Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lifeway: Jesus Wouldn’t Be Calling If They Really Had Doctrinal Guidelines

Lifeway: Jesus Wouldn’t Be Calling If They Really Had Doctrinal Guidelines

BY BUD AHLHEIM · NOVEMBER 1, 2016

pulpitandpen.org

Lifeway Image

“In a recent interview, [Hatmaker] voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage — changes which contradict LifeWay’s doctrinal guidelines,” LifeWay spokesman Marty King told Baptist Press today (Oct. 27). “As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources.” (Source, Baptist Press)

While many on social media and blog-sites were commending the bold stand Lifeway made in pulling Jen Hatmaker’s books after her views on the LGBT issue and her position on gay “marriage” hit the front pages of the Christian “news” media, I sat back somewhat slack-jawed.

Disregard the comment from Lifeway spokesman Marty King that implied Hatmaker had “voiced significant changes” in her interview with Religion News Service. Her comments in that interview were not breaking news. Her positions on this issue were known quite some time before. The discerning sorts among the Christian world easily, and early, recognized the politically liberal and insufficiently biblical positions of Hatmaker. King’s statement on behalf of the 185 store media wing of the SBC was, then, inaccurate.

Though the commendations of many for Lifeway’s move to dump Hatmaker are themselves laudable, they seemed to fail to recognize the utter hypocrisy of this agency in doing so. Indeed, while we should applaud the removal of any unbiblical, false teaching proponent from the shelves of this purported “Christian” bookstore, the positive press Lifeway generated by their bold stand for “doctrinal guidelines” is bewildering.lwevent

Given what Lifeway has done with Hatmaker, when compared to what they yet allow to remain on their shelves and what they continue to promote – especially through the heresy-rich marketing sub-brand known as Lifeway Women – the tagline of the SBC agency should no longer be “Biblical Solutions for Life,” but something more akin to “Doctrinal Hypocrisy For Sure.”

Lifeway women's event

Dumping an author for her unbiblical support for gay marriage and her “an LGBT relationship can be holy” attitude was certainly the right move. But, given the abundant heresy that Lifeway hawks, it shows that they are more concerned about shooting press-gaining salvos for a socially conservative evangelical constituency than they are truly concerned about “Biblical solutions for life.” Your soul actually matters less than your perception of Lifeway’s care for it.

Lifeway deems it – again, rightly so – inappropriate to sell an author with Scripturally-illicit views on homosexuality, because of “doctrinal guidelines,’ yet they find it doctrinally tolerable to continue promoting and selling works of known false teaching by known false teachers? Are Lifeway’s doctrinal guidelines merely tied to prevalent cultural issues on which they can act and make evangelical hay, in this case with an author who wasn’t evidently sufficiently lucrative to their enterprise that her forced departure would frustrate their financial performance?

When one goes to Lifeway’s website, there are some impressive “Core Values” listed under the web-paged banner of “Vision, Values, and Mission.” While lacking the soteriological import of the Scripture-gleaned TULIP, Lifeway touts its own five points of core values. They are: Trustworthy, Collaborative, Innovative, Comprehensive, and Transformational.

Though these pithy statements may serve sufficiently to quench the SBC’s craving for a “Vision” statement, they represent even less in the way of “doctrinal guidelines” as does the generally-palatable, if not – to some – doctrinally-loose Baptist Faith and Message. The BF&M, by the way, is not referenced on Lifeway’s site as their overriding doctrinal guideline. The five points of Lifeway seem to be all that’s needed.

But by doing the right thing with Hatmaker, even if for back-slapping, self-aggrandizing benefit, it leaves one wondering how seriously Lifeway actually takes their own first pointed claim to doctrinal integrity.

Under their point number one, “Trustworthy,” Lifeway has the heterodoxical boldness to claim, “We believe the Bible is the eternal, inerrant word of God, and is the plumb line for all of our resources, and for everything we say and do. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)”.

Really?

“You know the most dangerous places for Christians to go? Christian bookstores. You’d be safer on a swat team.” Justin Peters

If you merely walk the aisles of your nearest Lifeway store – don’t do it; as Justin Peters says, you’d be safer on a swat team than walking into a Christian bookstore – it is evident to anyone with a modicum of Biblical literacy that these folks not only don’t use Scripture as a plumb line, they seem to have taken that line and choked to death any breath of astute, biblical discernment that may once have lived in the agency’s past.

Indeed, having choked discernment to death, they seem to leave a Tyndale-like impression on the doctrinally bewildered who stand in awe of the gross disregard for sound doctrine among their shelves. Where is the burning stake on which they’ve torched the remains of discernment and truth? To claim Scripture as the “plumb line for all our resources” not only tarnishes the integrity of God’s Holy Word, it illuminates the fact that Lifeway is ground zero for heresy.

Jenn Hatmaker heresy lifeway

The most evident, Scripturally-vile blasphemy permitted by, promoted through, and profited from, by Lifeway is the Jesus Calling franchise of heresy. A search for this term on Lifeway’s site returned 208 product “hits.” (See Screen Clip to Left)

Jesus is apparently calling anyone and everyone – outside of His Word, that “plumb line” of Lifeway, by the way – by speaking to a charlatan. There’s Jesus Calling for women (its most eager audience), Jesus Calling for children (because we certainly want to teach them that the Bible isn’t sufficient, making future Andy Stanley pew-sitters, perhaps), Jesus Calling for men (because, yes, men too disregard Scripture and prefer to have their itching ears scratched; men like Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway who permits this heresy to be sold and even a former SBC president, Johnny Hunt, who heartily endorsed it).

“Jesus is not calling or equipping through a 21-st century bestseller. Rather He is calling and teaching by His Spirit through a two to three-thousand-year-old bestseller.” Tom Pennington, Strange Fire Conference

Christine caine lifeway Beth Moore Christine Caine

The presence, then, of extra-biblical, contemplative heresy like Jesus Calling is evidence that Lifeway actually cares nothing about the “doctrinal guidelines” to which they profess to adhere. Add to that the works of Trinity-denying modalist TD Jakes, the contemplative dangers of Lysa Terkheurst and Priscilla Shirer, the circle making heresy of Mark Batterson, the Scripture-twisting prayer teachings of Anne Graham Lotz, the word-faith, prosperity gospel pastrix Christine Caine, and her heresy-hurling gal-pal, the “I get revelations” Beth Moore, and it’s plain to see that Scripture isn’t only not a plumb line for Lifeway, it’s also not a remotely referenced guideline for them.

Whatever pressures were brought to prompt the agency to dump the gay-endorsing Hatmaker were not, be assured, primarly doctrinal in nature. But by claiming a doctrinal impetus for it, Lifeway has made one thing abundantly clear. It is assuredly the most hypocritical agency of the rapidly racing-to-downgrade Southern Baptist Convention.

The fact is, Jesus would not be calling if Lifeway indeed had doctrinal guidelines. But their driving guideline seems to be the bottom line, and that line can endure the occasional hit for the gratuitous sake of the rare, bold “doctrinal stand.”

Do the right thing, Lifeway. Dump ALL the false teachers. Start actually using that Word as the rule of faith and practice … and, instead of selling junk food for deceived goats, start selling sheep food founded on the clear, sound doctrine of the Word. Doing that would truly be a bold move based on doctrinal convictions.

Otherwise … well … your hypocrisy is showing.

[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]

Did Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz share the Gospel on Oprah’s show?

Did Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz share the Gospel on Oprah’s show?

Steve Kozar over at The Messed Up Church reviews the full video of Hillsong New York’s pastor Carl Lentz speaking to Oprah, and we’ve shared it here with his permission:

Super Pastor Carl Lentz, from Hillsong New York, was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and presented a confusing version of Christianity that uses some Biblical words, but ultimately had more in common with Oprah’s prominent New Age beliefs, than actual Christianity. You can view the entire video here.

