The Finger of God; miracles, skepticism and faith

Finger-of-God-Secondary-Page-Design1

Finger of God began as a short film about God’s miraculous power. I had no budget, no script, and no idea what this movie was ultimately going to look like. I teach storytelling and film at a University in Chicago, and here I was breaking all of my own rules.

But that’s where I found myself, and I quickly discovered that God is an incredible film producer. He funded the whole film (I never had to ask for money), took me around the world, and introduced me to some truly incredible people.

So what is the film about? Well, now that it’s finished, I can finally answer that question. On the surface it is about the miraculous. I originally thought I was making a film that simply tried to capture miracles on tape. But as the story progressed, things began to change.

At its core, it is about the heart of God. It’s about how He views us, and how He is desperate for a relationship with us. Along the way, He places his finger on our lives, touches us deeply, heals us, shows His creativity, and generally surprises us with every move He makes.

The film’s international cast includes a wide variety of people, ministries, and personalities. But just to whet your appetite, here is a partial list of some of the things you will see and hear about in this film:

  • Manna in the Pentagon
  • African children who perform miracles every day
  • Incredibly rare footage of the Chinese underground church
  • Eastern European Gypsies radically changed by God’s power
  • Amazing stories of the miraculous
  • Hundreds raised from the dead
  • Gemstones appearing out of thin air
  • Saddaam Hussein’s old palace is now a church
  • And much, much more.

About The Director

The first thing people wonder when they hear about a film like this is usually, “Who made it, and what’s his angle?” Well, my name is Darren Wilson, and Finger of God is my directorial debut. I teach Writing and Media at Judson University, which is about 30 miles west of Chicago. I have a lovely wife, Jenell, and three wonderful children, Serenity, Stryder, and River. I have an MFA in Screenwriting from Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

So that’s me. But what about my angle? It can probably be summed up in one word. Accidental. I never intended to make this movie. To be honest, I originally didn’t even want to make this movie. I had no money, I had never made a feature film before, and I didn’t know anyone I needed to know. But God has a way of getting what He wants.

So I began stumbling through the process of making a movie. It began as a short film, then turned into a long film. I began to meet more and more people, began to receive more and more money from friends and family, and before long, I find myself in Istanbul, filming Heidi Baker and a Turkish Muslim trying to have a conversation, and I can’t help but chuckle at God’s sense of humor – as well as His sense of purpose.

Every artist has an agenda. Mine is simple. Document what God is doing in the world today, prove that He is alive and relevant, and don’t bog Him down with my own preconceived ideas of how He should go about being God.


76 thoughts on “The Finger of God; miracles, skepticism and faith

  1. And didn’t take me long to find out its all bullshit!

    Faith and the Common Good
    Talking about the global common good and religion’s role in promoting it here and around the world.
    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    Discerning Heidi Baker: C. Peter Wagner and the Public Record

    My own life would be a lot simpler right now if I could come to a clear conclusion about Heidi Baker–either she is a Pentecostal Mother Teresa or a complete fraud. I am in a process of discernment that has me seeing a foggier picture than either of those conclusions. What I am certain of is that I see major factual errors in the Bakers’ account of their ministry in relationship to the New Apostolic Reformation. In the days since my first post on Heidi Baker I have received considerable feedback from people urging me to explore a variety of different stories about the Bakers and their global ministry. Some argue that I am missing the sublime, Christian purity that they see as the core of Heidi’s life work and they urge me to embrace the whole of her ministry. Others raise urgent questions about the nature of her accounts of healing and want me to focus on what they see as abuse of dignity in her accounts of healings. What I see my task as now is to focus on the range of public evidence that I think quite clearly refutes the Bakers’ description of the meaning they attach to the miraculous ministry of which they are a part. What I want to do, in other words, is raise questions about the discernment that is to be central to classical Christian reflection on the miraculous—a discernment that is in traditional Christianity every bit as important as the questions of whether miracles are happening or not. I hope many more will join with me in this process of discernment and go much deeper into their ministry’s story than just one article or blog post.

    In the Christian tradition Christians are not seen as the only people for whom miracles are done or the only people who have the power to perform miracles. Whether we are talking about Jewish Scripture, Christian Scripture or Christian reflection through the centuries into the present, we see that what makes a miracle a “Christian” miracle is the meaning that it points to—a distinctly Christian meaning, a “sign” as the Gospel of John calls it. The controversy surrounding Heidi Baker and the extraordinary accounts of her ministry is at this point, for me, not one of “are they happening” but rather “what meaning is being attached to them?” What is the narrative that is attached to the apparently amazing “signs and wonders” that accompany her? A reader who only looked at Christianity Today’s articles on Baker—the lengthy piece by Tim Stafford and the shorter one by Tim Morgan—would assume that the meaning attached by the Bakers is the traditional meaning that Christians have given to “signs and wonders”—namely, as pointing to Christ and ushering in the Kingdom’s presence. But for the Bakers there is more, much more, that they claim to discern in the presence of these miracles. This broader meaning is not merely ignored by Stafford, it is by my reading of reams of public evidence actively distorted by the Bakers in the one paragraph in the article in which the decades old controversy is even mentioned. I want to look closely at this paragraph because I am well aware that the charges I am going to make are serious and speak to the Bakers’ integrity and to Tim Stafford’s reporting. Here is the account:

    Though they have lost financial support due to their association with the Toronto movement, the Bakers are loyal to its leaders and attend their Catch the Fire conferences in North America every year. Several leaders involved are active in the so-called New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial charismatic movement. But the Bakers do not promote the New Apostolic Reformation or consider themselves to be modern-day apostles.

    From reading this paragraph—the only paragraph that even touches on the controversy over the alternative meanings the Bakers attach to their miracles—the reader would assume that the only real controversy is that the Bakers are “loyal” to leaders of the Toronto movement, some of whom are “active in the so-called New Apostolic Reformation.” This one controversial activity of theirs is considered by Stafford to be not a problem for three reasons: 1) It is a virtuous loyalty in light of the fact that “they have lost financial support” because of it. 2) Outside of their visit to this yearly conference nothing is happening in their ministry that would make anyone think they “promote” NAR. 3) They do not “consider themselves to be modern-day apostles.”

