If you were cynical towards a person or group, one of the signs would be an unwillingness, or deliberate inability, to grasp the intentions and meaning of their words.
If you were really contemptuous of them, you would write a concocted article based on your misplaced understanding of their true meaning and claim it was truly evil.
Over at chookwatch we see a supreme example of this with their response to a very simple comment by Mark Kelsey (pictured) as he announces a Women’s Conference put on by his church.
“Obviously ‘Every Woman’ is coming up in a couple of weeks time in ‘Every Woman’s Conference’. And ah- you can also- oh! We want you to register. Men, register for your women. Women, register for yourself and buy a ticket for someone else. And why don’t you- do that? Like the staff did, buy a ticket to someone who can’t afford to go. Who thinks that?
Who thinks there are women out there who want and need revival but maybe can’t afford it- so we can be that to them as well? – Which is great!”
Easy enough to understand. An encouragement for people to reach out to women who maybe can’t afford to register for the Women’s Conference by paying for them.
So here we have the classic mean-spirited cynic’s control tactic of taking one meaning and twisting it into another. They take the fleece and spin a yarn to create a coat of deception.
No one has said they want to purchase either revival or the gift of the Spirit. Any even-minded person would understand completely what is being said.
Mark, who is a very humble, pleasant man, and a good hearted Christian Pastor, is asking people to stand in for others and pay for registration so that women who can’t otherwise afford it can go to the meetings, which, typically for a Conference, have a set entry fee governed by the cost of the registration to ensure their budget is met.
Lecture on revival
Alongside this, we have a lecture by chookwatch on revival, including a misplaced quote from Spurgeon decrying the need for revival in the church.
Now Spurgeon is great, and says some important things about revival, including the fact that churches only need revival if they are not doing the right thing in edifying their members through sound doctrine, which is true.
Except Mark is not talking about church members, but people outside the church who may need restoration or refreshing, which is another matter altogether, and nothing to do with what Spurgeon was talking about.
Even Spurgeon would agree that those who slip back need to be revived.
Revival is a good thing in the right place
Revival is a term used by different churches to mean different things, but what we all mean is the need to be restored to fellowship, or the be revitalised after a time away from church, or after disappointment, or when discouragement has caused our faith to waver.
It’s not a bad thing to work towards helping people recover from falling away for a period of time. Most Christians go through periods where they need to be picked up by the Lord, or need comfort, building or edifying. Even David recognised this.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
Sometimes our soul is downhearted and we feel isolated, neglected and afraid. As David said to the Lord:
Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
To revive in this sense is to preserve, the breath new life into us, to recover us from being downtrodden and isolated.
Inviting women to a specially put together Conference where they will be encouraged and built up by other women in the atmosphere of faith and worship, covered by prayer and drawn by the Holy Spirit back into the Word of God, is a fabulous way to invite women back into fellowship after they have been away for some time.
Not buying the gift of the Spirit
This is isn’t ‘buying’ revival, or the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is investing in a soul. What is being paid for is registration, plain and simple.
But chookwatch knowingly twist this into something sinister. They want to make it buying the Holy Spirit, like Simon the Sorcerer, who thought he could pay for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and was rebuked.
This is wantonly poor use of scripture. It is using the Word as a blade of discord and not a weapon of righteousness. It is possible to take the Word of God and use it illicitly against someone in a dispute. As Paul said, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”. If we use the Word in a legalistic or unscriptural way we turn it into a dagger instead of a sword.
A call to help women
It is obvious that this simple segue in a meeting was a rallying call from the C3 leadership for women to assist their friends to get to the Women’s Conference, especially if they could not afford the registration, by paying for the registration on their behalf.
It could be possible for a woman to be revived because of this act of faith and care for a friend.
But you knew that, because you’re not a cynic, are you?