About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
With Optimistic Caution
Cerinthus was a
first century heretic. Among
other false doctrines he taught was his belief that Jesus was born from a
human mother and a human father, thus denying the virgin birth of Jesus.
He asserted that Jesus became divine when He was water baptized and
then forfeited His divinity prior to His death, a heresy that is still
taught by some today.
The Apostle John
was a leader of the community of believers in Ephesus, the city where Cerinthus lived and taught.
Polycarp, a second century church leader and a student of John,
recorded what John said after he saw Cerinthus in a Roman bath.
"Let us flee lest
also the baths fall in since Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is
with church history knows that not only heresy, but other aspects of our
sinfulness inflict the church during a time of revival.
I admit that sometimes the infliction is satanic but more often
than not it's just a product of our fallen human nature that is manifested
in various ways.
was actively involved in the Charismatic Movement and the Jesus People
Movement of the 1960's and 1970's, which I view as being valid revivals.
In both movements, however, I saw things that steered segments of
those movements into Biblical error, which in 1972 I warned a group of
zealous young Jesus People about. I
was immediately rebuked by an older man for my negativity and my so-called
lack of faith. If my warning
had been taken seriously maybe some of those young believers would not
have faded into faithlessness. It
might have prevented others from joining a cult like the Children of God.
the height of the Jesus People Movement a group called the Children of God
(COG for short) swept its way across America,
point is simple. When we pray
for revival we must be aware of the inevitable pitfalls that will come our
way. When we pray for an
outpouring of the Holy Spirit we must be prepared for Cerinthus-like
distractions, abuses, and a host of plain old unbiblical weirdness. When
we experience the rush of revival we must exercise our Bible-based,
God-given common sense discernment, and move forward with optimistic