    I will start with the last reason because I have nothing to say with reference to the first reason, and lots to say with reference to the second. As I wrote in a different post, the fact that someone does or does not “consider themselves to be modern-day apostles” is not at all a factor in a person’s participation in NAR. By anybody’s definition, NAR is not a movement that is just for apostles and its main leaders are by no means just apostles. One of the things that distinguishes NAR from other movements—and this is absolutely vital to understand—is the belief that we are in a new era of Church History in which God is restoring to the Church some of the so-called “five-fold gifts” of Ephesians 4:11, namely Apostle and Prophet. Crucial to this understanding is the belief that miracles are accompanying this “restoration” of apostolic and prophetic gifts as signs of their authenticity. This is why the term that is often used as a label in place of New Apostolic Reformation is the term “apostolic and prophetic movement”. In many of the groups that participate in this movement the leadership is made up in part by Prophetic Elders that often meet with apostles in what one of the major groups calls an Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. One need look no further than the prophetess Cindy Jacobs, a person who is virtually synonymous with NAR and C. Peter Wagner, to see that active leadership in apostolic and prophetic movements associated with NAR is in no way limited to people who “consider themselves to be modern-day apostles.”

    And as should be obvious, one does not need to be either a prophet or an apostle to be active in NAR and committed to its new vision for government of the church. NAR sees itself as a place for all Christians to bring all of their gifts. So the key questions are whether or not the Bakers and their ministry are a part of prophetic and apostolic movements and whether or not they actively promote those movements. What the publicly available evidence shows overwhelmingly is that the Bakers are in these prophetic and apostolic movements, they are said to be leaders of these movements and their work to expand the impact of these movements is very much linked with the work of C. Peter Wagner. Not a few evangelicals would be troubled if they were aware of the theology and practice that this all carries with it.

    The easiest place to start with the evidence is a look at the Bakers’ own ministries referred to in the CT article, Iris Ministries and Partners in Harvest. At Iris’ global base in Nashville it is quite clear that the Bakers view their ministry as part of an apostolic network. The website says, under the question “Who is your pastoral covering?”, that “As an Iris Global missions base, our direct apostolic covering are our founders, Heidi and Rolland Baker.” This is consistent with the fact that the Bakers themselves view their Partners in Harvest churches as being, as they put it, under the “Apostolic Leadership” (see page 25 of link) of John and Carol Arnott, the Founding Pastors of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, now known as Catch the Fire. The Arnott’s are also the leaders of Spread the Fire ministries, which hosts the conferences that the Bakers attend every year. In addition to the fact that the Bakers’ hundreds of churches are under the apostolic leadership of the Arnotts and they regularly speak at major Arnott led functions, the Bakers and Arnotts are in another very significant grouping called the Revival Alliance. In the promotional material for all of these groups, reference to “signs and wonders” is constant.

    At this point in the story it is commonplace for people who are devoted to the Bakers to insist on a point that they sincerely believe: The Bakers are completely separate from C. Peter Wagner. This is said in part because Wagner has become somewhat notorious in informed circles, be they religious or political. People are beginning to understand the full dimensions of his radical spirituality and revolutionary ecclesiology and this makes some people who have been in public ministry with him understandably nervous about their reputations. I do not know what the Bakers think and I do not know what the Bakers say to reporters or scholars, but I do know what the Bakers have done for years with C. Peter Wagner and with his key leaders. An examination of this record shows that the Bakers–their ministries, their alliances, their writing, their speaking—are in fact actively participating in ministry with C. Peter Wagner and his broad range of ministries. It is impossible to sustain a narrative of their life’s ministry consistent with what they claim in the paragraph above. This reality makes it incumbent upon the Bakers to make dramatic changes if they really do feel about Wagner what some of their supporters seem convinced they feel. Here is the evidence I refer to.

    CHE ANH, REVIVAL ALLIANCE and the WAGNER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

    Che Anh is a long-time member of and leader in C. Peter Wagner’s groups of apostles, Global Spheres and International Coalition of Apostles (ICA). Che Anh is also the International Chancellor of C. Peter Wagner’s very own Wagner Leadership Institute which has its one sentence vision statement the development of apostolic leaders in line with their understanding of the five-fold gifts of Ephesians 4:11-12. Anh and his wife are, together with the Bakers and Arnotts and three other couples, the leaders of the Revival Alliance that I referred to earlier. Randy and DeAnne Clark are one of the other couples in this Revival Alliance. Randy teaches a class at the Wagner Institute available online, with C. Peter Wagner and Che Anh, titled “Developing Structure for Apostolic Ministry” which bills itself as teaching “the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ that we see transpiring in the Body of Christ Today”. Bill and Beni Johnson are another couple in the alliance. Bill is on the faculty of the Wagner Leadership Institute where you can take his course “Walking in the Supernatural”. Che Anh is refreshingly blunt about his view of what the Church is to discern in the miracles and revivals he believes are happening through the works of so-called prophets and apostles today. He made his five-fold convictions abundantly clear in his book When Heaven Comes Down, a book with a foreword by the Bakers. Here is his explanation of current religious revivals:

    As I look back through the history of revival, I see that every wave of God’s outpouring is important because, in each revival, He restores something. In fact, over the past half-century, we see that in each movement God restored an office within the five-fold ministry, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

    …In the “Third Wave” of the 1980s, God brought forth prophets, as John Wimber introduced the “Kansas City prophets” Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, James Goll, and Jill Austin. Other prophets emerged during that period, including my friend and covenant brother Lou Engle, my sister in the Lord Cindy Jacobs, Jane Hamon and Chuck Pierce. The 1994 revival in Toronto restored the office of the apostle with the birth of many apostolic networks, including John and Carol Arnott’s Partners in Harvest, Rick Joyner’s MorningStar, Bill Johnson’s Global Legacy, Heidi and Rolland Baker’s Iris Ministries and or church’s own Harvest International Ministry.

    Now, in 2009, we see the convergence of all five of these restored offices coming together and being expressed through the Body of Christ in His followers the saints.

