that as it comes, and it will if we’ll own our thirst, it will, if we’ll be willing to stop telling him what it has to look like, it’s coming, it’s coming. But we must be prepared in advance for scoffers . I will say that again. We must be prepared in advance for scoffers. I want you to look at one another and say, “Be prepared for scoffers.”
And here’s the thing. The unbelieving world scoffing is not going to bother us that much. We’ re used to them thinking that we are idiots. Can we just own that one? We’re used to it. Of course, they think that. We’ve got that one down. That’s not what’s going to bother us so much. What’s going to bother us, and I believe God is saying, “Get prepared for it so you know in advance it is coming” so when it does happen you’re not all disturbed and all rocked by it because it is going to come from some in our own Christian realm — our own brothers and sisters.
We’re going to have people that are honestly going to want to debate and argue with us about awakening and downpours. What do you want here? They’re going to say, that’s not the way it should look. You know what, dude? I’m just asking you, are you thirsty?
Okay, so we have a couple of things going on here. First, we have a direct personal revelation of some future move of the Holy Spirit that we still don’t quite know what it is. In her warning, its safe to assume she would classify this thing as either an “awakening” or a “downpour” of the Holy Spirit. This is already shaky ground, because God the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers (one of the reasons Jesus had to ascend into heaven, so He could send the Holy Spirit to dwell in us). If God the Holy Spirit dwells in all who believe and have been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit…and that same Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the New Testament. What more do we need? Since she hasn’t actually said what is coming, there’s little more that can be discerned in regarding the particulars of the alleged move of God the Holy Spirit. However, notice she also claims that God is warning her to be prepared for “scoffers”. But she’s not worried about unbelieving scoffers, she’s worried about Christian scoffers, our own brothers and sisters. Why the special warning against Christian scoffers, and is that a fair characterization of those who question the biblical soundness of whatever Beth claims is coming “if we own their thirst” (whatever that means)? Let’s look at what the Apostles had to say about scoffers.
Acts 13:36-43 (ESV) 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
41 “‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”
42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
Here, we have Paul and Barnabas speaking in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia. They are preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here, the scoffer is the one who rejects the Gospel and perishes. It is not a direct quote from Habakkuk 1, and I’m very curious about the deeper meaning here. First, it seems the Chaldeans are the scoffers. Habakkuk’s response is interesting, for he recognizes that God has raised up the Chaldeans as judgment. The full response from God is in chapter 2, and I think what Paul is doing is not merely quoting a few lines; rather, he is summarizing the entire theme of Habakkuk 1 and 2. For this post, however, the point I’d like to make is that this isn’t really the kind of thing that can be ascribed fairly to Christians. But lets look for other references.
2 Peter 3:1-7 (ESV) 1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
Notice here that the context of the scoffers remains the same, and that Peter is also referencing the holy prophets. Here, they are specifically scoffing at the second coming of Christ, the fulfillment of His Promise. Let us look at one more reference to scoffers.
Jude 1:17-22 (ESV) 17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
I encourage you to read the complete book of Jude (one chapter), a warning concerning false teachers. Here, again, the scoffers are unbelievers, following ungodly passions, worldly people devoid of the Spirit of God. Clearly, not Christians… not our brothers and sisters.
It’s a dangerous thing, to try to silence people before you’ve actually shared what you claim to be divinely revealed truth. Even worse when you focus your ire not on the unbelieving and ungodly, but on Christians, those who are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit who is responsible for any valid prophetic Word. The same Holy Spirit that warned us through the Apostles and writers of Scripture time and time again to keep to the faith, preach sound doctrine, rebuke false teachers and even to test the spirits. If you are speaking a Word from God, then let it be tested against Scripture. If the word you heard comes from God the Holy Spirit, it will not falter and it will not waver in light of Scriptures. We have no need of any special warning against scoffers, as defined by the Apostle Paul, Apostle Peter, and Jude; however, if one comes, it should fall in line with the warnings that already exist in Scripture.
One final thought, God the Holy Spirit doesn’t need a hype-man. God’s people don’t need to be preconditioned for a Word of God, if indeed it is God speaking. For we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19; 1 Peter 2:1-10). It doesn’t mean that everyone is right, but the same Holy Spirit works in us to teach us and to grow us into the fullness of the knowledge of Christ. So, if you are speaking on God’s behalf, and a fellow believer (who is filled with the Holy Spirit) exercises biblical discernment, do not malign him and reject him as a scoffer. If you are caught in sin, it would do you well to be restored by a brother or sister. If the Holy Spirit is truly at work in you, then He will guide your conversation and search of the Scriptures in the Spirit of Truth. False teaching is to be called out, rebuked, and silenced, for it does not come from God.
I’d like to close this post with the final verses from Jude:
Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless and keep you,