A Unique Application For Servants

For those of you that are not familiar with the concept of the Redemptive Gifts and are new to my blog, I am friends with Arthur Burk of Sapphire Leadership Group in Spartanburg, SC, a think-tank that researches Scripture from a fractal paradigm and deals with answers to questions that no one is asking.

One of Arthur’s most well-known teachings covers the seven Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:6-8 and their nature as Redemptive Gifts. I cover some of the reasoning for why they are called “redemptive gifts” here.

As it pertains to the Seven Redemptive Gifts from Romans 12:6-8, I have already written on the Servant.

For those who have been waiting on pins and needles, yes, I will finish the posts on the Sixth Gift, the Ruler/Judge/Deliverer, as soon as I make the free time, and I am sorry for the procrastination.

All that said, this morning, while in Genesis, I came across a very useful application for the Servant, that from my POV, occurs in Scripture, and I have the words with which to articulate it right now. Therefore, let’s read some Scripture below.

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.

Gen. 24:1–9 ESV

First off, I am going to say that the text does not definitively say that this is Eliezar of Damascus, so it may be impossible to completely affirm that without qualification. However, reading Genesis 15:2 and this together, and seeing that Eliezar was the “son” or “heir” (Hebrew וּבֶן-מֶשֶׁק) of Abraham’s house (think “steward or manager of all that he has”), seem to suggest this is the servant we are talking about.

Now that we have that out of the way, consider the following factors, all of which seem to me to point to this servant having the Redemptive Gift of Servant, and the application I am going to drive at.

  1. Abraham, as a Redemptive Gift Giver obsessed with his legacy, is very vulnerable at this point. He is placing the continued existence of his legacy in the hands of someone who has the power to damage that legacy through jealousy.
  2. The servant does not violate his master, even though he places his hand under his master’s thigh.
  3. The servant had a motive to be jealous, envious, and grasping, as many about whom we read through Scripture (Gehazi in 2 Kings 5; Ziba in 2 Samuel 9, 16, and 19; Absalom the son of David) but he didn’t execute on what could have been a means of getting something for himself.
  4. The servant asked a question here that clarified his responsibilities, accounting for something that Abraham might not have seen. He acted here without guile.
  5. The servant swore the oath and left immediately and acted with leadership in the entire account and with authority toward all with whom he interacted. His mission caused him to have a fire to excel at what he did. Typical Servant
  6. The servant executed without qualification on all of his duties.
  7. The servant handled the grasping, conniving house of Nahor and Laban, without getting himself dirty or defiled, and without compromising one shred of Abraham’s integrity, and without yielding to Laban and Nahor’s unreasonable additional requests that the woman stay 10 days, which would have altered the agreement they had made the night before.

Look at that. A list of seven qualities. Giggle. Go ahead and smile :).

And now, as it pertains to altering the agreement, this is what came to me while I was writing this…

How do you respond when the deal gets altered? That may be an indicator of your design.

I imagine Lando Calrissian (yes, from Star Wars, as the principles are everywhere) was an Exhorter who was forced into situations where he had to manage like a Servant, and finesse would not work. Only harsh reality. If you watch the Empire Strikes Back, and Solo, you will see Billy Dee Williams’ and Donald Glover’s characters, respectively, being put into those situations repeatedly. And Bespin, the mining colony, strikes me as Servant in the extreme, and Cloud City, um, yeah. Second Day references here.

There is your David MacNelley pop culture Redemptive Gift reference for the post. Back to the point of the post…

The Extra Quality That Further Shows What the Servant Is

I know some might equivocate and say, “we all have problems with [insert sin here such as ambition]”, but I am saying the Servant of the Seven Redemptive Gifts struggles the least with ambition and grasping and self-assertion that is not rooted in caring for others. All day long they will do what they can to enable others, and can fall into the Savior mentality. But when it comes to advocating for themselves, they are exceptionally well-known for not defaulting to doing that, and they frequently need someone who is stronger in that department to make sure they are taken care of. My mother-in-law and my wife, both Servants, have this issue, less so with my wife, of seeing to it that they provide for their own needs. Servants have this issue with boundaries at times. This may be because they have such a desire to build platforms others for their success, or it may be because God routinely places Servants in situations where there is great dysfunction (such as in alcoholic or abusive situations) precisely because the Servant is designed with the highest authority to bring cleansing into a situation (Bronze laver, the waters above and the waters below on the Second Day) and to do all this in the most background, humble, unassuming fashion.

I have a friend that is a Servant, who handles the business accounts for another friend. Friend #1 has access to the checking accounts and financials and everything in between, right down to the pin codes, and could do great damage to Friend #2’s organization, but does not. Why? Because, as a Servant, Friend #1 does not struggle with the ambition the way any other Redemptive Gift would. Furthermore, Friend #1 protect the accounts from access by people within the organization who have less-than-pure motives.

