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An Approaching Crisis: A Call for Charismatic Reform

This call to reform by Loren Sandford was originally published on December 31, 2010.

I find myself beyond appalled and deeply concerned about a trend I have seen developing in the body of Christ for several years now. I believe this trend is propelling us toward a crisis in the charismatic Christian world that may well derail and destroy revival before it can take firm root.

It seems that in the quest to become more and more supernatural many have increasingly wandered away from the plumbline of solid Christian doctrine and responsible accurate interpretation of the Scriptures. The resultant weirdness flowing from key leaders in various places is leading many followers into what can only be called heresy.

Some prominent teachers in the renewal movement now espouse “open theism” which posits that God does not know the future, the end from the beginning. It then builds on that premise to diminish the revelation of the omniscience and absolute power of our God that Scripture so clearly articulates. Another teaching gaining ground among us is the idea that once we have come to Jesus we need never repent again because we are no longer sinners. What about Paul’s statement concerning sinners, for instance, among whom he identified himself in present tense as “foremost of all” (I Timothy 1:15)? I think some people need to do a thorough study of New Testament exhortations to repent.

The problem stretches from the heretical to the silly. I recently returned from a ministry trip to New Zealand where one prominent leader has been teaching that we can unleash our spirituality by taking monoatomic gold pills. Why? Because Adam was made of monoatomic gold! What!? Another teacher here in the U.S. teaches that God didn’t part the Red Sea; Moses did! Where is our discernment? Recently I’ve heard it taught that it would be OK to pierce the ear in the lobe, but not at the top because the top is the ear gate and you might hinder your ability to hear God. Where is there any real foundation for this in God’s Word?

I am aware of one Christian leader who has devised a method of Christian divination, claiming that in doing so he has redeemed something for Christian use that the enemy stole. What happened to the biblical injunction against engaging in that kind of activity and the penalties for doing it?

I’m just scratching the surface here with a few representative examples. Where is the justification for any of this when held up to the light of solid exegesis of God’s Word? And if you don’t know what exegesis is, take some time to look it up and learn to understand how to read the Bible accurately for what it actually says. It’s time for us to stop interpreting the Bible through the filter of our personal revelations and personal experiences and learn to interpret our personal revelations and personal experiences by the Bible.

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About the Author: R. Loren Sandford is the eldest son of John and Paula Sandford, widely recognized as pioneers in the charismatic renewal, prophetic ministry and inner healing. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Loren has been in ministry full time since 1976 and is the founding pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado. As well as traveling internationally as a conference and seminar speaker, he is the author of numerous books, including: Burnout: Renewal in the Wilderness (1998), Purifying the Prophetic: Breaking Free from the Spirit of Self-fulfillment (Chosen, 2005), Understanding Prophetic People: Blessings and Problems with the Prophetic Gift (Chosen, 2007), The Prophetic Church: Wielding the Power to Change the World (Chosen, 2009), Renewal for the Wounded Warrior: A Burnout Survival Guide for Believers (Chosen, 2010), Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare (Chosen, 2012), and Yes, There’s More: A Return to Childlike Faith and a Deeper Experience of God (Charisma House, 2015). Married since 1972, he and Beth have two daughters and one son who have collectively given them nine grandchildren. Loren is also a member of the Osage Nation, a Native American heritage he deeply treasures. rlorensandford.com Twitter: @pastorrls

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