Posts Tagged ‘churches’
By Roger Oakland
Both the Old and New Testaments consist of numerous references that provide the guidelines required for a leader to be classified as a good shepherd. It makes sense that we would look to the Scriptures for guidance because the Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) and should be our ultimate authority when it comes to discussing this topic.
First, the Psalmist describes the Good Shepherd as the one who goes ahead of the flock to lead the sheep. He is a true leader always on the lookout for their safety.
Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Psalms 77:20)
But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. (Psalms 78:52-53)
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. (Psalms 80:1-2)
Second, a good shepherd is constantly aware of where his sheep are in relationship to himself and concerned about their well-being. He is always searching them out when they are lost or remaining behind and does all he can to bring them back to the flock.
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (Ezekiel 34:11-12)
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. (Luke 15: 4-6)
Third, a good shepherd shows tenderness for the weak, the ewes, and the young lambs. He attends those who are sick and in need of special care.
I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. (Ezekiel 34:16)
And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. (Genesis 33: 13-14)
So he [David] fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. (Psalms 78:72)
While many other characteristics of a good shepherd are found in the Bible, there is one more in particular I want to include. A good shepherd watches out for and protects his sheep from wild beasts or predators such as wolves that feed upon the sheep. The good shepherd will lay down his life to protect them with a strong dedication and commitment as we see here:
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock . . .Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. (1 Samuel 17:34, 36)
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:11-15)
There is a connection between the term good shepherd and the well-known term pastor. While Christians have made this connection and given this title to leaders who stand behind pulpits, oftentimes these leaders are not being true to the biblical qualifications. Walking in the flesh (human nature) rather than the Spirit, these men are driven by man’s fallen nature which seeks power and attention thereby corrupting what it means to be a pastor. This, of course, has impacted Christianity throughout the ages, but over the past several decades the problem has accelerated to the point where we are now witnessing this present apostasy ravaging churches throughout the nations.
Addressing this topic is not easy nor will it be welcomed by many. Efforts to be helpful will be met by an avalanche of opposition. So many of today’s Christian leaders believe they are above reproach and should not be challenged. In fact, they find biblical correction useless and unnecessary, especially when headed down Apostasy Road. However, the Bible is clear that God has serious concerns about those who pervert the Word of God and lead the sheep astray. For such, serious consequences lie ahead.
Jeremiah’s warning to the spiritual leaders of his day is a good reminder for us today. Consider the similarities to what is happening at present:
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. (Jeremiah 23: 16-17)
As in Jeremiah’s day, our modern-day prophets speak of peace and prosperity. But if they were truly speaking for the Lord, they would be preaching of repentance from sin and faith toward God as becomes apparent below:
For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. . . . Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. (Jeremiah 23:18-25, 27)
The prophet Jeremiah concludes this passage with an urgent appeal to the shepherds of the land not to speak falsely but to proclaim the Word of the Lord. We have a powerful Gospel that needs to be proclaimed to an increasingly godless world, but the words of peace and prosperity we hear are only vanity, while God’s Word shall never return void:
The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. (Jeremiah 23: 28-30)
While we have the Good Shepherd to follow—a Shepherd who is faithful and true—our own earthly shepherds and leaders should remember with soberness that leaders will be judged more strictly than others (James 3:1). It is a calling that should never be taken lightly.
(This is an excerpt from Roger Oakland’s new book, The Good Shepherd Calls)
I am blessed to have read this book, it’s refreshing. It is so good to hear the truth being told. This man, Roger Oakland, is the watchmen on the wall, and he is crying out, “WAKE UP AMERICA, BEFORE ITS TO LATE.” It is rare that I can read a book and say that I agree 100% with everything that has been said here, but that is precisely the case. I told my congregation that if I could write a book, this is the book I would write. So praise the Lord for the truth. Absolutely a necessity for the discerning Christian. Pastor John Sutherland Calvary Chapel Spring Creek.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
When I first became a Christian, I was 21 years old, but unfortunately the other believers around me became a part of the “Shepherding Movement.” Thankfully, I listened to that “still small voice” and the wife of a family who had defected, helped to bring me out of it! (She simply asked me where my joy was by trying to live back under all the laws, which Jesus released us from, which in turn, the Shepherding Movement was trying to revert us back to . . . I had no joy.) As the years rolled by, I realized I had a gift of discernment. Fast forward 30 years: I am now 57, and I am appalled by the emerging church, contemplative prayer, etc. I have stood against these, and by speaking the truth lost so many church/personal relationships because of it.