So, now that I have laid the background and set the stage, what is that extra quality?

Very simple.

I would like to contend God places Servants more than other gifts in situations where they are responsible for managing resources, agendas, families, situations where there are great vulnerabilities present that the other six gifts would more likely take advantage.

They will also be more prone to taking insults on the chin for the organization or person that is vulnerable and keep running. Servants have a never-say-die attitude that does not quit when the other six gifts would quit, especially when the Servant is getting beaten on and pounded by others and falsely accused.

While I could see Givers doing this sort of work in protecting resources from those with hidden agendas, it seems to me that when there are greater magnitudes of dysfunction, competing ambitions in others, and an off-the-chart vulnerability of the one being protected, as well as the task of facing reviling, slander, bullets whizzing, repeated accusations, and the noise of war in the camp, more often than not, that task will fall to a Servant.

Submission In the Context of Fully-Healed-and-Blessed Womanhood and Manhood

When I was in high school, I dealt with offended theological liberals, both male and female, who used the “Paul is a chauvanist” argument to justify deleting Paul from the canon. Cue Schleiermacher, Kant, et al.

And I knew they were off, for whatever reason. It just did not feel right.

Then the chauvanistic conservatives who preached against women preachers, etc. (1 Timothy yada yada) also rubbed me the wrong way, demonstrating their slant with those bludge-verses.

So, when Arthur Burk made a similar observation of “Paul is a chauvanist” to that of the liberals, I was kind of scratching my head a bit. I was thinking to myself, “Okay. I know he isn’t a liberal, and I know he comes from an evangelical ultra-conservative background, and I know he deals with a lot of wounded women in particular, and he has a whole lot of gravitas in that arena, and so, what am I missing?”

Let me define a term that I am going to use in the following paragraph, because it feels like the right word. Mercies (those with the Redemptive Gift of Mercy) will often have these situations where they hear a word in their spirit and it is a really accurate description, even if they don’t know what the word means.

di·a·lec·tic | ˌdīəˈlektik | noun

1. the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions.

2. inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions

Dialectic or dialectics, also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments. Wikipedia

Maybe because what is often missing in our discussion of authority and submission is the critical thread of a dialectic (yes, I believe I used that term appropriately) that involves love, that is, a mutual concern and affection for the dignity of our fellow people and love for them that protects their dignity and heart.

Put more succinctly, our discussions of authority and submission frequently do not include the dialectic on love’s and tenderness’ places in the equation.

I would like to suggest this is why we often have such damaging and abusive conversations about the concepts of authority and submission; we make authority and submission into a zero-sum game of I win/You lose, and we do not look to cultivate a win/win in our solution. And so, we suffer.

I have never really fancied myself as theological conservative, based on the full frame a lot of theologically conservative followers of Yeshua would have used. Nor do I fancy myself a liberal or a neoorthodox.

Therefore, I reently asked the question of myself “are men supposed to roll over and let the women lead alone?” The answer came back “no, that’s an inaccurate and incomplete way of framing it”.

Both are supposed to lead together.

After the end of Healing Manhood and whatever cycles of blessing come after that…

I wonder if, in the context of fully-healed womanhood and fully-healed manhood, the more accurate, full-orbed picture becomes, NOT one of submission as we currently view it, where there is a win/lose, zero-sum game…

BUT rather one where we define what currently is translated as “submission” in terms of the second commandment, to “love one another deeply” enough that both sexes are equipped and both sexes release one another into fullness…

SO that the question of “whose rights are protected, and at what expense?” is no longer the main issue, but rather caring for one another, becoming our brother’s and sister’s keeper (Topaz Business DNA), and becoming a safe place (Onyx Business DNA, Disc 2, Cuts 1, 2, and 3) become the greater issues…

That brings us to a place of “[submitting to] one another out of reverence for Christ” that much sooner.

And instead of using the word “submitting”, given the level of abuse current in the church, we might translate that concept as “loving enough to build a platform underneath one another”.

Currently, it seems that many of us see it as, “clawing at one another to protect your scrap of an empire/ego.”

Layers of trust issues here, it seems.

Perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate how we handle the domestic codes in the writings of Paul (Ephesians 5, Titus 2, Colossians 3 and others) and how we frame the Greek term that is usually translated into English as “submission”.

I do not think we have to end with a zero-sum game of submit and lose your will, spirit, mind, self, desires, in pushing for the mission of another. I think we have twisted that term of submission so much that we forget the process through which Father wants to take each of us so that we grow in cohesion one with another, and we react because that concept is a cuss word.

There are more issues present, but for now, this is what I am pondering.

The Biblical Use of Covering

Good, now that I have your attention, let’s dig in.

“What?! David believes the Bible teaches covering?!”

Why, yes. I, in fact do.

Now, what does the Bible mean by the term?

Let’s look at those passages, shall we?

