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Hmm, it seems today that we hear people within the evangelical community say they believe men like this are true men of God used by the Holy Spirit. Then why is it they won't listen to what these pastor-teachers have said? From his sermon "The True and False Shepherd" here is Robert Murray M'Cheyne:
Now, we know quite well that the beast is the Church of Rome; we are told that the beast sits upon seven hills; and we are told at the end of the second verse that the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. So that there is no doubt, dear brethren, but that the great enemy of the sheep the false shepherd, who comes like a lamb, but who has the paw of a bear - is Antichrist. Now, there can be no doubt but that he gets his power from Satan.
Here's some very good spiritual advice from Oswald Chambers in today's devotional from My Utmost For His Highest:
"Seek, and ye shall find." Luke 11:9
"Get to work, narrow your focus and interests to this one thing. Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you only given a languid cry to Him after a twinge of moral neuralgia?" Seek, concentrate, and you will find."
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." (2 Peter 2:1)
Men and women, let me first say that Lord put this on my heart to share with you today. If God had wanted us all to live in the false kind of unity currently being promoted through countefeit Christians hawking their Gnostic mysticism of contemplative spirituality He would not have allowed these false prophets in the first place. O Lord God Alimighty, we pray Thou will send us men of boldness; real men of God, who tremble before your Word and yet fear no man!
Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster and others of his ilk in the Emergent Church should take heed of what A.W. Tozer writes here: "Whatever it may be in our Christian experience that originates outside the Scriptures should, for that very reason, be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them."
"If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed Truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in the Scriptures. "To the Word and to the Tesimony" must always be the last and final proof."
"In many parts of America today, it is literally worse to JUDGE evil than it is to DO evil. Because we have so elevated non-judgmentalism, we have so made judgment a sin, that there is incredible ethical confusion."
Note: See disclaimer in comments
On leading Emergent Church theologian Leonard Sweet's website we are told that he is currently "the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, Madison, NJ and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon, Len has been Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Theological School at Drew University for five years." It is interesting to note that George Fox University, which as its name implies, was "founded in Newberg in 1891 by Quaker pioneers."
Drew University itself has been affiliated with the quite liberal denomination of the United Methodist Church, where according to Sweet's website he has also been involved "in leadership positions," and with whom Sweet is still actively involved. In fact Sweet's website also tells us "Len has been chosen to speak at various Jurisdictional and General Conferences as well as the 1996 World Methodist Congress in Rio de Janeiro. He also serves as a consultant to many of America's denominational leaders and agencies. He is a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference."
As I did some checking on the official website of the UMC, which is getting closer to ordaining practicing homosexuals, I came across the online publication "Instant Connection" of the California-Nevada Conference. Among the stories in this March 13, 2006 edition is one that tells us that 2006 "marks the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women in our denomination," and another which informs us about "the upcoming Spiritual Leaders Retreat" coming up Sept. 26-29, 2006, where this year's "featured presenter will be Dr. Leonard Sweet."
Worship wars in the church are only a symptom of the larger problem. When there is a low view of God, a low view of worship, particularly in music, always follows. Last night I attended a concert with my husband and son and I reflected on how even the instruments used in worship can speak of God's character when they are played with awe and reverence for the Lord. I posted my thoughts on my other blog site, Front Porch Chats.
Posted by Ingrid on June 9, 2006 @ 06:55 PM
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"During this time also superstition and ignorance more and more prevailed. The Holy Scriptures by degrees were taken out of the hands of the laity, the better to promote the unscriptural and wicked designs of the pope and the clergy; and instead of promoting knowledge among the people, they industriously promoted ignorance...The superstition and wickedness of the church of Rome, kept growing worse and worse till the very time of the Reformation."
