Posts Tagged ‘spiritual deception’

NEW BOOKLET: Watchful and Discerning Through It All

NEW BOOKLET:Watchful and Discerning Through It All by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Watchful and Discerning Through It All, click here.


Watchful and Discerning Through It All
By Warren B. Smith

Christian seek not yet repose,
Cast thy dreams of ease away;
Thou art in the midst of foes: Watch and pray.
Watch as if that alone were the issue of the day;
Pray that help may be sent down: Watch and pray.
Charlotte Elliot & William H. Monk

Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Night’s almost here, Far spent is the day.
Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Armor on tight, Keeping the enemy at bay.
Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Don’t be deceived, Narrow is the way.
If you learn to discern, To watch and pray;
Then close to Jesus You will always stay.
WBS

The following selected verses emphasize the importance of being watchful and discerning.

Watchful

Be Watchful
Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (Revelation 3:2-3)

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings. (2 Corinthians 6:4-5)

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. (Isaiah 21:5-6)

Watch and Pray with Supplication and Perseverance
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and Pray with Thanksgiving
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

Watch and be Sober
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:3-6)

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Watch and Pray Regarding Temptation
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Watch and Stand Fast
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Watch For Grievous Wolves
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, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31)

Watch in All Things
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)

Watch and Pray Always
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:35-36)

Watch for the Lord
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mark 13:35-37)

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:37)

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:42-44)

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (Revelation 16:15)

Discerning

Ninevites Couldn’t Discern Between Their Right and Left Hands
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand. (Jonah 4:11)

Discernment is a Sign of Maturity
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Discernment is Pleasing to God
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said . . . Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment. Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. (1 Kings 3:5-6, 9-12)

The Word of God Discerns Thoughts and Hearts
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. (Hebrews 4:12)

Search the Scriptures Daily
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

Study to Show Yourself Approved
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Approve Things that are Excellent
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:9-10)

Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Love Instruction, Wisdom, and Knowledge
Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. (Proverbs 12:1)

Holy Spirit Will Teach You All Things
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 John 2:27)

Trust in the Lord and Acknowledge Him
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Call Unto God
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Pray for Understanding
I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. (Psalm 119:125)

Ask for Wisdom
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Seek God’s Will
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

Prove God’s Will
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Roman 12:2)

Prove All Things
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Beware of Falling From Your Own Steadfastness
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:17)

Examine Yourselves
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Bring All Thoughts Into Captivity
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Love Not the World
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Abhor that which is Evil
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (Romans 12:9)

Walk Not in the Counsel of the Ungodly
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

Understand the Times
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)

Discern the Evil of Today
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

Discern Between the Righteous and the Wicked
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:16-18)

Discern Between the Sacred and the Profane
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezekiel 44:23)

Overcome Evil with Good
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

Be Aware of Satan’s Devices
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Know the Whole World will be Deceived
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Revelation 18:23)

Take Heed that no Man Deceive You
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Matthew 24:4)

Beware of Men
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. (Matthew 10:17)

Beware of Men’s Traditions
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Beware of Cunningly Devised Fables
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)

Beware of Science Falsely So-Called
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:19-21)

Beware of Those Who Pervert the Gospel
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. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Beware of Evil Men and Seducers
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. (2 Timothy 3:13-14)

Beware of Ungodly Men Who Creep into the Church Unawares
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. (Jude 1:4)

Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

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. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Beware of False Apostles
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)

Beware of False Christs
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:11)

Beware of Here is Christ, or There; Believe it Not
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:23-25)

Beware of Every Windblown Doctrine
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 4:14-15)

Not Carried About by Strange Doctrines
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. (Hebrews 13:9)

Beware of Those Who do not Endure Sound Doctrine
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Beware of False Doctrine
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12)

Beware of Seducing Spirits and Doctrines of Devils
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

Beware of Another Jesus, Spirit, Gospel
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Test the Spirits
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)

Don’t Meddle with Those Who Are Into Change
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? (Proverbs 24:21-22)

Mark Those Who Cause Divisions
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)

Remember the Simplicity of Christ
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Abide in the Doctrine of Christ
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. (2 John 1:9-11)

Walk in Truth
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)

Keep the Word
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

Count the Cost
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28)

Be Willing to Suffer
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:29)

Know You Will be Persecuted
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Know You Will be Hated
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

Know You will be Called Beelzebub/Satan
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:24-25)

