This morning I was treated to a screenshot of a post from Kevin Dedmon Ministries. The highlighted portions seemed to be the main point of the post – if the church is on the cutting edge of cultural creativity, outsiders (the Queen of Shebas) will covet our (the church’s) wisdom. So says Kevin Dedmon.
Kevin Dedmon is a player at Bethel Redding, a graduate of Vanguard University (Pentecostal with roots going back to Azuza Street and false prophetess Heidi Baker one of the ‘distinguished’ alumni), and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM).
While cutting edge entertainment might draw in outsiders to a ‘church’ (but not necessarily Christ), Bethel is a hotbed of heretical teaching and not a genuine church. That makes Mr. Dedmon’s post irrelevant on its face.
Having said that, I found some of the 18 comments interesting, if not illustrative.
A couple of those comments recognized the veiled references to the 7-Mountain Mandate that teaches the erroneous notion that Christians are to ‘take over’ the major areas of culture. Some others were justifiably critical of the need to be creative geniuses for anyone to listen to the church. And as is quite usual on social media, a few very little sense at all.
And while the comments were correct in criticizing Mr. Dedmon (and by extension, Bethel, Redding) I couldn’t help but notice the claim that for us Christians to be invited to speak on news programs (have a voice in secular culture) we need to be as admired by the world as the most popular “musicians, scientists, business leaders and star athletes”. That seems to say that we need to be liked by the world to be listened to by the world.
It was then that I had what I called a ‘Johnny Cash moment’. If you ever listened to the song “Jesus Said”, you might know what I mean. Two passages of scripture flashed in my aging mind:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18 – 19)
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy.” (James 4:4)
The world might be drawn to our cutting-edge creativity but will it be drawn to Christ? Not according to Jesus:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)
“But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:44 & 65)
Genuine drawing to Christ for salvation is God’s work. Our part as believers is merely to lovingly share the gospel message that Christ died for the sins of men. God will open hearts to listen and pay attention (See Acts 16 and the story of Lydia). We need to follow the example of the Apostle Paul and “keep it simple”.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
We share the good news and God saves His people from their sins.
I did visit Kevin Dedmon’s FB page. I don’t recommend it. Just more similar posts, all of which were followed by lots of “Amens” from his deceived followers. It was also painful for this old guy because I was reminded of a decades old close friend who I believed to be a genuine Christian (we would pray together over the soldiers of our unit in Massachusetts). He has very close ties to Bethel and Bill Johnson, believing him to be a great man of God..