Truth + Power
Truth vs Power Camps
First a little background is in order. Rather than being united (Eph 4:12-14) concerning the scriptural validity of both the Truth Encounter and the Power Encounter as means by which the Lord has provided for the freedom and healing of the church there is some division (1 Cor 1:10). I suspect that much of the division comes from the fact that the Power Encounter has been "abused" by some people who have used it for personal fame and glory rather than acknowledging that the power comes from God and God alone and is to be used to help mankind to the glory of God according to His will only. Both camps, especially when successful (in God's eyes) at setting captives free, become prime targets of the Devil who does not want their work in the Lord to succeed. I look for humility and the fruits of the Spirit, especially love, and truly free ex-captives as evidence that a particular minister or ministry in either camp is doing the will of God and seeking first God's Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33). My quest is to determine, with God's help, when and were either type of "encounter" is called for in the process of setting God's children free so they can move on to fulfilling their God given calls and purposes while here on earth.
The Two Camps
Advocates: Neil Anderson, Clint Arnold, John Eldredge
Neil Anderson is the founder of Freedom in Christ Ministries and he is quoted on numerous pages within this website. I have personally been trained and certified as a "Community Freedom Ministry Associate" by Freedom in Christ Ministry University". Dr. Anderson will tell you that he found early on in his ministry that the word "deliverance" in western culture carries a lot of negative baggage but in the animistic cultures of the world the people embrace the word and know exactly what it means - with little or no negative connotations - they clearly understand their need for deliverance and desire deliverance from spiritual bondage. For these reasons I choose to us the word freedom in place of the word deliverance in most places on this website's English webpages - in order to not let it be a stumbling block for many westerners.
Advocates: Mark Bubeck; Fred Dickason; Ed Murphy; Jesse Penn-Lewis; Chuck Kraft; C. Peter Wagner
Chuck (Charles) Kraft is the author of "Three Encounters in Christian Witness" which is the main focus of the Encounters pages on this web site. Charles Craft clearly believes the Power and Truth Encounters each have an important part to play in the maturity of a Christian. In the first half of my Christian walk I was heavily exposed to and received numerous freedoms via a Power Encounter ministry which also understood the need to always practice God's truth in love.
Key Truth Encounter Verse
...you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32 ESV)
Key Power Encounter Verses
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18 ESV)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13 ESV) [ All temptation is designed to get you to live your life independent of God. ]
Truth + Power Verses
Jesus is the Word, the Truth and the Life and He has the Power and He makes it available to His church.
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. [TRUTH]
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. [POWER]
(John 8:32,36 ESV)
4 as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: ... 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God (2 Corinthians 6:4-7 ESV)
The Word of God, who is Jesus, is the Truth and has Power
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17 ESV)
He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:3 ESV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14 ESV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
24 Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18,24 ESV)
The Holy Spirit is Our Source of the Power
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; (Romans 15:18-19 ESV)
The first 30 years of my Christian walk involved a great deal of learning the Word of God and putting into practice the ways of God (TRUTH ENCOUNTER). Truth has a name - Jesus - so learning and practicing truth involves having a personal relationship with Jeus Christ. During the same time, through a deliverance ministry (POWER ENCOUNTER) closely associated with our church, I obtained freedoms from strongholds in my life. Recently the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Jesus) has directed my path into a deeper understanding of the truth encounter through which I have received further freedoms. Since the beginning of this new training assignment from the Lord I have been continually praying for God to show me how and under what circumstances He intends the truth encounter and the power encounter to be applied to my walk and the walk of His spiritual children - my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was greatly encouraged with the following testimony from brother Nabeel who believes as I do that both encounters are legitimate for the benefit of today's church. As should be expected, it appears that the Devil is working to divide the Power Encounter advocates from the Truth Encounter advocates - hence the name "camps". So far I have come to believe that most Christians who are seeking freedom from strongholds in their lives should start out with the truth encounter approach in order to lay a solid foundation on the truths of who we are in Christ. Once that is firmly established and producing fruit in our lives we can ask the Lord if a power encounter is needed to deal with any outstanding strongholds in our lives.
When Christ came to Capernaum, "So many gathered that there was no room left. .. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them . . . when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone? Immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk?" But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"... He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home" (Mark 2:1-11).
Which is easier, to forgive or to heal? For the teachers of the law, to forgive sins was easier than to heal because one could not know when forgiveness had taken place. Furthermore, the paralytic's urgent felt need was for healing rather than forgiveness. But for Christ, healing was easier than forgiving. Healing demanded some power, but forgiving demanded His life on the cross.
In this incident, Christ was teaching the crowds along with the disciples about the function and danger of signs and wonders. The function of the power encounter is to support, authenticate and serve the truth encounter. But when the power encounter overshadows the truth encounter, then people will be fascinated, amazed and distracted from the truth.
