Asleep On The Watch

by Steve Muse
Eastern Regional Watch Ministries

I have been told that in this day and age the role of watchman as understood in the Old Testament has been done away with, that it is not necessary because we are not under the wrath of God but under grace through Jesus Christ. If there are watchmen today, I am told, they cannot be held to the same degree of accountability that God required of Ezekiel. If there are watchmen today as described in Ezekiel, who are these watchmen? And after examining the following from Ezekiel 33, who would ever want to be put in this position?

The Watchman’s Duty: Ezekiel 33

“And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them,

‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.

“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life. ” Ezekiel 33:1-9

If we look closely in chapter 20 in the book of Acts we see that the Apostle Paul understood this mandate even as he warned the overseers in Ephesus concerning his departure after being with them for three years. Here is one example clearly stated:

“I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert (watch), remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” Acts 20:26-31 (also see Acts 18:6)

One could say that this was an Apostolic responsibility that was not passed on to us but if we look in Hebrews we see that the overseers were exhorted by its writer to look out for the sheep, to guard and warn them as watching over the flock:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17

In Mark, chapter 13, we see that Jesus is telling us of the things to come regarding the Last Days. He exhorts us all to be on the alert, to be watchful of the things to come. It seems we have all been called to be in a constant state of watchfulness in some capacity as believers in Christ:

“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert.

“Therefore, be on the alert — for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep.
“What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!'” Mark 13:33-37

Why am I asking these questions or why am I even concerned that anyone is at watch for the body of Christ?

As Paul states in Acts 20:28-31, there has been through the centuries and still continues to this day, to be many savage wolves coming into the flock and also rising up from within to deceive and steal away disciples after themselves. I would hope this is not a surprise to anyone but sadly, I must report, this is probably the state of many churches everywhere.

Just testifying of my own experience, over the last 10 years, I have visited dozens of churches that have had an ‘open door’ policy, accepting whatever doctrine or new teaching that comes through the door. Unlike the words of Paul in Ephesians 4, about those who should be watching and equipping the saints, to bring us to maturity, not being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, they in fact willingly open their sails to allow any wind to blow them about. I have witnessed many in leadership, whether pastor, elders or overseers who have no clue to what has come through their doors or is about to come upon them as we look to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one is guarding the flock as the wolf moves silently about looking for those he can devour.

As I was wondering what has happened to those called to watch over the flocks, in whatever capacity that they serve, I thought of a little Mother Goose nursery rhyme about Little Boy Blue and how appropriate this is for today’s churches:

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn.
The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn.
Where is the boy that looks after the sheep?
“He’s under the haycock, fast asleep.”
Will you wake him? “No, not I;
For if I do, he’ll be sure to cry.” (Emphasis mine)

Somebody please wake the watchmen! I would rather have sadness and grief with much tears, bringing us to repentance, than to continue to see the churches being infiltrated and assimilated by New Age Occultism, false teaching, heresies, philosophies of men and doctrines of demons as the watchmen sleep.

I have written this before and it has happened again just recently. I was asked which church I would recommend for a new Christian to begin fellowship. As a Christian of more than 30 years, and after visiting dozens of churches locally, I could not think of any church where I would send this person without knowing that they would in some way be caught up in the current trends of deception that are sweeping through the body of Christ. This is related to the lack of discernment being used by the leadership that are asleep.

Most of what I have written addresses those in leadership that are asleep or unaware of the dangers that lie in wait. There are also churches that I have been to that the leadership is knowingly allowing and teaching deception with little concern for the flock thus fitting the example of Scripture from Acts 20.

Pastors, elders, overseers, shepherds and watchmen; please heed this call to awaken and warn the flock of the dangers that face your churches today. You are responsible and accountable if you do not warn them! Their blood will be on your hands! (source)

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Arming the International Community

by Carl Teichrib
Forcing Change

On a recent radio show I was asked about the international implications of sending forces into Libyan airspace. Although I hadn’t been watching the news every minute of every waking hour, the question didn’t catch me off guard: R2P – the Responsibility to Protect (aka: Right to Protect).

Upfront, I don’t agree with Libya’s shyster government, one with a history of repression. Indeed, the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya’s official name) has been led by an authoritarian ruler for too long. Yet, until a few months ago, Muammar Gaddafi and his government had been a darling of the international community.

In 2008 Libya held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council, then it took the lead in the UN General Assembly the following year. Libya was elected to the UN Human Rights Council and chaired the African Union, both in 2010. Today it’s a major shareholder in the African Development Bank and presides over OPEC. And in January 2011, Libya was commended by the the UN Human Rights Council in its Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – applauding the “country’s commitment to upholding human rights on the ground.”