Be Not Fearful
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Be Not Terrified
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. (Philippians 1:28)

Do Not Give Place to the Devil
Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

Shake the Dust off Your Feet
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (Matthew 10:14)

Gird up Your Mind
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)

Resist the Devil
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Put on the Whole Armour of God
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Hold Fast
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (Revelation 2:25)

Stand Fast
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10)

Enter the Strait Gate
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Keep Pressing on
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

The Need for Discernment

Former Moody Bible Church pastor Dr. Harry Ironside wrote an article regarding the importance of discernment titled “Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile?” It basically echoes and elaborates on what the apostle Paul stated in Galatians 5:9 and Ephesians 5:10-13—that it is incumbent upon believers to expose and repudiate any error (leaven) that arises in one’s life and in the church. Ironside writes:

Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.1

It is not divisive to point out error. We are told in Romans 16:17 to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.” It is a mandate to be watchful and discerning and to expose error when it is in our midst.

Conclusion

Without a watchful and discerning heart, we are too easily deceived by a crafty adversary. While we rejoice, praise God, give thanks, and remain hopeful through it all, we must be alert to the deception that is all around us. Jesus said—“Take heed that no man deceive you.” Be watchful. Be discerning. Keep looking up. Keep pressing on.

Endnote:
1. Harry Ironside, “Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?” (public domain; you may view the entire article at www.lighthousetrails.com/ironside-error.pdf).


Pressing On Through It All by Warren B. SmithWant to Have All the Through It All Booklets Under One Cover? Pressing On Through It All is a Beautiful Word-Filled Devotional.

PRESSING ON THROUGH IT ALL
A DEVOTIONAL BOOK BY WARREN B. SMITH
Scriptural Encouragement For These Last Days

Now all the “through it all” booklets combined into one book. May this volume of thematic scriptural inspiration comfort and strengthen you in your endeavor to keep pressing on—through it all. 14 Chapters | 224 Pages | Retail $14.95

NEW BOOKLET: Sound the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy: The Enemy is in the Camp

NEW BOOKLET: Sound the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy: The Enemy is in the Camp by David Dombrowski is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 10 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Sound the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy: The Enemy is in the Camp, click here.

Sound the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy: The Enemy Is In the Camp

By David Dombrowski

Over the past decade and a half, we have watched with a mixture of surprise and sadness how an apostate church has materialized before our eyes. It all began for us here at Lighthouse Trails when we met Ray Yungen in 2000.1 Though we were not publishers back then, he shared with us his manuscript for A Time of Departing, which spoke of a coming apostasy in the form of mystical practices and “spiritual disciplines.” Stirred by the content of that book, we agreed to help him find a publisher. But, at the time, we never imagined how relevant and prophetic that book would be nor how quickly this apostasy would flourish in the mainstream churches. Today, it is even difficult to find a church that has not been compromised or in some way influenced by this contemplative spirituality (i.e., an emerging church philosophy). Now e-mails, phone calls, and letters pour into our office telling how readers who either just discovered us or were at one time skeptical of our warnings are now shocked to see that these things have entered their churches.

How did this happen, and how did it happen so quickly? We think this can partly be explained by what we discovered years ago. After meeting Ray, we felt compelled to help him find a publisher for his book, but after contacting a number of Christian publishing houses, we soon learned that they were only looking for books that would sell well—and that meant books considered non-controversial and written by well-known authors. At that point, we prayerfully decided to start our own publishing house. But just the lack of interest that we saw in the publishers was indicative of what was to happen in the church.

Whether we realize it or not, there is tremendous spiritual warfare taking place in our world today. In numerous instances, we are hearing stories of young people going to Christian colleges only to have their spiritual lives shipwrecked. They may have been safer in secular colleges. At the same time, we know of countless numbers of Christians who have no church to go to because the ones that are available have abandoned the simplicity of the Gospel for a universal emerging “spirituality.” These believers are now witnessing the apostasy and are looking to ministries like ours for encouragement and help. In many cases, the only encouragement we can offer these people is to assure them that they are not alone in what they see.

As Canadian singer/songwriter Trevor Baker sings in his song “The Lonely Road,” committed Christians may have to endure much loneliness or isolation in the future for lack of genuine fellowship.

