Monday, February 14, 2011

Can't Stop This

Acts 5:39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" So they took his advice,

39 εἰ δὲ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐστιν, οὐ δυνήσεσθε καταλῦσαι αὐτούς, μήποτε καὶ θεομάχοι εὑρεθῆτε. ἐπείσθησαν δὲ αὐτῷ

This was Gamaliel's conclusion about the movement of these uneducated men. They were preaching a message about Messiah. However, there were others who had come and gone before them. Gamaliel figured that there were two possible outcomes from this. The movement could completely fizzle or it could actually be from God. He wisely reasoned that if it was from God then they would not be able to stop them. Of course, we know that it was indeed from God. We don't know if Gamaliel repented and believed, but I have to wonder if he remembered these words as the Way gained traction.

What I do know is that these are wise words, but we need to be careful in how we look at them. Some have a saying that we should never curse what God is blessing. The question is how you can tell if it is God who is doing the blessing. Is God blessing Lakewood Church in Houston? It's huge, but is God necessarily blessing it? Some think that it is obvious that He is, but I'm not so sure.

Of course, philosophically God is behind everything. So in that respect, God is making them grow. But the Third Reich also grew. Does that mean God blessed them? I don't think so. (note: I am absolutely not comparing Lakewood Church to the Third Reich, but I wanted an extreme example) The point is that we cannot simply use numbers as a barometer for God's blessings.

The question we need to ask is whether the gospel is spreading. Are disciples being made? Is the church/movement/whatever advancing the cause of the Kingdom? That's what we need to look at when we make these kinds of evaluations. I think folks would do well to use these sorts of standards before they criticize someone like Mark Driscoll, for example.

Whether we like the style or methods, we can be sure that if it is of God then it cannot be stopped. Christ is ruling on His throne in heaven and has a handle on what goes on down here. No matter what, we are not going to stop Him.

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