Anne Hutchinson is not exactly a household name. She was a colonist in the 1600s and her primary claim to fame is being kicked out of the church and chased to another state. It wasn’t hard to recognize who was teach God and who was not, from hearing a few key details in the history books. So I decided to look a little deeper.
As it turns out my inclination was right. She was a woman who experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus said He would give His people. The book of Hebrews calls it the seal of salvation. She was known for her good works, always had the gospel on her lips, taught in her home, worked with the sick and generally lived the model Christian life.
Naturally, this stirred up the false brethren around her much the way it does today. Naturally, I want to point out their theological labels to try to drive home the point, but the truth is that she was a long standing member of that same group. The label fits her as much as it fits those who persecuted her. But there in lies the true label.
All who live Godly will suffer persecution and the accuser of the brethren turns out to be the old devil himself. So the theological label can be any number of things, but the fruit is in the lives lived. Her life lived included telling people to talk to God directly. Many people found this to be the right idea and revival broke out. Well that wasn’t working out for the church. God revival wasn’t good for controlling people and making them do the will of the people in charge. God was just out of control and needed to be stopped.
It’s the same old story all through history. Jesus didn’t have it any different. He said they persecuted me, you can expect them to do the same to you. The church lives in some stage of this all the time. The most persecution comes with the most revival. If people are being murdered, things must be going really well!
Anne wasn’t murdered but she and many of her fellow believers were run out of town before there was a rail to run them out on. She was forced to flee the state! That’s pretty good if you ask me! There were enough of them to start a new town but they came and chased her off again. And then they blamed her for the loss of her own child.
Anne is a Christian, the ‘Christians’ who persecuted her are the reason so many people say Christians are hypocrites. But if you can see past the label of ‘Christian’ and find out if someone is really experiencing the salvation of God, you can find out where the battle lines are really drawn. In most cases, the battle isn’t out in the world, it’s right in the middle of the church where the devil works hardest.
The occult may draw people away from God to the god of this world, satan. But the enemy from within that calls himself prophet, apostle, preacher, evangelist, teacher, elect, saint, brother, believer or Christian but still does the work of satan is the most dangerous. It is extremely important to look to the pattern of scripture. It isn’t who everyone accuses of evil that is doing it, it’s the accuser. The accuser of the brethren, that old dragon whose name is the devil or satan was a murderer from the beginning.
So what’s the pattern look like? I had a dream once that made this pattern very clear. A wonderful prophet of God was in his own home, being stabbed by an intruder. With every stab the attacker would scream out “You are a murderer!”. Imaging the nerve of someone to call you a murderer while murdering you! That’s the pattern. The enemy from within will gather people against you, then accuse you of gathering people against them. They will give false prophecies that accuse you of being a false prophet. They will lie about you and accuse you of lying about them. The devil is a crafty one but the pattern is clear.
So if your church has an Anne Hutchinson who is doing great things and speaking about God and Baptized in the Spirit. Then someone comes along accusing her of heresy, it may be a good time to step back and look at the accuser with a distrusting eye. And when you’ve never heard a pastor preach like Joel Osteen perhaps, or Randy Clarke, he who must not be named; Bill Johnson… Take a hard look at the accuser.
I’ve heard the story a thousand times. Bethel Redding secretly teaches people to lay on graves and soak up the anointed of dead saints! It’s witch craft! But I’ve listened to Bethel a lot, and they don’t talk about that, they just talk about God… What am I to believe? I will get shouted down if I do not call them a cult, but they seem to be a church. One day, I was listening to Bill Johnson and he explained the whole thing. Someone came to the church, seemed ok and began leading a group. He had the responsibility in the church of a volunteer Sunday school teacher. He turned out to be a witch and taught some witchcraft. This happens in churches all over the country and not every church figures it out! But Bethel did figure it out a removed the man from the position. Then that old dragon began to accuse them mercilessly and hasn’t let up. That was years ago, but people are still accusing them of what happened with that one guy.
You can believe the documentaries and the rumors and the accusations but I don’t trust accusers. Accusers are walking after the wrong spirit. So what about conviction of sin? Stop it. You need to be convicted of your own sin, not someone else’s. A Kingdom of kings and priests has to be able to reconcile sinners to God and lead in righteous living empowered by the Holy Spirit. If you are focused on calling out other people’s sins, you need delivered from the enemy. The people you plan to call out or talk about might be able to help.