A brief Flex search of Accordance for the term “cover” yields 97ish references to the concept.

Here are as many of them as I can muster that tie to the most common Hebrew and Greek word for “cover”:

  1. Exodus 10:5: locusts covering or hiding the face of the land.
  2. Exodus 21:33: covering a pit so that livestock does not fall into it.
  3. Exodus 26:13: the outer layers of skin that cover or protect the tabernacle. Exodus 29:13: the adrenals that cover the kidneys and the fat that covers the entrails, of the sacrificial animals.
  4. Additionally, Exodus 29:22; Leviticus 3:9; 4:8; 7:3; and 9:19: discuss the fat that covers.
  5. Leviticus 13:12: deal with leprosy that covers.
  6. Leviticus 16:13: Incense covering the mercy seat to protect Aaron.
  7. Leviticus 17:13: covering the blood of an animal used for food.
  8. Numbers 4:5: covering the ark with the veil of the screen of the tabernacle.
  9. Number 4:11: covering the implements with various cloths.
  10. Numbers 19:15: covered vessels.
  11. Numbers 22:5, 11: Israel covering the face of the earth.
  12. Deuteronomy 22:15: Talliths covering yourself.
  13. Deuteronomy 23:13: cover up your crap.
  14. Joshua 24:7: sea covering up the Egyptians, recalling the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea.
  15. 1 Kings 7:18 and 41: latticework that covers capitals.
  16. 2 Chronicles 4:12: same as 1 Kings 7.
  17. Nehemiah 4:5 Covering guilt
  18. Job 9:24, and 16:18, cover the faces of judges and cover not my blood, o earth, respectively.
  19. Job 21:26: worms cover the dead
  20. Job 22:11: waters covering Job as judgment
  21. Job 23:17: darkness covers a man’s face
  22. Job 36:30: God covers the roots of the sea
  23. Job 36:32 God covers his hands with lightning
  24. Job 36:34: Flood of Waters covering Job?
  25. Job 40:22: Lotus trees cover a man for shade
  26. Psalm 32:5: I did not cover my iniquity.
  27. Psalm 104:8 Boundaries that prevent the seas from covering the earth.
  28. Psalm 147:8 Clouds cover the heavens
  29. Proverbs 10:12 Love covers all offenses
  30. Proverbs 17:9 Covering an offense is the act of one seeking love
  31. Isaiah 11:9: Earth shall be covered with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas.
  32. Isaiah 26:21: the earth will not cover over the slain anymore
  33. Isaiah 58:7: Fasters cover the naked.
  34. Isaiah 59:6: wicked men will not cover themselves with clothing
  35. Isaiah 60:2: Darkness shall cover the earth
  36. Isaiah 60:6: Camels shall cover you, wealth shall cover you.
  37. Jeremiah 3:25 Let dishonor cover those who sinned against the Lord.
  38. Jeremiah 46:8: Egypt says she will cover the earth, destroying the inhabitants of cities.
  39. Ezekiel 7:18: Horror covers Israel.
  40. Ezekiel 12:6: Cover your face so that you may not see the land in order to be a sign to Israel.
  41. Ezekiel 16:18: Israel covered the passers-by with embroidered garments. Israel went whoring after others.
  42. Ezekiel 18:16: the righteous covers the naked with a garment
  43. Ezekiel 24:7: Covering the ground with dust.
  44. Ezekiel 26:10: Covering the Israelites with the dust of Babylon
  45. Ezekiel 26:19: Great waters covering Israel in shame.
  46. Ezekiel 32:7: I will cover the heavens when I blot you out and the sun with a cloud.
  47. Hosea 2:9: covering Gomer’s nakedness
  48. Hosea 10:8: they will say to the mountains “cover us”
  49. Obadiah 10: shame shall over Edom because of what they have done to their brother Jacob.
  50. Micah 7:10: shame will cover those who slandered Israel
  51. Habakkuk 2:14: the earth will be filled with the Knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
  52. Malachi 2:13: covering the Lord’s altar with tears.
  53. Mal 2:16: the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, covers his garment with violence, if their spirit is not guarded.
  54. Mark 14:55: covering Jesus’ face while they hit him.
  55. Luke 8:16: no one covers a light with a jar after they light it.
  56. Luke 23:30: Repeat of Hosea 10:8.
  57. 1 Cor 11:6: a Corinthian woman’s covering of her head. and a Corinthian man’s covering of his head.
  58. James 5:20: the one who rescues a pre-believer will cover a multitude of sins.
  59. 1 Peter 4:8 Love covers a multitude of sins.

So, covering has to do with these 59 references.

And not one scrap of these references has diddly squat with one human being covering another, because no one died on the cross for anyone else.

The dynamics of covering are largely for the covering over of sins, the work of sacrifice and atonement, and the throwing of some item over another item as with a cover.

