Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in My Name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:8-9)
Today The Gap Stands Empty
The sad reality for us today would be that it’s really hard to imagine living in a more ridiculous time in the long and often seedy history of the Christian Church than we do right now.
There are so many in the evangelical community who are burying their heads in whatever offshoot—rooted in the semi-pelagian Church Growth Movement—which highjacked their particular brand of Christian sandbox. So while apostasy sweeps through the landscape of the Church they remain content to think everything is wonderfully progressing toward some utopian unity as they each follow their own personal Pied Pipers.
One of the biggest problems we have today is that very few ministers have the spiritual backbone to actually go on the record with what they believe. Say what you want about those of us in the Online Discernment camp but when the bell rang as The Falling Away Of The Evangelical Church began we put our words out there where no one could possibly miss them. The sad fact is that the Church in America today is nauseatingly lukewarm. And far too many evangelical leaders have been unwilling to take serious theological stands that would require the Lord to back up His Word or else they would personally be destroyed. Yet to do so is not presumption, rather it is actually true Biblical faith that pleases God.
And while I don’t agree with everything A.W. Tozer taught he did put his finger right on the problem when he wrote:
That so-called Bible religion in our times is suffering rapid decline is so evident as to need no proof. I have observed one significant lack among evangelical Christians. The great deficiency to which I refer is the lack of spiritual discernment, especially among the leaders. How can there be so much Bible knowledge and so little insight? Surely one of the greatest needs is the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic insight. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation.
O, but how much easier it is instead to tell ourselves that “we must work for unity in the love of God” than to look a professing Christian in the eye and inform them the Lord has not sent these of the new postevangelicalism like Rick Warren, Richard Foster, Brian McLaren and Joel Osteen into our midst to teach counterfeit versions of Christianity. There are many false prophets and teachers in this lying ecumenical purpose driven-emerging-word faith-church who are deceiving you. Do not listen to their dreams of one big happy family of “Christians” as we reunite with the Church of Rome and its long apostate Roman Catholicism. These purveyors of postevangelicalism are whitewashed tombs who are not telling you the truth, because if the Lord had truly sent them with their message of man-love then it would mean that the Reformation itself had been a lie.
Unfortunately Christians unwilling to turn their backs on the comforts of this world have been sleeping while the enemy moved his forces deeper into pagan American culture. And before we knew it up rose a Purpose Driven Church with its pragmatic man-centered attempt to Christianize the “American Dream” as well as an Emerging Church complete with its own seducing spirits and doctrines of demons designed by Satan to attack the Word of God from within the evangelical community itself. What first alerted me that something was seriously amiss was when in dialogue with Emergents I found myself having to use the same arguments to establish the authority and infallibility of the Bible that I would use in talking with skeptics! Men like Doug Pagitt and Rob Bell have bought the lie of so-called postmodernism becoming essentially Christian agnostics.
Peale To Schuller To Your Pastor
In the post war years the Devil’s deadly duo of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller brought back a repainted version of the spiritual deceptions rooted in Gnosticism right into evangelicalism, which until their arrival into the mainstream had only been at the fringe of the religious world residing primarily in the Mind Science cults. In another section of the slumbering evangelical community, around the time that Peale came onto the scene, up rose “Bishop” Earl Paulk and Kenneth Hagin to take their own brand of metaphysical Gnosticism into the Word Faith Church. Anyone who is familiar with the teachings of Peale and Schuller and Hagin will immediately recognize their dapper disciple smiling Joel Osteen.
Schuller’s effect on Warren and Osteen is simply undeniable to anyone who listens carefully to their message of “feel good” and “positive” seeker sensitive Christianity today. You need to understand that those deceptions are themselves rooted firmly in the “mind over matter” message of first century Gnosticism. And the interrelated concept of maya (matter is an illusion) is also found in the eastern religions Guru Brian McLaren and the Emergent company find so fascinating. So I have very good reason why I “lump” the Purpose Driven Church, the Emerging Church and the Word Faith Church together as they are currently being pureed in Beelzebub’s blender into today’s reimagined spiritual 1960′s of “Love, Peace and Happiness” psuedo-Christian social community to try and solve “global problems.”
On the surface their message may seem somewhat dissimilar, but underneath there are a couple of core views that clearly tie them together. Each of them are based on man-centered pragmatic philosophies of successful secular businesses consistent with their roots in the Church Growth Movement. Why in his book The Church On The Other Side Emergent spiritual director Brian McLaren himself even calls this CGM method the “successful model.” In fact as he is discussing the subject of church leaders Guru McLaren tells us:
The most celebrated and notoriously successful models of recent decades–Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and John Maxwell, for example–became successful through bold innovation and creative synthesis, not through unthinking imitation. (111)
And the other factor that melds The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit (ECoD) together is the mystic experience-oriented theology of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, which has actually turned backward and inward the process of following Christ. Historic Christian doctrine has always held that we test all teaching, as well as spiritual experiences, by Holy Scripture and never the reverse as is done now. This is perfectly preserved for us in the historic account of the Bereans right within the canonical Scripture of the Book of Acts:
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)
Test Everything By Holy Scripture
Interestingly enough it would be this inspired Apostle Paul himself who would later write to these very same Thessalonians:
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)
Unfortunately the strict cessationists themselves have largely been doing the former and this has greatly contributed to the current mess in which we find ourselves right now. But the main point in this particular discussion for our purposes here is found in verse 21 – Test everything. Test – what? Everything – not only teaching, but also every spiritual experience you personally ever have, and even that which you are told about. lf people had been doing so they would never have fallen for false prophets like Todd Bentley. Now 1 John 4:1 – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (KJV). Beloved – this tells us we are referring to the Church–the Body and Bride of Christ.
