The Premises from Which I Write
I owe to my readers a careful accounting of the premises from which I write. Everything I say comes out of my own prior assumptions about life and truth and God, and even prior assumptions about myself. I share some things in "What I Believe." Here, however, I want to zero in on a different set of a priori assumptions that generate everything I share.
1. I spent twenty-one years, from 1977 to 1998, in a fellowship called “the move of God,” birthed by an apostolic ministry named Sam Fife. Eighteen of those years I lived in the context of Christian community, or full-time church life, eleven years in the northern British Columbian wilderness. I left that fellowship in 1998, asking the Lord to sift me, to remove from me thinking that was not of Him and to re-affirm in me those things He Himself had taught me all through those years. I write out of that gracious sifting of the Lord.
Through all those years, I tasted of the Holy, of the power of God in the midst of His people. I sat under countless hours of the ministry of the word, from Genesis to Revelation. I know what God says in the Bible. I am never fooled by people saying, “The Bible says.” As I write, I draw from things I heard preached, from having seen the power of God upon a people, from His deep dealings in the night watches, from rivers of praise and worship lasting for hours upon hours – all through the years. I have known great pain; I have seen great glory.
I speak from life and reality; from the hard questions of the intangible issues of brother walking together with brother. I know what is real; I know what is fake. My life is an open book. I can give you the names and email addresses of brothers and sisters who know me very, very well. There is nothing about me that is hidden. I cannot pretend to be something I am not.
2. From a historical perspective, my understanding very much comes out of a little book called “The Feast of Tabernacles” by George Warnock. George Warnock published this book in 1951, in the third year of a mighty moving of God’s Spirit now called “Latter Rain.” I have not read Warnock’s book until very recently; yet I knew that the fellowship I was a part of, the move, was very much birthed out of that book. As I read it now, I see that Warnock’s understanding of the revelation of Christ undergirds mine.
3. I am a weak and often foolish man. I make mistakes all the time, big and small. I am not smart enough to figure out “truth,” or to invent a “god” of my own making. I find the universe frightening, and myself so often wandering “lost.” I know that I am completely unable to “make it,” to find my way. If anything is up to me, I have no hope. I know that I am deceived about many things. I know that I do not see clearly.
Everyone believes what they want to believe. Everyone latches onto something to anchor their knowledge of “truth.” I have made a firm and careful decision as to what it is I anchor myself and everything I am and believe and teach upon. That decision is final; it was made, really, when I was 21 years old, though I may not have realized it at the time. That decision, the thing upon which I anchor everything I am and everything I teach has three parts to it.
- A. I need someone else to help me. Every moment of every day, I need someone to be my Savior. I can’t depend on someone who lived a long time ago or reach a person who is high above me or wait for something coming some day. I need someone right now upon whose breast I can lean my head. I need a Savior who fills my heart full, who is alive and ever present in me, a Savior who carries all my failures and imperfections, all my stumbling and foolishness inside Himself and who never places them back upon me. I need the Lord Jesus Christ, my life, the glorious One who fills me with Himself.
- B. I have made a firm and final decision to believe everything God says in the New Testament, as He says it. I understand fully that there is much in the New Testament that is mis-translated and mis-construed. I am more than willing to be taught concerning those particulars, though I weigh all such things carefully. Nevertheless, I believe all that God Himself says in the New Testament. I believe that He Himself fulfills everything He speaks in me right now. I do not believe anything God does not say in the New Testament; I believe everything He does say. (I approach the Old Testament exactly as I am taught to do so by the New Testament and no other way.)
As far as I can best tell in sincerity of heart, any “attack” against what I “teach” has come from someone not caring much for something God says – or conversely, someone caring very much for something God does not say in the New Testament.
- C. I have made a firm and final decision to anchor my understanding of the New Testament in the gospel according to Paul, that is, that Christ is my life; I have no other life. I look at everything I read in the New Testament through Romans 8:28-30, that God is determined to conform me to the image of His dear Son. I then take that singular truth and draw it through Ephesians 3:17-19, John 7:37-39, and Revelation 12:10-11 into everything else God says. Everything I see in the world, in the Bible, in the future, in myself, I see only through the lens of these verses.
To better understand, please read this booklet: The Most Important Verses in the Bible.
4. The gospel of Jesus Christ is fully Word and fully Spirit. The Bible without the present revelation of the Holy Spirit is death, and it will kill those who read it with minds separated from God. The Spirit, without the anchor of the New Testament, becomes a wind that blows people into the creation of their own “god,” who will always be defined and limited by their latest “revelation.” Without the demonstration of the Spirit and power, God present and made visible, there is no gospel. Without the words on the page, all that God speaks, coming off the page through the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the clarity of the word preached, there is no gospel.
It is not half and half, it is all and all. As a result there is tension all through God’s word. The Spirit and the Word go back and forth between grace and jeopardy, between the individual and the body, between the exaltation of Christ and the defeat of the world. It is always both/and, all that God speaks, all the time, even though to our minds He contradicts Himself big time.
