Archive for the ‘Concerns for Calvary Chapel’ Category
Letter to the Editor: Tens of Thousands Introduced to Contemplative Advocates Gungor and David Crowder at Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade
To Lighthouse Trails:
Did you see where Greg Laurie had Gungor performing at his crusade this past weekend? I didn’t see it, I only read that they were performing on Saturday night. Then Sunday night, 2000+ churches ([many] Calvary Chapels, I’m assuming) were broadcasting the crusade in their churches. _________
Our Comments: This is another strong indicator that mainstream evangelical Christianity is going contemplative. In this particular case, tens of thousands of people were introduced to contemplative advocates Michael Gungor and David Crowder.
Regarding the connection between the band Gungor and Calvary Chapel, in June 2011 Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled “Another Calvary Chapel Hosts a Gungor Concert”. The article pointed out that Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg (both in Florida) had hosted events with Michael Gungor’s band.
As shown in that article, Gungor is an advocate for contemplative prayer. The article stated:
“[O]n the Gungor website blog, Michael Gungor (head of the band) is giving detailed information on how to practice contemplative meditation in a three part article. We think it is necessary to take a closer examination of this three part article written by Michael Gungor. We hope this will help skeptical readers who think perhaps Lighthouse Trails is being too critical of Calvary Chapel to better understand our concerns.
“In the first part of Michael Gungor’s article, he explains to his readers that he went on a “spiritual pilgrimage” in September 2010 that incorporated a week to Italy and a week to Spain. Gungor states: ”The first week was a week of silence and meditation at a spiritual retreat that I found by googling ‘best spiritual retreats in the world.’” He said that he went on this pilgrimage because he was “on the brink” and “didn’t really know what [he] believed in.” Gungor began his journey with a trip to the Vatican where he heard the Pope speak: “not a bad way to start out my spiritual journey. Made me want to be Catholic actually.” After this, Gungor caught a flight to Assisi and on the flight he ”listened to a couple Rob Bell sermons on [his] ipod.” Gungor explains that the retreat was ”a cross religious retreat, so they had statues of Mary in the room next to a Buddha next to a Hindu something or other.” Part of the week of silence included times called “prayer movements,” where participants ”slowly wav[ed] [their] arms around, turning in circles and kneeling in the grass . . . It was a lot of ‘now the river that gave us everything is taking everything back’ kind of stuff.” Gungor writes in his journal at the retreat:
Peace. We just came back from our first prayer movement meditation, and I feel so close to God right now. So close that “You” almost feels funny. I get why one might say close to everything. I was going to say some sort of defensive, fearful statement clarifying that I’m not talking about pantheism. But I don’t need to be afraid.
God is beautiful.
Light and essence and love of the purest kind. God is something to be experienced not to “believe” in? God is too big to be believed in or not believed in. God is. Am I? Today, yes.
“In part 2 of Gungor’s article, he does what most emerging figures do – he de-emphasizes beliefs and doctrine, calling evangelism a “pyramid scheme” and says in many ways he agrees with the “new atheists.” He says he doesn’t ”believe in the old guy in the sky,” talking about God, adding:
To me, God is the basic Reality of the universe. God is what is. That’s how Moses wrote that God introduced Himself, isn’t it? “I am that I am.”
Whatever is, that is God.
“Gungor tells his readers that “encountering” God is more important that beliefs and doctrine. In part 3 of his article, he teaches how to “encounter” God, through meditation. ”Assisi helped me discover a new discipline for me that I can’t believe I had gone so long without. Meditation.” He adds:
I had tried meditating a handful of times before, but it never really did that much for me. So I stopped. But in Assisi, we would get up every morning and meditate with each other for an hour. Than we’d do a movement meditation, then we’d go and meditate on our own for most of the day, and then we’d get together at night one more time and meditate for another half hour before going to bed. That’s a lot of meditation.
And I finally got it. Now I understand why people from pretty much all religions do this.
“Gungor isn’t talking about biblical meditation where one ponders on and thinks about the Word of God. That is not something “all religions do.” He is talking about eastern-style meditation where either the breath (or something else) is focused upon or a word or phrase is repeated.
“A de-emphasis in doctrine and beliefs is very common among those who practice contemplative meditation. Why is this? Because the meditator is going into altered states of consciousness during meditation, he is entering into what we believe are demonic realms (that’s a hard thing to hear for someone who is practicing contemplative). The result of ongoing meditation is spiritual deception. After awhile a meditator begins to see himself as connected to everything and everyone.He also begins to believe that God is ineverything and everyone. Eventually, for the Christian who practices meditation, the doctrines of Christianity begin to grow dim and become less important than how he once may have viewed them. And once these doctrines diminish, even the doctrine of the atonement can take on new meaning (e.g. how could a loving God send His son to a violent death for the sins of others?). We believe this is the spirituality that many of these young people like Michael Gungor and Ann Voskamp could end having if they continue on this contemplative path.
“And that is why we hold Calvary Chapel and other denominations responsible for what they are doing. As Christian leaders, they do not have the right to promote people with these views, because such promotion only propagates the deception. The Bible says so – not us. Calvary Chapel claims to be a Bible-centered organization with mature Christian pastors who adhere to the Gospel; but a lot of misrepresentation is going on these days. There are many well-meaning Christians who attend Calvary Chapels, and we are sure there are Calvary Chapel pastors who would never consider having Gungor do a concert at their church. But two of their large churches are doing that, and a mixed message is being sent out from Calvary Chapel.
“Just as with other denominations, pastors (and congregants) within the Calvary Chapel movement have a responsibility to speak up against serious compromises within their organization, especially if those compromises are ones that represent “another gospel” and ”another Jesus” as does the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church movement. If a pastor cannot speak up, then according to Scripture, he should separate himself (come out from among them) and by thus doing so, protect his flock and the message of the Cross.”
David Crowder, another invited band to the Crusade, is also a contemplative advocate. Crowder is author of Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi, where he encourages the practice of lectio divina and references and quotes contemplative/emerging figure Walter Brueggemann a number times. It is Brueggemann who endorsed the back cover (along with Brian McLaren) of Alan Jones atonement denying book, Reimagining Christianity.
