Insanity In The Church, Insanity

Table of Contents

1. Insanity

  • Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. (2 Corinthians 11:23)

2. I Am…

Rev. Pastor Proud Heart
Prophet
Apostle
Spirit filled
Dr. Worldly
an in demand speaker
a dynamic leader
a pastor’s pastor
Bishop
Deacon
Revivalist
Psalmist
a Bible thumper
a miracle worker
nationally and internationally known
the very reverend false humility
a powerful declarer of God’s Word
anointed to bless you
a lover of God
a marriage counselor
able to slay others in the Spirit
able to cast out demons
recommended by big wigs in the church
a winner of the Dove Awards

3. I Have…

taken a stand for the truth
baptized thousands
visited the Holy Land
studied the Greek and Hebrew
been binding and loosing for years
dreams and visions from God
the gift of tongues
a Ph. D. and other initials after my name
authored many books
been serving the Lord for over 20 years
won numerous writing awards.

4. My Church Has…

1,000’s in attendance awe
inspiring worship
a new sanctuary
God’s blessings
changed thousands of lives
the Holy Ghost moving through us
a cult-busting group
Four square gospel calls
a lively choir as featured in a major magazine
positive, relevant Bible teaching
a passion for Jesus
lasting friendships
impartation of revival fire
a friendly congregation who want to share God’s love
great food and fun

5. Our Ministry Has…

exposed the Mormons
been featured in magazines and on TV
jam-packed revival meetings
dynamic healings
a place for children, youth, men, women, singles, and seniors
Christian counseling
a wonderful nursery and daycare
working mothers ministry
fresh contemporary music
strong youth ministry
divorce support groups
young married ministry
tanning on the beach
softball, volleyball and more
music, art and drama

6. My Church Is…

charismatic
traditional
contemporary
Christ-centered
Bible based
a five fold ministry
growing—new believers added every Sunday

Paul declares himself insane when forced to boast as the world does, but we have fallen in love with the insanity in the church.

  • (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) (2 Corinthians 11:23)

Today we consider insanity to be sane. Everything has been turned around in the church today because we have lost the message of the cross. There remains only one “I AM.” No one is worth boasting about but God. Pick up a copy of your phone book and look under churches, and you will find insanity on every page, fully displayed in all of its shameful glory. Thumb through any Christian magazine and read the boasting, bragging, and appealing to the flesh. The church has forsaken the “message of the cross” and embraced the self-confidence of the world. Like the world, the church competes with other churches to win members and to make an impact in people’s lives. Indeed, despite the talk about the Holy Spirit, the church relies more and more on the methods of the world to win souls for Christ. We have all but abandoned the cross that wins souls through weakness and humility. As we shall see, we consider the man or church that embraces the cross crazy, while we hold up the truly insane. In the last days, unparalleled hostility rages against the message of the cross. Because the church uses the arm of the flesh to serve Jesus, we consider the real prophet, moved of God, a “fool” and the “inspired man a maniac.”

  • The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac. (Hosea 9:7)

7. Foolishness

As Paul so sarcastically writes in the passage we will now look at, “You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise!” How spiritual each church considers itself and yet they put up with “fools.” Each bookstore considers itself a “ministry” while they sell the products of madmen. Each publisher thinks it serves the Christian community while using insane, worldly means to promote its products. How spiritually blind to think we can use the world’s tech-niques, ideas, and insanity to sell our goods and yet believe we remain separate from the world. Again, ministries, seminars, bookstores, publishers, musicians, and churches gladly put up with fools. How we love to be taken advantage of by men who push themselves “forward” on us. After all, if they can promote themselves, so can we—it makes our flesh feel good to have the same freedom. The church doesn’t want a Paul in its midst, who doesn’t preach or promote himself, but instead reminds us that we must die to self. Christians think of themselves as so wise, yet they like being slapped “in the face.” If we can get 10% off our purchases, if men can boast of themselves, if ministries can name themselves after their favor-ite pastor, we take the slap. We “gladly” say, “Thanks for taking advantage of us. Thanks for the insanity, it makes us feel good about our out of mind experiences.”