Please remember that while Jesus said we cannot know the day or the hour of His return, He also instructed us to observe the seasons. In saying this, Jesus was sharing a principle that is both profound and very simple:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (Matthew 24: 32-33)

In other words, Jesus was saying that various things must occur before He returns, and when they do occur, we can know that His coming is near. Today, the stage is being set for the fulfillment of the events described in Matthew 24, and in fact, things are moving at a highly accelerated rate. While the church has slept, tares have been sown into God’s wheat field (Matthew 13:25). The apostasy we see in the church today is the result of Satan sowing these “tares” in the church.

As we have watched events unfold in the apostate church in recent years, it has been very sobering to see how nearly identical its intents and actions are to that of the New Age movement in moving toward a one-world  global order. As you are reading this, religious leaders are shaking hands with political figures in bringing about a more highly evolved society. The occultist Alice Bailey, who had much to do with the development of the New Age movement, with all its occult practices and mysticism, predicted that this movement rather than having to move around the church would move through it. In fact, she saw the church as helping to propel the world into this higher level of consciousness.2 Sadly, we are hearing almost daily of highly respected Christian leaders with large followings who are now embracing the writings of mystics and contemplative authors. Perhaps they do not realize that the contemplative prayer and mysticism they are now passing on to their followers is no different than the occult practices of Alice Bailey with a new “Christianized” twist. And as long as the name of “Jesus” is used, everything is O.K., they think.

Looking again at the fig tree, we can see that more fruit is developing and getting heavier. Also, as Rick Warren points out (and he himself promotes), we will see a blending of religious, political, and economic forces as future events unfold. Unity will be a key to the future and will be an increasing theme as the world awaits the Antichrist. Considering that we are even now moving toward a one-world order, let us look at our fig tree whose fruit is already there and beginning to get ripe; the events we already see, only to increase, are:

The unifying of the world’s religious thought where eastern-style mystical practice to include Yoga, contemplative prayer, and healing practices like Reiki are joining east with west.

The Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan where political, economic, and religious forces are being brought together to form a unified effort.

Plans for a global currency paving the way to the use of the “mark.”

The accelerating significance of the United Nations leading toward a confederation of nations.

Increasing interest in the world in finding a Christ figure who can solve the world’s economic and political problems and unite the world in peace.

Increasing moral decay throughout the world to include abortion, violence, pandemic divorce, the dissolution of the family unit, homosexuality, and pedophilia.

Increasing hatred toward Bible-believing born-again believers.

The growth of a spirit of anti-Semitism throughout the world including in much of the organized Christian church today.

Increased natural disasters to include earthquakes, weather phenomena, and possible volcanic activity.

Intensifying of wars and rumors of war and man-made disasters.

Increased skepticism about the Lord’s return to include an abandonment of Bible prophecy.

The appearance of false christs culminating in the appearance of the Antichrist. As a result of mystical practices, to include contemplative prayer, people are already being conditioned to seeing themselves as having a “divine center” where the “Christ” or “I am” resides. Man has become divine.

An all-out effort to bring the “lost brethren” (evangelicals and Protestants) back into the fold of the Roman Catholic “Mother Church” by the papacy. We are witnessing this more and more today.

An increasing curiosity and dependence on signs and wonders rather than the Word of God. Signs and wonders will be seen in the future as the final proof of truth holding sway over many people. This will make it possible for the Antichrist to lead the whole world in a grand delusion as he will be a master at performing signs and wonders.

Let us pause to look at our fig tree again; I see a couple more figs developing there. One of them is called “the bridgers” and the other is called “the silencers.” Unfortunately, both of these figs are growing on the same branch—and the branch has a name on it—it says, “the church.” This is odd because these two figs look putrefied, yet they are growing on a branch that looks very healthy.

