Dear Pheobe: An Open Letter to a Phaneroo Friend.

Dear Phoebe

Warm greetings in Jesus Name, upon your 3rd anniversary, you are probably not ready to engage in any theological chat yet, are you?

Well, the city excitement about your fellowship continues, perhaps with more anniversaries ahead, yet we still need to discuss these things don’t we? Especially because you and I are not the first Christians in history you know!

Talking of history, allow me to state early that, truth matters, especially in a relativistic day like ours where everybody believes their own truth. Explains why in 1517, men like Martin Luther were willing to denounce the Catholic Church on matters concerning how ‘men are saved’. May you recall that the consequence of his actions is what birthed the Protestant movement from which evangelical gatherings like yours find their roots.

And by declaring that “salvation by faith alone, through Christ alone, as Scripture alone declares,” Luther showed that he cared about doctrine, because Doctrine matters, and in life, we are all devoted to a certain doctrine, even when we deny so, we confirm that “denial” is our doctrine. After all, all living is a result of believing.

Allow me to commend the sincere and well-intentioned efforts of your leaders at Phaneroo to love and teach the Bible. I must quickly add however that “good intentions” and sincerity are not the same as “truth”. And so,

In all humility, I attempt to biblically and summarily interrogate these few themes prevalent in your teaching with prayerful hope that God’s spirit will generate illumination and open the eyes of your heart” (Eph 1:18) for the benefit of many, perplexed about what they hear in your pulpit.

1. That Christians are saints and not sinners; therefore they do not sin because they are one with Christ.

The New Testament emphasizes that believers are saints yet sinners saved by grace alone (Rom 7:24, Eph 2:8). That’s probably why “God’s mercies are new every morning” (Lam 3:22)

Even after salvation, we still “fight the good fight”, “run the race”, put to death the deeds of the body” “put on the full armour” and “take thoughts captive” etc.
Our faith is not like Wi-Fi- that you just sit there lean, and tap. James said, without actions faith is, well-not fainting-but dead, “…dead “(James 2:14)!

2. That we are gods, and because we partake the divine nature, a sense of divinity is inherently embedded in us.

We may be “created in God’s image” (Gen 1:27) but we surely are not “little gods”, that’s “baptized self-esteem” – not gospel, even when the psalmist says it “ye are gods” the next verse adds “but you shall die like mere mortals” (Ps 82: 6-7)

The Bible’s call to become Christ-like does not mean we will somehow become “little gods”, Scripture always makes the distinction between the created and the creator.

Assuming the latter is “sprinkled self-importance” those who go down that road, even when they go down chanting otherwise, soon discover their frail humanity, through death, disease, and ever-present indwelling sin.

3. That Christians are only “ignorant” about their divine nature and only need to discover it.

“heresy” and “narcissism” (Just like “historical ignorance” and “apostasy,”) have always been bedfellows, discernment is often zero when we are tuned in to what swells our chest, we sinners love ourselves by default setting (Ps 51:5), that’s why Paul talked about “itching ears” (2 Tim 4:3), and “denying self ”(I Cor 15:31) “counting all things loss”(Phil 3:8), because humans, more so postmodern humans, love to only hear thrilling stuff about themselves, we don’t love diagnosis, even when medicine is available, yet we are called “to decrease so he may increase (John 3:30)” – so drop the self imposed “apostle”, “prophet” titles obsession already! I know of a King who was eaten live by worms for not “giving glory to God. “(Acts 12:23) historically speaking, only 2nd century Gnostics elevated the spirit over the body.  Looks like we are learning from history again Phoebe.

4. “Sinner” is a not an exciting label but we never appreciate medicine until we admit we are sick.

Jesus said it’s “the sick, not the healthy, that need a doctor” (Mark 2:17), ordinary medics know good diagnosis leads to appropriate medication and eventually good living, the great physician too.

If “gospel” means “good news”, then unless we understand what we are saved from, we will never understand what we are saved for. The bad news of sin “exposed by law” (Rom 7:7) gives us good ground to appreciate the gospel. So denying we are sinners means denying the gospel – ultimately.

