I confess that I was laughing as I watched this spectacle unfold before my eyes. I probably shouldn't have been laughing. I mean, there's really nothing funny about this. It is scandalous and blasphemous, and that's not funny. Our Lord Jesus Christ is being abused here. Claiming to heal people in His Name with a "Holy Spirit Hokey Pokey" is abusive. Here, we see the "false prophets" our Lord warned us about at work (cf. Matt. 7). They are mocking the Cross of our Lord, where He suffered and died to heal us completely of the leprous disease of sin with which we are infected. They are purposely deceiving people for their own selfish gain. They are like the false prophets who betrayed Israel with their dreams and fantasies, whom the Lord made clear that He didn't know, and that He was against them. They are hucksters, and nothing more, in the employ of their master, the father of lies, Satan himself. Nope. There's really nothing funny about this at all.
The abuse done to our Lord by these false prophets is blasphemous enough, but consider the abuse they readily mete out upon the people in their audience. Listen to the false prophet open his mouth around the 4:30 mark. You can almost hear the slithering tongue of Satan in the background. The false prophet invites people to "stick their head in" during this "Holy Spirit Hokey Pokey" because the Lord wants to heal them of their memories, taking away the bad in order to give them some good ones in their place. He then quotes Psalm 103 (verse 2b), "forget not all His benefits," and says, "Alzheimer's is not Scriptural. Short-term memory is not Biblical." As one who has ministered to people suffering from such afflictions, I have to say that the Old Adam in me would like to punch this false prophet square in the nose. How offensive! How abusive! How in the world can people put up with this nonsense?! But, look at them. They love it. They gladly put their heads in, take 'em out, and shake 'em all about. They think the Holy Spirit is at work here. It ain't Him, people! It's quite another spirit - this spirit goes by the name of "Legion." He loves to deceive and he's good at doing so. Just look at how convincing he can be - some people actually believe that the Holy Spirit is at work through this Hokey Pokey of healing.
But, make no mistake, the hucksters know better. The false prophets know exactly what they're doing. They're putting on a show and, while this short, absurd clip doesn't show it, you can rest assured that a major part of their show on this evening included an emotional, enthusiastic appeal to separate people from the money in their wallets. No doubt these false prophets claimed some fascinating revelation they had received from the Lord. It's always the same fascinating revelation - the Lord speaks to them and tells them to take as much money from the people as they can. Of course, they don't put it that way. They pick some Bible passage about sowing and reaping and convince the people that a great harvest of health, wealth, and success awaits them if they would but sow their seed in faith (give as much money as they can, which always means more than they really have). And, sadly - very sadly - many people fall for Satan's deception hook, line, and sinker. I wonder how many people have landed in the poor house over the years by giving money to these idiots.
But, anyway, enough of that. What I find interesting is the question Pr. Tom Fast raised in the comment section of this post over at Pr. McCain's blog, where he stated:
Serious question: Is American Lutheranism able to prevent this from occurring in Lutheran congregations? If so, on what basis?Now, I know that most American Lutherans would think this question absurd. Lutherans would never go this far! Why not? How would they be prevented from doing so? I mean, let's just pretend that this video was depicting an LCMS congregation. I know that takes a lot of imagination, but just try to play along. What would happen? Obviously people are into this sort of thing. Look at the packed house in the video. Maybe this LCMS pastor (remember, we're pretending) is onto something. Sure, the means he's using are not the typical Lutheran fare, but maybe he's just "getting outside of the box" and "taking risks" to win people for Jesus. Maybe he's just doing "whatever it takes." Has he crossed the line? What line? Where is it? Does a line even exist anymore?
But, Pastor Messer, you are being absurd. Am I? How so? I have seen things in LCMS congregations I never thought those professing to be Lutherans would allow. A couple of years ago, an LCMS congregation in my District set up a bedroom set in the chancel so that the pastor could preach a Lenten sermon series on sex. I was in attendance once at an outreach event within an LCMS congregation which featured The Power Team, where one of the non-ordained, muscle-bound dudes preached on the importance of giving our hearts to Jesus and then concluded by inviting all who were moved by his message to approach the stage to make the decision to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. And I could go on citing many other examples, as I'm sure many others could as well. The point is: What, really, is to prevent Lutherans from employing a "Holy Spirit Hokey Pokey" in our day and age? I think it is a legitimate question, as absurd as it may seem, and I wonder how people would answer it.