If you have followed Lighthouse Trails for some time, you may remember a number of years ago a radio interview between LT editor Deborah Dombrowski and radio host Ingrid Schlueter. The title of this broadcast was “Beware the Bridgers: Orthodoxy Is More Than A Doctrinal Statement.”3 This program talked about the emergence of what one might call a welcoming committee within the church where things God considers foul and unclean are invited in. Oddly enough, it is not the dissenters in the church who are doing this, as would have been the case fifteen or so years ago, but our pastors and Christian leaders—many of whom have had very large followings and been respected as being both conservative and of sound doctrine. But the problem is that these leaders are now gleaning from the writings of New Age, occultic, or mystical authors and quoting them to their followers, oftentimes with a word of recommendation if not persuasion to buy these writings and read them in their entirety. We won’t take time here to discuss God’s view on these things, but if you are curious, you might want to pause to look at Deuteronomy 18:9-14. The question is, why are pastors and respected Christian leaders promoting mystics and occultists? And we use the word “promoting” because this is more than the occasional slip of quoting someone for their clever or witty anecdote. These leaders are both bringing the nail and driving it in. However, in many cases these leaders are obscure as to whether they practice these things themselves; they seem content enough in bringing their followers to the bait, then leaving their followers to fend for themselves. Ingrid Schlueter coined the term “the bridgers” because these leaders in their obscurity seem quite innocent, yet due to their positions of respect and large followings, they are wittingly or unwittingly pulling large numbers of otherwise conservative followers into a trap that these followers would not have ventured to on their own accord. In other words, these bridgers are introducing the more conservative flock to what the Bible calls an abomination.

Then there is the other fig called “the silencers” that we mentioned a moment ago, and it is getting larger. It too looks putrefied though it is on a healthy looking branch labeled “the church.” This fig represents those in the church who regard themselves as having a special corner, and almost elitist attitude, on discernment. While they proclaim their humility, they also pride themselves as having the educational credentials and biblical know-how to steer the church on a straight course. They speak of the embarrassment other ministries are to the body of Christ who are not deemed worthy to hold the compass. A case in point was brought to our attention in 2011 when two Calvinist men stood before an audience and proceeded to praise each other as the purveyors of sound wisdom, discernment, and biblical scholarship. Then, in turn, they engaged in a joint attack of verbally punching down those they deemed unworthy of discerning the things of God. This ganged venture began when one of them made reference to “housewives and home-school moms” who have no business interfering in things they know nothing about. One referred to such women as “discernment divas” saying that their “greatest ability for [discernment] is not some rational understanding of doctrinal truths but an ability to use a really sharp tongue.” Both men maintained that such things belong to men of wisdom, like themselves. By the way, one of these two men is the “right-hand man” to one of the most popular Christian figures today.4

After the program, however, this same man, in realizing that he had put his foot in his mouth—figuratively speaking—proceeded to try to remedy the matter lest there be an influx of home-schooling moms and irate husbands knocking at the door. He attempted to remedy the matter by pointing out that he did not mean all home-schooling moms but two in particular—namely Ingrid Schlueter, former host of the Crosstalk radio program and Lighthouse Trails Publishing’s Deborah Dombrowski.5 Hoping to put out the spot fires he started, he referred to these women as discernment divas, then proceeded to provide his own derogatory definition of the term.

We must not forget the seriousness or the ramifications of what can happen when someone who is endeavoring to help the Body of Christ is knocked down, verbally or otherwise. Again, we are in a spiritual battle—very real, with its own victories and consequences.

The fact is that the darkness hates the light, and when you bring light where there is darkness, it means exposure. We live in a corrupt world where not even the organized church is willing to have the light shine in the dark corners.

But we at Lighthouse Trails were founded on the principle that there is a growing body of believers who have heard God’s heart cry to repentance. It is our belief that repentance is meant to be a part of the Christian life, and as we become aware of our imperfections, we endure rather than resist God’s refining process in our lives. When John wrote his letters to the seven churches, he did it with this in mind, but history tells us not all seven of them heeded his letters.

Here at Lighthouse Trails, we have endeavored to blow the trumpet over the years, sounding the call to repentance and to a return to the sound doctrine of the Bible. But many have become annoyed with the repeated blasts of the trumpet. All we can say to this is that the time is short, and we remember the words of Jesus when he said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). We will continue to sound the trumpet for as long as we can while doors of opportunity are still open.

Some will say it is better for Christians to be silent and just let God take care of things. But it is through silence that the church in North America has lost so much ground. Rather than helping the process, silence accelerates the work of the enemy. It was through silence that a man called Hitler was able to come to power and murder millions of innocent people.

Keep praying and do what you can to help sound the trumpet. The enemy forces are advancing; in fact, they are within our ranks.

I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. (Jeremiah 6:17)

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13)

To order copies of Sound the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy: The Enemy is in the Camp, click here.

David Dombrowski is the co-founder and chief editor at Lighthouse Trails Publishing.