  • I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. (2 Corinthians 11:16–21)

Fools preach, while boasting of how spiritual, educated, and anointed they are in God. And audiences of millions “gladly put up with fools” since they think themselves so spiritually wise and gifted. Story after story resounds from the pulpit, and we think this glorifies God. Instead of preaching the Word, we use it to tell jokes, stories, and entertain the congregation. Men tell us they can fathom the Greek and Hebrew, that they are anointed of God, and we like dumb sheep think such conduct glorifies Christ. Churches boast of how many they have reached with the gospel and we reach for our checkbooks. The church has lost its mind thinking this is sane talk in Jesus. But Paul stated that all such boasting is sinful, utterly wicked. As you read the following excerpts from 2 Corinthians 11:21–29 contrast Paul’s insane talk with what happens in your church.

8. This Is The Talk Of “Fools” Paul Shouts…

  • I am a Hebrew.
  • I am an Israelite.
  • I am Abraham’s descendant.
  • I am a servant of Christ.
  • I work harder. I have been in prison.
  • I have been flogged.
  • I have been exposed to death repeatedly.
  • Five times, I was lashed.
  • Three times I was beaten.
  • I was stoned once.
  • Three times I was shipwrecked, spending a night and day in the open sea.
  • I have been constantly on the move.
  • I have been in danger from rivers.
  • I have been in danger from bandits.
  • I have been in danger from my own countrymen.
  • I have been in danger in the city. I have been in danger in the country.
  • I have been in danger at sea. I have been in danger from false brothers.
  • I have labored and toiled. I have often gone without sleep.
  • I have known hunger and thirst, gone without food and water.
  • I have been cold and naked. Plus, I have started many churches I worry about.

And boy, oh-boy, do I struggle against sin.
Paul says that such boasting makes him a lunatic. For you see, we are unworthy to talk about ourselves or point to ourselves. If even Jesus said he was not good, but God alone,1 why do we boast as if we are something? When we take on the “I am” we seek to remove God from His throne. Like Satan, we seek to set ourselves equal with God to bring all attention to ourselves. Just a quick look at the work in the church makes it easy to see the spirit of Satan. Men work for recognition and to make a name for themselves.

9. Reward On Earth

You might disagree with everything else in this book, but know this, the “I AM” is a position for God alone and all glory, honor and attention belongs to him. The Powerful Delusion inflames, stealing the glory from God and receiving it for oneself. Therefore, God uses Satan to send the Powerful Delusion. Who else knows how to worship self better than Satan? Satan in all his spirituality resided next to God’s throne. He presents a perfect counterfeit to the message of the cross without actually requiring anyone to die to self. Satan weaves a doctrine so close to the Truth that the only way to survive is to fall in love with God. And that is exactly what God looks for, those who love Him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Men play a deadly game in Jesus. They look like they have Him in their life, but really find their life in this world. They receive their reward in the here and now, therefore they will have no reward in heaven. We must pray with the Psalmist that God “save” us “from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life” if we hope to escape the Powerful Delusion. Men who try to have Jesus and the world.

  • O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. (Psalms 17:14)

With each passing day, the church becomes increasingly insane as each church attempts to out-do the other churchs boasting. Pulpit after pulpit hosts drooling madmen, telling more grandiose stories each Sunday. Joke after joke, story after story fills the stages of our churches because like the world, we enjoy drawing attention to ourselves. We have fallen so far from the suffering cross of Christ in our churches that we cannot boast of sufferings, but must entertain with positive, uplifting tales. Yet, Paul declares himself a madman when he talks of the labors he accomplished, dangers he faced, and things he sacrificed. Paul claims insanity when he points to how he wrestles with sin. We, however, are more insane today, boasting of the blessings we receive.
Paul declares that he is insane to speak of anything but his weaknesses. “Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.)” (2 Corinthians 11:23). Yet, we seem bent on promoting our churches, books, magazines, sermons, and men just as the world does.

10. The Madness Spreads

Truly, the church loves its insanity so much, that like the worst mentally insane, the most powerful drugs cannot stop it. We have lost sight of the cross of Christ and embraced the madness of the world. The mental illness of the world infects us. We are in a world gone mad that boasts of itself, works, labors, wisdom, accomplishments, powers and promises. We are even worse than the world for we boast like McDonald’s used to do, we boast of numbers served and saved.

Like madmen, we seek to spread our madness hoping others believe our sickness. We boast of the number of books sold in order to sell more books, so that we can boast of even more numbers sold in order to sell even more books. We no longer measure books by the truth they contain, but by what will sell. I have never met a publisher who will print a book unless they know it will sell. None have ever said, “This book will not sell, but we will print it anyway, because it has the Truth in it.” The love of money, reputation, and worldly marketing infests the heart of the church. Like the Black Plague, only a few are exempt from its deadly work. Even the most conservative will reject the offense of the cross if it comes in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

My first book entitled, Hating For Jesus, (Luke 14:26) which merely quoted the words of Jesus was repeatedly rejected by magazines, bookstores, and people because of the title. No one could get past the title to read the message; even among the most conservative organizations of the Christian community who pride themselves on not being like the “other” groups. Naturally, like Paul, this forced us to change the name of the book to, The Essential Piece.