It would have been great if Pastor Lentz would have clearly proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ; people in Oprah’s audience really need to hear it: the Gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But he didn’t. He really appeared like someone attempting to say Christian things that wouldn’t offend non-Christians. He also proved himself incapable of disagreement with Oprah-even going so far as to agree with her when she said the Holy Spirit is “a thing, a power, a force,” or “divine energy.” Lentz agreed and told her “that’s exactly what it is: a divine energy.” Huh??

Interestingly, just a few weeks ago a major survey was released that showed how a large segment of the Christian population in America believes things that are totally heretical (like the Holy Spirit is a power or force). Carl Lentz proclaimed some of those very same things in this interview. Maybe he was really nervous and forgot what he was saying, but he repeated his murky version of Christianity throughout the entire interview-often getting close to the Gospel without ever proclaiming it.

In the video below, we’ve taken clips from this interview to highlight where Lentz biffs it. You may want to find out where he mimics the uninformed Christians in the State of Theology survey.

Clip 1. His first confused attempt at explaining the “Gospel.” Sort of. Kind of. I guess.

Clip 2. Oprah asks him “Do you believe only Christians can be in relationship with God?” His answer comes immediately: “No.” Although his response could have been much better, I will cut him a little slack, because this is a tricky question that Oprah seems to be using to test him, or even trap him. Because she never defined what she meant by “relationship with God” I’m not going to make too big of a deal out of this (plus, his response gets even worse). He is obviously very sensitive to the charge that Christians are judgmental and narrow-minded, and he seems to be over-compensating. He then goes on to give a pretty incoherent explanation of Jesus’s very clear words “I am the way, the truth and the life…” (without quoting the rest of the verse: “No one comes to the Father but by Me.”) He ventures into universalist territory and says “That’s what this whole Gospel is based on-it’s love…” He seems to be trying to explain something like the Law and the Gospel, but it comes out confusing and contradictory.

Clip 3. This is so unclear that after repeated listening it’s still confusing… Let’s just move on to the next one.

Clip 4. Here is where Pastor Lentz really jumps the shark. He is the poster boy of hip, trendy pastors and he preaches at the most hip and trendy church on earth: Hillsong New York City. But he actually says that they are teaching the ancient faith and it doesn’t need to be hip and trendy. Here’s a proposal for Pastor Lentz: remove your rock band, the lighting crew, the dancers, the sound crew, discontinue the slick marketing videos, and start using Hymnals (with good theology). Stop dressing like an attention-starved rock star. Then ask all the celebrities to stay away for a while (so they can be catechized privately). After you’ve done that, see if your church continues to grow. I dare you. Let’s be honest: Hillsong New York City is an entertaining spectacle and you know it.

Clip 5. Oprah asks him “For you, who is Jesus?” This starts off very clear: “He’s God.” But then he gives a cluster of incomplete phrases like “He’s the answer, He’s the sacrifice, He’s the atonement, He’s the way in…” He’s the answer to what? He’s the sacrifice for what? He’s the atonement for what? He’s the way in to what? His comments almost appear as a response to all the “critical Christians” who think he should be more Biblical and traditional. Yes, these are Christian words from the Bible, but he’s leaving out the full equation. He could have easily completed his thoughts and said something like: “Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He came to earth as a baby in the miraculous virgin birth, which we celebrate at Christmas, and He was crucified on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but He rose from the dead, which we celebrate at Easter. And He’s coming again to judge the living and the dead.”

Clip 6. Oprah cuts him off and inserts her New Age version of faith-which turns Jesus into a mere moral example: “Jesus came to show the way, this is how you do it.” Lentz simply agrees with her. Come on Carl, you know this stuff; Jesus came because wecan’t follow Him good enough; we need a Savior to save us from our sin, not a just moral example to remind us of our sin.

Clip 7. Here’s the bizarre Holy Spirit section, where Pastor Lentz repeats the common heresy that the Holy Spirit is a force or energy-not the third Person of the Trinity.

Clip 8. Here’s where Lentz gives his hip, cool and utterly wrong explanation of Christianity. He says “because of Jesus you have the right to put your hand up and totally start a new cycle. That, to me, is the essence of what we’re trying to do.” What is he talking about? A load of laundry?? Lentz says he’s “trying to get people to allow God to do what only God can do.” This is a pretend God. The true and Living God, revealed by Scripture, spoke the whole universe into existence, and He doesn’t need our permission to do anything.

Clip 9. Here Pastor Carl Lentz totally twists God’s Word by repeating the idea that “Be still and know that I am God” is about me and my own personal happy place. This verse (Psalm 46:10) is not about your own personal happy place. Read it in context. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Charles Finney 1792-1875

Charles Finney 1792-1875

Clip 10. Lentz tells Oprah that starting a “relationship with Jesus” (a phrase that doesn’t exist in the Bible) is all about us making a decision and making a commitment, it has nothing to do with God choosing us. It’s all up to us. Charles Finney would be proud of this little Pelagian.

Clip 11. Finally, Oprah asks him “Success is?” Lentz says “Seeing other people thrive. That’s, for me, I couldn’t think of a more successful life than being able to look back and say people’s lives were better because they crossed my path.” This is what any motivational speaker or leadership guru would say (including Brian Houston). If heaven is real, and if hell is real, why would any pastor not mention his concern for the souls of mankind as his primary goal? Why does Pastor Carl Lentz seem only concerned with the temporal well-being of people, instead of their eternal destination?

The Gospel is, by definition, exclusionary. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” To his credit, Carl Lentz actually quoted (half of) this verse twice during this interview. But the unbelieving listener would have been given the distinct impression that failing to follow Jesus would only result in a less than ideal life. And besides that, Oprah has established the belief that all religions are, at best, essentially the same, so not choosing Jesus simply leaves open a thousand other spiritual options. This is Oprah Winfrey’s show, after all; she is not going to allow the true Gospel (the one she rejected many years ago) to make an appearance while she’s in charge. That’s why she had Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz as a guest. He was no real threat. In the end, he and Oprah made everyone comfortable with “whatever works for them.”

As an interesting side note, Bobbie Houston made the following over-the-top comment on Instagram; it really appears like she made a preemptive strike against the criticism that Pastor Lentz brought upon himself:

Read Bud Ahleim’s article about it here: Bobbie Houston: If You Hate Hillsong, You Hate God

Here’s a LOT more information about Brian Houston (Carl Lentz’s mentor and senior Pastor) and his Hillsong church: “The Brian Houston & Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine,  Abuse, Obfuscation & Money Generation”

For those of you who think it’s mean and unloving to criticize Hillsong, Carl Lentz (or any other popular teacher) here’s a list of Bible verses to consider: Shocking Stuff You’re Not Supposed to Know.

If you’re having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Carl Lentz or Hillsong, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here’s an important article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Is John Piper Disqualifying Himself as a Teacher?

Is John Piper Disqualifying Himself as a Teacher?

BY JEFF MAPLES · SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

John Piper was once regarded as a great contender for the faith. He was the go-to guy for apologetics in Reformed theology and the one that was looked to when those with twisted soteriology espoused their false doctrine. He has written  books on living a holy life for God and had a way of explaining Scripture that made him a desirable teacher for those truly looking to enhance their theological understanding of and relationship with God.

Yet, behind every fallen creature is a tendency to slide away from God. Behind every fallen creature is the tendency to please man. Behind every fallen creature is the tendency to become so engrossed in your own popularity that you fail to see the grave error that is taking over your life and ministry.

In recent years, John Piper has shown where his true allegiance is. He has staunchly defended false teachers such as Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll. The movement that has gripped his ministry, and taken him by the seat of his pants is known as New Calvinism. New Calvinism is a form of seeker-friendly semi-reformed theology. New Calvinists believe that as long as they have their Calvinistic theology right, there is much room for disagreement and liberty in most other areas.

While most New Calvinists fall into the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” category, Piper is certainly no young buck. Yet, the crowd he now runs around with certainly are.

