The Changing Global Church
See also The Purpose Driven ChurchThe Changing Church (News and links)
From George Cancilla (RE: Tony Blair, UNESCO and Rick Warren joins movement to end religious conflict]: The global elites desire a culturally homogenous world population, because such a population is easiest to control. Their techniques for accomplishing this herd mentality have been , and continue to be, Marxism and the Hegelian dialectic. Marxists hate the very concept of Jesus Christ, God, or any supreme being. Those who would seek to have control, care nothing about peace and prosperity for the masses, but care only about hoarding the wealth from all nations.
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:1-3).
Tony Blair, Rick Warren, and associates are implying that the nations of the world and the people therein are in conflict with each other because of different religious beliefs. This is not true. It is the self serving, greedy nature of Adam mankind that brings war. Not religious differences. Trying to find compromise in all the world religions will not remove the inherent sin nature of Adam mankind. Adam man cannot fix his sin nature with his own wisdom. Only Christ can do that. So, pulling all the scholarly wisdom together at Oxford will be a waste of time and money.
“Let no man deceive himself. If any many among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20).
From Jeff Wallace: I thought this a sobering and somewhat humbling scripture. It's a statement Jacob made in answer to Pharoah about his (Jacob's) life:
"And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, 'the days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.'" Genesis 47:9
Then we see Paul say these two things:
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." 1 Timothy 1:15David stated this in Psalms:
"I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." Psalm 32:5
And Job had this to say:
"How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?" Job 15:16If the son of Isaac, the grandson of Abraham, and the father Joseph (and the father of the 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel) could state......"few and evil have the days of the years of my life been," then I think we need a serious dose of humility. We need to ask ourselves, would any of these men I quoted in the Scriptures, sit very long under the ministries of today's one inch deep and mile wide entertainment centers now called churches? I think not. What will it take to bring back faithful humble men who will teach uncompromising Biblical Truth?
As www.Crossroad.to has so often and continually portrayed in its writings and observations, the current church trends, in so many church ministries today, just simply seem to be avoiding the fact that mankind (whether they be saved or not) is completely incapable of pleasing God with our attempts to be righteous. The reality of our sinfulness -- our natural depravity and inclination to choose our own way rather than God's -- seems to have been shut out of the discourse almost completely.
The honest self-appraisal of those great men of God stands as a stark and striking comparison to today's quests for self esteem, entertaining, and show-time gospel presentations. Joel Osteen writes a book to show people how to improve their lives, and yet it not only doesn't mention sin, carnality, and our desperate attempts at righteousness, it doesn't even mention God or Christ!I really have to wonder why these many ministries are just flat out avoiding the sinful nature of man. Are some of them really Christian men who are drunk on the lure and vision of the church growth movement? Or are they men who do not know Christ at all, and instead follow the call of dark forces to lull their congregations into a false sense of worship? Such worship and "service" negate the need for our Saviour on one hand, and promotes a comfortableness with interfaith dialogue on the other.
Maybe the answer one answer to the puzzle -- along with our our needed response -- can be found in here:
"... in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
"...all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned..." 2 Timothy 3:1-14
From Bob: I have read some of your articles that are critical of Mother Theresa, CS Lewis, J RR Tolkien, etc. Who says that Buddists, Hindus Muslims, etc will not go to heaven?
What people such as Mother Theresa was trying to say is that people who have great faith and love for God (even those brought up in another religion) will be accepted by God.
Remember that the Lord Jesus commended a roman soldier for his faith, a soldier who at the time had no idea who Jesus was and before "Christianity" was even born. Jesus didn't launch a diatribe against the "Pagan Religion of the Roman Empire, he commended the man. Likewise he didnt condemn the woman caught in adultery, certain prostitutes and tax collectors.
The whole tone of your website is to sit in Judgement on what other people believe. Imagine condemning CS Lewis surely the greatest Christian apologist of the last century! No doubt responsible for the conversion of thousands to the Christian faith. Jesus said "Judge not lest ye be judged likewise!'
Thank you for taking time to write us. You ask “who says that Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims… will not go to heaven?
God would welcome all those diverse people if only they would hear His call and come His way. That “way” is Jesus Christ Himself – the Savior who died on the cross to redeem all people from sin. All they have to do is acknowledge that they are lost, bound to sin and its judgment, and trust in the victory won by Christ on the cross. But if they refuse His call and trust in their gods, then they will face God’s judgment. As God Himself told us in His Word:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" John 14:6
"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:9-10
"... their gods shall be a snare to you." Judges 2:3
"....these men have set up their idols in their hearts.... Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?" Ezekiel 14:3
"...you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress." Judges 10:12-14
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.... because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11
The Roman soldier trusted Jesus and His teaching. He had heard about His teaching and turned to Jesus for help --not to the Roman gods and religious practices. That’s why Jesus welcomed and rewarded him. He longs to see people from around the world leave their futile beliefs – and their sins, as did the adulteress -- and turn to Him.
Please read this page on judging. http://www.crossroad.to/HisWord/verses/topics/judge.htm
You should see what God tells us about when to judge and when not to judge. We are all held responsible for living by His grace according to His moral standards. We must always exercise moral judgment and judge (evaluate, discern, determine) what is right or wrong according to the standard of God's Word:
"Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?" Luke 12:56
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24
"For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged." 1 Corinthians 11:31
Only fools set aside all discernment (ability to judge between good and evil) and flow with whatever feels good.
With His love,
From Mary Grace:[RE: Deeds, Creeds and Mother Teresa's Despair] I just read your article on Mother Teresa. I couldn't believe it.
I've just been thinking about her the past few weeks since hearing about her spiritual doubt (awhile ago I also heard that she struggled with demonic oppression toward the end of her life?). I was thinking that she made the same mistake Judas made - trying to help the poor on the world's terms and forgetting what Jesus said that the poor would always be with us. She apparently lost her focus. I only hope that, in the end, she did not lose her faith. It saddens me that she was not able to obtain (or follow?) adequate spiritual guidance. The whole situation just gives me the strangest sensation - that she was not what everyone thought she was - a saint. The disillusionment is something I can't quite get my mind around.
From M. K.:[RE: Trading Truth for Solidarity] You mentioned seminaries. We have been getting the "Harvard Divinity Bulletin" for years. They promote feminist theology, pluralism, etc. And one of their students had a "research project" that involved going to Haiti and participating in Voodoo rituals. The "Harvard Divinity Bulletin" had a long, enthusiastic article about his research project, including photographs. (And boy did that young man look lost and demonized.) Instead of being appalled, the Divinity School thought that it was great.
The Church in America may need persecution in order to survive spiritually. It would be harsh medicine -- like chemotherapy. But it's better than being eaten up with the cancer of heresy, occultism, self-centeredness, and moral depravity.
Much of the Church would refuse the medicine. It would go pluralistic in order to avoid persecution. That's a way of denying the Lord without admitting it to yourself or to others. But those Christians who really do love the Lord would rally, and become more determined, and more faithful.
There would be a large majority who abandon ship, and a faithful remnant who go through the storm, trusting that Jesus Christ will be in the ship with them.
Things are happening fast. I believe that it could be soon. I also believe that the 2008 election will impact the speed with which it happens, and the severity of the persecution.
FromKim N. Stager: It is a shame to see another example of the ushering in of the "universal Christ", soter, AKA the Antichrist to come. The biblical Jesus is the only Savior, Soter, of the world! So grievous to my spirit. How much more God's! I was concerned for some time now that many of the worldwide missions ministries were in fact doing what this one is. The Bible, God's word, has the only answers for this spiritual direction in Christ's professing church.
I believe Abraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees to the promised land? Were not the Hebrews taken out of Egypt on their way to the promised land? Did not the first century Christians come out of their pagan cultures into the culture of Christ? Are not the people during the Tribulation called to come out of her--Babylon: political, religious, and economic Babylon all? Are we not called to be in the world but not of it.
The same holds true for spiritual coming-out calls by God throughout Scripture. For God uses the material to reveal the Spiritual. Is not apostasy a result of our returning to our non-Christian, pagan cultures and their traditions? Has not God warned His people time and time again against this. That they must be holy as He is holy. That all religions but biblical Christianity are of the Devil. But idolatry, deception.
I believe the True Church of born again believers is partially summed up in the following Scriptures, as throughout the Bible: Eph 4, 2:19-22, 5:26-27; 2 Jn vss. 9-11; 1 Cor 12:12-13, 15:1-8; Gal 1:23, etc. For there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism. We can not profess one Lord even together with one baptism if we have not the One Faith comprised of biblical right doctrine.
Further, I believe the True Church of born again believers is called to be filled with the knowledge of God's will and to walk in it, increasing in the knowledge of God. The following Scriptures are instructive: Col 1:9-10, 15-23, 4:12; Mk 3:35; Heb 10:36; 1 Jn 2:17; Eph 5:17; 1 Cor 2:10-16, etc. We can not profess knowledge of God's will and to be walking in it while we entertain the will and knowledge of other gods.
The truth is, biblically, there is a feminine undercurrent in all religions, except biblical Christianity, as the Vatican believes. And that undercurrent is ushering in the pagan soter or avatar the world is awaiting. I recently saw a nativity scene depicting a Native American Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. At their roots, all false Babylonian religions can agree on such a Jesus. But such is no Jesus the Christ! There should be but one nativity scene that depicts a Jewish Jesus around the beginning of the first century AD.
So, as such Christian missions ministries, et al, give this so-called universal Jesus to the world, they are giving the poor souls who receive him their own soter from within the depths of their own religion's mystery knowledge. Which I believe will soon come to fruition in the world as the world's religions realize they all have their roots in Babylon's mystery religion. That which the highest level initiates already know.
Praise God from whence our help comes. I thank God the Father daily for His Son and the Holy Spirit, and His word. That I may know the Truth and be free indeed. And I thank God for ministries like yours. Even so, Come Lord Jesus!
FromGeorge: [RE: Chaplain convicted of saying prayers 'in Jesus' name'] Where do we get these ideas about "non-sectarian" prayers? The only way to communicate with God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. The United States toots its horn about its freedom of religion. For many years we were given to understand that this freedom meant the worship of the One God of the Bible, but to be able to do so in whatever denominational way the citizens might choose. However, in current years, this freedom has been extended to include the worship of other gods beside the One God of all creation. But what most people don't seem to understand, is the fact that God never gave freedom of "religion" to anyone: neither denominational Christianity, nor otherwise. The Body of Christ is not divided. There is no separation of "church" and "State" in God's eyes. There is only the Person, Jesus Christ. There is no "religion" as some THING.
God never gave any government (democratic, dictatorship, totalitarian, or other) the authority to grant any freedom, or lack of it, except that freedom which He has already ordained in Christ Jesus. The Creator God of the Bible has never guaranteed any inalienable rights to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, except through Jesus Christ; and He certainly never intended for any worldly governments to secure those rights. He has allowed "governments" for the purpose of punishing His subjects who disobey His laws, but not for securing their "freedoms."
Jesus said: "If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed: and ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32). "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36).
God never said anything about creating man equally, or endowing His creation with any "inalienable" rights. If anything, He strapped His creation to be obedient to Him. That some people think these "rights" are SELF-evident, reflects their disposition to put themselves in charge of their destinies, instead of acknowledging that God is in charge. The only "right" to life that God offers is Jesus Christ.
FromClell Drumheller: Trying to develop a solidly Bible-based house church ministry here in Houston is more difficult than I would have believed possible. Since returning to this part of the Bible-belt, I have found it to be Ed Younged, Joel Osteened, Rick Warrened, entertained, psycho-babbled, megachurched, etc. to the point that many of the professing “Christians” that I meet seem to be inured to sound Bible doctrine, true godliness, etc. Using solid information, such as you provide, has helped me to start “getting through” to some of these folks.
Your important warning reminds me of two Scriptures -- from both the Old and New Testaments:
"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.’ ” Matthew 15:8
"Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding,
Who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not:
Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence?" Jeremiah 5:21-22
From E. M.: Hi guys. I am not sure of your calling to blow the trumpet, no comments, but,having read an article where you said about someone widening the doors to kingdom, i think what you are doing may be closing the doors.
I can’t tell you whether or not Warren and others are truly born again. That’s for God to judge. But He does call each of us to exercise discernment and evaluate everything according to His Word. That’s what we have tried to do.
The Bible has more answers to your questions:God's Way versus Our ways
FromKim Stager: Thank you again for another very good article [True and False Unity by Bob DeWaay] on your website! It is a shame. I do not believe I have heard a sermon by anyone in recent memory about Matthew 5:13, etc. I believe it is very important God's word in this portion of Scripture be understood by all born again believers--born of the Holy Spirit of God. Who are of one Spirit, in unity of the Holy Spirit.
From M. Diaz: I have a two year old blessing (a child in
case some readers are unfamilar with that term). Leadership wants to start a
class for them in Sep. and had a meeting this past weekend after services
for anyone enrolling blessings in the class. I did not attend since I am not
enrolling my blessing [child].
A friend of mine called to let me know what happened in the meeting. Apparently one of the first things they did was spend some time looking for me and asking my friend if she knew where I was. She said she did not. They were upset I wasn't there, and they said how important it was to get the new mothers involved. Does that sound familiar to you?
They went on to say that it's not their job to teach our children about Jesus, that's our job. They just want to reinforce what we're doing at home. If this is true, why be upset I wasn't there? Also, if they couldn't find me, why did they not look for my husband, my blessing's father? They do not yet have a curriculum, and they only have teachers for two out of the three groups. The two groups that do have teachers only have them through October. There are no teachers slated for the rest of the year.
This class will take place during service, which is why I object to it. We have services that are 1 1/2 hours or more, and I have finally gotten my blessing to the point where my blessing can make it through a whole service. If I let my child go halfway through the service how will my child ever learn to sit through one? What happens when class is canceled for some reason or there are special services (such as during holidays) and there is no class? In fact, we already have this problem with the rest of the children and teens-they can not sit properly through a service. Then leadership wonders why there is this problem!
Not only that, but the class will be at the opposite end of the building from where the service is. How will we know if our child needs us?