Not one red scrap about a man or a woman and a covering of any sort, gang. The doctrine of covering as we teach it with respect to leadership is nothing more than a red herring.

This is how covering is dealt with.

The legitimate use of the term “covering” is sidelined so we can pursue our own abusive defintion of the concept in order to build our own empire and then we gaslight anyone who opposes our nonsense. We thus send them chasing after something that really is a distraction from the real and redemptive purpose of the true concept of covering: Love covers sins, we cover offenses, and Christ covers and atones for our junk, and through that covering over with His sacrificial love, we step into some solid authority and capacity to love others as He loved the church.

The charismatic movement is in this royal mess precisely because we taught and coerced and forced “the people” to “grow” into an unhealthy place of dependence on the authority of leadership. And the fivefold that came out of the New Apostolic Reformation and the Fuller Post-Denominational Symposium refused as a segment of the body of Christ to actually embody the truth John Wimber set in place for us: to equip AND release. We instead attempted to do the right thing with the wrong tool. And so we perpetuated the madness instead of doing anything that was particularly effective with any degree of skill.

But golly bob howdy do we control and limit excessively well and boy do we teach the concept of welfare Christianity with great skill!

We expect people to suck on this anointed person’s teat and depend on the movement to tell us what God is saying. And when only a select few, then we as a consequence accept that a majority cannot hear from God.

And none of that garbage is anywhere in Scripture.

I won’t do word studies on this topic for y’all, because they are largely red herrings. Suffice it to say that these words in these verses largely mean to cover something, like putting a lid on a pot, if you wish.

The five-fold nonsense of the last 4 decades is largely responsible for sowing a perverse and satanic form of leadership and submission rooted in witchcraft into those who are commanded to “submit” and we have taken that “submit” word to mean things it was never meant to mean.

And all of the Fivefold ministry manifestations are completely rooted in smoldering heretical stew this without exception.

True five-fold, on the other hand, is rooted in the fullness of the Revelation 12:11 call to die to self. No five-fold can exist without a great deal of self-death and self-sacrifice, and care and nurture for others.

And I have yet to meet one manifestation that takes that call seriously.

It’s part of the reason Jeremiah Johnson and R. Loren Sandford have been calling out the junk pertaining to Todd Bentley that they have been calling out the last several months.

And it is part of the reason that Arthur Burk’s albums on High Impact Christians and Tough Spots In Inner Healing have been so critical in dealing with the topic of the five-fold ministry. In those albums he covers the Ishmaelite apostolic, and the Spirit of Antichrist in the five-fold and covering, respectively, as part of larger teachings.

Gang, I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind seeing the Ishmaelite expression of the true manifestation getting destroyed.

What do I mean by “Ishmaelite expression”?

Simple picture, from Arthur Burk.

When God prophesies an Isaac, the enemy will come in and precede that with the birth of one or more Ishmaels.

We have a whole horde of arrogant mocking and unsubmitted Ishamaels who, because of their biological age devoid of spiritual maturity, have not gotten around to walking in the real nature of what the fivefold was designed to become.

As a result, we have had all sorts of destruction because we tried to help God out with our seed of the slave woman.

And all the while, God has been trying to get us to accept the name of Isaac, in whose name we will be called.

This is part of the reason God named my firstborn son 6 years before he was born. He wants those Ishmaelite counterfeits broken.

The maturity is something we are designed to embrace.

And, gang, it is time we embrace it.

In order to have the Lord in fullness, you need to embrace his hammer.

Questions I Would Have Asked of Isaac and Rebekah

Given the Lord was so explicitly clear with Rebekah in Genesis 25:

The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So when she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb
And two peoples from within you shall be divided;
The one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger”

Genesis 25:22-24 ESV

I have some questions I would like to ask them as a couple:

1) Why does it seem like Rebekah never told this to Isaac?

2) Or, if she did, how come it is so evident that Isaac never engaged more actively in the work of raising up the younger in accordance with the word of the Lord? It appears that Isaac’s and Esau’s relevant interactions toward Jacob never involve the truth that the Lord had already spoken. Why is no one mentioning that at all?

3) What can account for the breakdown in communication between husband and wife?

4) Why did Rebekah seek to manipulate in order to help God fulfill this word?

5) Was this a holdover from Laban’s family and the behavior of the descendants of Terah, given we have patterns of conniving, manipulation, and favoritism, all without any inquiring of the Lord in places where doing that would have helped out?

6) I don’t hear many sermons preached on the possibility that Esau was lazy given he was a skillful hunter, and he could have gone without for the rest of the day instead of selling his birthright.

The Lord specifically told me not to address the psychological issues here, but to presently deal with the personal responsibility issues for this post. I am sure that I will write another post to deal with the psych issues at some point.

So, I am curious what y’all think is going on here and why they didn’t deal with these issues. Furthermore, what were the implications that did happen as a result of not dealing with these issues?

