In the 12th and 13th century, jousting tournaments were commonplace throughout Europe.
But, they were nothing like the tournaments shown on TV and films.
At first they were rowdy and dangerous activities usually undertaken by 'young bloods' who wanted both violent confrontation and a 'passage of entry' into Medieval society.
Younger men only wore light armour. The older and more experienced men, used to war and fighting, wore the full, heavy armour.
They tore across the open countryside on their huge chargers, in a running battle, each trying to outdo the other. They used genuine weapons of war, so horses and riders were cut down, often fatally. The few left alive were considered to be heroes and gained much by way of money, weapons, horses and social standing. They were already part of the social elite, but these tournaments could make or break knights. It is why they sought jousts all over Europe, western Asia and the Middle East. The more they battled and won, the greater their prestige.
Then, into the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the tournaments became gentler affairs, attended by ladies and the court. Blunter weapons were used (though fatalities still occurred), and some knights developed a set of rules of engagement, so that skill could be seen, without the blood, and language was less coarse. Everyone became more civil, and jousting was more of a spectator sport than a nasty private war.
Know what all this reminds me of? The Alpha Course and charismatic history! No, I'm not kidding!
At first both were very crude, displaying all the marks of satanic deception and outright hostility towards those who would not accept their outrageous claims. The advantage of being alive at the start of a movement, is that you can watch it develop. I warned that both movements would 'theologise' themselves so that they could be more acceptable to the majority.
And sure enough, that is exactly what has been happening over the past 17 years!
I advised that the most likely method would be to turn the then little-known Alpha course into a plausible and accessible one, used by many, toning down the earlier obvious satanic actions and making it appear to be genuinely biblical.
And this is what happened!
The earlier activities and aims have been hidden behind a more respectable front; so much so that the history of people like Gumbel and his course have been shrouded in a mist of ignorance.
However, in the USA in particular, the excesses and illicit nature of charismatic zealotry continues, as people like Todd Bentley amply prove. I know of no Old Testament prophet or New Testament apostle who 'healed' by kicking people in the stomach, or who were directed by the Holy Spirit to 'slay' people in large groups so they fell down! Yet, people are convinced by the fake 'theology', and make all kinds of excuses for their irrational beliefs and the wicked behaviour of their leaders.
As a result, even 'ordinary' European charismaticism is filled to the brim with obviously unbiblical teaching and behaviour, now accepted by almost everyone, because they have failed to recognise and oppose what is ungodly.
When a satanic movement gains ground, it starts to lose its outward evils, by giving it a more 'acceptable' face. This has happened with Alpha and charismaticism. (It has also happened with both homosexuality and Islam, which have all the marks of violence and evil. But, I have watched all these movements grow enormously, firstly by violence, then by stealth, and now by law. But, no amount of sanitisation will make them godly, or true, or acceptable).
It is this gloss of respectability that drives a heresy forward, together with the apathy of genuine Believers, many of whom say they are 'tired' of fighting the cause of truth. They just want a quiet life, and equate this with being holy and 'doing God's will'! But, what they are seeing is the sanitised version of a deeply offensive movement of Satan. In this kind of fake environment, they do not bother to oppose sin and sinful ideas, but dabble in them, taking the 'best bits' and adopting them as part of their dubious theological armoury. Instead of using the weapons of spiritual war, they use the blunted ones of socially-acceptable jousting, trying their very hardest not to offend others. In this way they gain social standing but lose their spiritual edge. I pray I never will. They fail to understand that when a man loses his wariness, he is likely to fall victim to the very ones he has assented to. An enemy who hates you will not rest until you are destroyed. And when you give in for a quiet life, he comes in for the kill... he doesn't just let you alone! And when you allow what was born as a monster to assume the guise of a beautiful creature, it will one day bite your head off. It is its nature! Give me the outright jousting battle any day to the fake gentility of modern theology, which only wants the love of peers and to be left alone in its sedentary position.
Call it prophecy if you wish, but I warn that the days of your peace are coming to an end, no matter who you are. Soon, you will be forced to choose who you really are - saved by grace or a pseudo-believer.
If you are a pseudo-believer you will join everyone else in condemning the brethren, even becoming an official spy for the authorities. In this way you think you will save your own skin by pointing the finger at others. If you are a true believer you will stand firm and suffer. But, let it be known – those who are pseudo-believers will also fall, because they deserve nothing but contempt from those who they allow to take over their lives. If you think this is extreme – read the history of Nazi Germany! Too far away? Then just look at how 'Christians' follow the official line on many issues, especially homosexuality.
These pseudo-believers will go on the attack to save their own skins! It is already happening.
Join the sanitised jousting of theology if you like. Pretend as much as you like. But, God is watching!