11. Promoting Self

We promise powerful preachers to draw the crowds and increase attendance so we can use those numbers to draw even more people to our gospel meetings and churches. We plaster our magazines with ads pointing back to ourselves and what “God” has done through us. Indeed, look at what the church shows the world. Look at the boasting, bragging, and promising that scream out everywhere. Like the world, we advertise and appeal to the flesh of man in order to “win souls.”

Just as the world, we use others to promote ourselves. Yet instead of just using men and women whom God has made, we use the name of God. I say “just” because who is worse? The one who uses self to promote himself or the one who uses God to promote himself? Like the world, we use big names to promote and push forward our ministries, materials, and ourselves. We love to see pictures of ourselves on book covers, flyers, and advertisements.
We want the Christian community to notice our churches and pastors because we want recognition for ourselves. After all, who looks for “unschooled, ordinary men” to become their preachers and leaders? We want men who can boast of Ph.D.s, to rattle off stories, and entertain us, because it makes us feel spiritual to be around them. We want men capable of waxing eloquently about the Greek and Hebrew but who know nothing of hating their own lives. We only want to feel spiritual, not be spiritual. We remain unwilling to pay the price to be spiritual and suffer the pain of the cross, so we rejoice in the achievements of man. If someone were really humble and broken, knowing the holiness of God, why would they promote themselves as if they were something?

12. Godly Credentials

If someone actually presented a godly resume’ to a church, the vast majority would consider it a very strange item. I wrote a cross-centered resume once stating my education and qualifications—an unschooled and ordinary man who spent time with Jesus (Acts 4:13). I listed my weaknesses, not my strengths, then sent it out to test the church’s reaction. As you can well imagine, no job offers came in. I did however, receive one response from a church in Canada. They were very nice, but declared that God didn’t want them to change their ways, but wished me the best of luck.

13. Earthly Recommendations

Name-dropping insanity fills the whole Christian community. Well-known, popular individuals promote and endorse books, churches, speakers, and seminars. Like the world, the church uses celebrities to market itself. The publishing world is famous for this sin. “Recommended by,” the book covers declare.

Even the best of tough-talking authors and preachers fall prey to this sin. But Paul’s letters never stated, “This letter is recommended by Peter.” In fact, Paul states he did not resort to such worldly gimmicks to motivate individuals. He did not “need, like some people, letters of recommendation.”

  • Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? (2 Corinthians 3:1)

What sin lies in the lap of the church, that we love to get and send “letters of recommendations”? We love to get a special speaker to our conference because it will draw in more people and give us good standing in the community. How we use each other in the name of the Lord. The popular individual uses the conference that “needs” them, while the conference leader uses the speaker to make themselves needed by the Christian community. If we really lifted up the Word and God, then why mention any big name speakers? Should not the attraction be the Word of God and not the man preaching the Word? Should people be promoted as if they were someone big and powerful in the Christian community? The botPaul line is we use people and enjoy being used. We love lifting up our name and use Jesus to do it. For this reason, many ministries name themselves after the person who runs the ministry. For if we preach ourselves, men will come, but few show up when we really preach truth. Jesus said we “accept him” who comes “in his own name,” because we want ourselves promoted and accepted by others. It is the sin of self-glorification.

  • I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. (John 5:43).

We borrow the glory we give certain individuals to sell books, promote seminars, and build churches. It is an abominable sin to use others’ talents and popularity for our own selfish ends. Woe unto us, for the many things we promote by the sin of “recommendation.” “Come hear or see this speaker!” “Buy this book because so and so likes it.” It seems there is no end to this insanity. We lift men up in the church not because of what God does, but for what these men can do for us. If we really believed God works, we would not lift up men or women but just depend on God to draw people. Individuals, companies, and churches feed off and use the righteousness of others to serve themselves. We need full repentance of this selfish sin. Indeed, if true humility filled these popular individuals, they would not allow themselves to be used like that.

