Posts Tagged ‘Willow Creek’
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I would be so appreciative if you could help me. Our church is planning on having every adult Sunday school class do the John Ortberg Fully Devoted book. I researched him and found that he is tied to the spiritual formation movement. I researched his seminary education, churches he has pastored, and checked out his current church. I went to the ________ director of our church with this information. [He] did listen, is aware of the emergent church, and is a very theologically conservative person. However, the pastor wants [him] picking “middle of the road” type materials despite his strong biblical stances in the pulpit as well. They have both read through this book and believe there is nothing harmful there, even after I pointed out the background of this man. They also believe ”spiritual formation” is found in the Bible. I agree that maturing in Christ, being conformed to the image of Christ, and maturing in Christ are found in the Bible, but not “spiritual formation.” . . . I’m willing to stand corrected if I’m wrong in my understanding of Fully Devoted as I have not read the book. I don’t want to read John Ortberg as I believe from my research he is emergent.
I said all of that to ask of you, please help me be properly informed. Am I misinformed about John Ortberg, or is he emergent? Is Fully Devoted “harmless” and a good tool to get people acting on their faith, as that is what my pastor and ________ director believe. They are solid in their theology. Either I am really missing the boat, or they are being deceived. I want to be able to say I was wrong if I misinterpreted John Ortberg, or plead with them again with rock solid evidence that they are introducing poison into our body and making people comfortable with a wolf.
You are not mistaken in your concerns about the teachings of John Ortberg. As for his book, Fully Devoted, it is not harmless at all. For one, most of the people Ortberg quotes or references in the book are contemplative mystics and/or contemplative advocates: Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline), and Ken Gire.
Two, the book encourages contemplative meditation. In this paragraph, you can see this:
Ultimately, the goal is not to get through the Scriptures, it’s to get the Scriptures through you. And that will require meditation. The act of meditation should not seem spooky; it simply involves the practice of sustained attention. Whatever your mind repeats, it retains. If you think about it, each of us daily gives sustained attention to something. It’s just a question of what that something is. (Kindle Locations 366-369)
Why do we say this is encouraging contemplative meditation? Even though he does not come right out and tell readers to repeat a word or phrase, he is clearly not talking about pondering on and thinking about the Scriptures when he says “the act of meditation.” One would never try to defend that activity by saying it shouldn’t “seem spooky.” The key here is when he says “the practice of sustained attention.” In other words, the practice of putting the mind in neutral, which, contemplative all agree is done through repeating a word or phrase or focusing on the breath. Skeptics may say that Ortberg isn’t referring to contemplative meditation, but in most of Ortberg’s books, he turns to the mystics for insight and inspiration.
In Ortberg’s more recent book, God is Closer Than You Think, Ortberg quotes favorably from contemplatives such as Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence (who danced violently like a mad man when he practiced), interspiritualists Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), Thomas Kelly (Divine Center in all), Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frederick Buechner, Meister Eckhart as well as Dallas Willard and Thomas Merton. If a church uses Fully Devoted for a study, participating church members may be inclined to pick up more material by Ortberg and could very well be led to the writings of these aforementioned authors.
One of the books Ortberg quotes from in Fully Devoted is Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines. On the back cover of that book sits an endorsement by goddess worshiper Sue Monk Kidd and the title of her book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. It is in that book that Monk Kidd says God is in everything, even human waste!
Fully Devoted is basically a preparation or conditioner for contemplative prayer. Your pastor and _________ director may believe that Ortberg’s book is “a good tool to get people acting on their faith,” but we believe nothing could be further from the truth. The best tool to get people to act on their faith is to encourage them to stay in the Word of God and to make sure they have a personal and genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Reading the contemplative proponents may get people to practice the “spiritual disciplines” (e.g. silence, fasting, solitude. etc.), but it will not truly make them more Christ-like. That can only come from having Christ in us when we are born again and He is our Lord and Savior. It cannot come from performing certain works and disciplines. Spiritual Formation is a works-based belief system that leads people into a dangerous unbiblical spirituality because of the meditation practices that go along with it.
If you can get your pastor to agree to read A Time of Departing, we will be happy to send him a complimentary copy.
[Christ] in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. (Ephesians 1:13)
This list is taken from our Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Should Christians Practice it? Print Booklet Tract. This list will be updated as needed. You can read that booklet by going here.
