God Plus

As I have been sorting through all the aftermath of the events in Lakeland, Florida I have been noticing a troubling trend in the Church world today. I have called it “God Plus” because it seems that God (especially as expressed and revealed in Jesus) is no longer enough.

In my walk with God I have focused on my relationship with God the father through Jesus Christ (John 17:3) and in getting to know Him better each day as the Holy Spirit continues to lead and to guide me. I have studied His Word daily for the purpose of knowing Him better and being able to recognize His voice immediately when I hear it. That has taken up most of the last 31+ years that I have known Him and suspect it will take up a large portion of eternity after my death for I walk with an awesome God who I suspect can continue to reveal Himself to me (and surprise me) for many trillions of years to come.

So, call me stupid, but I have spent my time daily with God and then attempted to obey what He said in my prayer time with Him and in His Word which I read daily. And it has been sufficient and fulfilling. Seeking and obeying God has been my main focus!

Over the last several decades I have noticed a trend that concerns me. And, as I sort through what has happened at Lakeland, Florida this trend has again come front and centre. It seems (and this is simply my opinion based on a lot of observation) that God alone is no longer enough. That knowing the Father and His Son better each day is not enough. That the guidance of the Holy Spirit is not enough. That reaching out daily to the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ is not enough. That hearing God’s voice and obeying what He says is not enough. That loving Him is not enough.

Now we apparently need “God Plus” something else…

We seem to be seeking after these other things as if they verify our spiritual depth and our ministry or service. We seem to get more excited about these “pluses” then we do about God Himself. We flaunt these “pluses” as if they verify everything is okay and God is really pleased with us. Believers seek after these signs and flock to places where they are happening to be a part of what the current “God plus”.

God plus manifestations (thought we were to walk by faith and not by sight/experience)
God plus Emma the angel floating a few feet above the platform and looking like Kathryn Kuhlman
God plus angels as orbs of lights floating around the meetings and appearing in pictures
God plus personal revelation received while willing ourselves into some place or state (The Third Heaven heresy)
God plus speaking to and hearing from dead saints (Cloud of Witnesses heresy)
God plus visions and dreams
God plus healing
God plus a prophetic word
God plus a new insight into an old verse or Bible story
God plus Old Testament Jewish festivals and holy days
God plus a warm fuzzy feeling
God plus great worship
God plus an open Heaven
God plus gatekeepers (Jesus never mentioned them – spiritual or physical)
God plus watchmen on the wall (Again, Jesus failed to mention these)
God plus conferences and seminars (Christian entertainment)
God plus revival (is it beoming an idol or a status symbol?)
God plus ministry
God plus Christian television (and resulting telethones)

Am I against all these things? Not at all (other than Emma and a few others). I am more concerned about what I see as a trend happening. This trend is that people are so hungry for “something” and that God apparently is no longer enough. So we add something else -biblical or non-biblical, it does not seem to matter.

Whatever happened to finding our fulfillment in God.

What ever happened to the Holy Spirit leading us into all truth (and so not needing Third Heaven visitations, dead saints speaking to us, or angels ministering fresh revelation)?

Whatever happened to just working on our relationship with the Lord and obeying everything He has said through His Word (“obeying all that I have commanded you” – Matthew 28:20) and whatever He speaks to our hearts personally ONLY after we check it to a balanced and mature understanding of His Word?

Can I be honest? I think we are seeking other things than just God. We have entered a “God Plus” stage in the North American Church. And, we are not very discerning about what we are discovering and declaring to be God or blessed by God.

Can I be honest? I think most of this “stuff” is taking our focus away from the one mandate the Lord left His Church – to seek and save the lost (statistics speak loudly here).

Can I be honest? I think we are making most of this “stuff” up and complicating a simple Gospel.

I am deeply concerned that history will record this as a time when the Church entertained itself with the “plus” and added to God’s revelation as found in the Holy Bible thus destroying the Church’s witness and effectiveness in winning the world. History might even record (if it is honest) that the Church was self-deceived in many ways.

8 replies
  1. Bob MacDonald
    Bob MacDonald says:

    Ralph –

    I agree with your observation of “God Plus”. I think part of the problem is that we as charismatics always feel that we need to be a little “further out there” than the previous people. Thus we are just a little more radical than the others – and we think we have the cutting edge.

    The tragedy of this is that encourages believers to move from church to church – or fade to fade – because they think “God has moved on – I need to keep up with God.”

    Another problem that feeds into this is how we focus on God doing a “new thing”. This suggests the old things (ie. Great Commission) are boring – or irrelevant – or to be updated.

    Ministers often use both of these approaches to “grow’ their ministries – when it is as some have said – “the shuffling of the saints.”

    So all the real important stuff like people repenting and witnessing and doing the works of Jesus (healing the sick, deliverance) are left behind.

    Why did Jesus not talk about these “plus” things if they are as important as they are made out to be?
    Also – how come so many of them are no longer the “hot” topic of the hour?

    Hmmmmm??