Laban’s Intro in the Reformation Study Bible

So, many of you know that I am a lover of books.

And I do frequently skirt the edges and do a lot of research in a bunch of divergent theological and philosophical streams, not the least of which (but pretty close to that) is Reformed theology.

I own an ESV Reformation Study Bible, mostly because of the reputation of R.C. Sproul, founder of Ligonier Ministries. Now, I am not at all a Calvinist, but I do at times like seeing what others have to say.

In the Bible, as I was reading the account of Laban’s introduction, I came across the following footnote for Genesis 24:29:

Laban takes responsibility for the family, probably because Bethuel is incapacitated.

From the footnotes on page 50, Reformation Study Bible, Reformation Trust.

Now, I can kind of see the argument of what is being staged here. Laban might genuinely be taking care of his family with some measure of the attitude of a protective son.

That said, I do not think this is the whole picture, because if you read the context of how Laban continues to act such as in 24:30-31:

As soon as he saw the [gold] ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms…. He said , “come in, O blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside?”

And later in 30:35-36:

But later that day, Laban removed the mail goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in charge of his sons. And he set a distance of three days journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban’s flock.

thus removing anything that Jacob could have used genetically to increase the size of his profits,

And in 31:7:

Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times

And in 31:14:

Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance ledt to us in our father’s house? Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, as he has indeed devoured our money.

We can clearly see that Laban’s motives are pretty questionable, given time. It does not appear that Laban is interested, when he said “Come in, o blessed of the Lord!” with anything other than “how can I get a piece of this?”

Dude appeared to be drooling over those camels, and over that gold, and appeared to want a piece of what belonged to Jacob.

I think, as we read these notes and thoughts written, as others will doubtless point out some flaw when they read my thoughts as well, we need to be careful to read the context for a given verse and not just assume that part of the picture = the whole picture.

Laban may have had some altrusitic reason for being present, or he may have been partially a scoundrel. We understand that Jacob, in a couple of places, was a scoundrel. And in the matter of the birthright (Genesis 25:29-34), Jacob was NOT a scoundrel, but just a good businessman who took advantage of an opportunity handed to him to PURCHASE, NOT STEAL, his brother’s birthright, a thing his brother despised, which partly fulfilled the prophecy given to his mother.

And instead of looking at Esau as a brother who was robbed, perhaps looking at him as a soulish individual who did not deal with or heed the Spirit’s prompting would provide a fuller picture of him.

The bottom line is that we need to be able to see the whole picture, warts and all, and learn the lessons that come in those pictures.

And, in our reading, I think, as people with an overdeveloped sense of fairness, we need to, instead of casting judgment on God’s decision-making process, see why God responded to Esau the way He did.

And, back to our topic, why God responded to Laban the way he did.

If the Church Is An Ass…

…all it would take is a large enough carrot, and the enemy could lead us wheresoever he wants us.

You see, the devil could promise us a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, or 100 Republican Senators and 435 Republican Congressmen or -women and conservatism all around….

…and if we are so easily-led based on who promises what pertaining to one issue, such as abortion, and we fail to examine the rest of their record during the political off-season, when they are not stumping…

…he could slide in agenda after agenda of control and an increase of the military-industrial complex with a side-helping of the increased police state as was started in 2001….

…and we would not recognize it until it was too late….

Indeed, my concern is whether we are on the right side of an issue because we have been lulled into a place of being controlled by….our emotions, our convictions, or a divided personality.

There is only one thing to which we ought to yield control: our King.

And in His authority, we should walk in circumspect understanding and realize that, this is not merely about controlling a majority of the government machinery.

Rather, it is about winning a majority of the hearts of humanity.

We haven’t learned yet how to walk as Wilberforce, and we have not yet learned the skill necessary to have those hundred million conversations.

And we desperately need to learn how to converse. And that well.

A clear-eyed war for the unborn is not won at the ballot box, or even in the high courts of men.

Rather, it is won in the tenderness and affections of men.

We must learn afresh how to appeal to heaven with greater force than we appeal to men.

And we must learn now to break free from the siren song of promises that litter our election seasons, and discern the spirits of those running, for I fear we only hear what they say they claim to believe, when our vote is on the line.

It’s time to adopt a different strategy for handling the issues.

Just my take.

The Beast the “Fivefold Ministry” Has Created: It Is Not Pretty

Many of you that know me know I am friends with Arthur Burk.

And for those of you that are friends with him, you know how deeply he wars against the welfare and poverty spirits.

Neither of which are limited to finanical matters.

But, in the last few days, I have noticed a trend among some of my friends, and those that think of SLG as a home, and the smaller group I co-lead as a tribe or a church family.

But, recently, Arthur threw down a pretty substantial gauntlet in the midst of the tribe, and in that post he made an observation about the way the Fivefold Ministry was modeled for us, starting in the early 80, He wrote:

Two changes occurred in the 1980s which dramatically impacted the core values of Western Christianity.