Their solution: everyone give them their cell phone number and they will call us when our child needs us. We are not allowed to have cell phones ring during service. No problem-they want us to put it on vibrate so we'll know we are needed and there won't be any ring tones.
Here is the piece de resistance: my friend got the distinct impression that there is no choice in this matter. My blessing is already on the class list. Leadership said that they were going to talk to anyone who was not at that meeting-presumably to make sure we all "get with the program".
My congregation is small-80 people in all. There is a small hope that my wishes will be respected because I have another friend whose husband is in a leadership position and she agrees with my philosophy, as does her mother who leads one of the ministries there. She is not enrolling her children either and their names are also on the class list.
I don't know how it will turn out, but I am not backing down. I hope my other friend won't either. I will not be talking to anyone without my husband there. If they make it into a do it or else, we'll be leaving.
It is important for your readers to understand that the underlying issue here is who has the ultimate authority and control over what our children do. If you back down over something small that you don't like now, what happens when leadership wants your child to participate in something major that you disagree with? You may not be able to withstand their pressure the next time around.
Parents have the right and responsibility to decide what their children will participate in. One would think churches could respect that, but I guess not.
We are not a PDL/CGM seeker sensitive church either and I am STILL having this battle.
Please post this on your site, most likely in one of the church sections.
This fits right into the global education system which is determined to train our children from birth. Universal cradle to grave education is the goal, but the key part of this early start in "lifelong learning" is socialization -- training children in relational values (unity, politically correct tolerance, dialogue and "conflict resolution"). The big push right now (by the education and "mental health" establishments) is for early assessments of attitudes, values and social "skills" so that any child not socialized properly to their peer group can be remediated. See Universal Preschool and "The Re-establishment of Peacetime Society"
I share your concern, dear friend.
FromMary Thomson: Thank you for your recent article, "Strange Journeys: Jane Fonda, John Maxwell... What do they have in common?" More and more I see a collaborative move among religious forces calling themselves Christian. I have harbored
["...the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me." John 16:2-3]
I wrote the following in response to a couple personal conversations initiated by a couple younger Christian ( not Catholic) political activists who wanted to try to make some sense of the massive media frenzy re: the death of JPII and the selection of the new pope. They also were aware of my objections to the increasing erasing of the lines between organized churches and Republican Party politics.
Headline says: Senate leader,
Bill "Frist brings fight over judges into churches". Religious right
dragging churches into political process with staging an event telecasting a
message into churches from Senator Frist as Majority Leader of the Senate.
The event organized and named, Justice Sunday, by christian groups and
churches. This should send an alarm.
Perhaps Benedict XVI sees the protestantism in the form of the Religious Right as doing a good job of accomplishing what RCC has never been able to heretofore achieve in the U.S. That is, the confusing of the two kingdoms. The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. Each has its means. The Kingdom of God has the Word of God working through the Holy Spirit to bring souls to Christ. The second kingdom, God gave the power of the sword to keep order and restrain evil. When the two are confused or mixed, only religious tyranny can result. The RCC has always tried to blend the two, and religious freedom has suffered where ever she has succeeded in mixing the two.
The administration represented by the Frists and others (note unprecedented homage recently paid to Vatican by President and Mrs. Bush and others) are setting the stage for universal church which the Vatican intends to head.
From Jeff (Re: The previous comment & the transformation of churches):Under their section of the mission of transformation http://www.transform-world.net, I was particularly struck by the phrase "releasing them from guilt, power and consequences of sin." These kind of folks never seem to state directly that man has a sin nature and how exactly this Gospel of Christ will help with that problem (covers sin with his shed blood).
If we are in Christ and trusting in his shed blood for our sins, then, yes, we know there is grace and forgiveness. But that doesn't mean that we dismiss sin and guilt as a problem. If anything -- as we see ourselves through the light of the Holy Spirit -- we become more aware of our guilt and failures and more eager to humble ourselves and confess our sins. For example, David seems to be quite distressed with feelings of guilt and other emotions, which he desires to lay at the feet of God. But but nonetheless, the guilt and anguish is there:
"Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
The troubles of
my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins." (Psalm 25:1-18)
The conflict you mentioned in the first paragraph (between justification and judgment) applies to Christians -- but in a somewhat limited sense, since Jesus has provided for our ultimate cleansing, pardon, justification and forgiveness. If we ignore the guidelines and warnings in His Word (which many churches do these days) and choose not to follow His ways, we are guilty of sin and rebellion against Him. That raises the question of whether we really have been born again and received His Spirit. Whatever the answer to that question, such sin calls for confession and repentance -- a turning back to His ways.
The New Testament emphasis on confession and repentance in the churches reminds us that whenever we choose to disobey God's commands we are guilty of sinning against Him. Writing to the Christians (not unbelievers) in the Corinthian Church, Paul said: "For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it.... Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner..." 2 Co 7:8
The kind of guilt that must be confessed by believers seems to be different than the guilt born by unbelievers. In some ways it is worse, since we ought to know better. We have His Word and guidelines, therefore we have no excuse. This conflict is described well in Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome. He wrote: "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" Romans 5:20-6:2
Or as Paul wrote to the Galatians: "..if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." Galatians 1:9-10
When we read the message to the Ephesian church in Revelation 2, we see, first, an encouraging commendation for their willing service, then an accusation showing that they had failed in what mattered most:
"...you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent." Revelation 2:3-5
The people had done many good things; they had served well. But their main focus was on good works, not on their Lord. They didn't love Him with all their heart. The consequences of failure to repent of this sin would be the loss of their witness, not of their salvation.
Today, church leaders give the impression that good works -- service to the community -- is the means to spread His light. But the true Light is Jesus Christ, and if our focus is on good works rather than on Him, we will honor our human leaders, methods and purposes, not the holy and almighty King of the Universe.
a concerned mother [RE: the link to
What in the world? (pun intended). I'm reading
this site, and I can't believe it is coming from a Christian organization!
Looks like the whole world is being transformed and the church is especially being recruited to be used in this endeavor. Even though I have been reading your articles, I don't quite 'get' what the world is trying to 'transform' to.
The cradle to grave, sustainable, completely managed, seamless system involving every facet of life and society, I guess. It is still hard to understand. All I know is that it is implemented everywhere and there is no escape. It is like the Borg in "Star Trek, Next Generation," who says, "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
I don't want to be assimilated, and I don't want my children in it either. I want us to be "left out" of it.
http://www.transform-world.net Advancing the Kingdom of God by improving society?
http://www.transform-world.net The Kingdom established by believers? Improving the status of the world is turning the world upside down ala book of Acts?
From Jeff: Your new article, Disaster, Deliverance & Deceiving spirits, refers to belief.net and on this site both Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer have articles on there. In both cases they state, 'we can be happy or have joy by choosing to be happy'. Its just a matter of our attitude about it.
I am of the opinion that Scripture would state that our joy is in the Lord. Our joy will be to the extent we walk in the Lord, in his Holy Spirit's leading, in obedience to the Lord and to the extent we die to ourselves and give way to Jesus as our Lord and Master. Of course I know this is your view as well or very close to it.
Joel states in his article (its like an interveiw of him actually) that he doesn't consider himself a prosperity gospel preacher, but as you read his responses to the questions in the interview, I don't see how else one could view him. He is right out of the Schuler mold as is Joyce Meyer I believe as well.
Thank you, Jeff. And here is the link to an article about Joel Osteen that I posted in our news section:
Joel Osteen: The Prosperity Gospel’s Coverboy: "Move over Robert Schuller, the Church of Laodicea has a new star on the rise in the world of positive motivational Christianity. It’s Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, whose motto is 'Discover the Champion in You.' ...
"Osteen made the list of the Top 20 Influencers of the Pentecostal/charismatic community in the Jan/Feb 2003 Issue of Ministries Today magazine. He was listed with other notables such as Kenneth Hagin Sr., Tommy Tenney, C. Peter Wagner, and Joyce Meyer. 'There is no arguing that the following 20 leaders have inspired us, challenged us and in many ways caused us to rethink what it means to 'do church' in today's culture,' the article boasted."Romans 12:2-9
From Fabienne: Having read the foreword, the editor's Introduction, and the first four chapters is claimed to be Matthew's Gospel in the so-called "As Good as New " version of the bible, I hardly know what to think. The first word that came to mind was "blasphemy". I remembered the words of the serpent in the Garden, "Has God really said...?" and it occurred to me that the same voice is speaking here. Oh, do take care reading more of it as you prepare to review it. I tremble for the young people who might be encouraged to read it, because it will appeal to those trained in our age's thinking.
: "This 'radical retelling' of the New Testament drew widespread attention in England when it appeared in June 2004, mainly because it contained a forward written by the Archbishop of Canterbury.... A brief review published in the Times of London pointed out that apparently one goal of the version was to eliminate biblical strictures against homosexual and other illicit sex.... The version's chief editor, John Henson [a retired Baptist minister]... asserted that the Good as New version eliminated nothing, but was merely 'less homophobically translated' than the old 'slanted translations' which have 'notoriously and shamefully used by the Church in times past.'
"...the version also offended the public by departing from the traditional canon of Scripture, omitting several of the Epistles... and the Revelation of John. In their stead, Henson substitutes an ancient Gnostic tractate known as the 'Gospel of Thomas,' a favorite text of the neo-Gnostic 'New Age' spiritual movement....
"The method employed in this version is comparable to Eugene Peterson's way of treating the Bible in The Message (1993). It is much too interpretive to be called a translation, and it can only be called an imaginative paraphrase."
I can think of
some young people I know who could well be seduced by this perversion. May the
Lord protect them, keep their eyes open, and help them "think critically" --
in the true sense of that much-abused phrase.
As one trained in the principles and methods of Bible translation, I shuddered as I read Mr. Henson's description of how this travesty was carried out. Derrida would certainly have applauded him -- "deconstruction" is a better word for what he has done than "translation"! According to the publisher's website, the aim of the "translation" is "clarity for the ordinary person." It is abundantly clear that the aim was not to be faithful to God nor to honour Him!
One cannot help wondering who the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks he's serving by endorsing such a travesty...
"How long, O Lord, how long?" May Jesus Christ come back quickly!
In Jesus Christ our precious Lord and Redeemer.
Len Viola: I recently read some of your articles regarding what is taking
place in the 'Church" today, and the use of business and marketing ploys to
build an organization, rather than a Body.
After reading a few articles this weekend, I happened to turn on the radio and the New Life Ministries broadcast was on. It was then that I realized that what is taking place in so much of the Church today is a psychology movement. It is an effort to meet the mental and emotional needs of the people but it is ignoring their spiritual needs. In fact, since we have taken repentance out of the Gospel, there is no real Spiritual Life in so much of the presumed "Church", so there is no spiritual man to feed. Of course this all works out, because there are so few God-ordained pastors to provide spiritual food, anyway. I believe that we are living in the day when there is a famine for the Word of God (Amos 8:11), just as there was in the inter-testament period. (But then, the people, having itching ears, have appointed teachers after their own lusts, and have turned away their ears from the Truth; and are turned unto fables - 2 Tim 4) I also believe we are living in the days when God Is going to judge His Church, as prophesied both the prophets of both the Old and New Testaments.
Although God Is going to judge His Church, I believe it is a blessing to those who are in Christ. Perhaps you're familiar with this passage from the first chapter of Isaiah:
"Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of Hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge Me of Mine enemies: And I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed." (vs 23-28)
S. O.: I've
recently attended Willow Creek's leadership seminar and also their "Contagious
Christianity" conferences, and they were quite fascinating.
All through the "Contagious Christianity" conference (supposedly on how better to "win people for Christ") I never once heard the word HELL. Hybels kept referring to it as a "Christless Eternity." Well, . . . If someone is happy in his sin and hedonism without Christ during his earthly existence, why would it bother him to spend eternity without Him? This person thinks they are fine without Christ.
From L. T.:
I am halfway done reading the article about evangelicals
denying what scripture teaches about the substitutionary atonement. [Recovering
the Scandal of Liberalism]. You expect this from the seculars, but from
so called evangelical Christians? Amazing.
I am currently studying Romans -- it is crystal clear!! (the truth on substitutionary atonement and so much more.)
From Al: First
I'd like to thank Mary for replying to my email question as to whether or not
you were a 501(C)(3)church. It is very refreshing to find that you're not state
Also I would be interested in knowing and conversing with one who believe that if a bible is copyrighted then one would be quoting the opinion of they that did the copyright. I found that in Rev. 22:19 if one changes the word of God they will be taken out of the book of life. And knowing that Rev. 20:15 says you will be in hell (lake of fire) who would want to change the book. Whether it is the book of Rev. or the whole Bible I cannot prove, but it would be logical to assume it the whole bible.
God's unchanging Word. Scroll down to "Do not alter (add or delete) God's Word"
Take a look at the Scriptures listed here, Al:
letter from Nobu K.: Few years ago, I
use to not see the spiritual things I see now. I only went to church for fun
and activities, I went to Bible college in Portland Oregon but never was really
serious about it. I was too focused on seeking music skills used in worship
instead of seeking Christ. I still followed my fleshly desires.
Then God put me into great trial, and I had to go back to Japan. I struggled and struggled with my own strength, but I wasn't able to over come it. I tried to cover up the pain and emptiness of my heart with things of the world. After couple years of struggling and trying to run away from trials, I learned that I cannot do anything on my own and remembered the biblical things my Mother who seeks nothing else but Christ taught me which I never really paid attention to.
I surrendered everything to God and repented from my sins, His loving Spirit flowed through me, and all of the sudden, great hunger towards His living Words overflowed my heart. I read the Bible like never before, fire in my heart started to burn! And desire to pray to the Lord more intimately was born into my heart. That's the first time I grew in Spirit and in Truth.
Then God told me to walk the crossroad. To die to flesh and live in the resurrected life of Christ. This didn't happen in a sudden, daily God has been crushing and remolding me into the person He wants me to be. Of course I'm still in that crushing and remolding process hehehe. But I learned to rejoice in my trials because I know God wants me to grow more matured in Spirit and in Truth.
