Earlier tonight, feeling all worn out for the day, I decided to lay down and go to sleep early. But as I was laying there, thinking about the day, my mind drifted off onto the subject of false teachers (don't ask me why it headed that way, save divine redirection) and I began to think about Rick Warren, Joel Olstein and others and the pure evil they are doing in the name of the prosperity gospel. Then, while I was thinking about this, the thought came to me, "What would it look like if they got saved?"
Me being a big "what-if" scenario kinda guy, I immediately bit on the idea. It was at this point that Jesus took control of my thoughts and presented a scene to me that was most intriguing. It began with Rick Warren in his own mansion, perhaps at bedtime, or just sitting in the study. I'm not sure exactly when, only that he was in his own residence. Suddenly Jesus took him and cast him down into Hell. I watched as Rick's entire life played before him, how he realized the depth of his sin, of the crimes he had committed against God, and especially against Christ. The hopelessness that he felt was crushing.
No hope of salvation, or rescue, or anything. He would be lost forever, writhing in unimaginable agony and pain, tormented by demons, enveloped in fire, and just really just suffering at a level we just can't wrap our minds around. From what I understand of what I was seeing, this went on for a good two hours. Then, even though he knew it was hopeless, Rick raised up his head and pleaded for forgiveness and to be saved. He knew it was hopeless and there was no way that Jesus would hear him. Yet he did it anyways, at the very least acknowledging the depth of his sins.
Now here's where it got interesting. It was as if, like king Nebuchadnezzar after his 7 years of punishment, Jesus lifted Rick out of Hell and took him to heaven to stand before Him. He stayed there as well for 2 hours, having the most epic discussion with Christ. I don't know the details of it, but I suspect that, based on what I was seeing in my mind, and I will remind you that this is all from Christ as He was controlling the direction of this little daydream and what-if scenario. So at some points I only know what I saw, and at others I was given some inside info. So you'll have to bear with me as I'm only able to tell you what I know from what was revealed to me.
Anyhow, at the end of this two hour pow-wow with Christ, Rick was returned to his body. The transformation I saw in that man was unbelievable. He was a completely different man. His pride was crushed, his ego lay shattered on the ground, he was humbled in a way we don't often see these days and his face shown with not only the love of Christ, but the clear and obvious presence of Him in this man's heart. The next thing I saw in this little daydream what-if scenario, courtesy of Christ, Rick took two weeks off form his "church" (I use that term loosely) and just buried himself in the bible from sunup to sundown every single day. And when he wasn't reading he was praying in tears and what I would call the modern equivalent of sackcloth and ashes.
Anyhow, after this he reappeared again at his church, and when he stepped on stage, you could clearly see this was not the same Rick Warren of a month earlier. This was the face of someone who'd seen God and been radically transformed by Him. And without fear, Rick opened his bible (no, I don't know what version it was, but I'm suspecting either ESV or KJV based on the verses he read off) and began to give his testimony about what'd happened to him, how he'd met Christ face to face, his two hours in Hell and all that'd happened to him. Then came another rather shocking statement. At least shocking to me. He told the audience in attendance (I'm guessing in excess of 20k people) that, due to what Christ had shown him, he'd repented of all his evils.
He then proceeded to pretty much rip Christlam and the prosperity gospel to shreds. Yeah, you're probably thinking "wow" at this point too. Mir Christlam and Mr. Prosperity Gospel himself standing up there and utterly destroying it via the word of God. Needless to say, there were a bunch of people, especially those in the front row, those who were the church "elders" who wanted to come up there on stage and pretty much haul him away in a straight jacked, or at the very least beat him into a bloody little pulp. But to my surprise, God restrained them. Nobody, and I mean nobody could leave. Nor could anyone get up. And try as some might, they could not move or get out of their chairs. They were a captive audience of divine magnitude.
Anyhow, at the end of his speech that left the "doctrine" of his soon to be former "church" in shreds, he then announced that he would be selling all he had and giving it to the poor, to missions and to those who needed it, and quoted out of the bible about the rich young ruler as his example. Obviously the rich young ruler didn't give up his riches, but in this scene Rick did. He sold his mansion, his cars, watches, suits, etc, and the rest either already had been or would soon be given away to charity and missions. He was even pulling every single one of his books from sale and having any that were already out in circulation that he could get his hands on utterly and completely destroyed. All of them. Every last one. He did keep a little for himself, but it wasn't much. I don't know the exact amount, but it was basically enough to start him out in his new life of what I would describe as poverty missions. I can't say more on that, only that it would be a 180 from his previous life of luxury.
