"First Love" Or "False Love?"
First Love Ministry
I pulled this mission statement off a revival website in our region today. You've probably seen one like it. It describes the vision of a particular prophetic intercessory minister for the native peoples in the area. Take a look at it and tell me what you see:
"...his heart is to see the indigenous peoples restored to dignity through an encounter with the Father's love."
If you are not sure what you see, please allow me to help.
This is an example of the amorphous gospel of passionism that has replaced the clarion gospel of the cross given to Paul at the founding of the church. True "First love," which is marked by surrender to the Spirit's conviction over one's sin at the realization of Christ's death, has been replaced by a false "love" marked by the quest to enjoy an unconditional spiritual experience ("encounter") that reaffirms the value of one's sinful human origins.
Take a closer look at the vision statement to see the meanings behind the words. Given that everyone is separated from God by sin, to what is it the indigenous peoples are to be "restored?" The answer in this vision statement is "to dignity." But what is "dignity" among the unredeemed? To them, what is the only known dignity to be restored? For the unredeemed, dignity is a euphemism for pride of natural heritage, that is, the "pride of life." And according to this statement, it is the "Father's Love" that is to restore the peoples to this pride.
Is that so? Well, that is understandable--but only if you know what is meant by the "Father's love" in the context of passionism.
You see, the true love of the Father is this: that He gave up His only son to a horrible death so that a bunch of wretches like us could be remade into His beautiful heavenly image through a process of conformity to His Spirit will. In the Father's true love, the wonderful experience of His love is the sweet "dessert" that comes as a reward of eating the "meat of His will" through the conformity process.
But in the context of passionism, the "dessert" of experiencing the Father's love is the main course, and that is all there is to eat, and it doesn't call anyone to conformity to anything. The passionist "love of the Father" is founded on experience ("encounter"), is built through experience, and its goal is more experience. (All one hears about is "the presence" and "the glory" and...and...and...) And the product of this "love" is a reaffirmation of people in their sins, immaturities and their proud humanistic cultures.
The Passionist presentation of the Father's love relays an image of the Father to lost men that ignores their perilous situation under his wrath ("he that believes not abides under the wrath of God.")--and it keeps true believers back from discipleship, locking them into an immature quest for selfish spiritual gratification ( "if we suffer with him, we shall be glorified together with him.")
Does that mean men are not "allowed to" experience the Father's warmth before they have unconditionally surrendered to Him? No. Not entirely. But it does mean that the Father does not shed his warmth upon anyone as its own undefined end. "The goodness of God leads to repentance." It does not just lead to more "goodness" or "dignity" or anything else--as Passionism preaches.
The warmth of the Father's love will not restore you to "dignity." But the truth of the Father's love will restore you to His image.
I know. Passionists say that that is what they "really mean." But if that is what they really meant, that is what they would really say! (If by "the Father's love" passionists really mean Christ's death on the cross, if by "first love" they really mean surrender to God, if by "dignity" they really mean the image of Christ, why don't they just say so??)
Folks, do you see the subtle half-truth nature of this thing being called "the Father's love?" Guard your hearts, and do not be deceived. Any message of "the love of the Father" that does not clearly define that love by the act of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary, by the call to surrender to Him to find salvation, or define human restoration in terms of Christ's image--is nothing else than "the love of the Father of Lies."
I rest my case.
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created November 5, 2009