But as I mature in Spirit and in Truth, I started to see the things I never saw before. The sinful hypocrisy, idolatry, compromise, lukewarmness and disinterested towards Christ of many Christians even pastors, starting from myself. I finally started to understand what God is trying to say spiritually to His people in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, the whole bible!
I repented when God has showed me His heart. He has also put a heavy burden in my heart showing me the situations of many Christians around me. I started to seek Christ more and prayed more.
I truly believe that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and God hears them! I appreciate your prayers more than anything else. Regarding on your question...
Though I know many Japanese Christians will be angry and against me as many are already cause of the things I say. What can I do? It is God who is putting these burdens, these truths in me! I was just a music freak till God opened my blinded eyes. And if I stop preaching the Truth, how could they hear and repent?
If it's ok with you, I would like to hear your testimony on how God has preserved you guys from the lies and deception of many churches and Christian. Cause I thought that I was the only one who didn't agree with the Prayer of Jabez and Purpose Driven fever spreading around many churches. But God has been revealing and putting burden to me that it is blasphemy against God's Word. Many Christians are against me because this is what I tell them. That's when I saw you guys article regarding it. It really confirmed the things God has been putting into my heart.
Please continue on preaching the Truth towards the people who are Spiritually hungry no matter what it takes. Many people wont like it, but it is because they are in the darkness and hates the light. Only those who are hungry, humble, poor in Spirit that will see the glory that is in Christ Jesus our author and finisher of our Faith for His glory and honor forever! Matt 5.
By God's grace, we will continue, Nobu. And perhaps He will enable us to write our own testimony as well. Meanwhile, I thank Him for bringing all His people together through the Internet -- at least for this time.
I am a Filipino Japanese in Yokosuka Japan. I am
emailing this to you just to let you know how God is really good in this evil
I have been reading your articles at your web-site and it has confirmed so many things God has also been putting into my heart regarding on the things going around this world. This is why I decided to email you. Praise the Lord!
Here in Japan, many churches and Christians have embraced many popular teachings of the church in USA and other country. The prayer of Jabez is popular to many churches here, and one of my friend thinks that the Cross of Christ is not the center of Christianity. Church activities and gimmicks to attract people are being prioritized here in Japan and probably same over there too as well. The Cross of Christ is hardly mentioned in many churches here, but many teachings from popular Evangelists and pastors are being focused on. For example.... Purpose Driven church, Prayer of Jabez, Benny Hinn etc.
Prosperity gospel is also spreading rapidly here in Japan and many Christians are being deceived because their focus is not on Christ and His living word but towards people.
I keep on preaching with sharpness and rebuke and praying what God has been putting into my heart every time God tells me to. That it is the Cross of Christ that we have to seek, to deny our flesh and carry our cross, and not to compromise the Word of God, but to meditate in it and renew our minds with His truth which is the "Word of God"!
But many Christians here don't like the Offensive Truth that comes from the Cross, but they want to seek sweet things that tickles their ears such as blessings and peace, peace, prosperity gospel. Even if it's a lie and unbiblical.
There was even a pastor who came from Korea and performed healings, miracles and then said to the people that "God is asking for everyone who has faith to give $300 for the revival of Japan" and when someone comes up with the money, that pastor lifts up the money and say to everyone that that person has faith.
Please pray for this country Japan. That He may open the blinded eyes of many, and may His Truth set the people free to seek Christ, deny their flesh and carry their cross for the Glory and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ.
is what I pray daily to God. Sometimes, I feel discouraged that the whole Christianity
are all deceived and falling away, but God has been speaking into my heart and
keeps on encouraging me through His Words that He has preserved a perfect amount
of people that has not compromised and God is aware with what's going on and
He is in control. And that I should keep seeking Him and obeying His words without
I ask not for riches, blessings but what I ask to God are Spiritual things that will glorify His name.
God bless both of you. Let's keep abiding on the Vine!
"I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 'Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life'?
"But what does the divine response say to him? 'I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
"What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: 'God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day." Romans 11:1-8
From Dennis Monroe: I read the posting entitled "Whose Rights? Hate-crimes law worries pastors." I found the following quote to be upsetting:
"It is a measure of our times that religious leaders have lately considered taking out liability insurance to cover remarks made from the pulpit,' said Becket Fund President Kevin J. Hasson."
While I can certainly understand
the concern of the Canadian pastors that are presently facing this serious problem
(we are not far behind), what I find to be most upsetting is not the Canadian
hate crime laws. It is the response of some (many?) pastors that may actually
take out "liability insurance" for self protection (as in human effort apart
from God) against possible prosecution from whatever they might speak from the
To begin with, none of us actually have any so called "rights" whatsoever. The concept of human "rights" is not expressed anywhere in the entirety of the Bible that I know of. While it is true that Jesus had the "right" to call down twelve legions of angels, destroy everything and literally "go home", He chose to give up that right and finish the perfect will of the Father in order to provide to us a means of escape from the terrible and soon to come wrath of a most high and holy God. Jesus only had that right because He was and is God. As creatures, we have no such rights. If we are to truly follow Christ, then all of our "rights" were crucified with Him.
Secondly, the only insurance we had better ever look to is the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. If we get arrested and imprisoned for choosing to not compromise the word and truth of God, then we will be laying up treasures in Heaven. Furthermore, what difference would the arrest and imprisonment be from what happened to Joseph in the book of Genesis or the Apostle Paul, many times over? How about Martin Luther, who faced both public and political hatred for upholding the truth of God in the face of great opposition? The names throughout history of those severely persecuted and killed for Christ go on and on. I hope I have the internal courage to do the same when the time comes for me to stand up for the truth. I pray for God's strength for that everyday.
From Jeff W: I read your article onHarry Potter and the Postmodern Church, and it was right on in many aspects. I wanted to comment below on a couple areas. I was especially shocked and disturbed by the comments of Pastor McLaren. This comment below has to make a Biblical Christian's
mouth drop open
in shock and dismay.
If he is suggesting what all the other somewhat shocking statements seem to suggest, it is just beyond belief that a strict Biblical Christian could make the statements. I am afraid that he is sadly correct that we are at the front edge of something radically new....but that something is not of God and is not what Christians should be embracing. I would ask the question why do we need a "new kind of Christian"? Why not instead propose that we seek a way to make more of existing Christians just like the Bible says they should be. Its not about "he modern jig is up", its about being Biblically sound, Holy Spirit led, and faithfully trusting and obeying our Lord and Savior. There's nothing new about doing that, some have faithfully done that over the centuries, and of course most have not. But, the pursuit of doing that has always been the same if its Bible based, and Holy Spirit led. There's nothing new coming up that needs to alter a true walk in Christ. If there is something new on the horizon that alters that, then one has to ask, is he suggesting something outside a true Biblical world view? It is appears he is, but I would love to have someone ask him the question..."What do you mean exactly by this comment you made on the website shown below?"
"I meet people along the way who model for me, each in a different way, what a new kind of Christian might look like. They differ in many ways, but they generally agree that the old show is over, the modern jig is up, and it's time for something radically new. ... You begin to wonder if maybe you're at the front edge of something -- if your tentative and anxious steps 'off the map' are actually the beginning of a new adventure into terra nova, new ground, fresh territory."[3, page xiv-xv]
Then he makes this comment which really blew me away. Over probably a good 10 to 15 years in varying intensity, I have studied the globalist movement to a significant degree. This following comment is almost a direct quote of their world view that can probably be found in many books about them or books they have written. This concept of sustainable development and sustainability in general is at the very core of the globalist (one world government/one world religion) movement. If he is not on board with their agenda, why in the world would he use such specific globalist terminology and stress globalist goals and concerns?
'In any case, our Industrial Age management.... our Industrial Age way of living will not continue.... It's not sustainable in ecological terms, and it's not sustainable in human terms. It will change. The only question is how.'
In one of my earlier
emails, I made repeated reference to how all these entertainment outlets with
their various occult themes continually run with the central them of good occult
vs bad occult (as if to suggest there is a good occult...and there are none
by the way for the record). Below this excerpt again shows that Potter was busy
trying to convey that same theme. This is very deceptive to young minds, as
they may not realize that all occultism is abominable to God and that as a Christian
we are to distance ourselves from those practices. This good vs bad theme over
and over is liable to make them think some it is good. I am repeating myself
here on this from my earlier email, but this point needs to be driven home to
Christians on the fence on this. Guard your children from this please.
J & F: We were reading from Isaiah this morning, and both of us thought
that Chapter 30 is so applicable to the modern church growth movement, which
is a kind of "going to Egypt for help". It is a word of warning but also a promise
of God's blessing for those who trust in Him and do things His way:
ISAIAH 30 (ESV)
Do Not Go Down to Egypt
1"Ah, stubborn children," declares the LORD, "who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation. For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes, everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace."
6An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb. Through a land of trouble and anguish, from where come the lioness and the lion, the adder and the flying fiery serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people that cannot profit them.
7Egypt's help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her "Rahab who sits still."
A Rebellious People
8And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, "Do not see,"
and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel."
12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, "Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern."
15For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."
But you were unwilling, 16and you said, "No! We will flee upon horses"; therefore you shall flee away;
and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill.
The LORD Will Be Gracious
18Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
22Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated
You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, "Be gone!" And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
27Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.
29You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. 30And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he strikes with his rod. And every stroke of the appointed staff that the LORD lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.
1. Hebrew who weave a web
2. Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targum, Vulgate, and Greek
versions; Masoretic Text forever and ever
3. Or repentance
4. Hebrew in weight of uplifted clouds
5. Or For Topheth
From Dennis: Every time I read or hear about the Church Growth Movement (CGM) or see it being put into practice, I am reminded by something I read from the late J. Vernon McGee, who was quite vocal about the fallacy of "church programs."
He often voiced his displeasure at the uselessness of church programs and said that as Christians, all we are to do is "get out the word of God", which is all that is required to perform the great commission. Get out the Word of God, and let the Holy Spirit do what He will through the foolishness of the preaching of the Scripture. Those that have ears to hear will hear, and those that do not will not. Some plant, some water, but it is God that gives the increase.
From Mary Jo Nines: Hello. God has been revealing these things to me for several years now. I have been labeled as a trouble maker and divisive person. It feels as though I am constantly carrying around this burden which is so heavy upon me. The scary part of this is, you can find all of these things or at least some of these ideas in every church. What do you do? Most leaders won't listen.
Do you stay and pray or move on? I don't want to keep
moving churches for my children's sake. I do have a group of Christian friends
who gather to pray and we rely totally on God and His Holy Spirit alone. I love
to be in His presence and hunger and thirst for His Word everyday. I hear His
voice clearly and I know that judgement on the church will come soon, prior
to the Lord's return. I know He is calling me to warn them, but where do I go
when they don't listen and persecute me?
I really don't know what to do about this and when you talk to most people (who are not in God's Word), they think you are crazy.
Thanks for listening!
Mary Jo, you are describing what committed Christians throughout most English speaking nations have been facing the last few years. It's becoming harder to communicate God's truth -- even in churches. Many are offended by warnings that violate their comfort zone and refuse to hear the facts that counter what they want to believe.
I don’t have any answers other that those you already know. But I thank God that He has blessed you with a group of Christian friends who walk and pray with you. So many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have no one to pray with anymore.
We now belong to a small Bible teaching church. Our wonderful pastor loves God’s Word and doesn’t compromise. But few in this church really understand what is happening – and I don’t say much.
I am so glad our God reigns in the midst of it all! With Him as our Shepherd, we are more than conquerors – no matter what happens.
Thanks for your reply. I just am so happy to know I'm not alone because sometimes, that is exactly how it feels.
I know my calling from God is not the most pleasant but He has set me as a watchman and gave me eyes to see. I just need to pray to be wise when to speak and when not to speak and also, to know that my job is to warn (the leaders) when God calls me to, not to convince. That is His job.
From Chuck Cline: I was just recently a part of a men group at our church with the pastor and a couple of the books we read were the one listed above and a book by Bill Hybels 'Becoming a Contagious Christian. On your analysis on the The Changing Church, Covey's book, " 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," is mentioned and the an article about Sun Tzu is listed right below it. Could you let me know what significance the article has to Covey's book.
I have a great concern about having read these books knowing/reading all the info on the changing church, the church growth movement etc, with Hybels/Warren and all pastors headed in their direction of thinking.
Steven Covey was one of the keynote speakers at Gorbachev’s 1997 State of the World Forum. His goals are not compatible with Christianity. You can see some of my transcribed notes from his message here: www.crossroad.to/articles2/new/Covey.htm
I didn’t intend to imply that Tzu was linked to Covey. They are separate links, though both show the kinds of management gurus or philosophers from whom church leaders now seek counsel and guidance.
Did you read the two articles on Re-Inventing the Church, Part 1 & Part 2 ? They offer more current information. So does “The Global Church.” Look in the “church” section of our “articles” page. There you will find more information.
Also check some pages in the Q&A section. Click on Quotes and Excerpts, then church, then Conway. You should find many relevant links.
From Dennis Monroe: Spurgeon Award?! I doubt half the people attending these festivities even have a clue as to the doctrinal stance that was Spurgeon's. If they really knew some of the fundamentalist doctrines that he held dear to his heart, they would probably run in disgust. Since when does the "Christian" community hold awards ceremonies for itself. I find the whole concept of this award thing to be disgusting. The Lord will provide all the rewards that anyone needs.
Thank you, Dennis, for sharing my concern.
From Ben M.: I am an inner city youth pastor. Ideas like this I just find ridiculous. Suburban parents seemed to be so conerned with these crazy ideas. Your kids are not gang members, they don't sell or do drugs, they haven't been arrested, and they aren't having babies at 12 years old. Be grateful. Lighten up. Stop trying to create problems if there aren't any.
The next three letter deals with this subject: Pressure for Ecumenicalism.
From Shippo: This below is a disturbing trend over who is in control of the modern western christian church of today. As the writer is saying, the RCC is a major influence within christendom. This is another step towards religion within the New World Order.From Mary Ann Collins (a former nun whose articles on ecumenism and New Age influences can be found at http://www.CatholicConcerns.com): I received a letter from a minister in Australia. In Australia, if a minister or church is not part of the "ecumenical ministers fraternals" then their scope of ministry is limited. For example, they can't be military chaplains. A copy of his letter is below my signature.