Each man tries to top the other in order to impress people. We are self-important mad men wanting to hear other self-important mad men puff us up in self-righteous pride. Sane men in Jesus boast of their “weaknesses.” Paul declares if we must boast, we should only boast of our weaknesses. Instead, we love our “super apostles.”

  • But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super apostles.” (2 Corinthians 11:5)

14. A Different Gospel

The Powerful Delusion presents a totally “different spirit” than the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus came forsaking self, yet the church finds itself. Jesus would not even let the demons identify Him. John the Baptist would not call himself a prophet—yet we boast and brag. Jesus lost self in the glory of God, but we use the glory of God to promote ourselves. We are not “pure virgins” because we love and embrace those who “commend themselves” and use others to promote ourselves. Eve fell prey to this sin in the Garden of Eden. Satan cleverly worked a deadly “cunning” in the church. God permits this because we no longer glory in the cross of Christ. Our “minds” have been “led astray” to vain thoughts and promotions of self. We not only “put up” with insane people in Jesus, we love them and embrace them as brothers. We call madmen our brothers and ask God to bless our insane asylums known as churches.

  • But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (2 Corinthians 10:17–11:4)

We have grown so used to the “different gospel” that the true gospel is met with outright hostility or apathy. The “serpent” has worked in a very “cunning” deception by offering us all a “different spirit” than the cross of Christ. The main objective of the church is, “Will it be acceptable?” and “Will people buy it?” I can’t begin to count the number of times I have been told that if I don’t tone it down people will not listen.

Did you know that the music industry pays false prophets to listen to songs and make sure they offend no one? And rest assured the book publishing business has the same insanity. The church wants to make sure that the music, books, and sermons it promotes will not offend anyone, or at least not too much. Anyone can build a good reputation in the church if they preach just tough enough to be a little offensive without actually crucifying the flesh. Preach half a tough message and you will be as popular as the false prophets because many people like a tough message, it makes them feel spiritual. Preach a tough message that doesn’t actually strike at self with the hammer and nails and you will be accepted by the church and heralded as a godly man.

Unfortunately, most of us can no longer discern a man acting like a “fool” in the name of God because we do not crucify, by the power of the Holy Spirit, our insanity. Until the cross has done this work in us, we cannot honestly see that we are “nothing.” Paul understood his worthlessness, so why should we boast about anything? Most of us, while giving lip service to humility, know little of the fact that we are “nothing.” We have refused and rejected the cross when it comes to humble us so our knowledge of humility is only one of a mocker, who mimics humble sounding words.

  • I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. (2 Corinthians 12:11)

15. In Our Own Name

We use “revival” to sell our name and promote our churches. In fact, you can buy revival music CDs from false revivals. They insanely advertise just as the world does, selling their merchandise. Their literature promotes their churches and themselves. Jesus did “not accept praise from men,” and neither would we if we had His mind. Instead, we come in our “own name” and prove we “do not have the love of God in our hearts.” Sadly, if someone really comes in the name of the Lord, we do not accept him because he does not feed our flesh. Let a man come to us in his name, using Jesus to promote himself, and we accept that with open arms and praying hands. If someone comes with purity, only lifting Jesus up, the church will “not accept” that, because they sense that they will have to lose all pride and attention for self. Ask yourself who you “accept” as godly to test how entrenched you are in the Powerful Delusion. Who do you “accept” and like the most, the “super apostles” or the “Pauls” who know the cross?

Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. “I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.

  • I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. (John 5:40–43)

The Powerful Delusion consists of men coming in their own names, let loose, and encouraged by the power of God. It is such a Powerful Delusion, few have the slightest clue that God works judgment in their life, ministry, and church. It seems to them as if God opens doors for their ministry, circumstances fall into place, blessings of peace and supply come, but only because God works a Powerful Delusion.

What self-centeredness lingers in preachers’ hearts to name their ministries after themselves? I would be totally out of my mind to name this ministry, Timothy Williams’ Ministries! Or to entitle our web site www.timothywilliams.org. What lunacy settles upon the body of Christ, yet even the tough talking “righteous” preachers fall prey to this insanity. Few and far between are the preachers who in heart and spirit do not preach themselves. So few men have the character of Jesus, humble enough to admit they are humble without becoming puffed up in that declaration. Such humility comes only from the mysterious power of the cross. Paul had such humility.

