Subjects and Problems Covered
Doing it Right in Corps
Excuses for Working as Solo Lone Rangers without Oversight
Special note about Abuse by Religious Authorities
The Fatal illusion of Easiness
Fatal Misdiagnosis by Shallow Charismatics
The Meaning of “Double Struck Dead”
Off-the-Radar Covert Work – Dire Need for Mature Teams
See the related article, “Struck Dead – Acts 5:1-11 – Dead? – or Just Encrypted?”
Before venturing further, it is important to define “double struck dead” as having at least double meanings.
The first meaning of double struck dead applies to the story of Ananias and Sapphira as two people who were struck dead together as a fraudulent team, and this meaning is covered in detail below.
The second and ‘double’ meaning of struck dead, while still alive, means ‘dead’ to the Holy Spirit. This kind of ‘dead’ is from prayers that have the outward form of prayers, but are not based on listening-prayers to receive mission instructions directly from the Holy Spirit, followed by obedience to the Holy Spirit. The front page – Purpose ~ Mission Impossible – repeats over and over again that the purpose of our full-time prayers is to listen in order to get mission instructions, and then to obey. The ten-fold increase in effective service noted on the front page works in a ‘double’ way, because merely adding one person to another person in two-fold agreement, but not based on full-time listening first to get specific marching orders from the Holy Spirit, followed by specific obedience means that two people together can add a ten-fold increase in ignorance, self-congratulation, incompetence, and harm to others because such team members are ‘dead’ to hearing the Holy Spirit. Both of the two individuals in agreement – are double dead – praying their own wishes and mistaking magical wishes to be God’s will.
Human history contains billions of catastrophic examples of this deadness to the Holy Spirit. King Saul was a prime example. Other kings paid prophets to tell the kings what the kings wanted to hear. Even the good King David had a dedicated prophet, Nathan, who prophesied to David what David wanted to hear about building God’s house, only for Nathan to be corrected by God for not first hearing God, so Nathan had to reverse his wishful thinking and tell David that David could not build the house of God. King David was the king of the kingdom, and David was still in God’s Kingdom, but there were things that even king David could not do, just because he was ‘king.’
Some translations (not all) of scripture calls believers “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6), but this does not authorize us to do whatever we will, and being priests means first listening to the Holy Spirit in full-time prayer (Matt 6:6, and “Speak, for your servant is listening,” 1 Samuel 3:10). We listen to the Lord of Lord and Kings of Kings over us who speaks to us today. We admit we are sometimes wrong, like Nathan, and we must be corrected.
Almost all of us who work in corps would also stop to share a random encouragement with a stranger, or just give street directions to one lost on the road, or give food to the hungry, pray with another in a random encounter in public, or just pray silently and all alone for others and for events, praying secretly as individuals and under our breath. Billions of interactions happen in our world every day that involve individual kindness and unspoken individual prayers to bless others.
Doing it Right in Corps
Our common agreement about the highest importance of Matthew 6:6 commanding time alone daily with God in the Secret Place, and daily with the door shut to all others, and daily until released from the Secret Place, is sometimes misunderstood as authorization to operate as individual solo lone rangers instead of in teams in service outside the Secret Place.
This misunderstanding can be harmful to others.
Worse, doubly fatal.
We are committed to working together in corps as teams, and committed to training together in corps to operate as teams, for the dual reasons of:
1) avoiding the negative consequences of working as solo lone rangers (more on the harmful, sometimes doubly fatal negative consequences of lone rangerism, below) and;
2) to reap the positive benefits of working under the authority of the following constitutional truths – “one will chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight” (Deuteronomy 32:30, and Leviticus 26:8). and, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:18-19, and John 16:23–33).
These truths are constitutional because they constitute who we are – as “we” – together in corps.
We have seen thousands upon thousands of physical, on-earth, practical blessings collectively in our teams from obedience to these constitutional truths.
Reports and testimonies about these practical, physical and on-earth blessings start on the front page. Thousands of other reports and testimonies on non-public pages are require confidentiality and HIPPA privacy are never available to the public.
