An Exhortation to New Testament Dialogue Not More Carnal Calumny
Recently I had a friend who informed me of a new series of videos attacking our friends at IHOPKC. Within two days, the attacks turned against the thousands of Houses of Prayer around the world, and now, about our little Kingdom work at All Nations House of Prayer Southwest. The content of the accusations are thin, like vapor – the spirit behind the attacks is harmful and violates Matthew 18 and the heart of our Savior. This is a letter that I sent to a sincere sister who was compassionately inquiring about where we stand re: these attacks.
I appreciate your heart to discern, measure by the Word of God, and walk in 1 Corinthians 13 love. I choose to not defend ourselves from innuendo and guilt-by-association-attacks. Just as I refuse to engage in the contra-Sermon-on-the-Mount public condemnation of others based on insinuation, rumor, and guilt by broad-brushed categorization. Neither will I publicly attack our accusers. Ever. (I’ve written privately to the two who have been rallying opposition against us, and assured them of my confidentiality. By the grace of God, we have kept it, in the real hope and expectation that redemption and reconciliation will best happen in that context.
When someone has a specific theological bone to pick with what I teach, and/or have taught for 45 years I expect that they will follow the order set forth in the New Testament and personally, privately, and specifically address that tenet of teaching or doctrine. For nearly all of my ministry I have leaned on the apostle Paul’s admonition to “speak the truth in love, one to another”. He concludes: “THIS is the way that we grow up in all aspects into Him, Who is our Head: Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 4:15)
Ephesians 4:15 is not happening in this episode, on a massive scale.
Without following the New Testament order, Facebook posts become feeding frenzies of rumor, suspicion, malice, and slander. Regardless of what others may be saying, no one has ever come to me privately (or publicly for that matter) and confronted me with a single specific theological point that they are taking issue with. And I’ve asked them to – repeatedly. (Sending someone a hit-piece video about another person’s ministry in a PM doesn’t come close to the bar required to confront a sister or brother about specific doctrinal matters.)
Our House of Prayer’s statement of faith (posted on our web-site) has been the same statement of faith that I’ve subscribed to for 45 years of missions, apologetics, and pastoral ministry. Billions of conservative, Bible-believing Christians around the world subscribe to the very same tenets of faith. (For what it’s worth, so does every House of Prayer that I have ever heard of…)
What’s remarkable about what the Lord is doing re: Houses of Prayer is that Houses of Prayer (in all their various expressions – same doctrine – different expressions, styles, emphases and spiritual gifts) are exploding around the planet. Missiologists report that over the last 20 years, more than 10,000 Houses of Prayer have been independently established in nearly every nation on the earth, (mostly) without any form of coordinated strategic vehicle.
Are they all linked to Kansas City? No. Some were started around the same time, (again, without intentional coordination) in Egypt, Hong Kong, South Korea, South Africa and even England and Mexico. It’s really sovereign – and extraordinary.
What do Houses of Prayer share in common? Three things I can think of:
1. Commitment to worship and exalt the historical Jesus Christ of the Bible,
2. Prayer and intercession that begins with scripture and aims at Biblical, New Testament results, and
3. Encouraging the whole body of Christ into first-commandment love for Jesus Christ. (Again, the Jesus Christ of the Bible; as faithfully reflected through the inerrant Word of God, and thousands of years of Church history among leaders like Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Moody, Billy Graham, AW Tozer, Leonard Ravenhill etc.)
At All Nations there are two pieces of literature that we keep in all of our seats: A NKJV Bible and a 4-Spiritual Laws tract from Campus Crusade (where I, Jon, used to serve in missions). We keep the tract there for anyone who wanders into our Prayer Room, so they can receive a solid witness to the gospel and be brought to faith in Jesus. We’ve had the honor of leading many into a saving relationship with Jesus over our 4 years of work in our region.
We also enjoy great support and encouragement from the local pastors and ministries and missions in our region; many of whom are very close long-time friends: Baptists, Assemblies of God, Vineyard, Lutherans, Calvary Chapel, and Independent Bible-Church leaders and believers all have regularly participated in our prayer gatherings.
We also have many Mormons in our community. We purposely distinguish ourselves from them for the simple reason that the LDS organization rejects the statements of faith that we subscribe to. They believe in a different Jesus; a different gospel; and do not subscribe to the same view of the Bible. (Plus more…)
What makes our little House of Prayer’s work distinct from other Houses of Prayer in the world? Three things:
1. The Lord has specifically given our House of Prayer the assignment to encourage the New Testament churches and the proclamation of the gospel among our Native American neighbors.
2. He has given us the assignment to help establish unity in the body by exalting Jesus Christ and first commandment love for Jesus Christ among New Testament believers in the region.
3. He has also called us to preach the cross of Jesus and train men and women everywhere to respond faithfully to Jesus’ call to the crucified life.
“When I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching werenot with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
I hope this is helpful.
Again. I am very open to dialoguing with anyone who has questions about what we do and what we believe. Please email me here.
I’m 64 years old. This is the first time in my 45 years of ministry that sisters and brothers in Christ have questioned my commitment to Biblical orthodoxy. (Hahaha. I’ve spent my life defending historical Christian orthodoxy from cults, atheists, liberal “Christian” humanists etc., but never from those inside our own family.) The heresy-hunting that is going on in this season (not only in this particular episode) is a tragic reflection of the toxic atmosphere of “suspicion, fear, hostility and alienation” that’s infected the bloodstream of our culture. It grieves the heart of Jesus and it poisons His Body.
All this noted, our Father is a much much more faithful Defender and Shield than the enemy is proficient in his ability to wound. Ultimately, our trust and our appeal for validation lies with Him.
“We do not give anyone an occasion for taking an offense in anything, so that no fault may be found with our ministry. 4 But as God’s servants, we have commended ourselves in every way, with great endurance, in persecutions, in difficulties, in distresses, 5 … in troubles, in sleepless nights, 6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by benevolence, by the Holy Spirit, by genuine love, 7 by truthful teaching, by the power of God, with weapons of righteousness both for the right hand and for the left, 8 through glory and dishonor, through slander and praise; regarded as impostors, and yet true.” (2 Corinthians 6:3-8)
Thank you again for your willingness to dialogue in the Spirit of love,
Your brother with Jesus,
JSB • August 28, 2022
NOTE: “What Are Some of the Dangers of Apologetics?”
From “Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry Institute”, here are 10 ways that an emphasis upon apologetics can be unbalanced and unbiblical.
Apologetics is always a sub-set of our primary commission to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ. It’s one apostolic function of many that helps to build the Church. There’s no New Testament precedent for it to ever become the main thrust, and main event. None. No apostle, evangelist, pastor, teacher or prophet makes inspecting everyone else’s theology their central occupation. That’s the devil’s work. Not the work of the redeemed. • JSB