Wednesday, June 5, 2013

book review--Jesus Killed My Church by Randy Bohlender

Rubbernecking Literature

I received a free copy of this book through the Destiny Image Book Review program.

A few times while driving on the interstate, I've come on traffic back-ups. These weren't cases where traffic came to a complete stop, but rather where it slowed almost to a crawl, but still kept inching forwards. Usually, it turned out that, somewhere up ahead, somethind had happened, and as the drivers were passing by they were slowing down and turning their heads to try to get a look at whatever had happened.

That's basically what this book is, a bit of rubbernecking as one looks at the wreck of a church.

It's an interesting enough book, so far as it goes. The writer relates the account in a fairly interesting way, with bit of humor thrown in. It wasn't a dull book to read.

But getting into the substance of it, it isn't too hard to see some pretty troubling things. As the title of the book indicated, the author claims that "Jesus Killed My Church". Frankly, if so, it was an act of kindness. This guy has a bloodhound's nose for finding the worst of the worst in false teachers and false revivals, as his accounts of pilgrimages to Pensacola and IHOP KC very well indicate. Sadly, he seems to think that he should join up with those people, or emulate them, rather than get as far away from them as possible.

Two things stood out for me in this book.

One was the inherent unreliability of these people who spend their lives making their decisions based on vague feelings. This author recounts two times when he was offered ministry positions, presumably by people who had thought their feelings were God's way of saying that they should offer him those positions, and each time he decided against accepting those positions because "it didn't feel right" (p 67).

So, which side was correct? Were the people offering him the position understanding their own feelings correctly, or did he understand the vague feelings correctly when he turned them down? Or, was God sending mixed signals? I seriously doubt the latter, so that just leaves the dilemma of trying to understand which side was hearing God more correctly than the other.

Another, even more disturbing, thing had to do with a woman who came to him, because she was worried that she had ESP because she felt some strange things and had repetitive dreams. At least from the account in the book, found on pages 110-111, instead of trying to determine if she needed some psychological help or even spiritual deliverance, they immediately tell her "You have a prophetic spirit".

Where does the Bible say that this is how a prophetic spirit operates? When God sent a prophetic dream or vision to a prophet, there was no doubt that it was from God. It was people like Pharoah in Genesis, and Nebuchanezzar in Daniel, essentially pagan rulers, who received dreams from God but they didn't know the source of the dreams until Joseph or Daniel explained things to them.

Also, there is simply the fact that this woman's feelings and dreams, concerning a certain building this pastor was wanting to obtain for his church, turned out to be false. They didn't happen. His church never acquired that building before Jesus killed it. In fact, if this was the former College Football Hall of Fame building near King's Island near Cincinnati, since this man's church was in or near Cincinnati, then that building was torn down in 2004, which means that her feelings and dreams cannot ever happen. This confirms that whatever was giving this woman these feelings and dreams, whether only her own mind or some kind of spiritual influence, was not from God.

If Jesus killed this man's church, maybe it was because it simply needed killing. Judging simply from what he writes, his mains concerns were with being different, getting the atmosphere right, and all kinds of frivolous things.

Probably the main profit one can get from this book is learning how NOT to pastor a church. Don't rely on vague feelings that the Bible never says are God's way of speaking to us. Don't get hung up on being different. Don't think you're such a big brave man because you went and got an earring. Don't think someone's dream or vision is from God simply because it agrees with what you want. Don't think you're called to be a pastor simply because some church plays a song by a band that you like. And, please, stay away from anyone associated with the false Pensacola revival, IHOP KC, The Call, or the NAR in general.

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