Monday, February 26, 2007

Confession of a Repentant, Purpose Driven Convert

Scott MacIntyre writes from Wood & Steel:

"Having spent my growing up years in a fundamentalist Baptist tradition, I was probably an unlikely candidate for attending a Purpose Driven church. There were two main reasons for this departure from my roots. The first and possibly most important reason was that I simply failed to comprehend the necessity of approaching my faith in Christ from a purely biblical perspective."

Read more at Wood & Steel .

Hollywood's Flood of Deception

"And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood." Revelation 15

The modern seeds of deception planted by the DaVinci Code now are watered by the Discovery Channel and James Cameron's The Lost Tomb of Jesus. "Scientific" evidence and "experts" who have worked on this archaelogical project claim DNA evidence to support the blasphemy. DNA evidence implies living decendants, the conjecture of the DaVinci Code.

Another Hollywood favorite, Oprah, has also been watering the garden of deception recently with her endorsement of The Secret. The "Secret" shares the "secret to creating the life you truly want—losing weight, making money, finding love." Oprah commands a staggering global audience. She is credited with launching the career of New Age Author, Marianne Williamson , to stardom with Oprah's endorsement of A Course in Miracles.

Christ warned of deception in the last days. A look at Matthew 24 clearly paints a picture of the urgency of believers to be alert, armored in His Spirit, and the consequences of not being so.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Has the SBC Lost the Gospel ?

Dr. Tom Ascol, Pastor of Grace Baptist and Executive Director of Founders Ministries talks with Mike Corley about his SBC resolution proposing that members of SBC churches actually are born again. (A resolution that did not pass committee in 2006 !). Dr Ascol also explains his deep concern that the SBC has "largely lost the Gospel."

Listen to this alarming assessment of the state of the witness of the SBC on the
Mike Corley Program

Related articles from The Watcher's Lamp:
Can the SBC Avoid The Samson Effect?
Follow Up to the Samson Effect Article.
SBC Updates at Apprising Ministries

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Growing Ecumenical Vortex, PART II

In examining the U.S. ecumenical landscape, efforts to build bridges with Rome are alarming.
Watch Unto Prayer Ministries reported the following regarding Chuck Colson's efforts in Evangelicals and Catholics Together. "One formal declaration boldly documents the Evangelical and Catholic commitment to work together to evangelize and bring about social reform in the world. The Evangelicals and Catholics Together Document,subtitled The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium,(29) laid the groundwork for Evangelicals and Catholics to set aside their distinctive doctrines and to unite with other religions in a United Religions Organization by the year 2005 A.D."

The real surprise comes when the signatories and participants are revealed. Men such as the late "Dr. Bill Bright , Dr. Richard Land* (Southern Baptist), Dr. Larry Lewis* (Southern Baptist), and Rev. Pat Robertson." The document does acknowledge the differences that exist between Catholicism and Protestantism, but seeks to build on what the denominations have in common for the greater social good.

The late Dr. Bright in his personal statement shared the names of the men he associated with who did not endorse the effort. They are: John Ankerberg, Dr.John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul,
Joe Stowell and D. James Kennedy .

Pastor Jeffery Whitaker chronicle's his investigation into his denomination's "continuing high-profile quest for Ecumenical Globalism" . Geoff Thomas reported on the event in 1994 for the Evangelical Times, as well as Pastor Gary Gilley of Southernview Chapel.

Chuck Colson also has strong ties to Rick Warren's Purpose Driven and The Peace Plan. Colson was a guest speaker at Angel Stadium in Anaheim in 2005 when Warren rolled out his Global Peace Plan.

2 Corinthians 6:14
14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

The Growing Ecumenical Vortex

Earlier this year it was noted that 2007 is set to be the launch pad year for global unity initiatives.

Now the UK's Times Online is reporting radical proposals to reunite Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope.

After 300 years of Anglican history the leadership in both denominations have agreed to explore how they might reunite under the Pope.

Some folks in the Protestant / Evangelical community may not think this is relevant. However, popular and successful "Evangelicals" have been building bridges to Rome for quite some time. There are dozens if not hundreds of examples, but here are just a few:

The Purpose Driven Network offers resources for Catholics .