5. Christ in me is personal. Faith makes everything God speaks personal in me. I don’t read much of people who present “Bible truth” without talking about themselves. If I can’t see you, I can’t see Christ. If you “get out of the way,” Christ is “out of the way,” for Christ is only in you. Paul talked about himself more than any other topic, including Jesus. It is always “I this” and “we that.” I root everything I share in my own personal experience of Christ walking with me and I with Him. I am convinced that the gospel is personal; and that a bunch of Bible verses thrown at people cannot be the gospel.
People send me stuff, but I will never respond unless there is also a personal communication between that person and myself. Christ is in you, He is not in the stuff you may want to send me. If I can’t see you, then I certainly can’t see Christ.
6. I continually practice, in my writing, the exercise of calling those things that be not as though they are. I speak what God says I am; I speak of myself all that Christ is. I do so because God teaches me to do so in the New Testament. I belong to Him and no one else. Some think it’s “daring and presumptuous,” others call it a “parade.” I call it the obedience of faith. Whenever I say something such as “I am filled with all the fullness of God,” please understand, I am calling those things that “be not” to my own eyes to be my only truth. I walk by faith and not by sight. Faith is real; sight is so often false. Whenever you see me make any such proclamation in my writing, I am doing it for two reasons. One, so that I myself might believe what God says, and two, so that you will be encouraged to put your own name in the blank, to speak what God speaks for yourself.
7. God has given me, for this little season, a gift to write. If I did not write all that He has given me, how could I give an account before Him? But as I write, I hear Him sing. I said earlier that I know that I do not see clearly. When I write, He sings through me. It is as I write that the heavens open for me and I see Him more clearly than I did before. Please don’t misunderstand me; it is not the construction of my words of which I am speaking, nor of me in any way, but of Him. I love to hear Jesus sing in me; I long to know Him as He is.
All that I write, I share with you. It is the little bit that He enables me to give. Do with it whatever you wish. But I will not argue or debate with anyone. Those who wish to contend with me, I will erase their email and not respond.
I have a task set for me by Christ who fills my heart with Himself; I will not come down off the wall to discuss “what is truth,” with those who will not believe all that God speaks. Yet at the same time, those who ask of me will find a deep and pure well of love and life and truth. I will draw from that well and share with them as God enables me.
At the same time, I write under the injunction God spoke into my spirit some years ago, “Give my people hope.” I know that God speaks to some while they read what I share. If He does not speak the same to you, that is nothing against either you or me. God has a path for each of us, and though Christ is the same One, He molds Himself into the lives of many very different people. But I suspect that few will get much out of what I write unless the Holy Spirit is speaking the same thing to them.
8. I am absolutely convinced that God cannot lie. I believe that everything He speaks must be fulfilled in this life, on this earth, in this age, in me, in all fullness, and with all perfection.
I want to know who I am. The passion of that desire burns all the way through what I write. I also want to be an integral part of a people who know who they are, who know the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in them, who walk together in all the fullness and perfection of love. I want to know all that God speaks, I want to see every word He has ever spoken revealed in me on this earth. I want no limit on God, no limit on His revelation in and through a people of which I am a part.
9. Everything I write is rooted at all times and in all ways in the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ shed for me, washing over every part of me every moment of every day. I am clean. Everything I write is rooted at all times and in all ways in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled in all fullness in me. It is finished. Everything I write is rooted at all times and in all ways in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as my life, the only life I know. Christ lives as me in this world. Everything I am He carries inside Himself at all times; everything He is fills everything I am at all times and in every way. I abide in Him; He abides in me.
10. I have my eye set on one thing alone – the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Apocalypse, as He is revealed in all fullness in a company of sons, a body of believers walking upon this earth. I have my eye set on the manifestation of the sons of God who will bring glorious liberty to all creation; I have my face fixed on the manchild caught up to God and to His throne.
I am convinced that we, right now, in this third month of the year of our Lord, 2011, are in the middle of the transition between two ages. I am convinced that God has placed in our hands and in our faith and in our proclamation of Christ, the authority to bring to a close this age of human folly, and to birth right here on this earth, the life of the age to come.
I know that the sons of God possess authority over all things on this earth. I believe that the world – as it is – is designed entirely by God for His purposes. From the age of 5, when I first set eyes upon a map, I have been driven by a compelling desire to understand this world as it is.
Those who say, “Well, God has just forgiven everybody; He’s got it all in His hand,” as far as I am concerned are treating God like dirt, spitting upon what He Himself so clearly says about the revelation of the glory of Christ. The words of Patrick Henry best express what governs my heart concerning this world. "For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it."
I believe all that God says about the stage of this world He Himself has set as the birthing of all His intention through us. I am convinced that God Himself has purposed the final showdown between the Lamb and the Beast, between the second witness of Christ and those who are false. God has purposed all of it for the revelation of Jesus Christ in us, for the revealing of Himself to all creation.
I believe in Jesus.