It is common for trainers with a minimum of 20 years of experience in the field to have logs of easily over 20,000 answered prayers. It is equally common for full-time students who start advanced training with a minimum of five years experience in the field to have logs that easily contain over 2,000 answered prayers.
These numbers of answered prayers from work in corps in the field are not quotas. These logged numbers are not accounting gimmicks for self-congratulation nor for the empty praise of others – though we can be as guilty as anyone else of these worthless vanities. These numbers of answered prayers do not earn us any credit, and to the contrary, they sometimes do puff us up in pride. These answers to prayer just come naturally from the Holy Spirit blessing obedience to work in corps as teams in daily work in the field.
We pray because we love the communion and intimacy with God who loved us first. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Working in teams does not make us any more or less loved. Just obedient. And we do not pray in teams in order to get the hardest, impossible missions, but the other way around, it is because we are in constant prayer, communion, and intimacy with the Spirit that we end up, often by surprise, sometimes not even knowing how, we are shuttled into these missions. Since the original outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2) those gathered together in a corps just prayed for the coming of the Spirit. And all the missions and mission instructions through the entire book of Acts and the rest of history just naturally come in the train of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings every other blessing the its draft. Since the time of the original Pentecost, some people kept full and kept going. Others quit. Some faked it (and died – see below). And every other response from cold to lukewarm to hot obedience. It all started with first being loved (1 John 4:19). And keeping it that way.
Since we serve “Him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20, please notice in all translations that this truth is for “us” in the plural in corps). We have too much good to enjoy and report, and we will not belabor the negative consequences of working alone as solo lone rangers, except to note the negatives in brief, leave it at that, and move on.
First, we do not train solo lone rangers because many of them will not be trained – by anybody.
Second, working in corps is no automatic life insurance policy against dying in service. We have had teams die in missions in hostile lands as well as on the streets of Chicago. Individuals who see these real dangers of working in serious teams sometimes run away from dangerous teamwork be work as solo lone rangers – just like John Mark who ran away from a mission team that was too serious (Alexander Maclaren notes). Even the disciples of Jesus ran, deserted Him, and fled, when His mission became seriously dangerous to the point of death (Mark 14:50). Corps are often given these missions as teams – because they are teams praying together and operating in the team blessings of Matthew 18:18-19, and John 16:23–33, above. Jesus sent people out two by two or in greater numbers as corps for work: 1) teaching the Kingdom in the most hostile environments, 2) to do healings, 3) exorcisms, 4) and all the rest.
Excuses for Working as Solo Lone Rangers without Oversight
There are three frequent reasons why solo lone rangers work solo, and are dangerous to the point of fatalities.
- Arrogance and pride in a habitual refusal to lay down individual autonomy by submitting to teamwork;
- Abuse and/or neglect of authority by religious leaders who traumatize believers into retreating into individual woundedness, isolation, and withdrawal from trying to find healthy teams because these abused and traumatized believers mistakenly camp in the conclusion that working all alone and solo is far better and safer than healthy mutual submission to others working in teams as corps; woundedness by religious authorities who abuse sheep can be a good reason for a temporary moratorium, a time out, to be alone, heal, pray, and look for better teams. Paul had a pretty rough encounter on the road to Damacus, and was in Arabia, mostly incognito, sorting things out, maybe for a full three years (Galatians 1:17);
- The more subtle and equally deadly lone rangerism is in working with mere peers, mere equals in teams (peers as equals), who do not provide the feedback and oversight of more mature, more seasoned, and wiser betters and overseers for love, accountability, and correction, betters who have more years of seasoned experience and mature wisdom in the hardest cases (Hebrews 5:14, “solid food is for the mature”). The common problem with working with mere peers and equals is the shallow backslapping and self-congratulation that is frequent among mere peers who get stuck in any one of the eight symptoms of “groupthink,” common among mere peers. Confinement to work with peers and equals, without seasoned betters with more years of experience and wisdom, is a slow-track to stagnation for life, or death. The resistance to overseers, betters, and senior accountability partners with more years and more experience in the hardest cases, and who give love in both confirmations and criticisms in oversight is a sure sign of solo lone rangerism even in groups, that is, groups of mere peers and equals. This conclusion that working with peers really amounts to being a lone ranger seems crazy – but it is not. Consider the story of Ananias and Sapphira, below, who were peers, in a team, committed to the fraud of appearing to be sold-out in a revival – and see the Greg Keener article below on “Struck Dead.” Ananias and Sapphira really count as just one: one in marriage, and one in a commitment to appear more sold-out than they really were. Worse, teams of mere peers do not need to be married to each other to be tempted to appear to be sold-out heroes. “Groupthink” is a disease common, and denied, among peers.