"The Works Of Jonathan Edwards, Part IV., To The Reformation"
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)
Let me make this as clear as I possibly can for the Roman Catholics who may read this work in Christ. I personally am a former member of the Church of Rome and care very deeply about those, such as the majority of my own family line, who are trapped in this apostate man-made system of religion. I also fully realize that what I say may sound "unloving" and possibly even "harsh." However, there is just nothing that I can do about that. We are doing no one a service by not telling the Truth.
As I have said before, one of my life verses is 1 Corinthians 15:10 - But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain. There are a couple of things I can note here: 1) But for God's grace (unmerited favor) I am freed from the bondage of this false religious system, and 2) The Lord's unmerited favor has resulted in His calling me to the incredible privilege of being one of His pastor-teachers so that grace "was not in vain."
Now there has been some confusion over this issue of baptism. You must understand that it matters not that any Reformers may have baptized infants because these men did not believe in baptismal regeneration as does the Church of Rome. So this is a red herring that only leads us off to "wrestle with the snake," because the issue is not concerning infants, but Rome's view of baptism period. In the above Scripture the Apostle Paul has very clearly said that if anyone preaches a Gospel other than that of Christ's original Apostles, it is God Himself Who says this person - or group is accursed.
Preachers regularly create interest by drawing attention to themselves.
Inasmuch as we cannot magnify Christ by seeking to make ourselves impressive, this too is a sin.
This is a common misrepresentation by leaders of the Church Growth Movement of their opposition. Those who speak out against "synthetic" (man made) church growth are often portrayed as wanting tiny churches. One church growth marketing website this week wrote a blog posting entitled "Is Church Growth the Highway to Hell?" in which this attitude comes through; some of the wording includes:
"It's as if growing your church is taking the on-ramp to the highway to hell" and "If you think the church shouldn't grow...". But I have yet to meet anyone who has ever said "no, our church is the size we want it, new people are not welcome"; that's clearly a strawman argument that doesn't address the real concerns of those who oppose the CGM. In response to this Phil Johnson wrote this blog article entitled "For Those Who Still Don't Get it"; he writes:
What most critics of contemporary church growth theory actually deplore is the pragmatism that drives most popular church-growth methodology. I guess when your whole framework for judging the "success" or "failure" of every method, every man of God, and every ministry, is completely market-driven rather than biblical, the idea that unbridled pragmatism might be a Bad Thing would never occur to you.I've had some pastors tell me that my opposition to the Church Growth Movement reflected a lack of concern for evangelism, and even that my motives were based on jealousy (wishing that my church were more "successful"). Those who think that way ought to read what Phil has to say.
It underscores the need for defending truth claims about who Christ is, what He did, and what He taught. The fact is, one meaningless thing that we have in common with Mormons and JW's, is that we can all say: "I believe in Jesus". Now days one has to ask for a definition of who that Jesus is.
Another great example to consider, may be found at InfantJesusShrine.com where we learn of Novenas being offered up to the Infant Jesus of Prague; his motto seems to be "The more you honour Me, the more I will bless you".
The website also says:
"The Little King has been enthroned as the Great King of the world to assist His subjects in their trials, difficulties, and crosses. He Who Himself has suffered so much desires to assist those who come to Him. He wishes to attract all hearts to His own through the attractiveness and simplicity of His Divine Infancy."I wonder if John Armstrong and others who fault protestants for failing to regard East Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, would embrace the followers of this Infant Jesus of Prague as brothers in Christ. If not, are they not guilty of a similar intolerance that narrow-minded protestants are blamed for?
I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim's Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together. Learning is a gift that ought not to be despised. It is an evil day when books are not valued by the Church. But it is amazing to observe how vast a man's intellectual attainments may be, and yet how little he may know of the grace of God. I have no doubt the Authorities of Oxford in the [18th] century, knew more of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, than Wesley or Whitefield. But they knew little of the Gospel of Christ. Infallibility is not to be found among learned men, but in the Bible.
