Some years ago I was talking with someone, let's call her Jane Doe for now, about a certain matter (I actually forget now what it was), and in response to her strained use of a certain scripture, I said "Jane, you really need to look at that verse in its proper context".
"What do you mean by that? What's context?" Jane replied.
I began to explain, but before I had chance to progress beyond a few sentences she interrupted me with "Oh, I don't need all that, I have the Holy Spirit!"
Needless to say, I was shocked to the core.
Jane had managed to garner to herself quite a reputation for being one of the most unstable souls in her believing locality. She drifted from one congregation to another in a kind of circuit, staying just long enough to upset others and become upset with them herself before moving on. She regularly spoke before hearing a matter out and was known for uninformed emotionally-driven outbursts and behaviour.
Jane was not a wicked woman, but she was staggeringly ignorant and immature in her comprehension of Scripture and even basic principles of rightly handling the Word of Truth (2Tim. 2:15).
After hearing her view that there was no need for context in interpreting the Scriptures, I am not surprised that she was the way she was.
What a tragedy!
Some years ago, I began to entertain the notion that there are a lot more "Jane's" here in Israel than I had previously suspected. In fact if being like Jane were a disease, we would have a pandemic on our hands. Doctrinal ignorance and hermeneutical cluelessness are rife here, even more so than in the West. This is very sad.
I thought at one time, "Can this just be me?" Am I being hyper-critical? Am I expecting too much?" Sadly no! All my misgivings have been more than confirmed from the lips of a number of senior leaders who are acutely aware that this is an extremely serious issue here in Israel. They confided that good doctrinal awareness and a healthy level of discernment are a rare thing in the Body here, even among leaders. Once again I was in shock.
Here at NARWatch, we watch, read and listen to a lot of NAR and hypercharismatic material (that's why we're called NAR-Watch -joking), so while the Jane phenomenon is not completely exclusive to NAR and hypercharismaniac congregations, from our observations, we can certainly see that it is overwhelmingly prevalent there rather than in more conservative congregations. Even worse it's not confined to the ordinary congregants, but it's the pastors, leaders and so called apostles and prophets as well; and indeed as is the shepherd so are the sheep.
We have also come to the sad conclusion that, just like Jane Doe, the NAR, doesn't care a fig about context and sound doctrine either, "the faith once delivered to the saints" holds little appeal for them; for if it did, they wouldn't be inviting heretical clowns and con-men like Todd White to minister to our youth and running to Rome as fast as their false anointing and lying visions will carry them.
I read recently Ron Cantor's critique of Todd Bentley; he rightly critiqued Bentley's disgusting misconduct, it would be hard not to (and yes, it does permanently disqualify Bentley), what was conspicuous by its absence though, was any concern about Bentley's false doctrine or the false prophecies that catapulted him into the spotlight as a rising star of the New Breed of the Latter Rain/NAR movement.
Bentley has once again, perhaps even more so than in 2008, seriously embarrassed the Charismatic movement and the NAR elite, and so they are in full damage control mode as they try to clean up the mess that they have created; yes, THEY have created, --because the fact is, that from the outset Bentley was a thoroughgoing false teacher; the bearded deceiver lacked any of the scriptural qualifications both personal and doctrinal for ever entering ministry in the first place; never mind being disqualified after years of bringing shame to the Lord's name with his disgusting, blasphemous and violent freak shows that are laughingly referred to as a "revival", where he baptizes people in the name of Shikaboomba or the Father the Son and "BAM!"
Why is there no critique about this from Cantor?
Could it possibly be because Todd Bentley (barring the biker boots in the face) is doctrinally but little a removed from Todd White, the hosting of whose Israel Power and Love Conference, Cantor (along with Revive Israel, MAOZ and congregations Tiferet Yeshua and Ahavat Yeshua) was heavily involved in?
Bentley's yelling at the heavens to open and for angels to come down, is actually exceeded in hysteria by Cantor's own apostolic leader Asher Intrater and his unhinged screaming demanding "legions upon legions of angels" as he "ministered" with Heidi Baker to the unsuspecting dupes in the Ukraine.
Cantor can't really critique Bentley, because he would be critiquing himself.
There's really not that much to choose between Bentley's bent doctrines and those of GOD-TV for whom Ron works as Israel Director, or the equally messed-up doctrines of Ron's apostolic associates in Tikkun and Revive Israel. (GOD-Tv by the way for those who don't know it, is basically a NAR media outlet which screens a lot of the top-line heretics and money preachers such as Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Sid Roth, Joyce Meyer, Mike Bickle etc.)
So what is "context" anyway?
Context is the vital glue that connects us to interpreting the Word in accordance with the authorial intent of the original writers, -which is basically what God who inspired the Word in the first place wanted to say. Once you do a "Jane" on the context, you may as well just throw your Bible into the bin, because what the divine Author intended when He gave it no longer means anything to you, and you are now just bending the text to your own will.
Instead of being taught good hermeneutics and solid biblical truths, and the how's why's and wherefore's of these things, so people can be sound and informed in the faith, these "Jane" churches here are focused on signs and wonders, "growing in the prophetic", chasing after the next buzz from altered states of consciousness (induced by extended periods of repetitive mind-numbing musak that passes for worship) which they mistake for the presence of God, or rushing to the prayer line and trying to pick up a dose of the latest "anointing" from whichever celebrity conman has been invited to minister that week.
Again, how tragic.
Small wonder that there are so many "Jane's" around and that no one in the Charismatic community can discern and call out Bentley's blatant heresy and blasphemy, -because doctrinally, they ARE him.
Small wonder a large part of our national Body is the way it is; trouble is it suits the NAR and Charismatic leaders to have it that way; as one writer put it:
"Lack of emphasis on foundational truth produces a Christianity that is void of any substantive doctrinal content. It produces a people who are hardly in a position to discern truth from error, are easy prey for false teachers and are easily carried about by every wind of doctrine that blows through the church. It produces a wishy-washy, touchy feely, gullible people who will chase every fad that claims to be from God. Recent history in the church proves that this is so. But then, it is completely understandable that teachers whose own theology is so poor and whose teachings are so false would want a generation of people incapable of telling the difference."
Couldn't have put it better myself.