Some may say that Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade leads many people to Christ so introducing new converts to contemplative musicians should be overlooked. But the contemplative “Christ” is not the Christ of the Bible (as Lighthouse Trails has shown over and over this past decade); thus, how can pointing people to a false Christ ever be justified? While intentions may be good, that doesn’t negate the results of doing the wrong thing; and while top names like Gungor and David Crowder may draw the crowds, the fact is, including contemplative advocates in an evangelistic outreach makes no sense and can ultimately lead new converts down the wrong path.
LTRP Note: Follow up to our earlier news stories, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa named in Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and Feedback on Article about Calvary Chapel and Child Sex Abuse Case
By DAVID COLE
The Coeur d’ Alene Press
COEUR d’ALENE - Attorneys for Pastor Robert “Bob” Davis of North Country Chapel in Post Falls and the California-based parent church Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa asked a judge Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them alleging a failure to protect children from a sexual predator.
The lawsuit, filed in August 2011 in 1st District Court, names four men as plaintiffs who said they were sexually abused as teenagers in 2000 to 2003 by a man who was known to have targeted boys in the past.
A separate and previous lawsuit names North Country Chapel and Calvary Rathdrum as defendants, saying Iglesias provided youth services for both institutions while targeting the boys. That case is pending.
Also named in the newer lawsuit, and asking the court for dismissal, is Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowship, which like Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa is based in Santa Ana, Calif. Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowship affiliates new pastors and churches to the Calvary Chapel family of churches.
District Court Judge Benjamin Simpson didn’t rule on the requests for dismissal following arguments from the defendants’ attorneys and Coeur d’Alene attorney Leander James, who represents the four alleged victims in the two church cases. Click here to continue reading.
LTRP Note: Two weeks ago, we presented Part 1 of this story.
By Roger Oakland
(author of Let There Be Light, director of Understand the Times)
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
On July 17, 2009, I almost died while at the farm in Eston. Though the circumstances surrounding this incident have not been made public in the past, I believe it is important for me to share what happened. The incident and the weeks and months following changed the course of my life and the ministry at Understand The Times.
This part of my story actually begins in January 2007 while on a flight heading to the Philippine Islands. While the long flight itself from Southern California was just another journey and part of my “1 K” annual flight itinerary, the following day I noticed my body was not the same. I broke out in a “rash” or better described as “hives” from head to toe. I also came down with what seemed a terrible viral illness. From my hotel room, I dialed a friend on my cell phone, “I am very sick,” I said weakly. “I feel so bad, I don’t even know if I will make it out of here alive.”
However, in spite of the way I grew increasingly ill each day, I continued on with my speaking schedule in Manila and Bageo that lasted about ten days. When I arrived back in the USA, Myrna took one look at me and said, “I think you have scabies.” I wasn’t even sure what that was. But when I saw a doctor, he treated me for hives with steroids, and the hives went away. Within a few days of arriving home, we were scheduled for a long anticipated family holiday in Hawaii with my daughter and her family. We had a wonderful time, but on the flight home, I broke out again.
We actually had a second trip planned for shortly after we arrived home from our family trip. While it would seem to have been better to stay home and rest, Myrna and I left for Israel. We no sooner arrived there when I had another major attack. My face became so distorted that I looked like a monster. My skin erupted with scores of itching volcanoes that would not go away no matter what I did.
Once back home in California, a doctor referred me to an allergy specialist. By now, I had been taking steroids for over three weeks. It seemed this was the only way I could sleep. My condition was diagnosed as chronic idiopathic urticaria. The disease name may sound intimidating, but the side effects of the malady are far worse than the name. Chronic essentially means serious and long lasting; idiopathic means the medical profession does not know what you have, when you got it, how you got it, and how to get rid of it; urticaria means a problem related to the skin, which in my case was hives.
Week after week, month after month, the hives kept coming back, and I never knew when they were going to hit. Often they came right in the middle of a conference or other ministry trips. I continued making visits to the doctor who was treating me. After two years of extensive steroid use, weaning down and then off, I started to notice a difference in the way I was dealing with problems. I told my doctor I felt I was breaking down. . . .
[T]here was another factor. I was not only subjected to stress related to travel but also from human opposition to the positions I was taking as I stood for biblical truth. As well, I was now facing a lot of backlash from writing the book Faith Undone. While some Calvary Chapel pastors liked the book, many did not. The book had certainly hit a nerve. It named names, and some of those were names that certain prominent Calvary Chapel pastors were fond of. There were those who wanted me to come to their churches and speak on the topic; and there were those obsessed with trying to harm and even shut down the ministry of Understand The Times through spreading false rumors. Ironically, the book was selling quite well through the publisher to many outside the Calvary Chapel movement. Others could discern what was happening in the church, but many in my own fellowship could not.
It wasn’t just Faith Undone that brought about such opposition but also Another Jesus: the Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization, which was re-released in 2007 by the same publisher as Faith Undone. The books were like water between the rocks when it freezes. It breaks the rocks and shatters them.
The biblical position I wrote about in Another Jesus that reveals how Pope John Paul II had implemented an evangelistic program to win the world to the Roman Catholic Jesus was the first book written on the topic. The facts supporting this agenda are overwhelming. The thesis is not based on speculation but on solid documentation and biblical evidence. Further, the scenario is clearly laid out in Scripture by Jesus as one of the end-time signs that indicate His soon return.
Firmly convinced that the Lord had revealed these important things through His Word, I felt I must boldly confront this deceptive plan that fit into Bible prophecy. Three years prior to Faith Undone being released, Hollywood announced the release of Mel Gibson’s The Passion film (discussed in the previous chapter). It did not take me long to see that Gibson was part of the New Evangelization program and that the film was going to be used as propaganda to bring back the “separated brethren” to the Mother of All Churches. Later, I even documented where Gibson admitted that his goal for the film was evangelistic . . . for the Catholic Church.1
In an attempt to warn pastors and others on our UTT mailing list, we began to publish a number of articles explaining what was going on. These articles were met with mixed reviews—a high percentage of the negative response came from several Calvary Chapel pastors. “Pastor Chuck has endorsed the film. What give you the right to think you can challenge something that has been endorsed by Chuck,” a number said.