Special note about Abuse by Religious Authorities: As noted above, authorities and betters over us can be abusive too. This matter of abuse by religious authorities over us can be extremely tricky – especially as an excuse to work as a solo lone ranger. Here is why. First, even if the abuse is not deliberate and intentional, but is ignorant and based on false and mistaken estimations of competency by leaders over us (study the Duning-Kruger Effect), such abuse still registers in our hearts as abuse. Second, in the Keith Raniere case already analyzed here by T.J. (and the Lynette Franco case in the notes) abuse was proven in court as no mere accident. Third, in the Salem Witch Trials, 19 innocent people were hanged to death, and at least 150 more were imprisoned and lost their livelihoods and farms – all by ordained ministers operating under “charismatic” evidence (mostly spectral evidence): murders and unjust imprisonments by religious authorities. Abuse exists along a vast spectrum. We are heedful and have learned from some of the lesser, but still serious abuses, of the Shepherding Movement, in which many truly good betters across many denominations were guilty of leadership-abuse, and repented, and were restored to years of faithful oversight as valid betters for mentoring those who wanted it. Fourth, Jesus would almost certainly be sued in court today because of his very sharp rebukes – saying to Peter, “Satan, get behind me” (Matthew 16:23), and saying to his incompetent disciples, “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me” (Matthew 17:17). Worse, Ananias and Sapphira were dropped dead in church at Peter’s feet (Acts 5:1 and following). How abusive was Peter for that? Of lesser severity, two Spirit-filled men, Paul and Barnabus, had a “disagreement .. so sharp that they parted company” over the question whether to keep or to exclude John Mark from the mission team in the field because John Mark “had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work” (Acts 15:36-39). Was Paul abusive toward John Mark? Was Barnabus too lenient and tolerant? Were both men somehow right? Or did God just apply Romans 8:28? – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” – what if both Paul and Barnabus were mutually wrong in not working it out in the midst of sharp disagreement? We cannot answer this question for every heart who reads this article because it is a matter of such individual intimacy and judgment that each person must work out the mix and match of confrontation and forgiveness that each prays to obey in response to abuse by religious authorities. The point is that abuse by religious authorities and betters is not a permanent excuse for not working in teams, but working instead as solo lone rangers, and in some cases, what “feels” like abuse to us is really a justified correction delivered with white hot heat. Jesus, Peter, and Paul could likely be taken to court today and sued for abuse for these behaviors. John Mark finally did come back into effective service, even if he judged Paul abusive (this is not clear), and especially if Paul really was abusive and too harsh by kicking John Mark off of the mission team for running away – if this text applies to the same Mark, then reconciliation happened years later when Paul wrote, “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Relevant to the point, Mark could have chosen to stay off of any team with Paul, or anyone else, and hold a grudge against abusive authority, and work as a solo, lone ranger, starting his own ministry, for the rest of his life.
Next, individuals and teams of peers who do dark and very dark work of spiritual liberation (full exorcisms – not overcoming mere easier temptations), or any other impossible mission, can die by working solo as lone rangers, or as immature teams of mere backslapping peers (which count as a collection of lone rangers) – the long, long, painful history of the church through centuries shows this severe penalty. See more below. None of the historic or contemporary major church families allows, and all church families forbid the dark work of spiritual liberation, and even many cases of easier faith-healing, including inner healing, done by solo individuals and by teams of unseasoned and unaccountable peers. One of our favorite examples of one-on-one mentorship for business people in the world is Demos Shakarian, founder of Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, who had reasoned statistics showing that a senior business person full of the Spirit and mentoring just one other business person ends up making more full-time disciples in the world than a church that adds 100’s of people. It is important to focus on the positive examples and not just the negative ones, in order to stay in missions.
