Preface by Israel Wayne: My ChristianWorldview.net site is a Christian Apologetics site, and I believe firmly in defending the faith, as affirmed by 1 Peter 3:15. However, for those of us who work in this field, we need to be reminded of the need to do this work with Spirit-led humility and and a Christ-like attitude. David Ravenhill puts it quite well in this guest editorial.
They say a bloodhound’s sense of smell is a thousand times greater than that of a human’s. This gives the bloodhound the uncanny ability to pick up a person’s scent days after the person has gone missing.Once the bloodhound finds his target he is rewarded by his handler for his efforts. The reward serves to encourage him to keep up the good work.
The same thing could be said for the spiritual bloodhounds that delight in finding and exposing heresies in the Body of Christ. These spiritual sleuths spend most of their time tracking down the latest errors and then seemingly delight in enjoying the praise they receive as their reward.
Now I’m not against exposing error –I’ve done my fair share of it over the years. What I am against, however, is the way in which it is so often done, as well as the motivation behind it. For some it has become their livelihood like the Bible Answer Man, while for others, they seem to delight in being the final authority on revival or some other chosen area of truth.
Some years ago I was invited to speak at a conference arranged by one of these ‘hounds’. Having never met the man before, I agreed to be one of the speakers. Little did I know that this man had been extremely critical of a personal friend of mine not to mention the revival that began under his ministry. When I learned that he had never set foot in any of these revival meetings and yet wrote as though he had firsthand knowledge of what had transpired, I declined his offer to speak.
Some weeks later I was contacted by this man’s father who politely asked why I had withdrawn from his son’s conference. When I gave him my reasons he agreed wholeheartedly with my decision. The father in one of his e-mails expressed to me his own concerns over his son’s attitude and wrote, ‘the tears are bouncing off the keyboard as I write’. I have no doubt that this godly father shared many of the concerns that his son shared. The difference between them however was significant – one wept while the other whipped. My father often said, ‘You have no right to whip before you weep’. Jesus wept over Jerusalem before He entered the Temple to cast out the money changers.
Jesus in His letter to the Church of Ephesus states, ‘I know…that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you have found them to be false.’
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan gives us these insightful words of wisdom as he comments on Jesus statement.
Listen to what he writes:
… Is it more than likely that their very opposition to false men and doctrine partook of the nature of lack of love? I would speak very cautiously at this point, for the Lord commended these things, and they were right, but I am quite sure that there may be right things done in a wrong spirit. I seldom find men strenuously fighting what they are pleased to call heterodox teaching, and in bitter language denouncing false doctrine, without being more afraid for the men denouncing than for the men denounced. There is an anger against impurity which is impure. There is a zeal for orthodoxy which is most unorthodox. There is a spirit that contends for faith which is in conflict with faith. If men have lost their first love, they will do more harm than good by their defense of the faith. Behind the denunciation of sin there must always be the tenderness of first love if that denunciation is not to become evil in its bitterness. Behind the zeal for truth, there must always be the spaciousness of first love if that zeal is not to become narrowed into hate. There have been men who have become so self-centered in a narrowness that they are pleased to designate as holding the truth, that the very principle for which they contend has been excluded from their life and service. All zeal for the Master that is not the outcome of love to Him is worthless…
For all those like myself who may relish picking up the scent of heresy, it’s time to ask the question, why? What I’m doing may be legitimate, but ‘why’ may be illegitimate. What if God was as hard on us as we have been on others? Remember James’ warning ‘ .…judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment’. ( James 2:13)
Let’s learn to weep before we whip!
Ravenhill was born in England in 1942. He graduated from Bethany Fellowship Bible College in Minneapolis where he met and married his wife Nancy. In their early years, David and Nancy served with David Wilkerson’s first Teen Challenge Center in New York City. Following that they worked with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) for six years which included two years in Port Moresby, Papua, New Guinea. From 1973-1988 David was on the pastoral team of one of New Zealand’s largest churches, the New Life Center in Christchurch. David & Nancy returned to the States in 1988. The following year they joined the senior leadership team of Kansas City Fellowship under the leadership of Mike Bickle.
From 1993 David served as the senior pastor of a thriving church in Gig Harbor, Washington. He resigned in 1997 to commence a full time itinerant ministry throughout the United States and overseas. David also taught in the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in Pensacola, Florida as well as maintaining a busy itinerant ministry. During and following their time in Pensacola David traveled with Evangelist Steve Hill and the Awake America Crusades.
David & Nancy have three grown daughters, two son in laws and seven grandchildren.
David has written five books published by Destiny Image.
The Ravenhills have recently relocated to Siloam Springs, Arkansas from where he continues his itinerant ministry.
Visit his blog here: http://davidravenhill.wordpress.com/
Visit his website here: http://www.davidravenhill.net/