Even though the opposition against me over the books continued, Paul Smith was able to give away about a thousand copies of Another Jesus at the 2005 Calvary Chapel Pastor’s Conference alluded to in [Let There Be Light]. It was a rather historic time. While my book was handed out the first day of the conference to the pastors warning about the coming Eucharistic Christ, two days later Calvary Chapel pastor Jon Corson performed the communion for Chuck Smith and suggested to the pastors that it was time for Catholics and Protestants to lay down their differences.
Corson even made reference during communion to the idea that the bread or wafer is more than just a remembrance. When he did that, over fifty pastors, many of them former Roman Catholics got up and walked out. Paul Smith, at that time the head of Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowship, walked with them. While the tape of that meeting is no longer available from Calvary Chapel, one eyewitness said, “The pastors who walked out were standing on the sidewalk outside with some pointing at the building and crying out, ‘Heresy!’”
From June 2005 to July 2009, my life was like a rocky road covered with ice. Another Jesus was the first bridge over troubled waters. I had never estimated how difficult it would be to tell the truth to a church fellowship that I had been part of for over two decades. In August 2007, Faith Undone came off the press . . . all hell broke loose when the book hit the market.
However, while the release of the book caused a great disturbance, it also brought about many opportunities to speak. Perhaps there were too many opportunities and too many invitations. Being on a steady diet of steroids in an attempt to control what had now been diagnosed as an autoimmune disease, caused me to feel hyped up. This fed my feeling of urgency that it was imperative to fulfill all invitations. When I should have been resting, I was traveling. When I should have been healing, I was fighting on the front lines. In a twelve-month period, I visited and lectured in ten different countries as a speaker. My body was breaking down, and I knew it. My allergist doctor told me that time off and some physical labor on the farm in Saskatchewan would do wonders.
Around the middle of April 2009, I flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma and participated in a Bible conference with Dave Hunt and some other men who often spoke together. It did not require a medical professional to know there was something seriously wrong with me. Not only did my facial features show that I was very ill, so did my speeches. I was only going through the motions; while some may not have not seen it, others were probably wondering what was going on.
A few weeks later, I left for my annual long drive up to the farm to help my son Wade and his wife Lisa put in their crop. Before seeding, I had committed myself to speak at two conferences—one in Calgary and another in Saskatoon one week later. I barely remember those two conferences. What I do remember is that I was not who and what I once was.
When the conferences finally ended, I headed to Eston to help Wade and Lisa who had already started seeding. My life was deteriorating quickly. Myrna was not with me. She was back in California doing her full-time job as an industrial nurse. Without her working, there was no ministry. But our family was a farm family, and hard work was no stranger to any of us.
“You need to see a doctor here in Saskatchewan,” Wade prodded me daily.
“I can’t do that now, Wade. Not without Canadian health insurance. It’ll have to wait,” I protested whenever he brought up the subject.
For four weeks, I slept very little. The hives caused me to itch constantly. The only thing that would give me rest was when I took the steroids, and even they seemed to be losing their effect. I was in a trap and could not get out. I was beginning to feel like Job—I had already lost my son, I was losing many long-time friends and ministry support, and I had itching hives all over tormenting my body.
The weeks passed. I refused to go back to California because I was certain that Wade and Lisa could not manage seeding time without me. When I wasn’t working, I isolated myself, not wanting to see anyone. I pulled the curtains so that my house would be dark. I sat in a chair and watched television programs and the odd Blue Jays ball game.
In the middle of all this, a series of unfortunate events happened. First, our webmaster and good friend, Ron Pierotti, who is an integral part of Understand The Times, was diagnosed with a reoccurring brain tumor and told he may only have a month to live. Next, my long time friend Paul Smith called one day and told me he had just been fired from CCOF (Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships) at an impromptu meeting that afternoon. He sounded shocked and upset, saying that his own brother, Chuck, sat by and let it happen while one board member made the motion and another seconded it. This news about Paul came at a time when I was already deeply discouraged. Paul was being used by God to warn his brother about the wave of apostasy sweeping through the Calvary Chapel movement, and now he was being eliminated.
Everything solid in my life was crumbling.
And then, as if enough hadn’t happened to completely dishearten me, I received a call from Rob Yardley, a member of UTT’s board at the time and also a member of CCCM’s board. Rob told me that he had met with the Missions pastor at Calvary Costa Mesa, and it was decided that because CCCM was losing tens of thousands of dollars every month due to the bad economy, they were looking for ways to cut their budget. The money that CCCM was paying each month in support of the Myanmar orphans was one of the cuts. The children in Myanmar were going to lose the five hundred dollars a month the church was providing.
After hearing that, and while I didn’t think I could get much lower, I received two e-mails. One came from Sarah Yardley, Rob’s daughter and the overseer for Calvary Distribution. She said that Calvary would no longer be carrying Lighthouse Trails books* because of an article they wrote about Calvary Chapel and their firing of Paul Smith.2
For several days after all this, I drove a tractor helping Wade and Lisa pack or “roll” the legume crops to make the land level, preparing for harvest when the header of the combine needs to shave the ground. I drove the tractor day after day like a robot: I was there in body doing all the right things, but my mind was somewhere else. All I could think about was the death of a vision. Perhaps this is the end for me, I thought. Maybe God took me from the farm to Los Angeles and to the world for a season. Maybe it’s all over.
I tried calling and talking with the men on the Board of UTT in both Canada and the USA. They were either unavailable, not interested, or they told me they never had the vision God had given me in the first place. Doubts began to plague me. Maybe I have never had a vision, I began to reason. Maybe this whole thing is the figment of my imagination. I could not get my mind to stop racing with these thoughts of defeat.
On July 16th, Wade and Lisa left the farm early that morning with my seven-month-old granddaughter Elizabeth to go to Clearwater Lake for a few days. I was alone. I decided to be useful by cutting the grass in my yard, which was located about a quarter mile from our original home where Wade and his family now lived.
The events of the rest of the day and the next several days are merely a shadow in my memory. There are many details I do not recall. But what I do remember is this—I was very, very tired because I had not slept for days. I was also very depressed. Upon returning from cutting grass, I opened the shed door and drove in with our small John Deere garden tractor equipped with a mower attachment. The next thing I remember is waking up on the floor of the shed, my fingers tapping the floor. Then more blackout.
