Should you pray for God’s protection from being deceived and then stop worrying about being deceived by the devil? Likewise, once you pray for protection should you then let your guard down, not worry about your need for protection, and embrace all–and I mean all–manifestations of the miraculous? Holly Pivec explains why putting aside spiritual discernment is both unscriptural and naive. Read her piece over at Spirit Of Error:
In a recent article published by the Gospel Coalition in Australia, pastor Stephen Tan, of Regeneration Church in Melbourne, shares his concerns about an upcoming conference called Awakening Australia, and especially about the teachings of the conference’s headline speaker: Bill Johnson, the leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California. I agree with several things Tan writes, and with one thing in particular. He writes: “Johnson encourages Christians to stop focusing on ‘our need to protect ourselves from deception’ and instead ‘our hunger for Him must be seen in our lustful pursuit of spiritual gifts.’”
Tan is right to draw attention to Johnson’s downplaying of discernment. But Bill Johnson isn’t the only one to do so. The idea that Christians should stop worrying about being deceived — and enthusiastically embrace all manifestations of the miraculous — is common in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). It’s so common that NAR leaders have developed a catch phrase they often tell their followers: “You should trust God’s ability to protect you from being deceived more than you trust Satan’s ability to deceive you.” And they sometimes tell people, if they just pray and ask God to protect them from being deceived, they don’t have to worry about Satan. They can then embrace all supernatural experiences with gusto. Here are some examples of this teaching by three influential NAR leaders.
From the “apostle” Bill Johnson: “While few would admit it, the attitude of the Church in recent days has been, ‘If I’m uncomfortable with something, it must not be from God.’ This attitude has given rise to many self-appointed watchdogs who poison the Church with their own fears. Hunger for God then gives way to fear of deception. What do I trust most, my ability to be deceived or His ability to keep me? And why do you think He gave us the Comforter? He knew His ways would make us uncomfortable first.” (When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles, chapter 7)