Posts Tagged ‘apostasy’

There are some bizarre, outrageous, and flat-out unbiblical things going on in lots of churches. One so-called church sells beer, another worships Mother Earth, others use secular music during worship, others ordain gay leaders, and still others offer yoga. People are free to do whatever they want to try and make God fit their ideas and to offer services that cater to the desires of their congregations, but is this what church is supposed to be? 

What happened to the emphasis on teaching God’s word of truth including sin and repentance, justification, God’s wrath, prophecy, future judgment, and sanctification?

Last week I reported on one of the most heart-wrenching stories I’ve tackled in quite some time. The Roman Catholic Church is reeling from the massive scandal involving homosexuality among priests and the rampant cover-up of sexual abuse that has continued for many decades.

But many Evangelical and Protestant churches have leadership problems of their own. This includes the progressive, seeker-sensitive Willow Creek Church in Chicago whose lead pastors and elders resigned in light of the Bill Hybels allegations of sexual harassment.

Countless churches seem to have lost focus and have gotten off track. We have lost our reverence for a holy God, and practically abandoned the once-solid foundation of the teaching of Scripture which is the primary purpose of the church.

Many conferences and church services today barely resemble the early church and what the Bible teaches, let alone point to Jesus Christ. Some people create gods and church services to suit their own interests while others rewrite Scriptures to justify their lifestyles.

Last month in St. Louis, a controversial conference took place calledRevoice,” apparently aiming to normalize homosexuality and affirm those claiming to be “LGBTQ Christians.” Can you say, oxymoron?

Christian talk show host, Janet Mefferd called for the unbiblical movement to be repudiated, saying:

“Revoice is incremental gay activism, designed to eventually lure conservative evangelicals into accepting ‘gay Christianity,’” 

Next, there’s a progressive church in Santa Cruz, California that not only sells beer, but plans to donate proceeds to big abortion business, Planned Parenthood. Maybe the consumption of alcohol helps the pastor’s sermons sound better. This is a guy who preaches that Jesus was a Palestinian “killed by white supremacy.”

And who can forget our expose back in May on the San Francisco church that hosted what they called aBeyoncé Mass?” It was quite an interesting take on worshiping, “Our Mother who is in heaven,” and endorsing Beyonce as a role model for young girls.

Then there’s a church in Atlanta that put a new twist in their Sunday morning worship show by adding scantily-clad aerialists as a regular part of their services. ‘Why in the world?’ you may ask. Self-appointed “Apostle” Bryan Meadows actually said:

“Because they shouldn’t have to go to the circus to use the gifts that God gave them!”

Just one more or we’d be here all day. Serita Jakes, wife of controversial, megachurch minister, T.D. Jakes, gleefully posted photos on social media of women doing yoga at the church during a women’s event on wellness.

Never mind the practice of yoga is a rooted in Hinduism, a 5,000-year old polytheistic religious system. Its purpose is to bypass the mind and yoke or “unite” a person’s spirit with the Hindu god, Brahman.

Heather Clark at Christian News Network reminds us:

 “… Even the traditional Hindu greeting, Namasté, that is said at the end of yoga classes, is spiritual. When translated, it means, ‘The god in me bows down to (or salutes) the god in you.’”

The Spirit of Christ bows down to no one; He alone is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the only true, living God who is worthy of our true worship.

Romans 8:9 states:

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

And Exodus 20:3 states:

You shall have no other gods before Me.

Prior to building one of America’s first mega-churches, author, pastor, and motivational speaker, Robert Scheuller literally went door to door in the 1970s in Orange County, California, and asked people what they wanted in a church. Not what lost, hurting sinners need, but what they ‘want.’ This of course, has led to the “mega-church” and emergent church movement.

Men focused on church growth took a cue from Schueller and the rest is history. This has been a recipe for disaster in the American church, and it has led to well-deserved comparisons with the lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3, and a better understanding of why Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy. In the last days, men would be:

“treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Timothy 4:4-5)

Rather than be active participants in learning and sharing God’s Word, too many church members have been conditioned to sit back and listen to a program or presentation, and perhaps to a bunch of funny stories or analogies instead of being challenged by sound doctrine and the harder teachings of the Bible. Then there’s the music. Lots of talented praise teams are themselves being praised for performing entertaining, although often heartfelt music rather than leading the people to the Throne in the worship of a holy God.

