The last thing I want to do is convince you of the things we teach here at Kiln of the Soul.
Every time I sit down at a computer to write, there is a constant refrain of warning to keep the door open for disbelief. We can explain as eloquently as we like, but awakening the hearts of humans is not in our hands. It’s a miracle that God alone can do. Yet in the typical paradoxical nature of truth, we still are taught to hold it forth as the demand of the gospel message that people shift over to a heart-led consciousness.
Part of the problem is that Christians have had 2000 years of practice at saying the right words when their hearts weren’t in it. Long after the early church ceased relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, we see the strongest statements that His power is absolutely necessary. So we ended up with the terms of genuine faith being used to express something other than genuine faith.
Do you believe that the Spirit of Christ can so invade a lost soul as to change that sinful nature? Can you trust the Lord to renovate, say, a pedophile so that he is no longer a threat to children? His Word says He can do that, but I’ve met literally thousands of church folks who simply cannot believe it. They pay tribute with their lips, but never make room for God, cannot bring themselves to let their children be in the same room with such a man.
It’s in part because they never test the spirits of people who profess the changing power of Christ. They never test the spirits because they have no idea how. They might have learned some mumbo-jumbo magic show stuff, but they have never learned to operate from the heart; they’ve never heard the voice of God speaking that way.
We were warned that any churches we form will be stuffed with folks like that. They know the words and think they understand what’s going on, but have never crossed over into the Spirit Realm. They have never tasted the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5). We are supposed to accommodate them, but only in the sense that we use our own taste of the heavenly gifts to discern who should be leading and who is just along for the ride. We keep on teaching the truth and pray for them to catch on, but only God can change them.
Some of you have enough experience with churches to recognize what I’m saying. It’s more than a balance between letting stray sheep in and checking to make sure they aren’t wolves hiding under a sheepskin. It’s recognizing that God can turn the wolves into sheep. It’s giving Him room to operate on people who really want it and need help shedding a lifetime of bad conditioning. The whole point is not efficiency and safety above all. A church is the place people gather to make spiritual growth possible, not to regiment the process.
In the process, we tolerate folks who, to all appearances, will never grow. As long as they aren’t an actual threat to shalom, we let them hang around because you never know when or how God is going to act in their lives. The church is much closer to an incubator than an army. But then, the battlefield is the individual soul, not the world around us.