The Fatal illusion of Easiness: a major and frequent problem in working alone without betters in oversight, or with peers lacking deep experience, is that the real darkness and severity of a mission or a case is often not apparent at first – many cases and mission projects look easy – until the darkest part, the darkest midnight of a mission or case finally manifests by surprise in full darkness. About cases that become dark by surprise, consider this: the foolish virgins as a group of foolish peers, without accountability with betters who have more years of experience in more difficult cases, these foolish virgins (no real, mature experience) do not have enough lamp oil of the Holy Spirit to make it through the darkest midnight of missions and cases, that appear easy at first, in the sunlight, only then for the mission or case finally to manifest as dark, then very dark (Matthew 25:1 and following: notice how the foolish virgins are a group, as peers, perhaps even congratulating and backslapping each other about having enough oil, especially in the easy daylight, after all, how many of these foolish virgins double checked each other for their oil levels in mature, seasoned wisdom?). Even the inner disciples of Jesus distracted by arguing got caught out as incompetent by a special “kind” of demon torturing a boy to near death by fire, and the disciples suffered severest personal rebukes by Jesus (Mark 9:14 and following, and Matthew chapter 17). Take your pick whether you would rather have the rebuke given to the foolish virgin peer-group or the rebuke of Jesus to his incompetent disciples peer-group who could not help a tortured and dying child. How many children actually do die today, thrown into fires, because disciples are busy arguing and distracted from teamwork as corps in service? See below on Anneliese Michel.
Shallow groups of nine unseasoned peers incapable of mature oversight, or nine distracted disciples with prior successes under their belts, do not add up to a one person of maturity in service to save others. Distracted individuals working solo and with prior successes can also die. Malachi Martin might be one recent example. And victims of incompetence in peer groups can die too.
Many trainers and students here are charismatics – non-charismatic trainers and students pray many hours each day. Church attendance does not count. Perfect church attendance is no substitute for praying each day and in each mission and case, several hours a day. Charismatics are among the most prideful and ignorant of Christians, shallow, immature, but claiming authority in charismatic word-magic. The tragedy is that God sometimes blesses the immature and shallow with good results anyway, out of sheer mercy to end the suffering of the victims of disease, ignorance, and dark oppression, but the immature workers interpret this success and blessing in these cases as confirmations of their holiness, proofs of their maturity, signs of their superior charismatic wisdom, and signs that the church they attend is ‘the best.’ Blessings given suffering victims out of Mercy result in deeper pride, continued ignorance, and complacency into stagnation among solo lone rangers and teams of peers (see groupthink, below).
Fatal Misdiagnosis by Shallow Charismatics (especially in charismatic teams suffering groupthink) who misdiagnose mental illnesses as demonization can have the same results – death – and is grounds for individual, team, clergy , and whole church malpractice, and for good reasons. See the death of the epileptic misdiangosed as demon possessed, Anneliese Michel. We have no clue how many people have died or suffered prolonged suffering from misdiagnosis by charismatics and non-charismatics alike. A most frequent misdiagnosis by immature charismatics who are eager for constant publicity and validation is the misdiagnosis of mere placebo effects as truly effective ministry. People suffering from oppression, depression, and other maladies often show a temporary beneficial effect – a placebo effect – from nothing more than getting a little attention from immature charismatics, and immature charismatics eager for validation and recognition rush to claim placebo effects as proofs of valid service, leaving the victims unhealed and often more injured at deepest levels.