Dr. Nabeel T. Jabbour, “The Unseen Reality: A Panoramic View of Spiritual Warfare”, http://www.nabeeljabbour.com/getattachment/Books/PageItems/The-Unseen-Reality/Unseen-Reality-Document-Oct-6-2014.pdf, pg 10-11
Some scholars feel that the build-up of evil we are experiencing today must be similar to what Christ experienced before His crucifixion. Therefore, they feel we should face the Enemy as Christ did in the gospels' record, that is through a power encounter. Other scholars disagree with this view. They point out that because of the events of the cross, the epistles in the New Testament are the standard to follow in our wrestling with the Enemy. It is not primarily a power encounter but a truth encounter.
Personally, I cannot ignore what Christ accomplished on the cross, but I must build on it. Furthermore, I believe there were power and truth encounters before the cross, and there have been power and truth encounters after the cross. Power does not need to be seen merely through signs and wonders, but power can also be seen in a sanctified life. "The people were amazed at His teaching; because He taught them as one who had authority, not as teachers of the law" (Mark 1:22; Matthew 7:29).
When Christ started His public ministry after forty days of fasting, He encountered the Devil through truth, but there was power in that truth.
And as Christ preached the Gospel and was faced with demonized individuals, He encountered the demons with power, but there was truth in that power. He taught the crowds and His disciples about God and the Enemy. That power encounter was used not to produce "amazement and fascination" but to produce a desire for the truth.
After the events of the cross, we also see power-in-truth encounters and truth-in-power encounters.
Paul taught all night. When the sleepy, young man fell from the third floor window and died, Paul prayed for him, and he rose from the dead. Truth and power were in dynamic tension (Acts 20:7-12).
When the young woman who was demonized cried out and harassed Paul and his team, Paul cast out the demons from her [power] and thus confirmed the message that was preached [truth] in that city (Acts 16:18).
When Paul preached to King Agrippa, the king's heart burned within him because there was power in the preaching and the teaching of the Word [truth] (Acts 26:28).
I see history as a horizontal line with the cross in the middle. The cross is D-day. Before that D-day, Christ was fighting a mighty Devil. After that D- day, we are still facing a tenacious enemy, but he has been disarmed from his biggest weapon. How does this perspective help me as a Christian on a daily basis? It gives me the confidence that God is more powerful than the Devil, and it helps me to shift my focus from fear of the Devil to trust in God. It is very similar to a Christian who walks with God with an assurance of salvation in contrast to the one who is struggling in his Christian life because he has no assurance.
Victory can be experienced in the midst of a relentless struggle against evil.
Dr. Nabeel T. Jabbour, “The Unseen Reality: A Panoramic View of Spiritual Warfare”, http://www.nabeeljabbour.com/getattachment/Books/PageItems/The-Unseen-Reality/Unseen-Reality-Document-Oct-6-2014.pdf, pg 20-22
SATAN'S SHOW OF POWER
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline
Once I counseled a former high priest of Satanism who desperately wanted to be free of the demonic powers who had ruled his life. But Satan was not about to let go of him without a fight. As I tried to talk to him, Harry ranted and raved and rolled around the office like a crazy man. The demons who controlled Harry were using his mind, his will, his muscles, and his emotions in a noisy display of resistance.
But I just sat still. I learned a long time ago that Satan's show of power is just another facet of his deception designed to provoke fear. He knows that if he can deceive us into being afraid of him, fear will control our lives instead of faith. Satan "prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Why does a lion roar? To paralyze its prey with fear. Once its victim is immobilized by fear, the lion can easily subdue it and kill it.
But because of our position, authority, and protection in Christ, Satan can't touch us. If you cower in fear at Satan's show of power, then he has you on the defensive. But Peter instructed, "Resist him, firm in your faith" (1 Peter 5:9). Satan is defeated; believe it and stand up to him. When you do, he has no choice but to eventually back down.
As the devil roared at me through Harry, I began to read Scripture aloud and pray in a normal, controlled voice that the enemy would be bound in silence. After I had spent several minutes taking authority in Christ through prayer and reading Scripture, Harry fell flat on his stomach in front of me. "Lord Jesus, I need You!" he cried out. I led him in a prayer of commitment to Christ. And when Harry finally stood up, he was free. He embraced me with a childlike joy he had never experienced before.
The devil's bark is much bigger than his bite. Stand firm in the faith and resist him, and he will flee.
Prayer: Lord, help me be bold and not fearful in the face of Satan's attacks. I want to walk in freedom and help others find freedom as well.
Dr. Neil Anderson, Daily in Christ a Devotional. (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, Inc., 1993), May 4. [emphasis added by webmaster]