Thursday, February 28, 2008

Freedom Theology

There seems to be an epidemic in the Pentecostal & Charismatic churches (I can speak candidly because I am a "full-gospel" minister) today. We cling fondly to the idea that deliverance can be found in a prayer-line, or perhaps a session with some noted "deliverance minister" who is skilled in "binding and loosing" demons (perhaps more on that later....). I do not discredit the ministry of casting out demons in Jesus' name. Nor do I discount or discard the idea that God can (and does) work supernaturally (sometimes instantaneously) in the lives of individuals through prayer and the laying on of hands.

But I believe Jesus gave us the greatest clue as to how deliverance/freedom can be obtained and maintained in John's gospel.

John 8:31-Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."(NKJ)

Freedom is essentially rooted in good theology, and faith based on biblical principles. Of course it is possible for one's theology to be completlely orthodox, and yet in practice he/she may not be free (i.e. "in bondage"). So this is not merely a mental (or even verbal for my WoF friends) agreement with the bible, but it is the place to start. Most of Paul's letters follow the same format; heavy on theology in the front end- heavy on the practical ("working out") on the back end. He is intentional with this method- we must be grounded in truth, before we can expect radical freedom and obedience.

Jesus declared that it is the Truth that sets us free. The Word of God is critical in every phase of the Christian life. It takes the seed of the Word of God for us to hear the truth. We are then born-again (according to Peter) by the "incorruptable" seed of the Word of God. We grow by the "sincere milk of the Word". Our faith continues to grow because "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God". Our discernment grows as we transition from milk to meat, training our senses to discern between good & evil (and soul & spirit). The Word is the agent of our sanctification in practical terms (Jesus said "sanctify them through thy Truth- thy Word is truth"). Our freedom and deliverance and continued discipleship are also contingent upon the Word of God.

Perhaps more later....