Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 | Author:

Welcome to WFW! See to the right if you’d like to participate. And be sure to check out the other WFW posts in Mr. Linky.

This week’s WFW is prompted by a comment that Jim Wetzel left on my post for last week. Today’s post will make more sense if you read last week’s first, but the very short version is that Christians, by definition, are to follow Christ, not established church doctrine.

Jim responded:

And then it seems that those who break away from the establishments of their day to follow the Lord become, maybe after a generation or two, a new establishment.

This reminded me of a book I read last winter called The Spirit Bade Me Go: The Astounding Move of God in the Denominational Churches by David du Plessis. It’s available through Amazon, and would be $9.99 well spent. Here’s a little background on du Plessis:

David Johannes du Plessis (February 7, 1905January 31, 1987) was a South African-born Pentecostal minister, and is considered one of the main founders of the charismatic movement, in which the Pentecostal experience spread to non-Pentecostal churches worldwide.

He was converted to evangelical Christianity at 16, and received what Pentecostals call the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at the age of 18, a spiritual experience accompanied by speaking in tongues. He was ordained in 1928 by the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, and moved to the United States in 1949, where his ordination was transferred to the Assemblies of God.

From the back cover:

He was called “Mr. Pentecost.” David du Plessis was a man raised up by God for a specific mission. That mission [starting in the 1950's] was to boldly give testimony of the power of the baptism in the Holy Spirit to the leaders of the World Council of Churches at the height of the Pentecostal Movement.

With that background in place, we can get to the meat of this WFW, which is the chapter in his book titled “God has no grandsons.”

As has happened to me on more than one occasion, DuPlessis was awakened very early from a deep, restful sleep. A voice had said, “God has no grandsons.” After listening for others in the house, and checking that the radio wasn’t on, he concluded that it must have been the Holy Spirit. But what did it mean? “God has no grandsons.”

As I’ve done when God has spoken, he headed for his Bible. He couldn’t recall or find a context that referred to grandsons, but he found several that referred to God’s sons. [my translation uses "children" instead of sons in some of these.] Here are the ones he referenced:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
(Romans 8:14)

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God … Beloved, now we are children of God (1 John 3:1-2)

… God sent forth His Son … so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)

After a fruitless search for a text that might signify that God could be the grandfather of anyone, he concluded that “God is nobody’s grandfather.”

He mulled this over for ten days with no further understanding, until he had the opportunity to witness to a Catholic priest about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the only other passenger on an airplane.

Finally [the priest] interrupted me again and said: “I take it that you think all the other Christian churches are wrong or they have gone wrong?”

I prayed for guidance to answer this question. In a flash I got it. “Yes, sir; they have all gone wrong, and even now the Pentecostals are falling into the same ditch and they are going wrong too.”

He looked shocked. “But what do they do? When, why, where, how do they all go wrong?”

With a deep prayer in my heart I said to him in slow, clear words: “They give God grandsons, and God has no grandsons.”

He spoke of the day of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit revival that swept through the early church.

This revival continued and the Church grew and Christianity swept the world of that time. Then some Jew or some Gentile began to reason: ‘I was a Jew [or Gentile] and became a Christian by repentance of sin and conversion from Judaism [or paganism] and so was my wife; but this boy of mine has never been a Jew [or Gentile]. He did not grow up in the temple. He was born from Christian parents, in a Christian home, and was brought up in the Christian Church. He is born Christian.

Now this may all be true, but he has never been born of the Spirit, and that child has not repented as a sinner because he has had a strict training as the son of Christian parents. He was taught to try and live like a Christian, for he is the son of God’s children.

The nicest thing you could say about him is that being the son of two of God’s children who became a son and a daughter of God by regeneration, he is now a grandson of God – but there it is, God has no grandsons.

Gradually the early Christians began to accept as members into their churches their well-trained but unregenerated children until the pews were packed with members who had no encounter with Christ as Saviour and much less a Pentecostal experience. They were not born of the Spirit and therefore could not be filled with the Spirit. God says: ‘[It is] not by might nor by power but by my Spirit.’ The Spirit found no more blood-cleansed hearts in the Church to dwell in, and the Church cooled off spiritually until even in the pulpit there stood well-trained but unregenerated preachers who spoke the letter but had not the Spirit.

He explained that this same process has continued throughout each movement in church history – through Constantine and Luther and Wesley, and finally the Pentecostals.

I believe he spoke the truth, and I believe this explains why Jim’s comment last week was also truth:

And then it seems that those who break away from the establishments of their day to follow the Lord become, maybe after a generation or two, a new establishment.