For another thing, let us take care that we do not place implicit confidence on our own minister's opinion, however godly he may be. Peter was a man of mighty grace, and yet he could err. Your minister may be a man of God indeed,
and worthy of all honor for his preaching and example; but
do not make a pope of him. Do not place his word side by side with the Word of God. Do not spoil him by flattery.
Do not let him suppose he can make no mistakes.
Do not lean your whole weight on his opinion,
or you may find to your cost that he can err.
Posted by Jim Bublitz on June 9, 2006 @ 12:30 AM
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Earlier this week I posted a downloadable audio clip from John MacArthur on the biblical mandate for church discipline. John Divito has written about an ongoing court case in which a couple is fighting to keep their sins private:
Does a church have the right to publicly reveal a person's private sins? A Dallas court is being asked to decide whether Watermark Community Church can do exactly that to a man and a woman identified in court records as "John Doe" and "Jane Roe."
Their attorney says that the pair thought they had revealed their sins to Watermark's pastor confidentially and that their behavior should not be made public.
Church officials say they are only following a process of church discipline outlined in the Gospel of Matthew and written into the church's bylaws.
"Basically, we're being sued because we're seeking to love 'John Doe' in accordance with the principles outlined by God's word," said the pastor, the Rev. Todd Wagner.
In this new article we finish up our look at Emergent Church theologian Tony Jones' post blog Out of Ur concerning Chuck Colson and "true truth." In Part One the critical point I make is that no true preacher sent by God is going to dare argue against people's ability to receive the very message His Master has sent him with.
Yet bringing this kind of confusion into our Lord's Church is specifically what divisive spirits like Tony Jones and Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster in the highly schismatic neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church are doing as these men argue against our ability to perceive God's absolute Truth all the while spreading their own brand of Gnosticism.
It needs to be loudly pointed out to the Church community that ministers like myself - and we praise the Lord for a growing number of others - are not the ones who are actually causing division within the Body of Christ. You see if the Emergent Church hadn't come "emerging" out of the Church of our Lord in the first place then we would have no criticisms to be defending ourselves against.
Now there are those who take umbrage when the Truth is pointed out this bluntly, but if this is how you feel then the time has arrived for you personally to grow up (see-Hebrews 5:11-14). This spiritual war is not a game and those with eyes to see know that it has now escalated into a battle for Truth within the Body of Christ itself. The time has come to cry out to the Lord so He will send us warriors with the spiritual backbone to take the fight right back to these enemy forces who now brazenly mock our God from within His Own Church.
In Acts 16:30 the Philippian jailer asks the most important question that can be asked in this world: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" What is the correct answer? What is the only Gospel by which this man could be saved?
The apostate Church of Rome: from Catechism of the Catholic Church section 977- "Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ..."  " 'When we made our first while receiving the holy Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received then was so full and complete that there remained in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offenses committed by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order to expiate them....' "
The historic orthodox Christian Church as stated by Paul and Silas: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (v.31). And God the Holy Spirit would later tell us through His Apostle Paul - "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV)
Yet again as evidenced by this devotional, though we are saddened that A.W. Tozer in his ignorance of the subject did quote occasionally from so-called "Christian" mystics, we praise the God that He kept Tozer from succumbing to their false and backward love of humankind.
From one who has been thoroughly studying their writings as I expose the doctrines of devils and the things taught by demons through the contemplative spirituality of the Emergent Church of the ECoD I can tell you mystics do not write words like these that came from the Spirit through A.W. Tozer here.
Pat Robertson's outrageous claim that he could leg press 2000 pounds at age 73 really turned some heads in the sports world where even football players only had a record of pressing under 600 pounds. Now it turns out that the entire episode could have been nothing more than a cheap way to increase sales of his amazing, "age-defying" protein shake. In this CNN article this morning, Robertson now admits that he doesn't leg press the way everyone else does. That hasn't stopped a huge increase in sales in "Pat's Diet Shake" after the evangelists claims hit the news. Is it just me or is Robertson completely out of control with this media thing? There seems to be a plan somewhere to keep Robertson in the headlines at least once a week.