The Emergent Movement embraces and encourages the experiential aspects of worship rooted in Roman Catholicism.

On February 9, 2007 we looked at Rick Warren's endorsement of the Anglican-created,Roman Catholic-promoted Alpha Course.

On February 2, 2007 we reported the revived Christian Churches Together which included Protestant, Evangelical and Roman Catholic churches.

The nations are aligning in cooperation against the common threat of terrorism & global warming . The global religious system is undergoing it's own transformation fulfilling Biblical prophecy as we speak.

Will the Master return to find your lamp burning and filled with oil ?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Your Pain Reflects Your Priority

Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries writes:

"The Christian Post (CP) is reporting that, “Bill Curtis, chairman of trustees for the North American Mission Board, said the disagreements are intensifying as baptisms in Southern Baptist churches are at their lowest level in 12 years and 73 percent of member churches are either not growing or declining...”

"...As an SBC minister who has been covering numerous reasons why the Southern Baptist Convention Continues Its Rapid Implosion there’s no doubt in my mind why this is occurring. I’ve been screaming as loudly as my little sphere of limited influence is concerned about the inroads of the Reformation reversing contemplative mysticism into the SBC."

Editor's note:
Broken-heartedness over disunity should not supercede broken-heartedness over heresy. Mr. Curtis should re-evaluate the relationships the NAMB has formed recently, as well as the disturbing trends in the SBC that Pastor Silva and a host of others have been reporting.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

One Man's Story of The Blessed Subtraction

Mike Ratliff of Possessing The Treasure writes of his personal experience regarding the Purpose Driven takeover of his church:

"We left our old church because the leadership there was in about step 2 or 3 of their Purpose Driven Church implementation. For several weeks our pastor sermons were all about his new “vision” for the church. In April he gave the deacon body the Purpose Drive Church book to read. I didn’t read it..."

"I was asked by our old pastor to give an account of how we should implement the PDC model. I did a lot of research and put together a 7 page document that laid out the theological fallacies and outright heretical aspects of its approach to doing church. I prayed a lot about giving it to my pastor..."

"We went to church the next morning and found that they had dissolved my class. We worshipped then left and went home after “church” that day. I could feel the eyes of the pastor boring into me as we walked out the front door. That was the last time either of us have been in that building."

Editor's note:
Dennis Costella of Foundations Magazine reported from a Purpose Driven Conference at Saddleback:

"What does Warren say regarding those in the church who oppose the switch from conservative to contemporary in order to bring in the crowds? He stated in no uncertain terms that the old stalwarts would have to go..."

"Be willing to let people leave the church. And I told you earlier the fact that people are gonna leave the church no matter what you do. But when you define the vision, you're choosing who leaves. You say, "But Rick, yes, they're the pillars of the church." Now, you know what pillars are. Pillars are people who hold things up ... And in your church, you may have to have some blessed subtractions before you have any real additions."-Rick Warren

Read more of what Purpose Driven simply calls " Blessed subtractions".

Where are the Elders ?

Pastor Bob DeWaay of Critical Issues Commentary asks the question:
Where are the Elders?

"Most evangelical churches have elders; these elders are responsible for the Lord’s flock. My interviews with people who have witnessed their churches being infiltrated by unbiblical teachings and practices have opened my eyes to a serious problem in our evangelical movement: elders who do not think that what is being taught and practiced in their church is important enough to judge biblically. This is serious. In many cases, these elders consider their primary job to be—support the senior pastor and his reputation at all costs. "

Largest Christian Publisher Gives "The Voice" Life

Lighthouse Trails reports:

Thomas Nelson Goes Forward with "The Voice" - A "Bible" Project by Emergents

"According to a February 11th article in Christian Today, "New Bible Project for Young Generation Launched", Thomas Nelson's 2006 "Bible" project called The Voice is going full speed ahead. The project, announced by TN last spring, is a "re-telling of the Bible that consists of creative voices from historians to poets, storytellers to songwriters," and is for young people who are "searching for new ways to explore the Bible, or who are seeking to read it for the first time."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Engineering The Emergent Experience

In a classic case of the dialectic process, Leonard Sweet has declared, “ …the old model of church is killing the West," at a conference at Baylor University. Sweet continues to state, “in the midst of an ever-changing culture, and more specifically, postmodernism the church must become missional, relational and incarnational, rather than remain attractional, propositional and colonial.” In layman’s terms…the emergent way is in, the seeker-sensitive is out. Perhaps the seeker-sensitive way is the first step toward the emergent way, with the final destination for Rome ?