5. Funerals, hospital visits and Burglar proofs are present realities in a fallen world.

More than you would like to admit Phoebe, these three are a reality no matter how many positive confessions and declarations we make, courtesy of our first parents, we live in a sin filled the world, at least for now, as groan in expectation (Rom 8:19). So even as a believer Pheobe, don’t be surprised by Police handcuffs, termination letters, and electric fences. Christ will fully restore all things (Acts 3:21) but only at the end of the age, for now, we see in part. (1 Cor 13:12)

So mourn with those who mourn, but not as “one without hope.” (1 Thes 4:13) Also, rejoice when God allows you a healthy body or a secure bedroom, that’s “grace” in a world like ours. Every breath is mercy, Our sin deserved so much more, often look at the cross and remember that. (Eph 2:1)

Phoebe dear, whereas I admire the zeal among your young colleagues, (not many in this city are passionate about Jesus like you are) but as you may already know, – this Jesus you are passionate about is proclaimed to us through a book, a Bible, and so, zeal without knowledge is disastrous. (Rom 10:1)

Pheobe dear, Having “Christ’s nature & sinlessness” in the present world is glorious, I love it too.

But in God’s providence, “glorious” could mean that I suffer cancer in a way that makes Christ looks precious. Like Apostle Paul, he may choose I go “Hungry, naked cold at sea (2 Cor 11:27) ” as long I understand that “these momentary afflictions are nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed in us. “ (2 Cor 4:17)

And so Pheobe, guess what I treasure most – the fact that daily grace is poured out on a sinner like me, helping me to put to death (mortify) the deeds of the body, (Rom 8:13) renew my mind (Rom 12:2) and take thoughts captive. (2 Cor 10:5) “run the race, deny myself, etc -all by “the power of him who works in me” (Phil 2:13)

A poor anthropology (study of man) always leads to poor appreciation of the gospel, When the law was given “every mouth was shut” (Rom 3:19)

So may be a little chat about these theological things helps, even on your anniversary, as you know, Christianity is a teaching religion with historical reality based on a book, written by those who saw him, and mediated to us by the holy spirit, I hope you realize that Christianity cannot be under “new management” like every young new orator in town would like us to believe.

We cannot re-invent orthodoxy. Many have gone before us to preserve what we treasure today, namely “salvation by faith alone, through Christ alone, as the Bible alone teaches. ”
I pray for you Phoebe, that you will shelve emotion and excitement, love God with all your mind”, (Luke 10:27) understanding and treasuring this old, old, story told through the lens of an old rugged cross, but first, before you treasure it, you must seek to understand it.

Greetings to your Elvis Mbonye friend, I hope I can write to him someday, I am certain this correspondence will benefit him too, please make him as many photocopies; I am very sure he has enough to pay back your incurred costs.

Phoebe, I await a response from you larger than “these are things of the spirit, you can’t discuss them, they are only revealed by the spirit”

Yours

In love and truth
Brother Eddie.

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36 thoughts on “Dear Pheobe: An Open Letter to a Phaneroo Friend.

  1. Brilliantly written. Kudos to you. The insight is truthfully deep and enlightens that blind spot that many of our Phaneroo friends are often deviated from. Their “prophets” and “apostles” have mastered the act of focusing on preaching and shaping only a side of the faith that benefits their “good intentions.” They have also, in turn, learnt how to cleverly take a detour when facts like the ones you’ve raised are about to become a visible obstacle to their “good intentions..” Thank you for the good analysis and i hope many minds can read this and appreciate that as much as we all ought to get closer to God, we need to be aware of why before we can figure out the how; – before you make a journey, you need to know why you are packing your luggage. Great piece, looking forward to your next one.

  2. Dear Phoebe,

    Also quoting scripture is one thing and meditation, understanding the hermeneutics is another. Work toward being like the Berean. They always searched the scriptures to make sure what Paul said was true.

    And finally humility is one sure way to keep oneself from the devil’s reach.

    With love

    Derrick

  3. A very well thought through article addressing pertinent issues of our day, some of which are a mere very thin line, and need the understanding of the whole truth and nothing but the truth

  4. My brother, U mention keeping Phoebe in prayers but I’ve got to keep you in prayers more than her. I’ve read the article word for word, and if time allows I will write a response. I must say in all humility, you wrote this with good intentions trying to correct a brethren but you also ought to understand that the gospel/word of God is not realistic. It’s rather revelation and I’ve noted that in many of the scriptures you quoted, u tried to be realistic but didn’t pick out the rhema (revelation) from them.

    1. “Rhema” is the biggest fallacy of evangelical Christianity, ultimate question is, is God’s word sufficient without our subjective additions? how you answer that changes everything, everything!

      Thanks for passing by!

      1. Just asking;
        I quote you to have said,”Christianity is…based on a book, written by those who saw him, and mediated to us by the holy spirit”.
        If the written word was all sufficient, why would we then need the “holy spirit’s mediation? Would the holy spirit give a revelation that could be differing from the literal meaning of the written word (similar to the parables Jesus told)?

      2. Enoch Bro,

        Contrary to widespread Charismatic teaching, The Spirit does not give new revelation outside what is written, because the ‘Canon was closed’ (Rev 22:18)

        Otherwise we would need ongoing new Bibles if the spirit had new inspired downloads.

