Dear Walk Show Family,
Dr. Stephen Crosby is regularly used of God to tune my spiritual DNA. In fact, I actually believe he has repeatedly “saved my bacon,” if not my life! Below you can check out how profound and timely his words are in his responses to some of my recent pressing questions of him:
“Bible Rigor Mortis?”–When complaining to Steve of my struggle and loneliness growing up in a church context that nullified the word of God for the sake of tradition, Steve shot back:
Tozer said, “You can find more carnal, unregenerate, self-centered characters in the church who have religion and are sensitive toward it than you can bury in the Grand Canyon.”
What is generally overlooked is that Fundamentalism, as it spread throughout the various denominations and non-denominational groups, fell victim to its own virtues. The Word died in the hands of its friends. Verbal inspiration, for instance (a doctrine which I have always held), soon became afflicted with rigor mortis. The voice of the prophet was silenced and the scribe captured the minds of the faithful. In large areas the religious imagination withered. An unofficial hierarchy decided what Christians were to believe. Not the Scriptures, but what the scribe thought the Scriptures meant became the Christian creed. Christian colleges, seminaries, Bible institutes, Bible conferences, popular Bible expositors all joined to promote the cult of textualism. The system of extreme Dispensationalism which was devised, relieved the Christian of repentance, obedience and cross-carrying in any other than the most formal sense. Whole sections of the New Testament were taken from the Church and disposed of after a rigid system of “dividing the word of truth.”
All this resulted in a religious mentality inimical to the true faith of Christ. A kind of cold mist settled over Fundamentalism . . . the basic doctrines were there, but the climate was just not favorable to the sweet fruits of the Spirit . . . the doctrines were sound but something vital was missing. The tree of correct doctrine was never allowed to blossom. The voice of the turtle [dove] was rarely heard in the land; instead, the parrot sat on his artificial perch and dutifully repeated what he had been taught and the whole emotional tone was somber and dull. . . . As the letter triumphed, the Spirit withdrew and textualism ruled supreme. It was the time of the believer’s Babylonian captivity. . . . The error of textualism is not doctrinal. It is far more subtle than that and much more difficult to discover, but its effects are just as deadly. Not its theological beliefs are at fault, but its assumptions.
It assumes for instance, that if we have the word for a thing we have the thing itself. If it is in the Bible, it is in us. If we have the doctrine, we have the experience. If something was true of Paul it is of necessity true of us because we accept Paul’s epistles as divinely inspired. The Bible tells us how to be saved, but textualism goes on to make it something which in the very nature of things it cannot do. Assurance of individual salvation is thus no more than a logical conclusion drawn from doctrinal premises, and the resultant experience wholly mental.
Then came the revolt. The human mind can endure textualism just so long before it seeks a way of escape. So, quietly and quite unaware that any revolt was taking place, the masses of Fundamentalism reacted, not from the teaching of the Bible but from the mental tyranny of the scribes.
“Bringing Down the Presence?”—When I was decrying the contemporary charismatic church’s fierce attempts to “bring down the presence of the Lord” through their various worship rituals—to the point of my threatening to start a cutlery business to supply the worshipers with paring knives with which to cut themselves so as to “bring down the fire from heaven” (cf., 1 Kings 18:18-38)—Steve referred me back to the central mystery of the gospel. . . “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). He emailed:
There are only six references to the presence of the Lord in the New Testament, and none of them have anything to do with praise and worship. Jesus said those who obey Him would enjoy His manifest presence (John 14:21). You cannot accomplish with 45-60+ minutes of cathartic charismatic calisthenics what is lacking in integrated relational living with God and humanity.
“Spiritual Homosexuals in Pulpit and Pew?”—I suggested to Steve that the leadership of what calls itself the American “church” appears to have about the spiritual potency of two homosexuals—defining “spiritual homosexuality” as “man turning the worship due God in upon himself.” When I spoke of the many manifestations of what might be called this “spirit of homosexuality” expressing itself in the leadership of the American church, Steve referred me back to the principle that “People get the kind of leaders they deserve”:
A spiritual homosexual is someone who wants the thrill of sexual intimacy (orgasmic worship services, intimacy with Jesus) with someone who is just like them. These folks hold ecstatic meetings with no conversions precisely because they all look, think, and act like . . . “Me”—without any of the implications and responsibilities of producing a new life.
“Why are We So Spiritually Impotent?”—When I opined to Steve about this spiritual sterility in what calls itself the American “church,” Steve explained:
Without the introduction of diverse spiritual DNA (people who are different in every way) into any group, we inevitably will produce sanctuaries full of spiritually inbred people . People who are so genetically deficient spiritually that they are not capable of being aware of their dysfunction.
