Posts Tagged ‘heresy’
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
There is an interesting legendary story from Greek mythology that describes a Trojan Horse. Simply defined, one dictionary states:
[H]uge hollow wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War. The horse was built by Epeius, a master carpenter and pugilist. . . . The term Trojan horse has come to refer to subversion introduced from the outside. 
Oxford Dictionary says:
A person or thing intended to undermine or secretly overthrow an enemy or opponent: the rebels may use this peace accord as a Trojan horse to try and take over.
I find this Trojan Horse syndrome fascinating in light of the infiltration into the church by heretical and New Age ideas. My experience has been in the Calvary Chapel movement where this is happening; but this is also occurring throughout the Christian church at large. Where there was once sound biblical Christianity, it has been replaced by the current ecumenical movement and the march toward a one-world religion in the name of Christ for the cause of peace. This peace plan is led by man but actually is the plan of Satan to set up his own kingdom on planet earth. According to the Bible, this plan will unfold, but the plan will end when God puts an end to the plan with a sudden destruction (1Thessalonians 5:3).
No doubt, those reading this and other recent commentaries we have sent out will be able to tell that they are very controversial and will be seen by some as divisive. While separating truth from error is a dividing process we undertake when we use the Bible, it does indeed cause division—but division cannot be avoided. Jesus said this would happen—especially in the last days before He returns to earth. If you have read the Bible, you will know there are many signs indicating Jesus’ return is near, isn’t it?
This topic is very deep and very complex. Some who are reading this commentary may think I do not understand what I am writing about. Some say that unity of all faiths is necessary to bring peace to the world. Some say the differences between the faiths do not matter as long as everyone loves everyone. And a growing number of people (including many in the church) are saying that those who are clinging stedfastly to the Bible calling it God’s inspired Word are standing in the way of this peace and love.
Some say Jesus said there is no greater thing than love, which is true (Mark 12:30-31), but he also said: Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division” (Luke 12:51). Jesus knew there is no genuine love in compromising the truth. In context, He was saying that true love is telling those who are deceived they are deceived (i.e., speaking the truth in love). Click here to continue reading.
Lighthouse Trails has always made great efforts to speak the truth in love. We attempt to never be vitriolic or judge one’s motives, not even the “worst” of them. We leave that part up to God. We also attempt to make sure any article we link to by a fellow researcher is of the same caliber. While we do occasionally link to an article that might not fall perfectly into that criteria, our regular authors and writers are of the same mindset as us. So how does a believer rightfully and in a godly manner (following the example of Jesus, Paul, and the disciples) deal with those who are bringing false teachings into the church.
In thinking about following the example of Jesus, the disciples, and Paul, below are some Scripture verses that might help us outline some thoughts, for while we can show verses that talk about showing love and respect to others, we can also show many verses that talk about how to deal properly with those bringing heretical doctrines into the church.
While we don’t believe the New Testament condones cruel or hateful behavior to anyone, we do see a consistent pattern in Scripture that does not look lightly upon those who are teaching heretical doctrines or practices. Let us heed the whole counsel of God, which we believe tells us to remain humble and in an attitude of grace (knowing that we are no better than anyone else in that it is only by the grace of God that we can see these spiritual things), but also tells us to speak courageously, with confidence, honesty, and strength.
We are in a battle for the continuance of the Gospel message – souls are perishing – and words must be said. While we do care for the souls of the men and women who are bringing in dangerous false doctrine and practices, we cannot, in good conscience, take it lightly or have congenial “conversations” and futile private discussions. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12). The Bible says that the message of the Cross is the power of God unto salvation (i.e., the doctrine of Christ -2 John 1:9-11) . That is because it is the only way of salvation. When teachings such as contemplative spirituality, Spiritual Formation, and emerging ideology (which all have roots in panentheism, occultism, and interspirituality), threaten to diminish the “doctrine of Christ,” it creates a very serious situation that cannot be handled “sitting down.”
