Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: August 28, 2018 01:20AM
Many who came out of denominational Christianity in the 1960’s, as my family did, became a part of the “Walk” looking for a deeper walk with God. The last thing on our minds was ruling over others or pronouncing the “judgements of God” on those who left the group or didn’t see things exactly as we did. We were looking for a deeper walk with God than we had been able to find elsewhere. It seemed at the time that John had tapped into something of God that others had not. However, you will know them by their fruit, and after many decades, the fruit has not been good. After closer examination, it has become easier to see the many twists on the words of Jesus – sometimes even coming up with the opposite of what Jesus actually taught.
Many have expressed the confusion they have run into trying to sort through Christianity in general. The lens of TLWF is very deceptive when it comes to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus said that he didn’t come to be served, but to serve and lay down his life. The whole hierarchal structure of TLWF, and many other groups, runs completely opposite to what Jesus taught. I think you would learn more about Jesus by serving the least in a way that nobody sees – and it doesn’t need to be in a religious setting. We have to be careful that we don’t just use Jesus to make ourselves look important. He tells us to do our giving in secret so that doesn’t happen. What I have found to be the most helpful is to read the words of Jesus in a different translation, so it is not the same old lens with all the baggage and interpretations. I happen to like “The Message” and “The Passion” translations. The teachings of TLWF have an agenda that is self-serving and not healthy. The words of Jesus come to bring life and actually work for a change.
Our first love should not be affected by what other humans do – they really are not God. Just as in our natural lives, there comes a point where we have to stand on our own two feet – God takes away our Elijah so we learn to depend on just Him. A fifty year-old who has failed to launch and is still living at home with mom and dad is not a pretty sight – even though it has become a badge of honor in TLWF. I was told by a psychologist that I was a teenager in a 45 year-old body that had never learned to make decisions on my own – good or bad. That structure breeds immaturity, not growth.
In the Christian journey, there comes a point where we have to face the fallibility of ourselves and others and then decide whether we will continue to pursue knowing Him – the only source of real change anyway - or withdraw and become bitter. This is much more a cross than doing something your shepherd wants you to do that you do not want to do. But it also has the reward of the life that we originally came into the Walk to find - rather than the mire of never ending condemnation. I love the quote: “Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” Jesus is much smarter than we sometimes give him credit for. One of the hardest things (especially for a man) to do is to go back and read the directions and then do what they say.