This is all another way of stating a simple truth that Jesus shared with us, if only we’d believe His words. Instead of taking John 3:16 out of context to memorize, we should be memorizing John 3:3:

Jesus answered and said to him,
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless one is born again
he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
(John 3:3)
My prayer today is that all God’s grandsons reading this, or even just one – those who were born into Christian families or a Christian culture, but have not been born again of the Spirit – will have the courage to heed the words of 2 Corinthians 13:5:

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

I pray that you will not let fear or pride stand in the way of repentance and new life. There is no better place on earth.

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7 Responses
  1. Rebecca says:

    WOW!!! I just read about David du Plessis for the first time, while reading "They Speak With Other Tongues" by John Sherrill!! I will have to get his book. You're so right– I think the Holy Ghost is connecting dots, eh?

    du Plessis' statements that you quote from ("born Christians") happened with the Jonathan Edwards' Northampton Revival in Massachusetts, too– people were "born" Christians but were not born-again Christians. It is imperative to convince our children of the saving grace of Christ and see them converted!! We can take nothing for granted.

    Jim's observation is so true– the "first love" (Revelation 3) is forgotten and the organization is worshiped. :( But the good side is that this ensures that true saints of God are never "comfortable."

    Great post.

    P.S. Thanks for including me on Mr. Linky every week. :)

  2. AKA Angrywhiteman says:

    …"And then it seems that those who break away from the establishments of their day to follow the Lord become, maybe after a generation or two, a new establishment."…

    Because they break away to form a "new" church, rather than join "The Church" which Christ has already formed, unaided and free of the trappings of the flesh.

    John 4:24
    4 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    Rom 9:8

    8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

    As to the question of grandsons? Our spirits do not procreate, our flesh procreates, God provides the spirit.

    Jer 1:5

    5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee ; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

    Rom 9:11-13

    11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

    12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

    13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated .

    God knows us before we hit the flesh, He gives each the spirit as He will.

    1 Cor 15:38

    38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

    I'm no teacher, and I sincerely pray this comment neither muddies the water or confuses any.

  3. Miss Szymanski says:

    This is good food for thought, akagaga. I have often thought about this myself. I was born into a Christian family, but that does not make me a Christian. I must personally decide whether or not to follow Christ, a decision I have made to the affirmative. But you are so right, we cannot lean on the faith of others; we must have our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And we most cerainly must swallow our pride in order to give Christ our whole lives, holding nothing back.

  4. Renee says:

    Excellent point! It seems that the peril of growing up in church, for some people, is that they automatically assume they are a Christian because their family is Christian… without making the decision to follow Jesus for themselves. But we can't get into heaven on our parent's merit, we must all decide to follow Jesus for ourselves. This is really a great post, and a thought-provoking point. Do we follow Jesus and do what He tells us to do, or do we follow traditions of men?

  5. akaGaGa says:

    @all: Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It seems this is a subject near to God's heart.

    @Rebecca "It is imperative to convince our children of the saving grace of Christ and see them converted!!" And convince all the other grandsons, as well. There are so many in our country, Rebecca.

    @AKA "Because they break away to form a "new" church, rather than join "The Church" which Christ has already formed, unaided and free of the trappings of the flesh." This is so true! I've been having discussions about this very thing with a group of people that recently left "a church."

    @Miss S "we cannot lean on the faith of others" True enough, because what good is a faith that doesn't include the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

    @Renee "Do we follow Jesus and do what He tells us to do, or do we follow traditions of men?" Ah, you've touched on one of my favorite rants, Renee. Here's a message I shared at church about this:

  6. Renee says:

    Thanks for sharing that message. It is excellent! We should be about the Father's business following Him rather than wasting our time (and hurting others) by judging others that are trying to serve God. Your message reminds me of something I heard recently in church… "We should give the person next to us the benefit of the doubt that they are trying to serve God, too, even though we may see some of their faults. Don't automatically assume that you are serving God and someone else isn't." (Of course, there's also the other issue of people who leave churches because they have itching ears and want to do things their own way, but that's another story!) Thanks again for sharing that message. I hope it's okay that I put this comment here rather than on the other post.

  7. akaGaGa says:

    It's just fine you put the comment here. It's even logical, 'cause that's where you found the link!

    And I think the "who's really serving God" thing arises from another common mindset that says serving God has to happen in church. If we all know each other better outside of the church building, then we'd know that this one is tending an elderly mother or that one has adopted some kids that keep her really busy.