After that, the next thing I remember was Saturday morning the 19th of July 2009. I was curled up in my favorite chair in our living room; I had no idea how I got from the shed floor to my chair. But later, piecing things together, I must have fallen from the tractor, been knocked unconscious, came to, and crawled inside to the living room and into the chair. Now here it was Saturday morning, three days after my fall. Wade had returned from his trip. He was talking to me but getting nowhere. “Dad, I’m going to call Mom,” he finally told me walking toward the phone. Myrna was still in southern California.
“You better get him right over to the doctor in town,” she told Wade with concern in her voice. As soon as Wade hung up, he called the local doctor. The nurse told Wade to bring me in for a check right away.
I had known this doctor for most of my life. His father was also a doctor who had treated my grandmother. When he asked me how I got in the condition I was in, I told him I had chronic idiopathic urticaria and that I had been taking steroids. He then instructed Wade to go to my place and bring him all the medications I was taking.
From Eston, I was transported to Saskatoon to the University Hospital, but upon arrival, we discovered there was no room there, so I was shuttled to City Hospital. The next morning, doctors determined that I had a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and thus was transported to St. Paul’s Hospital for surgery. All of this happened within twenty-four hours.
Before the surgery took place, my vision became extremely blurred, almost to the point of blindness. After the surgery, this condition continued. The rest of my hospital experience in Saskatoon, Canada may become the subject for a book in the future regarding the pros and cons of socialized health insurance. For now, let me say, I was in the hospital for two weeks before they found out I had a hemorrhage in my brain, and this was the reason I could not see.
Before this diagnosis, at least one doctor treating me suggested that perhaps I was just depressed. But it would take a pretty heavy dose of depression to actually cause someone to lose his eyesight.
As soon as Myrna heard the diagnosis of the brain bleed, she left her job immediately in California, taking an emergency leave of absence, and came to Canada. When she learned that the hospital could not do an MRI for at least a month, she had me discharged, packed me in a car, and headed for California. She was afraid to fly and was advised against it in light of the brain injury. Because of Myrna’s quick response and insistence that I receive proper care right away, my life was saved.
Over the next several months, many things took place for me to get on the road to recovery. When we first got back, a doctor, who was a new ministry friend of ours, advocated for me and got me in to see one of the best brain specialists in southern California. Looking back, this was another step in God’s intervention of what Satan had meant for my destruction.
For one year, I was forced to take a sabbatical. I rarely saw anyone except for the odd occasion when Rob Yardley would show up. The rumors were spreading that I was either dead or that I would never be back in ministry again. While I’m sure there were those pleased with such news, God had other plans.
One afternoon, several months after my fall, and when I was beginning to get out a bit, I went into a Calvary Chapel bookstore and asked the clerk, out of curiosity, if she carried the book, Faith Undone.
“Yes, we do have a copy of that book.”
“Oh great,” I answered. “What do you know about the author, anyway?” I was curious what the word on the “street” was.
“Well, I think he died recently. That’s what I heard.” My eyebrows rose with interest.
“Oh, I don’t think that is true,” I told her. “In fact, I’m certain of it.”
“Really?” the young clerk asked, looking puzzled.
“Yes, you see I am the author.”
I have to admit I was amused at the stunned look on the girl’s face. As I walked out of the store, a purchased copy of Faith Undone under my arm, I smiled to myself and to the Lord. “I’m still here Lord. You protected me and must have kept me alive for a reason.”
What took place in my life those difficult few years has some similarities to the “Joseph” in the book of Genesis. His brothers, who should have been his friends, were instrumental in his near demise. But God took the thing that Satan had meant for evil and brought good out of it for Joseph and his family. Evil plots against those who belong to the Lord do not hinder God who is in charge of all things. He turns human manipulation around and in Joseph’s case made Joseph victorious.
The Bible tells us that our redemption draws near and that we are to look up in anticipation for that blessed hope of His appearing. None of us know the hour, but God’s Word tells us if we are watching the signs and the seasons, we can be aware of the times. I believe Jesus is coming soon, and Satan wants to keep the darkness protected. However, God’s Word is light. God hates darkness and will always expose it, even if those protecting the darkness are well-known and respected spiritual leaders.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. (Micah 7:8)
(Taken from the 21st chapter of Let There Be Light, 2011, Lighthouse Trails, by Roger Oakland – links added by Lighthouse Trails editors for this online version.)
*LTPC note: While Calvary Distribution did drop all Lighthouse Trails books, some Calvary Chapel church bookstores still carry our books but must purchase them from other outlets.
By Roger Oakland
While I am sometimes accused of being a “Catholic-basher,” this is not my desire, nor my intention. I have a number of Roman Catholic acquaintances, and I care for them very much. I also have a number of Evangelical and Protestant acquaintances, and I care about them equally as well. However, in both cases, if a true understanding of the Gospel according to the Scriptures is not present in their lives, then their views will not be biblical—it won’t matter what they call themselves. For the record, my desire is to follow Jesus Christ and His Word and no man, no matter who he is. Likewise, I desire my acquaintances to do the same. It is love, not hate, that motivates me to share the Gospel with them, for there is only one Gospel that truly saves.
Here is the view I promote. Saving faith hinges entirely on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not on an affiliation with a church body. To be born again is to die to the old life of living for self and sin and to be reborn of the Spirit of God when one acknowledges his inability to save himself but rather trusts in Christ alone and His death on the Cross to purchase our salvation.
Many Catholics do not realize that official Catholic teaching does not recognize the biblical Gospel of salvation by grace alone but adds to it the appendage of our merit and participation in the sacraments. By the same token, many Protestants do not realize the biblical faith that martyrs (the disciples, the reformers, etc.) lived and died for. Our hope of an eternal home in Heaven rests in Christ and Christ alone and is offered to all, who in child-like faith, receive Him.
I am not certain when I first realized that the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the Jesuits, were the root force behind the coming one-world religion. If I were pressed to come up with an original time, it would be difficult. Coming to this realization was more of a process for me. The Bible foretells the coming of the Harlot. G.S. McLean always instilled in me that the harlot was apostate Christianity. This I still believe is the proper definition.