Then came the demonstrations, the brutal government reactions, armed confrontations, a surge in refugees fleeing the nation – including refugee deaths in the Mediterranean, international posturing by world leaders, and air-strikes by a coalition that initially waffled between “overthrowing” or “not overthrowing” Gaddafi.

The Libyan crisis is ongoing as I write this article, and the endpoint is anything but clear. Regardless, the question from my radio host wasn’t difficult to answer: This action against Libya, either right or wrong, will reinforce the R2P agenda. In the words of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect; “If the UN and NATO had failed to take stronger actions, we would now being [sic] questioning whether the commitment to RtoP holds any value.”[1]

We will elaborate-on and critique “Responsibility to Protect” in the final installment of the One World, One Force series. However, a short introduction is necessary as R2P represents the manifestation of “international authority” and “force.” Simply put, R2P holds that when a nation fails to properly safeguard its own citizens, the global community has the responsibility to actively intervene through the use of collective force. In the present environment this national failure includes genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and other similar crimes against humanity. Clearly, a moral high-ground frames the public and political perception of Responsibility to Protect, yet significant contradictions and concerns exist; including humanitarian intervention as a pretext for other geopolitical goals. Click here to read more.

 

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Letter to the Editor from New Believer in Australia: Handed Purpose Driven Life But Knew Something Was Wrong

Dear Lighthousetrails Staff and Writers,
 
Wow, what an amazing and inspiring website!!!! I stumbled upon it two weeks ago, and feel God has answered my prayers. I have been praying to God to guide me to Seek and Find, Ask and to receive The Truth and HIS Truth only. There is so much “Christian” chaos out there, and I keep going back to HIS Word.
 
Growing up with no Bible knowledge in my Catholic church and then being deceived into a New Age hell, I’ve been devouring the Bible for over 6 years now.  When I found The True Christ and gave my self to Him, I could not go back to the Catholic church, as I felt He was not there, just hanging “weak” on that cross every week. Immediately, I knew praying the dead out of Purgatory, totally negates the purpose of Christ the Saviour.   

The message of Christ’s Power, Love, Salvation, The True Trinity, and His Kingship  never,ever came through to me at Church. Sorry, I did not see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in other parishioners. Not judging, but I never felt it. Jesus IS the Way, The Truth and the Life and The Light of the World, and I’m focusing on Him and His Word.
 
I’ve been confused on so many issues, practices and have unknowingly read many “emerging” books. What is interesting, is that I could not take on the information,( something  irked me) – must have been my conviction.   The first book I was given as a new Christian was Purpose Driven Life,  which I had  read twice, and couldn’t “accept” so much of it, even though I was not biblically immersed enough to know why. Also, I actually did not like “The Shack” as all my friends raved about it. God is masculine, and the “fractal” messy female holy spirit bothered me, as did Mac woman!!!! I found that book was really diminishing the magnificence of God. Even as a “novel” I found it offensive.
 
Thank you again for truly being a Lighthouse in these dark times. I will definitely buy the books recommended on your website!
 
May God continue to bless you all and your work!
 
With Love,
 
K. L.

Sydney, Australia

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Letter to the Editor: Congregation Doesn’t Want to Know the Truth

 Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I have been reading Roger Oakland’s book “Faith Undone” and have come to realize that there is absolutely no preaching, at least in our community, against the dangers of the emerging church or contemplative spirituality. The people are totally in darkness, and most of them have no interest in reading about it.

It is new to me, and I am trying to get educated on the subject.I don’t remember if I told you, but here in _________ there is a pastor who is supposed to be a Baptist, but has written five books promoting universalism and the cosmic christ, among other things. He has an article in the Sunday paper every other week which his church sponsors. He thinks Rob Bell is wonderful and has written five columns about him.

I have written several columns in the newspaper to alert the Christians of the dangers, but it seems to fall on deaf ears, except for a few people.

I know several Christians in his congregation. They are educated,intelligent people. How can they sit there week after week and listen to this dangerous garbage? Even after I have pointed  out the dangers they disregard my comments.

One judge, a member of the church, has even hinted to me in a veiled threat that I might stir up trouble (law suit?). He didn’t actually say that, but the hint was clear and also published in the paper. The pastor, he said, is a likeable man, wonderful pastor and highly intelligent preacher. He is loved by his church,the judge said

 I am not going to argue with _________ anymore, but it is frustrating. This is like an unseen cancer attacking the body of Christ. (Maybe I should say an occult malignancy.)

 I just want to encourage you in your work.You may think you are not making any headway, but you really are educating at least some of us. Just wanted to become a friend of yours.