One was the emergence of inner healing and deliverance (called personal ministry for the purposes of this article) and the other was the emergence of the “Fivefold Ministry” with the focus on apostles and prophets.

The combination of the two had devastating results. 

On the Fivefold side of things, it massively established a two-tier Christian culture.  To have an elite group, you have to have a non-elite group.  When you have the group in power, there has to be a powerless group.  When you have those who hear from God for others, there has to be the group that can’t hear from God.

This dynamic has recurred regularly throughout church history.  There are always those who lust for power and always those who delighted in powerlessness because it justifies their lifestyle of dependence, and always those in the middle who go with the flow to be agreeable. 

It is a viable milieu for the emergence, time and again, of first class and second class Christians.

But in the confluence of the Fivefold and personal ministry, we developed a much larger “upper class” than the usual clergy/laity split. 

Now there is a small army of people who have supposed power with God or with demons, and still a substantial pool of people who are needy and go to the power people to get fixed.

And THIS is the core issue. 

Arthur Burk, Why Some Events Are Not Recorded

Gang, as much as some of us “need” what only Arthur has and can provide, we have not stopped to unpack with the Trinity what He has for us to unpack. We treat every “no” as a church rejection, and we think if we beg harder, the “no” will turn into a “yes”.

And we don’t realize that the Fivefold Ministry, and the satanic view of covering that we in the charismatic church have developed, have both caused us to view the church as divided into the spiritual haves and the spiritual have-nots.

And we have reduced ourselves from adults who can chew filet mignon to helpless babies that are sucking on the breasts of whatever the Fivefold will let us have.

NEWS FLASH: There is no distinction. There is not a division. If you think in terms of the anointed apostle or prophet or bishop or pooh-bah who hears from God, then you are also likely to come to the conclusion, whether spoken or unspoken, that there are people who do not have the access and are powerless without it.

You are not helpless. You do not depend on God’s man or woman to find whatever you need. You do not depend on someone recording their truth so you can have it.

Truly, we have all the access we can handle, and honestly, Father’s desire to give always outstrips our desire to take in.

Put differently, the Fivefold has reduced us to helpless people who think there are people who can hear, which by reason means we also believe there are people who cannot hear.

People more often than not do not hear because they do not want to hear. Or they only want to hear a part, and they don’t want to hear the rest.

What remains for us is to reject and throw out the current manifestation of the Fivefold, and to seek the Lord for HIS manifestation of what it really should look like.

And it doesn’t look helpless, gang.

Just my take on some of these things.

Some Brief Thoughts On Nimrod

For what I am about to say, there is no apology, but a challenge to the larger spiritual warfare and deliverance community.

I start with a question.

What was the good in Nimrod’s design?

What I mean is, we have a glut of theories that float around about his origins, and we often make snap judgments about his life and about others in Scripture and real life.

We refer to this as freeze-framing, and it is a horrible, noisome practice.

Frankly, I am not sure I buy the Nephilim theory as it pertains to Nimrod, nor a bunch of other things we usually teach about him.

And sure, he came from Ham, and we know about how Ham uncovered Noah’s nakedness and the curse that came from that on the love child between Noah’s wife and Ham.

However, what if we are wrong because we only looked at a part of Nimrod’s behavior and missed a good package because we were mesmerized by…GASP…Babylon!!

Especially if we are to blindly believe the idea that he was damned from the get-go, and we take that phrase, “a mighty man BEFORE the L-rd” to mean “AGAINST the L-rd.” The Hbelrew there is pretty ambiguous.

We should take a good, long look and be ready to toss out anything that was too hastily constructed.

Such as a belief that all things that were tied to Nimrod were completely demonic, and “how dare we question that belief at all!” is unwarranted without more proof than we have.

Truly, this season is a season for a lot of deep questions to be asked.

Indeed, we have a raft of people who claim to “be Bereans”, but will not search a matter out (Proverbs 25:2). It results in the following atrocious behavior in the leadership of charismatic movements.

We have people who preach, claiming to have, and I quote, “read in commentaries that eagles break their beaks off, pull out their feathers out, and pull their claws out and are suddenly reborn with new beaks, feathers, and talons, and live for another 40 years or so”.

We have one man who claims to have led a Bible translation team, and yet is not revealing sources. This is dishonest scholarship.

We have people who are prophesying that this Super Bowl means one thing, when they also prophesied other grandiloquent things about previous Super Bowls that did not come to pass. This is a blemish on a necessary ministry in the church, namely prophecy.

And so we are bringing the same flamboyance of refusing to examine Scripture well, and applying that refusal to examine in our caveleir attitudes toward warfare and deliverance.

Some examples of this are hasty and shoddy “research” are:

The idea that Jezebel is a bigshot spirit (Reality check: she is an imp and servant of Baal).