      3. Is God’s word suffient without our subjective additions ? The word of God says that “these words i speak to thee’ are spirit and life” the word of God has its own inherent power to execute that which he sent it to do for it can not return to him void…..and you want to repress it to “subjections” which subjectivity of phenomena is brought about by peoples personal opinions and feelings. …come on now brother, let God be true and a very man a liar.

      4. Agree, God’s word is sufficient, help dissect for me to see the added ‘personal opinions’ ,and then, your argument seems ‘generalised’ and incomplete, did you intend to stop there?

    2. Did you say revelation! God doesn’t contradict his word and whether you call it rema or the latest revelation, it must not contradict God’s word. Dear brethren, what is reality? He created heaven and earth, the earth and its fullness is his. What is reality? He actually is the reality -Yes,God is the reality.

      1. Thanks for that Daph,

        ..And we must add, to say ‘our revelation shouldn’t contradict what is written’ is to mean what is written should be subjected to our private revelation in the first place, which would make scripture insufficient, hence contradicting 2 Tim 3:16.

    3. Thank you Nick. After reading through i was rather apprehensive not to make any contributions for i wondered the motive for such a piece of writing…….is this really for spiritual edification for it is so…”this too is a zeal but not according to knowledge” ……..i know for afact that if brother eddie had made a commitment to attend these phaneroo meetings whose teachings he is quick to question or criticise per say the above teachings would not be addressed in a manner in which they were for such is not the way Phaneroo attedants are taught. …this to me sounds like hearsay that was also lost in translation. How can u admonish that which you do not carry a full understanding of…….. #basic tenets of the oracles of Christianity totally done away with yet people want to write back applausing calling this insight? Not to mention the daring of “men of God who have gone ahead of us in the faith”…….#miriam the 1st leper in the bible frustrated the ranks…but this is a conversation for another day….lets all continue to pray for eachother and the body of christ at large. …………..

    4. I think i attest to this. The word of God is continuously being misinterpreted. I have prayed with ardent Phaneroo Christians. I appreciated the level of scripture revelations and the power of the word of God whilst reading the word together, with the maturity exhibited in prayers, I could really feel the presence of the holy spirit leading me to pray, even deeply. I can tell you this is a good thing. Everyone really needs this spiritual encounter.
      I was also shocked to find that there are Christians who confess that they don’t sin. Somehow i was living a sinful fornication life, and this testimony still rings in my head. How can someone be that righteous that they can not sin???
      Scriptures were there in front of me,to convict me. Whoever is born of God does not sin. 1 John 3:9.
      What appears to be a wrong doctrine, produced in me the Fear of God. Each day i live, i pray to the Holy Spirit to take control of my life and to enable me Glorify God in my thoughts and actions.

      “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin: for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

      Answer: This verse does not teach that a Christian will not sin. If this were true it would contradict 1 John 1:8 which tells us that,

      “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” as argued by Dr. Max D.
      Since the Christian still possesses his old nature, there will always be a conflict of wills. Galatians 5:17 explains,

      “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another…”.
      In my view, it is very important to understand the anointing in which a ministry is operating, the History and fundamental faith based foundations, as well as spiritual understanding and discernment if actually the ministry is still on course. So many of great spiritual leaders have started well and ended worse off than they were before getting saved. 2 Peter 2:21.
      My role as a christian would then be to mature in the word of God, carry one another’s burdens, and in this way l fulfill the Law of Christ Galatians 6:2, pray for my spiritual leaders not to fall, as well as pray for myself to Stand Ephesians 6:13.

      1. Please prayerfully consider re-reading my original article and answer with each question I posed, perhaps repeating myself may not help.

  5. I used to be in a campus cell with Phaneroo members and I don’t think I have ever felt so judged for “not having enough faith” since I still have asthma.I wish they knew that showing people Grace and patience is how you win them over, Good enough I rescued myself from the situation and gave these people a break. I don’t like how they put so much emphasis on exhibiting the gifts and yet The Bible clearly states that they shall be known by their fruits.God’s gifts are irrevocable and one can still operate in them, even though the aren’t fully with Him, but exhibiting the fruits of The Holy Spirit takes conscious effort & one relying on God to continuously renew them. That’s what we also need to look out for as we fellowship with others because even the devil can make someone speak in tongues and bring people back from the dead. I also think these guys love outward signs because it gives them something to brag about. It’s hard to call yourself a ‘god’ with divine nature when you just show self-control & kindness,right?

    1. Totally, God still heals but on his own terms, our obsession with signs simply misses who they are pointing to, the miracle of our conversion is the biggest miracle there is.