Believe not every spirit – the gullibility of the Christian Church in this pagan nation today would almost make me believe that the word not has somehow been erased and instead the verse now reads as a command telling us to: Believe every spirit! But try the spirits – good ol’ Elizabethan English for test the spirits. Do you think that maybe God the Holy Spirit is trying to get a point through the desperately dull senses of His silly sheep? The Christian is to constantly test what we are taught; test what we are told about, as well as testing what we experience. The question that should come to mind next is: What are we supposed to test these things by/with? Well most certainly not by our fallen human reasoning as leaders in this ECoD are attempting to teach us.
No! Our answer as to what we are to use as we test everything by lies within verse 11 from Acts 17 where I showed you earlier that the people of more noble character – examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. And here we can clear up an apparent mystery, which is actually quite prevalent in the corrupt camp of postevangelicalism today. Because these people in the ECoD are so intent on “unifying” the Church at all costs the Devil has been able to convince them that the doctrine recaptured during the Reformation is only some five hundred years old. So blinded have they become by the enemy of men’s souls that they are willing to blaspheme the Holy Spirit in their denial that these Reformers were men that God raised up Himself.
The Inerrancy And Authority Of The Bible
Clearly the inerrancy and the final authority of Holy Scripture i.e. sola Scriputra is being taught right here in Acts 17:11–and this is long before Luther and the Reformers ever came on the scene. You see what happens when one properly meditates; he finds the Truth, which is also found in the Example of Jesus in Matthew 4:4. First we are told–in the text of the Bible itself–that the Bereans were noble because they examined the Scriptures to discern whether what Paul was teaching them was true. From this fact we can understand that their efforts obviously pleased God, and further, we come to know that He is also encouraging us to examine the Scriptures today as well. Now by definition Scripture is to be considered as that which God Himself has spoken. Then Christ Jesus Himself also taught us by Example that God’s Word – Holy Scripture – is Truth (see–John 17:17). Therefore we can now see sola Scriptura i.e. the doctrine of the final authority of Holy Scripture as being true.
Secondly we also see from Acts 17:11 that the Bereans examined the Scriptures in an effort to test Christ’s Own Apostle and to make certain that what Paul said was true. From this we now ascertain the doctrine of the inerrancy of the Bible. Obviously it would have been fruitless to examine the Scriptures in an effort to test the truth of what they were being taught unless these Scriptures were themselves preserved from error. Since human beings err, and only God Himself is perfect, then it logically follows that He would have had to “hover” over their creation to prevent errors from creeping in. And this is exactly what we are later told when Paul instructs the young minister Timothy:
from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 3:15-4:4)
The Numbing Of The Mind
We’ll dig into this in more depth another time, but for now the obvious place for me to highlight is verse 16 above – All Scripture – not some – All Scripture is God-breathed – created by God just as His creative work in Genesis. The language here is identical, and since the Emergent Church is so intent on finding cultural context, we remind them that this is precisely what Timothy would have understood Paul to be teaching. This is why I included verse 15 – from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures – because the inerrancy of Scripture was the position of orthodox Judaism of that time period as well. This is quite clearly evidenced by how Christ Himself used Holy Scripture as the Master interacted with Jewish religious leaders of His day. The fact that they didn’t use the word “inerrancy” specifically is a straw man because this is clearly what these Scriptures are in fact teaching us.
Which brings us more specifically to that second area of common ground that the Purpose Driven Church, the Emergent Church (no longer emerging it’s on the scene) and the Word Faith Church also share. These major sections or pillars of the ECoD are all involved to one degree or another in the Gnosticism of highly subjective experience-oriented spirituality of this postevangelicalism through so-called “Christian” mysticism. The PDC and EC both use the alleged disciplines of so-called Spiritual Formation in their theology and these are really not unlike the practice of “praying in tongues” for hours at a time practiced within the WFC. Each has the same effect of reaching altered states of consciousness by numbing the conscious mind through the repetition of words and/or phrases and each is a clear violation of Scripture where our Lord clearly tells us – “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7).
As I close this out, as the Lord would will while I was preparing for this the other morning, I came across an article by David McCasland of called “Brain Games.” The devotional piece was built around Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. In it he brings out the fact that God gave us “the power to help keep our brain fit and working well.” McCasland then tells us about a neurologist who urges that daily mental exercises can “help stimulate the brain and keep it healthy.” Here’s some very important advice as McCasland writes:
The goal is to replace unthinking routine with fresh awareness and new focus. There’s a lesson here for us as followers of Jesus Christ. Even the most valuable spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer can become so habitual that our minds are not fully engaged.
What we are witnessing is a perversion of the true Christian faith though the supposed “Christian” mysticism of the Contemplative/Centering Prayer. It was a core doctrine of the Emergent Church anyway but it’s now being practiced by more and more within the Purpose Driven Church and even in parts of the Word Faith Church. This subjective existential mystical approach to God is having the effect of blending these all together to form the heart of The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit of postevangelicalism. And in the end this Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism is actually causing professing Christians to shut down their own critical reasoning skills.
However, as you have seen here from the Bible itself this is all clearly in conflict with what God Himself teaches His true followers to do. And therefore those who would teach and/or endorse–either by what they say and even by what they don’t say–the false teachings I have been warning you about would do well to tremble before Matthew 12:30. For this is what the Lord says:
“He who is not with me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters…Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD…whether they listen or fail to listen–for they are a rebellious house–they will know that a prophet has been among them…”