03/29/15

Does God Hate Divorce?

Part 1 in the Series:

Lies I Learned in Church: Divorce

By Don Enevoldsen

Promised Land ClosedGod hates divorce!

I lived with the ominous implications of that statement from Malachi 2:16 for decades. You see, I am divorced. And worse, it happened when I was in the ministry.

At least I learned some things about the purity that is required for church leadership. For example, I learned that God forgives murderers and restores them to favor, but he hates divorced people and relegates them to eternal misery. Had I killed my spouse I would probably have remained as pastor.

03/22/15

Sexual Immorality Isn’t What You Think

Part 8 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

IMG_1679A couple of years after I started attending Living Word Bible Church, an incident occurred that would have been a sign to me of things to come—if I had known the details leading up to it. But I didn’t until more than a decade later.

The pastor’s assistant (I will call her simply M, for now) was having marital problems. Since the church was started on a word from God to build strong families, you would think this would be an ideal opportunity to put their calling into practice. And in a sense they did. Maureen Anderson spent time counseling M, at least for a while. But eventually she gave M definitive advice. Nothing was going to change and M needed to leave her husband.

03/8/15

Climbing the Social Ladder

Part 7 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

Asklepios

As I write this series, a multitude of memories have flooded my mind from the fifteen years I spent at Living Word Bible Church. So many experiences, which did not seem terribly important at the time, now present themselves as glaring examples of spiritual abuse that I could not even begin to recount all of them. In every case, the goal of the senior pastor was to secure his position of power and to keep people in their place, all under the guise of “building the kingdom.”

03/1/15

What is a Bed of Suffering?

Part 6 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

TricliniumLast week, we examined the background to the words of Jesus that Jezebel influenced people to eat food sacrificed to idols, and saw a connection between pagan offerings, which were then sold in the marketplace, and the religious overtones associated with various banquets at which that food might be consumed. There is another detail in the message to Thyatira that links Jezebel to the banquets of ancient Rome. Jesus said that he would “cast her on a bed of suffering.” (Revelation 2:22)

02/22/15

Food Sacrificed to Idols

Part 5 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

AltarOne of the primary criticisms of Jezebel given in Revelation was that she misled people into sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20) It’s no wonder the focus has been on the first of those two. Sex sells, after all, and not many people have to worry about temptation to idol worship in modern America.

02/15/15

Patty’s Story

Part 4 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

There is much more to say about the background to the church in Thyatira. Every part of the passage in Revelation 2:18-29 points to leadership that is self-entitled, ruthless enough to do anything to maintain their position of power, and convinced that God has their back and therefore justifies every one of their actions and decisions.

02/8/15

The Woman in the Window

Part 3 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

Astarte in WindowThe message to the church of Thyatira revolves around a character called “that woman Jezebel.” (Revelation 2:20) Since Revelation is an apocalyptic book, written in an apocalyptic style, which makes copious use of imagery and symbols, there is no good reason to assume this particular Jezebel was an actual person in the church. Such allusions to Old Testament characters are so consistently incorporated into the images of Revelation, it would be very unusual if the reference was not to the wife of King Ahab, whose life represented characteristics intended for the church to recognize.

02/1/15

Toleration and Intimidation

Part 2 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

See No EvilI returned from lunch as I did every day. In one motion, I dropped into my chair while tapping the space bar on my keyboard to awaken my computer from its lunchtime slumber. Then I leaned back and waited for the monitor screen to light up so I could resume typing on the manuscript that had occupied my attention all morning.

Except nothing happened. The screen stared back at me, completely blank, slumbering peacefully in spite of my attention.

01/24/15

A Jezebelian Kind of Thing

Part 1 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

I donJezebel Eye’t usually give much attention to personal prophecy. They are usually uplifting, encouraging words (usually), but so general in content that they don’t really mean much. “God will bless you.” “You will have the victory.” That sort of thing. Maybe they’re from God or maybe they are fellow believers wishing me well. Either way they’re nice to hear, and spoken at the right time, they are valuable. But I wouldn’t make any life-changing decisions on the basis of most of them.

01/18/15

Logos

CT Word Study-logos“Word of God” is a phrase used widely in evangelical circles as a synonym for “Bible,” though according to the Gospel of John, Jesus is the Word. In the Word of Faith churches I’ve been associated with (and to a slightly lesser degree in many other churches, as well), this has led to a peculiar interchange of “Bible” and “Jesus,” with only the vaguest and often superstitious notion of how they connect. In fact, the New Testament word for “Word” has a rich history and meaning.