  Blessings,

 T. B. MD (U.S.A.)

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Open Letter To Evangelical and Protestant Pastors Worldwide – Now is the Day to Turn Back to God’s Word

May 31, 2011

From: Roger Oakland, Understand The Times

The following letter is to all Bible-believing pastors throughout the world who have been or are being influenced by current trends that are attacking the Word of God through the postmodern humanistic mystical belief system. I have witnessed this deception firsthand on a worldwide basis but am most familiar with what has been happening in the two fellowships I have been part of for the past thirty years – one in Canada and one based in southern California.

It is with a heavy heart I write this open letter to those who consider themselves evangelical or Protestant pastors. While my desire is to do this respectfully and with the love of the Lord, I am compelled with a strong sense of responsibility to write this warning.

The fact is we are living in a time in history where there is great spiritual apostasy (a falling away), and sadly, many pastors don’t even realize it is happening. Others realize it but don’t know what to do about it, while still others see it but promote it anyway. The purpose of this letter is to shine light on the darkness that has crept into so many churches today.

For many years, I have documented my concerns about this apostasy and presented the evidence to the body of Christ. An article I wrote a few years ago called “Ichabod” described the departing of God’s Spirit from many churches. That article was later followed by the commentary “Is Your Denomination a Sinking Titanic?.” I believe we are witnessing the sinking of the Titanic at the present time. While most are still dancing around in the ballroom, a few have chosen to get off the boat. How many get off in time is the question that remains to be answered.

While I recognize that I am “marked” by some as someone who has caused division within the church, please understand I do not fear any man. I look to Jesus Christ and am committed to tell the truth whatever the cost. I know I have enemies among the “brethren” who insist that I remain silent. I have also been falsely accused and slandered by gossip as a means of discrediting me.

The Bible teaches that we should never fear man or follow man’s ways. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). We should fear God and His Word alone. Based upon what God revealed to Ezekiel (Chapter 3: 17-20), there is a biblical principal that cannot be overlooked. When God reveals deception and darkness, a watchman must speak out and tell the truth regardless of the circumstances and the consequences.

What I find very alarming is that many pastors who gave warnings in the past about End Times deception seem to have now ceased and become silent. Taking the place of the warnings are teachings or promotion on everything from church-growth, seeker-friendly, contemplative spirituality, Purpose Driven, postmodern/emerging spirituality to even a Catholic/Jesuit agenda.

These various teachings are not biblical Christianity, and for many pastors who once taught the Bible faithfully, these seductive teachings have pulled these pastors in a direction that negates so much of what they once stood for. It is not uncommon now to hear these pastors espousing those such as Mark Driscoll, Rob Bell, Richard Foster, and Rick Warren, all of whom de-emphasize Bible prophecy of the last days and emphasize the “Kingdom of God on earth” now.

Some pastors recognize that their own denominations or fellowships have turned or are turning away from the teachings of the Bible, yet so many have remained active participants of these denominations. As the years go by, these pastors do not speak up – they are silent. Is this silence an indication that they have bought into a sensual, carnal, three-legged stool plan that links hands with those such as Rick Warren and Tony Blair and is on the road to Rome for a One World Religion? I fear that for many that is the case. What may have begun as “looking the other way” has become outright rebellion in many cases. This is the way deception often happens.

We are living in the time of strong delusion that Paul wrote about (2 Thessalonians 2:11). If you are a Bible-believing pastor, shouldn’t you be helping to lead the way in warning about deception, not promoting the apostate agenda in any fashion?

Ecumenism within the church has been allowed to develop for years.

When a pastor does not warn his flock about ecumenical apostasy, it sends the message that exposing apostasy is just not that important. When a church, organization, or denomination starts down the Road to Rome, there is very little chance of turning back – the pull is just too great. Nowhere in the Bible is it acceptable to join hands with those who promote another Jesus and another gospel like that of the Roman Catholic Church.

This is why John warned: come out of her (the harlot) and be set free (Revelation 18:4).

Some Personal Ministry History:

In June 1981, Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, invited me to fly down from my farm in Saskatchewan, Canada to speak at Costa Mesa at a four-night conference called “The Bible: Key to Understanding Science, History and the Future.” Seven years later, in the fall of 1988, Chuck Smith asked me to join the staff at Costa Mesa. My family moved to Orange County, California from Saskatchewan, Canada.

My position at Costa Mesa involved being an outreach from CCCM as an apologist in the area of creation and evolution. I also showed the association of the New Age Movement and its relationship to Bible Prophecy.