That all women with any sort of Type A gene are under her influence (Reality check: some women are wound a little tighter).

That this or that number combination means this prophetic thing (Reality check: sometimes a football, baseball, basketball score is just a score. And sometimes a solar eclipse is a solar eclipse. Believe me, when the moon turns to blood, you will know the difference).

The nonsensical foolishness of preachers who claim the “blood moons” and “shemitah” will cause the collapse of world economies. I am looking at your Mark Biltz and John Hagee.

Gang, it is okay that the blood moon tetrad over the seven Salem cities in the US meant nothing. It was a mere rhythmic standard clockwork, and predictable sign, like a clock.

As R. Loren Sandford said a few years back about the blood moons:

At the risk of making some people angry, I say that the coming total eclipse over North America is simply a wonderful, amazing event that was predetermined by the mechanics of the universe from the time God first said, “Let there be light.” It is a “sign” of nothing, despite the claims of those who wish to spiritualize it. Remember all the hoopla over the blood moon tetrad? What happened? Nothing. Or the shemitah that said the economy would collapse in the fall of 2016 on the seven year cycle? What happened? Nothing. Some of us said as much, but that didn’t stop the prophetic prognostications that became an embarrassment, thus discrediting an essential ministry in the body of Christ for many at a time when good prophetic ministry is desperately needed. If you’ve gotten all worked up over some supposed prophetic significance of the eclipse, I say, “Calm down and just enjoy it!”

For those engaged in this discussion, think of it this way. When the long hand and the short hand on the clock align at the 12 o’clock position and appear to be one hand, you don’t think of that as a sign from God, do you? It’s no different with the rotation and orbit of the earth, sun and moon. It is a natural event that is the product of predetermined paths of heavenly bodies set in motion like clockwork by God at creation. It is the sign of an orderly universe, but to insist that it must be a sign from God about impending events is tantamount to astrology, the claim that fixed movements and positions of heavenly bodies somehow determine our fate on earth. The Bible clearly debunks that. So, I urge some of us once more to calm down and simply enjoy this amazing display in the heavens.

R Loren Sandford, August 13, 2017, Facebook post

Sometimes a moon in the sky is just a moon in the sky. And sometimes the time 11:11 is just the minute after 11:10. If I assumed that everything had some super secret communique from the Almighty, and there were no coincidences, then I might drive myself crazy with analysis.

There are such things as allowances for coincidences in G-d’s economy precisely because we were made.to discern between that which is coincidental and that which is not.

And we were made to detect what is a well-reasoned and well-considered argument of Scripture from that which is not.

And sometimes, a biblical character, gang, that we normally think of as all evil, has some redeeming features, as hard as that might be to swallow.

Sometimes, we need to see things like the repentance of Manasseh vs. the arrogance of Josiah WHO DIED IN A WAY IDENTICAL TO AHAB in the same arrogance of his uplifted heart.

And there are those who just think we have a number of parts of the Bible all figured out, and that this means this and that means that.

But then s e think e have learned all here is to know about the fullness of Scripture, suddenly it surprises us at a pinch, and our spirits get awakened to another facet of its infallibility and mystery.

In the case of Nimrod, it would appear the founder of Babel’s life went unexamined. Evidently, someone decided that “before the L-rd” meant “against the L-rd” and others agreed to it without slowing their collective rolls and reexamining whether or not they are off. And we took that interpretation whether or not we were right or wrong, hook, line, and sinker.

Something needs to happen that forces us as followers of Yeshua to slow down and really consider if we got it right with respect to Nimrod and others.

To paraphrase Richard Feynman:

Our failures to hold back and deeply consider and qualify what we think we know have led to many overinflated claims from pulpits that have burned people who followed Christ, and those who have dared to challenge or correct what was said from the pulpit were not met with consideration or understanding, but branded to be full of a religious spirit.

I have seen that one time and again.

I would like to offer the following counsel in the case of Nimrod.

What if there was flat-out gold and treasure in his design?

What if that boldness was meant to communicate something about the nature of G-d, and, instead of seeing that boldness as a lion in him and blessing it in both him and others, we cursed it, and used it that bad interpretation to curse others?

Yes I know what the name Nimrod means. Yes it may mean “rebel”.

But consider the intent of what it could have alternatively meant.

What if “rebel” was really meant to convey someone who was made to rebel against the kingdom of darkness?

Given the world was, according to some, handed over to the ruler of the world, the serpent, what if what Nimrod was made to rebel against was the serpent and lead a rebellion against him?

What if the spiritual warfare community, in cursing Nimrod wholesale, missed an important piece in the study and consideration of design?

What if, in the head of gold from Daniel’s vision, G-d was communicating something in the design of both Nimrod and Babylon that was supposed to be and never came to fruition, and we have just been roundly cursing people who happen to possess a like treasure to that which G-d put into Nimrod?