Isn't the whole idea of "innovative" churches that they are supposed to be coming up with creative things that nobody else has thought of? Why then, do they all do the same thing?
We saw this with the Desperate Households sermons; one church did them and the others followed. Then there were the Wonderbread sermons that they copied from one another. For those innovative churches that seem to finally be done with their Da Vinci Code sermon series, the next new thing may be iPod sermons (ex1, ex2, ex3, ex4, ex5).
It seems to me that some of the most innovative churches around, are some of the least creative and original. What would really be unique, would be for one of them to start a sermon series called something like "The Book of Matthew", and preach right through it, one verse at a time.
Although the Democratic Republic of Congo will next month hold its first democratic elections since its independence from Belgium in 1960, televised exorcisms rather than political debates are dominating the airwaves in a country where the majority of the population still believes in black magic, the broadcast networks are saturated with a dozen religious channels competing for converts, most of them owned by Christian cults led by charismatic preachers. ...
But not everyone is convinced. Willy Kabwe, the editor of the Congolese daily newspaper Le Potential, said many exorcists had switched to Christianity because it offered more potent powers of casting out. "The irony is that many of these pastors were witch doctors who have embraced Christianity because the tribal beliefs are now seen as primitive," he said. "Many of their congregations come to the church because it is seen as a more powerful ally if someone tries to curse you. "They retain the same beliefs, but do it under the guise of Christianity."...
Just when you thought Africa was a bright spot in the
global church, you find out that some of it is really
not that different than American TBN.
When the church begins to backslide, the first, outward and visible sign is usually an increase in worldliness. In the way of life, in talk, and even in dress and fashion, the spirit of the world begins to be found more and more in church circles. That which crept into the church ashamedly in former times, so to speak, begins to walk in freely, often covered and overlooked instead of exposed and admonished.
The black and white line of separation between godliness and worldliness, between the world and the church, between those who fear God and those who fear Him not,
becomes increasingly more gray.
Instead of walking opposite directions, the world and church begin to have more in common with each other to the church's great detriment. Some of its members begin going to worldly places, partaking of worldly forms of entertainment, and become friends of worldly people. Some thoughtlessly take television, the modern-day sin-box and devil's classroom,
into their own homes, quickly addicting themselves to its worldly mentality.
Worldly people, worldly entertainment, worldly fashions, worldly customs, worldly places - is this not what Hosea warned against when the Spirit directed him to write:
"Ephraim hath mixed himself among the people"? [Hos 7:8]
Is not the sin of increasing worldliness the church's first downward and tragic step in an ever-increasing spiral of backsliding?
--Joel Beeke, God's Church Bent to Backsliding
Be thou an example...in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12)
A.W. Tozer wrote: "The Christian churches of our day have suffered a great loss in rejecting the example of good men, choosing instead the 'celebrity of the hour' for their pattern. We must agree that it is altogether unlikely that we know who our 'greatest' men are."
"One thing is sure, however - the greatest man alive today is the best man alive today. That is not open to debate. Spiritual values run deep and silent. The humble man will not advertise himself nor allow others to do it for him."
"The Christian who is zealous to promote the cause of Christ can begin by living in the power of God's Spirit, and so reproducing the life of Christ in the sight of men. In deep humility and without ostentation he can let his light shine. To sum it all up: the most effective argument for Christianity is still the good lives of those who profess it!"
"And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:3)
Beloved of God, no doubt as this apostasy accelerates within the heart of the evangelical community you can see the dark red sky above us. Those of us listening in the Spirit already know that a storm is coming. The Master tells us - "you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" (John 15:19, ESV). However, "Christian" leaders today like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen instead speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5).
As you know from Holy Scripture God never does anything without first dealing with His remnant at a given time in history. It seems that our Lord patiently endures the sin that is inevitably produced by a corrupt and degenerate mankind in this fallen world while He gathers in His lambs. And currently God is calling His flock out of rapidly decaying evangelical Christianity, killed by American business savvy and now putrefying spiritually.