On February 25th, 2013, Redeemed Presbyterian Church (Timothy Keller’s church) was added to the list.
On February 26th, 2013, singer Michael Card was added to the list.
HOW POPULAR IS LECTIO DIVINA BECOMING IN THE EVANGELICAL/PROTESTANT CHURCH?
Some places you will find it.
David Crowder in Praise Habit
Richard Foster (numerous places)
John Michael Talbot in The Universal Monk
Dan Kimball in The Emerging Church
Tony Jones in Divine Intervention
David Benner in Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer
Eugene Peterson in Eat This Book
Ken Boa in Healthy Spirituality and Conformed to His Image
Eugene Peterson in Message Bible for Kids
Keri Wyatt Kent in Listen
Multnomah University (OR)
Mike Bickle in IHOP
Cornerstone U. (MI)
Marjorie Thompson in Soul Feast
John Ortberg in An Ordinary Day with Jesus
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun in Spiritual Disciplines Handbook
Christian Camp & Conference Association (CCCA)
Biola University (CA)
Larry Crabb in Real Church
Michael Casey in Sacred Reading
Ruth Haley Barton (various)
Jan Johnson in When the Soul Listens
Leighton Ford in The Attentive Life
Lynne Babb in Joy Together
Richard Peace in Conversations in the New Testament
Mark Yaconelli in Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray
Dallas Willard in Hearing God
Robert Webber in Ancient Future Faith
J.I. Packer in Praying
Mike King in Presence Centered Youth Ministry
Ivy Beckwith in Formational Children’s Ministry
Brian McLaren in Finding Our Way Again
Tony Campolo in The God of Intimacy
Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian
Michael Card in A Sacred Sorrow
By Jim Fletcher
Used with permission.
At the Catalyst East conference in Atlanta, I listened to Lynne Hybels give a talk about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. One of her concluding slides was an image of the security fence Israel erected to keep out terrorists. It’s worked quite well, and that seems to bother critics of the Jewish state, who can’t bring themselves to simply say that it’s good Jews are not being murdered anymore.
Instead, the critics refer to the fence as a “wall,” or, more provocatively, an “apartheid wall.” This is a complete inversion of the truth, since Israel is the most open society in the Middle East, and grants far-reaching rights to Arabs.
An interesting lie being peddled is that the fence completely surrounds Bethlehem. It does not.
Yet, by alleging that the fence encircles the town—this even by members of the Religious Left who have been there and know better—they succeed in portraying Israel as the “warden” of the “prison” the Palestinians are kept in.
Hybels chose to include an image in her presentation that showed a simple message written on the fence:
This is significant, because it signals yet another evidence that leftists are tightening their grip on Evangelicalism. After all, Rob Bell’s 2011 book, Love Wins, in which he comes out as a universalist while simultaneously denying that he did so—this a hallmark tactic of leftists posing as “evangelicals”—is admired by those change-agents within the church who are attempting to transform it into an altogether different entity.
By approvingly displaying this image, Hybels shows clearly that she embraces the same type of theology/ideology that Bell does. They are all in the same camp, and specific examples could be cited all the day long:
•Donald Miller’s hit piece on Israel, from his November 19 blog post.
•Andy Braner’s recent blog post bemoaning the tough conditions of those that live in Bethlehem.
•Gabe Lyon’s recent “Q” discussion/interview with Sami Awad, a leading change agent and Bethlehem resident who is friends with Lynne Hybels.
•Relevant magazine’s continued flirtation with anyone who either mocks Bible prophecy or sides with Israel.
By the way, I’ve just been informed that Relevant’s issue dealing with the Israel/”Palestine” conflict—set for January—has been moved to July. Be watching for it.
A further interesting development is that when I attempted, several times, to get an interview with Catalyst director Brad Lomenick, and ask him why anti-Israel and self-described “non-Marxist socialist” Cornel West spoke at Catalyst East in 2011, I was told Mr. Lomenick doesn’t have time.
(There is plenty of other data that shows the Catalyst team is committed to spreading the Palestinian narrative throughout the American church.)
Personally, if I were responsible for filling young evangelicals’ heads with leftist ideology espoused by Liberation Theologian West…I’d find the time to tell constituents why. But you must know, dear reader, that a hallmark of the New Evangelical leadership is to stonewall when someone questions their methods.
This type of ideology is flooding the evangelical world, as we speak.