He has been a repeat speaker at the popular student conference, Passion. The conference is a prime example of the compromised theology of the New Calvinist movement. The conference hosts false teachers such as Word of Faith pastrix out of Hillsong, Australia, Christine Caine, and several other false or compromised teachers, including Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, Levi Lusko and Francis Chan.

Why would he want to associate with these people? Why does he want to lend them credibility? The Scriptures clearly teach that believers are not to associate with false teachers for any other reason except to expose them (Eph 5:11). I think we can safely chalk this up to his disobedience of 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV),

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

In 2012, at the Passion Conference John Piper first experimented with a mystical form of prayer and meditative Scripture reading presented by Louie Giglio that is very similar to the heretical Lectio Divina. Since then, his passion for Passion hasn’t dwindled in the least. He will once again be sharing a stage in 2017 with these false teachers.

Piper has historically claimed a strong position of complementarianism–the theological view that teaches that men and women have complementary roles according to the Scriptures. Yet his passion for this has clearly subsided. Scripture teaches that a woman’s role in a church setting is to submit themselves to male leadership.

1 Timothy 2:12 (ESV) says,

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet,

and 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 (ESV) says,

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

Women have a responsibility in the church to teach and take care of the children and to build each other up. But it is the responsibility of godly men to lead the church, teach the congregation, preach the Word, administer the ordinances, and handle the Scriptures appropriately. Yet, Piper continually affirms women who usurp the authority of male leadership by sharing the stage with them at seeker-sensitive conferences and defending them publicly in their sin.

John Piper put out a video at Desiring God affirming that it’s okay for men to listen to female Bible “teachers,” like Beth Moore, as long as “they don’t become their pastor.” In the video, he was asked by a listener, “I’m a guy, is it wrong for me to listen to Beth Moore?”

No, unless you begin to become dependent on her as your shepherd. It’s the way I feel about occassional women speaking in Sunday School.

Notice, his reply doesn’t come from Scripture, but solely from his “feelings.” I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that makes exceptions to the complementarian role of women in the church and home for “special occasions,” or “as long as you don’t become dependent on her.” This is not a biblical answer. This is hogwash.

He then goes on to defend his position by mangling the clear teaching of Scripture by saying that women who occasionally teach are not “authoritative teachers,” whatever that means.

Let’s see here, where in Scripture does it say that you can teach the Word of God without authority? Nowhere. It’s almost as if he’s never read the Scriptures pertaining to the roles of men and women in the Church. Further, how can speakers like Beth Moore and Christine Caine regularly take the stage in front of thousands of men and women, attempt to preach the Word of God, and not claim any authority?

This is pure apostasy. 2 John 9-11 essentially says that by taking part with apostates, you become one. It shows that John Piper has taken on an unbiblical position in order to remain popular with a wider audience. It shows that John Piper is not seeking to please God, but man.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10 (ESV)

[Contributed by Jeff Maples]

pulpitandpen.org

Gabe Lyons, Q and “Restoring Cultures”

Gabe Lyons, Q and “Restoring Cultures”

April 12, 2012

In mid-April, while many Christians earnestly scanned the Twitter stream and their favorite blogs for soundbites and one-liners from the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference, another gathering was taking place several cities away, in Washington, D.C. Running from 10–12 April, this gathering was known as the Q Conference, and it would do each eager T4G spotter well to pay perhaps even more attention to this particular event.

The Q Conference is a brainchild of Gabe Lyons, who also helped to co-found the Catalyst movement several years ago. Lyons is also the author of the popular books, UnChristian and The Next Christians. According to the Q website,
Q was birthed out of Gabe Lyons’ vision to see Christians, especially leaders, recover a vision for their historic responsibility to renew and restore cultures. Inspired by Chuck Colson’s statement, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals,” Gabe set out to reintroduce Christians to what had seemed missing in recent decades from an American expression of Christian faithfulness; valuing both personal and cultural renewal, not one over the other. Re-educating Christians to this orthodox and unifying concept has become central to the vision of Q.
We believe that inherent in Christian faithfulness is the responsibility to create a better world, one that reflects God’s original design and intention.
Source
The claim that Christians have a “historic responsibility to renew and restore cultures” is not supported by Scripture. The Q website also does not offer any Scripture in defense of the claim that “inherent in Christian faithfulness is the responsibility to create a better world, one that reflects God’s original design and intention.”

If the responsibility of the Christian was to “renew and restore cultures,” one would expect that there would have been more such activity recorded in the New Testament. Yet, rather than reading of the apostles’ endeavors to make the world a better place, we see them preaching repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for individual salvation.

It is stated above that Lyons was initially inspired by Chuck Colson’s statement that, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals.” The grievous errors in this statement work together to create confusion. Christians are not called to redeem anybody. Rather, believers have been called by God to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Christians are faithful to this mission, God works to draw someone, by the power of His Holy Spirit, into a saving relationship with Him, thus redeeming the individual from his lost state and sin. The faithful believer, however, is not responsible for such redemption. Indeed, if man cannot save and redeem himself from his own sin, how can he expect to do so for others? Only Christ saves. Only Christ can offer redemption. While it is clear that Christians are not called to redeem other individuals, it should also be noted that Scripture does not call Christians to “redeem entire cultures.” True, eternal redemption happens at the level of the individual, and it is wrought by God alone. Thus, this statement, upon which the foundation of Gabe Lyons’ Q Conference was built, is erroneous and therefore hopelessly unsupportive.

The Q event is not the typical Christian conference. Gathering leaders from various walks of life, Q seeks to share “ideas for the common good.” Why, then, do Christians need to be aware of Q and what is taking place? After all, it sounds like a noble cause, seeking to make this world a better place, reaching out to young people to encourage them to engage with the culture in order to make a difference. Why should the Bible-believing Christian be wary of the endeavors set forth by Gabe Lyons? The following paragraphs, will seek to answer that question.

As mentioned above, Gabe Lyons is an author and co-founder of the Catalyst movement. He is also the founder of Q and the driving force behind the event. Perhaps the best way to learn more about Lyons will be to examine his worldview from his own words. In the opening paragraph of his book The Next Christians, Lyons writes:
Seven years ago, I was twenty-seven years old and embarrassed to call myself Christian. This was especially odd because I was raised in a Christian home, graduated from a Christian college, and then served as vice president of a prominent Christian organization. By all accounts, I should have been one of Christianity’s biggest fans.
Unfortunately, I began to notice that the perceptions my friends and neighbors had about Christians were incredibly negative. In fact, their past experiences with anything labeled Christian had sent them running in the opposite direction. Ironically, I came to empathize with their views. Having grown up in a Christian bubble myself, I witnessed countless instances when the lives of Christ followers were incongruent with Jesus’s [sic] call to be loving, engaged, sacrificial, unselfish, and compassionate contributors to culture. The angst these experiences created would scare anyone from taking a second look at Jesus.
The Next Christians, 3
On page 5 of the same book, Lyons writes:
Research shows that over 76 percent of Americans self-identify as Christian. Yet I wonder how many of us are proud to carry that label. Are we hiding our faith in our back pockets? My guess is that many feel much like I did at twenty-seven when they encounter non-Christians at work, in coffee shops, on campus, in their neighborhoods, at weekend parties, or working out at the gym. The Next Christians, 5
It’s true, there are many people who tout the title of “Christian,” yet behave in a rather abysmal manner. Yet, does this justify an attitude of embarrassment at being identified with Christ? Should the Christian bow to the world if the world perceives Christianity unfavorably?
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38, ESV, emphasis added
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. John 15:18-21, ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17, ESV
The Christian should not expect to be celebrated or embraced by the world. If, then, a Christian is reluctant to claim and name the name of Jesus Christ, is the issue really with the true Christian faith, or does the problem lie elsewhere?