Endnotes:

1. For a history of Lighthouse Trails, read our article “The Story Behind Lighthouse Trails” online at http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15423 or order it in the booklet format.
2. See A Time of Departing for more information on Alice Bailey’s “revitalization” of the churches.
3. Beware the Bridgers is available in CD through Lighthouse Trails. We would be happy to send a free copy of that CD to anyone who sends us a $3 check for postage.
4. The two men discussed in this section are Todd Friel and John MacArthur’s Executive Director Phil Johnson speaking at the 2011 Psalm 119 Conference in Keller, TX (you can watch this segment of the conference where “discernment divas” are talked about at: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/10/first-blast-of-trumpet-against.html).
5. Though Deborah Dombrowski’s name was not mentioned, it was inferred by saying Lighthouse Trails Publishing as at the time, she was the only woman writer for Lighthouse Trails

To order copies of Sound the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy: The Enemy is in the Camp, click here.

The Perfect Spiritual Storm Looming

By T.A. McMahon
The Berean Call

Perfect storm defined: a mixture of seemingly varied events that converge together creating a greater magnitude of devastation.

I remember as though it were yesterday a conversation I had with Dave Hunt not too long after he had moved to Bend, Oregon. He wanted me to move to Bend also that we might continue communicating with those who had responded favorably to the book I’d had the privilege of co-authoring with him, The Seduction of Christianity. That book and many of his later books, articles, and sermons gave insights into most of the things that would prove to be portents of the developing apostasy that we see moving ahead at overwhelming speed and in wide circulation today.

In our 25 years of ministering through The Berean Call, we have extensively covered various aspects of the apostasy. Although some of the highly promoted deviations from Scripture have had their heyday and then appeared to have faded, in fact they have simply undergone alterations, changed players, assimilated other heresies, adjusted to the times, and become more devious, i.e., hidden in plain sight. One example of this is the Word/Faith Movement (W/FM). The popular leaders of days past included Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Sr., Charles Capps, David (formerly Paul) Yonggi Cho, and Gloria and Kenneth Copeland. The Copelands are still around, along with their followers, and are promoting the same false teaching, but the W/FM has expanded to the Faith Healing Movement, the Prosperity Teachings, the Positive Confession Movement, and the Inner Healing Movement, all of which have been raised to a new level of sophistication as major tactics of the Adversary. These perversions of the Word of God originated when Satan deceived Eve in Genesis:3:1Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
See All…
with his words, “Yea, hath God said…?” Questioning and then repudiating what God has declared has been Satan’s strategy from the beginning and will continue until he is thrown into the Lake of Fire.

That Deceiver and Father of Lies has also employed a host of seemingly diverse deceptions that are nevertheless connected. The Word/Faith teachings are not merely a perversion of biblical faith, but they are of late gleaned from the mind science cults, with concepts that go back to Hinduism and other Eastern mystical religions. The teachings of this movement are found within Transcendentalism and New Thought, as well as the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science and Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society brought Eastern spiritual beliefs into mainstream America. Click here to continue reading.

Discernment Ministries Not Needed? Would the Apostle Paul Agree?

By the Editors at Lighthouse Trails

This week, someone sent us an online article, written by a pastor who said that the church does not need discernment ministries  anymore. While the pastor’s comments that such ministries are making great money by doing this kind of work were erroneous, it was the pastor’s rationale and conclusions about discernment ministries as a whole that were most troubling. His rationale was that discernment ministries should not be criticizing and challenging leaders and teachers within the church (but rather outside the church; e.g cults, Mormonism); his conclusion was the church does not need discernment ministries and people should stop listening to them. He lumped all discernment ministries together, suggesting that they are all jealous of each other and spend a lot of time fighting amongst themselves. (By this reasoning—that discernment ministries are invalidated because of fighting and jealousy—then there also should be no marriages, families, churches, organizations, or virtually any human institution because institutions are made up of sinful humans who do at times fight and struggle between each other.) He suggested that many of these discernment people will end up dying early anyway because of the high level of stress involved. Needless to say, we found such an article very sad because we knew there would be people who would read it and would be persuaded by the pastor’s words.