In this missive I point out those who truly belong to Christ are now feeling a sense of "urgency," a quickening for us to begin preaching His Gospel in the power of the Spirit. O sure the neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church, a growing section within the spiritually corrupt ECoD, speaks with spiritual pride when they continually brag that they are so "missional." However, they fail the test as Christians here as the Bible clearly says - To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20, KJV).
Just when you think you have heard it all! I found this to be quite ah... bemusing?
This article says it all.
I suppose pentecost would be rated X.
When your church debates center on whether or not lesbians should be pastors, it amounts to a denominational death rattle. The leadership of the Presbyterian Church USA has thrown out the authority of the Bible, embraced every half-baked, apostate idea to come along and tried to baptize outright pagan behavior as Christian. Now the Greek chorus has started to wail. The smell of death is in the air. The embalmers are in the wings and the black crepe has already been purchased. This is always the result of spiritual rebellion. Death. Death to mankind, death to denominations, death to seminaries and death to our culture. Here is the report. The numbers don't lie. The only hope for these Presbyterians is repentance and a rediscovery of the Word of God as their absolute standard for faith and practice.
Is the growth in home churches a sign that Americans are rejecting enormous Disney churches for something more biblical, or is it an example of individualism run amok? The Washington Post reports that these home churches are drawing people from all sorts of denominations as they meet in people's homes and talk about the Bible. I'd like to hear Slice readers weigh in on this trend, even though we have addressed this before. I have heard from some who are home churching due to no available Bible preaching church in their area. For others, perhaps it is just an excuse to reject all outside spiritual authority and do things as they see fit. Is this trend worrisome or a sign that Christians are moving in the right direction, back to the ways of the early church? If home churches are the way to go, I have some questions that I'd like answered:
1. Who is in charge? Ultimately someone will decide what doctrine will be taught.
2. Who conducts church discipline as outlined in Scripture or is discipline thrown out the window?
3. Who adminsters the Lord's Supper and Baptism?
4. Do most home churches not become mini-versions of their institutional counterparts?
These questions aren't implied criticisms, but genuine questions about how home churches are handled.
Evangelical children today don't have a chance to learn of God's holiness because the adults in their lives insist on telling them that God is just another subject of cartoon fun. This disgusting new live show called God Rocks! is making the rounds of arenas across the country while the Bibletoons DVD's are hitting the home front. Contrast these verses from Hebrews 12:28-29 with the attitude of this foolishness.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
The FIDE-O blog has an excellent posting on expository preaching, and it's critics such as Richard Abanes. Along the way, the article gives this excellent example of the direction that sermons seem to head in, when they are not expository based. "Why She Left the Water Pot" is really nothing more than someone's own personal opinions attached to a bible verse. Yet, this is the kind of thing that you are likely to encounter in seeker churches today. Scott Hill on FIDE-O contrasts that with the alternative:
"Expository preaching would be defined as the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher, applies to the hearers, or something like that. I grew up in the land of topical sermons that used the text as a starting point for soap box preaching, proof texting, and confirming inherited theologies. The purpose of expository preaching as I understand it is to make sure that the God-breathed text we are proclaiming is handled accurately, with as little of man's opinion as possible. That way the Holy Spirit through the Bible is the one doing the convicting not man."
Read the rest of this article at FIDE-O.
Ken Fields reviews some recent Purpose Driven advice from the Saddleback website that puts the focus on "self" rather than on Christ and His work at the Cross. It's a long list of things God does "because He loves me", here's a few:
Because God loves me, He is slow to lose patience with me.Ken Fields responds to this list by saying:
Because God loves me, He does not treat me as an object to be possessed and manipulated.
Because God loves me, He has no need to impress me with how great and powerful He is because He is God, nor does He belittle me as His child in order to show me how important He is.