Scriptures on how the Christian contender of the faith should speak and behave:
1 Timothy 4:12 [B]e thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Ephesians 4:14-15 . . . that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
Ephesians 4:24-27 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor . . . Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Ephesians 4:1-3 I . . . beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Jude 1:17-23 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of . . .
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
2 John 1: 9-11 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Jude 1:3-5 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not . . .
Hebrews 4:12 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.
Galatians 1:6-10 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Revelation 2: 2-3 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Galatians 2: 4-5 . . . and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
Luke 10:3-12 (Instructions to the disciples from Jesus before his death and resurrection) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
Acts 20: 28-31 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember.
Matthew 18 – And Heretics and Hypocrites by Paul Proctor
Letter to the Editor: “Add us to the list of those who have left their [Southern Baptist] churches.”
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
We have been readers of your research site, Warren Smith’s, Ray Yungen’s, and Roger Oakland’s discernment books for many years and praise the Lord for their willingness to educate and expose evil.
Please add us to your growing list of the watchmen on the wall, called by some (most) in “churchianity” the “haters that divide.” Add us to the list of those who have left their churches/denominations because they were “black balled” for speaking the truth and providing biblical proof against heresy. The deception (emerging: ecumenical) has arrived and is now being promoted in the very small (and getting smaller) rural, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC: Slowly Becoming Catholic) church where we were members. 2 Timothy 3:4-5 surely does fit this church’s leadership!
While at first, after presenting him with the Truth of the Word, we couldn’t believe our ears when the “pastor” haughtily and proudly declared he would keep on with his heretical, cultic practices even after he was shown his error in Scripture! We might have well been talking to the wall.
We then realized he is blind to the Truth and that it was time to leave, “mark” him, the SBC, and turn away as are told to do in Romans 16:17-18.
We are sorry for [those teaching and promoting heresy]. They are so puffed up and proud in their error that they cannot see the Truth when it’s presented to them from the Word. We are sorry for those who remain, especially those who see the error being taught but are too afraid to stand up for the Truth and leave.
Thank you so much for continually sounding the alarm, exposing heresy, and planning on enduring until the end. We are truly thankful. Your website and authors have helped more people than you know stay on the “narrow path.”
T & C
A community in NW Oregon
LTRP Note: On October 20th, Lighthouse Trails posted the following article: “Mark Driscoll Resigns From Mars Hill Church For Social Failures – But Media Silent on Controversial Doctrinal Issues.” Below is a related news article by Associated Press. No doubt, there is a story behind the story on this one. Time will reveal more.
2nd LTRP Note-11/3: Shortly after our posting the article below on 11/2, a reader on our Facebook page posted a link to an article written by a former Mars Hill Church deacon (our providing this link is not an endorsement of the media source from which it came) responding to an incident where shortly after Driscoll’s resignation a couple weeks ago, Driscoll showed up and spoke at the Gateway Conference where he made a theatrical and emotional attempt for sympathy (which worked for the thousands in attended who gave him a standing ovation), and now over 100,000 people have watched this performance on YouTube. At the risk of increasing that number even more, we are providing a link to that here for our readers.
SEATTLE (AP) — Two weeks after lead Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll resigned amid questions about his leadership, the Seattle megachurch he founded announced Friday it was dissolving its network of branches across four states.
The church said on its website that the best future for its branches would be for them to becoming “autonomous self-governed entities.”
“This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams,” Pastor Dave Bruskas wrote on the church’s website.
The existing Mars Hill Church organization will be dissolved.
The megachurch’s controversial founder resigned as elder and lead pastor on Oct. 14, following an investigation into formal charges brought against him.
The church currently has multiple branches in Washington, and one location each in Oregon, California and New Mexico. Last month, it closed its Phoenix location as a Mars Hill church. Click here to continue reading.
By Paul Proctor
Used with permission.
Every now and then I get a terse email from someone who has taken exception to my candid comments on Rick Warren, asking questions like: “Have you ever spoken with him personally about your objections and concerns and tried to work through your differences privately as scripture teaches, rather than attack him publicly as you do?”