  • For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

16. In Weakness

In true humility, the fruit of a crucified life points out only things that show others our weaknesses. Sane men in Jesus speak of weak things that happen in their church and lives. But since we view insanity as normal in the church today, we consider the sane man a fool. It is one more sign that the church stands ripe for judgment. Until we return to the Holy Spirit inspired “message of the cross,” having our sinful flesh crucified, the truly inspired man of God will be considered a “maniac,” while the true lunatic embraced as a sane man. Let us pick up the cross Jesus has for us and sane men will once again fill our pulpits. If we must boast, it should be only of our weaknesses.

  • If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:30)

Of all the things Paul could have boasted of, he chose to talk about a basket escape. The church is no longer interested in men who tell tales about a man lowered in a basket. Listen to the story Paul tells when forced to boast. He does not talk of raising the dead, numbers healed, credentials, inspiring sermons preached, dreams or visions.

  • The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands. (2 Corinthians 11:31–33)

Do you get the picture? Imagine your church in the middle of an exciting seminar with many guest speakers. Speaker after speaker declares what God does through them and their ministries. Then up steps Paul to the pulpit. He doesn’t speak of miracles, insight, visions, numbers reached, or even his special calling by God.

His speech goes something like this:
“Greetings brothers and sisters, (amen and hallelujahs are heard) I want to tell you how special God is, (Preach it brother). Once when God led me to preach in Damascus, He worked a mighty deliverance, (more “Amens”). This is what God did, (A quiet settles over the congregation), I was trapped in the city and men were seeking to kill me, (The drummer gets ready) and God rescued me. (Breathless silence fills the church) God allowed me to escape by getting in a basket and being lowered over the city wall.”
At this point, the drummer puts down the drumsticks at this boring story. While the congregation would politely say “Praise God,” they would never invite this dull speaker to their church again because they thought him boring and ineffective.

17. Recognizing Insanity

As the old top ten song goes, “They’re coming to take me away ha-ha, he-he, ho-ho . . . to the funny farm. They’re coming to take me away.” No one in the church comes to take away insane leaders and put them in straight jackets.

It reminds me of my college days when the world tutored me in its wisdom. While earning the foolishness of a degree in psychology, I learned of a case study concerning insane asylums. In this study, a group of psychology students checked themselves into the asylum to see if the staff of psychologists and psychiatrists could discover that they were really sane. The staff could not detect the students, but the patients in the institution saw through the students.

All the great wisdom of the staff provided no insight to distinguish the sane from the insane. Only those who understood their own mental illness could recognize those who had nothing wrong. In the same way, those who love God must come to see their own insanity in order to discern the sane in God. The cure for insanity in the church is to honestly admit what areas of our flesh are drawn to insane men. Only the cross of Christ, crucifying a man, can help us see that reality.
We must allow the cross of Christ to crucify our thoughts and flesh in order to be sane in Jesus. In order to connect to the head, who is Jesus, our own heads must die. After all, no body has two brains ruling it. That would be utter chaos and insanity. Exactly the point of Colossians 2:19.

  • He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. (Colossians 2:19)

When we lose “connection with the Head” the church begins to behave in ways that reflect man’s insanity rather than the humility of Christ. Only as we allow the mind of Christ to rule us will the church become sane again. God lays a clear choice before us. Either we learn to “hate” our thoughts or continue to fellowship with the insane. We must come before the Lord telling Him we “hate” our way of thinking. We must allow a crown of thorns to torment our thoughts so that we loathe them, and come to wince at our opinions.

If we want to possess the mind of Christ, which is one of true righteousness, then we must fall in humility before the Lord and admit we have behaved like insane men. Like patients in the mental institution, we must humble ourselves and admit our insanity before we can see who and what constitutes sanity in Jesus. This is hard to do because going to church today resembles committing oneself to a mental institution, rather than entering a place of worship. The very people who are supposed to help us are more deluded than ourselves, for they use Scripture to make self appear and feel spiritual. Everyone boasts of numbers saved, people reached, money tithed, and how spiritual their preachers are in the Lord. It is as if the mental patients all sit around and see who can top each other. The church has become a house full of insane individuals boasting of their gifts, works, and labors for the Lord.

This love of insanity in the church opens wide the door for all manner of arrogant and prideful men to rise up in the pulpits. We cannot even begin to start a work without first thinking of how we will promote it. Even the few good preachers and saints left today are beginning to question what little bit of sanity they have left. For if you hang around insane men long enough you begin to doubt your sanity. After all, “bad company, corrupts good character,” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Let us come out of the insane asylums and pick up our crosses.

Endnotes

2. Insanity

  • Mark 10:18
  • 2 Corinthians 12:11

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