By Bill Randles
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded. But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (Proverbs 1:20-25)
Wisdom is always crying out in the streets and particularly through current events which are widely known. There is often a huge handwriting on the wall for our generation. The problem is interpretation. What is God saying through events?
Today [March 30th] we awoke to news that a certain mega pastor, Rodney Howard Browne, was arrested for holding an “unlawful assembly,” bussing in hundreds to an already crowded church service, in defiance of the [Florida] Governor’s “social distance” decree.
Browne was already in the news for a few other things recently and over the years. The South African immigrant to America had proclaimed that quarantine is for “Pansies” and that his church would remain open until the Rapture.1
Around the time of the inauguration of the President, Browne was among a handful of pastors and spiritual leaders allowed to gather around in the Oval office and lay hands on and pray for the President. Browne is a ministry colleague of Paula White, President Trump’s “spiritual advisor.”
On the one hand, I understand the indignation at the decrees shutting down churches across the nation, as “nonessential,” especially when in many places Planned Parenthood continues to function.
There will be many that lionize Howard Browne—for standng up to the State or as a champion of freedom of religion.
But on the other hand, there really is a dangerous plague occurring globally, and personally, I give the Governor of Iowa (my state) the benefit of the doubt in this and pray fervently that as soon as the physical danger is passed, we can meet again as a whole flock. After all, the Word for church, “Ecclesia,” means an assembly. And according to Scripture, we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves (Hebrews 10:25).
I have struggled with this myself, and been in much prayer about it. I believe God has given me an insight into how we are to look at this; Do you remember the prophet Jeremiah? When the pagan Babylonians surrounded Jerusalem, he was given a rather unpatriotic message. He was told to tell Jerusalem to go out and submit to the Babylonians, even though it would be humiliating to them as proud Jews because God was in the Babylonian invasion. Jeremiah 27 is an example of this preaching. As usual, there were hundreds of false prophets like Hannaniah, who prophesied resistance, victory, and triumph. Jeremiah was hated for his “cowardly message” which amounted to submitting to the harsh discipline of God and not resisting.
When Rodney Howard Browne proclaimed that quarantine was for pansies, I thought of Jeremiah immediately. There is nothing spiritual about the bravado of mockery of the manhood of people who are trying to be prudent. Browne and his accomplice, Kenneth Copeland, who prophesied that CV 19 would be vanquished by the end of March, are just like the false prophet Hannaniah, who “makest [God’s] people to trust in a lie” (Jeremiah 28:15) and eventually discredit the cause of Christ.
I hope you understand these people have an errant theology. They believe that God has given them the power to become “little gods” through the New Birth and to be able to decree and command reality to submit to them; it is called “The Word Of Faith” teaching, and it is heresy. Copeland once told an audience that had he known what Jesus knew, he (Copeland) could have gone to the cross also! They are classic gnostics and heretics.
I hate not having full assemblies, I admit that. I do not put absolute trust in the government either. But God has allowed many limitations to come upon us: no sports, no restaurants, no entertainments (not as many), and in my view, worse of all, no gatherings of Christians in the tens and hundreds or even thousands. The freedom to gather as believers is one of the beautiful and joyous things about being an American!
But all of that has been suspended. Of course, we know the Word of God is not bound.
Do you believe it has been allowed as a discipline of God? Or is this just the Devil? Or could it be a combination of the two?
Like Judah, in the time of Jeremiah, we proud Americans don’t believe we could ever be curtailed in anything, much less worship. What if these restrictions are the discipline of a loving Father that we must submit to? Would fighting them be fighting God? Privileges have been stripped without debate, discussion, or due process; liberties have been suspended indefinitely, and that galls all of us.
The Constitution is a wonderful document, but it is not the Word of God. Could this be a time for repentance, soul searching, and seeking God?
Let us be careful of modern Hannaniah’s appealing to our pride and vainglory but pretending it is faith.
“False Revival Coming—Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion” by Warren B. Smith
(Article used with permission from Bill Randles blog; photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.)