The Meaning of “Double Struck Dead” is a reference Ananias and Sapphira and their marriage-covenant fraud to lie to the Holy Spirit in order to appear full of the Spirit and then ‘go to church’ for the outward appearance of a sold-out status (Acts 5:1-11). Double dead means both were struck dead. This folly of putting on the appearance of being full, and pretending to be sold-out during revivals (especially during revivals) is elaborated in an article by New Testament scholar, Craig Keener, Struck Dead—Acts 5:1-11. These two people also count as just one person (united as one in marriage, and united as one in the fraud of religious spirits trying to appear sold-out). These two united as one are examples of any other group of peers who want to appear full of the Spirit and sold-out, and who want to appear able to do more than they really are doing, or more than they can do in mature ministry. Titles of pastor, teacher, evangelist, and any other title, and fancy names of ministries do not count. What matters is maturity levels (Hebrews 5:14, “solid food is for the mature who by practice have their senses trained“) – and what counts is humble willingness to take input from mature betters in accountability for practical ministry in the world, even from betters with more years and more hard cases of experience, but without titles and without fancy ministry names.
Off-the-Radar Covert Work – Dire Need for Mature Teams
We note in our front page that our work involves much “off-the-radar mission venues.” We provide love, prayer agreement, and oversight, even training for many missions that cannot be mentioned in detail (by name, address, location, names of workers, nor disclosed in promotional YouTubes) because of the nature of the work involved: safe shelters for victims of sex and human trafficking, groups homes for severely troubled and court-ordered youth, active missions in hostile areas of war-torn hot spots, bible and prayer work in countries that regulate and control all religions, and countless other mission projects and small cases that require covert, silent, off-the-radar mission work. And we often do not know in advance, nor know until we are deep in a mission, just how much privacy, confidentiality, covert cover and anonymity we really need until a mission changes suddenly, dramatically. and without notice. “Maturity” in this context does not mean merely “pray always” (nor shallow versions of “pray continually,” and “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18), because we confess our guilt in beating the air with too many noisy prayers. “Maturity” in this context of off=the-radar covert work means always listening in prayer, diligent listening, “Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening‘” (1 Samuel 3:10). Samuel’s mission instructions came when Samuel prayed to listen.
A lesson extremely difficult to learn for shallow charismatics is the lesson of – “I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it (Revelation 2:17). We are intoxicated with our titles. We are addicted to the names of “our ministries” like users addicted to drugs. The word “name” in Revelation means authority. As we mature and we learn by hard failures, we talk less about our titles and the names of our ministries (the real “name … [is] known only to the one who receives it’). This is one reason why it is mandatory that students who apply for training not to brag (a little, not too much, 2 Corinthians 10:13) about this name “of my ministry,” or this title of “my authority,” but to tell truthful stories about their painful failures and successes in service (requirements for full-time students, here). Students with no failures have not been in service. When we mature, we talk far less, or not at all about our titles, names of our ministries, and our authority. Those who have mature authority do not talk much about authority – they just move in it.
And even with maturity, some of our individual friends, and teams, have died in service. As T.J (Jurist) asks us, when judges are shot dead in courtrooms for issuing just and mature judgments, then how immature can we afford to be in failing to seek mature mentors and betters with more years and more hardest cases to mentor us in our serious judgments against evil in the world? See above, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:18-19). When the scripture tells us not to quit getting together (Hebrews 10:25), it is not talking about assembling a few days a week in a mega church for sermons, but about encouraging each other about specific mission instructions direct from the Holy Spirit in groups as small as two or three who are listening, even covertly, without trotting off to get gold stars and pats on the head as pew puppies for church attendance. People with deepest maturity, even some of our trainers well into their 70’s, still seek out their own seniors, betters, and superiors over them, with more years of experience in harder cases, and with more wisdom to mentor them in small groups. Those content with titles and names of ministries, or lulled into complacency and stagnation, like the incompetent disciples with much experience, and worse with much success (Mark 9:14 and following, Matthew chapter 17), have their reward in full. As people in the world suffer. Or die.
submitted by Inigo auto-da-fé (SJ), Jedburgh/SOESM. and T.J. (Jurist)
with special thanks for original materials and lifelong mentorship submitted by:
Michael (M.D), Dr. E. Potts, Dr. E. Smith, medical missionaries in dangerous fields,
Harold Behr (Brown Navy Vet, Simple Church Planter, deceased)
minor revision 5D2A549A-4880-466B-868A-888C84C9CAE1 at Mission Shombolo River