Anyhow, at this point I asked the Lord, "What about his wife? What's her thoughts on this?" He then snapped me away from Rick's speech and showed me the exchange between Rick and his wife when he revealed to her what he was about to do. Um, let me just say this. It gave new meaning to the old phrase, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." I mean, wow, she was livid. But then I saw something interesting happen. While observing him in an attempt to "snap him out of his madness" or perhaps torpedo him epically in what she believed would soon be her divorce from him, she watched him for well over a week.
However, instead of getting a bunch of dirt on him or turning him from his new found "madness", it instead had the wonderful effect of opening her heart to Christ, and because of that, not more than a day or two before he made his speech before the church, she too gave her heart to Christ through watching his new and faithful witness for Christ. The scene then snapped back to the church, picking up where it'd left off. I remember sorta standing on the stage next to him, almost like an invisible observer, and glanced out over the crowd. The looks I saw were mixed. Some were fiery anger, some shock and awe, but most seemed as though they were in disbelief, either willfully or reactionary.
I then looked back at Rich and watched as he gave a clear and simple presentation fo the gospel. I'd call it the Roman's Road with benefits. IE, he didn't have the seasoned knowledge of an older Christian, or all the cliches or anything like that which we typically use. It was just the gospel undiluted, unrefined, unedited, or uncleaned. In other words, he didn't butter it up like we're prone to do. It was more or less just four verses and an alter call pretty much. We might look at that in horror and say, "But that'll never work! They need to know more, they need to have it explained!" But he put very little commentary to it at all. And you know what? It worked. Not because of what he did, but because of what the Holy Spirit did.
So what did He do? Well, looking out again over the crowd I saw the hold that had held everyone in place, that restraining power that'd forced them to stay in their seats and listen be lifted. Not everyone was released though, mind you, as some, namely those who wished to do Rick Warren great bodily harm at this point, were forced to remain in their seats, silent and unmoving. The others who were released and given freedom of movement quickly appeared to separate themselves into two distinct groups. The first were those who utterly and totally rejected the message of salvation that Rick had just given. They all got up and left. The others, those who had accepted the message, came down to the front in their thousands and prayed for salvation right there in front of the stage.
The part that made me grin was watching the "elders" who, by now, wanted to just utterly burn Rick at the stake, or whatever happened to be handy, had to sit there and watch this. I don't know if any of them got saved too, but I know that thousands of fake believers, who'd been sold out to the prosperity gospel not but 20 minutes earlier, were now added to the roles of the redeemed. The daydream ended there, so I don't know what happened next. However, from all of this came one incredible, piercing thought that Jesus put in my mind at the conclusion of this. Matthew 5:44 - But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
I think the message that can be taken away from all of this is, yes, run from false teachers and their wicked teachings. However, even though they are your enemy, and very evil ones at that, you are still to pray for them. I know that's probably a mind blowing concept for some of you. "Me!? Pray for the salvation of Rick Warren!? Or Joel Olstein!? Or Creflo Dollar? Or any of the others!? Are you mad!?" No, I'm not. Jesus said we should love our enemies and pray for them. In fact, we should never stop praying for ANYONE who is still alive. No, not one. Not even Obama. We should be praying for him just like we pray for our loved ones. And even if it seems like there is ZERO chance they will get saved, we still need to pray for them. I mean, anyone can be saved if they will just turn their heart to Christ. I mean, think about it.
How many stories have we heard of extremely wicked, evil, hardened men and women, people who were butchers and masochists of the highest order, and yet God saved them. So yes, even the worst of the worst of the prosperity and false gospel preachers can be saved. But we must pray for them. I admit that I was never that kind of person before. I wanted nothing to do with people like that. Yet after seeing this, it's given me a new commission to pray for them. And perhaps some day, maybe many years from now, and perhaps as soon as tomorrow, God will turn around the lives of these men and women, those who openly blaspheme God's name all while claiming they worship and serve Him.
I think that's the biggest takeaway from this God directed daydream I had. We need to start praying for our enemies. Pray for their salvation, that their eyes will be opened, and that God will pull them out of the pit and save them. Remember, people prayed for us when we were yet lost, and by the grace of God, He heard those prayers, and reached down and lifted us out of our sins and gave us a new life in Him. Anyhow, I just had to share this with you as it really left an impression on my heart. :)