Rob Rufus has always alluded to the incredible amount of criticism and virtual abuse he receives for unashamedly preaching the message of glory and grace and I have always wondered what these people look like. I was interested in that in the space of two quotes, two critics have arrived. The quotes they so objected to were these; "Rob Rufus on the Florida Outpouring Critics" and "Rob Rufus on the Gift of Tongues". On the one hand I am sure Rob Rufus does not need the likes of me to come to his defence but as these criticisms have been posted on one of my blogs I feel I should at least address them.
"All we have is the bible. It is not about experience, emotion, or what gifts are being presented. It is about the written word of God. I find your words offensive ... Rob Rufus, the apologetic community is watching you and NCMI, and unfavorable reports are coming out from SA and Aust".
I think a comment like this scarcely requires an answer - these "heresy hunters" again and again fall into the same cliches. On the one hand they say; "All we have is the Bible - it is not about experience ..." and yet on the other hand do not carefully and sensibly respond to the Scriptures that Rob himself has quoted and cited in defence of the viewpoint he is preaching. "I find your words offensive". It's so easy to become very emotional about the positions we are defending and I did want to answer "Mark" - but on the other hand I suspect there is nothing I can say that would appease his offense. My only suggestion could be that he stops looking at blogs where he may find Rob Rufus's words. I suspect he won't as these people often feel it is their "Christian duty" to answer such worrying quotes to themselves.
His final comment; "The apologetic community"?! Who and what on earth is that and what on earth does "unfavourable reports" entail. Again I object to the "heresy hunters" carefully coded words of warning that are so frequent and so labourious. It was something I was very used to at my home church and it usually went something like this; "Good men are very concerned". "Anyone who is discerning should be worried". "Beware of "certain" so-called preachers". These self-appointed heresy hunters have taken it upon themselves to "warn the Church" of such dangerous men and yet can offer no objective warnings. "Unfavourable reports"? Where are they? Let me read them first-hand and maybe they can be taken seriously.
Then "Tim" found Rob's quote on the gift of tongues almost as upsetting as "Mark" - maybe more so as he cast doubt on Rob's very salvation - something that proves he is obviously bolder than many. I would not like to take the place of God deciding who is and is not elect. "Tim" too took a very cliched approach to answering the issue of the gift of tongues;
"Rob this shows your true colors, this is new age and is part of the occult. The spirits that you refer to are not from the God of the Bible but rather a twisted version that is based in the occult. The talking in tongues that charismatics often talk about is exactly the same as used by sharmas, witch doctors, hindus etc ... May God have pity on you, you need much prayer and obviously salvation".
I did in fact leave a response to "Tim". Once again the cliched response of cessationists (as I presume these people are) is to point to the counterfeit of the New Age as "proof" that there can be no genuine gift of tongues. This again was something I heard all-too frequently at my home church. "We must beware the counterfeit". "We must be careful of the spurious". "We must beware of abberations". My simple reply is this; I do accept and agree that the Bible instructs us to "test the spirits". But the Bible does not call us to "reject all spirits". There is a testing to be done! If all gifts of the Spirit, all experiences of God, all heavenly encounters, all visions and dreams had deliberately and objectively stopped when the canon of Scripture was closed then why are we asked to "test" and "prove all things" and "cling to what is good?".
If all that is around is the counterfeit then we simply need avoid everything experiential and simply as "Mark" calls - cling to the Bible and the Bible alone. But the ironic thing that these "Word people" claim is that it is the very Word of God that outlines these gifts of the Spirit, these heavenly encounters, these visions and dreams. It is the BIBLE that gives us our expectation! If I am to be persuaded that these things are "not so" then I want to see some Scriptural evidence rather than "dire warnings" of the New Age.
These comments have given me a taste of what Rob must receive weekly and even daily maybe - and he has my fullest sympathy and support and prayers! If I have been unjust in my portrayal of these critics then I am open to correction. In my opinion these two comments are simply "destructive criticism". As my friend Lydia challenged;
"If you find Rob's words offensive then you have a problem with God's word, because he is speaking straight from Scripture, 2 Tim. 3:5 ....talks about people with a form of godliness that deny the power, have nothing to do with them".
The lines are being drawn in the sand it seems, and the only secure foundation we have is the Word of God. Not tradition. Not the teachings of one's favourite evangelical celebrity. The Word of God.