    Bob MacDonald

    Reply
  2. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    All I can say is Amen to you,Ralph and Amen to you Bob for sticking to your convictions. Now how do we reach those that are seeking after the “God Plus?” If you preach just the simple gospel, they find offense it that, if you preach the truth, they find offense in that, if you preach hell and sin, and God’s wrath they are offended by that.It sounds as though we are right in the middle of the prophetic, “they shall heap up for themselves teachers who will tickle their ears!!!!!!!” Society has become so desensatized that they don’t even know what they want or need anymore.It sounds to me like more and more of the “christians” out there are bordering on false conversion, otherwise God would be more than most of us can handle in one sitting, He gives us more to chew on than any of us has length of life to digest. Yet it is not enough. It seems to me that even our young people need to be entertained 24/7, so why would it be any different with the Church group. God help us and those who need more than just God or Jesus.
    Sharon

    Reply
  3. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Bob,

    I think we are so far “out there” that we are into kookie and flakey. And something needs to change or it will only get worse.

    Maybe if we keep talking, preaching, and praying things will eventually change. We really do need to get back to the basics… don’t sleep with someone of the same sex; don’t sleep with someone of the other sex unless married to them; church attendance is a good thing and commanded by scripture; being high on drugs and being a Christian does not mesh; being drunk and calling yourself a Christian does not mesh either; being submitted to the leaders of a local church is biblical; not paying your outstanding bills and not communicating with those to whom you owe money is unbiblical behaviour and unbecoming of a believer … just some of the conversations I have been in over the last 30 hours with people who claim to be born again and members of the Church.

    We do not need “God Plus” – we simply need God! Only He can turn this around.

    Reply
  4. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Sharon,

    You ask some great questions – I don’t have the answers.

    I am challenged, however, by the season we are living in. In fact, I feel like I was born for just this time and that my 40 years of training and experience have equipped me for this time in the Church. So, I’m not negative about the situation or the outcome of all this nor am I worried – I just want to keep relating to those who are saved and those who are not in an attempt to understand them and to speak into their lives when and if there is an opportunity to do so.

    We do have a huge number of false converts in the pews, however. People who have said a sinner’s prayer because someone told them all the wonderful things God had in store for them if they got saved. However, that’s not why we come to Jesus. We come to Him because we are sinners in need of a Saviour and in need of forgiveness. So, they have come for the wrong reason and are not saved – thus they still get drunk, take drugs, sleep around, and live exactly like they did before they said the sinner’s prayer – or worse. So, we not only have to work the streets and coffee shops but we also must not neglect the Church pews and committees…

    God put us here just for this time and season – and He knows what He is doing. So, we will find this one of the most challenging and exciting seasons of our ministry. Fun and exciting times are ahead as God breaks through all this and takes us with Him when He does.

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Reading through the Old Testament this summer this seems to be a very common and reoccuring trend amongst God’s people. It’s like we’re happy with God in the begining and He’s all we could ever need and then when the first emotions – the warm fuzzy’s – wear off we feel the need to go looking for more. Either to get the adrenalin-filled feeling back or to make up for what we feel we are lacking. Back to the basics people! We need God! If the feelings gone maybe we need to search out God and make an effort for ourselves!

    Reply
  6. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    And God did say, “If you seek for Me with your whole heart you will find Me.” Of course, He also said that we need to love Him with our whole heart as well.

    It would strike me that those two activities would both be fulfilling as well as keep us focused and involved for the rest of lives – considering this is God that we are talking about.

    Reply
  7. Sue
    Sue says:

    Ralph;

    I was just reading all of the comments here and I really identify with this. I have been so hungry for more of God that finally one night I cried out to Him saying that if I cannot give enough of myself to learn this intimacy with God that I so desire then I don’t want to live. What is the use of just being able to give part of me, God can’t use just a portion of me. I have to and want to “die to self” so everything I am about is for God I gave everything to God, even my marriage if that is what was needed in order for me to die to self. I had no idea what the effects of this would be but I was serious–no more half of me, God gets all and that’s final. Well a week later I had a stroke and ended up in emergency and in the hospital for a week. I know that God doesn’t send a stroke, however, I feel as if I did literally die to self finally and rose up again as a new person almost as if I was born again–again. I feel different, I feel deep love and compassion for others, friends have surrounded me with love and caring and offers to help because I lost some use of my left side and also cannot drive. In the hospital my pastor prayer over me for healing and as soon as he was done I began to confess “I Am a Miracle” and really touched the hospital staff with my rapid gaining of strength. It all has to be about God first, unless you have that close intimacy with God nothing else matters. If God chooses to use me in my calling now, that will be amazing, but the main amazing part will always be my relationship with God. I did die and rose again and I am a miracle! Interesting that my stroke took three days beginning with left side weakness then on the third day touching the left side of my mouth and my speech. Is this like an anology?

    Ralph would sure love to hear your comments on this because I am still totally boggled.

    Reply
  8. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Dying to self is never an easy thing. And we live in a world that tells us to put “me first” and that everything is about “me”. So, dying to self is even harder.

    However, I believe a true Christian does die to self as Paul states and then puts Jesus and others first in their life. This is, of course, both an encounter with God (being born again) as well as a process of identifying with Jesus’ death and resurrection (transformation and sanctification).

    As long as we are looking for God Plus ‘something’ else this never happens. When He becomes our consuming passion and focus – then it can become a reality in our personal lives.

    Reply

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