It doesn’t matter to these people that Israel’s security fence borders Bethlehem on only two sides. The story must be advanced that it completely encloses the tragic town.
You get it, don’t you? Let me be indelicate:
The left lies.
They lie in order to advance their ideology, which is an acidic stew of Marxism, New Age, and outright apostasy.
One of the outposts their Panzer divisions are smashing currently is pro Israel support in the American church.
Notice too that you hear only silence from America’s leading Christian…leaders. Who is holding Donald Miller accountable for writing the same kind of stuff about Israel that Hamas does? He actually alleges that Israel controls the caloric intake of Gazans…and nobody says a word!
When I attempted to ask Miller’s rep how he knows this, and whether he will come forth with documentation, I was stonewalled.
And, through networking and the internet, this anti-Israel agenda is truly a global enterprise. This week, English vicar Stephen Sizer is in east Asia, filling heads there with anti-Christian Zionist and anti-Israel invective. All the while smiling.
Last year, self-described Pentecostal (!) writer Paul Alexander referred to Jesus as a Palestinian. It is lost on these people that this is classic, Soviet-style propaganda, first unleashed on the world by leading theologian Yasser Arafat.
Where is the discernment today?
Love wins? Yes, it will, but the very definition of love has been distorted in our world today. Love will win, because love is truth, and truth will be triumphant.
At this moment and beyond, a sweet truth exists: Israel is alive and her haters hate.
*Note: Lynn Hybels, wife of Willow Creek senior pastor Bill Hybels, writes for New Spirituality/anti-Israel figure Jim Wallis (SoJourners).
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I want to take this time to thank you for all the work you do. I read the post today about the pastor complaining about Castles in the Sand. I read the post he is referring to and what it did for me was make me buy the book. I finished reading it in 2 days. The [excerpt from Castles in the Sand] was not offensive, except maybe to someone who has a propensity towards this practice, and that is unfortunate. Please do not let responses like this pastor’s discourage you. You do a great work for the body of Christ, and I appreciate all you do. I’ve been reading your blog for the past several years, and it has been a wealth of information-as well as an “eye-opener” for my family. We had joined a church when we moved to a new area, and it was so warm and friendly we made it our church home. It held all the doctrines of the faith that we grew up with (Baptist), but it was also very different in that the music was contemporary (as in loud and popular) and the dress was casual, which we never thought much of because we live at the beach.
They had small groups as opposed to traditional Sunday school which was kind of fun, meeting new friends in someone’s home. But, there was never a real teacher in the groups we had-we even hosted a group in our home, and our teacher was always a video, complete with fill-in-the-blanks books. The group we held at our house chose (from the approved list by our elders) one study on prayer by Philip Yancey. Later, we picked one called Be Still, not knowing anything about it. During one session we all even got down on our knees and tried to “quiet our minds” while we chose a verse phrase to repeat. We all thought it was very strange but no one knew anything about what we were getting in to. All I can say is the Lord protected us from anything harmful during that study. [see research on the Be Still DVD]
About 6-9 months later, I joined a BIBLE study ladies group (praise the Lord for one faithful teacher in that church) and only then did the Lord begin to open my eyes to the unbiblical things going on in that church. Before we joined, the pastor wore a suit every week and was an expository preacher. Then he changed and started wearing hawaiian shirts and was no longer preaching expository. They took Baptist out of their name, got together a worship band, and became very “relevant” to the community around us-meaning, no longer including too much of the gospel in the sermons. (I now pretty much hate the word “relevant,” and it’s a shame cause it’s a good word.) The sermons weren’t called “sermons,” and when we met, it was a “worship gathering.” We were no longer “members” of the church, we were “partners.” We promoted Rick Warren right and left, including selling his book in our “lobby” of our new and updated (and expensive) building. In fact, when I finally did read Purpose Driven Church, it was almost verbatim as to what had taken place at this church. We had been through every RW study that he had and even had repeated some of them to make sure we were changing how we were supposed to.
Anyway, during my time with this particular Bible study teacher, we were studying the end times. I was actually studying the Bible for myself (for the first time in a long time), and God had begun working in me in many ways. Praise the Lord! I “stumbled” upon your website one night while I was researching how Satan was currently affecting Christendom (for our study). God used Lighthouse Trails to help me understand what was going on in our church, and I thank Him and LT for that! My husband and I felt terrible for the studies we had done in our home (Be Still-and looking back the Yancey one was weird too), and we immediately told the elders about our concerns. They did review the Be Still video and removed it from their “list,” but how it got there in the first place was because they had declared that everything Saddleback and Willow Creek did, we could do, not really filtering any of it for themselves.
