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Encounter Retreats Firmly Based on God's Word
by Joel Comiskey
Mario Vega mentioned in his Friday blog that some Encounters in Latin America were based on absolute secrecy, promises of liberation, and weird psychological practices. Such Encounters must be avoided at all costs!
Thankfully I didn’t encounter (no pun intended) this type of weirdness in my own “Encounter” journey. My original understanding of Encounters came from the balanced ministry and writing of Neil Anderson (Steps to Freedom in Christ). Dr. Anderson was doing Encounters long before such retreats became popular in the cell church world. His Encounters centered around the truth of God’s Word, rather than emotional experience. Jim Egli (Ph.D. in cell ministry) developed an excellent Encounter Retreat based on Neil Anderson’s truth Encounters. The main points of Egli’s Encounter were:
- From Darkness to Light: Freedom from False Religions & the Occult
- From Bondage to Freedom: Release from Habitual Sins and addictions
- From Impure to Pure: Sexual Freedom
- From Broken to Whole: Release from Resentment and Anger
- From Rebellion to Submission: Freedom to Serve
- From Cursed to Blessed: Freedom to Think God’s Thoughts
I believe the only Encounters worth having are those based solidly on God’s inerrant Word. In fact, an Encounter of God retreat is simply a concentrated time of exposing believers to God’s Word in order to break sinful bondages in their lives. An Encounter focuses on the power of the cross to break strongholds as well as the Holy Spirit’s ability to seal those transformations in believers.
The second book of my training track, Encounter:Receive Christ’s Freedom, nails down these truths in eight lessons. In the appendix of that book I offer three different schedules for holding Encounter Retreats.