Because God loves me, He does not keep score of all my sins and then beat me over the heat (sp?) with them whenever He gets the chance.
Because God loves me, He keeps on trusting me when at times I don't even trust myself.
Because God loves me, he never forsakes me even though many of my friends might.
"Yes, it is true that the greatest of all gifts is the gift of God's perfect, matchless and amazing love. Yet, the proof and picture of God's love isn't so much about us as it is about the cross!" Continue reading more on Ken's blog
Self-esteem messages that do not center upon a triune God would have been viewed by the Puritans as "self-deceit" messages. We have nothing to esteem in ourselves apart from God, the Puritans said. Apart from His grace, we are fallen, wretched, unworthy, and hell-bound. ... The Puritans were very aware of the deceitfulness of the human heart. Consequently, Puritan evangelists took great pains to identify the marks of grace that distinguish the church from the world, true believers from imposters and merely professing believers, and saving faith from temporary faith. This kind of discriminatory preaching is extremely rare today. Even in conservative evangelical churches, head knowledge of scriptural truth is often a substitute for heart experience; or, what is equally unscriptural, heart experience is substituted for head knowledge. [Right] preaching calls for both head knowledge and heart experience; its goal, according to John Murray, is "intelligent piety."
--Joel Beeke, Puritan Reformed Spirituality
Author and pastor Mark Waltz responded on his blog to the two Slice posts yesterday that examined whether his customer service methodology conflicts with the priorities of the bible. Unfortunately, Mark seems to have missed the point, as it appears that he feels these posts were some sort of call to a more positive attitude on his part.
What would be more productive for the readers of his blog, would be if Mark were to interact with the substance of the Slice posts, by answering questions like these:
- Does his approach restrict a church's ability to conduct biblical church discipline, as John MacArthur indicated in the audio?
- What does the account of Ananias and Sapphira tell us about God's prioritization of holiness over "customer service", considering that "visitors" became afraid of church.
- Should the reaction of church visitors be "Wow!" (as Mark says) or should it be "Holy!". Even a trip to Disney World will produce "Wow!", so is that really a proper goal of a New Testament church?
No doubt, our churches need to be warm and friendly to new people, but are there problems with a methodology of wowing them as customers? Perhaps Mark will address the significant concerns this time around.
In Part One I began to address the critical issue of our time in how the apostate Church of Rome, along with the Ecumenical Church Of Deceit, is currently throwing the evangelical community into much confusion in the quest to bring all religions into her fold. The major point that I established in that first article is that the Roman Catholic Church, has not changed an iota the "gospel" she preaches as detailed in the Council of Trent.
I tell you in the Lord that the pathetic weakness now being shown by your evangelical leaders is not going to be overlooked by God, nor is the appalling lack of interest in this crucial matter of the apostate Church of Rome by the average evangelical. Do you consider yourself a Protestant? Then I ask you: What is it you are protesting against?
In this article, with this as our backdrop now we move on for a quick overview of the seven sacraments of the supposed New Law which the apostate Church of Rome says are "necessary for salvation." By their use of the word necessary in regard to salvation they are now adding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So the only question left is: Why is it today the evangelical community is actually running with outstretched arms to embrace this long apostate system.
Those who think that exposing the kinds of issues within the evangelical community that we do here at Slice brings us pleasure are sadly mistaken. For years I have enjoyed, and readily recommended, the ministry of Radio Bible Class (RBC). So many have been blessed by their devotional booklet known as Our Daily Bread (ODB).
Listening to a Christian radio station not long ago I caught a snippet of a program from RBC that sounded a little "off." I also had noticed that on occasion ODB had been striking me as a little "soft" as well but had figured it was probably just the mood I was in that day. That is until this morning.
Today's entry in ODB from Julie Ackerman Link entitled "Family Stories" is built around the late contemplative Henri Nouwen's book The Return Of The Prodigal Son. This is yet another strong indication of just how far into the mainstream of the evangelical camp the Gnostic mysticism of contemplative spirituality has spread.