We spoke with them numerous times about our other concerns over the direction the church was going, but unfortunately it fell on deaf ears. Honestly, I think part of it is that they have invested a lot of time and money into a new building, new band equipment, new children’s wing complete with flat screens for entertainment, and the new and relevant atmosphere. It broke our hearts. . . . we felt so alone. We still pray for them, but we felt we had to leave. The good news is that we found a “Bible-driven” church. . . . Not as many people are members, but we sure get the Word every Sunday-doesn’t it seem to be that way?
I do have a couple of questions, if you don’t mind. I know y’all are busy so if you don’t have time to answer I understand. After reading Castles in the Sand I began to wonder if a lot of colleges are really that saturated with Spiritual Formation.1 Are they? Or are they dabbling with it here and there and maybe the book portrays it more than it is to get the point across? Now, I understand that once you go down this road, I’m sure it only gets worse. But I’m asking because we have ___ kids that will be college age in ____ years. . . .
I’m sorry this is so long-it’s longer than I intended, but I thought you should know what a blessing you are to me and I’m sure to countless others. May God continue to bless your ministry as you contend for the faith.
LTRP Note: A few years ago, a rumor (started by Willow Creek) began that Willow Creek had “repented” of past errors. Lighthouse Trails researched this story and issued a rebuttal article titled “No Repentance from Willow Creek – Only a Mystical Paradigm Shift.” If you have not read that article yet, we urge you to do so along with the article below. Mysticism, which is what the article above is about, and homosexuality, which is what the article below is about, go hand in hand – they are part of the New Age death religion (abortion, evolution, mysticism, homosexuality, etc).
By Gay Christian Movement Watch
CHICAGO – Since the massive –but impotent– religious giant Willow Creek Church announced in late June that it was severing ties with Exodus International over issues with homosexuality, the smell of gradual decay continues to rise from its headquarters at 67 East Algonquin Road in South Barrington, IL. And if the church is spiritually decaying, its a sure sign that its leadership has already decayed.
According to 1 Tim 4 widespread apostasy will significantly mark the latter years of the church.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
The “latter days” are not coming, they are here.
Two recent developments in the story shed light on the new brand of apostasy Willow Creek is unfolding and why the world wants churches to sell out completely.
White House Appointees to InterFaith Council Include NAE Leith Anderson and Willow Creek Lynne Hybels
By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN
The White House announced a dozen appointments to its faith advisory council on Friday (in Feb), with the leader of the nation’s largest evangelical group and the head of the nation’s leading Christian denomination serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are both on the list.
National Association of Evangelicals President Leif (sic)[Leith] Anderson and Nancy Wilson, head of the Metropolitan Community Church – the nation’s largest denomination expressly serving LGBT [homosexual] Americans – are among the appointees to the panel, which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Excerpt from Faith Undone on Leith Anderson’s role in the emerging church:
In 1992, Leith Anderson (Doug Pagitt’s former pastor), currently the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, spoke of this new emerging 21st century church. His views eventually became set in stone as the emerging church has chosen experience over doctrine. Anderson reveals:
The old paradigm taught that if you had the right teaching, you will experience God. The new paradigm says that if you experience God, you will have the right teaching. This may be disturbing for many who assume propositional truth must always precede and dictate religious experience. That mindset is the product of systematic theology and has much to contribute … However, biblical theology looks to the Bible for a pattern of experience followed by proposition. The experience of the Exodus from Egypt preceded the recording of Exodus in the Bible. The experience of the crucifixion, the resurrection and Pentecost all predate the propositional declaration of those events in the New Testament. It is not so much that one is right and the other is wrong: it is more of a matter of the perspective one takes on God’s touch and God’s truth.