"It certainly seems like voices crying out against Rome are few and far between. Ecumenism seems welcomed with open arms by the vast bulk of churchdom. There are loads of subtle pressure brought to bare on churches which dare to be independent and Biblical.
"For example, over here... Ministers can't be chaplains for military/other services. People can't serve as RE instructors (although RE is non-existent anyway in most States of Australia). Involvement in Local Municipality events is discouraged. Access to Chaplaincy/visitation roles within health care/hospitals are hindered, UNLESS the ministers/churches are part of the ecumenical minister's fraternals, etc.
"Plus all the significant crusades and evangelistic events are solidly ecumenical. It seems like the vast bulk of Christendom is being swept along by this horrible lie. Most Christians think it's a good thing. And Rome is the driving force that wants it this way."
Thank you, Mary Ann, for this glimpse into the growing pressures put on churches to conform to the new global standards.
You may find this article by Lorin Smith relevant to this movement: Christianity Faces Ideological Challenges
From Tom Marsh: Today I was reading an article by Craige McMillan on worldnetdaily.com. He started off with a quote from "The Message". I thought it was pretty good so I search on the book and saw that the whole Bible version was just completed and was selling fast.
Thanks for sharing our concern, Tom.
From Chris: (Concerning link to The Great Commission) Methodology - Liberation theology has always been popular and makes the message bearer feel better, while we are telling them the Gospel, and that they are lost sinners, we offer them housing and health care, and converting a nation from the top down instead of the inside out, this is easier actually and can save a lot of time and resources, so these methods make the great commision more comfortable and can save resources, Sarcasm!! (And God was adding to their number - not man, He decided the elect).
The Church knows that the Lord returns after all the nations have heard in every tongue, maybe a reason for the method. However their are examples in the OT of leaders of nations changing heart and declaring law that everyone worship (likes Daniel's God). But baptising nations, hmmm??
From a concerned Christian: (ConcerningRe-Inventing the Church, Part 2) We ourselves experienced this very thing some years ago while attending a church that was part of the discipleship/ shepherding movement. The painful thing is that this movement began with the sincere desire to become more truly disciples of Christ, and the founders and first members were some of the most earnest Christians one could ever hope to meet. However, it gradually began to manifest a very humanistic and psychological aspect that, in the end, commandeered all our best intentions and left a trail of broken lives in its wake.
Regarding your condemnation
of E.H. Peterson’s, ‘The Message’
you have gone against Christ’s main teaching of love and grace. Stop being
so critical and see the good – avoid being like the dark ages where the ‘church’
and the ‘clergy’ kept the average ‘Joe’ in ignorance because they kept their
‘Bible’ to themselves (Latin).
Promote love and grace – read Philip Yeancy’s book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace’. This is what we need, not more quilt and condemning. Whatever brings people to the person of Christ is good.
Not if it distorts God's Word, John. When His absolute truth is subject to today's cultural adaptations and human preferences, the nature of "the person of Christ" is changed as well.
Jesus seemed to be for not against people bring a cup of ‘cold water’ for those in need of a ‘drink’. If you look around us we see many people in need of a ‘drink’ from a book that is understandable and which shows CHRIST.
"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward." Mark 9:38-41 (NIV)
Lets love and be gracious. Jesus hung around the ungracious and unlovely, the sinner we should probably emulate this. He certainly didn’t condemn – only the religious got condemned.
As we finish our new article, Re-Inventing the Church, Part 2, we will give you a far more complete answer. But for now, let me just repeat the explanation I gave in the review of The Message:
What does Eugene Peterson himself say? In his introduction to The Message, he tells us that "This version of the New Testament in a contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message and fresh and understandable in the same language in which we do our shopping, talk with our friends, worry about world affairs, and teach our children their table manners...."
This sounds like a good idea, but what if essential Biblical concepts are not part of our everyday conversation? Should we then rewrite God's holy Scriptures to fit today's more shallow and worldly communications?
Remember, we are dealing with God's holy unchangeable Word - not an ordinary book. God owns His message, we don't. Only His own, well-guarded words can be presented as absolute truth. Yet, readers who trust NavPress and the endorsement of Christian leaders such Warren Wiersbe and J. I. Packer view this book as an authentic translation of the Bible rather than as Peterson's personal, politically correct interpretation.
Throughout both Old and New Testaments, God forbids us to distort His Word. Additions and deletions are strictly forbidden in Scriptures like Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, Galatians 1:8-9 and Revelation 22:19. Acts 17:11 exhorts us to learn from the Bereans who "examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
Eugene Peterson would probably agree. His own interpretation of 2 Corinthians 4:2 holds him accountable to this timeless standard:
"We don't maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God."
While the above verse corresponds to the original Greek, many other passages do just what The Message promises not to do: they "twist God's word to suit" human inclinations. In fact, the very next sentence (verse 3), fails the test. It does not "keep... the whole truth on display." Instead, it deletes the original references both to "those who are perishing" and to the glory of "Christ, who is the image of God."
FGD: Last Sunday evening we had
an alarming discussion with two believers. Four days later, I'm still reeling.
I can still hardly believe that I heard right.
A couple of men we know, whom we thought were on the same track as we are (after all, for years they've been leading a ministry to university students), made a statement on Sunday night which staggered us. I had been telling them about one of our Christian friends overseas who was imprisoned because he refused to compromise his faith. Our friend had refused to carry out an action that would have been seen as an insult to God (and pretty much a recantation of his faith) by those who required it of him, and because he refused he spent two long years mostly in solitary confinement in a tiny cell half underground.
The men I
was talking to said something to the effect that he should have done what he
was asked, that by honouring a symbol (in this case, a cross) he suffered unnecessarily
and put an obstacle in the way of his attackers' hearing the gospel! They then
went on to say that most Christians who are persecuted bring it on themselves,
that most of the time the things they stand up for are simply unimportant. They
should not be so different, and then they wouldn't be persecuted. God knows
our hearts and it's stupid for us to hang onto things that don't matter and
that offend unbelievers. "As Paul said, 'Everything is lawful'", they
pointed out. [They conveniently left out, "but not everything is beneficial."]
I asked them, "Are you saying that all those Christians in Rome who refused to bow down before Caesar and were martyred as a result were stupid? Are you saying that our friend who refused to insult God was essentially asking for his imprisonment?" The answer was, with an embarrassed shrug of the shoulders, that "Yes, they were."
Of course, after that, it should have been no surprise to hear them misusing Scripture to uphold their ideas. Their favourite reference was the story of Namaan "asking Elisha for permission" to bow down to Rimmon with his master (2 Kings 5:15-19). They said that Elisha's answer clearly showed that bowing before the idol wouldn't matter because God knew Namaan's heart. They seem not to have noticed that Namaan was not asking for "permission" from Elisha, but for forgiveness from God -- in other words he
knew that to bow down to Rimmon was wrong in God's sight! But if his master was hanging onto his arm when he bowed to the idol it would be very hard for Namaan not to bow too, and Elisha told him God's answer -- "Go in peace" -- which was not saying it's okay to bow to Rimmon but that God knows the difference between bowing to an idol and supporting the weight of an old man as he bows down.
We asked them several times whether the actions of others in the Bible who refused to bow down to idols (Daniel and his three companions, for example) meant anything to them in this context, but each time they referred back to Namaan and to Paul's "meat offered to idols". When I pointed out that Paul also says, "Avoid all appearance of evil," and "Shun the worship of idols," they ignored the statements.
should have mentioned Jesus' making enemies by refusing to toe the Pharisees'
line? But by that point I couldn't see that it would make any difference to
their ideas. It seemed they did not want to hear anything that might contradict
Just that morning at the small church we attend the preacher had pointed out in his sermon (on Philippians and suffering for the Gospel) what happened to the Apostle Paul as he travelled around preaching the Gospel -- he got kicked out of every other town; he got thrown in gaol; he was beaten, flogged, and stoned; finally he was beheaded. According to those two men's theory, Paul only got what he was asking for...
From what they said they avoid anything that might offend non-believers, and they would do whatever seems needed to gain non-believers' friendship (they specifically included actions such as bowing to or making offerings to other "gods"). They implied that those who have scruples about such actions are simply weak in faith (they kept selectively quoting from Paul).
In the end they started talking about "penetrating culture with the gospel" and "evangelisation", and I finally understood where they were coming from.
Now I understood
why the wife of one of them, when I had chatted with her about evangelism, had
said that she felt she didn't have the right to impose her beliefs on other
people. Now I understand why the youth group her children go to spends their
time playing games (even realistic life-size virtual reality games where they
"shoot each other dead").
Obviously arguing with them will lead nowhere, so I'm praying for them and also for wisdom for us as to whether (and if so, how) we should try to talk to them further about this.
A few months back, David Wilkerson gave a sermon on "The Dangers of the Gospel of Accommodation". I wonder if I should give them a copy of it?
What really bothers me is what will these people do when they are the ones facing possible persecution by enemies of Christ? I pray that they will realise that it's not stupid to suffer for His name...
Oh, may the Lord keep us all on the right path always -- none of us can face persecution in our own strength, and it is His Holy Spirit who gives us the strength to stand firm.
From Ben M.: I am an inner city youth pastor. Ideas like this I just find ridiculous. Suburban parents seemed to be so conerned with these crazy ideas. Your kids are not gang members, they don't sell or do drugs, they haven't been arrested, and they aren't having babies at 12 years old. Be grateful. Lighten up. Stop trying to create problems if there aren't any.
Thank you for sharing this story with us. It helps us to understand the postmodern culture and the incredible shift that is driving churches into apostasy. And it's happening so fast!
May God guide and guard us from the evil one -- and equip us for the hostile pressure and persecution certain to come from a world that cannot tolerate uncompromising truth and faith.
From Chris Houghten: I can only guess regarding the problems in the church here in America - so my guess - it is not a problem of discernment - it is a problem of timing. So here goes - we as believers for some reason think we need to seduce and romance the world into a relationship with the Savior, slowly, slowly, bring them in - and whatever we do, don't tell them anything to soon, to quick, in fact don't say anything, then they'll never talk to us.
We think we must dress like them, wear our hair like them, talk like them, cook the same recipes as them, help them with anything and everything, smile and cry with them, do everything with them and do not - I repeat- do not be critical of anything - just be there. Boom - and then one day- they just will decide - hey I like these folks so much, they will walk into our house - see the Bible on the coffee table - walk out with it, read it, and decide that Jesus Christ is their Lord. I think this is what alot of evangelism books say in about 200 pages or more.
is the issue perhaps instead of a lack of discernment. Believers know the truth,
they just have a different date marked on their calendars as far as when they
think the Lord would like the truth presented to their neighbors. Which brings
us to the present - June 2002 - and quite a mess it is - the enemy has done
a real good job messing with the little black planning books of the believer,
as, day after day we have said to the Lord, "maybe tomorrow I will tell them
what they need to know about You Lord". And in regards to Pokemon, my goodness,
how are we going to get these people to our church, if --- if we tell our own
children what to and not to play with and watch, gasp, what if they repeat it
to the neighbor kids and moms, yikes, we'll be uninvited to the next BBQ, as
the neighbors slowly find themselves immersed in the occult - and on it goes
as we sit on our hands.
Now I'll say, I know, we know, to what extent we have been discipled in the Word of God, we know it, Well, I believe, and believers have chosen to be silent for fear of loosing friendship with the World --- for no one can serve two masters - this is a fact - believers must choose today- to speak - before it is to late.
Mona McNee: The church of England is
dying. What is left of Christianity is more like social services, "Do unto others..."
and "Love thy neighbour as thyself". But they leave out the first great commandment,
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart.... " That would seem
rather quaint these days."
(Concerning the link to "Leading In A New Reality" which he sent us)
Actually, The People's Church just kicked off it 3rd "capital-raising" campaign
(this one called the "It's Our Time" campaign) to pay off the now $13,000,000
building debt that I wrote about in my
People's Churcharticle almost 2 years ago. (It was $10,000,000 back then and they have defaulted on the loan at least twice since that time due to so many members leaving and all the disillusionment involved.) I suspect a personal appearance by celebrity/mentor Bill Hybels was conceived as another way to hopefully drum up support for the "It's Our Time Campaign". The original program was called "Giving Him Our Best". I guess they forgot that OUR best is "filthy rags". Oh well...
Thanks again, Paul, for sharing your insights into the managed transformation of God's churches
From Al Schmidt: I just wanted to say
thank you for standing up for what's right. I am not a great man on my own but
through CHRIST I'm the greatest man my family knows. I and my wife have taught
our children ( now 21 & 15 ) the Christian values that made America great &
are distressed at the turn of the tide from GOD & CHRIST to satan & occultism.
We try to help our children stand against the popular moves in our local area
and thus far we have had good success. I have a short list of daily reminders
that I use to help me stand firm for My JESUS and I am going to share my list
with you. It helps me I hope it will be good for others.
No matter what else I feel the following ARE TRUE !
1. "I am a child of GOD joint heir with JESUS CHRIST HIS SON. I am free of the old fears of failure."
2. "I am free from the bonds of sin and death through JESUS CHRIST who FORGAVE MY SIN and gave me HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS and I function without old fears holding me back."
3. "I am guilt-free thanks to JESUS CHRIST who died my death so I would live as HIS BROTHER and share GODS LOVE with HIM FOREVER.
4. " I live in the SPIRIT and GOD'S SPIRIT lives in me."
I will pray for your continued success for GOD. Please hold me in your prayers as I am Very ill Thanks to 3 major carbon monoxide exposures.
Thank you, Al. I so appreciate your loving heart and your faith in our wonderful Lord.
From Dennis Monroe: I guess I just am not able to keep quiet. I read the posting on the "Healthy Church." This sounds like someone desperately needs to read and study very hard, among other things, the messages in the book of Revelation that Christ gave to the seven churches. None of the definitions given in the news posting will be found in Christ's messages.