The scripture they usually cite is, of course, Matthew 18:15-17
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
This is probably one of the more misunderstood and misapplied Scriptures quoted today, especially among those who ingest Church Growth Carcinogens and Purpose Driven Lies. Because we have been inappropriately taught that unity and relationships are the most important things for Christians to pursue and protect in the church, these verses are often touted as the principal directive we should follow when addressing false teachers, which frankly, couldn’t be any further from the truth and only ends up protecting, sustaining and empowering them, which is probably why they teach it.
There is absolutely no biblical record of Jesus or any of His disciples ever taking a heretic off to the side for coffee and donuts after they led someone astray distorting the Word of God. They didn’t shake hands, exchange hugs, kisses and phone numbers or set up appointments on their PDAs to dialog their doctrinal differences over lunch in the quiet corner of a favorite restaurant at a more convenient time.
No, Jesus dealt with heretics harshly, publicly, and immediately, as did Paul and the other disciples. And, keep in mind; we’re talking New Testament here friends. In the Old Testament, false prophets were simply taken out and stoned to death for their lies. That’s how serious God is about His Word being rightly divided and properly proclaimed.
So, what was Jesus referring to in Matthew 18? Look again carefully at how he begins:
“…If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone…”
You see, the Lord is referring here to a personal offense, grievance and/or misunderstanding between two people – something that has broken their fellowship and has little or nothing to do with anyone else. Personal and private matters of wrongdoing should always be dealt with personally and privately first, so as not to unduly disrupt the unity of the body. That is indeed, biblical.
Now, as for wolves in sheep’s clothing that stand in pulpits and on stages before vast audiences with microphones and television cameras proclaiming demonic doctrines as the Word of God, the scriptural directive is altogether different:
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” – Ephesians 5:11
(“Reprove” is another word for rebuke)
“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” – Titus 3:10
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2nd John 1:10)
Jesus didn’t request a closed-door session with the Scribes and Pharisees in order to find common ground, build relationships and promote unity in Jerusalem. He condemned their blasphemy before one and all and repeatedly warned His disciples about their leaven. And when His number-one disciple challenged Him about His own up and coming crucifixion, Jesus didn’t put His hand gently on Peter’s shoulder and softly whisper: “My friend, you just don’t understand.” No, He lashed back at him with power and authority in front of ALL the disciples saying:
“…Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” – Matthew 16:23
Why? Because, Peter was publicly contradicting God’s Word and Divine plan, which is the equivalent of proclaiming Jesus to be a lunatic or a liar.
Did the religious leaders stone Stephen to death because of all the cute and cuddly things he had to say about them? I don’t THINK so. Stephen spoke the cold hard truth that day and they hated him for it because God’s Truth is always “evil” and intolerable in the ears of the unrepentant. He told them:
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears…who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”
You see, defenders of today’s religious leaders almost always resort to calling their critics, among other things, “legalists,” for incessantly using scripture to rebuke unbiblical teachings and practices; comparing them to the Pharisees of Stephen’s day, when, in reality, Stephen might just as easily say to Rick Warren and others like him:
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears…who have received the Gospel, but have not proclaimed it.”
Of course, when someone reprimands today’s religious leaders for their unbiblical teachings, they are silenced, shamed, slandered, marginalized, isolated and/or asked to leave. But, isn’t that exactly what the religious leaders did to Jesus and His disciples?
The Pharisees were a lot of things but they were not “legalists.” They’ve merely been labeled as such by the religious liberals of OUR day in order to try and discount the importance of studying and obeying scripture. In fact the word “legalist’ does not even appear in any version of the Bible I searched. It is just another contemporary twisting of the truth to forward a corrupt agenda and steer people away from God’s Word to something more flexible, entertaining and endearing.
“Legalism” is defined in my dictionary as the “strict adherence to a literal interpretation of a law, rule, or religious moral code.” Under this definition, is not Jesus Himself a legalist? You see, without the law, there is no need for a cross; which probably explains why both are being expelled from the church and society today as outdated and offensive relics from the past.