It is becoming very difficult to find a Bible-based church that doesn’t compromise and will preach the “whole” word of God. This is my biggest concern however . . . my husband and I recently left a United Methodist Church for this reason: We loved the concept that the doors were open to all people, in all walks of life. This included a homosexual couple. My problem soon began to be realized – that those issues would never be addressed truthfully.
Our pastor just didn’t want to acknowledge, and certainly not preach on, ANY Scripture in the New Testament that plainly speaks of the consequences of those, or any other types of those behaviors/sins. It seems that all churches we attend are just politically correct like this. Many of the things that your articles speak about which are blatantly attacking the church are more obvious. At least to me. Unfortunately, I believe this “political correctness” is what is really going to be the churches undoing. It is so insidious and frighting. I don’t know whether God wants me to stay in churches like these and keep fighting and exposing His truth or leave because eventually it becomes too hurtful and unbearable. ANY suggestions would be welcomed!! Thank you for all the hard work you do.
Our Comment: This reader has asked us if we could provide them with any comments our readers have regarding this letter. For those who are reading this on Facebook, please feel free to comment and offer suggestions or insights. Many, many people who contact Lighthouse Trails, either through e-mail, phone, or letter, share similar concerns, in particular when it comes to finding a solid Bible-based church.
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Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Many years ago when I was teaching an adult Sunday School class, I was so impressed with the importance of a certain book, I had the whole class order that book by Ray Yungen. It was called A Time of Departing.
It was all about how a new movement was entering the church. It went by a variety of names: spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, contemplative spirituality. It included topics like centering prayer, meditation, lectio divina, and visualization. It is a linking of Catholic and Eastern religions and has nothing biblical in it. Both my adult children and their spouses were in the Sunday School class.
Five years passed, and we got a new pastor who began to talk of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila among others (they are Catholic saints, and the Catholic link to all this is immense). Because we had read Ray Yungen’s book five years earlier, we were aware of the error that was being preached. All of our family were very active in the church – some had been there for over 20 years and held positions of authority – but we had been warned so we took our families, after having warned many others, and left.
Because of housing, our families went to two different Assembly of God churches. One day I saw sign-up sheets on tables in the foyer of one of the churches. One was for Spiritual Formation classes. I hoped it wasn’t what I feared it was. Things had seemed calm for approximately five years.
On Sunday Oct. 9 of this year (2016), the Spiritual Formation Pastor gave a sermon and told of his visits to Catholic monasteries. He then asked everyone to close their eyes, take deep breaths, picture Jesus, look at His face (during this time gentle music began to play), think of a time during the week that made you sad and invite Jesus into your thoughts. This is visualization. It is called an Ignatian exercise after Catholic founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius Loyola. It is everything that Ray Yungen described in his book, and the pastor stood there and led all those thousands of people in an exercise totally unbiblical. He then suggested they do this 2-3 times a day whenever they encounter difficult or sad situations.He says he does this every day himself. My granddaughter – who was 13 at the time we left the former church and is 20 now – knew what she was listening to. She had heard us speak of Ray’s book often. She had been educated just as the Lord would have her to be.
How strange that this book has followed us. Yesterday, I was preparing for my Thursday night meeting with the woman I’m discipling. We are studying the 23rd Psalm. The author of the book suggested we read Gal 5. What I found there made me think of what happened at these two churches: Gal 5:9: “A little leaven [or a few false teachers] leavens the whole lump [or misleads the whole church].”
On Sunday Oct. 16, a week after the Spiritual Formation Pastor gave his sermon – the author of the book that tried to warn everyone about this danger, Ray Yungen, died of a complication of a leukemia treatment at the age of 64. There are many of us who mourn his passing and highly respect his life. He has helped keep us from darkness and walking in the light. May God be pleased and say “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
His concern at the end of his life was not only for his generation and the darkness that had infected us but ensuring that it not touch the next. That was the kind of man Ray was—always longing to expose the darkness. My granddaughter shows that his legacy continues.
LTRP Note: This was actually a review of Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing on our store site, but because this scenario is playing out in churches throughout North America, we are posting it as a letter.
To Lighthouse Trails:
A few years ago a friend at my church came up to me looking quite disturbed and said, “Can you believe our church is teaching contemplative prayer?”
I just looked at her in shock and asked, “What’s wrong with contemplating and praying?”
She said, “No, no, no! You don’t get it – it’s not that – it’s CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER!!”
I asked again, incredulously this time, what’s wrong with contemplating and praying. “I don’t have a problem with that – at all.”