It is interesting to note that in 1 John 2:17 (cited above), the Apostle explains that “the world is passing away along with its desires…” Indeed, this simple fact alone seems to contradict the foundational tenet of Q, that “inherent in Christian faithfulness is the responsibility to create a better world, one that reflects God’s original design and intention.” Yet, Gabe Lyons persists in the notion that there is “a new generation of Christians” whose mission it is to change —and even restore—this world. He writes:
I’ve observed a new generation of Christians who feel empowered. Restorers exhibit the mind-set, humility, and commitment that seem destined to rejuvenate the momentum of the faith. They have a peculiar way of thinking, being, and doing that is radically different from previous generations. Telling others about Jesus is important, but conversion isn’t their only motive. Their mission is to infuse the world with beauty, grace, justice, and love. I call them restorers because they envision the world as it was meant to be and they work toward that vision. Restorers seek to mend earth’s brokenness. They recognize that the world will not be completely healed until Christ’s return, but they believe that the process begins now as we partner with God. Through sowing seeds of restoration, they believe others will see Christ through us and the Christian faith will reap a much larger harvest. The Next Christians, 43, emphasis added.
This “restorer” mindset permeates the efforts of Q. Writing on the Q website in a lengthy article entitled, “Influencing Culture,” and quoting Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey’s book, How Now Shall We Live, Lyons writes:
Ultimately, it was Colson’s explanation of the cultural mandate that grabbed my mind and my heart: … “Our job is not only to build up the church but also to build a society to the glory of God. As agents of God’s common grace, we are called to help sustain and renew his creation, to uphold the created institutions of family and society, to puruse science and scholarship, to create works of art and beauty, and to heal and help those suffering from the results of the Fall.” Source
Unfortunately, Lyons offers no Scripture to support this statement. As the article progresses, Gabe Lyons speaks about the great “conversion moments” in history, such as the First and Second Great Awakening in England and America, respectively. He seems to believe that the traveling evangelists offered only a “half-story” of the Gospel by not remaining in one place and “modeling the life of a Christian over the course of years.”
It’s easy to see that when forced to convey the most dramatic parts of the Christian story in a short period of time, parts of the story are easily overlooked. In the process, Christianity was losing its profound and life-giving answers to central questions no longer representing an entire life-system and worldview. It had become relegated to a personal, spiritual decision about where you would spend the afterlife. As more evangelical Christians adopted this half-story explanation of the faith, their cultural influence began to fade. The emphasis on heavenly pursuits overshadowed the idea of living a life that offered common grace and promoted cultural influence. Source
As Lyons’ essay continues, the reader will begin to realize that one of two things is happening: either Gabe Lyons does not believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is enough for salvation and redemption, or he has adopted a skewed understanding of the Gospel, believing that it extends beyond one’s individual standing before God. From the quotes already examined, it seems obvious that the latter is true. Lyons continues:
The idea of culture shaping is widely debated. Most people, and until recently myself included, implicitly believe that cultures are changed from the bottom-up and that to “change our culture, we need more and more individuals possessing the right values and therefore making better choices.”The problem is that it is only part of the solution. In a widely distributed briefing that was presented to The Trinity Forum called To Change the World, James Davison Hunter asserts, “It is this view of culture that also leads some faith communities to evangelism as their primary means of changing the world. If people’s hearts and minds are converted, they will have the right values, they will make the right choices, and the culture will change in turn.”
Hunter goes on to say, “…the renewal of our hearts and minds is not only important, it is essential, indeed a precondition for a truly just and humane society. But by itself, it will not accomplish the objectives and ideals we hope for.”18 This could explain why Christianity as it is practiced by many well meaning, admirable Christians in the past decades has failed to have significant traction.
Source
What is the solution to this problem? According to James Davison Hunter, as quoted by Gabe Lyons, “Cultures are shaped when networks of leaders, representing the different social institutions of a culture, work together towards a common goal.” For Lyons, and for Q, these social institutions include:
business, government, media, church, arts & entertainment, education and the social sector. Their combined output of ideas, films, books, theology, websites, restaurants, investments, social work, laws, medical breakthroughs and technology drive an entire nation. Source
The astute reader will notice that these spheres of influence bear a striking similarity to the “seven mountains” of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). While Gabe Lyons is not (to this writer’s knowledge) involved specifically with the NAR movement, it is nevertheless interesting to note that the NAR holds to similar goals in seeking to redeem the culture. This simply demonstrates how widespread this particular false gospel has become.

To illustrate the combined impact that these seven sectors can have upon society, Lyons turns to the homosexual movement as an example.
In thirty years, the idea of being gay had moved from being commonly viewed as abnormal and abhorrent in society, to being an acceptable and normal alternative life-style. This illustrates perfectly the potential for cultural influence to happen when leaders throughout the seven channels of culture work together towards a common goal. Source
The misunderstanding that Christians and the Church have been commissioned to redeem and renew this earth and its cultures may lead to a disparaging view of the true mission of the Church. As a reminder, Christians have been called by Christ Himself to share the Gospel, calling sinners to repentance and faith in Christ alone for salvation. When the focus is turned away from Christ and His atoning work, and fixed instead on this temporal, transient and dying world, then the Church loses its effectiveness. Unfortunately, Gabe Lyons through his movement of Q is seemingly fixing his gaze upon the wrong thing. He says,
Sadly, by focusing on just the “spiritual” and the afterlife, the Christian church has strayed away from its potential influence in the here and now, positioning itself instead as just another subculture. Source
In response to the great gift of salvation in Christ, the Christian will undoubtedly bear fruit that manifests itself in “good works,” yet those good works are not the Gospel. To call the Church to put its energy into the “here and now” seems to contradict many exhortations within Scripture to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Indeed, the believer is told that this earth will one day pass away, and that God will create a New Heavens and a New Earth.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
2 Peter 3:10-14, ESV
So, why the concern? Why write such a lengthy article discussing some of the dangers of Q and of its founder, Gabe Lyons? After all, not many Christians were even aware that the event was taking place! Yet, the mindset and the doctrines of Q, which denigrate and downplay the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are beginning to permeate evangelicalism. Among the speakers in years past at the Q conference have been men like Brian McLaren and Rick Warren. In his speech, Warren told the audience that, “You are the message. You are incarnating Jesus in the world” (video can be viewed here). Are we really the message? Or is the message of salvation found in Jesus Christ?

This year, Ed Stetzer, president and “missiologist in residence” at Lifeway Research, was among the speakers at the Q Conference. Lifeway  has also invited Gabe Lyons to be a featured speaker at their upcoming Collegiate Summit. As collegiate leaders gather to learn new ways to influence the college students with whom they work, may it now be anticipated that the doctrine of “renewing the culture” will begin to disseminate among our youth?
Collegiate leaders invest a tremendous amount of time in the lives of college students, be it one-on-one coffee conversations, small group Bible studies, or conferences and events. But even the best leaders need some time to recharge. Collegiate Summit is an event just for leaders, and a perfect opportunity to fellowship with peers, worship, and renew their energy and focus.
Collegiate Summit is an interactive event that allows attendees to share insights, get new ideas, and learn from each other. Large group sessions feature leading teachers like Jon Acuff, Gabe Lyons, and Pete Wilson, as well as music from Dove Award-winning songwriter and worship leader Michael Boggs. Breakout sessions focus on specific topics and allow leaders to network, make new friends, and encourage each other.
Source
The idea that Christians must strive to redeem and renew cultures and the belief that salvation of the individual is only “half” of the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, these are prominent and notable threats to the true Gospel. Yet the leaders who are influencing the churches of today are more and more gravitating to this type of false gospel. Be mindful, dear Christian. Learn God’s Word and hold fast to what it says.

www.donotbesurprised.com

Bad Fruit, Diseased Trees, and the Authority of God’s Word

14
Friday
Oct 2016
Posted by Michelle Lesley in Discernment
(michellelesleybooks.com)

I hate having to warn women against false teachers. I really do. I would like nothing better than to write Bible studies all day long, but, like Jude said, sometimes contending for the faith is more urgent at the moment. Today, as it was in the New Testament church, false doctrine is rampant. You can hardly throw a rock out the sanctuary window without hitting a false teacher, particularly female false teachers.