Through writing New Wine and the Babylonian Vine, I could see that the final one-world religion will be a mix of all religions for the cause of peace. This will include a revival of ancient Babylonianism that will be rooted in the worship of creation, based on Darwinian evolution that is rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism. . . .
[I]t became increasingly apparent to me the role that the Roman Catholic “Mary” and the Roman Catholic “Jesus” will play in the final delusion to prepare the world for the Antichrist. . . . .
It was about 2000, the year before Bryce [my son] died, that I came across Pope John Paul’s agenda to promote the “New Evangelization.” This is an organized agenda to point the “faithful” and the “separated brethren” to realize that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. This program, coupled with so-called apparitions from a woman claiming to be “Mary” the mother of Jesus, seems to be the impetus behind the coming one-world religion for peace that would be headquartered in Rome. . . .
I had already come to the conclusion that there is a Jesuit plan to bring the separated brethren back to the “Mother of all Churches” in other ways, particularly their “dove” (signs and wonders) plan.
Following my miraculous come-back to ministry after Bryce died, I not only finished New Wine and the Babylonian Vine but started writing the outline and then the book Another Jesus: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization to continue the warning during 2004. While I was writing this book, Mel Gibson suddenly became a Calvary Chapel-proclaimed saint with his Passion of the Christ. Chuck Smith viewed a portion of the film before it was released and endorsed the film. The Calvary Chapel movement jumped on the bandwagon. As would be expected, they followed “Pastor Chuck’s” leading. There were few voices against the movie. Understand The Times was one of those voices who dared speak up.
While I don’t intend to name the pastors who called me to task over my position on The Passion, let me say there were many who wanted me to keep silent. Support for the ministry of UTT dwindled. There are pastors who even part ways to this day over my stand. Mel Gibson’s Hollywood film with the Eucharistic Jesus and the evangelism that it contained became a sacred cow for Calvary Chapel. If someone spoke against it, he came under zealous attack, as if speaking against Mel Gibson’s movie was speaking against Jesus Christ Himself.
Nevertheless, the book was completed. Jim Tetlow helped me by writing an appendix, which explains that a wafer is a wafer and not literally Jesus’ flesh under the “appearance of bread” and that the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation is not scriptural.
The book also warns about the coming lying signs and wonders that will occur associated with false appearances of the Eucharistic Jesus that are already underway. Coupled together with further lying signs and wonders, there will be appearances of an apparitional woman claiming to be “Mary” the mother of Jesus. We predicted that lying signs and wonders would impress Muslims because they have a special love for Mary—there is an entire chapter on Mary in the Koran. Most people don’t realize that.
In June of 2005, Paul Smith recommended that Another Jesus: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization be given out to the Calvary pastors at the annual senior pastors conference at Murrieta. As UTT did with New Wine and the Babylonian Vine, the books were donated through Calvary Distribution and handed out. In the back of the book is a commentary called “Passion Evangelism” that exposes Mel Gibson’s plan to win the world to the Eucharistic Christ.
By many accounts, the conference was deemed to be a watershed. A panel discussion one afternoon about Calvary basics ended up in a free-for-all. Greg Laurie led the way with Bob Coy in stand-up comedy. Things got serious when Greg Laurie chastised pastors for not participating in Harvest Crusades just because of his desire to be linked with Purpose Driven globalist pastor, Rick Warren. The only pastor who seemed to be in favor of studying the Bible instead of someone’s book was Mike Macintosh.
Many pastors left the meeting with a heavy heart. Mine was so heavy I decided to pack up my book table one afternoon and stay at my hotel. Later that evening while at the hotel, my cell phone started to ring. The messages were all the same sentiment: “You cannot believe what just happened!” one pastor from South Carolina cried out.
“This is heresy!” said another in an excited voice.
“What has happened to Calvary? Have we been seduced by the Jesuits?” asked another who called me. All this commotion was because Calvary Chapel pastor Jon Corson, who was to perform the communion service at the end of the meeting, turned it into a Eucharistic-style service.
After the conference, I wrote a letter from my heart to Chuck Smith. I expressed my deep love for him and for Calvary Chapel but also told him of my strong concerns. Here is some of what I said in that letter:
It is with a heavy heart that I must communicate to you that over the past several years, because of many firsthand encounters and experiences in various places with numerous Calvary Chapel pastors, that I have observed a change in the Calvary Chapel movement that deeply concerns me. Perhaps some of my concerns have filtered back to you through others. Until writing this letter, I have not formally contacted you with these concerns. I regret now that I have waited so long. After leaving the Pastors Conference in Murrieta this past week, I laid awake several nights contemplating what I should do or say. This letter is the result.
I explained to Chuck that while I knew there were Calvary Chapel churches that were staying true to God’s Word, there were many that were being influenced by another gospel. I gave him six points where serious error could be found. I want to list them here because every Christian denomination is being affected in these areas to one degree or another:
Ecumenical and unbiblical teachings are being endorsed for the cause of unity and church growth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is being disguised to make it less offensive and more acceptable.
Churches that once taught the Bible faithfully verse by verse preparing the flock for the imminent return of Jesus Christ, now are looking for ways to make their services more seeker-friendly and are less concerned about the prophetic signs we are living in the last days.
Pastors and churches that once believed church growth was dependent on feeding the sheep and equipping the saved to share the Gospel, now promote humanistic means to draw in the masses based on a consumer style of evangelism focused on “finding out what people want” to “get them in the door.”
Churches once led by pastors committed to biblical truth, now are employing experts who use worldly principles borrowed from secular corporations with material goals for success. Rather than following Jesus and His Word, pastors and church leaders are looking to successful men and their methods so they can become part of a movement that is based on principles foreign to the Scriptures.
When church leaders promoting strategies to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth by humanistic methods are challenged by concerned believers warning about the dangers, the leaders label these believers as divisive. Contending for the faith is no longer considered biblical. A person taking a position for biblical truth is now accused of being critical of what others believe.
Bible-believing pastors who once taught the Bible are now looking for ways to attract people to their congregations by providing extra-biblical experiences [e.g. contemplative] and an atmosphere that includes candles, icons, incense, and the introduction of Roman Catholic sacraments. When concerned observers suggest this appears to be leading to a partnership with Roman Catholicism, they are considered to be negative opponents of the “new thing” God is doing to reach our generation.