In 1991, after being on staff for three years, Understand The Times was founded as an independent ministry, separate from CCCM. However, UTT was still closely associated with CCCM and was given missionary support. The UTT association with Calvary Chapel pastors and missionaries encompassed the world for about twenty years.

During a fifteen year time period, UTT had an office on church property at CCCM from time to time. Understand The Times had a five-minute radio program that aired on KWAVE and CSN for over ten years. I also had close relationships with members of the Smith family including Chuck’s brother Paul and his son Jeff.

While many of my experiences and associations with those in Calvary Chapel had been good over the years, I observed many serious problems in the Calvary Chapel movement, especially in the last five years. Many Calvary Chapel pastors I know have admitted they also see these same warning signs, but most have not felt they could speak out.

The reason I am writing this letter as an open letter to all pastors is because I believe that many of the problems I witnessed while part of the Calvary Chapel movement are the same problems that many other Christian organizations and denominations are experiencing today. And many of these kinds of problems lead to deception and apostasy.

Common Problems in the Churches:

Today many evangelical and Protestant pastors are operating on the principal or idea that if their churches are small, there is something wrong with them. The “doctrine of big” has replaced the doctrine of being faithful to the Word of God. Along with this doctrine of big comes the subtle attitude that any “offensiveness” must be removed from the church. Thus, a watered-down gospel takes effect; and thus, people in the churches are not hearing the true Gospel. Crosses are removed, Bibles are left at home, hymns are stopped, and talk about the blood of Jesus and His atonement for our sin ceases.

As Bible-believing Christians, we should be able to discern that there is a flaw in this doctrine of big. As churches get bigger, more funds are required to accommodate bigger budgets. The bigger the budget the bigger the offering is needed to meet the budget, and big donors become more and more important. Now you have a situation where the pastor preaches carefully so as not to create controversy. Controversy can cause powerful donors to leave. Pastors who once feared God now become man-fearing where doctrine is determined by men and their motives, and not by God’s Spirit and His Word.

Over the past two decades, I believe the Lord led me to author or co-author six books warning about the ecumenical one world religion movement and how it is impacting Evangelical Protestant Christianity. These were: (1) New Wine or Old Deception (2) When New Wine Makes a Man Divine (3) New Wine and the Babylonian Vine (4) How Marian Apparitions Plan to Unite the World’s Religions (5) Another Jesus: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization (6) Faith Undone: The Emerging Church – a New Reformation or an End Time Deception. God has put in my heart all these years a passion to warn of impending spiritual danger.

On March 6, 2011, I attended the Peace in a Globalized Society Forum that was held at Saddleback. Rick Warren and Tony Blair both explained what they are doing to set up a one-world religious program for peace. Yet even though it has become most apparent to many discerning Christians what is taking place with Rick Warren and his “new” reformation, very few pastors are publically denouncing the Purpose Driven Peace Plan. In fact, prominent pastors like John Piper are embracing Rick Warren and his teachings.

The Jesuit Connection

As I have written in some of my books, Ignatius Loyola was the founder of the Order of the Jesuits in the Catholic Church. The Jesuit goal is to turn the inerrant Word of God into the word of man while at the same time promoting the word of the pope as the word of God. In addition, the Jesuit ambition is to bring the “lost brethren” back to the “Mother” church (read Another Jesus). This is no minor thing. I have been to the city of Rome. I have seen the multitudes worship and adore a man (the Pope) who carries a wafer and a vial of juice that is supposed to be Jesus. Martyrs in earlier centuries were murdered for rejecting the papacy and the Eucharist. And yet today, I am horrified to watch once Bible-believing pastors turn their hearts and their congregations toward Rome, often through a Jesuit influence. Instances of this are occurring more every day.

Now that Rick Warren and Tony Blair (who converted to Catholicism) have announced they will be working together to set up a One World Religion as they did on March 6, 2011 in southern California, how will Christian pastors respond to this? Or will they at all? History shows, most probably won’t.

What is known as fact is this: the emerging/postmodern, Purpose Driven ecumenical, contemplative mindset in the Evangelical or Protestant Christian church has not gone away. And it is not popular to speak against this growing apostasy. It is a lot easier to go down stream than upstream. The Bible foretells we are in the Last Days. What do you as Christian pastors want to be: dead salmon washed out to sea or true fishers of men?

Check out the Bible! There will be a One World Religion. Do you want to be part of the problem, or do you want to be standing up for truth? The latter is not easy and carries with it a high price.

A Wake Up Call to Pastors

Teaching and preaching the Word of God is a high calling. You should always be true to your calling and remain true to the Word. And yet, many know that something is seriously wrong, but they say nothing.

