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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Edifier du Jour-2 Thessalonians 2:7-13
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
The Holy Spirit isn't the only operator in the supernatural realm. As large chunks of the church turn their back on the Holy Spirit and the supernatural, the supernatural power gleaned from the demonic looks all the more attractive. I'm not suggesting that they have to become hands-in-the-air holy rollers (I'm not one, either), but it the Church is to thrive, it has to recognize that God's not out of the miracle business and that the Holy Spirit is more than just a titular member of the Trinity. I remember my high school buddy Dave, who got sucked into some polytheistic worship of ancient Sumerian gods; the Presbyterian-raised guy noted that the Church had lost the power that it had once had, while the pagans still seemed to have that power. Thankfully, it was at that very time that my dad got saved; he started hanging out with a charismatic crowd and was seeing the Holy Spirit doing some serious stuff. I was able to report back to Dave that the power was still there, just not in some parts of the church. It was enough to keep me clear of offering sacrifices to Marduk or whatever the nasty deity he was into. Modern New Age stuff doesn't carry the sinisterness of the Dungeons-and-Dragons style deities that Dave was into; their pantheistic motif has the attuned person being able to manipulate the spiritual realm. However, the supernatural has two sources, and if it isn't of God, it isn't of God. Since much of the New Age spirituality doesn't involve worshiping a different God as much as viewing God as being more like the impersonal Force in Star Wars rather than a personal deity, it can often sneak into more liberal churches and start to become the house theology. In churches that have moved away from the standards of the faith, it's easy for someone to tweak their vision of God to fit what floats their dingy. Seeing God as merely an all-encompassing force or discounting what Jesus did on the Cross can make it easy for people to move away from lukewarm churches towards other "spiritual" endeavors that have a better return on their investment. The fortunate ones will move to more-evangelical churches where a powerful, hands-on God who sent his Son to die for them; the less fortunate will drift into the occult. Things can change. Dave's old Presbyterian church seems to be on the verge of hiring a Oral Roberts U. seminary grad as their new pastor; somehow, he's an ordained PC-USA minister despite that background. I'm not a big fan of Roberts' over-the-top Pentecostalism, but a touch of that would be an improvement for a PC-USA church that tends to seriously ignore the Holy Spirit. Pray that other churches get similar kick-starts.

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