    When you know how the Revival Alliance was formed, all of these interconnections and shared purposes between the Bakers, the Revival Alliance and Wagner’s ministries are not a surprise. Che Anh tells the story often of how Heidi Baker received a prophetic word from the prophet Bob Jones calling for an alliance of major apostolic networks. The coming together of these various networks was widely heralded in 2008 in mainstream charismatic media, one of which emphasized the global significance of the alliance under the headline “Revivalists Aim to Spark Worldwide Revival”.

    TODD BENTLEY AND THE REVIVAL ALLIANCE

    One of the immediate “fruits” of this worldwide revival was in Lakeland, Florida. It is here that the prophetic certainty of the Revival Alliance and its narrative of a new day for Christianity took on the appearance of profound scandal. In a speech that must be seen to be fully appreciated, Che Anh spoke in Lakeland with Todd Bentley. With great conviction the two of them explained that the prophetic word from Heidi Baker via Bob Jones was part of a tremendous, supernatural confirmation that both fulfilled the work of the Toronto Blessing and helped launch a so-called “third wave” of the Holy Spirit. The timing of this proud pronouncement could not have been any worse for Anh and the Revival Alliance. Anyone who knows what comes next can understand why the Bakers would be particularly ashamed to admit and would actively hide from their participation in apostolic ideology and practice. Under all of the “prophetic” power and “apostolic” zeal that the Revival Alliance could muster they engaged in an elaborate, “sacred” commissioning service of Todd Bentley as an apostle. In this dramatic service, prophets and apostles from around the world gathered around Todd in a sign of unity and power in this new apostolic age. C. Peter Wagner, together with other representatives of the most extreme forms of New Apostolic Reformation fervor, spoke words of prophecy and anointing over this man with the certainty that the miracles of Lakeland were part of the confirmation that Bentley was to be commissioned as an extraordinary apostle. Given the deep connection between Baker’s Revival Alliance and the Todd Bentley scandal it is not surprising that Bentley felt compelled to single out the Revival Alliance for apology when the true scope of his problems became evident. But the damage was done. The questions were being asked. The accountability was being demanded. Even within those elements of the charismatic movement that have most welcomed the notion that apostles and prophets are being restored in a direct act of God, there was pause for reflection and concern. A man whose miracles were seen as a vital part of the evidence of his anointing into this new, fast-growing reordering of the church around apostolic leadership was quickly seen as a seriously immature Christian in spite of the rush to anoint him an apostle.

    C. Peter Wagner was shaken by this incident. By his own telling he had been involved in the Lakeland Outpouring, as he and others call it, from the earliest stages. It is clear from the narrative that the working relationship between Wagner’s group of apostles, at that time just the ICA, and Baker’s Revival Alliance was as strong as critics have suggested. Given Che Anh’s participation in both groups, this should not be a surprise, but it must be emphasized because some continue to hold to an illusion that an invisible wall exists between Wagner’s extremism and Baker. Wagner’s account speaks matter-of-factly of how his ICA worked with the Revival Alliance throughout the outpouring and into the immediate aftermath from Bentley’s scandal. Writing on the day that the scandal hit the news, Wagner recounted the history of the Outpouring before and in the immediate wake of Bentley’s fall.

    Lakeland Outpouring I, in which Todd Bentley was the main figure, is now history. Lakeland Outpouring II, in which Stephen Strader of Ignited Church is the main figure, has begun. The Outpouring started in a local church, went to a tent, and now is back in the local church. My suggestion is that we no longer use the term “Lakeland Outpouring” but rather distinguish between Lakeland I and Lakeland II because they are very different… In the Lakeland I case, I am elated at the way things are turning out. The Revival Alliance with whom Todd was aligned on June 23 has kicked into action with a vengeance. Ché Ahn and Bill Johnson, like me, were overseas when things broke, but John Arnott stepped up to the plate and moved in apostolically. It has since become clear that Todd’s Fresh Fire Board could not have handled the situation, Stephen Strader and Ignited Church could not, nor could any of his other close friends. Only the Revival Alliance could.

    Wagner’s explanation of his and the Revival Alliance’s participation in the commissioning service is equally candid and equally clear about his active role in it.

    Previous to around the middle of June, my interest in Lakeland was about a 2 on a scale of 1-10. Then I got a call from Stephen Strader, the host pastor who was a member of ICA, which I lead, with a passionate appeal for apostolic intervention because chaos and confusion had begin to invade the Outpouring I. Toward the end of the hour we were talking, I received one of my infrequent direct words from God: “Alignment!” Just one word, but I knew I had a divine command and responsibility.
    Once I knew that God had assigned me to initiate some sort of apostolic intervention at Stephen’s side, I began praying and consulting with close colleagues. In less than two days I discovered that Todd Bentley had no formal, established apostolic alignment. I asked God how I should proceed, especially since I had no inclination to attempt an apostle-evangelist approach and expect that Bentley would submit to or even listen to what I had to say if I made an appointment with him in Lakeland. I felt that proper apostolic protocol would be for me to deal with one or more peer-level apostles to whom Todd had aligned apostolically. Since as yet he had no such alignment, I began asking God how such an alignment might come about. He directed me to my close friend, Ché Ahn, who himself is apostolically aligned with me and who also had been close to Bentley for years. Ché agreed that the best apostolic protocol would be for Todd to align with the Revival Alliance if he were willing. Ché called him and Bentley agreed to submit publicly to the Revival Alliance.
    This scandal afforded the Bakers an opportunity, a very public opportunity, to make clear whatever differences they had with C. Peter Wagner and his conception of the New Apostolic Reformation. It would have been perfectly understandable for them to have done so. But in the years since this scandal highlighted for anyone interested the connections between Wagner’s work and Baker’s, not much has changed institutionally to warrant anything like the assessment the Bakers provided Stafford. Everything I have written above about the membership of the Revival Alliance, Wagner’s ICA and the Wagner Leadership Institute is based on up to the date material. Che Anh remains a bridge figure between the two groups, the Revival Alliance remains a uniting group between the various factions and the Wagner Leadership Institute is available for those who want to be trained by figures from both groups. The Arnott’s ministry continues to advertise its television ministry with C. Peter Wagner’s picture on the web page and its conference page continues to feature Heidi Baker as an upcoming speaker. Videos of Heidi Baker advertising the next big event on the movement’s calendar are available for anyone to see. While the symbiotic relationship between these major individuals and institutions in the New Apostolic Reformation has not changed, what has changed, remarkably, is that a central figure in this movement is being lauded in a cover story in the most significant Christian magazine in America. Its sanitized history of Mama Heidi’s active participation in a movement that most would consider outside the mainstream of evangelical conviction is a sad day in the proud history of Christianity Today. That magazine has been a part of my journey for 25 years. I am proud to be published in the pages of its sister publication, Books & Culture. But I am troubled and disappointed. I understand those who call for this story to be corrected and I hope those with access to the Bakers will share my determination to set the record straight.

