Question: Someone sent me a copy of a book by Chuck and Nancy Missler titled Kingdom, Power, and Glory: The Overcomer's Handbook, and I found it rather troubling. I have a lot of respect for Chuck and his ministry, but this really threw me. Have you had an opportunity to review the book? I'd like to get another opinion to help me decide whether or not I'm understanding what the book is saying.
Response: We, too, have great respect for Chuck and consider him a good friend. Nevertheless, the book he co-authored with his wife, Nancy, has, in our view, serious doctrinal errors. The main thesis they present is that born-again believers fall into two categories: "overcomers" and "carnal Christians." When both stand before Jesus at His judgment seat for rewards, those saved carnal Christians (whose lives have produced few, if any, good works) will be relegated to a place of outer darkness during the Millennium when overcoming Christians will rule and reign with Christ.
The Misslers claim support for their view by interpreting verses in Matthew 24 as applying to true believers though they be carnal Christians. Those verses declare that the lord of "that evil servant...shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (vv. 48-51). The authors interpret as metaphors the language describing the punishments listed by Jesus, thereby softening the consequences. Even so, one is still left with a purgatory-like condition for believers. How does a believer know he or she will not be cast into outer darkness, "in the darkened courtyard outside the light of the Holy Place" (Missler, p. 198), where "there is going to be much 'weeping and gnashing of teeth'"? The Misslers tell us "it is impossible for us to know who is carnal and who is spiritual. Only God knows the truth. We are not to judge! That's God's business at the Bema Seat."
In truth, all of the verses that refer to "outer darkness" and "weeping and gnashing of teeth" are directed by Jesus at Jews who have, or will have, rejected Him, their Messiah. Applying any of the consequences to believers does serious harm to the gospel. At the very least, it implies punishment of sin for the believer, which he must suffer and somehow expiate during his time in outer darkness. Exactly how that's to be accomplished we're not told. At worst, like the purgatory of Roman Catholicism, the carnal Christian must pay for something that the blood of Christ did not cover.
In addition to the implications regarding the gospel, it grieves me deeply that the Misslers' book may spread anxiety and fear among evangelicals, much like I had as a Roman Catholic. I knew I had punishments awaiting me, even if I made it to purgatory. Being delivered from that fear when I put my faith in the One who paid the full penalty for my sins, my heart joyfully rested in His words: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John:14:1-2). There are many, many other verses that clearly show that Jesus will never separate Himself nor cast the believer away from Himself. We have His blessed assurance.
A number of brothers and I have discussed our concerns personally with Chuck about Kingdom, Power, and Glory through conference calls and emails. To date, Chuck's position is: "Nan and I believe it to be the most important work of our lifetime."