From His messages, it is not really very hard to make up a list of the qualities that define a truly healthy church. From what I have seen, a truly healthy church will be dearly loved by those that have ears to hear, those that are truly tired, are poor in spirit, and are able by His Grace to mourn their own sins and the sins of others, with love and care, but also without compromise of God's Word.
On the other
hand, this same truly healthy church will be hated, maligned, lied about, and
despised by those that will
be cut to the bone by the conspicuous and unrelenting activity of this church in speaking without compromise the Gospel and truths of God. The truly healthy church will have died to itself, and all the believers who stay with it will also have died to themselves, at least to a point where they will be able to really honor God as He is meant to be honored.
Dying to myself has been on my mind a very great deal lately. It is a portion of my daily prayers that the Lord will take me from where I am to being far closer to the death of myself. I know that in that state of mind and heart is where He is. This is most evident in the writings of John.
Thank you, Dennis.
From Donna Bowling: This e-mail is being
forwarded through a Mary Kay Cosmetics e-mail loop. I am not surprised, as my
experience with Mary Kay has been that this company is being used to teach the
dialectic and spiritual oneness philosophy.
Prayer wheel: THIS IS AWESOME!!! AMEN
When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to you .... That's all you have to do ....There is nothing attached....This is so powerful....Just send this to seven people and watch God's answer to prayer work in your life. Do not stop the wheel, please....Of all the free gifts we may receive, Prayer is the very best one .... There are no costs, but wonderful rewards ..... Let's continue praying for one another ..
A Prayer: Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this right now. I am asking You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence in Your ability to work through them. Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, patience, and strength as they learn submission to your leading. Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask You to renew them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into greater intimacy with You. Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and release to them Your courage. Where there is a sin blocking them, reveal it, and break its hold over my friend's life. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them, and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name.
In Love, Your Friend
Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something Christ would do.
Thank you, Donna, for sharing this chain letter. It illustrate today's pluralistic blend of Christianity and paganism. The Tibetan prayer wheel, which must be kept spinning, represents Buddhism -- a particular kind which, in turn, is a blend of Tibetan animism and earlier forms of Buddhism.
of Jabez, the problem
is not with the words of the prayer itself but with the pagan context and
the unbiblical promises that surround it. Speaking or praying
a formula prayer is no guarantee of blessings, especially in a setting that
suggests a universal god rather than the God we love.
I have added an explanation of the Tibetan
prayer wheel to the
down to the section on "wheels."
From Shawn: I grew up with the hymns
and I still love them but I do believe that praise songs have merit. Like God
of Wonders (how it talks about creation) also Lord reign in me (something we
want in our life daily), and Stand in awe (basic love song that we are in love
with Jesus Christ).
Thank you, Shawn. One of my favorites
is "The Lamb of God."
From a Christian singer:
Also we sing a song called Empty Me where we sing like a prayer to God to empty us of our desires and ask God to Fill Me with His Desires.
I believe that there is merit in both hymns and praise songs I would like to sing both :)
I guess it really depends on the situation the song how many songs are played.
I have also discussed recently with friends different worship styles, the traditional 3-5 verse sermon or the chapter book by book chapter by chapter verse by verse teaching style.
I again believe there is merit in both, I enjoy the longer more detailed teaching than the 3-5 verse sermon I grew up with.
But of course we need to have that daily walk with the Lord or either teaching method won't be effective. Does it really matter if you have a half meal or full meal if going thru the week. Not really you still need to eat daily and I prefer the method of David to rise with the Lord and to end my day with the Lord.
I could be wrong and I am open to any biblical reasoning.
I look at the psalms of David some are really simple, just simple praises to our God :)
I have added an explanation of the Tibetan prayer wheel to the Symbols page. Scroll down to the section on "wheels."
From Shawn: I grew up with the hymns
and I still love them but I do believe that praise songs have merit. Like God
of Wonders (how it talks about creation) also Lord reign in me (something we
want in our life daily), and Stand in awe (basic love song that we are in love
with Jesus Christ).
Thank you, Shawn. One of my favorites is "The Lamb of God."
From a Christian singer:
Funny, we go from church to church looking for the Spirit instead of asking God to fill us with His Spirit. So many churches look for what the people believe looks good instead of the heart. When I finished telling the people this, the pastor came up in tears because the church was filled with people that use to come to church but went to another.
The pastor's daughter was left by her husband and it looked bad for him as far as his congregation thought. The reason they were there was because they came to hear a concert. One by one, the people stood up and asked for forgiveness. I will never forget this. I pray that we all will lift up our pastors that God will give them power to speak the Word of God.
Re-Inventing the Church, Part 1.
Thank you for sharing from your heart a message we need to remember.
At the same time, many Christian families find their churches changing to an emphasis on pleasing the world rather than teaching God's Word. When that happens, the loss of Biblical teaching may drive Christian families to search for genuine Biblical fellowship somewhere else.
But we all need to pray for our pastors and churches. They often find themselves on a fierce and cruel battlefield. Please see
From David: There is a myth that as Americans,
we have the freedom of worship and beliefs. I have found that when one truly
dedicates their life to Christ and daily lives His Word (for He is the Word)
that there is much persecution and much of it comes from the organized church
(I have recently been shocked by the attitudes of "Christians" toward witchcraft
- Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). I am writing this memo in hopes that
it will help others who may be struggling with some of the things I have struggled
I was baptized in 1974 and still remember and treasure the way the Lord touched my heart on that day. My maturing in the Lord has been a long and sometimes difficult process (because of me). ... I struggled with certain sins but could never quite achieve the victory that I sought. I was like (probably 90+ percent of Christians in America) being CONFORMED to the WORLD (Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17) - but deceived in my own heart. I would say I was going to read the Bible everyday and persist for awhile. I would start a Bible study with my kids and persist for awhile. Every time I would fall back. Why? Because of television and selfish ambitions. The Lord had been dealing with me for years to stop conforming, but I was unwilling to totally yield. Therefore my life was not what it could have been.
Finally after coming to the place that I was just so sick of sin in my life and my own hypocrisy, I yielded. 2 Corinthians 6:17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." I repented before the Lord as I never had previously for my wicked self-centered life of conforming and compromise.
What was my greatest idol in my life to overcome? - the one I just never could image giving up! Probably the same one that most of you have - "TELEVISION." I turned it off, got rid of it - its over. I will never watch it again. I do not even play the game of some things are ok to watch but I will avoid the others. You just set yourself up for constant temptation and lost precious time that could be used for so much more.
You are so right, David. Here is another Scripture that supports your warning:
Sitting in front of this silly little box robbed me of YEARS of my life. The constant planting of un-Godly ideas in my mind, made it impossible for me to have victory over sinful areas of my life. For years, I use to ask myself - How evil does television have to become before I will stop watching it? Where do you draw the line? Is there a line?
Psalm 139:14-15 and Psalm 23
Yes, but -- in some areas such as television -- it differs from believer to believer. For example, Paul tells Timothy that a little wine is good for his health, but alcoholics must draw a much narrower line. I don't like watching television (but I do watch certain things for research purposes -- such as the opening ceremony for the Olympics), so I don't need to guard against overuse.
Our Shepherd, Jesus Christ Himself, will guide us personally by His Spirit in us. He knows us and our needs and weaknesses far better than we know ourselves.
The next thing
I did was turn off the radio in the car (permanently) and chunk the stereo.
Rock music had always been an idol in my life. ... Next I got rid of my cherished
miniature whiskey bottle collection (from my youth). I also chunked the questionable
Christian books from characters like Pat Robertson, Kenneth Copeland (saw through
him years ago but still had a book lying around), Benny Hinn (this one was my
wife's - I was not deceived by this slick one), etc. Next I went on an evil
toy hunt in my kids rooms (most toys I don't want in my house anymore). ...
You must ask yourself, as a Christian, when someone looks at your life - is it really that much different from a non-believer. Do you watch the same television programs? Do you listen to the same music? Do you go to the theaters and watch the same movies? Same video rentals? Are you also driven to succeed in your career? Is money real important to you? Do you want your children to be like all the others? Can you answer this question - Is there any persecution in your life as a direct result of your walk in Christ? Jesus said there would be - maybe more than you want. If there isn't much, then maybe you are conforming. Do you ever truly suffer loss/sacrifice (your own desires, wants, needs) to do God's will?
That's the normal Christian life, David. Remember John 15:20-21. Keep praising and serving Jesus and know that He will be your strength and joy no matter what hostility, rejection and persecution you might face. See 2 Cor 4:16 and 2 Cor 2:14.
"...thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
"For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
2 Cor 4:16
David: I was looking at your
chart entitled, "Biblical
Verses Cultural Christianity."
This is the situation I face:
I would refer to myself as a Christian, Believer, Disciple, Follower, Servant, etc. Most of the people at the church I attend would refer to themselves as Baptist. That alone says alot in and of itself. The Baptist have a doctrine which they refer to as, "Once Saved Always Saved." Under this belief, one only has to ackowledge Christ once and then there is eternal security even if one chooses to live as the devil the rest of their lives.
cheap grace" -- His blessings without sanctification or discipleship. So they pray the 4-fold prayer but never understand their need, come to repentance by God's grace, surrender their lives to Him, or count the cost.
It is sad how God wonderful promises of salvation and sanctification are being twisted into shallow doctrines that has little to do with the transformed life and discipleship. Speaking at a conference in the Midwest some years ago, a song leader told me she had written a song which included all the parts of the "4 spiritual laws." "When they sing it, they become Christians," she told me.
Many find it easy to give hearty assent to a simple verbal formula or recitation -- especially when they are promised earthly peace, a wonderful relationship and a happy eternity with Jesus. Some only want "
Coming to Jesus, being crucified with Him, and walking in the Spirit involves genuine conviction by the Holy Spirit, a brand new life, and a hunger for His holiness which makes personal sacrifices for Him a joy. Those who are truly filled with His Spirit, we will discern evil and be disgusted with some of the unholy symbols and practices of our times that have become so accepted by the church.
I do believe, however, that those who are truly "born again," have indeed been joined to Jesus Christ for all eternity and are already "citizens of heaven." They can delight in His promise that we will see Jesus face to face and share everlasting joy with Him forever.1 John 3:1-3
Additionally, they seem to have a strange belief which I think is referred to as "Christian Liberty." This essentially excuses "compromise" because (I will try and explain this logic): Only through Christ does one have forgiveness of sin, so you can't be good enough or earn it or stop sinning. Therefore, since you never can truly conquer sin and must live with it (or a certain amount of it), then its OK because Jesus blood covers it.
How does one talk to such a person about "purity?." Initially, when giving the alter call, much emphasis is placed upon joining the church (this particular one). Now I became a member of "The Church" (that of Christ, that they do not control) in 1974. I really do not understand their emphasis on having your name on a local Baptist role. I will never "officially" join their church because: 1) it is mostly cultural, and 2) I cannot accept some of their beliefs.
You are probably asking, then why do you go there? Its a long story, but perhaps God has a purpose for now (even though I am quite frustrated). You probably ask, why don't you assemble with like minded believers? I would love nothing more if there is such a physical church in existence. I find mostly cultural as per yourchart or those that trust in TBN/Televangelists/Books/Videos/etc.
Yes, David. So have countless disciples across the country and around the world. Twice it happened to us because the original pastors retired and the new pastors had been trained in a more "progressive" way of "doing church." Each time we eventually left, but not until we had found a better place.
Now we are part of a small Bible centered church a distance from our home. We love the teaching, but live too far away to participate in all the activities that build strong fellowship.
We have a small local Bible study with four other couples that love Jesus and want to follow Him. As this postmodern trend continues -- even accellerates -- which it will when as more of the Biblical boundaries and knowledge fade away, God's people will increasingly gather in what might parallel the underground church in China.
And as the US implements the UNESCO Declaration on Religion in a Culture of Peace, the public will become increasingly intolerant toward people like us. I am glad we have the Internet for a season to encourage each other across lands and oceans.
Ender: I did some thinking about "WWJD"
and my choice was to no longer wear a WWJD lanyard on my neck for school. The
reason behind it was because I thought of it this
way: Jesus is God, we are not. Though He gives us the mind of Christ, we still stumble and fail to listen to His leading at times. Jesus Christ was and is forever perfect; we're not. We'll be like Him in heaven and in the resurrection, but we won't be perfect until then.
Thank you, Ender, for sharing your insight. You are so right. People have always had a tendency to see God through their human imagination and personal preferences rather than through the wisdom of His Word and Spirit. That's why He warned His people long ago, "You thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you...." (Psalm 50:16-21)
A lot of people think that WWJD is a reminder for themselves of who they serve, but I believe there are three better reminders:
The cross (not jewlery or symbol, but Jesus' act on the cross)
The Spirit of God: "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16).
The Word of God
Not to say that anyone who wears WWJD is of the evil one, but I believe if people started meditating on the cross more -- and that's what I am doing -- then people would recognize and be awed at the thought of Christ on that cross, the fullest expression of God the Father's love for mankind. And also to reach out to others in His love and service. In Christ,
Thank you for that reminder, Ender. I so agree with you. Perhaps others who agree would like to visit this page: Preparing for Victory and click on "The Triumph of the Cross."
From Judith Clark: (Related to the St.
John the Divine Cathedral, although I realize that it is not, strictly speaking,
a Catholic cathedral, it is a cathedral of somewhat similar modern philosophy):
I had a great uncle who came out of the Catholic religion, but did not attend church. If there was anything he could see that he thought that was good, he tried to do it, however, and he knew that Jesus Christ was the Lord who saves. I have met many people since who were Catholic and said that the church only requires them to attend every year, and that they are still Catholic even though they hardly attend.
not describe my uncle. I think even in Europe he had decided within himself
that he was not going to follow those particular doctrines that are misleading,
of that church.
I try to explain to people, what the nature of this ‘compulsory-ness'is/was in his country of origin, but it is a difficult concept for some.... It is the same sort of compulsory atmosphere developing around secularism in America today.)
This uncle told me once that he had prayed to leave his country, and prayed and prayed, as a child, but when it finally happened, he was a little ashamed, because the transition to life in America seemed to be so hard on his parents.