What if there is a Babylonian Blessing to counter the Babylonian Heresy in an opposite spirit, true to SLG form?

What if there was good in Nimrod, and we have just been twisting it and robbing ourselves of something that G-d wanted articulated through Nimrod and blessed in others?

Just, my bottom line to y’all, is:

Please, for the love of every good and perfect gift, slow your roll and SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY EXAMINE if there was something good there that you can articulate.

If the beginning of your kingdom or empire is made to be good, then it is possible that you also were designed by our good G-d to have ambition or drive or the germ to be an empire-builder or a father or mother of many.

Maybe that germ to build, even with imperfect materials, has been cursed, because people have said it is demonic to have drive or be a Type-A personality.

Gang, my counsel is to consider deeply, and ask “is there treasure in a place I was refusing to look because every other charismatic said there was not?”

“Am I only seeing a partial view as the whole of a matter and not seriously, deeply, and carefully examining an matter before I render judgment and sentencing on it?”

There was good in Nimrod, and sometimes G-d puts a turbocharged engine in a muscle car so that car can do a quarter-mile at a time.

He doesn’t put a tired gerbil in a Corvette, gang.

Some of us are going to idle a little higher in RPM or speed than others, and that is fine. That just means we were made for a different load.

A Clydesdale is not an Arabian Stallion.

And Secretariat was neither of those breeds.

Consider the place of ambition and empires. They can serve a good purpose.

And sometimes we need mighty hunters who walk in G-d’s presence and are sanctified.

Just a little bit of a different spin on the matter.

So, as you work with others to see Jesus heal them, look to see if there is a treasure that is not usually celebrated in them, and look for good ways to celebrate sanctified articulations of that gift.

You just might have a Nimrod on your hands, who can war against the enemy’s twisted manifestation of Babylon.

If you will see them become equipped and released.

When I Read About the Lord’s Response to Babel…

….I do not merely see the revengeful heart of a Despot bent on fighting our machinations, as some have argued…

Rather, what I see is the heart of a Father who is radically concerned with humanity falling into the trap of turning away from Him and falling for the delusion they do not need Him.

When we are so self-dependent and strong that we have no need of the Lord, because we can solve every problem through our “technology” (a la Howard Stark), then He gets involved in reminding us that we were made to interact with Him.

He did not merely create us to interact with ourselves and forget about Him. Rather, He made us to continue with Him in every stage and to seek Him.

Genesis 12:8, Abram, Seth, and Calling Upon the Name of the L-RD

And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai [Ai] on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD

Genesis 12:8

As I read this passage this morning, and came ot the commentary beneath the text, in my readthrough, it occurred to me that “calling upon the name of the LORD” was what happened in the days of Seth, and was what frequently set apart those who were delivered from those who were not.

Reading this through a New Testament lens, “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). Saved from what? Destruction, death, and a life of futility? Yes, and more besides. Saved to what? Eternity, transformation, birthright. Not merely changed in mindset.

Taking μετάνοια and extending it to mean “changing the way you think”, well, doing word studies with a Biblical language robs a word of the richness of its context. If anyone is in Christ, their mind isn’t the only thing that is changed. Everything about them is changed (2 Cor. 5:17-21). This isn’t merely about recovering what we have forgotten about ourselves. This is us being completely changed into something different. Not just a recovery of some conscsiousness, but the recovery, or better yet, the stepping of our whole being into a new reality. All the old ways get unzipped and demolished, and we begin the process of, not becoming and newer version of the old self, but a completely new thing. The old does in fact begin the process of passing away.

We step out of the slavery and the destruction of the darkness of both sin and bondage to the enemy, and into freedom and the transformation of every thing into what He originally designed for us.

When we say we are recovering what we forgot, we are minimizing the level of transformation that G-d puts into us. He is not merely interested in making us to think differently, but to respond differently.

All as a result of calling upon His name.

Abram, here, called upon the name of the only one that could deliver him and set him aright.

And though we get the idea of changing the way we think from the Koine word μετάνοια, it is so much more deep and comprehensive than thought.

If the Lord delivers you from the old, He is not merely going to deliver you from old thought patterns. He intends you to walk in something with dramatically greater depth than mere thought. He is going to set His name upon you (referencing Numbers 6:27, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Deuteronomy 12:11, 1 Kings 5:5, Ezra 6:12, and 1 Corinthians 6:19), and where His name will be, His presence will be. And as you run into the presence of His name, you will be safe in accordance with how He defines safety.

Gang, I bless you to find safety in His name, and to dwell in His name, and to be called by His named, and transformed through His name.

Be at peace as you are called by His name. For as you are called by his name and turn from whatever is destroying you, he will hear, forgive, and heal not just you, but also the land where you are, spiritually, emotionally, and physcially.

And in the presence of that Name, you will be able to learn and weave together the principles that will not just transform those around you, but you completely.