Opposite Sides of the Track

It is with a great deal of trepidation that I write this post.  I am going to assert that a woman that I believe to be a true Prophetess of God taught something that was erroneous in a recent message.  It is a sign of how much respect I have for Mena Lee Grebin that I am so afraid to seek to correct her in this way, and yet I feel that I must.  Before I am critical, however, I am going to enumerate the many ways in which God has enriched me using this amazing woman of God.

First of all, her warning concerning this September confirmed my fears about what I was seeing in various news sources and crystallized my resolve to prepare myself and warn others.  I honestly believe that her warning will have helped protect myself, my family and my brothers and sisters in Christ and I owe her for the warning that God was able to give through her because of her faithfulness.

Secondly, the essential substance of her message was that we need to have an intimacy in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  As a man who has a hard time with emotional intimacy with anyone, her message has enriched my relationship with Jesus Christ enormously.   Loving God with my mind has been easy, but loving God with all of my heart and soul has been more difficult.  I am deeply grateful for her message because it has drawn me closer to Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, when I considered her message I had a heart reaction that was so ugly that I had to immediately repent.  When I first heard her say that many Christians were not part of the bride of Christ I thought to myself, “Well God has to take me as part of His bride!  Think of all that I have done in my attempts to serve Him!”  Now the angry attitude of entitlement that came out of my heart with these thoughts caused me to stop in my tracks and remember the prayer that I pray every day.  After reflecting for a while, I thought to myself, “I know that I am not worthy of God on my best day.  If I am counted worthy to walk with Him in white, that is because I am a trophy of His grace, mercy, love, kindness and patience not because of anything that I have done.  Let me ask for His kindness as a gift and not expect it as the reward for my worthless works.”  Repenting of the evil sense of entitlement and remembering that my hope is in His love and generosity and not in my obedience was a learning experience that deepened my relationship with Him.

In these three ways, therefore, the Prophetess has enriched my live and I am deeply grateful for what God has done for me through her.  I believe that she is a great woman of God and I write this post with fear and trembling.  Having said that all of that, however, I must take issue with one of the things that she said in a recent message.  Before I do, however, I need to stress a major difference between the Prophetess and myself.  This is that she and I were born on opposite sides of the tracks.

I am the descendant of a powerful political family and a third generation Ivy League graduate.  I was given an automobile when I went off to college and I always went to the best public schools.  My father was a very successful man and we always lived in affluent neighbourhoods.  I was an A student and an athlete.  From what I understand of the Prophetess, our perspectives could not be further apart as far as our worldly history is concerned.

But even greater than the difference in our educational and cultural experience is the difference in our spiritual experience.  She says that she grew up in a Christian household as the descendant of Christian teachers, witnessed amazing miracles and was taught the Word of God from her earliest days.  In stark contrast, I grew up the child of secular humanist liberals, never cracked a Bible until I had graduated from university with an engineering degree, became an atheist at a very young age and believed that the “miracles” performed by Christian televangelists proved that the entirety of Christianity was a huge fraud.  It is my starkly different experience with Christianity that causes me to question one of the things that the Prophetess said in her message in Texas.

Specifically, the Prophetess said that she would not share the shopping list that the Lord gave her personally because other believers need to know the Lord’s voice and get their own shopping lists directly from Him.  Now I don’t particularly care that she does not share her shopping list, but the impression that she gave was that anyone who did not get their shopping list by directly hearing words from the Lord did not have an intimate relationship with Him.  The Bible passage that she cited for this assertion was the verse in John where Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).  This is, however, a misinterpretation of this Bible passage.  Jesus is not saying here that every believer should expect to hear His words directly in this lifetime.

We can see that the words of Jesus do not mean what the Prophetess has said they mean if we consider one of  the frequent lessons in the gospels.  Jesus often said, for example, things like “He who has the ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15) and stressed the importance of the heart.  When Jesus spoke of ears and hearing in this passage, He was not primarily speaking of physical ears hearing sound waves rippling through the air.  Rather, He was talking about “ears of the heart” that would hear truth and respond to it.  In this way, “My sheep hear my voice” means that those who are of Jesus flock hear and discern His words with an eager and accepting heart, not necessarily that they recognize the sound of His voice.  How does a believer hear the words of the Lord?  Perhaps it is through the pages of Scripture, perhaps it is through the teaching of a teacher on the radio or perhaps it is through the preaching of an evangelist.  However the word of the Lord comes, His sheep recognize it and it burns in their hearts.

That Jesus meant that His sheep would recognize His teaching and not His actual voice was spectacularly demonstrated in an episode after the resurrection.  In that episode, two disciples walk with Jesus and are taught by Him for quite some time without recognizing anything about Him including His voice.  After the scales are lifted from their eyes, they exclaim to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”  (Luke 24:32)  This story demonstrates that even if we do not recognize His actual voice or physical shape, our hearts can recognize the truths that Jesus teaches and respond with longing and passion.

But the Bible makes it clear in many other ways that true believers will not necessarily have an intimate and personal experience with God during our lives down here.  Consider the following verses:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15)

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  (Romans 8: 24)

In these verses and many others, we see the importance that is placed on faith.  Now, obviously, if you are speaking to God directly and witnessing the many miracles that the Prophetess has seen, such a faith in God is unnecessary.  The Prophetess does not have faith or hope in quite the same way as other Christians.  Rather, she has seen and lived with these things as concrete realities all her life.  The advantage of this is that she has an intimate relationship with God that allows her to bless others in astonishing ways.  The disadvantage of this is that the consequences of any disobedience in her life are going to be greatly magnified.  “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48)  Paul says, “woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16) because the light that was given to him meant that he was compelled to share the gospel of Christ. 

Now all of this might seem to be fairly trivial, but I share it because it hurt me deeply to think that I did not know Jesus because I had never heard His actual voice.  As I considered the matter further, however, it seemed to me that, as much as I respect the Prophetess, she was wrong on this issue.  I came to be thankful to the Lord that I have never had such an intimate experience.  If I had, my disobedience would have been punished more severely (“woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel”) and my faith would have been rewarded less generously (“blessed are those who do not see”).  Sometimes there are advantages to being born on the wrong side of the tracks.

About Robert V

Former atheist currently living in Toronto.
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