I once asked him if he attended church. The only church he really knew how to get to was the Catholic one.... He took me down seven flights of stairs and onto the sidewalk, and had me peer around the corner of the block. I do not know what Cathedral we were peering at, but it was quite ornate and impressive and not unattractive, I thought. He told me slowly, that, he knew that some people thought it was better to go there than not to go there (because of many of the faults of this church that were well known in the community), but he himself did not know how anyone could even bear to enter. This must have been in 1957 or 1959 when he told me this! And this location was just a few blocks from the World Trade center, which of course did not exist at that time.
He said, that many people thought that he might have wanted to leave his country of birth because of the wars and bad governments that were coming (he was a child in rural Tuscany, and my grandmother, who was one of his younger sisters, told me that their previous home in Tuscany had been a very active place against these wars and had suffered much on account of draft evasion, and other forms of opposition they engaged in). He said that many people in Tuscany had been talking about bad things in the government, and very bad things coming (this was in the early 1890's) but he rather, thought that his strong desire to leave had something to do with that-----'that' (and he indicated again, the Cathedral).
I was always so grateful to have this particular relative, and it is something so difficult to explain to anyone, but because of many of the things I have read that you have written, I thought it might be good to tell you about this.
Also, I am concerned, that he was a non-church-goer on account of his adherence to the truth, and to (I believe) Jesus Christ. Sometimes, as I visit different churches, it is difficult to sort out precisely what I am disturbed about in many of them, and I think it would be easier to adhere to the Lord and his word and not attend church at this present time..... Do you have an opinion on this? In faith in the Lord, Jesus,
New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, have important all kinds of pagan literature, symbols and rituals into their worship.
Since the Catholic church is not alone in drifting away from Biblical truth, many discerning Christians can identify with your uncle. Across the country and around the world, God's people face disillusionment with their local churches and pray for a fellowship of believers who long to follow Jesus have refused to compromise with the world. We see Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and other churches which, like
I believe that we who love God might -- like committed believers in China -- have to seek our fellowship in small groups or home churches. We can't join the new "cell groups" organized under the umbrella of today's leadership networks, for they tend to operate by the world's dialectic or consensus process. [See The Global Church - especially the last section (unfinished)] But we can and must look to our Shepherd for His wisdom and guidance. No matter what happens around us, He will still be our Father, our Wisdom, our Strength and our very Life. And He has many ways to bring His sheep to maturity and joy in Himself.
From Dennis Monroe: I read your postings with regard to "WWJD." I do not mean to deride anyone that may display or wear some implement (e.g., wrist band, etc.) that has "WWJD" on it. Once again, I must choose my words very carefully. However, I do not display any of these things. I don't like them. I have no bumper stickers or a Jesus fish on my car either. All of it seems to really be nothing more than an expression of "I got Jesus, you don't, and in your face!"
Therefore, I think most of the unsaved react to it in a negative way, and it simply feeds their impression that we are lunatics. I think that sometimes the people that display this stuff have unwittingly taken upon themselves an idol, and may very well be riding on the "lunatic" fringe.
I would pose a question to those that find it necessary to display all of this stuff, which is "What would Jesus really do?" I cannot see in my mind's eye the Lord running around with a wrist band or some implement hanging from his neck or any other form of "idol." Jesus would not have placed a statue of Himself on the dashboard of His car. His mother would not have been there either, nor would be any of the other "Saints."
If many of
those that display all of this stuff would put some real serious thought and
prayer into "WWJD", I think I can safely say they would no longer display it.
The only thing that Jesus did do, without deviation of
any sort, was the perfect will of the Father. He did not do anything else, ever. I would prefer to simply be ready to explain our Savior to anyone that will listen. The Lord is lovely.
Thank you, Dennis. I agree with you. So many of our trendy expressions do little more than trivialize Christianity and lower our holy, omnipotent King to our own level.
From Arnie Fishman:Paul [Proctor - see IMAGINE Playing Games with God] did a good rebuttal. Here is some more.
Thanks, Arnie, for sharing your insight. I appreciate your discernment.
Susan Conway: I have kept rereading the
following from your site "Men and women need a unified existence. Participation
in a culture is one of the factors which provide them with a sense of belonging.
It gives a sense of security, of identity, of dignity, of being part of a larger
whole, and of sharing both in the life of past generations and in the expectancy
of society for its own future...." [See in the
The Changing Church]
I am concluding that this thinking is a foundational perspective in the way churches have been structured for the past twenty years. Horizontal relationships are more significant and important than one's relationship to God and to His word. As churches determine their mission, purpose, values and vision, could one not presume that this is to give that entity 'a unified existence' because that is what 'men and women need'?
Not all who have followed the building of strategic plans or of a community emphasis (with community meaning relationships) have understood the rhetoric, and the change of emphasis. As one who has lived with both and seen the confusion of any who question or who continue to resist man's group think, I am struggling as we are wondering where God would have us attend church now.
The thinking quoted above can result in believers in Jesus Christ being kept in or being put into a culture which is works oriented, man pleasing, and cultlike.
You are so right, Susan. And "cultlike"fits the new church management that controls people through group pressure, demands for submission to the new leadership, and the call for "confession" of "sins" such as "divisiveness" and lack of cooperation on the part of those who discern and voice real problems.
Thank you, Jeff. I wouldn't be surprised if uncompromising Christians will face increasing hostility in the months to come. Once again Christians in the "free" world need to Prepare for Persecution.
From Dennis Monroe: If either Presidents George Washington or Abraham Lincoln were running for office today, and publicly gave the exact same speeches they gave back then, and publicly proclaimed and honored the name of God, like they did back then, they would both be labeled hate mongers and run out of town.
I believe you may be right, Dennis. Some of the people who call themselves Christian could even be the first to express their anger and shame at being associated with such fundamentalists.
From Mona M. (UK): Mr Bowman thinks faith in God helps greatness. Now our (UK) churches are empty, fall into decay, are torn down to make way for "development". The BBC etc. mock religion in their soaps etc. Support for Christianity previously coming from home/school/organizations is now absent, Scouts and Brownies Guides etc. and Boys' Brigades are shadows of their former selves. Schools are "multi-faith, multi-cultural". Patriotism is risky, has to be expressed in terms that do not "offend" incomers. The King/Queen used to be "Defender of the Faith", but the Queen has done nothing that I can see to defend Christianity. "Fid.def." no longer appears on our coins. Brussels sees the royal family is just citizens like everyone else , nothing special, an anachronism.
Free speech? Free speech on immigration has been routinely stifled for decades, with unjustified cries of "Racist!". When I try to access the British National Party on the local library computers, the screen says "Access denied", and Political Correctness makes people wary of expressing their worries about immigration in public.
Democracy? Self-government, sovereignty, independence? Ted Heath lied when he said the Treaty of Rome was purely economic with no political overtones. Now the Treaty of Nice is going through our Parliament, pretty well handing o0ver the last shreds of independence from Westminster to Brussels. If the very existence of "England" is imperiled, changing to "regions" of the E.U., what is left?
Yet the E.U. costs us a lot of money. France makes no attempt to stop illegal immigrants coming here from Calais - 100,000 a year. We are under attack, human invasion all the more effective for not being military.
In the days of the Romans, feeding Christians to the lions was dreadful but visible, honestly dreadful. Now here everything is covered over in sugar-icing, "caring", P.C., velvet hand but iron fist with the real power. Politicians (with rare exceptions, Enoch Powell, Frank Field, David Alton) want a career in politics rather than a chance to benefit our country. Every ill has to have a framework for "help" even though the bottom layer, helping real people, (e.g. our national health system) is creaking badly. Even the trappings of greatness are tired and in tatters.
I feel that I am living in the end of a civilization. Cassandra, moaning Minnie? Well, that's how I feel. And helpless. I have tried to fight this tide , and just see it getting worse. We now have 1-1/2 million muslims here.
Another WTC here, and ..what? Civil war? All the suppressed resentment, politicians ignoring our worries for 50 years, will boil up and where can we go then? I wish this were not so.
Thank you, Mona, for your insights and observations. I appreciate your summary of our common concern.
From Maria: I am a well educated 17 year old girl that lives in Orlando FL. I attended grades Pre-K through eighth at Good Shepherd Catholic School. When I was in 4th grade I decided that God was calling me to become an altar server at mass and was involved in that vocation until I was in 9th grade when I decided to become a lector at mass. I am a strong Catholic. I am very involved in Community Service projects, my parish festival which raises money for, among other things, St. Vincent dePaul Society, and of course reading at mass. I am telling you all this to let you know that I understand where you are coming from.
Actually, I don't believe you do, Maria. You and I would define Christianity in different ways. You listed many "good" things you do, but those good works do not make you a Christian. They don't deal with the essential nature of sin in us, nor do they join us to Christ. Only faith in Jesus and the redemption He won for us at the cross will join us to Christ, change our nature and prepare us to walk with Jesus by His Spirit. Please see What it means to be a Christian.
The fantastic world of Harry Potter scares you because you believe that kids can read this and become involved in the Wiccan religion and witchcraft. I see where you are coming from but do not think that Harry Potter books affect kids to this magnitude.
I recently wrote a 4,000 word paper for my International Baccalaureate program in order to gain my IB Diploma (to learn more about IB go to http://www.ibo.org/ ). The topic I choose for my paper involved dissecting C.S Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia to discover how he intended to give children the christian message. I spent much of my summer reading the Chronicles again, reading criticisms on them, and reading about Clive Staples Lewis, the great Christian apologist. From what I learned I know that the Chronicles of Narnia were based in a fantastic land, much like the magical world in Harry Potter, in order to get children to enjoy them. C.S. Lewis said that when he was a child he did not feel in awe at God because he was told to feel that way and because he could not get involved in the Bible.
Please see the article I wrote on the International Baccalaureate Organization. It does not share my Christian worldview. Perhaps it influenced your view of Christianity.
Many young children feel this way because of the stuffy language and the stuffy attitude of religion teachers. Lewis desired to bare christianity, to sneak past the 'watchful dragons' of much use and how you should feel. He desired to get past this emotional barrier and show children what Christianity truly was. He accomplished this by disguising Christianity in a fantastic story. This story is the story of Jesus. I read the Chronicles when I was in 3rd grade for the first time. Aslan's (the Christ figure) death elicited tears from my eyes like the Easter tale never had. I could love Aslan because I was not told I had to but made a choice to. Now I love Jesus Christ with as much ferocity as I loved Aslan when I first read the Chronicles.
You keep mentioning "feelings" Maria, as if love for God is based on feelings. It is not. When Jesus tells Christians to "love one another," He is referring to sharing, helping, caring and submitting -- by faith and through His strength -- to one another as members of His family. Warm feelings will follow, but they tend to be very subjective, unpredictable and capricious guides.
Likewise, we don't show love for God by feeling good about Him. We show Him love by taking time to get to know Him in His Word, talking with Him, surrendering our lives to Him, then -- by His grace, demonstrating His love as we walk with Him in both easy and hard places without complaining. But He makes even the hardest places sweet by His presence. See Mark 12:30
I know that the Harry Potter series was not written to show children Christianity but it can serve that purpose if instead of trying to ban or warn parents we ask that parents read the books and talk to their children about them. These books like the Chronicles open up a child's heart and what better time to talk to them about God.
You are right. Any exciting fantasy will open a child's heart to the thrills and characters it presents. But God wants our hearts to be closed to witchcraft and wizardry, not open. We shouldn't even be considering whether delight in witchcraft is acceptable to Him or not, for He makes it clear throughout the Bible that it is out-of-bounds.
Part of the problem is today's consensus thinking. Based on the old Hegelian dialectic process (group dialogue which calls for compromise and common ground), it makes it hard to take a stand and refuse to conform. Those who don't know, memorize and love God's Word have no solid foundation or conviction on which to take a stand or hold a position when faced with peer pressure . It becomes natural to flow with your feelings instead of standing by faith.
Instead of talking about the witchcraft in the Harry Potter series talk about the love of Harry's mom and how someone who didn't even know your child gave him/her the same love when they died on a cross just to save you. By comparing the feelings that children share in the Harry Potter books to the feelings that we are 'supposed' to get from the Bible more children will accept and love God and Jesus. I do not think the Harry Potter series should be banned or any other such extreme measure taken. Instead, I believe that the series can tell us a lot about love, friendship, morality, doing well in school, accepting others and many other good lessons. These books can also open up children to reading anything, maybe even the Bible someday.
I see your point in warning people and yes the Harry Potter series does have witchcraft in it, but one of my friends is a Wiccan and from talking to her I know that there are immense differences between the two.
I don't know how many witches or Wiccans you have discussed this with. But in my many encounters with neo-pagans and witches, I have found that most of them write their own script. Many tend to blend together bits and pieces of Native American spirituality, the chakras of kundalini yoga (Tantric Buddhism), Celtic spirituality and medieval witchcraft. They might even add some hand-picked Bible verses about God's love. All the versions sound different, yet they draw power from the same occult realm.
Harry Potter can be used to promote morals and to get children involved in Christianity. I found that once my sister had completed reading the Harry Potter series to book 4 she wanted to start something else that was similar. I recommended The Chronicles of Narnia, beginning with the second book in the series, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which tells the Easter tale. She has now come to love Aslan just as I did and will learn through that love how to love Jesus and God.
Harry Potter can be bad, but it can also be used for good. It can be a stepping stone to the Chronicles of Narnia, the Bible, and open up discussions about religion with youngsters. While each of us must make their own decision about religion I think with a little work on the part of parents we can have more children have a deep Christian faith from this experience than will turn to the Wiccan religion which shares almost nothing with the witchcraft in the Harry Potter series.
Thank you for listening. I hope you will see my point and at least for a moment examine the issue from a different point of view and maybe come up with some way for us to use these well loved books to teach children about God. Since I am going into my senior year of high school I know I will not have time but perhaps you or one of your readers will. I would love one day to see this controversial series to teach children about love that can be bridged to God's love. Remember, Faith, Hope, and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!