      Charismatic emphasis on signs and wonders at the expense of doctrine is what is hyping the church and producing shallow disciples, unable to live like Christ in a fallen world.

      Absurd!

      1. God heals but on his own terms? Which terms are these brother eddie? ….*by his stripes ye’ were healed* …..that work was finished at calvary….which terms are these?help me

      2. Bro, thanks for seeking help to learn. I am humbled to point you to bread here.

        Read Isaiah in context, the next down says he was “pierced for our transgressions” (Is 53:5) which means the sickness was a ‘sin’ disease.

        Jesus didn’t go to Calvary thinking we should never have cancer, or miscarriages. you cant biblically prove that.

        “Our God is in heaven he does as he pleases” (Ps 115:3)

        Timothy suffered ‘several illnesses’ and Paul recommended him “a little wine” (1 Tim 5:23)

        Paul’s other associate Epaphroditus was ill and almost dying (Phil 2) – this is Apostle Paul’s accomplice, hey!

        Didn’t these know about Calvary?

        We have to bravely (and biblically) ask ourselves whether the atonement was meant to cover our ‘physical sickness.’

        Nope, the scriptures point to our ‘sin’ disease as the reason for Calvary, every thing else is health and wealth, only guaranteed under God’s sovereign kindness and Providence, not our entitlement.

        This is a rare gospel on a continent that is poverty-stricken as ours.

        May God open the eyes of your heart.

    2. Not right, however the rest of the write up is a good read. That judgement however for not having had enough faith could have been to your advantage to seek God to increase your Faith, This i believe you have done, Right? And it is absolutely true that our fallen brothers can still exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit of Prophecy, speaking in tongues, while bearing such fruits as Adultery, Anger Malice, Greed.

  6. woooooowww…….amazin amazing amazing, i love the fact that you broke it down bit by bit with the word of God, you read your word……the Lord bless you….

  7. All I can say is that you need to sit down and learn. Actually I like your line of thought, because that’s how I was before I crossed from religion to the life of the Spirit.
    Meanwhile join us preach the gospel to the lost souls instead of trying to fight fellow ministers.
    Otherwise you’re kicking against the pricks.

    1. Bro,

      1; How do you know our engagement right now is not clarifying and preaching the true gospel via this blog?

      2. You may have crossed from ‘religion’ but lets not forget our history, ‘religion’ as you define it may have lacked zeal but it had some solid foundations it historically set for us, zealous people.

      eg the Bible you hold may have never survived if men like William Tyndall had never been burned at stake, history is not useless, those who neglect it are bound to repeat the same mistakes.

  8. I am liking this for two reasons;
    1- You are such an awesome writer. Your arguments are well thought out and backed up by knowledge. Well researched or ‘taught’ I have to add. 😎
    2- I can relate. I have friends and siblings who are really full with zeal yet without knowledge. This speaks to them too. (Which I think was the intent😉)

    So I enjoyed it. Thank you.

  9. well my brother I am glad that someone tagged me here and yea I am zealous and here I come, I wish I could have you on a one on one talk someday.
    much as you gathered some scriptures to back your concerns and opinions allow me to bring this to your attention my dear friend:
    * The Word of God(Bible) much as today we read it in common and contemporary English was not originally written in English so this means some words may seem contradicting and at times taken by carnal men like as if the Bible is mere talk.
    1. Paul himself was a mortal messenger of the JESUS CHRIST and should never at any time be used as a “standard unit” for life of a christian! ..there are may things the HOLY SPIRIT revealed to him but he never lived to walk in those visions and revelations here on earth,so if he under went many bodily afflictions that does not mean that I and you should also go through the same, I hope you get my mind.
    2.when the psalmist says that “ye are gods yet you die like mere men it means that anyone who does not understand that he is a god he will suffer and die like a mere man(in simple English if I say you’re a king but yet die like a beggar that does not mean you’re a beggar NO my friend it simply means you chose or in ignorance lived like and will die like a beggar rather than what you’re- a king )Psa_82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
    Joh_10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
    and my friend the little translation therein of the word gods here is supreme divinity
    3. 1Jn_4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
    I hope that verse will be clear enough for you!
    we don’t say we are CHRIST Himself – the Bible tells us that we have His nature as in share the same FATHER and divinity,just the way someone say you’re like your dad- it does not mean you’re Him friend, it means U carry his likeness.
    4. about pains, hospital yes they’re there but that does not mean that healing by GOD is not there boss, and besides – sickness is a “choice” to some extent(we shall discuss this some other day)
    5. and for the prayer to this sister is nice but before you continue praying for her check yourself as well before ……Mat_7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

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