“Where Has All the Money Gone for the Work of the Kingdom”—I shared with Steve that I had much insider information that could expose many a corrupt church leader, and I was wanting to know to what degree I should release this information. In one example among many, I asked Steve what I should say to Walk Show members who are wondering if or how they should respond to the questionable “prophecies” and financial doings of such ministries as that of the “Prophet Kim Clement.” To me, the speeches all sound the same–something like:
Obama’s going to do such-and-such by such-and-such date, and, oh, by the way, if he doesn’t do it, it’s because it’s really happening in the heavenlies and not necessarily here on earth [Ahem, especially if it doesn’t come true here on earth]. So, although my tantalizing prophecies and spiritual parlor tricks manifest enough power to entrap the simple, I suffer from this haunting fear that they lack spiritual authority. Alas, although all the smoke and mirrors may not help you in your daily battles against sin on the road of the cross, I still have good news for you! Just give to the prophet of God—by the way, that’s me—what it is that you lack the most—e.g., money—and God will bless you richly with what it is that we all want the most—e.g., money!
As to what I should do in response to these many, ongoing manifestations of the “Seed-Money Road Show” and its victims, Steve responded with:
That is a good question. . . I think part of the “dance” is learning who wants to [submit to the Lord’s authority], and who doesn’t, and ignoring those who don’t.
For me personally, I think I have come to the “let the blind lead the blind” and “forget Saul, go anoint David” state of mind on these things.
There is no bottom to the corruption. I think trying to shine light on corruption will ultimately be futile, but if shining light, lifting up Christ, is our only option, then it is: “Whosever will . . . “
It’s the invitation to the dance. If we make clear the invitation, then it is up to the Holy Spirit who comes and who doesn’t.
I think Jesus did not try to reform either the political or religious system of his day. However, when brought into direct contact with it/them . .. He certainly spoke the truth, confrontationally, but I doubt very much if he had intentions to reform either system, as much as to bring his kingdom to those within each and offer them a “way out,” so to speak, if they wanted one, by invitation . . . If not . . . He just seemed to . . . move on . . . .
So the best I can do, for me, is . . . ignore them—the Kim Clements of the world—unless I am providentially and circumstantially drawn into a circle of relationship and influence where I am forced by divine mandate, to have to deal with it.
Uncomfortably, the shepherding of our Walk Show audience, in Crosby’s words, “providentially and circumstantially drew me into a circle of relationship and influence where I was forced by divine mandate to have to deal with it!” That’s because religious charlatans are breezing into town and ripping off the body of Christ from the very assets they need in order to carry out the work of the kingdom in their very own lives and churches. In the past, I have usually prefaced my remarks with disclaimers like, “Some of the names are changed . . . to protect the guilty!” But, probably not for much longer, as too many of the sheep are still being bamboozled, fleeced and slaughtered, and, once again, “providentially and circumstantially I am being drawn into that circle of relationship and influence where I am being forced by divine mandate to deal with it.”
Thank you, Steve, for help with the new focus!
“Does God Want Us to Give Up Our Desires/Visions?”–In my most recent exchange with Steve, the underpinning question we were addressing was: “Because we can’t yet see how God is fulfilling the vision we thought He had placed in us, does that mean that we should ‘die to self’ by giving up on our very vision and desires?” Steve replied:
To me, it is not the end to our desire that God is after, but the end of our expectations of how it is to be realized.
I believe he knows our desire better than we do, and at the end of the day, our God-given (that is the key) desires, that are deeper than even our own awareness, will all be realized . . . He is the fulfiller of desire, not the eliminator.
However, he fulfills along the lines of death and resurrection. That which is resurrected bears no resemblance of that which is sown in death, even though the DNA is the same.
A seed does not look like a tomato. Even though it is. We sow a seed in death and get a tomato in harvest. The DNA is there, but the form (expression) is not the same.
“This Could Save Your Life!”—I probably get some gems of that sort from Steve every week or so! Sometimes when it would seem that the logic of the situation points to suicide, I always know that calling Steve or reading his stuff puts the gun back in the holster. Steve’s books, for example, are so deep that I’m certain that God uses them regularly to literally save lives in this disintegrating culture and its enculturated “church”. I have known many people, for example, who have been saved from a comatose existence in the pews of American churchianity, or from a bloody ejection (or “shepherd squeeze-out”) from what calls itself the American “church.” God has used Steve’s Silent Killers of Faith: Overcoming Legalism and Performance-Based Religion, to help them make the transition to a whole, healthy, resurrected life and ministry.
And, then there have been the many who have been saved from the “resurgent papacy” of many contemporary “apostolic movements,” via reading Steve’s incisive Authority, Accountability, and the Apostolic Movement.
So, when it comes to Steve Crosby’s influence in my life, it’s sorta like the little boy who declared, “I take a bath once a month . . . whether I need it or not!” I never turn down the opportunity to get that bath, and whenever it happens, I end up not even being able to find the soap in the dirty bath water!
If you would wish to have your spiritual DNA tuned more frequently (needless to say, it’s the Holy Spirit who does the tuning through people like Steve), you can reach Steve at drstevecrosby.wordpress.com or stevecrosby.org. You can get on his email list, get free downloads, and purchase his many helpful books and materials there.
Prayin’ and Pullin’ for and with you,