Anderson is saying that the Word of God is still being written, and today’s experiences can dictate what that Word is. (Faith Undone, p. 55,56)
Is this not the time for Christian leaders to “purge” themselves and return to honor rather than dishonor? Yes, this is a time of reckoning. This is a time to get it right before it is too late. How has it happened that those who once warned about the coming apostasy now, when the apostasy is here, have somehow fallen asleep and shut their mouths? And why would it be that those same leaders condemn those who are now doing the warning, telling them to shut up and go away? - Roger Oakland, Understand the Times
Over the past several decades, biblical Christianity has been under a major attack from Satan, the one who deceives the whole world . A number of man-made church growth programs designed or inspired largely by the well-known church growth guru Peter Drucker have had a major impact on what was once called Evangelical Protestant Christianity. These churches and denominations, which often consist of Christians who have believed and taught the Bible, have been cleverly led into what I call the Drucker “666” plan, without many of them even knowing it 
This clever humanistic plan authored by Drucker and others has reshaped modern day Christianity. Fellowships of believers that once gathered to hear the teaching of God’s Word have been turned into corporations that are driven to be successful businesses. These churches are now run for profit, and in many cases the Spirit of God has departed.
The pastors who were once shepherds and guided by the Holy Spirit are now corporate CEO’s. They often have puppet boards made up of “yes” men. They now focus on the accumulation of power, possession, and property and have forgotten about serving people and being witnesses for the gospel.
Drucker, now deceased, was a well-known globalist with an emphasis on one world government and one world religion His concept was better known as the three-legged stool plan. This plan is also found in the Bible; the Book of Revelation describes this “666” plan. 
Peter Drucker was also a famous consultant for three well-known present day American pastoral super-heroes: Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, Bill Hybels of the Willow Creek Church near Chicago, Illinois, and Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
The Crystal Cathedral Garden Grove, California
Recently Robert Schuller’s empire declared a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy after years of success. While church services are still being held, some have wondered if this is a sign that the church growth era is coming to an end.
Schuller , Hybels, and Warren
Others have discovered that the only way to survive as a mega-church in a postmodern society is to look for new ways to communicate to this generation by joining hands with what is called the Emerging Church Movement. This was also one of Drucker’s inspirations, which he conjured up with business partner Bob Buford. The Emerging Church can be documented to be just another road to Rome through Babylon. It is bringing about the fast demise of Bible believing Christianity.
Whatever the case, it is still apparent that the Bill Hybel’s seeker-friendly church growth program coupled with Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Church and Purpose Driven Life Plan have been designed to be part of the PEACE Plan. This PEACE plan embraces New Age mystical contemplative practices that are based on a revival of ancient Babylonian religious methods, which are driven by doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1). There are also signs that both these movements, mentored by Peter Drucker, are joining together with Roman Catholics with a plan to build the kingdom of God here on earth without the King.
This of course is what Rome has planned for centuries. This is the plan the Jesuits authored years ago and have been implementing ever since the Counter Reformation. This sinister group founded by Ignatius Loyola (a contemplative mystic, by the way) has always had a clever plan to infiltrate all Bible-based churches and organizations with the goal of establishing a One World Religion and a One World Government. This plan also includes an attack on the Word of God, changing and revising to become the word of man while at the same time making the word of the pope into the word of a god.
Recently Rick Warren and Tony Blair met at Saddleback to discuss their plan for the globalization of religion for the cause of peace. Warren promoted his PEACE Plan, and Blair explained the task he has been given by the Pope to bring about a One World Religion for peace in the name of Christ. Rick Warren is on The Tony Blair Faith Foundation advisory board. They are partners together in setting up what could be a one-world religion, which prepares the way for the coming antichrist of which the Bible warns.
Denominations and Churches that are Purpose Driven And Not Spirit Led
There are a number of other well-known churches and denominations that seem to be caught in Satan’s trap and are also on their way towards the One World Religion predicted in the Bible to be part of the End Times Apostasy. Some of these pastors and church leaders were once active in warning their flocks of the dangers ahead. However, many of the sheep can now see that something has happened. Rather than the sheep being protected or warned, they are now being led to the slaughter as they are driven to market. This is very sad!
In order to understand how and why this is happening, it is important to study the Word of God. It is apparent from Scripture that God never intended men to choose men to be Kings over the people. You can read about this in the Bible. The children of Israel wanted a King. God insisted this would bring about disaster. History shows that God eventually allowed Israel to have what they wanted, and they suffered the consequences.
In the New Testament, we see this pattern repeated over and over. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Pastors are supposed to model their ministries after Jesus. The sheep make up their flocks but are abused. Pastors are to protect the sheep not send them to market. Jesus is the One who believers should follow – Him alone.