  2. SO – theres another so called proof of mirtacles being done in the presetn age that has been shown to be a crock of shit. And for a full half hour I was willing to be shown to be wrong…but I wasn’t. Over to you Steve.

  3. Greg, it seems as though you are looking for a sign.The only thing you will end up with is a blindfold and earmuffs. The bible says, only believe.

  4. I already believe EYES. I’m looking for reaso s to believe like Steve does…and I can’t do d a single one!

  5. I wasn’t going to post here any more, but Greg’s rants about miracles has forced me to come “out of retirement” (can four days be classed as “retirement”?). [deleted by editor for being stupid and not adding anything of value to the discussion on this thread]…I will share these situations anyway in the hope that someone who isn’t close-minded will read them and see that miracles still occur today.

    A friend of mine, a former Muslim, was injured badly in an accident and was completely paralysed from the neck down. She was married to a Christian man who had been praying for her salvation. She awoke one night to see Jesus at the end of her bed. He told her that He was the way, the truth and the life, and that she was to follow him. That night she dedicated her life to Jesus, and within a few weeks was walking and had no more need for her wheelchair. She is now ministering to the poor in India. Explain that one you deniers.

    Another friend of mine recently had unbearable pain from a tooth that was shown in x-rays to be pushing several of her other teeth out of the way. The pain completely disappeared after our pastor prayed for her. She had been booked in to have the tooth removed, but because she was no longer in pain she postponed the procedure so she could visit family overseas. While overseas she went to her mother’s dentist for a check up. When that dentist x-rayed her teeth, the offending tooth was NO LONGER THERE! It had gone! Explain that one you deniers.

    A lady in my church was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Our pastor prayed for her, and the diabetes disappeared. Her doctor could not explain what happened, and when she told him that God had healed her he told her that he didn’t believe in God but because of what happened with this women maybe he should begin to! Explain that you deniers.

  6. Diabetes type Ii can go into remission…no miracle there. The other two examples haven’t come with enough information…the tooth one, meh…maybe, probably not. The paralysis one sounds on the face of it very interesting…although people have come back from disability before, this sounds more like a miracle.

    Now, name and contact details please for verification

  7. @Greg

    “Diabetes type Ii can go into remission…no miracle there.”

    Overnight? No. A miracle.

    “the tooth one, meh…maybe, probably not.”

    So, no explanation then? A miracle.

    “Now, name and contact details please for verification”

    Absolutely no way. Even in the face of undeniable evidence people like you will still not believe, so I simply refuse to pander to your unbelief. It happened and my word is enough.

  8. Oh I didn’t realise that lack of evidence was deemed enough evidence to call something a miracle! In that case miracles happen all the time!

  9. Absolutely no way. Even in the face of undeniable evidence people like you will still not believe, so I simply refuse to pander to your unbelief. It happened and my word is enough.

    Of course I knew you wouldn’t be forthcoming…hey, Steve…I’m a prophet! Unfortunately you have been deceptive on this blog in the past and therefore, no, your word is not good enough. I’ll accept medical records, photos etc, however if we’re to accept it you’ll have to prove it.

  10. @Greg

    I will not give you my friends names. [deleted by editor for being stupid and not adding anything of value to the discussion on this thread] I will not tell you their details.

  11. @Greg
    [deleted by editor for being stupid and not adding anything of value to the discussion on this thread]

  12. @Steve

    If you also have admin rights I suggest that you reinstate those posts that Greg has deemed to be deletable, or if you can revoke his admin rights.

  13. [deleted by editor for being stupid and not adding anything of value to the discussion on this thread]

  14. Keep your posts on thread and not abiding me or calling me names and all will be well Roundhouse…just stick to the discussion like an adult.

  15. It looks like I am the only adult here at the moment. Seriously, anyone stumbling across this blog will see your attempts at censorship and will rightly deduce what kind of person you are

  16. btw I have Type 2 Diabetes.

    Blood sugars go up and down according to sugar intake and amount of weightloss.

    It can clearly be controlled through weightloss. Something about the fat inhibiting the function of the pancreas.

  17. “It looks like I am the only adult…”

    No you’re just a little kid having a sook and a tantrum. You know the kid in the shopping centre who can’t get his own way.

    Of course if you had real evidence it would speak for itself.

  18. Greg, will you be similarly censoring the abusive comments you’ve made on other threads? Like calling people wankers, dickheads and the like? Censorship’s OK but needs to be applied everyone consistently.

  19. People say that miracles are things that can be explained scientifically. As the years pass man continues to add to his scientific meanings, even on one particular topic.Take a science book for example, in about five years it may be out of date. Man cannot even give an entire explanation on one particular subject, he just keeps adding more explanatory notes, to which there is no end.

    Ecclesiastes 11:5

    As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

    Ecclesiastes 8:17

    then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.

    Isaiah 40:28

    Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

  20. Steve you have the ability to moderate your posts…if there is something there you don’t like feel free to moderate. In the meantime rest assured that from herein any, and I do mean any, abuse (save for that deemed necessary in the defense of logic and freedom by myself, bones, and or wazza) will be sent to the lake of fire where it’s worm never dies and the smoke of its torment rises forever! (Please read between the lines for the interpretation)

  21. Stephen King’s explanation: Every time you hit the (Del) key you unleash a tiny monster inside the cursor, who tears the poor unsuspecting characters to shreds, drinks their blood, then eats them, bones and all. Hah, hah, hah!