His love does not tolerate spiritual alternatives, Maria. Don't forget His sobering warnings,
"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:6-9
"...when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them... your heart is lifted up and you forget the Lord your God.... you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ ...if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods... you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God." Deut 8:10-20
From Sharon: Most of the Christians I work with do not believe that we are sinners, in original sin, fallen humanity. I praise God every day that I attend a Bible believing, God honoring and true to His Word church. We are Baptist. I was born again, March 13, 1997.I started attending a non-denominational community Bible study group in 1998, men and women. I began to notice that they were involved in Promise-keepers, Women of Faith, working for Habitat for Humanity, etc, etc. We are not allowed to speak about or against any other Christian leaders. There is no discernment in this group. They think the world evangelization groups are the real thing. They disdain and make fun of the KJV, all use the NIV. I led the women's class last year and will again this year starting next month.
Sharon, I just want to remind everyone that in spite of the compromising mission networks, there are many wonderful missionaries and organizations that faithfully serve God and spread the true gospel. Our Lord has always -- even in the midst of the most corrupt cultures -- kept a remnant of people who refused to conform to the world's consensus.
Your site is well written and presented. However, when I sent various articles out to friends and family, they became very upset. Even my husband who knows the truth and some of his pastors friends say that I am getting involved in stuff that is NOT my business. If people want to let their children read Harry Potter and Pokemon and Digimon, etc, leave them alone.
I have been very discouraged that long time Christians have been swayed by these false teachings and beliefs. Please pray for me, that God will give me the strength and the courage to stand against this heresy.
Ezekiel 3 and 33 encourages me to keep sharing unpopular truths and warnings.
I will try to learn about it this week, Sharon. I will post what I learn here.
From Cindi: Thank you so much for sharing the material about the Dalai Lama's appearances. A couple of quick thoughts about that:
(1) the World Network of Religious Futurists (WNRF) is riddled with Buddhists, including its leadership, which is based in Seattle, Washington (Richard Kirby and Richard Spady);
(2) The Prayer of Jabez seems to parallel what the Dalai Lama is telling his followers about how to pray--disturbing, at best, and
(3) the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) are preparing white papers for discussion at their convention (coming up in June, I think), one of which concerns itself with whether or not healthcare should be a "covenantal" issue. The WNRF issue goes to your point of the blending of Buddhism with Christianity. (Not that the WNRF holds itself out to be traditionally Christian at all, but Jay Gary is very involved with them and Kirby and Spady reach out to the Episcopalian and Methodist churches in their areas.).
The Church Growth Movement and the ecumenicism of the NAE and others cause such a blending of doctrine that a door is opened for the mystical "truths" of Buddhism to take hold because their form is "relational." The Prayer of Jabez is a yawning pit of misleading doctrine when you put it together with the Dalai Lama's admonitions to "pray" the mantras/tantras each day. What a mess! Thank you, again, for making sense out of this misinformation and helping everyone to understand that there is danger here.
If I have not sent you the material on the NAE and the covenantal healthcare discussion papers, please let me know and I will fax them or send you the website. This leads into the UN health positions. NAE's would also be part of the International Association of Evangelicals's position on healthcare. "Even so, Lord, come quickly!"
From Paul Proctor: "Even those I thought were mature senior adults in my own Sunday School class were absolutely fascinated and captivated by The Women of Faith conference here. People who easily saw through the hype and production of Willow Creek and The People's Church fell instantly for this feminist feelings festival and frenzy. Charm, beauty, celebrity, music, emotional gratification and self-affirmation are I believe among the mightiest weapons used against women in Satan's war chest.
To borrow from the theme of Kimberly Smith's book Let Those Who Have Ears To Hear, which I HIGHLY recommend, "If they took the music away...would they still follow Jesus?"
Good question, Paul. Thank you for your insights and your fellowship.
From Marilynn: You know, Berit, the tranformational process is chipping away traditional thinking faster and faster these days in the undiscerning minds of many fellow believers. It is amazing to me to see the willing acceptance of ideologies today by many believers that even last year they would question.
that when a person asks the Lord into their heart and they receive the indwelling
of the Holy Spirit, that with the believer's growth and walk in the Lord that
they would become discerning. That the Lord would give them more discernment
as they seek him and have that abiding faith in him. Now, I am being told by
some Christians that discernment is given only as a spiritual gift.
Only a few have it. If that
is true then we are surely in trouble in the Church. It is troublesome to see
the amount of believers who put their worth on what they have decided are their
spiritual gifts. I have been told
by fellow believers for twenty years that I have the gift of prophesying. Therefore,
it's fine that I see upcoming problems and try to warn them because it's not
their gift. It is their excuse for not wanting to see, think and act.
of discernment, I went to the Wagner Leadership Institute website last night
because the pastor at Sagemont announced last night, in fact he spoke the entire
message time on the merging of the church with another church down the road
(Freedom Church) because they need financial help....
The church has no pure doctrinal statements.
You know the same spiel, church that is global, community driven, outreach
of love, etc. The assistant pastor is attending the Wagner Leadership Institute.
I wanted to know if you are familiar with this Institute.
Also, George Barna was in Houston recently speaking. I understand it
was only for pastors. I know you
quote some of his findings. His
name is listed on the front webpage of the Wagner Leadership Institute. I wonder
what his connection to them is - if he had just attended a seminar or was a
graduate of theirs. I did not see
him listed on their board.
Marilynn, I added more information about George Barna on this page: Statistics for the Changing Church. He is a leader in the Church Growth movement. I use his statistical studies since I don't know any better source of such information.
See also Marketing the Church, God, and the Gospel: Why the Church Must Stop Selling Jesus
Susan Conway: This article, Thinking Skills explains thinking held by the editors of Group Publishing and espoused in at least two of their books written about Sunday School. I am sending the link because, on The Global Church article site, you have a picture of a book published by Group Publishing. Six years ago we were at a church which began to use Group's Hands On Sunday School curriculum. A friend was teaching Sunday School. She became concerned about some items handed out in the introductory teachers' training session and asked me to look at it. Three years earlier she and I, along with a few others, had worked together to understand Outcome Based Education, which was being publicly implemented in her county with a Strategic Plan. It is now clear that this type of education already had a place in the thinking of educators.
Back to church...my friend also asked me to watch an introductory video about The Hands On Sunday School curriculum. She thought it was OBE. The first time I watched it I was appalled at the manipulation that was highlighted, showcased, and part of the lesson plans. The second time I watched it, I did begin to pick out the OBE. We had one child still in the elementary grades. So I continued to research the material . The thinking was completely OBE, touchy-feely, human relationship oriented. The lessons were not dependent on Bible truth or Bible stories. A Christian school principal reviewed the curriculum for me and concluded that it was moralistic and unacceptable on other grounds also.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (see Glossary) were being implemented. Rote memory of Bible verses was mocked in material that accompanied the curriculum. There are some excellent articles probably still on-line that critique it more. Important theological truths were left out. Our daughter was in one class session and her understanding and application of the need to seek God's forgiveness, as well as that of a sibling that she had offended, became muddled. This was by only one exposure. The lesson had been taught in its entirety by a man who was an elder in the church. Our daughter did not return to the class. Already we had begun a process which eventually led to the curriculum being removed after only one quarter's use. It was in this struggle that I ran into the "new church management system" and sensed that something was truly out of order.
One conclusion I verbalized when I took my concerns about the impact of the curriculum to the pastor was that children who went through this type of teaching would not be prepared for the realities of the real world when they had any need to stand alone on the basis of God's Word and His truth. That did not seem to be understandable to him. I now know that he was being trained to help bring about The Global Church, not that he would have known that. It has been the result of the fact that "Ideas Have Consequences."
Pragmatic thinking, positive thinking, consensus thinking leading toward groupthink can seem acceptable when introduced gradually.
There is a great attraction toward doing whatever might seem to help reach people for Christ, not realizing that in the end what you have is a muddle and a mess. People who will not be in alignment are told they are free to go find a church that suits "their preferences." The concept of seeking to live out biblical truth in this age of so many seductive concepts supported by so many widely known and respected individuals and organizations is a threat to the management system. Simply asking for a clear definition of words and concepts has become a threat. Wanting to know and understand the historical background of writers and speakers may be considered divisive.
Early on, at least up to 30 years ago, some pastors and church consultants were teaching or being taught how to identify resistors and neutralize their influence. Often times this can be done in what looks like graciousness.
Thank you for sending this important information, Susan. I hope many read it. Some of the same strategies for change are described in Brave New Schools, Chapter 3- A New Way of Thinking.
From Peter Toth: As I drive back and forth to my work assignments, I periodically tune across the radio dial in search of Christian programming, in hope of spending the time more profitably. I tuned in to a program on 1300 AM, WNQM Nashville at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, June 8th. It began with an orchestral rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus" - accompanied by gunfire. The announcer said that today we would discuss "the worship wars".
Slowly, the music and gunfire faded out, to be replaced by a fade in of a contemporary Christian "worship song" of the pop - rock genre. The hosts of the show began by talking about the trend that is "sweeping the nation" and "spontaneously appearing" in the churches - true worship in "spirit and truth". They warned with a strident tone of voice that "if your church resists this change, it is doomed to die" because "people are going to go wherever they can have this kind of worship".
They quoted Psalm 33:3 as the justification for rock music in the church "……play skillfully with a loud noise". ( just how many decibels could David generate with his acoustic instrument?) And they talked about the relatively new phenomenon of dance in the church, once again justified by scripture, II Samuel 6, where "David leaped and danced before the LORD". (I'm not sure how to make the connection between this and the worship service…)
But that was just the beginning of this theological flight - of -fancy! They pointed out how Michal "despised" David because of his dancing, and was barren the rest of her life. Their theory was that David no longer "went in" to Michal, (I couldn't find this in scripture) therefore she had no children. This was because of the criticism of his dancing. Then they made the parallel of Michal being a king's daughter, as the Church is The King's daughter, and the same thing will happen to the church that despises these worship practices.
Wow! Where do they come up with this wacko theology? Don't they even think through the implications of their comments….. wouldn't this mean the returning Christ would be marrying His sister? It's not just wacko - it's Blasphemy. They continued to talk about worship, and how worship is "intimacy with God, like a marriage, and this intimacy leads to new births….. converts in your church". ( where can we find this in the Scripture?)
"So, if your church is not
seeing converts and baptisms, the worship is the problem".
But, they waxed optimistic, because the "restoration of the temple" was
happening (no explanation of this terminology given) and soon people with the
unused gift of dancing (which our
old fashioned churches have deprived them of using) will soon be celebrating
in the worship services.
So, it appears I tuned into
a broadcast from a remote cult somewhere?
No, it was a little closer to home - the program is "Centerpoint", a
ministry of Central Baptist Church in Hixson (Chattanooga) TN.
This jogged my memory and I went back in my work notebook to May 1 of this year, when I heard a similar broadcast, and took a few notes then. Back then, I DID think I had tuned in to a mysterious cult. Evidently, it was a different episode of this same series. There were 2 hosts that played off each other. Often, their tone of voice was emotional, to the point of "whining" questions like "why should a man with the gift of drumming be denied the opportunity of using it in a worship service?" or "you raise your arms to greet someone you haven't seen in a long time, why not raise your hands to Jesus?"
The tone of voice changed to that which someone has aptly called the "grace in your face" attitude, as the hosts informed us this is all part of the "last days restoration of all things". (said quickly, then the subject changed)
One thing that piqued my interest at this point is the statement by one host - "Pastor Rick White says the first century church 'owned' the arts". And the other host responded in a mocking voice - "and the church of the 50's recoiled from it in fear".
The ridicule continued as one host told of an experience in a church (I suppose as a guest speaker) where he was interviewing people in the congregation. He asked people various questions about what is acceptable practice in a worship service. "Is raising hands OK? …yes", "Is clapping OK?……yes", "Is dancing?……no".
The other host laughed and
said "was that a Baptist church?"
The first host laughed and said "no, it was a Church of God!" (both laughing
at this point, really cracked each other up…)
They also speak in hurt tones that anybody would challenge these worship
"preferences". There was also an
evident note of pride when they said their church has 2 services with 2000 people
and a TV audience of millions.
As, I suspected, this church is on the roster of the Willow Creek Association.
I believe my righteous anger is justified not only because of their twisting of God's word to suit their own theology, but also because of the ridicule of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
When I came to Christ, I was fascinated with the history of Baptists, going back to the early Anabaptists. Up to this point, I had wrongly conceived of them as "Protestants". I began to learn of the fight to preserve the simple truth of God's word over the ages. As our Neo - Pentecostal radio hosts put it, there is truly a "worship war" going on in the Baptist church.
But, contrary to their theories, I believe they are the ones that started the conflict to achieve their own agenda. And contrary to Baptist practice all through history, theirs is an agenda mostly hidden, except to a few leaders in each church. What appears to be self-deprecating humor in these programs ceases to be funny when you realize these men are only "Baptists" in name. In reality it is ridicule for those who will not bow to their "vision" of how worship should be done. Perhaps churches like First Baptist of Franklin is going the right direction by putting "The People's Church" on the sign. Now, if they will only drop "Baptist" from the sign, we would all be better off.
I read the feedback you've received on several of the topics you address in
your articles. The large number of negative responses was (sadly) not a surprise.
That doesn't, however, stop me from wanting to weep for all those folk who are
(some of them willfully) blind to the truth, and so much on the defensive about
We've just returned from a visit home to Australia, where our eldest son was married to a lovely Christian girl. After the wedding we spent over two weeks visiting friends, including our church, and boy, were our eyes further opened as to the state of our country! You can see what is happening in your own country quite clearly -- well, in Australia they're a lot further along that way! And the church is for the most part happily tagging along...
It's heart-breaking to find
so many of our friends happily accepting the vain philosophies and deceits of
the world and pretty much dismissing as irrelevant the Scriptures that warn
against them ("Yes, but.."). Sin, though not entirely condoned, is nonetheless
excused lest one be considered "judgmental" and "unloving". We thank God that
some of our friends are still wide awake and standing firm in the faith, but
it's frightening to find that the strongest criticism against them ("They are
divisive, intolerant, unloving...") comes from other Christians.