So, according to Stephen’s own testimony, if the religious leaders indeed “received the law but have not kept it,” they don’t even QUALIFY as true “legalists” but only as lawbreakers; or, as Jesus repeatedly called them; “Hypocrites,” which is another word for “actor,” meaning, they only pretended to keep the law.
And THAT, my friends, is what today’s Purpose Driven Pastor is – an actor – a hypocrite and a pretender, because he CLAIMS the Word of God but does not actually believe it nor proclaim it. If he did, he would preach the Bible and nothing else; verse by verse, for the rest of his ministry; not The Purpose Driven Life, chapter by chapter for 40 days. He would quote The Almighty with power and conviction before a trembling and uneasy congregation, instead of quoting Rick Warren with purpose and ambition before a casual and comfortable constituency.
When church attendance and revenues are down, closet liberals, be they Purpose Driven or otherwise, often minimize, in varying degrees, the importance of the Bible in a Christian’s life, calling it “legalism” whenever one encourages the brethren to obey God’s Word or dares to chastise those who refuse. Well, THEY might call keeping God’s commandments “legalism,” but Jesus Christ calls it “love.” Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” – John 14:21
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” – John 14:23-24
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” – John 15:10
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” – 1st John 2:4
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1st John 5:3
Keeping God’s commandments will not gain you entry into the Kingdom of Heaven anymore than attending church will make you a member. That only comes by faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. (Ephesians 2:8-10) But for those of us who claim Him, there is no other way to exercise that faith and prove our discipleship.
Loving God is not having a hand-raising, hip-hopping, wave-making, emotional experience in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals before a rock band in some downtown arena full of shrieking Seekers, Creekers, Promise Keepers and Passionate Purposeites. The only true act of love, worship and service to God is obedience to His Word. Everything else is distortion, distraction, deception, delusion and destruction.
And, when you set your Bible aside for some other book or teacher or preacher, you are neither loving, nor following, nor obeying the One you claim as your Lord and Savior. Oh, you might be Purpose Driven or Seeker Sensitive; but more than anything else, you’re a hypocrite.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matthew 7:21-23
To Lighthouse Trails:
Hello there, I am hoping you can provide some assistance with this question I have. With the influx of the heresies that are being introduced into the church, how am I supposed to go about finding a church that’s not being infiltrated. I keep looking for churches where I have recently moved to. On the outside churches appear okay on the surface but for example visited a church online then I saw a number of books that they are promoting and couldn’t condone. Was with a church for many years that I saw going in the wrong direction; spoke to an elder also to no avail. Where are the shepherds? What’s a sheep to do.
Thanks for listening and hope to hear from you.
Your sister in Christ
Here is an article we posted last year. We hope it will give you some ideas on how to find a good church.
“How Do I Find a Good Bible-Believing Church?”
We have often been asked, “How do I find a good Bible-believing church?” There are many believers who are struggling to find one in their own communities. We usually recommend they make phone calls to potential churches and ask a few concise questions such as:
“Do you have a Spiritual Formation program at your church?” or “Has your church implemented aspects of the Purpose Driven Movement anytime in the past 10 years?.”
Since thousands of churches would answer yes to both or at least one of these questions, they are worthwhile to ask, and it would certainly narrow down the scope of one’s search. Here are a few other questions that could be asked:
1. Is the pastor using The Message “Bible” in his sermons and studies? Because this paraphrase is very often used by pastors and teachers who promote contemplative spirituality or emerging spirituality (as the language in The Message helps support these false teachings), it is another indicator that a church is going in the wrong direction.
2. Is the church affiliated in any way with the Willow Creek Association? Oftentimes, a church has not implemented the Purpose Driven Movement but is, rather, hooked up with Willow Creek. This is as problematic as Purpose Driven. See our article on our website titled, “No Repentance from Willow Creek—Only a Mystical Paradigm Shift.”