  22. Greg,
    In the meantime rest assured that from herein any, and I do mean any, abuse (save for that deemed necessary in the defense of logic and freedom by myself, bones, and or wazza) will be sent to the lake of fire where it’s worm never dies and the smoke of its torment rises forever! (Please read between the lines for the interpretation)

    Have fun with that. I’ll give you a month before you get tired of it. Either that or you’ll eradicate dissent and create a monotonous liberal anti-pentecostal blog which will bury itself in its own prejudice.

    Personally I’ll leave it alone since it is a huge undertaking to have to moderate everything.

    Call me lazy, but I find it simpler to let threads moderate themselves out between the contributors, and only jump in if there is something particularly unsavoury or distracting continuing on a regular basis, preferring people to regulate themselves rather than be censored.

    One reason for this is the inability of any of us to make a judgment for or against another purely based on our own level of criticism or forbearance, because we are all driven by own understanding, causes, and opinions.

    I would say that you are possibly judging Roundhouse and Ian according to your own preconceptions of what acceptable commentary is.

    This is borne out by your assertion that Bones, wazza and yourself have the only handle on logic and freedom. You are already condemned by your own preconceived ideas, which h means you are unable to make a fair or rational judgment about anyone who has a contrary view to this trio.

    I find it particularly insensitive and inconsiderate of you to determine that someone’s revealed hurt at your condemning censorship is in any way irrelevant, especially in view of the way in which you consider it quite appropriate to use strong language to express your own distaste when you are called out or challenged for you own behaviour.

    Which is why I asked if you would be applying the same censorship to your own moments of overwrought passion.

  23. Which is why I asked if you would be applying the same censorship to your own moments of overwrought passion.

    No, I think I’ll continue to ad lib and allow myself a great deal of latitude whilst at the same time coming down hard on any and dissident comment. I might just change my name to Hosni the Explorer!

    Steve, I agree with you entirely I am not one for cencorship – in these cases both Roundhouse and Ian went straight for me in quite specific adn asty ways and paid not one iota of attention to the issue – you will notice that material that actually addressed the issue remained intact and undefiled. I am over (having encountered it for several years now) having people call my faith into question – that is not up for discussion here, only the isues are – not wether a particualr pserson is saved or not.

    While we’re at it – any posts that mention people who used to be commenters or even posters here at signposts will be removed (you know which person I am talking about and why they will come down). We will stick to the issues on this blog and not attack each other…?

  24. reg,
    While we’re at it – any posts that mention people who used to be commenters or even posters here at signposts will be removed (you know which person I am talking about and why they will come down). We will stick to the issues on this blog and not attack each other…?

    That’s sensible rule if the person is inactive in the blogosphere, and has expressed that they are going away for a while, but if they have a blog which is in the public domain and attacks any church or movement we are aware of, we should be allowed to comment on their criticisms.

    The person you are referring to is extremely active in his criticism of people also mentioned here, including recycling many pages of material first aired on this channel. That makes them fair game, really.

  25. Greg,
    (you know which person I am talking about and why they will come down).

    I think I know the person, but I don’t know why. Can you explain, please?

    I love this lawmaking thing. It is fun challenging rules and redefining them, testing their appropriateness and finding loopholes to exploit. It’s human nature to challenge the status quo, after all.

    Grace is so much simpler!

  26. I think, in the spirit of this new legal institution we are creating, I will make a rule that anyone saying anything bad about a leader, person or church from a certain movement (you know which I’m talking about) will be automatically shut down.

    But, to be fair, I think we should, in view of the certain movement being of a certain faith persuasion, censor any commentary which is negative towards that said type of church or ministry.

    I also think this should be done retrospectively, which means that every post by the person Greg said we couldn’t mention which is negative towards the group I have mentioned here, should be deleted from this forum forthwith.

  27. Wagner seems to get wackier the older he gets.

    He’s come a long way from the Church Growth days.

    Sometimes I think people take themselves way too seriously. Although I realize self-marketing is important.

    I realize the names mentioned in the above article are supposed to be super-dooper apostolic/prophetic etc, but they don’t really seem to say much that’s really that great.

    And they talk about what’s going to happen but never get the really big things right anyway. It’s like reading the years prognostications from the psychics in WOmans days.

    I see a shaking… and maybe a development in the royal family.

    It’s like me saying that I really feel The Lord showing me that there would be turmoil on signposts2, and there would be some hurts.

    By the way, The Lord is showing me that one of you here has been in disagreement and annoyed by something that someone has said. Actually, now it’s clearer. Yeah I see someone banes…no Bines.. well some name like that….does that mean anything to anyone here? Yeah, well, i kind o like feel that you’ve disagreed with someone called P no R… wait Q. And I’m just getting now that what you need to realize is…..”You were wrong. Q is always right” And when you accept that, I see that theres going to be like a supernatural alignment in your life. And its like the water is going to recede. I see floods that have come near you.

    Ok, back to reality. I remember some prophet guy being very honest about his mistakes. One day he talked to a couple and put their hands together and talked about how God would work in their marriage…..only to find they both married to other people.

    Having said that, I believe gifts are for today. I believe healings and miracles are possible and we should pray for the sick.

    I just think that truth is important. People are healed or not. And because a person runs a big meeting doesn’t mean he deserves to live in a house the size of the Whitehouse.

    Put it this way. If I got cancer tomorrow I’ll be praying. I’ll go to the doc too of course. But I’ll be praying and might even get get Benny Hinn or Steve Ryder or Ian Williams to lay hands on me.

    I won’t make a big offering to sow a seed though. That is totally unbiblical. And just silly.

  28. This is a bit off the topic – but relevant to how we deal with people.

    I’m a big fan of Victor Frankl. What do you guys think of this quote.

    “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.”

    Made me think recently.

  29. Jesus rebuked the Jews for seeking a sign when they missed the fact that He was already in their midst.

    I have to ask why the Church would need to see a sign when it is called to produce the signs of God.

    Signs are for unbelievers. Miracles happen, but I don’t think we see them as we ought because we do not fully believe they are available to us.

