Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Crazy Jack"

The other neighbors warned us about him: "He's a religious fanatic!"

"Cool," I thought. " These days 'fanatic' tends to describe anyone who actually goes to church more than once a week. So maybe we simply have a commited, born-again, evangelistic-type next-door neighbor."

Well, that hope was shot to pieces the first time I met Jack. Actually, Leah met him first. "Fanatic" was a gross understatement. Thus far he's had visions predicting 9-11, the Iraq/Bush War, and the eventual destruction of the U.S. by nuclear war. He hears voices that often quote scripture-like statements and finds hidden spiritual messages in late-night infomercials. That being said, he is also a really, really nice neighbor.

Jack offered me some CDs and a book on divine healing. Out of kindness and curiousity I accepted them and have listened to most of them. They are by Kenneth Hagin (now deceased) of Rhema ministries. It only takes about 30 seconds to find out more than enough dirt about Hagin on the internet, but Jack warned me about believing Hagin's critics, "The Pharisees thought Jesus was nuts too!" (By the way, I'm getting sick of everyone using that argument to defend whatever new position or liberty or emergence they create. Make sure I don't use it.)

That's the background, here's the prompt. Though Jack rejects any theological conversation or evaluation, do you have any thoughts on how to handle such a neighhbor/friend? He's a believer (even used to go to a GARB church!), but that's where our similiarities end. I honestly would like advise.

Also, here are the basic theological syllogisms of Hagin's corner of the healing movement. If you have thoughts, I'm interested in them. Maybe I'll share mine later. (Don't worry, I'm not into healing now!)

1) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law - Gal. 3:13
2) The curse of the law is spiritual death, sickness, and poverty - Deut 28.
3) Therefore, we are redeemed from sickness.

Or try this one from the Lord's prayer:

1) "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
2) There is no sickness in heaven.
3) Therefore, God's will is never sickness on earth.

4 comments:

lilrabbi said...

Zack, my email is lilrabbi@yahoo.com, would you mind emailing me? I have some comments but I don't think they should be said in public. thanks

Matthew LaPine said...

So all sickness on earth is a frustration of God's will? Paul must not have had much faith...

I'm wondering, is he a member of a local church? Is he under the guiding hand of a local pastor?

Bracman said...

I honestly don't think you are wise to try and address the surface issues. When you answer a fool in according to his folly you have lowered yourself to his playing field (prov 26:4-5). By experience, if you keep answering those questions he will have you running circles around him. There are deeper needs in the heart of Jack that need to be addressed. It seems to me that he has a definite problem with the authories in his life. My advise is to continue to build a friendship with him that earns respect. It seems that most people reject him. Show interest in his questions, but don't answer (debate), and don't send him away thinking he is wise. You need to go to him with questions that make him think- that force him put himself in persective with who God is. Leave him to think and always pray for him. The Word of God is living and powerful. Be transparent in what you are learning about God so that you aren't high and mighty.
All you are seeing is the branches fruit (actions and feelings) of his life which stem from the trunk (thoughts and beliefs). Because of what you are seeing you can asses that there are some misconceptions about who God is in His beliefs. Where is he getting his information from? (what is feeding the roots?) What is entering the gate of his mind- because that is what is forming the way he thinks. WHat he thinks becomes what he believes has he continues to apply it to his life, and what he applies to his life over and over becomes habit. He is transformed into that kind of a person. Here is a good link to follow up on Amy's blog. What are the idols in his heart?

http://www.peacemaker.net/site/c.aqKFLTOBIpH/b.958147/k.4979/Getting_to_the_Heart_of_Conflict.htm

Scan down to the X-Ray questions. Try to help him (over time) identifiy what is going on in his heart.

Zach Dietrich said...

Thanks for the thoughts, bracman. I've thought about the proverb often. I owe him no answer, neither do I want to let him think he's got me (or the Bible) beat. However, I often fail to see his potential for growth. It's not up to me to decide who is beyond help or not. I'm simply responsible to be a good steward of the mysteries of God.

Matt, He's not a member of a local church - they,even the pentecostals, don't really like his kind, he tells me. I've thought of Paul often, and James 1:1-12. It's sad, because I quote verses to him like, "For it has been granted to you, not only to believe in Christ but to suffer for his sake," and "indeed, all who follow Christ Jesus will suffer" (from's Zach's paraphrase), but he laughs them off.

I need to remember that my neighbors are not only the easy ones, but everyone.