Invariably, when I warn against a specific popular false teacher I get a few responses from disgruntled readers jumping to that teacher’s defense. (I understand where those feelings come from. I’ve had to hear hard, biblical truths about teachers I’ve followed, too. It’s no fun.) I tend to hear the same arguments over and over (which is one reason I wrote this article). But there’s one thing all of these arguments have in common:

They’re not based on rightly handled Scripture.
Sometimes they’re not based on Scripture at all.

As Christians, we are supposed to base everything we believe and teach upon the truth of Scripture. And the women defending these false teachers aren’t doing that. They’re basing their defense of a false teacher on twisted, out of context Scripture and/or their own opinions, feelings, experiences, and preferences.

Twisted Scripture:

Sometimes these ladies will try to appeal to Scripture to defend the false teacher. I applaud them for that. Genuinely. At least they know that we’re supposed to be basing what we say and do on the Bible. That’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, most of these attempts only reveal how poorly they’ve been taught the Bible by the false teachers who have trained them.

“Did you meet privately with this teacher before writing this article?”

“You’re just judging! The Bible says not to judge!”

“You’re creating division in the church!”

Most of the time these women have no idea where those Scriptures are found, or even precisely what they say, much less the context of the verses they’re appealing to. (In order not to misunderstand their intent, I usually have to respond by saying, “Are you referring to Matthew 18:15-20?” or “I’m sorry, could you tell me which verse you’re talking about?”) They don’t know or understand the Scripture they’re alluding to, they’re just repeating what they’ve heard from the false teacher (or her other followers) defending herself and lashing out at those who call her to account.

Nothing More than Feelings:

Perhaps more disturbing are the near-Stepford gushings of some defenders:

“I’ve never heard anything so mean! How could you say such things about this wonderful teacher?”

“I just love her and the way she teaches!”

“You’re just jealous of her success.”

“She’s been such a help and encouragement to me!”

These ladies don’t even attempt to bring the Bible into the discussion, and their loving support for the false teacher is often coupled with vitriolic, completely un-Christlike, devoid of any fruit of the Spirit, attacks on those who dare to question the false teacher. I like this person. I’ve had a positive experience with this person. I have good feelings and opinions about this person. And that – not the Bible – is what I’m basing my decision to follow her upon. How dare you speak against her?

And is it any wonder? When women sit under the teaching of pastors and teachers who skip through the Bible ripping verses out of context and twisting their meanings, who say “the Bible says” followed by their own agenda and imaginings, who point women back to themselves as their own authority, rather than Scripture, by basing their teachings on their own ideas and life experiences instead of the Bible, what do we expect?

Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-20:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (emphasis, mine)

Ladies, look at the fruits of these false teachers: women who believe false doctrine because they are unable to properly read, understand, and handle God’s word, and who base their belief system on their own feelings rather than on the authority of Scripture. That is bad fruit from a diseased tree.

Christian women must be properly trained in the Scriptures. How? By eradicating false teachers and all their sundry materials from our churches, homes, and Bible study classes. By properly training Sunday School and Bible study teachers. By teaching the women of our churches proper hermeneutics and sound doctrine. By exercising biblical church discipline against false teaching. And most of all, by reinstating the authority of Scripture to its rightful preeminence in our lives and in our churches.

It is imperative that we train Christians to understand and embrace that Scripture alone decides what we believe, which teachers we allow into our churches and our lives, and how we are to worship and practice the Christian faith. Basing these things on our feelings, opinions, and preferences is folly, a house built on the sand, because our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick, and we will always trend toward having our ears tickled with smooth words rather than having our souls pierced by the sharp two edged sword of God’s word. “Sanctify them in the truth,” Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Your word is truth.” And, indeed it is. It is the only trustworthy basis for life, faith, and doctrine that will never lead us astray. When our feelings and opinions rise up against God’s word, God’s word wins.

May we hold high the banner of Sola Scriptura, training the precious souls of women to understand and submit to the authority of God’s word, that one day, bad fruit and diseased trees might become a thing of the past.

Johnny Hunt Endorses Jesus Calling, Dismantles Legacy

“The first person speaking of Jesus in Jesus Calling is a tremendous blessing in my life devotionally as His promises come alive in my heart.” Johnny Hunt

There was a time when Johnny Hunt was one of the most respectable names in all of Southern Baptist life.  As a defender of biblical inerrancy, Hunt was one of the leaders of the denomination’s “conservative resurgence” which solidified the Southern Baptist Convention as of the few remaining bulwarks against the theological liberalism which swept the United States during the 20th Century.  Hunt served as President of the SBC from 2008-2009.  He has served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock for over a quarter-century.  Under his preaching ministry the church has grown by the thousands.  So many people were drawn to FBCW by Hunt’s passionate biblical preaching that he once threatened to post “Go to Hell, we’re full” on the marquee if the church didn’t commit to increasing the size of its then over-crowded facility.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to finish well.  Over the past several years, Hunt has engaged in a number of missteps which indicate that his extensive influence in the SBC, as well as his own church, is detrimental.  Most recently, Hunt has endorsed the devotional book Jesus Calling.  Sarah Young, the author of thisbest-selling book, claims to have received direct divine revelation from Christ Himself and recorded it through a process similar to automatic writing.  This revelation, which is essentially a recycling of the 2nd century heresy known as Montanism, has been sold to millions of men and women.  Young writes in the voice of Jesus.  Hunt has endorsed her book.  If Johnny Hunt were just some pew sitter struggling with his walk, a criticism of his endorsement might be uncalled for.  However, he has thousands of people who look to him for spiritual guidance. The power and responsibility of such a position brings with it a higher level of responsibility and accountability.  Hunt has not exercised it well.  He hasn’t been exercising it well for quite some time.

Hunt's "first lady" likes Jesus Calling, too.

Hunt’s “first lady” likes Jesus Calling, too.

Recently, First Baptist Church Woodstock endorsed the feature film Young Messiah.  The film is allegedly based on the novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by lapsed Roman Catholic author Anne Rice. A number of events in the film portrayed stories from non-canonical Gnostic gospels.  Christian Apologists, some of whom attend FBCW itself, have for years defended the veracity of the four canonical gospels against charges that later, heretical, and fictitious Gnostic gospels were erroneously excluded from the biblical cannon.  No bible-believing church has any business promoting such a film to an unsuspecting audience.

fbcwym

In 2014, FBCW Executive Pastor Jim Law claimed that Johnny Hunt commended disgraced former Liberty University Dean and known charlatan, Ergun Caner, to Brewton-Parker College. Caner, a friend and ministry partner of Hunt, was hired as that organization’s President.  Later that year, Caner was invited to fill the pulpit at FBCW, despite the fact that Caner was embroiled in a lawsuit with two Christians.  Caner eventually lost the lawsuit and was ordered to pay damages to the men he had sued.  Caner also lost his job at Brewton-Parker amidst accusations of racism, vulgar behavior, and adulterous activity.

Along with Caner, Bishop Eddie Long, and John Hagee, Hunt invited vacationers on a “missions cruise“to Jamaica aboard a luxury Carnival cruise ship.  It was surely a lucrative venture for Hunt and his megachurch friends.  Long was later embroiled in a male-on-male sex scandal.  Hagee is a well-known false teacher.

Under Hunt’s leadership, FBCW has expanded into a satellite campus model, which contradicts the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.  It now extends into two states.

Hunt has engaged in an opportunistic “church revitalization” scheme which enables his wealthy church to snatch up the value real estate of older, declining churches.

Upon his embattled and controversial resignation from the presidency of the North American Mission Board,  Hunt’s friend “Hollywood” Bob Reccord arranged for a $92,000 payment to be sent to Hunt (for his Timothy-Barnabas school).  Hunt would later sign a letter vouching for the integrity of Reccord.  The disgraced Reccord would later be a featured speaker at Hunt’s annual “Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference.