I told Chuck that it was apparent to some that we are at another crossroads in church history, a fork in the road. I asked him if pastors were going to stand up and make their voices known if they have concerns about the direction current trends are leading. I reminded him, “While some say, don’t be negative—just be known for what you believe, not what you are against—the Old Testament prophets were outspoken when followers of God strayed away from the truths of God and never allowed the sheep to feel comfortable in their sin.”
Before coming to the 2005 Murrieta Conference, I had spoken at another conference in Tempe, Arizona called “Upon This Rock.” The theme of the conference was examining the claims of the Roman Catholic faith to see if they are biblically sound, and what role they play in the establishment of apostasy and the one-world religion that the Bible calls the Harlot.
This was the first time I had spoken publicly on “The Emerging Church.” By now, it had become apparent to me that the emerging church, an attempt to reach the postmodern generation by the present-day church, was another deceptive “road to Rome.”
During this conference in Phoenix, I gave actual examples of how Calvary Chapel was being drawn into the darkness from what once had been a position of light. While there were a few voices that were warning about this, they were in the wilderness and felt very much alone. They were also considered to be the crackpots, the ones causing division—and the ones who needed to be “marked” and disfellowshiped.
By now, I had enough ministry under my belt to know when the writing is on the wall. The writing in this case was very clear. I had stepped over the line. Consistent with my nature and my calling, I was not able to sit down and keep silent. My resistance was met with nasty e-mails, phone messages, and innuendos coming from people and places that I will refrain from mentioning.
For me, this was like adding fuel to a burning fire. It seemed the Lord was impressing upon me to start putting together an outline for a book. By the fall, I received an invitation to speak at a well-known conference in Dallas, Texas where I was asked to share the evidence that Bible-believing Christianity was under attack by apostates masquerading as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The outline for that presentation would become the outline for a book that I would call Faith Undone: the emerging church—a new reformation or an end time deception. . . . I completed the book, and in August of 2007, a small grassroots publishing house called Lighthouse Trails Publishing released the book.
Immediately, a firestorm was created. A copy of the book had been given to Chuck Smith; he in turn read several pages of the book from the pulpit on a Wednesday night study, but did not mention the source. Whether or not he was trying to protect me from the “wolves” in Calvary Chapel, I suppose I will never know. One of my friends, who is a pastor in Minnesota, heard Chuck’s message and announced on the Calvary pastors’ private web forum that Faith Undone should be read and discussed because Chuck Smith had quoted from it. This caused quite a stir on that forum. Of course, those for the emerging church were not for me. One responded that he had read the footnotes of Faith Undone, and that was all he needed to know that Roger Oakland was a heretic. . . .
Over the next few months, it became apparent that my days at “Big Calvary” were numbered. And why not? I had written several letters to Chuck Smith and Paul Smith (whom I had become close friends with). Paul told me that whenever he delivered some of these letters, Chuck would either say “Roger is too negative,” or he would just roll his eyes. I wondered if this was because of pressure he was receiving from members of his own family involved with the Peter Drucker agenda to influence Calvary Chapel. Whatever the case, apparently Chuck did not want to intervene and take sides. . . .
My efforts to counter the counter reformation by Rome led me to discover that my own fellowship of churches was not only being influenced by the very thing I was trying to expose and warn against, but some within the movement were working to discredit and harm me and the ministry of Understand The Times because I was trying to expose the error. This is an example of how Satan can lead astray Christian organizations once used by God without those in charge seeming to be aware. If they were aware, surely they would have done something about it. . . .
Satan certainly is clever in his tactics. He hates the light.
(Excerpt from Let There Be Light by Roger Oakland, from chapter 20)
When Leaders Wrongly Share Speaking Platforms with Ecumenists and Teachers of False Doctrine
By Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network
Many years ago Pastor Chuck Smith’s long-time associate, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s Associate Pastor, L.E. Romaine, once told me personally”Don’t complain about it unless you first try to do something about it.”Pastor Romaine was exhorting us (pastors) not to complain about anything, unless we seek first to aright the situation, no matter what it is. Obviously, the Bible says we are not to grumble and complain, and Romaine knew that too. Romaine was simply communicating to us that we ought to deal with issues and not make messes in the church; theological, or otherwise. The following material is not meant to be a complaint, but an introduction as to why Calvary Chapel is not standing against Ecumenical compromises. I am not complaining, I am telling the truth.
For the record, I have tried to do something about the issues I am presenting here for years now(2004-2012). Some may say I am wasting my time; however, I have persisted because I care about the countless people who are being confused and spiritually damaged by the many leaders who either won’t apologize for their theological compromises or heavy-handed leadership, or both. When people in Calvary Chapels (and other churches) address ecumenical compromises, pastors either resist and reject accountability, or they obey the LORD, yielding to the principle of biblical separation from aberrant and false teachers/teaching. What I and many others have seen and experienced firsthand, and continue to see, in leaders who are unrepentant, is incredible and thoroughly inexcusable. I personally know numerous pastors that see the problems and yet sit back and remain silent and comfortable, watching from afar and doing nothing.
Based on the sociological dynamics of what occurs when one stands up and attempts to deal with the compromises, it is truly apparent that many are caught in a snare – that snare being the fear of man and fear of being ostracized by bigger name, “higher up” pastors.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:5).
“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident” (Proverbs 14:16).
“These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:22).
The remedy for this plague in the church however is a healthy and truly reverential fear of Almighty God. Click here to continue reading.
By Roger Oakland
Several years ago, I wrote a commentary that created a huge controversy. Some who read the commentary took it personally and thought I had written the article to specifically fire a missile over the bow of the leadership I was most familiar with. While I can see now why they would come to this conclusion, when I wrote the commentary, this was not my objective. I was trying to wake these leaders up so they would recognize the error of their way, repent, get things right, and be a lighthouse in these Last Days.
Sometimes God speaks to his servants to warn others. Certainly, this is proven over and over again through the testimony of the Old Testament prophets. Sometimes those who were being warned listened, but in most cases, they did not. Judgment always followed.