Our friends at Lighthouse Trails Research will fill you in a bit more about Henri Nouwen, who was a Roman Catholic priest and essentially a universalist who believed that men could be saved apart from Jesus Christ. Today I strongly admonish you in the Lord to stay away from contemplative spirituality.
Men and women, this is a deadly deception which originated within the apostate Church of Rome and is being spread by her daughter the Ecumenical Church of Deceit. Contemplative spirituality (transcendental mediation in Christian terms) will only lead you into a false sense of our true depraved nature and into the love of man:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves" (2 Timothy 3:1-2).
As a follow-up to the previous post on Mark Waltz's concept of customer service oriented seeker churches, consider this
7 minute audio clip from John MacArthur. One of the problems with "the seeker is your customer" approach is that it makes church discipline nearly impossible. When was the last time you were disciplined by a waiter at a restaurant?
The problem starts in determining when the seeker is no longer considered a customer, and for many seeker centered churches, that answer is "never". Such a church has their hands tied by their methodology which prohibits them from carrying out biblical church discipline in the manner in which it should occur.
John MacArthur brings up the example of a church that had a rule prohibiting church discipline for the first two years that someone attends the church. During that grace period, the church was forced to accept people who were content to live in unrepentant sin; the result can only be the erosion of holiness in such a church. For churches that want to follow the bible's pattern for church discipline, there will always be inherent conflicts with the seeker-centered customer service oriented approach that Mark Waltz promotes.
All of our churches should strive for a friendly and warm first impression with visitors, but like everything - even this can be taken to an extreme, as was demonstrated in the
exaggerated "me Church" video.
Mark Waltz is a pastor at Granger who's written a book on how to handle visitors to your church with a customer service mentality. As one of the comments on Amazon described it, the book will show you how to make a "WOW!" effect on your visitors. It seems by his recent blog post that Mark's gears are always turning on this subject; he gives a list of times when he was recently mishandled by customer service people.
I might suggest to Mark - one more event to add to his list;
it's a time when God demonstrated that "customer service" was not the primary concern of the New Testament church. I'm speaking of God's judgment against Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts. What's interesting is that this event essentially scared away all of "the visitors"; it was a very un-customer service like thing for God to do, as it had the exact opposite effect that Mark has placed such a high value on. It was the wrong kind of "Wow!" according to Mark's philosophy. It was the sort of "wow" that made people turn and run the other direction.
May our churches be warm and friendly - yes, but may we prioritize holiness within God's design for a New Testament church, which is to be based around believers and not seekers. Is it God's desire that visitors to our churches would say "WOW!", or is it closer to the truth that they ought to react by saying "HOLY!" instead.
A Puritan evangelist, John Rogers, warned his congregation against neglecting Scripture by telling them what God might say: "I have trusted you so long with my Bible ... it lies in [some] houses all covered with dust and cobwebs, you care not to listen to it. Do you use my Bible that way? Well, you shall have my Bible no longer". Rogers then picked up his Bible and started walking away from the pulpit. Then he stopped, fell on his knees, and took on the voice of the people, who pleaded, "Lord, whatever Thou dost to us, take not Thy Bible from us; kill our children, burn our houses, destroy our goods; only spare us Thy Bible, take not away Thy Bible". "Say you so?" the minister replied, impersonating what God might say: "Well, I will try you a while longer; and here is my Bible for you. I will see how you use it, whether you will search it more, love it more, observe it more, and live more according to it". Thomas Goodwin was so moved by Rogers's presentation that when he left church he wept upon his horse's neck for fifteen minutes before he felt strong enough to mount it.
--"The Puritan Preaching Ministry in Old and New England",
by Allen C. Guelzo
I normally would not pose a question like this,
especially since I have no idea what the answer is,
but today is 6/6/6, right? :-)
So how about it - who do you think the Antichrist is?