Despite his many missteps and baffling unwise endorsements, Hunt is essentiallycelebrated as a hero at his local church.  His endorsement of Jesus Calling is just one more item in a long list of Hunt’s egregious errors.  (He is at best only “website orthodox“.)  Christians should flee First Baptist Woodstock and all things Johnny Hunt.  This is a man who nominated the current SBC president and several previous ones; the danger of relying on his wisdom should not be taken lightly by Southern Baptists.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Discernment Made Easy: A List of Celebrity Christians Who Declare The Bible Insufficient

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-9-41-20-am

“If you wish to know God, you must know His Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by His Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.”  Charles Spurgeon

Sometimes believers are blessed in our pursuit of obedience to God’s commands for discernment with what essentially passes as Berean no-brainers. Unlike those 1st-century Bereans who had carefully and cautiously reviewed Scripture to see if the things that Paul said were so, (Acts 17:11) occasionally it’s not necessary that modern believers have to do such detailed, prayerful Scripture study to discern truth from error. Sometimes we’re blessed with a list.

(Do not, fellow believer, rest assured on the perpetual availability of such free discernment gifts, however. Because the enemy is subtle, and always malicious, his attackers on the Word of God do not always fall so clearly in our lap as this one does. Always, always, ALWAYS we must “abide in my Word!” John 8:31  Do not be lulled into complacency!)

We have been provided a list of high profile “Christian” leaders, writers, pastors, and celebrities who, by their endorsement of a well-known work of heresy are making the equal claim that they do not believe in the authority, sufficiency, and finality of God’s revelation in His Holy Word. They are thereby declaring that the Bible is incomplete, that God failed to say all He intended to say in it, and that there is at least one person on the planet today to whom He is still giving apostolic-like, continuing revelation.  This, of course, is false and diabolically motivated.

Justin Peters comments on the dangers of Jesus Calling:

Here, then, is the list of those high-profile Christians who endorse the Montanist heresy that is Sarah Young and her Jesus Calling publications.

* Max Lucado, “Pastor and Bestselling Author”
* Mark Batterson, Pastor and author of another book of heresy, The Circle Maker
Melinda Gates, Wife of a billionaire
Roma Downey, Catholic Hollywood Mystic and Filmmaker
Rev. James Martin, SJ, Jesuit Priest
Shauna Niequist, “Bestselling Author of ‘Bread and Wind’ and ‘Savor’”
O.S. Hawkins, “Author of the Bestselling ‘The Joshua Code’ and ‘The Jesus Code’”
* Dr. Jack Graham, “Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX”
Sheila Walsh, “Bestselling Author and Speaker”
* Johnny Hunt, “Pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA”
Dr. & Mrs. Richard Lee, “Speaker for the Award-Winning ‘There’s Hope In America’ Television Series”
Kathie Lee Gifford, “Host of the ‘Today Show’, Author, Singer, and Actress”
Delilah, “Nationally Syndicated Radio Personality, Author, and Songwriter”
* Robert J. Morgan, “Pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, TN”
* Robert Morris, “Founding Senior Pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas”
Gretchen Carlson, “Television Commentator and Author”
Ainsley Earhardt, “Co-host ‘Fox & Friends First’”
Sean Lowe, “ABC Television’s ‘The Bachelor’ and Author of ‘For The Right Reasons’”
Charlie Daniels, “Award-Winning Country Music Superstar”
Jimmy Wayne, “Country Artist and Bestselling Author of ‘A Walk To Beautiful’”
Diana Hobbs, “President and CEO, ‘Empowering Everyday Women’ Magazine
Katie Farrell, ‘Popular Blogger of ‘Dashing Dish’”
Mike Reed, “Senior Vice President, Salem Media Group’
* Scott Sauls, “Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville”
Janet Hunt, “First Lady, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA”
Diane Strack, “Author of ‘New Start For Single Moms’”
Josh Warren, “CEO, Purpose Driven Communications”
* Rev. Bob Fuguay, “Author, Senior Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Indianapolis”
Anne Wright, “Wife of Johnson Ferry Baptist Senior Pastor, Bryant Wright”
Emily Ley, “Founder of Emily Ley Lifestyle Brand”
James Robison, “Host of ‘Life Today,’ Founder of Life Outreach International & The Stream Website”
Reba McEntire, “Bestselling Author, Artist and Actress”
Linda Leathers, “Chief Executive Officer, The Next Door”
Dr. Cindy Ryan, “Pastor, Writer, Speaker and Blogger”
Mike Gallagher, “Host of Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher Show”
Kristin Chenoweth, “Emmy and Tony Award-Winning Actress and Singer”
Phil Keaggy, “Guitarist, GMA Dove Award Winner, Grammy Award Nominee”
Lyn Mettler, “Writer and Blogger”

The list is sourced from the promotional website JesusCalling.com.

So, while the enemy has amassed an impressive list of powerhouse, self-monikered “Christian” celebrities and notables to endorse this bestselling attack on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, he’s also provided the Berean among us a helpful “Beware” sign. These notable names may be scratched off our list of reliable resources since they are eager to defy Scripture’s command regarding the fellowship of light and dark. (2 Corinthians 6:14)

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11

In his letter to the believers in Colossae, Paul gives us an inspiring view of the power of God’s Word as, through it, He brings believers to greater holiness, greater obedience, bearing greater fruit. It is through His Word exclusively that God performs His sanctifying work, as Paul explains from his pastoral heart.


“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”  Colossians 1:3-8

While there is no excuse for any believer – be they a Hollywood starlet, award-winning musician, influential business person, or obscure pew-sitter – to fail to defend God’s Word, what’s worrisome are the pastors and pastors wives who are highlighted in this list.  As Paul commended Epaphras to the Colossians, it’s unlikely that these list-making pastors endorsing heresy would receive an apostolic back-slap since they are actively taking “part in the unfruitful works of darkness.”

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-9-58-56-am

The pastor is to be the under-shepherd of the local church. A significant part of that task is to ward off the wolves from preying on the flock. Instead, here we see Southern Baptist pastors like Johnny Hunt and Jack Graham openly endorsing known heresy. Other “pastors” are noted from the list who, by their endorsement, do not defend God’s Word as final.

(Excluded from the asterisked-denoted list of pastors is Cindy Ryan, who is not qualified for the office, though she nonetheless claims it, giving further evidence of her own disregard for the Word.)

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-9-58-36-am

“Jesus is not calling or equipping through a 21st-century bestseller. Rather, He is calling and teaching by His Spirit through a two to three-thousand year old best seller.”  Tom Pennington, Strange Fire Conference (Source)

Be wary of those who are willing to endorse what Scripture does not. Do not forget our Lord’s closing words in His Word … “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city , which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]

H/T – Scott Staffiery

Print Friendly

Satan’s Most Lethal Weapon and an End to Christianity??

Satan’s Most Lethal Weapon and an End to Christianity??

April 15th, 2016

By Caryl Matrisciana and Roger Oakland
(authors of The Evolution Conspiracy – Lighthouse Trails, April 2016, 2nd ed, illustrated)

Shattered marriages. Sexual promiscuity. Abortion. Human trafficking. Homosexual marriage. Crime. Terrorism. Youth in rebellion. What is happening to our world? And why?

It may astonish you, but belief in the evolution of life is the source of much of our present society’s confusion and waning morality. Evolutionism, in all its forms, has become so firmly entrenched that it now tears at the very fabric of our moral structure.

How do the “big bang” theory and other conjectures of evolutionary thinking contribute to the devastating condition of our society? What is the connection between evolutionary concepts and the state of our moral, spiritual, and physical health?
The theory of evolution holds that everything material developed as a result of natural forces, laws, and processes. In and of itself, this may not sound too alarming. However, consider the spiritual implications when evolutionists make the leap from the physical to the spiritual realm. They claim the laws of nature are constantly at work and increasing the level of man’s complexity and capabilities. They say that man also has the potential to evolve in every aspect of his being. The “wholeness” of man—body, soul, and spirit—is supposedly also growing and becoming more spiritually advanced. Many claim that man is reaching higher levels of goodness, love, and social benevolence with each succeeding generation.