She said, “You don’t get it – but I’ll bring you a book next week that will explain it.” And she brought Ray Yungen’s, A Time of Departing.
It helps to have an open mind. If a Christian brother or sister tells you they have something they want you to consider – at least be willing to consider it. I started the book with an open mind and was quickly engrossed by it. It very methodically and logically lays out the case against contemplative prayer/spirituality/meditation. By the end of the book, I realized what our church was doing was really dangerous and completely unbiblical. It’s a prominent well-known mega church in New York City where I had heard the pastor speak out against eastern/mystical meditation from the pulpit so I naively thought he must not be aware that the church was promoting it in several of its weekend classes.
After reading Yungen’s book and doing a little further study, I had the information I needed to go to the leadership of the church to warn them what they were getting into. I say naively, because as it turns out, they knew exactly what they were doing, and they had every intention of continuing it. They knew it was unbiblical, but they didn’t care. And that’s all I needed to know to make my decision whether to stay or leave the church. I decided to depart. It truly was a time of departing for me!
I will be forever grateful to Ray Yungen and this book for being the instrument God used to open my eyes to this new/old teaching that is consuming churches everywhere. Every Christian in America needs to know about this – even if you’re in a good church. Even good pastors can be fooled by it because it’s so subtly deceptive. And it’s absolutely pervasive. It is everywhere.
So arm yourself with knowledge, and A Time of Departing is a great place to start!
There is talk about the great outpouring of unity and ecumenism that will be initiated by the present Pope. Will the hierarchical leaders of the Calvary Chapel movement stand up against this or not?—Roger Oakland
There is a lot of talk these days in Christian circles about the great outpouring of the “Holy Spirit” that is just around the corner. This “outpouring” will supposedly bring “another Jesus Movement”.  While this would be a wonderful thing if the “spirit” was the Holy Spirit, there is reason to believe we are living at a time when “another spirit”  may be the spirit that is in the forefront.
Not long ago, I came across a page on the Internet posting an interview done at the 2016 Calvary Chapel annual pastor’s conference held in Costa Mesa, California. The person doing the interview was Josh Turansky. The two being interviewed were Raul Ries of CC Diamond Bar and his son Ryan Ries of the Whoesoevers, a heavy rock band that promotes satanic symbolism as a means of attracting the youth to biblical Christianity. 
Ryan is apparently a convert out of drugs and a Satanic worship background and proclaims to be a fully devoted born-again Christian who loves Jesus as his Savior and Lord.  He is promoted by both Brian Brodersen and his dad Raul as an evangelist and has been given a platform at CCCM and Calvary Diamond Bar. He is endorsed by Brian and Raul as an evangelist who is called to reach this present generation with the gospel. Click here to continue.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Since the turn of the millennium, the world has witnessed a virtual meltdown of biblical Christianity. While many are saying Christianity is experiencing a great revival and even a “new reformation,” this commentary will document the demise of Christianity by showing we are experiencing the greatest apostasy in modern-day history.
In one word, Christianity is being redefined. Scores of pastors have chosen to abandon the Bible in favor of postmodernism (that is, what they view as progressive and culturally relevant). There is no other way to describe what has happened. Those who love God and believe the Bible is His Word cannot believe what has happened. Light has turned into darkness. What was once believed to be true is now proclaimed to be a lie. Those who once claimed to be followers of Jesus and the Bible are now following men and their philosophies.
Rather than reaching out to the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, pastors and Bible teachers are abandoning the Bible in order to embrace the world. They look for ways to market what they call Christianity by incorporating sensual gimmicks that are supposed to attract the masses. Hymn books are tossed out of churches from the pews. Pews have been replaced by soft theater seats with credit card terminals. Being comfortable while attending church is the standard. Don’t mention sin or that Jesus shed His blood on the Cross because that would be offensive.
Then we could ask: What happened to the God of the Bible who created all things according to the book of Genesis. When did creation become a religious Babylonian myth and the theory of evolution become the science that proves that an explosion plus time and chance is the formula for the origin of all life?
Or what about the infiltration of the New Age movement into evangelical churches? Have we been Hinduized and now think that Yoga is a Christian exercise? Or what about getting closer to Jesus by humming mantras, “getting centered,” or practicing eastern mystical contemplative prayers that will send you off to Nirvana? Have Christians lost their minds and been seduced by demons?
How about the invasion of extra-biblical experiences? For example, what about getting drunk in the “Spirit” or barking like a dog because of the “transferrable anointing”? Where is that kind of behavior found in Scriptures? Are Christians being prepared for a great revival, or are they being seduced by another spirit? Click here to continue reading.