Sweet, a leading theologian of the emerging church also participated in The Voice Project. This was an eclectic collaboration of poets, writes and musicians retelling their version of the Bible. Fellow colleagues on the project include Brian McLaren and Erwin McManus.

Now, one music CD and two books later, The Voice Project announces their latest release, dubbed the "New Bible for the Postmodern Culture". The Voice website states “the Voice project comes at the point of impact where the modern church, with its tradition and stability collides with the developing church of the future”. Project leader Chris Seay states, "This is our effort to help work through these changes and to focus attention on God's word to us."

The 21st century emergent church service, with a customized, postmodern Bible would be incomplete without accompanying music. Perhaps Bono's Songs Replacing Hymnals in Churches would be an appropriate match for the fresh, creative and experiential religious service.

It will be interesting to see how the Voice Project “culturizes” the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2…

1 When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, 5 so that your faith might not be based on men's wisdom but on God's power.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Body Count Evangelism

Warren Smith, publisher of The Charlotte World writes:

"...the Body of Christ in America is not growing ­ either numerically or spiritually. It is, relatively speaking, shrinking -- burdened by crass commercialism, a lack of integrity, and the quest for power and glory of celebrity preachers. An all but inescapable second conclusion is this: the rest of us, if we do not speak out against the lies of those who practice body-count evangelism, are standing by just as Paul stood by when he guarded the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen. We, likewise, are guarding this cloak of falsehood ­ subjecting the Body of Christ to a modern stoning of its own."

Mr. Smith has also identified the evolution of the Christian-Industrial Complex.

Ed. note: It is obvious that the publishing, film & music industries are cashing in along with Western religious personalities. Who is the target market of these groups? The local church.
The effect is staggering, as churches follow pastors blindly, like sheep, taking the bait of the consumer-driven market models of the rich & famous.

Friday, February 9, 2007

A Different Victim of The Vision

In September 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported on the plight of church members who had been driven from their churches because of the pursuit of pragmatic growth programs.

A Florida church family now has been torn and grieved over an apparent attempt by a pastor to "transition" the church to the "the new thing" God is doing in the church.

In this rare case, the congregation resisted, and now the pastor resigned.

So, what caused the division? In this case it was the truth, and the congregation stood for it.

What kind of story would MSNBC or WSJ write about your church?

If Rick Says It's OK, Then It Must Be OK !

In the Book of Hosea, chapter 4:6 God says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." The Bible paints the picture of His people as sheep. In one of many references, God speaks in the Book of Jeremiah how their shepherds have led them astray .

In just another example of Truth sacrificed on the altar of unity, Rick Warren has partnered with the Anglican-created, Roman Catholic-promoted Alpha Course. It is disturbing to note that the Billy Graham Association is also a part of the effort.

Alpha is promoted as "Churches and Christian organizations of every background and denomination are discovering it to be a simple and effective way of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ in a non-threatening manner for people of all walks of life." The same can be said for Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life.

A brief look at the history of Alpha clearly shows it's ecumenical, doctrinally neutral presentation of Christ. If Alpha, and other popular teachings, do not present a Biblical presentation of Christ, it is a presentation that offers a person other than Christ. Such a void would allow for a charismatic, wonder producing leader to walk in and claim " I am he".

As a monitored trend on this blog,EVANGELICALS TURNING TO CATHOLIC “SPIRITUALITY” continues. In these social justice alliances, methodologies of ritual worship rooted in Catholicism and Eastern Mysticism are used as the ecumenical glue. Biblical doctrine is discarded because of it's devisive nature. What's left to agree upon is only the hollow shell of religious history and human tradition.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The SBC North American Mission Board partners with emergent church planting conference?

The North American Mission Board is a proud sponsor of the 2007 National New Church Conference. According to the NAMB website,“This conference is designed to connect, encourage, equip, and challenge church planting leaders.”

Certainly seems innocent, even essential. However, upon perusal of the guest list, one has to wonder why the NAMB is associated with the proponents of the seeker sensitive, purpose driven, emerging and ecumenical church movement.

