Saturday, March 6, 2021

A Deeper Anger

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“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 18:4 NKJV]

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. [Matthew 16:24 NKJV]

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I have to be very careful as I write this, for I am angry at a level I never knew I had, and I often embarrass myself in the heat of the moment.

First, I want to say that in the unlikely event this Christian editorial makes it all the way overseas, and is read by brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith, I apologize for the almost blasphemous way we American Christians sometimes represent the Lord Jesus Christ.

Last night, I watched about an hour of a YouTube broadcast of the Azusa Street rally being held in California. What I saw so revolted me that I could not sleep for another hour, and I’m still seething this morning. Let me explain…

The stadium where this event was held was big, and packed by so-called Christians. I cannot begin to estimate how many tens of thousands were present, or how many millions might have watched it on television. The stage was packed with musicians, familiar Christian “dignitaries” and other current media darlings of the Christian community. Naturally, I expected much in the way of a move of the Holy Spirit. However, that wasn’t what I received.

Missing the worship segment, I tuned in to a man dispensing words of knowledge to the crowd. Naming names, names of relatives, birthdays and street addresses, he made quite a stir among the packed attendees. His point was that God is very intimately concerned with the details of each one of His children. Point taken, and apparently the words were right on target. This went on for a few minutes before the microphone was handed to another person.

The next performance (I choose my words carefully) was by a white man who talked about the ‘fire of God’. He paced back and forth across the front edge of the stage shouting his message, which only consisted of, “Do you want this?!!” Shouting this more and more urgently, he had the crowd in a frenzy by the time he finished, too many minutes later.

Mentioning that he was a white man needs to be clarified. He was replete with brown dreadlocks down to the small of his back, and they were dyed blonde. They were enhanced by his ear ring and his very expensive, designer jeans and muscle shirt. Right about now, some will say, “How dare he criticize this man for his personal appearance?”, and I take the point, but this Christian “general” was publically representing Christ…just not the One in the Bible.

He was followed by a woman who I’ve always been encouraged to admire. Her message was a bit harder to decipher since all she did was pray in tongues, and encourage the crowd to join in. While I don’t find anything unscriptural about praying this way, and it wouldn’t normally offend me, as the gigantic crowd erupted in an utter confusion of verbiage, which went on and on, I began to wonder just why I was getting angry at the pandemonium. Her bodyguard, a large black man in an orange shirt, seemed completely unaffected by any of the show. He was truly fascinating. I wondered that if the true anointing of God was sweeping over the crowd, how could he remain so cold and unaffected? That’s all I could take, and we turned off the television.

As we went to bed I was still digesting the “meal” I had watched, and my anger turned into horror. I asked my wife to imagine what she would think of the rally, if she had watched it from a village in the Middle East, a village that had already seen too much ISIS violence because of the villager’s profession of faith in Christ. If I were a Christian in those horrific circumstances, I would have to conclude that if the God represented on American television was the true God, then Who was I worshiping and dying for? In stark contrast, I would have to think God hated me, and loved the American Christians in California.

I can bring it closer to home…what did this look like to the multitudes of unsaved who may have been watching? If I were one of them, I think I seriously would have to investigate life as a Hindu, or anything other than life as a “Christian”.

I say shame on us American Christians for allowing this kind of Christian circus to go unchallenged! If the Jesus Christ I read about in my Bible had walked onstage during this debacle, I imagine He would have sternly asked, “What is this you are doing in My Name?”

Why aren’t we asking the same question? Here in the land of Christian glib, we have no fear of God – none, it seems. He may be the King of the universe, but not in the rally I watched.

So this morning, I return to one of my more urgent questions, and I find myself crying out to Almighty God, “Where are Your real prophets, and where is the God of Elijah?!”

We never needed the real God and His real prophets more than we do right now in this self-absorbed country, apparently full of self-absorbed Christianity.

I apologize to those African brothers of mine who continually risk their lives presenting the gospel to their Muslim peers. A “successful” trip to them is being able to share the gospel – and come home alive.

With this rally in my mind like a bad meal in my stomach, I have to ask, “Where’s the repentance?” “Where’s the humility?” Aren’t these fundamentals for leadership in God’s army? I didn’t see or hear either one in any amount last night. What I did see was those who have self-promoted themselves into leadership roles without them.

Has there ever been a time in the history of the world, and especially in America, when repentance was needed more than now? We’re still killing babies while concurrently celebrating Christian “victory”! It is absurd.

There was even some talk from the stage last night concerning “impartation”. Here’s another “Christian” topic that needs scrutiny – and the sooner, the better. Who are these “generals” who somehow feel authorized to “impart” God’s gifts and blessings? And who are these lost saints who flit hither and yon looking for their next “dose”? I’m not necessarily saying impartation is wrong and unscriptural, but I am saying we should be a lot more careful about how we handle the holy things of God – and so far, we aren’t.

The Holy Spirit chooses which gift(s) to give to which person, and it is as He wills….where are the scriptures (and I’ll need at least two) which give God’s generals (whoever they really are) permission to act as dispensaries? And where does the Bible say I can acquire a “double portion” if I attend the right conference or meeting? I am revolted.

Did anything I saw and heard last night in the Azusa Street rally draw me closer to Jesus? Did any of it represent a God I would want to serve? Some would say, as they always do, “How dare you judge?”, but I would reply, “How dare we not judge?”

In America, we have in many instances, placed baloney on the Cross, while keeping ourselves off of it.

That’s what I saw and heard last night. God have mercy!


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  1. Sadly, John, I believe your assessment is right on the money! Far too often, when these type of events go on, there is little or no discernment present. Much of what is going on is based on emotionalism not the content of scriptures. Additionally, we are to test the spirits to see if they are from God. We do this by weighing them against what is written in scripture. God Bless you John. Fight the Good Fight


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