The Riddleblog has posted the results of an opinion survey on this question. Here were the answers:
A Future Man to Be Revealed
52% - 268 votes
The Office of the Pope
24% - 122 votes
An Invisible Yet Known Presence
3% - 18 votes
All of False Religion
10% - 54 votes
The Anti-Christ Has Come and Gone
4% - 21 votes
No answer. I do not care to vote on this topic.
7% - 35 votes
Ingrid emailed me this article from the USA Today, that mentioned Rick Warren and Slice. Here are some excerpts from the article:
"While [Warren] holds the belief that Jesus is the one true path to salvation, he does not make a point of predicting hell for non-believers, and he makes alliances with left-leaning, maverick Christians (such as U2 singer and global activist Bono) and some who are not Christian at all.I'm very thankful for reporters who seek to give both sides of the story. I believe so strongly in the danger that's inherent in Rick Warren's message, and so - it's gratifying to see the national news perceive Slice as being firmly clamped to the ankle of his message like a tenacious poodle. May God continue to give us the grace to stand against Gospel perversions in their various forms.
What makes Warren and his message attractive to some also makes him anathema to others. One posting at the Slice of Laodicea website, commenting on Warren's message at a United Nations prayer event, is representative of the sort of criticism he often generates: "A Benedict Arnold to the Gospel"."
Thanks to all of you for your testimonies related to Purpose Drivenism. The other day I saw some TV advertising for Slice as well, and our thanks go out to WVCY for supporting this website. Most of all, thank you Ingrid for all of your efforts, and for all of the opposition that you contend with on a regular basis.
The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)
One major point that needs to be stressed here is that quite obviously Paul - under the direct inspiration of God - is teaching the Lord's view on this issue, which itself happens to be the exact same Biblical doctrine that would be reaffirmed by the Protestant Reformers. As a matter of fact, regarding the only means of salvation given by our Creator to mankind, this would also be the very position concerning the Gospel that is allegedly affirmed by the evangelical community today.
The historic orthodox Christian faith has always taught that salvation comes only by God's grace alone; through faith alone; in Christ alone. In this series you will see that the apostate Church of Rome categorically denies this Gospel in favor of salvation through her sacraments. The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit, daughter to the Roman Catholic Church, is busy throwing people into confusion regarding this crucial issue, but the truth is that a false gospel - as Paul lucidly tells us in Galatians 1 - is really no gospel at all.
John Armstrong, a once trustworthy source of Christian leadership, continues his downward spiral away from what he once believed. The now Emerging John Armstrong levels attacks like this one on the ground that he departed from. His latest remarks seem to hint at his decision that Roman Catholics, East Orthodox, and Protestants should live as one happy family, practicing some early church liturgy, while avoiding the solid historic doctrinal statements of the 17th century. It's very sad to see this happen to someone; may it be a lesson to us all of our ever dependence upon God's grace, and the need to stay constantly grounded in His Word.
This was one of my favorite presentations from the 2006 Shepherd's Conference. I paid three dollars to download the audio file (that's not bad), but there is now a transcript online for free. It's Phil Johnson's presentation called "Absolutely Not!". Here's a short excerpt:
"My goal in this hour is not to persuade people who are already sold on the emergent idea that it's a bad idea. My aim is to help conservative pastors of established churches who are committed to biblical principles by making you aware of some of the things that are going on in the so-called emerging church movement. And I hope to explain why I believe it is worth the struggle to resist these trends. Because you will invariably be confronted with pressure to embrace some of the philosophy and style of the emergent movement in your own ministries. And judging from what I know of church history - especially recent church history - it will be a difficult struggle for some pastors to resist."If you benefit from reading the transcript, you might also download the audio file as well. Or if "free" sounds better to you, Phil has an older audio called "A Beginner's Guide to Postmodernism" on this page, that I also thought was excellent.