    Western Christians, being Greek in logic, always have to analyse everything to death. They kill faith with their proof tests.

    I have seen healings, deliverances and witnessed very strongly accurate words of knowledge and wisdom, which testify to the presence of the Spirit in the Church today.

    Greg will ask for proof. We have medically documented evidence for some of the people who have been healed, albeit in their own possession, and of the practitioners who ratified them, but you will have to take my word for that. If you don’t it is no loss to me. Or God!

    Most of the things I have witnessed which testify to God’s continuing goodness do not carry medical or scientific reports for various reasons. They simply happened, and the only evidence is that of the people whose lives were changed, who will swear on their own lives they were set free, and who remain liberated from disease, sickness, pain or ailment.

    But I have to say there are fewer noticeable healings amongst people of European stock because they set such a high store on scientific or medical cures, which is fine, and, if that is the way we can be relieved of pain and suffering it is the best thing for us. However we are healed it is by God’s provision, whether medical or by the Word and Spirit.

    But the unbelief of the masses can never be evidence that God will not heal, or that the gifts and manifestations are, or could be, available to us if we will only believe, as Jesus said to Jairus as they moved through the crowd to his daughter.

    But miracles! They come from God. They are not necessarily healing, but they do point to His intervention. the best way to see them is to trust God and take Him at His Word.

  30. The reason I say you’ll have to take my word for evidence is that I am not here to prove God’s miracle power to you. That is for you to decide and approach. He doesn’t call you to try to believe if His Word is true, or try to work things out with your finite mind, but to step out and put God’s promises into practice.

  31. Not so irrelevant maybe. Actually the reason I thought of the Victor Frankl quote was because of the youtube Steve posted of the guy who can”t be named. I felt sorry for him and was disappointed that Steve did that. But, then in Steve’s position I can understand.

    It really is a pity that Christians can’t relate better.
    A lot of hurt people running around these days.

  32. Re miracles etc.

    You’ll find that there are very few real hard-nosed cynics.

    If someone said that they went to hear the Dalai Lama speak and went he shook hands afterwards, he was healed of something, you’d probably find lots of people would say “Wow, cool”

    I find the people who are the most anti-charismatic and chasing after healing ministries are Christians who hold to the opposite theology.

    As for cessation – I don’t think someone who was given a bible and read the NT for the first time would conclude that gifts and healings can’t be expected.

  33. Q,
    The irony is that FL used to be the guy who could not be named! Still is at those other sites! Hilarious!

    By the way, as I have said, I love the guy who can’t be named and would welcome the opportunity to discuss issues with him here, since I am unable (tongue in cheek) to comment there!

  34. Q,
    The irony is that FL used to be the guy who could not be named! Still is at those other sites! Hilarious!

    I was thinking just that exact same thing the other day.

    The reason I’m asking for he who we will not name to not be named is just out of courtesy to a request from him. He has asked me to take down that video (his sister is in it as well apparently), however I won’t take down the post unless you agree to that being done Steve. As I said to him when he made the request – the video is freely available on youtube…

    however it appears that there is a concern that his being named (and sometimes quite incorrectly) as having been a particualr poster on any site has caused him isues in his employment. the moment that our interactions in this world start to affect our lives in the real world I think things have gone too far.

    I ask you Steve to take it down yourself (I believe you have that power).

    And can you please not name him or link to things about him from this site? I understand your right to link and comment and your point is entirely valid – however as a point of courtesy and charity, can we do this for him?

  35. @Greg

    Why should this site extend a courtesy to that fellow when he blatantly does the exact same things on his own site? He is a hypocrite of the highest order. He should suck it up. If it’s ok for him to denigrate anyone he wishes to, why can he not be denigrated elsewhere? Is it one rule for him and another for the rest? If he desires to be protected from stuff like that, then he should be extending the same grace to those he accuses, defames and denigrates every day.

    On another note, Greg’s censorship of my posts was way over the top and unnecessary. I never abused or denigrated him. I called him out on some things, and I may have also said that he was making himself look stupid, but compared to the foul language that he and Bones use here on a daily basis it was not anywhere near censorship worthy. And, they were mostly related to the discussion. Greg just didn’t like what I was saying. Its as simple as that. If you go through previous discussions here you will find many posts that are off topic, yet they still remain. Will Greg now delete every post that is off topic, or only ones from those posters he doesn’t like?

  36. Why should this site extend a courtesy to that fellow when he blatantly does the exact same things on his own site?

    Because we are better than that?

    You called me vindictive (just one of the things you called me) and you feel that is not abuse or denigration? hmmm, ok

  37. @Greg

    If you set a rule you must be consistent. Everyone here at some point uses a negative term towards someone on this blog. You and Bones do it constantly. Even Steve has used abusive words, as has Q. None of us are blameless, yet you are censoring me for doing the exact same thing as everyone else. Either censor everyone, or censor no one.

  38. @Greg

    “Because we are better than that?”

    Really?!

    That fellow has sown a great amount of hatred towards C3, and continues to do it day in, day out. He is a big man when he can remain anonymous, but look at him cry like a baby when his name is publicised. He takes enormous pleasure in befouling the names of many, many good people in the C3 movement, and allows libellous and defamatory comments to remain on his blog for months. He should only be given the courtesy of removing his details here if he does the same to the videos, blog posts and comments on his site.

  39. You ask above why this site should extend a courtesy to another Christian, yet on another thread you said this:

    @Greg

    “take it into the real world and that’s a totally different kettle of fish.”

    On this both you and I agree. As I said, it’s not in me to do anything like that. From what I understand, the bounds of anonymity were broken with the previous administrator of this blog and he had to leave. I went back into the archives and read all of the posts in that particular thread, and its was all quite scary. You can think that you are free to post whatever you like, yet, sometimes it can all come crashing down like it did for [Deleted by editor for legal reasons]. So, as much as I was shocked to read your admission, none of that is worth repeating for you what [Deleted by editor for legal reasons]went through.

    Do you retract that comment now?