Not all those who subscribe to the evolutionary theory of biological development would acknowledge the existence of a spiritual dimension to life, let alone subscribe to the notion that the evolutionary process encompasses the spirit and soul. Nevertheless, as we delve into this new millennium, it is becoming more and more evident that this conjecture is gaining momentum. Without a doubt, the growing advancement of the theory of biological evolution has set the stage for the next likely step in man’s “progression”—the quantum leap to godhood. As Richard Greene, New Age spokesperson, explains:

We’ve mastered the evolution of the physical body. We’ve mastered the evolution of the mind . . . and we’re coming to a time when we’re using this perfected—quasi-perfected—body, this opening and perfecting mind, to access the true perfection of the universe, which is the spiritual dimensions.1

Growing numbers of scientists and nonscientists believe this “spiritual evolution” is the next step in the progress of man. Yet one need only look at the world’s deteriorating social conditions to see that this evolutionary hypothesis bears utterly no resemblance to reality. World press reports ought to be enough to convince even the most hardened evolutionist that man’s moral and spiritual condition is becoming more debased.

Increasing crime and murder, government corruption, rampant rape and sexual abuse, intolerable crimes against children, huge numbers victim to human trafficking, more than 58 million abortions in America alone, pornography: a multi-billion dollar industry, and the proliferation of broken marriages resulting in countless fatherless homes—these surely reflect moral regression, not progression.

It is very telling to take a look back through history. The idea that ancient men were lower on the “consciousness ladder,” as claimed by evolutionists, sabotages historically proven accounts of past human generations. Holy men of old were amazingly advanced in spiritual matters. They were led by divine inspiration and were intellectually leagues ahead of their counterparts today. The mental excellence of merchants and philosophers, the structure of archeological splendor, and the advanced history of entire cultures and civilizations provide satisfactory evidence that men were originally created as men, as stated in the Bible.

Men and women, created from the beginning with God-given intellect, have achieved many outstanding accomplishments from the earliest times. We see no such achievements or aspirations in architecture, trade, scholarship, or any other area in the animal kingdom. One does not see the production of mathematically complex pyramids in jungles filled with ape-like creatures. These are evidenced only where civilized man is known to have lived. Yet evolutionary explanations for the existence of early ape-like man continue not only to mock our common sense but erode our morality as well.

Myriads of people are being shipwrecked in spiritually defiled waters and don’t understand why they are drowning. They cling to lifeboat “Science” in the hope that its answers to the origin of life, backed up by impressive credentials and high-sounding assurances, will rescue them and provide them with the stability and meaning for which they are desperately searching. They have been hooked by false claims that the world began by slow evolutionary chance processes rather than by spontaneous creation by God, who is both separate from the universe and the planner and designer of all that is. They assume the all-too familiar theory of evolutionary development is verifiable fact supported by scientific data.

Poison at the Roots

In replacing God’s act of creation with a process of natural evolution, we are faced with the question: Have morality, truth, goodness, kindness, love, and other human values also developed from nothing?
If they have, we must accept such things as “relative truth,” “shifting absolutes,” and “values clarification.” And these pose serious threats to every daily decision we make. Nothing then can be based on absolutes; nothing can be determined to be right and nothing wrong if truth is seen to be forever in transition.

If, however, we believe that God, a moral Creator whose character is absolute truth, supernaturally created the universe and made man in His own image and likeness, then another picture emerges. Man inherits from Him a sense of right and wrong, truth and error. And he performs best when living in harmony with the Creator’s guidelines.
A car designer precisely molds his machine and arranges its internal electronics and engineering to work best in conformity with certain strategic instructions he has devised. For the owner of the car to deviate from the designer’s intentions and instructions would be counterproductive. Guesswork or ignorance would not secure high-level performance. Only dedicated adherence to the rules laid out in the car-owner’s manual guarantee the machine’s successful operation.
In a similar fashion, at creation, mankind was given inbuilt directives. The most important of these is the spiritual heart and instinct that God created the inside of man who is able to be led by the Holy Spirit and by God’s instruction manual, the Bible. This quality is unique to man alone. It is not found in animals or nature:

The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. . . . He fashioneth their hearts alike. (Psalm 33:13,15)
But man doesn’t want to submit to God’s guidelines. Without a Creator God, man is free to develop his own moral code for his life, his government, his home, and his schools. This is the logical rebellion of evolutionary thinking.
God’s law, when applied correctly, establishes man’s personal and moral conduct, his family’s well-being, and harmony in the ruling of a nation. All three are interwoven and dependent on God. But the individual must come to a place of personal commitment to the God of the Bible and to the authority of Scripture as truth. The first thing we are told in the Bible is “God created.” Evolutionism erodes man’s personal walk with God. God denied “in the beginning” brings disharmony in every other relationship in life.

Evolutionism frees man from the question of submission to God. It appeals to man’s religious nature while leaving intact his intellectual pride. This explosive combination wreaked spiritual havoc with Adam and Eve (the first man and woman whom God created). And it continues to harm mankind today. The evolutionary premise is a cancerous tumor that has reached into every major circle of society and corrupted cherished values.

Calling Evolution’s Hand

Although many scientists claim that mankind is scaling the evolutionary ladder, no such evidence exists. No scientific proof drawn from life sciences such as biology or earth sciences such as geology verifies that evolution ever occurred in the past. In fact, as we will show, today’s most outstanding scientific information visibly opposes evolution.
It is interesting to note that one of the characteristics scientific investigators claim they possess is the ability to think and observe critically. Every child in grade school is told by his or her science teacher that open-mindedness is an absolutely essential quality of a good scientist. In other words, a scientist must use critical thinking and be willing to examine all the evidence. Uncritical thinking arises when we fail to ask for the evidence that supports all ideas and all theories.

But unfortunately, evolutionism does not always work that way. In fact, when challenges appear, the evolutionists often set themselves high upon a pedestal and proclaim their infallibility. The idea often projected by evolutionists is that their theory is always self-correcting and continually modifying itself—that it is a progressive truth accommodating new facts as they are discovered. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Is it not reasonable to question evolution if there is observable evidence that contradicts the theory? Why is it that evolutionists would rather disparage opposing views and dismiss facts that do not agree with their notions?
Creationists who claim that evolutionary teaching is based on unobservable evidence are labeled as religious fanatics attempting to force the “public indoctrination of a religious view.”2 Only those individuals “properly qualified within the scientific community”3 are capable of properly evaluating the facts, states anticreationist Willard Young in The Fallacies of Creationism. And to really drive his point home, he insists:

The obstacle the layman faces is not, in general, any lack of intelligence, but simply ignorance of the technical details of the subject. To achieve “expert” competence in complex and difficult subjects requires many years of study and experience.4

Unfortunately, all too many people have fallen into the trap of accepting the opinion of so-called “authorities” and “experts” on blind faith. No questions asked. Certainly, there are areas and concepts of science difficult for the nonscientific person to grasp. But one thing that everyone has the ability and the right to question is the difference between that which is fact and that which is not fact. Even the layperson has the ability to discern the difference between common sense and logic, wishful speculation, and outright nonsense. History has revealed over and over again that many theories and ideas of the past have turned out to be completely erroneous even though they were convincingly presented to the public as absolute truth. Do evolution scientists really have the right to declare their unchallengeable “priesthood”?