There is one thing true in what this pastor stated, and that is that there can be quite a bit of stress involved with discernment. But, again, his rationale is faulty. It would suggest that since being discerning (or having a discernment ministry) is stressful, it must be wrong. But if we look at the lives of the apostles, the Old Testament prophets, and many martyrs who have lost their lives over the last 2000 years for standing for truth, no doubt, their lives were stressed and difficult. To speak the truth is not easy, and to speak the truth within the church is downright tough. Few knew this more than the apostle Paul:

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11: 25-27)

Even though Paul determined to put his trust in the Lord and serve Him only, what he went through sounds pretty stressful. Why was he willing to go through those sufferings and persecutions? Because he had full

The Martyrdom of Paul (Illustration by Joseph Martin Kronheim, public domain)

confidence that he was called to warn and to preach for the edifying and exhorting of the body of Christ:

[I]f ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;  who now rejoice in my sufferings for you . . . warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. (Colossians 1: 23-24, 28-29; emphasis added)

At Lighthouse Trails, we by no means claim to be of the caliber of the apostle Paul. Nor do we want to be looked upon as such. We are just one part of the body of Christ, working diligently in a work we believe God has called us to do. We do not claim to be anything special, but we do claim that God in His wisdom has a place in the body for such a ministry as ours (Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 12; vs 21:  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you”).

We know there are some who name themselves among “discernment ministries” who are guilty of not exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit when writing and reporting. They are at times vitriolic, unkind, practice mean name calling, and go after a figure’s personal effect rather than staying focused on the teachings, doctrines, beliefs, and promotions. It has been a criteria of Lighthouse Trails from our beginning that any author or writer we publish is allowing the fruits of the Spirit (e.g., love, gentleness, goodness, meekness, etc., Galatians 5:22-23) to be prevalent in his or her work.

Scripture says that as the days on this Earth grow darker and darker, spiritually speaking, more and more proclaiming Christians will turn away from the truth of God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ (e.g., “some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,” 1 Timothy 4:1). Lighthouse Trails and the authors we represent are determined to continue in the work in which we have been called in spite of the fact that we are often falsely accused, unjustly discredited, and misjudged. Whether the Lord takes us home early or allows us to live long lives, it is our prayer that we will endure faithfully until the end. Perhaps, in time, people will stop listening to discernment ministries all together. If and when that day comes, we pray there will be enough pastors and churches who are speaking the truth and warning “night and day.” In the following passage by Paul, we can see that his heart was for the building up of the body of Christ, no matter the cost to him. May we all, as believers in Jesus Christ, whether “discernment ministry,” pastor, or neither, strive to have this same attitude:

 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.  Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12, emphasis added)

CONCLUSION

The following is a list of discernment ministries that Lighthouse Trails has come to know and look to over the past fifteen years; they are ones that meet the biblical criteria described above. Though these particular ministries may not agree with each other on every aspect, we have seen no greed, worldly ambition, jealousy, mean spiritedness, or dishonesty in these ministries. While they, like Lighthouse Trails, do not claim to be perfect or infallible, they always point readers back to the Word of God and uphold the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is there a need for discernment ministries in today’s church? We believe the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” And we believe the apostle Paul would agree.

Trusted Discernment Research Ministries

The Berean Call

Deception in the Church
Sandy Simpson

Forcing Change
Carl Teichrib

Kjos Ministries
Berit Kjos

Learn to Discern Granny

Let Us Reason Ministries
Mike Oppenheimer

Lighthouse Trails Research Project

ReachOut Trust

Spiritual Research Network

Understand the Times,
Roger Oakland

Guest Commentary – Welcome to Rome!

By Judson Casjens
Guest Commentary

Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 3-7, 2017, found that a “leftward movement in perceptions of what is morally acceptable has been ongoing,” with a shift in 13 of 19 issues over time (since 2001). In another section of the same poll, Gallup found that just 24 percent believe the Bible is the literal word of God—the lowest in Gallup’s 40 years of asking Americans about their biblical beliefs.

On several key social issues Americans responded in the most recent survey that it is morally acceptable to use birth control (91%), get divorced (73%), engage in opposite-sex sexual acts outside marriage (69%), engage in same-sex sexual acts (63%), have a baby outside of marriage (62%), commit physician-assisted suicide (57%), view pornography (36%) and practice polygamy (17%).

Southern Evangelical Seminary President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land said the Gallup findings on social issues and faith in the Bible’s validity are certainly linked:

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“There’s been a marked movement left in everything except adultery,” Land said of the surveys. “Cheating on one’s husband or wife still remains taboo. But as more and more people view the Bible as a book of fables, we can see an increasing level of paganism of the United States. The apostle Paul would recognize contemporary America because it looks a lot like ancient Rome and Corinth—except with modern conveniences.”

