In fear of the Lord, I am reluctant about publicly exposing anybody. That’s not to say that there is no place for exposure of other people’s sins. But I believe that a person must be undoubtedly compelled by the Lord to expose a sin for a purpose that is completely untied to selfish gain, malice, revenge, or any other questionable motive. I can’t say that I personally am able to fall into the category of exposing anyone with a clear conscience. My role, as a writer of the gospel, is to spread the gospel.
Again, I do realize that exposure of evil that could impact others should be called out on the carpet. In III John 9-10 addressing another saint, the apostle John made a reproachful reference to Diotrephes, a leader who loved status among people. Addressing Timothy, the apostle Paul made a brief reference to Alexander the coppersmith, who had wronged him with evil, according to II Timothy 4:14. But addressing churches (plural) in Galatia, he shared a mistake that Peter had made slighting his Gentile brothers, according to Galatians 2:11-21.
More recently, since the first apostles, there have been other men of God who have boldly addressed ungodly issues that plague today’s churches with distrust from unbelievers, scars upon believers, and most of all, judgment from the living God. If you don’t believe it, read the first three chapters of Revelation. It’s New Testament, written even under grace, not in alignment with our watered-down teachings of today. But It is His Word.
Leonard Ravenhill has rebuked believers of all positions and was not received as well as any Word-loving saint should have received him. Oh, some did. But most could not receive his messages because he cramped their self-serving, narcissistic styles. He passed away in 1994 at the age of 87. But his son, David, continues to preach today. Like those of his father, his messages – though soft-spoken in my opinion – present omitted parts of the Bible that challenge me to get past the offense I could take identifying my sins in the message and move toward repentance.
With the careful way we distribute the gospel today without trying to step on the toes that matter to us, is this as good as it gets? We’re afraid to challenge any evil practiced in the sight of the Lord because we, as mere believers, feel we have no right to. I’m not saying we should bang on the surface of a counter and shout our points about the Bible. I’m not saying approach authority with a pointing finger any more than I believe a child should do so toward an evil father. But as in the times when saints opened their mouths in opposition to the world’s popular beliefs and risked their very lives, we’ve reduced our voices to non-effectiveness. Understand that the kind of persecution earlier saints received due to their vocal spreading of the true gospel was seen as occurring outside the church. Today, so many churches are operating with ungodly practices to such an intense degree for the sake of human throne preservation. As a result, persecution and mass black-balling occurs among believers if anyone questions or challenges actions in comparison to God’s Word.
Certainly, an imbalance of constant rebukes should not be imposed on believers. We need the full message of the gospel (Matthew 4:4) And the full gospel is not widespread like propaganda and fame. This brings me to my long-existing burden that motivated me to read an eye-opening and concern-validating book.
Kermeshea Evans wrote the book entitled Going To Church To Catch Hell. It is her therapeutic account of her life with her family, who has excommunicated her from their high-profile, highly celebrated ministry and even from their entire family unit. The book kept my attention throughout an entire day. I read with laughter and with tears.
She explains her childhood with heartfelt memories of rejection, her parents’ misuse of her credit before she had reached her teen years, and distrust in church that was rooted in past malicious strife, directed at her family from evil church-goers with no regard for God’s Word. She explains her young adulthood with humor and heart-breaking revelations as she recounts the years she worked closely under her parents at their church. The final chapters in her book can bring tears to anyone who had never experienced any part of what she went through. It’s that disturbing. Rejection from family to cover up sinful secrets for the sake of high-profile appearances is how this book ended from an author who appears to be, among all the titles she had once held in the ministry, a fall guy.
This book is not like reading one from a Leonard Ravenhill or like hearing a Paul Washer. Kermeshea does not extend Biblical teaching in this book. It’s more of a journal from a woman setting the record straight to clear her name among fellow believers, Y’all. It’s clear that she’s also working through her feelings with what really seems to be a successful effort to forgive a family from whom she felt no forgiveness in return. But the account of events in the book reflect the warnings and rebukes of such prophets as the Ravenhills, Washer, Voddie Baucham, Zac Poonen, Sandeep Poonen, and Walter August.
The debate about Word of Faith movement may live on until God brings everything to a halt. But the experience of someone who lived in the center of this movement in Houston TX should motivate a reader to dig deeper in God’s Word and make a soul-searching evaluation – laying aside all pre-positioned beliefs that were not initially instilled by God. He is against being misrepresented. I believe this as a charismatic (in the sense of believing that the nine gifts of the Spirit are indeed still in operation among us believers today) and as a charismatic who is non-Word of Faith, still knowing God abundantly blesses a believer who abides in Him. (If we define “abundantly blessed” according to the Word, we will see that Paul as a prisoner was abundantly blessed as was Cornelius, the centurion.)
I do recommend that a mature Christian reads this book with the urgent perception of what many unbelievers are seeing from outside looking in and of what many angered churchgoers complain about as they refuse to ever attend church again. Read this book with the understanding that accountability omitted on earth is not escaping God’s attention. What is bypassed during preliminary, corrective discussions as Kermeshea recalls herself issuing, will lead to final judgment that can fume grave regret within the heart of a stubborn individual, positioned to believe he answers to no one but God. In a high position, it is easy to believe that a seemingly insignificant voice of plea to do God’s will should not have to be recognized with self-brokenness.
Because final judgment seems so far away, we tend to feel untouchable. This grave mindset exists among believers of all positions actually. God help us. May we be broken and repentant, seeking the face of our Lord. May we regard everyone with enough humility that we would cast down any urges to lift ourselves up in narcissism.
I have one reservation about this book that I’ve got to mention in fear of the Lord. In about two places, I think, Kermeshea quoted herself and her sister using a profane word. So, I caution all believers who could understandably become distracted.
My prayers are extended for Kermeshea and her entire family. My prayers are that she continually grows from this experience and present the gospel as one ready for persecution to a group whose ministry priorities reached the attention of skeptical unbelievers shamefully and remorselessly. I believe the Lord allowed every bit of what happened for the purpose of Kermeshea being called out from the darkness of that world. I believe when saints experience such hardships, it is opportunity to draw closer to the Lord, which she testifies of doing. But also, it could possibly be meant to prepare to meet those offenders in a different way – with a different outlook and attitude – spreading the gospel to them as if they were like unbelievers, completely unaware of salvation, according to Matthew 18:15-17. (If a person who offended us won’t take heed after being approached the way Jesus instructed, we are to treat that person like an unbeliever. That means lovingly minister salvation to them as if they were lost.)
Lanette Zavala, Author and Blogger