The Call to Arms

Considering the eternal consequences that result from the denial of God and His handiwork in creation, it is time to see just how firmly evolution has wrapped itself around our culture—and our very own lives. Caught in its grasp, we must seek to discover a way to disengage ourselves so that we can weigh evolution in the balance of truth. Is it logical? Have we accepted its ideas just because we were told they were scientific? What proof is there for evolution? And most importantly, have we let the vehemently anti-Christian values of the evolutionary premise mold our thinking?
Analyzing evolution on all its fronts, we must recognize the critical goals of the evolution/creation debate, summed up by anti-creationist, science writer, and ‘joyous atheist,” Richard Bozarth:
The day will come when the evidence constantly accumulating around the evolutionary theory becomes so massively persuasive that even the last and most fundamental Christian warriors will have to lay down their arms and surrender unconditionally. I believe that day will be the end of Christianity.5
Satan pulls no punches. His game plan is to use every available means—in this case evolutionary supposition—to bring people to moral chaos and eternal destruction. As Christians in a society that has already bought, unreservedly, into evolutionism, we have a responsibility to enter into the fray and bring the evolution conspiracy to light. The hearts of many depend on it.
(This has been an excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Evolution Conspiracy, 2nd ed., 2016, Lighthouse Trails – Release Date: April 29th, 2016)

lighthousetrailsresearch.com

On False Teachers: Why We Insist on One Degree of Separation (PIPER,FLOYD,CHANDLER..)

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.58.30 AM

On False Teachers: Why We Insist on One Degree of Separation

In The Pen by JD Hall  

What did they say when you warned them about the Kansas City Prophets and the New Apostolic Reformation and all the wicked things that happen there? What did they say when you told them about the death of Bethany Deaton and cover-up by IHOP and allegations of cult-like mind control? What did they say when you brought all those facts to them?

They said it couldn’t be that bad. Ronnie Floyd was speaking there. They weren’t going to turn around. If it was good enough for the SBC president to speak, it was good enough for them.

I took a frantic phone call from a woman and SBC church member in north Missouri, whose pastor was taking a number of men to the conference last weekend. She had emailed her “leadership team,” deacons, and the pastor. She brought them facts. She sent them links to IHOP’s theology. She sent them articles about the problems. She did everything but throw her aging body in front of them on their way out of the driveway. But they went and exposed themselves to what can only be characterized as demonic worship with scandalous speakers and even a track for Catholic worshippers. The event was the spiritual equivalent of a 70’s key party – promiscuous, open to anything, and no discernible standards for who you dance with.

Southern Baptists considered Ronnie Floyd’s presence an endorsement: Ronnie Floyd, you see, can start out saying that his speaking at IHOP isn’t an endorsement of their theology (which he did). But it doesn’t matter, because in reality, Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople wound up at IHOP and took part in the sins of Nadab and Abihu because Ronnie Floyd was there.

Roman Catholics considered Ronnie Floyd’s presence an endorsement:Jeff has written about that here and I don’t want to steal his thunder, but the “charismatic catholics” present at IHOP were encouraged at the “unity across denominational lines” and were encouraged by Floyd’s affirming presence.

Charismatics considered Ronnie Floyd’s presence an endorsement: When Floyd said, “We’re we’re not in total agreement about life, ministry or the Bible. … Yet my being here is a clear indication that people must come together and pray,” (1) Understatement much? That you’re not in “total agreement” is something you say to the other Southern Baptist church across the street…not the pseudo-christian cults and (2) you pray with Christians. With the Roman Catholics and Oneness Pentecostals present in this spiritual key party, it’s presumptive to assume we’re praying to the same deity.

But Floyd is not the only one.

John Piper just spoke at Giglio’s Passion Conferenceagain. He’s speaking with Word-of-Faith impastor, charismatic prophetess and Hillsong gal, Christine Caine. He’s also speaking with a few other odious characters, like with Judah Smith at Passion #2 later this month, but let’s just keep it simple and focus on the charismatic lady pastor from the overtly-wicked church. That should suffice for this current exercise.

JD Greear and Matt Chandler are speaking with Hillsong‘s Brian Houston at the upcoming Exponential Conference.  Others, like Circle-Maker Mark Batterson will be there as well. Ed Stetzer will be there too, but he just spoke with radical Islamic clerics on how they can best reach evangelicals, so that’s nothing new. And really, it’s nothing new that Greear and Chandler would speak with nefarious characters. They’ve done that a lot.

And on and on it goes. Reformed leaders, as you’ve seen in the above list of names (Floyd excluded), are not immune from toxic associations. Granted, it seems that toxic associations in Reformed circles are typically limited to charismatic Calvinists who seem to suffer from repeated discernment issues caused by their continuationism, but it’s still troubling.

Why are polemicists and discernment-minded Christians upset that evangelical leaders like Floyd, Piper, Greear, Chandler, Stetzer, and Francis Chan (who frequents the IHOP circuit) et al speak with those who really no reasonable or serious-minded Christian would consider sound? Why is speaking with women preachers, charismatic prophets and faith-healers, people teaching positive confession and Word-Faith theology or other serious issues a problem?

And the answer is Bible.

[14] Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? [15] What accord has Christ with Belial?(1) Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? [16] What agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Corinthians 6)

This passage from Paul isn’t about marriage. It’s about religious enterprise. What business doth John Piper have with Christine Caine? Or what fellowship doth Ronnie Floyd have with Mike Bickel? What accord hath Matt Chandler with Brian Houston? What portion doth the SBC share with IHOP? What agreement doth Greear have with Circle-Making Mark Batterson?

God does not need the devil’s pulpit, friends.

All of these men speaking at all of these events do not constitute a Whitefield-type attitude toward speaking in enemy territory. Whitefield said, “If the Pope himself would lend me his pulpit, I would gladly preach the righteousness of Christ therein.” It is safe to say that if Whitefield had the Pope’s pulpit, he would have only preached there once. As Justin Peters says, he would preach on TBN if they asked him, but he wouldn’t be invited a second time. Matt Chandler, to his credit, once gave a passive-aggressive backhand to Steven Furtick at his Code Orange revival, but too many times he’s spoken with and for such spiritual charlatans with no such subtle rebuke. And lacking a rebuke, a preacher’s presence makes for an assumed endorsement. No, these appearances by all of the above men (and many more) at such conferences are not done to confront the wolves, but done to run with their pack.

The fact is, the Bible forbids such partnership – and a speaking contract is certainly a partnership – between Christians and the types of people we saw John Piper and Ronnie Floyd speak with last week. Some call that “guilt by association.” And to that, I say, is as sure as hell is real. Yes, it is guilt by association, because the Bible forbids association with such darkness.

Where does it stop, the fanboys ask. So so-and-so knows so-and-so who spoke with so-and-so and now they’re bad all in a sudden? Nope. We’re asking for one degree of separation, not two or three or four. It’s sinful for Ronnie Floyd to speak at IHOP. It’s not sinful for someone to speak with Ronnie Floyd. It’s sinful for Francis Chan to speak at IHOP. It’s not sinful to speak with Francis Chan. It’s sinful to speak with a woman who shouldn’t be preaching, who is compiled with problems of charismania, prophetic status, Word-Faith theology and from Hillsong. It’s not sinful to speak with John Piper. We are, Biblically, to separate from the evil person or false teacher.

Don’t get me wrong. I would not endorse Piper, Chan, Chandler, Floyd, Greear or others on the grounds that they lack discernment and if slightly off track today, may be very off track tomorrow. With their charismatic windows left wide open, who knows what pied Piper might sneak into their heart or mind and lead them astray? I wouldn’t want to turn on a young Christian to their works, without knowing where they may be led in years to come after the leaven they associate with has leavened them. However, it’s not as though these men are bad, but that they cannot be fully trusted or endorsed. Not speaking with them, however, would be two degrees of separation and probably overdone.

Is one degree really too much? Like, is that terribly legalistic? Pharasaical? Fundamentalist? Do we all feel totally oppressed now, like some over-reaching nanny is pooping on our party? I would ask, “Are your heretic conferences really that important? Like, you can’t get along without them? John Piper is so important to the success of Passion and Ronnie Floyd is so important to the success of IHOP’s One Thingthat it’s worth risking leading little ones astray? Is it worth the risk of earning a millstone?

jdsig-1024x284-1024x284

[Contributed by JD Hall]

http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/01/04/on-false-teachers-why-we-insist-on-one-degree-of-separation/