Land went on to say:

“The precipitous decline in traditional Judeo-Christian morality on these social issues is directly related to the decline in belief in the Bible’s moral authority,” Land said. “Besides the shift left in these crucial social issues, the decrease in the belief in the Bible as the literal, authoritative Word of God is even more alarming. It says something alarming about our culture, when for the first time in 40 years, biblical skepticism has surpassed biblical literalism. We can hope that the half who fall in the middle, believing that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, stay true to that conviction and are even strengthened in their belief of the Bible.”—excerpted from Southern Evangelical Seminary e-mail (5/22/2017) (quoted for informational purposes)

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Where do we go from here? The proverbial snowball is rolling downhill and getting ever larger, and one can discern from reading about various nations, including Israel, in Scripture that the ending is not very pleasant. History demonstrates time and again that at the end is no revival, but rather judgement. While Gallup’s poll above includes evangelicals and non-evangelicals, other polls of evangelicals only don’t appear very encouraging either. For the most part, they merely reflect what is stated above. Land is correct in his assessment of the connection between people’s view of the Bible and moral decline. And if this is true, what we are seeing is only symptomatic and not the genuine cause.

What this means for true believers is that rather than supporting various crusades and rally’s around the country which purport to create a voice on various moral issues, we instead need to focus upon becoming holy in our lives and obedient insofar as the true Gospel is concerned. We can “clean up” the country, even get some laws changed; but then where are we? Using the examples of Jesus and the early Church, where do we find the effort and focus? Let me assure one and all that it was not cleaning up and changing paganism for the purpose of complimenting Christianity, but rather leading holy lives and “striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27) and using every effort in the spread of that very same Gospel . . . period. And the world of that day was not turned upside down by grandiose crusades or “festivals,” but by people like you and I relating to others just like you and I, and so the Gospel spread. We have turned way too much over to the so-called “professionals” and in so doing have diminished our own value, responsibility, and role in the spread of God’s kingdom.

Not at all unlike Israel of old, today’s evangelicalism is ever turning a deaf ear to God’s Words and warnings, the past polls of evangelicals only have shown similar movement away from the Bible as being verbally inspired and therefore as having diminished authority, all of which is playing a large part in the church’s drift away from biblical orthodoxy. In the middle of all this, the ecumenical push for unity is contributing mightily because all this “togetherness” requires the message of the one and only way of salvation not be mentioned, much less pressed; this movement seeks to find spiritual value and even instruction apart from Gospel truth, which by definition means paganism. James asks some rather pointed questions:

Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (James 3:11-12)

What on earth are we doing by mixing and blending Truth with error and then calling it love and unity? Of necessity, the true Gospel must be the first casualty in this type of endeavor. The ideas of political correctness and tolerance in true Christianity for the purposes of being non-offensive are unknown in the whole of Scripture; the Gospel message is offensive for it declares that one is an offense to God, under condemnation already, and there is nothing one can do except trust in the provision made by God’s Son Jesus Christ—something the Catholic Church has declared “anathema” at least three times in Vatican II documents because theirs is a “works-based” system of salvation (sacramental).

What we find so prevalent in evangelicalism today is a refusal to notice and react when God’s Word is relegated to some mere movement, error, or teaching. When Israel had changed internally due to the admission of pagan practices and beliefs, even to the point of worshipping foreign goddesses, Yahweh sent the prophet Isaiah along with others, but what God said to Isaiah regarding His purposes and Israel’s response needs to be given very careful consideration:

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate. (Isaiah 6:9-11)

In a similar discussion with His disciples in which their relationship with the world was discussed, Jesus uttered these thought-provoking words:

 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (John 15:22-25)

We have become so focused upon “results” that we have forgotten that irrespective of another’s response, witness and testimony must be faithfully given, and that even rejection serves God’s purposes in that an opportunity for repentance has been given. That was Isaiah’s ministry, and that is a very sobering thought. So to all out there attempting to be faithful, don’t be discouraged due to little or negative response, even from evangelicals; in many ways, this is our calling.

