Dear Lighthouse Trails:
We are writing this letter to encourage others in their journey to find a Bible-believing church that values sound biblical doctrine and the authority of Scripture. We became aware of a significant shift in our C&MA [Christian & Missionary Alliance] church after they picked-up a new hip pastor from a California mega church. Some of the first things we noticed included the new lingo and dress-down look, the extensive use of The Message, the feel good TED Talks salted with a few out-of-context Scriptures, the kicking out of the old worship team and the bringing in of the very loud rock-band-style worship along with smoke and lights, the removal of mailboxes in order to bring in the Emerging pastor’s book table, removal of crosses and Bibles (one day, we led a couple to Christ and could not find one Bible in the church to give them), the embracement of native-related issues with an actual smudging ceremony performed in the sanctuary, the supporting of community organizations that embrace abortion and homosexuality, the social-gospel message, SHE conferencing, and the promotion of Yoga, etc. The list is endless and goes on and on, typical for a lot of mega churches (emerging/seeker sensitive/purpose driven).
The lack of sound biblical teaching has become the failure of these churches today, no mention of Hell, the blood of Christ, sin, or for that matter the rapture, eschatology, or the prophetic . No absolutes, but a lot of grey. All of this is intentionally done in an attempt to make people feel too comfortable in their seats. Thanks to your ministry’s excellent resources and the deep study of God’s Word, we became aware of this trend and left this mega church after 8 years. This was a very hurtful experience because we lost so many friends who just didn’t see it the same way we did despite the overwhelming evidence that this just wasn’t a New Testament model on which to build a church.
After six months and several other churches, we came upon this cute little Baptist Church (LBC). Naively, we thought we would be safe here but after searching their bulletin, we noticed a Bible study that was utilizing Andy Stanley’s (AS) material. Eventually, after several months, we approached the group leader and gave him some of your research material that exposes some of AS’s erroneous teaching. Sadly, it was not well received, and I was accused of slandering; the group leader (who we found out later was an actual elder) indicated that the material was taken out of context and that discernment ministries such as Lighthouse Trails only cause division and trouble. My wife and I talked to the pastor and other board leaders, again presenting material to support our claims about AS’s teaching.
Eventually, after two years and much dissemination of material and, of course, the continuation of AS’s Bible studies, we got called into a formal church meeting whereby the elders (2) and pastor indicated they wanted to work on the relationship and move forward. We indicated that this would be difficult given the continued usage of AS’s material and his erroneous teachings. We found out in the meeting that they were not open to discuss or for that matter listen to any further arguments despite our attempts to bring forth some really good info from various discernment ministries or other notables. We suggested to the elders that a suspension [of AS’s materials] would be in order while individuals with the gift of discernment could be recruited to review the material. They got offended at this suggestion and sadly doubled down increasing the usage of AS’s material in home groups and most recently in the Sunday School class.
This week I attended a church membership meeting hoping to discuss the issue with other members; however, when I asked to be placed on the agenda, this request was denied. While preparing for this meeting, I was able to download approximately over thirty articles exposing the erroneous teaching of AS. Sadly, this could not be presented to the church membership.
Further to this, I requested another meeting with the elders in an attempt to clear misunderstandings, and sadly, this meeting was also denied. One of elders noted in his e-mail that, “I was not having a willingness to submit to leadership and have made allegations, accusations and threats toward the leadership.” Clearly, presenting information and having discussions has now made us a problem to the leadership. This is a very common sentiment to those who expose or challenge false teaching. Same old song again—where are the Bereans?!
Thankfully, I was somewhat prepared after reading your journal articles where others have had tables turned on them when they expose false teaching that enters their churches. So, after being defamed, accused of slander and being evil, I guess we could soon be looking for another church that upholds the authority of Scripture. This time we are a little more experienced and will do our homework just like your article says.
Sadly, we have come to know many solid Christians in both churches who are just not aware of the false teaching of the emerging pastors of today. It would appear that unity in the church is more important than sound biblical doctrine, so now again WE ARE CHURCHLESS. Sadly, the little Baptist church pastor, despite attempts by us and others, has been convinced by the elders that things are taken out of context and to tow the party line despite him knowing the truth. Hopefully, he doesn’t find himself out on the street when he doesn’t get in line with the emerging agenda. Thanks for all you guys do in exposing error and preparing the Body of Christ for the fight of truth. Apostasy is now in the evangelical church of North America.
T and J
(Photo from Bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.)