Lately here at Apprising Ministries you’ve seen me talk about the grave dangers of the evangelical fascination with corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism and rampant charismania now sweeping through the heart of professing Christendom faster than an Oklahoma wildfire.

For example, Dr. Michael Brown Says Friends Mike Bickle And Lou Engle “True Men Of God”; and then yesterday John Piper And Stephen Venable Of IHOP Together At Linger Conference. Who foresaw New Apostolic Reformation wingnuts in the ranks of mainstream evangelicalism? ((http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/07/ihop-nar.html, accessed 1/17/14.))

We’ve also been witnessing Word Faith prosperity preachers slithering into the evangelical mix as well, which is what I’ve shown you e.g. in T.D. Jakes Repents Of Word Faith Heresy And Mythology? Members of the self-anointed Evangelical Ecumenical Magisterium would have us think so.

The thing all of these people have in common is that in their man-centered theology their supposed direct revelations with God always trump Holy Scripture. Instead of loving God’s Word and experiencing Him there a la the means of grace, they would rather settle for occultic experience.

So, why have I written so strongly against growing charismania, with the inevitable watered-down gospel it produces? I’ll tell you; because it leads people away from the all-sufficiency of God’s Word in the Bible, and instead, causes those who follow such as these to rely upon feelings.

However, this is to commit spiritual suicide. What happens to these people is the first time they have a negative experience in life and don’t feel God is meeting their needs, they fall away. Megachurch man-centered doctrine and WF fables just don’t work. The fire comes, and they quickly burn up.

That’s why the Christian is encouraged when they hear the type of preaching to follow from Martin Luther. The true child of God, grounded in the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura, knows that when fiery trials come they can trust God because of the rock solid truth of His Word:

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Peter uses imagery to remind us what Scripture says about suffering. Throughout the Bible, suffering is described as a hot fiery oven.

Elsewhere Peter says that these trials test our faith just as fire refines gold (1 Peter 1:7). In the book of Isaiah, God says, “I have tried you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).

In Psalms, David says of God, “You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,  you have tested me” (Psalm 17:3). And regarding Israel, the psalmist says, “We went through fire and through water” (Psalm 66:12).

So the Bible speaks of suffering as being engulfed in fire or tested by fire. Peter says we shouldn’t become upset or think it’s strange when we experience this fire.

We are tested by fire just as gold is refined by fire. When we begin to believe, God doesn’t abandon us but lays a holy cross upon our backs to strengthen our faith.

The gospel is a powerful word, but it cannot do its work without trials. No one will discover its power unless they experience it.

The gospel can show its power only where there is a cross and where there is suffering. Because it’s a word of life, it must exercise all its power in death.

If dying and death are absent, then it can do nothing. No one would discover that it’s stronger than sin and death.

Peter says painful trials come on us to test us. This fire or heat is the cross and suffering that made us burn, God inflicts the this fire for no other reason except to test us.

This is in order to help us see whether we’re depending on his Word. That’s why God imposes the cross on all believers. He wants us to experience and demonstrate God’s power. ((Martin Luther, Faith Alone [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], January 16.))

Martin Luther

Further reading