The line up of presenters looks more like a Who’s Who in the Church Growth Movement.

Some of the more familiar faces:

Seeker Sensitive Sensation Bill Hybels.
Creativity and Church Stage Master Mark Batterson.
Emergent Church Leader Mark Driscoll.
Inter-denominational church planter Steve Childers.
Allen Hirsch, author of "The Forgotten Ways", endorsed by Brian McClaren & Leonard Sweet. Sweet says “Hirsch discovered the formula that unlocks the secrets of the ecclesial universe…”
Ron Silva, Director of Purpose Driven Planting.
THE NAMB’s own Ed Stetzer, proponent of the emergent and ecumenical website, THE OOZE , Rick Warren & Leonard Sweet.

(The OOZE is promoted by Lifeway Resources. The OOZE also sponsors a 3 Day Conference led by a Roman Catholic priest).

Interesting to note a similar "religious demographic" in the recently formed
Red Letter Christians. Certainly, the emergent, ecumenical community would require a political entity to complete itself as a true religious system.

Sponsors of the event include:
The founding fathers of the Emergent Church, Leadership Network, with whom Lifeway Resources has partnered; the Willow Creek Association and Church Planting Networks.

It is evident that The Emergent Church Movement is now an industry.

Is your church emerging to grow an audience ?

More updates on the inroads of the Emergent Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Wanted: Ministers Who Preach Not Themselves

Dr. Michael Horton writes in Reformation Magazine:

"Over the years, I have noticed that "want ads" for pastors have changed quite remarkably...Nothing is mentioned about a commitment to Scripture, proclamation of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ, or any specific doctrinal convictions. Perhaps that is assumed, but it shouldn’t be these days.

For many today, the marks of the Church are relevance, success, and the pastor’s personal gifts, but for the apostles the marks were the Word rightly preached, the Sacraments rightly administered, and discipline exercised so that the first two marks would not be compromised. While personal godliness is essential for the minister, it is not essential for the ministry. The Gospel-preaching ministry even of someone who is unregenerate or living in serious sin can be more effective than the ministry of a pious person who does not preach Christ."

Read more of the Biblical role of the pastor here.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Follow Up to the SBC & The Samson Effect

See Original Post "Can the SBC Avoid the Samson Effect"

Marty Duran, of The SBC Outpost writes:

I believe that it is time to begin asking and answering the hard questions about the Southern Baptist Convention, state conventions and local associations, in order to determine where our structures have become inefficient, archaic and, possibly, obsolete.

Today, on the Founders Blog, Tom Ascol addresses the very issue, Have we lost the gospel?

Wayne J. Edwards of Mature Ministries writes in his article,God's Wake Up Call To The Church:
"The headline from the webpage of my own denomination (SBC) said, “Engage younger Christians…or else!” Since I was in the middle of writing my book, “Raising The Standard” the headline worked – it caused me to take the time to read the entire article. When I finished, I paused to thank the Lord for answered prayer, because I could not have asked for a better way to illustrate the burden of my heart for what is happening in the church today... This dumbing down of doctrine and theology has also weakened our mission to get the whole Word to the whole world. Therefore, not only are we not reaching the unchurched, because we have hidden the true gospel behind catchy phrases, acrostics and market-driven analysis so much that we no longer have any “good news” to tell them, but at the same time we have unchurched the churched, by abandoning the very methods God used in their lives to encourage their spiritual growth and maturity, which included our responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission, perhaps in our lifetime."

Ecumenical Unity, American Style

"Christians from five traditions, including Roman Catholic, will officially inaugurate a new national ecumenical body next month. Thirty-six churches and national Christian organizations representing over 100 million Christians will be the founding members of

Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. (CCT), which is said to be the only venue where all the major groupings of churches come together and also the most extensive ecumenical effort in U.S. history... The inauguration service is scheduled for Feb. 7 at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California"

Editors note:
Fuller Seminary has a long, distinguished history of the pragmatic, popular and ecumenical. Among their distinguished graduates are Rick Warren and Robert A. Schuller III. Fuller seminary also maintains strong ties to Bill Hybels' Willowcreek Church. Schuller, Warren & Hybels also share in collaboration and inspiration.