I wrote Ichabod in 2007 because I was compelled (I believe by the Holy Spirit) to warn many that I knew and loved about the apostasy that has now swept so many denominations and other groups. In many cases, these groups have now sold out to the ecumenical movement that leads to Rome and the One World religion.
Rather than Christian leaders and pastors recognizing that the Holy Spirit had departed from many churches and denominations, they themselves were swallowed up by strong delusion, and the march towards apostasy continued. Few have been bold enough to say anything because they do not want to rock the boat.
As we near the end of 2011, we will make one more plea for those who still believe they are serving God, when instead they are abandoning His Word either through their actions or their silence or both. This is why we are republishing the commentary Ichabod.
Maybe there is still time for some to wake up. Click here to read the original Ichabod article by Roger Oakland. Roger discusses the “Ichabod” article and what took place after he wrote it in his new book, Let There Be Light.
By Roger Oakland
One of the main goals we have at Understand The Times is to analyze the news in light of insights found in the Word of God. With regard to Bible prophecy, we should be very aware that doctrines of demons are taking place as part of the great falling away. Even those who have been known for teaching the Word of God can will be misled as they get caught up in this Last Days apostasy.
Recently an article caught my attention with regard to Rome’s New Evangelization program. This program, put into place by Pope John Paul II, is still being promoted by Pope Benedict XVI in order to bring people to the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Jesus through a variety of plans.
The title of the article I read was “The Blessed Mother – The Vatican’s Secret Weapon?” Notice that the title asks a question, which the article proceeds to answer showing how two Roman Catholic leaders, one from the USA and the other from Europe, have been both brought on board by Pope Benedict to provide leadership for Rome’s worldwide New Evangelization program.
These two men from different parts of the world had something in common, which I found to be very interesting. As the article states:
Two esteemed men, one a United States Catholic Bishop from Green Bay, WI., the other a Cardinal based in Europe, serving as the Archbishop of Vienna, suddenly seem to have very much in common.
Both men, charged with revitalizing the Catholic faith, have courageously taken action that acknowledges the supernatural presence of Our Lady.
The phrase supernatural presence of Our Lady is important when studying about Last Days deception dealing with the topic of lying signs and wonders. Both of these men are promoters of the unbiblical idea that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appears in apparitions giving messages from heaven as if they were even more important than the Word of God. In their effort to revitalize the Roman Catholic Church and establish what they believe will be the kingdom of God on earth, they are promoting supernatural appearances of an apparitional woman they claim is Mary the mother of Jesus. Paul warns about this very deception in the letter he wrote to the Galatians, saying: “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.”  Click here to continue reading.
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails
The “Creeping” Effect of Apostasy
The church of today is very much astir. Everywhere we turn, embellishments are being added to Christianity as if to improve it. The old ways do not seem to satisfy anymore. A great influx of new teachings and practices have exchanged the God of old as depicted in the pages of the Bible with a deity much more palatable to the post-modern mind. Brennan Manning illustrates this when he stated in one of his books, “ . . . the god who exacts the last drop of blood from His Son, so that His just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist.”1 This “progressive” contemplative/emerging church has gone so far as to place in pulpits men who blaspheme God and who deny the atonement. But let us step back for a moment to see how emerging thought has developed. Such a statement did not come out of the blue, but as Ray Yungen suggests, a “creeping” effect made it all possible.2
Over the years, Christian leaders and pastors have stopped defending the faith and have exchanged the Word of God for things that outwardly appear very spiritual and promise a “quantum leap” into a “new spirituality.” Though there have always been those who deny Christ’s substitutionarydeath on the Cross, most of this kind of thought andteaching has been kept out of the evangelical/Protestant church. But as the walls of biblical truth were gradually torn down, it is no longer unusual to hear this kind of teaching in Christian colleges and seminaries. Much of what we see today began with men who pioneered the way to apostasy, then as a domino effect these ideas caught on and accelerated to the unbiblical thoughts and teachings we are witnessing in so many Christian circles today.
An example of this creeping effect can be seen in the Brennan Manning quote above from his 2003 book because it is nearly a word for word rendering of several lines from New Age sympathizer and mystic William Shannon’s 1995 book Silence on Fire.3This book is the biography of Thomas Merton who possibly had more to do than anyone else in giving mysticism (namely contemplative prayer) that initial push whereby it has now avalanched into the mainline evangelical/Protestant churches. But it all began as a creeping or rippling effect with the initial momentum almost imperceptibly slow.
Over the last decade or two, countless pastors and religious leaders across North America have pulled out for their evening reading books written by mystics like Henri Nouwenhoping to glean something to carry them to the next level of spirituality. Unfortunately, that quantum leap ends in the web of apostasy. As you may know by now, Henri Nouwen (also a great admirer of Thomas Merton) wrote in a provocative intellectual style that has intrigued many pastors, but what happened when these pastors stumbled upon these words:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.4
Nouwen said these words toward the end of his life after spending years involved with mysticism. And yet, pastors, leaders, and professors are enamored with Nouwen. And on goes that seemingly subtle creeping in of deception slowly but surely.
Calvary Chapel and the Man Who Tried to Warn Them
This past week, we were sent a short audio clip that further reminded us of the great need to stand firm in the faith in these darkening days and continue issuing warnings. The audio clipwas from a segment of Calvary Chapel Pastor’s Perspective radio broadcast. Chuck Smith received a call-in where he was asked the following question: “Is it right for a Catholic woman to marry a Christian man even though she’s pregnant with his child?” Chuck struggled his way through providing an answer, but ended up saying that the differences can be resolved because he doesn’t think “they [differences] are that great.” He added, “You know Catholics are basically Christians too.” Chuck’s son, Chuck Smith Jr. was in the studio too and added, “I think the more important questions are is he a good man and do they love each other?” Hearing Chuck Smith’s lenient words toward Catholicism, not to mention allowing his contemplative promoting son to give advice to listeners, made it hard to believe this is the same man who invited and welcomed Roger Oakland into Calvary Chapel over two decades ago. One of Roger’s main warnings to the church has consistently been about the road to Rome so much of the church is taking.