Buried in Unmarked Graves

By Roger Oakland

Credit: Bigstockphoto.com

Vast are the burial grounds resulting from man-centered Christianity. When men follow men rather than the Good Shepherd, they seek after wealth, kingdoms, power, and illicit sexual relationships—anything to feed the flesh, which we know is never satisfied. When this happens, it is no longer Christianity but rather another “Christianity,” a dead and harmful religion (which is man’s invention) promoting another Jesus. Religion robs the innocent from true freedom in Jesus. The temples, the cathedrals, the shrines, and the modern day megachurches often testify to the accomplishments of man more than they speak of the wonders of God, who sent His Son to redeem us from our sins.

Further, study the hierarchies that humans construct—the popes, the cardinals, the bishops, and the priests. Or replace the “Holy Catholic Church” with the “Protestant” counterparts, and you find the same thing. While there may be a different configuration, the end results are the same. Followers are abused and misused by the power brokers that control them.

Many are those who have been beaten and hurt. They are buried in unmarked graves without tombstones covered over by time. Those responsible for their demise continue from generation to generation. They are abusive powerful despots who boldly proclaim “how dare you touch God’s anointed” as they bury more and more. They believe their threats have a scriptural basis.

Such is the case for many in a fellowship of pastors I was once involved with. For this reason, two Norwegian brothers (myself being one of them) felt led to warn these men, many of whom got their focus off the Good Shepherd.1 Sadly, they started out right but ended up wrong. As the Bible states, it is not how you start but how you finish that counts.

This group lost their moorings. Many of them were so encapsulated by power, success, and church growth, they did not realize they had become lukewarm and then cold. While the Good Shepherd warns them in His Word, they chose to ignore the warnings. Just like the Bible proclaims, Ichabod (meaning God’s glory departed) became a reality and an era of struggle that should have been laden with victories for Christ ended with the death of this group’s heart-broken founder.2 Isn’t it interesting how history repeats itself? Whatever has happened before can and does happen again.

The Word of God is light. The Word of God shines into the darkness, and the darkness hates the light. Often those in darkness think they are in light and do not see the light when the light shines.

Nevertheless, the God of the Bible always wins. Sometimes the scenario plays out with a very unhappy ending. God is a God of justice, and justice always prevails. The good news for the deceivers is that God is also a God of mercy, and He gives man the opportunity to repent until the day he takes his last breath. God does not desire that any should perish but wants all to come to repentance.

Endnote:

  1. http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c190finalwakeupcall.shtml
  2. You can read about Roger Oakland’s years in the Calvary Chapel churches in his biography Let There Be Light, 2nd ed.

(This is an excerpt from Roger Oakland’s book, The Good Shepherd Calls)

Related Video:

(From Roger Oakland’s emerging church lecture series)

How to Find a Bible-Believing Church

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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. To start with, 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. Is the church connected at all with Bethel Church of Redding, California? Bethel’s hyper-charismatic influence is huge today, and many churches are getting on board with the Bethel craze. That would include Jesus Culture too, which is an offshoot of Bethel. Before starting your search for a church, make sure you understand what the Word of Faith/NAR, hyper-charismatic movement is. Lighthouse Trails has several trustworthy authors who write about these issues. You’d be surprised to learn how extensive this influence has been in North American churches, even in ones that do not consider themselves charismatic.

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 unity, “culture,” social justice, 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 an interview called 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, Tim Keller, John Piper, etc.—those who claim to be orthodox biblical Christians but who promote contemplative spirituality and/or emerging spirituality.

When on a church’s website, you can usually find out which conferences the church is involved with or recommending to their church members. The IF: Gathering conferences are growing tremendously in popularity all across North America, but as Cedric Fisher has documented in his booklet IF It is of God—Answering the Questions About IF: Gathering,  IF is an avenue through which emergent theology is entering the church. There are many other conferences and events, usually with high attendance, taking place yearly that are pumping up Christians with heretical ideas and “theologies.” If you find out a church you’ve been researching is involved in any of these, that is a big warning sign.

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 a booklet that provides an extensive list of authors who fall within the contemplative, emerging camps. It’s an excellent resource.

While searching for a good church, it would be important to find out where a particular church is at in relation Jesus Calling and The Shack. Many churches have been allowing New Age ideas into their congregations through such books. Be sure to read former New Age follower Warren B. Smith’s materials which will help you identify what the New Age is and how it can disguise itself as a better, newer “Christianity.”  You might ask about women’s and men’s Bible study groups and which books are being used at these meetings. That will tell you a lot.

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/seeker-friendly/hyper-charismatic 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 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/article How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging into Your Church.

May God bless you and guide 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)


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