One of the things I find very
disturbing, both in our visit home and in the feedback to your website, is the
assumption held by so many believers that if something (movie, book, game, etc)
promotes "good values" (often defined broadly as "being nice to each other"),
then it's godly and should be promoted. As one of your correspondents pointed
out, this would not happen if believers read the Bible faithfully. The terrible
fact is that very few do read or study the Bible. Even "Bible studies" are all
too often the study, not of God's Word, but of people's opinions.
From Ian Nott, Australia: Dear brothers and sisters, and Leaders of the Church.
Many Christians in Australia are now starting to become aware that a twin bill called "The Racial and Religious Tolerance Bill" and "The Model Bill" have recently been written and tabled on 14th December in the Victorian state Parliament. And is due to being put up for voting on 1 March 2001.
I AM FINDING THAT OTHERS ARE AS DISTURBED AS I AM ABOUT IT and have written to members of parliament about it already. BUT MANY HAVE STILL HEARD NOTHING OR VERY LITTLE ABOUT IT, and others who have, are not doing anything about it because they don't realise the SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR THE CHURCH IN OUR STATE AND NATION AT THIS VERY HOUR.
This bill has some good things in it and, on the surface, it is a desirable bill because it purports to defend the rights of all kinds of minority groups. It purports to reduce discrimination against ethnic and religious groups, but also against those of homosexual bias.
But in reality it is so
shocking, that if passed, will enact insidious laws which would have
the potential to make it illegal
for Christians to evangelize. Christians could
then be tried, prosecuted to the tune of $6,000, or even jailed for 6
months if convicted of making a
statement that could be construed by a disaffected
person as "intolerance" and offensive to their rights and beliefs.
To say for example, "Jesus is the only way to God", could end a servant
of the Lord in jail.
America is moving in
the same direction, Ian. See
Conforming the Church to
the New Millennium and
Clinton's War on Hate Bans Christian Values
America is moving in the same direction, Ian. See Conforming the Church to the New Millennium and Clinton's War on Hate Bans Christian Values
We believe that this bill is aimed at silencing all Christian churches from evangelizing, and at muzzling the church from speaking against homosexuality and other godless practices in our society. The bill even makes provision for a third party listening in to a conversation between two people, to file a complaint or bring a charge if he takes offence at what is said, or construes it as discrimination or vilification. This can even happen in the privacy of your own home.
If a Christian (or any other person) is charged, the attitude taken by the courts on these matters of so called s."
This was before the bill was tabled on 14th Dec 2000. The associate rang Ps Danny in a panic. So he was on the lookout for bills open for discussion and found "The Racial and Religious Tolerance Bill" and "Model Bill". It is because Christians are uniting to pray that this has been exposed.
Many believe that God has given us a warning and a wake up call through this man's dream. Irrespective, now is the time to act. The time is short. The matter is urgent. I do not believe I, and others like me, here, are over-reacting.
People have said, "It would never happen here!" Not so! My concern is becoming very great, because I am finding that as I talk with others, that many Christians still do not know about this. Some pastors I have spoken to are aware of this and are doing all they can to get their people to pray and to write letters to parliament, while others have taken this whole situation as matter of fact, and seem too busy to do much about this. Some have not even bothered to urge their people to pray and write. Others have merely added a small note in their church bulletin, but have not stressed the urgency of this very hour.
We are yet given a small window of time to close the flood gates of the enemy. If the pastor is busy, he needs to delegate the matter to a responsible church member who can catch the cry of our Lord's heart to stir up the Christians to be "proactive". YOUR FUTURE AS A LOCAL CHURCH IS BEING THREATENED! IT IS THAT SERIOUS.
Please help oppose this bill and inform the members of your Congregation, and as many Christians as possible of other denominations, about this urgent matter. Encourage them to:-
2 Write letters of objection to the Opposition Leader, Mr Dennis Napthine; the Shadow Attorney General, Mr Robert Dean; the Premier, Mr Steve Bracks; the Vic Attorney General, Bob Hulls; as well as to their local member.
least the Vic State government has invited comment from the public. I'm
sure the gay community are taking
advantage of this opportunity to write and
express their views.
If you are an overseas Christian citizen reading my plea in this letter, would you also pray and write a letter of concern, on the behalf of Christian brothers and sisters in Australia, to Victorian members of parliament. If the domino falls here, in Australia, who will be next? All Christians need to be awakened and encouraged to express their views about this evil bill. The situation looks serious.
No letters will be accepted after 28 Feb 01. The Victorian Labor government is taking the approach of accepting this bill. They seem set on pushing it through. As far as I am aware, the position the shadow cabinet of Liberals are taking on this bill is undecided.I met personally with the Shadow Atty Gen, Mr Robert Dean last week. He seems somewhat sympathetic to the Christian position.
The Liberals have sufficient numbers in the upper house to vote against and thus defeat this bill. WE MUST IMPRESS IT ON THE LIBERALS TO OPPOSE IT. When you encourage people to write, get them to use their own wording, in their own handwriting, but not to mention their church. It carries more weight to write as an individual. One letter from an individual is worth 100 signatures, and stands for about 1,000 silent individuals in society in the mind of politicians.
Get letter writers to head their
letter with, "Racial and Religious
Tolerance Discussion Paper", and "for the urgent and personal
attention of...", because, often, only their secretary reads those letters.
Encourage people to ask for a reply. But encourage them to get started
ASAP with their letters. Encourage
them to be tactful in their wording. Please
photocopy, and Email this letter and the enclosed info and pass it around,
esp to other fired up and key people, who in turn will also spread this.
But do it quickly.
CHURCH PEOPLE MUST WAKE UP AND STAND UP NOW! IF NOT WE WILL LOSE THE DAY!
Thank you for joining the fight and for passing on the word to other key people across Victoria, Australia, USA, Canada and the world. There is no time to "temporarily put this matter on the shelf ". Let's create a tidal wave of letters to the gov't and shadow cabinet members. Names, addresses and Email addresses of members of Vic State parliament can be obtained at: www.parliament.vic.gov.au You can also Email your concern to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 61 (03) 9650 7245.
Yours Faithfully, in the cause of the Gospel of Christ,
From Dan Compton: It is good to read articles
on subjects that I spoke out about in
the early 80's. No one would listen to me.
They said that I was crazy or the devil was in my mind.
The so called "New Movements of God", in my opinion, go totally against Biblical principles. The "name it claim it crowd" have strayed away from the teachings of Christ. I started speaking out about this. I was told "touch not the anointed of God". I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole. They have turned Jesus into a "multi-billion dollar industry". I am sure Jesus is getting a royalty off all that cash that is floating around.
Now the kicker, I do not believe in your faith any longer. I will not blame anyone or pass judgment. I know that I am comfortable with my belief system. What was preached against, when I was a child, I see the church going in that direction.
I think your articles are from your heart. I do believe that our individual rights as citizens are being eroded day by day. I respect your beliefs. The only difference between your God and mine is that, your God says that I will go to hell for not believing your belief.
I would like to make one more comment. “If God is all powerful and owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He must be broke having to ask for all that money." This is what I believe in my heart. That the "eye of the needle" looks mighty small. I write with love and compassion. The "Big Money" issue concerns me. The people who get hurt the most and are the most sought after, are the folks who can't afford to be invited as a "Partner with the Fellowship."
I so appreciate your honesty and sincerity. It must have been so painful to discern the changes and try to communicate with people who mocked your message. But it's very similar to what happened to Old Testament prophets. God sent them out to speak to people who were "deaf and couldn't hear" and spiritually "blind" and couldn't see.
Today it is a little easier because we have so much evidence. But now its too late to stop the transformation. If people had listened when you first spoke out, truth and freedom might have been preserved in our land for many more years.
But then again, perhaps we as a nation need the hardships ahead. They might cause us to focus on what really counts rather than all the superficial and immoral distractions -- both inside and outside churches.
In the midst of today's call for pride and self-esteem, we need brokenness. That's the only way back to the cross and to Christ's victory over sin.
Did you see this chart? It complements some of your message: Biblical versus Cultural Christianity
From Carolyn: We thought that we would visit certain churches for awhile, prayerfully and carefully considering all we heard/saw before really 'committing' to a group. The first group reassured us of their 'non-ecumenical' beliefs, etc. and sounded very balanced after 6 months of checking them out. Then there was a sudden 'about-face'. They started joining in 'ecumenical services.' "We'll get in 5 minutes of truth with those 55 minutes of un-truth" is what our Pastor actually said.
And then the Habitat thing occurred when the new Associate pastor was appointed (with no one's in-put...you know how that goes.) So we kept appealing to them but to no avail. Then we tried to quietly 'back out' of there. But they 'came after us' and keep doing so, trying to 'prove their point and force us to agree. They seemed to be driven to do so. I understand that better after reading your "Faith-Based Compromise?" article yesterday. They are driven to make you fit into their mould--their community/civil society goals--it's their religion (and it's not yours and mine).
And with the second group--we never "joined"--just kept observing. They 'talked good' once more, but then we found out how 'psychologized' they were. So we tried once more to 'quietly back out'-- disappear. Haha - there came the cavalry after us again! Push, push, argue, argue, trying to 'force us' to agree with pressure.
That last point is so important, Carolyn. Thank you for making it clear.
Whew! I know the times we're living in--He's at the door. But you've helped me understand these people's 'mind-set' better. They are getting stronger with their one-world religion and they're getting more control over everybody else-- so 'full of themselves'. (2Tim.3:2)
I just wanted to explain that we aren't 'big trouble-makers'--going into churches, raising cain, trying to cause dissensions, etc. We are (all the time) just finding out more about the deceitful things being taught and done in His name. We'd already been looking at the President's ideas like "a calf at a new gate"--due to your prior articles, we could see his ideas we dangerous.
From Sherry Lee: We left the Church of Christ several years ago after a hymn was sung about Mother Earth. We were shocked. The interesting thing is that nobody missed us for a year until it was our turn to serve as greeters. We are now in a smaller church and our focus is on Him and His Word.I recently read in Reclaim News that maybe there should be a vote on whether members should be reading the Bible without supervision or something to that effect. Have you heard anything about this?
Thank you, Sherry, for sharing my concerns. I'm not sure, but I think you may be referring to this survey: http://www.uscongregations.org/uscong/overview.htm What do you think? I may write something about it as soon as I can find the results.
Second note from Sherry Lee: This is part of the government controlled one-world church.
What I was referring to was something I had read in Reclaim News put out by the Lutherans. It looks to me as if they are moving back toward Catholicism. I deleted all my delete files and cannot get it back. It was about their voting, new appointments, and whether members should be reading their Bibles without guidance, assistance, or something like that. It was a shock.I cannot believe the churches would be willing to participate in any government programs. In fact, maybe they should refrain from 501 c3 status. Christians are sleeping in their churches. They are putting their man-made religions before their faith in God and knowing His Word.
From Susan: Thank you for your postings. I am writing today to list some areas of concern about recent studies relating to, among other things, discipleship. I can back up what I say, some of which began intuitively, however this morning I will just list some items with brief comments. I may be quite blunt.1. George Barna's surveys, books, materials, and conferences are on track with and back up what is currently happening in the church growth and church health movements. Therefore I no longer trust his conclusions. When I look a bit more into what he is saying, my conclusions would be different than his, based on my grid which has been influenced by doing time (14 years) in a church very subversively, at first, involved in the CGM, by attending a church (for the past 5 years) which is more litely involved in the CGM (and focusing on a different aspect of the teachings), by interacting with Dean and Karen Gotcher (by phone, e-mail, conference), by doing extensive research over the past year to try to understand Dean's historical research and conclusions and what I have been living through in church, by interacting with various other people and research strands, and by reading my miscellaneous mail.
2. Leadership Network (Bob Buford) has connection to the Hartford Seminary (Hartford Institute on Religious Studies) study which is releasing its result of an extensive study of religion in the United States. This is an interfaith study. Conclusions are drawn. Most newspaper reports and most readers would assume (I did at first) that it is a study of "Christian" denominations. It includes many different religions and faith-based groups. Its conclusions are not connected to the actual beliefs of the groups, but only on measurable structures, etc. But then CGM ideology is not dependent on Biblical truth but on pragmatic, utilitarian secular social science theory and practice.
This study has much information linked from the Hartford Institute website. I have only scratched the surface.
3. Robert Wood Johnson Foundations recent $100 million dollar program to help faith-based groups has strong leanings toward funding interfaith alliances.
4. Reading recently about Ernesto Cortez, Saul Alinsky, and community networking along with Liberation Theology and Christian Relief and Development, is alarming. Different words, but similar concepts, constructs, methodologies. "All truth is God's truth." "The end justifies the means."
5. Discipleship within these movements is measurable, planned, reductionistic, and most likely will be documented on computer-based forms. This may not be apparent at first, but that seems to be the direction in which things are moving. It reminds me of the requirements for belonging to the International Church of Christ (at least in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and I think in Boston). Kip McKean, originally with the Boston Church of Christ, has been with the LA branch since its inception in 1989.
6. Recent viewing of documents on-line at websites of various organizations is raising more questions in my mind about the widespread nature and historical roots of the theory behind "discipleship" programs, saturation evangelism and church growth. DAWN Ministries came out of a saturation evangelism and church planting effort in the Philippines in 1971 and 1972. The manuals from that effort are at Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Archives <Records of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization-Collection 46. The infrastructures of other organizations were used to help "Disciple a Whole Nation." These included Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth With a Mission, Operation Mobilization, and Overseas Crusades ( Jim Montgomery, <DAWN 2000: 7 Million Churches to Go).
Campus Crusade for Christ Korea has documents dealing with their strategies in 1974 (remember EXPLO '74). Church Growth experts from Fuller Theological Seminary were among the speakers. And Paul (David) Yonggi Cho was already involved with them. What was involved in the explosive growth of his church? Why ought all churches want to emulate that growth?
7. I lived outside the United States back in the 1970s and was doing missions work. I was not aware of all the interconnectedness of leaders at the top or of the extensive strategizing and managing by objective that was going on. I am beginning to ask if I was simply "an useful idiot." I do know that God is sovereign and I was blessed to be able to live and work among the people there.
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