An Abnormal Gospel

by | Feb 28, 2001 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones


My world was rocked in January when I spent time interviewing leaders of China’s illegal “house church” movement. For five days I prayed, worshiped and shared simple meals with these precious saints–most of whom have spent lonely years in communist prisons for preaching the gospel. As I listened to their firsthand accounts of miracles, and of the cruel treatment they received from police guards, I felt like I had encountered New Testament-style faith for the first time. When I returned to the United States I began wondering if what we call Christianity here bears much resemblance to the real thing.

One leader explained to me that she oversees 5,000 churches in a rural area. “Are you a bishop or an apostle?” I asked, trying to understand the terms they use.

“We do not use titles,” the woman told me. “We just call each other brother or sister.”

The 80 believers I met are responsible for more than 35 million Christians in China. That’s quite an impressive number. But no one arrived at our meeting place in a limousine, nor were any of them followed by an entourage of bodyguards and publicists. Most of these people live as fugitives, yet their faces are radiant with joy.

Mr. Yu, as I will call him, is like the apostle Paul of China. He has seen people raised from the dead, and once he saw God supernaturally paralyze a government official who was threatening to stop an open-air evangelistic meeting. But Mr. Yu didn’t expect special treatment when he spent time with me and his colleagues in January. He wore a simple, short-sleeved shirt, ate the same fish and rice we did, and he showed up for prayer like everyone else before each meeting. He usually took his seat in the back of the room.

These people wept every time we prayed for China. They were gripped by a sense of spiritual urgency. Many of them are anxious to see the political
situation change in their country–not so they can move to the United States, or so they can buy a home, but so they can send missionary teams to closed Muslim nations like Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.

I felt ashamed when I returned home. The humility of my new Chinese friends exposed my pride. Their childlike faith revealed how much I trust in technology, education and the idols of Western materialism. Their infectious passion to fulfill the Great Commission forced me to see my self-centeredness.

I’ve had enough of our abnormal, Americanized brand of Christianity. It is as impotent as it is lethal. After spending time with my brothers and sisters in China, I’ve realized that some of what I see in the church (and even what is reflected in the pages of this magazine) makes God sick.

How desperately we need the Holy Spirit–our Refiner–to strip us of our titles, our limousines, our front-row seats and our “what’s-in-it-for-me” message. We need a return to simple humility!

May God forbid that we ever export a man-centered, adulterated gospel to other nations. Let’s ask the Refiner to send His fire and burn up our dross so we can experience a China-style revival in our country. What they have is genuine. We’ve settled for a cheap imitation.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

Let’s talk about a subject most people want to avoid. Let’s talk about pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, statistics show that 28,258 users are watching pornography every second, and 20% of mobile online searches are for porn. Among Christians, 20% of youth...

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

As I look back, I realize that God has given me a career path with some rather unique experiences. I have built bridges at the intersection of faith and government my whole life, and I have learned that serving people through a role in government can be just as...

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have an enemy. Did you know that? I know some people feel uncomfortable talking about the devil, but he is real and it’s important for us to face the truth about him so we can have a victorious life in Christ. Now,...

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

Note: As we move towards Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Grant Berry, a Messianic believer, speaks about the deeper repentance needed in the Messianic part of the family. As you have read part one of this article during the month of Av and are now reading part two in the...

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

The most sobering and troubling statement in the Olivet Discourse is where Jesus says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). This statement cries out for an...

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe34pxhddd4 With Hurricane Ian slamming Florida, it's a time to reflect on the storms of life. As I was preparing for the hurricane, I documented some thoughts about standing strong in the storms of life. Whether you're dealing with a...

RECENT ARTICLES

Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

God doesn’t care if I am fat. He wants me to enjoy my life. He wants me to live, love and be happy. Food makes me happy so I’m just doing what He wants me to do. That was just an excuse and at its...
Mario Murillo Sends Special Urgent Message to Kingdom Leaders

Mario Murillo Sends Special Urgent Message to Kingdom Leaders

Attention. Several hundred leaders are registered for our special brunch on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. Seats are filling up and we must give our host a final number of meals to prepare. Please do not wait. Make your reservation now for this free brunch. I have a very...

How to Position Yourself to Receive the Issachar Anointing

How to Position Yourself to Receive the Issachar Anointing

The key to being positioned to receive the Issachar anointing has to do with timing and seasons. Those who carry the Issachar anointing understand the times and seasons we are in. They have discernment and knowledge, enabling them to lead well. They seek the wisdom of...

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams turned heads last week in Atlanta when she defiantly announced during a political event that an unborn baby doesn’t have a heartbeat at six weeks gestation. “There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” said...

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

We are kingdom citizens, and not of this world. We don’t abide by this world’s economy and the natural things that happen. Repeatedly, over the last four weeks, I’ve been hearing not to look at the circumstances of this world. We are not of this world. Get your eyes...

What Praises of Thanksgiving Mean for Your Soul

What Praises of Thanksgiving Mean for Your Soul

We tend to think of gratitude as an obligation as opposed to a weapon of warfare. A nicety, not a ferocious force for transformation. We are wrong. From our earliest days we are trained that polite people say “thank you.” Certainly, this is true and proper. Those of...

Pin It on Pinterest