Unfortunately, Roger has been ridiculed and ostracized by much of church leadership for his strong and unwavering stand against apostasy and spiritual deception – many feeling he was too extreme and negative. But as time marches on, it is beginning to appear that, if anything, what is happening to the church is worse than anyone could have anticipated or described. We actually owe Roger a tribute and a salute for his efforts to warn the church at great personal cost. Having lost two sons and having a near death experience himself, Roger has known adversity that is reminiscent of Job. But also like Job, Roger has a new perspective on what is dear in life and for him his treasure is in heaven, and his quest is saving souls.
But Roger is not one to look for praise, so let us dispense with that for the moment. However, it would be fitting to bring our readers up to speed with what really happened with Roger and Calvary Chapel. It seems that many people are confused about the attitude of Roger Oakland and Lighthouse Trails toward the Calvary Chapel movement, and a lot of them think our motivation has been to “bring them down” or destroy the movement.
The truth is, the reason why Lighthouse Trails ever got involved with Calvary Chapel in the first place was on a favorable note: Calvary Chapel, as of several years ago, was the only denomination that decided to take a corporate and public stand against the emerging church, the contemplative prayer movement and the Purpose Driven movement.5 At that time, we were in communication with Chuck and Paul Smith in the fight against apostasy. In one e-mail Chuck wrote to us personally in the spring of 2009, he said, “Keep up the good work and be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you faint not.” Roger had already been working with them for years (as Roger’s new book Let There Be Light chronicles) pleading with pastors to protect themselves and their churches from deception. At the time, a number of Calvary Chapel pastors felt Roger was right-on in what he was doing. One pastor, after having read Faith Undone (in 2007) stood before a pastor’s conference and said that this was the best and most needed book he had read for a long time. Chuck Smith read a large portion of the book at a Wednesday night meeting at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
So both in Roger’s case and our case, our dealings with Calvary Chapel were intended to help these pastors and their churches by providing them with research and information so they could make good decisions based on the Word of God.
However, as time went on, some of Calvary Chapel’s key leaders decided they wanted to embrace the Purpose Driven movement as well as contemplative/emerging spirituality. It seemed, almost like overnight, that Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times went from being seen as a blessing to being seen as an enemy to Calvary Chapel. Before we knew it, our two ministries were being marginalized. Some colleagues even told Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails to stop talking about Calvary Chapel altogether (when that didn’t happen, they distanced themselves from us). Rumors, sometimes even begun by disgruntled pastors, spread like wildfire.6
Yet, even to this day, after all that has occurred, it is our hope and desire that Calvary Chapel will rescue itself, although as a whole, a steady decline continues. We do wonder what ever happened to the pastors who at one time stood with us. Why are they silent? One of those pastors, from one of the larger Calvary Chapel churches, called us after we put out an article talking about Roger being kicked off Calvary Chapel radio (KWVE). The pastor was very upset, stating, “Our church bought over a hundred copies of Faith Undone from you! How could you write articles like this about Calvary Chapel!” The insinuation was that their buying books from us should keep us from writing about Calvary Chapel. It became evident in time to this pastor and others that losing a book customer, even a big one, would not alter our reporting. Not too long after that, we received notice that Calvary Chapel distribution had removed all Lighthouse Trails books from their distribution center (this is also talked about in Let There Be Light).
The fact remains, it has never been our intent or motive to destroy Calvary Chapel. If this happens, it will be because they did it to themselves. In the meantime, it is our hope that at least some of these pastors will take a stand.
Please keep in mind that we have never said that all Calvary Chapel pastors are heading for apostasy. On the contrary, there are a number of them who have resisted the coming tide. But now, it seems like even many of them have grown silent. If you are one of these pastors, we hope and pray you will steer the ship God has entrusted to you before you strike a bar. The Calvary Chapel vessel has been going through some treacherous waters for some time, but it seems that many now have pulled up anchor and are allowing their ships to be driven to and fro by the wind hoping they will reach the right destination by some mere chance.
North American Pastors and the Church on Borrowed Time
In his recent trip to Kenya, Africa, Roger Oakland was met with overwhelming hospitality from the pastors there. These pastors had been reading Roger’s books and are very troubled about the compromised pastors of North America and the state of the Western church.
These are humble pastors who know where their treasure lies. One day, while in Kenya, Roger was dining with some of the pastors, when he noticed one of them would not eat. This pastor, Roger discovered, was taking all his food back with him so that his family could have something to eat that day. The poverty is so great there that many living in that area are fortunate if they can have one meal a day.
In a recent Understand the Times article, Roger shares the highlights of his visit to Kenya. He hopes to start orphanages there and bring these people some practical help. He wonders too if maybe God is redirecting him to speak to pastors who will listen. Some of the pastors who came to listen to Roger had to travel at least two days journey to get there. Unlike the short 45 minute sermons in many North American churches, the sessions there went for hours.
Pastors of North America, it’s not too late, but the North American church in on borrowed time. We have become weak and spoiled, and it is time to change course, return to a no-compromise faith, the kind many of us had when we first became Christians. To straddle the fence, as has been the case for way too long, has cost the church dearly and could mean a steady erosion of biblical faith and a fall into the mire of full-blown apostasy.
While the mystics and emergents strip Jesus of who He is and what He came for, we should never forget that in Him we have a priceless treasure. Isaiah said of Him, “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Most importantly, Jesus came to redeem us from our sins:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, he used a number of illustrations, one of which should have special significance in our churches today:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)
While the emerging, purpose-driven, contemplative “progressives” of today are casting biblical doctrine on the dung heap more than ever, we should be holding on to it as something truly sacred for it is biblical doctrine that defines our faith and gives to us living water. Hebrews 4:12 tells us:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
No wonder the devil wants to undermine and get rid of the Word of God, and he is attempting to do it through many who call themselves Christians.
Contending for the faith may cost us everything we have, but it is worth it, a jewel far about price. This life will soon be over, but eternity will last a very long time. Shouldn’t we be putting our treasures in heaven no matter what it may cost us now?
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:45-46)
1. Brennan Manning, Above All, pp. 58-59 as quoted from Roger Oakland in Faith Undone, p. 195. (2003)
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, p. 94. (2nd ed. 2006)
3. William Shannon, Silence on Fire, pp. 109-110. (1195)
4. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 51. ( 1998 Hardcover Edition)