Once more, from the examples that are given to us in the New Testament, we see that humans are prone to the deception authored by Satan because they do not read the manual, which in this case is the Bible. They follow after men, their methods, and their movements – men who can be easily misled by wrong motives. This following a man model, which in the beginning may look to be a work of God and led by the Holy Spirit, will actually, over time, self destruct.
A leader who becomes the founder of such a movement can eventually be looked on as the “Pope”of that movement. If this Pope does not have his eyes totally on Jesus Christ but instead seeks after power and possession, it will not take long for his leadership to be tainted.
Those whom he has influenced will be tainted as well. The organization will begin to clone the same model. Over time, a Roman Catholic denominational plan develops with a hierarchy that everyone is familiar with – pope – cardinals – bishops – priests and then the sheep – the poor sheep.
While conferences will be held and the basics of the faith constantly discussed and enforced, it seems that after time no one pays attention to what is said. Over time the foundational beliefs once so essential to the organization in the beginning gradually are replaced with other views that become more important. Rather than teaching the Bible and focusing on being a servant to God, successful pastors often look for other ways to expand their horizons by joining hands with those who do not even believe what the Bible teaches. Instead of being servants of the Lord, some even seek after position, property, and power and forget from where they originated.
It is tragic to see an organization, driven to become larger or a church seeking to become a mega church function like a business. This is not what God ever intended. When one begins to analyze what went wrong, it becomes apparent. Men were following men and not Jesus Christ. They thought that they were led by the Holy Spirit when instead it appears they have been driven by another spirit. They may have started out right, but they ended up wrong.
So What Can Be Done?
There is a biblical solution to this problem. It is very simple. Mega churches are not in the Bible. Jesus was more interested in teaching His disciples than He was about congregations of thousands. Apparently, Jesus had never been to a Church Growth Seminar on how to be seeker-friendly or purpose driven. These man-made methods have no biblical basis and have distorted what it means to be a part of the bride of Christ.
Further, methods that allow men to do what they want to do by refusing to listen to the council of others, is just plain wrong. Pastors who say they need one hundred percent support from their board and then fire board members who do not vote their way need to be taken to task. This style of leadership is not only ungodly, but it is dangerous. Such leadership becomes more like a dictatorship , often put in place by someone who becomes hungry for power and obsessed by money and success. Jesus would have never shepherded His flock that way. And He sure didn’t instruct the disciples to shepherd that way either.
When Scriptures are used as a method of manipulation or mind control over others this is a terrible mishandling of the Word of God. How many pastors have you heard say “DON’T TOUCH GOD’S ANOINTED” when they have been confronted with the truth and asked to respond? This apostate style of Christian leadership is about how much power a leader has over his flock, whereas a good shepherd is a pastor who follows the Good Shepherd in all that he says and does. He not only teaches the Word from the pulpit but he listens to what has been taught and lives it.
While it is possible that someone can be deluded and not know it, when warnings are given from the Word of God that shine light into the darkness, there is no excuse. Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God. Everyone is a sinner and in need of a Savior, saved only by God’s grace. When leaders go wrong, they need to recognize their sin and repent. Covering up sin only hardens the heart and makes the situation worse.
In these days of strong delusion, when Satan is pulling out all the stops, maybe it is time for pastors to put their pride behind their backs and stand up before the Lord. The consequences of shepherds in sheep’s clothing leading sheep towards apostasy will be severe.
Anything that has been hidden and not dealt with will eventually be uncovered. While some think the rapture will happen first or they may die before sin is revealed, this is not the way to cover up. There will be the Judgment Seat. Better for all things to be revealed now than later. Better to be forgiven now than to have to deal with sin later. Better to be judged here on earth than to be judged later by God when nothing will be hidden from His sight. In 2 Timothy 20, it talks about vessels of honor and dishonor. In verse 21 it says: “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”
Is this not the time for Christian leaders to “purge” themselves and return to honor rather than dishonor? Yes, this is a time of reckoning. This is a time to get it right before it is too late. How has it happened that those who once warned about the coming apostasy now, when the apostasy is here, have somehow fallen asleep and shut their mouths? And why would it be that those same leaders condemn those who are now doing the warning, telling them to shut up and go away?
The Bible has the answer. Paul wrote to Timothy and told him how to deal with this kind of a problem. He said:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
Let us pray that God’s will, not Satan’s, will be accomplished. (source: http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c89.shtml)
 Revelation 12:9
 2 Timothy 3
 Revelation 13:8
Used with permission from UTT.