    Roundhouse – I am not bothered going through all the comments and deleting personal attacks – howerver from hereon in any pesonal attacks on my posts made agaisnt anyone by anyone will be deleted by me. Any personal attacks against me on any thread on this site posted by anyone will be deleted (I leave it up to individual thread posters to delete other personal attacks if they so desire). Ans there you avhe the new playing field…if you draw may attention to anything I say that is offensive or an attack of anyone personally I will delete it…if in fact it is an attack.

  40. @Greg

    “Do you retract that comment now?”

    No. I wrote that to and about you. But there is a huge difference between you and him. You don’t spend every waking moment trying to destroy an entire movement of good people and drag the good name of it’s leaders through the mud. You don’t post wildly defamatory and libellous drivel with the sole aim of making the subject of the post look as bad as humanly possible. Whilst I disagree with almost everything you post here, you are nowhere near the level of this individual, and I believe you will never even come close to the stuff he has dedicated his life to. So, in your case, and in fact everyone here, none of it this ever need apply. But in this fellow’s case, and due to the fact that his name is well known by the very organisation he seeks to destroy, means that he is fair game. He has placed himself in the crosshairs, so to speak. Of course it is entirely up to the admins of this site whether they remove his references here, but I think you should think long and hard about it.

    “if you draw may attention to anything I say that is offensive or an attack of anyone personally I will delete it”

    I can live with that. The truth is, as much as I really want to leave this place and never come back, I also don’t want to leave, because, believe it or not, I learn something new every day. I learn a great deal from all of you, even Bones. In my 20 years as a believer I have attended Baptist, Anglican and Pentecostal churches, so my foundation is broad in a sense, but it was not until I came here that I had the chance to hear of the “left” or liberal side of Christianity. It is a philosophy that I basically reject, as is evidenced by my exasperation in many of my comments, but my own beliefs are constantly challenged by the stuff here. So, I will try really hard to moderate my own language, but it has to be a two way street.

  41. I can live with that.

    Excellent – so can I.

    I value the interaction with you and Steve as well for exactly t same reasons – I mean really you are the anti-chriost, we all know that, but I am hopeful that through Bones, Wazza and myself expressing our love and respect for you and your wildly insane beliefs, that you will one day be born again!

  42. “Why should this site extend a courtesy to that fellow when he blatantly does the exact same things on his own site?

    Because we are better than that?”

    I think that is majorly cool. And I was personally disappointed by the video and the comment underneath it.

    If a person asks for a video to be removed, then granting that request just may do some good in the relationship.

    But, I’ve been called naive before too.

  43. “through Bones, Wazza and myself expressing our love and respect for you and your wildly insane beliefs, that you will one day be born again!”

    Great stuff!

  44. “btw we are aware that calling someone a god despiser is more offensive than being called a dickhead?”

    Depends on which circles you mix in.

  45. @bones -I’ve obviously got a thing about bad language. Probably too old school. I also detest Christians getting tattoos.

    But, I’ve decided that everyone has a different opinion, so I won’t be making any comments about language. I’ll just arbitrarily reinterpret them as “fiddlesticks” and stuff like that. 🙂

  46. Yeah Greg I know! lol

    I also wish I was living back in the 1950’s at times too.

    Just bein honest. Old fashioned parents are to blame.

    And yes, I imagine you have more tattoos than a Japanese yakuza.

    No probs. 🙂

  47. Bones, i prefer watching christian pole dancing.

    …..actually, I have a confession. I just watched a video of Michelle Jenneke doing her warmup routine on youtube.

    Twice! lol

    so, is that sin? Really, I love the music and her big ….smile!

    I must be getting old…

  48. Wazza put up the youtube with the sister. If he’s OK with it I’ll see what can do, but I don’t have time right now. I’ll tackle it when I get home from work.

  49. “The reason I’m asking for he who we will not name to not be named is just out of courtesy to a request from him.”

    Seriously how long has this dude been gone from here.

    It was well before my time.

    Some people need to get on with life.

    Do you really think there won’t be a blog out there criticising your version of Christianity?

    Welcome to the internet.

  50. I’m OK with taking down the video. I didnt realise that person wanted to maintain anonymity on this blog.

    I liked his earlier stuff better anyway, he’s gotten far too commercial.

  51. But Bones if there were a website criticizing the church you go to that you LIKED and your son or good friend was the head pastor and had his sermons analyzed and torn apart, and said to be a heretic…etc you may not be too happy.

    I tend to think that any publicity is good publicity though. I don’t think an anti-church website is going to really have much effect.

    The only possible effect it will have is on members who are having doubts. In the end the general public doesn’t read specific anti-church sites whether against Catholics or Mormons.

  52. “I tend to think that any publicity is good publicity though.”

    Would you say that about Group Sects?

    Lance thinks his site is almost a form of ministry, shaming churches to do the right thing.

    And all churches meet his wrath.

    C3Watch is really an extension of the many reformed antiprosperity sites.

    The silly thing is in the grand scheme of things C3 is irrelevant to most Christians around the world. There’s no C3 within 100s of kms from me.

  53. @Bones. I don’t think sites like his do as much damage as they think. Obviously when there’s bad news is gets amplified, but as people read more they realize that the person is completely antagonistic and after a while see that the person is anti just about everything.

    So every church gets hit by group sects. Even when an exmember does something.

    But in the end so much gets criticized.

    There was a time when Pringle or Houston showing a pic of them riding a motorbike was posted on signposts in a critical way. It will lead people after a while to say “So what? I like bikes too”.

    There are anti-prosperity sites on the web which list minister after minister until there’s almost nobody whose considered good. And even if they don’t get attacked for what they say, they get blacklisted because they spoke at the same conference as a “bad guy”

    So, if Benny Hinn AND Jack Hayford AND Ricke Warren AND Billy Graham …AND the Pope AND…etc.etc are wicked….it’s pretty obvious that the person comes across as hyper critical and maybe just plain nasty.

    As for C3…most people have never heard ot it. If someone were invited by a family member or a close friend that they think is great, they probably won’t look up C3Watch and decide not to go.

    They may tell the member what they read which gives the member the chance to talk about it. And heres the final point. After hearing so much bad about a church, then when you go and people seem nice and friendly and normal and people weren’t begged for money for hours, the C3 watch warnings will seem overboard.

