The Trouble With “Religion”
Yes, I think we have been conditioned away from the true spiritual understanding. I lay the blame at the feet of “the church.” The church was subverted very early when Rome saw that they were in decline and that Christianity was rising among the people. The Emperor Constantine had a supposed ‘vision’ of the cross in the sky. He then painted crosses on his army’s shields and marched them through a river. He said they were now baptized and went on to win a great battle. That was how he built up a false name called the Roman Catholic Church. In the mid-300s AD, they called the council of Nicea. All the Christian Bishops of the time were invited. The Bishops that wouldn’t go along with the narrative the Romans were pushing were slaughtered wholesale.
The Dark Ages actually started at that time. Although there were reformers that rose up, they were all put down until the time of Martin Luther. He had some light but not all. His greatest gift to the church was, “The just shall live by faith.” After his death, the Lutheran Church started slipping back toward Catholic traditions. God is faithful and other reformers came along.
The next big move of God came through John Wesley and the Methodists. John taught, among other things, that the believer, once purged of their sins, would go through a period of sanctification. The Holy Spirit working in their life to help keep them from further sin. The unfortunate side effect of that was to instill a cold formality into the church and a reliance on works.
The missionary age was born of this and it was a wonderful thing but there was something missing. The outworking of the Holy Spirit was born on Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906 or thereabouts. This is from memory. That ushered in the Pentecostal movement, out of which came the restoration of the gifts of the Spirit. Where the previous age went into cold formalism, the Pentecostal age went to various extremes of fanaticism.
Somewhere down the middle lies the truth. I believe God in His faithfulness sent a Word prophet to set it right by the name of William Branham. He was vindicated by numerous signs and wonders and a ministry that went around the world seven times. There have been, as in times past, fanaticism and false teaching that have followed his ministry. It seems to be part of the devil’s job to follow up the truth with lies. God will lead His children into the truth.
~~ Look for more stories to come from Walter Hageman.