3. Ask a potential church if it would mind mailing you a few recent Sunday programs. When you get them, look for some of the key terms used within the contemplative/emerging camp: missional, servant leader, soul-care, spiritual formation, transformation, transitioning, silence, organic, authentic, reinvent, spiritual disciplines, Christ follower (the term Christian isn’t typically liked too well by contemplatives and emergent) Christian formation (or Christian spirituality) (a term often meaning the same as Spiritual Formation). Just using these terms alone doesn’t suddenly make a church contemplative or emerging, but it does show that at least one person in leadership at that church is reading books of that persuasion, and eventually that person’s influence will affect that church adversely.
In addition to those three questions, be sure and visit a church’s website as there you may be able to find the answers to these questions without making the phone call. When on a website, see if there is more talk about “culture” and relevancy than about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can check out the doctrinal and mission statements but be on guard—a church can have a solid-sounding doctrinal statement and be actually going in an entirely different direction. Listen to our CD Beware the Bridgers for some information on that. And by the way, remember who some of the more popular ”bridgers” are, closing the gap between “rightly dividing the Word” and spiritual deception in millions of people’s lives: Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John Piper, etc.—those who claim to be orthodox biblical Christians but who promote contemplative spirituality and emerging figures.
Also, once your search for a new church has narrowed down to a few churches, a weekday visit to those churches’ bookstores would be important. Look for books by Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, and other authors discussed and critiqued on the LT website. Chris Lawson from Spiritual Research Network has an extensive “Master List” of authors who fall within the contemplative, emerging, hyper-charismatic, River, New Age, “Christian” homosexual, etc. camps. It’s an excellent resource.
When all this has been done to find a Bible-believing church, if there are any in your community that have passed the contemplative/emerging/Purpose Driven test, maybe it’s safe to take your family for a Sunday visit. Are many of the people walking in carrying Bibles? Seeker-friendly and church-growth churches discourage that because it might “offend” unbelievers (or as they say unchurched) coming to church. Does the pastor at some point in his sermon talk about the Cross (the atonement) and salvation (and mention of hell)? These are subjects that many churches avoid because of the “offensiveness” of that message. Better to offer an espresso drink and a little rock n roll music during the service and a psychology-based, feel good message that appeals to the carnal senses (sensual) rather than build up the spiritual man.
Once you have found a church that seems to be sound, you should not stop being discerning. That must be ongoing. That might seem like a ”paranoid” or overly concerned attitude to have, but if we remember the many verses in Scripture that talk about spiritual deception (right from the Garden of Eden all the way to the Book of Revelation), we will realize it is the responsibility of the Christian to be discerning and watchful. And the Bible frequently talks about the latter days before Christ’s return where deception will run more rampant than ever before. Roger Oakland gives a list of signs to look for to see if a church is becoming or has become contemplative/emerging. As you begin to attend a new church, this list may be helpful to you and your family:
Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.
The centrality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.
More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.
The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.
The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.
The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past.
An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.
Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.
The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.
While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.
These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.
There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.
Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.
There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace—claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.
Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.
Roger has these signs listed in his Booklet Tract How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging into Your Church. May God bless you in your search. It may seem like an insurmountable task, but we know there are still good churches out there because we often hear from pastors who are staying the course and are aware of the times in which we live. May God lead you to find one of these churches.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural [carnal] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. . . . For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)
LTRP Note: As many of you know, Roger Oakland, of Understand the Times, International, and Chris Lawson, of Spiritual Research Network, are former Calvary Chapel pastors/teachers, who both left the movement when their warnings about the infiltration of serious false teachings fell on deaf ears for several years and when they felt they could no longer, in good conscience, remain associated with the movement. Last week, Lighthouse Trails was informed of another Calvary Chapel pastor, Steve Shively of Refuge Church in Atascadero, California, who has made the decision (along with his church elders) to disaffiliate from the Calvary Chapel movement. The following letter was sent to the Calvary Chapel Association on June 29th, 2014. We are posting it with permission: