What better way to separate yourself from culture than to depend on military metaphors and cultural appropriation? Everyone is familiar with Becky Fischer from Jesus Camp, but that’s not the only instance of brainwashing in the name of being against “compromise” (as if using military metaphors isn’t compromising, or you know using electricity or watching television or being involved in politics, but I digress). I guess in the end other people’s opinions do matter.
One example of spiritual boot camps is the cult, the International House Of Scare, I mean Prayer. A lot has been documented about IHOP’s corruption and spiritual abuse; Joel has documented it for example.
Charismatics (and well just about a lot of evangelical leaders) like to talk about the younger generation as “the” generation to bring revival. Whether at youth or worship conferences,Elijah is a popular person to namedrop, like with the Elijah Generation. In addition to Elijah, everyone also wants to be a good ole Nazirite like Samson!
“Isn’t it an Old Testament thing?
No. It’s a Jewish thing. Paul took a Nazirite vow (Acts 18:18), and Paul also paid for the sacrifices so that three Jewish believers in Jesus could complete their Nazirite vows in Jerusalem (Acts 21:23-24). (Sidenote: if you think that Paul was compromising his belief in justification by faith by doing this, go back and read Acts 15. For Jewish believers in Jesus, keeping the law is about voluntary obedience and love for God. According to Hebrews 7:11-19, no one was ever saved by keeping the Law.)
But you’re not Jewish…
No. That’s true. However, I do love Jesus and I have a desire to be consecrated to Him. In a sense, I borrowed a Jewish act of consecration because contemporary American evangelical culture does not have any comparable means of sacrificially expressing devotion to Jesus. And it is in the Bible after all…”
Um, first of all, Paul was Jewish, and you see, we are, um Gentiles, so there’s BIG difference. Just because something is in the Bible, that does not give us license to do something. I don’t see you planning to sell your daughter anytime soon. If you really want to be Elijah, you would cut down all of the false prophets after besting them in a contest of altars. I could point you in the right direction where to find them! True Light Pentecostals have adopted the “Nazirite” lifestyle, only so they can seclude themselves from “the world” and other Christians so they can continue to teach heresies, such as the idea that angels create with YHWH (um yeah, totally not in Scripture). Book are being written about the Nazarites, and how we can make “miracles” happen. Just because “Lou Engle apparently had a dream in the late ’90s about calling out contemporary Nazirites as a challenge for 21st century America,” does that mean we have to have the same interpretation of those passages as him, do we? Once more, we see that the idea of “spiritual boot camps” is just a tool to brainwash people into heretical teachings such as dominionism (Christianity as a national, domination system) and understanding of revelation outside of Christ.
Wrong ideas about denial and false forms of asceticism are portrayed in the complete negative, what we don’t have or what we don’t do; I have to agree with Rob Bell here on the topic of the Nazarite vow, our desire should be towards someone bigger than us, God. In the case of these “spiritual boot camps,” the emphasis on dominionism and politics means a self-denial on a private, individual level in order to compensate for the insatiable quest for political power over others.