    And then you get the curiosity effect. Some people may have only ever heard of Benny Hinn eg because of negative press, and then decide to go just to check it out for themselves if he comes to town.

    Then what happens? They see half the churches in town there singing How Great Thou Art and the huge choir – they might have a totally different impression.

    I could go on. I never knew who Joel Osteen was. Then I heard how he was leading America astray. Listen to one of his podcasts, and you come away thinking that it just wasn’t that bad.

    People on Signposts have slammed Brian Houston a lot – but Hillsong is still around and better than ever.

    In the end, many of the people running anti-whatever church websites seem to dislike just about everything.

    People don’t choose churches or religions usually by embarking on an internet study and comparing them.

    One more thing – if someone came to signposts on a link re a particular ministry and then stuck around reading comments, they’d probably conclude that Christianity and the Bible is just too hard to understand given that a group of people who all claim to know Greek and Aramaic and history etc all have different ideas.

  54. But one thing that you and some others may not realize about “prosperity churches”. Most of the people in Africa and Asia DO want to prosper and they DO believe that someone God or some power may be able to help them.

    Come to Asia and people go to temples all the time asking some kind of god for healing, babies, passing exams, finding a wife, prospering their business.

    It maybe heresy to some western Christians, but it isn”t anywhere else. On the contrary, tell people that as a Christian we can’t expect to see miracles, recover from sickness or get out of poverty,and they’ll say no thanks I”ll go to the Buddhist new religion.

    Which is probably why its the pentecostals that are growing IF there is any church growth.

    And here’s a hint for Greg. It’s okay to swear and it’s his right. I won’t ever criticize. But, it hurts his own position. There are lots of Christians who will stop listening to the criticism of a church or a position through being put off by the language of the one attacking.

    As for non-Christians, well they probably wouldn’t find signposts2 that interesting anyway.

  55. Bones,
    “The reason I’m asking for he who we will not name to not be named is just out of courtesy to a request from him.”

    Seriously how long has this dude been gone from here.

    It was well before my time.

    Some people need to get on with life.

    Do you really think there won’t be a blog out there criticising your version of Christianity?

    Welcome to the internet.

    1. First off that was Greg’s request.

    2. ‘That dude’s’ stuff is still featured exclusively on this blog, and has never gone away with him. Unless it is removed his writing, and therefore he is fair game. Only removing all of his posts would alleviate this. Until then his legacy remains intact, and has live commentary activated, which you have extensively written into, so the dude is not gone from here.

    3. What has your time to do with anything? It’s not about you.

    4. This is getting on with life.

    6. Do you think there won’t be a blog out there responding to the criticism?

    7. Thanks!

  56. Wazza, do you go to a church?

    Yes, I go to the local Anglican church – although I havent been for several weeks. Still recovering from the difficult time we went through with our daughter (she’s now getting better).

    Before that (5 years+) we went to several different Pentecostal churches, not any megachurches though.

  57. Great to hear about your daughter!!

    How do you like your church? Do they still talk about high and low Anglican churches?

  58. @Steve On point 2, maybe that’s a good solution? Take the video down and take down all his other contributions down too?

    Maybe Signposts could to a complete deletion periodically.
    New beginnings are great.

  59. Well a deletion might be drastic. But ending comments for some of the older posts would be a good start, especially those which attract spambots. The content on some of the threads is quite interesting, reveals some of the history (and hysteria) of the site, and is a reference pint for new commentary.

    Maybe later, cache some of the posts and delete them.

  60. The thing is that Bull is the only person able to do this, but he has dropped off the map, so we are not being regularly updated, although he may have done some work on the site a few weeks ago on request from Greg and myself.

    I’d like to see a refreshed header, and maybe even a new blog look. There are hundreds available, and it could encourage a fresh stimulus and direction away from the negativity into a more discussion oriented blog.

  61. I know we’ve moved on from the “you said I said” stuff, but I found this interesting transcript from last nights Senate Estimates hearing into the NBN:
    SIMON BIRMINGHAM: And that paragraph states: “Now that NBN Co has reached volume rollout it is impractical for NBN Co to provide ad hoc updates on financial and deployment metrics to a level of granularity not already provided for in public releases, parliamentary reporting processes and regular rollout information provided on our website for the use of access seekers.” …

    STEPHEN CONROY: I think if you actually took the time to do your own research instead of wasting taxpayers’ money you’d find almost everything that you were seeking – almost everything – is available online on NBN’s websites. All the construction, all of this sort of- it’s actually all there if you’re not too lazy to go and look for it….
    SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Senator Conroy, I listen to your diatribe in silence.

    BILL HEFFERNAN: Full of shit.

    SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Thank you.

    STEPHEN CONROY: You’ve obviously been drinking. Go somewhere else and annoy somebody else.

    BILL HEFFERNAN: Excuse me…

    STEPHEN CONROY: Go somewhere else.

    BILL HEFFERNAN: You can withdraw that if you like.

    (Senator Conroy laughs)

    I haven’t been bloody drinking.

    DOUG CAMERON: Senator Heffernan, will you withdraw that remark that said that Mr Quigley is brain dead?

    (Sound of Senator Heffernan speaking in the background)

    Will you withdraw, will you withdraw?…

    BILL HEFFERNAN: I think he should withdraw…

    DOUG CAMERON: You should withdraw- thanks. Senator Birmingham…

    BILL HEFFERNAN: But I’d like to hear him talk. Can you talk?

    MIKE QUIGLEY: Bill, please.

    DOUG CAMERON: Mr Quigley, do not engage with Senator Heffernan.

    MIKE QUIGLEY: Okay.

    DOUG CAMERON: It would be totally counterproductive…

    SIMON BIRMINGHAM: How many new customers has NBN Co signed up in Tasmania in the last 12 months?

    STEPHEN CONROY: Ah… I’m happy to take that on notice.

    (Laughter)

    SIMON BIRMINGHAM: You did take it on notice and we didn’t get a bloody answer!

    It’s not just us calling each other names. Even the pollies do it!

    An another note, I reckon a brand new reboot of Signposts would be a great thing. A fresh start would remove “he who cannot be named” legacy, not to mention those posts that all of us have regretted in the past

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