Saying nothing can be as detrimental as outrightly supporting the lie. It is time to wake up! We are in the last days, and many sheep are being deceived, and pastors have a huge role in that deception taking place. When the sheep have the wool pulled over their eyes, they cannot see. This is not acceptable. What about the wolves who are among the flock? Good shepherds should never allow that to happen.

While there still remain faithful Christian pastors who look to Jesus Christ as their Good Shepherd and still believe in the inerrant Word of God, the fact that so many pastors have moved away from the basics of biblical Christianity toward a man-made apostate church will result in much of the flock drifting with them.

And may I say this to any believer who now realizes his or her own pastor is compromising the Word of God and embracing apostate teachings: If you have done what you can to warn and exhort your pastor(s) to turn back to the truth, and if your warnings and exhortations are rejected, perhaps it is time to get out of that church. Paul addressed this when he said:  “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” Titus 3:10.

Deception has crept in, unnoticed to many, and even at times been purposely covered up. Jude warned this was happening in his day (Jude 4). The same is true in the perilous days in which we live (2 Timothy 3: 1-5).

As of last fall, I am no longer affiliated with the Calvary Chapel movement, although I am still friends with and associate with some of the pastors, ones who have sought to remain faithful to the Lord and His Word.

As do many leaders in the body of Christ, Calvary Chapel pastors who have veered need to get right, and they need to do it quickly. According to the Word, our redemption draweth nigh, and He could return for those who are ready at any moment.

If you are a pastor who has succumbed to the present-day spiritual apostasy, get back to the Word of God, and preach it, and teach it! If your congregation shrinks, so what! Better to have a few who are solid and can go out and be fruitful for the Lord than have a mega church full of participants of a social gospel that is being prepared for the coming One World Religion.

While the large-scale move toward apostasy has been taking place for some time, and postmodern/emerging, Purpose-Driven ideas are widely accepted, there still may be time if pastors will repent and return to the purity of the Gospel and God’s Word. 

Many pastors reading this open letter who belong to an organization or denomination may feel fearful about leaving the security of such a “covering.” Perhaps you have never been out from under that umbrella. But at some point, you are going to have to ask yourself the question, Am I really “counting all things but loss” in order to gain Christ (Philippians 3:8)? Am I taking up my cross and following Him, no matter the cost (Matthew 16:24)? I have heard stories now of pastors (both in the Calvary Chapel movement and in other groups and denominations) who finally did make that decision to separate themselves from any apostate associations. If you are one of those, continue on with the ministry God has given you and follow Jesus Christ alone. You can never go wrong by being obedient to Jesus and His Word.

The Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon. May we be found ready and waiting.

Sincerely in Christ,

Roger Oakland

Understand The Times

 P.S.

Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. . . . Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. Isaiah 52:8, 11

But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15:13-14

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The Message “bible” inserts earth reverence, God of “green” hope

By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope. (Bold mine) (The Message, Romans 15:13)

Huh? What God of “green” hope? Why does The Message do this?

Before we examine what seems suggestive of earth reverence/earth worship, let us restate some of what has been covered elsewhere about The Message:

A generation has been raised on this disturbing “paraphrase” of the Bible. This is the primary version so many now rely on, and nationally known preachers quote from it with regularity. Yet, as we have seen, The Message flat out omits the sin of homosexuality from several key passages. We see this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and also in 1 Timothy 1: 8-11.

Is it entirely coincidental so many Christians are lukewarm on the issue of homosexuality? Certainly The Message is not the only factor–we dwell in a pro-homosexual media/culture–but place this “Bible” in a person’s hands and it can have, over time, significant influence. How can we understand God’s Truth when it is no longer there? Click here to continue reading.

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Mennonite Brethren Youth Hear Emerging Author Shane Claiborne

From Menno-Lite

All five U.S. MB conferences were represented at this year’s Mennonite Brethren youth convention in San Antonio, Texas, where dwindling attendance was blamed on the economy, concerns about Claiborne and declining denominational loyalty. The total number of attendees was 918, compared to 1,075 in 2007 and 1,406 in 2003. While participants were reminded through the weekend that they are part of a national Mennonite Brethren family with distinctive values, they were not informed that they were also witnessing the apostasy of the church as a whole as they were exposed to the social gospel and the new monasticism.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Shane Claiborne and Paula Simpson-Parry posed a dramatic yet effective contrast as keynote speakers at the U.S. Mennonite Brethren national youth convention…

When the much-anticipated, much-debated Claiborne took the stage, he challenged students to take their faith to new depths. Despite significant controversy before the event surrounding Claiborne’s selection as a speaker, he was well received. Click here to continue reading.

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