A.W. Tozer once said:

“The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today–the heresy of religious entertainment.”

We need to get back to the basics.

True disciples of Jesus Christ in the early church focused on four primary things: teaching the word of God with a focus on Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, prayer, communion, and fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42). They made disciples and they went out and shared the good news. They didn’t care about the approval of people – they sought to obey God. Their faith in Christ cost most of them their lives.

Today, too many churches use entertaining concepts and gimmicks to attract people, but then a new problem arises: in order to keep them in the comfy seats (and giving their tithes), you need to avoid controversial issues and often dilute the gospel so they won’t be offended.

What happens when you give people what they want instead of what they need which is Christ and His truth? Rather than being fed and equipped, countless hungry souls are walking out of many American churches feeling empty and unprepared to do God’s work. This must change.

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You may have heard Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal church in San Francisco, held what was called a ‘Beyoncé mass’ last week, and at an evening service where fifty people typically attend, about 900 turned out to hear music by Beyoncé featured.

People are free to worship however they want, but doing this at a church was both confusing and controversial. The Bible teaches Christians to be set apart from the world, not to blend in. And Jesus said if we love the things of this world, God the Father’s love is not in us (1 John 2:15).

The Beyoncé mass was inspired by a guest Reverend, Yolanda Norton, and by an actual class she teaches at San Francisco Theological Seminary: ‘Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible.’ 

Some might argue, ‘It’s just entertainment,’ right? The question is do secular entertainment and unbiblical themes belong in a place of Christian worship where the focus should be to exalt the name of Jesus?

…Good Fight Ministries did an expose on Beyonce and her 2013 Super Bowl halftime show when she mimicked the Hindu goddess Kali Kali – often associated with darkness of death – displayed the devil’s triangle, goat-headed Baphomet, and flashed the Illuminati symbol. You can actually see a transformation during that Super Bowl performance as her face distorts, appearing “fierce” and even masculine at times.

The spirituality behind contemporary feminism often comes in the form of goddess worship, and the fact many have a desire to overthrow the patriarchal structure in society. It is rebellion against God as “Father.”

During the actuaBeyoncé mass, an alternate, feminist perversion of the Lord’s Prayer was printed in the program for attendees to read out loud.

Our Mother, who is in heaven and within us, We call upon your names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done. In all the spaces in which you dwell… (more)

Referring to morality, Reverend Jude Harmon said “conservative Christians see a high wall separating the Church from the world; progressive Christians do not.” Grace Cathedral identifies as progressive and has a web-page noting that it is proud of its LGBT advocacy. Of course they are.

But is ‘Queen Bey’ an appropriate role model for African American women, particularly for women who do seek to follow the Bible’s teachings on holiness, morality, sanctification, and truth? These are not bad people; they’re just wrong. And this is another gospel.

Read the full post at DavidFiorazo.com:

false-teachers“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude 1:3-4

It has crept and slithered through America infecting countless victims. Its goals are compromise, ambiguity, tolerance, globalism, mysticism, and in some cases, universalism. Its path is destruction and its foundation is sinking sand.

The ‘Emergent Church’ is a movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries. Followers, participants, and those who identify can be described as evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal or post-liberal, reformed, neo-charismatic, and post-charismatic. It is part of the Cult of Liberalism.

They seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a “Postmodern” society. It is an untraditional network of individual believers and churches that prefer to be understood as a “conversation” or a friendship rather than an organization. What those involved mostly agree on is their disdain for fundamental Christianity and disillusionment with the organized, traditional, and institutional church.

The emergent, or emegring church favors the use of simple story and narrative in preaching style. Adherents often place a high value on good works or social activism. The hallmark of the emergent church is the liberal, new age aspect including the practice of contemplative monastic meditation and prayers. While some do emphasize eternal salvation, many in the emerging church emphasize the here and now (taking care of the earth, etc.) and reject the inerrancy of Scripture.

Regarding doctrine, these folks generally reject systematic Christian theology, the integrity of Scripture, and gospel exclusivity. They don’t believe Christianity is the one true religion and many associated with the emergent church promote homosexuality. Some deny the deity of Jesus Christ; they call for diversity, “unity,” and camaraderie among all religions, and they modify and expand their teachings. It is quite clearly and simply a war against the Truth.

At an emergent church workshop in San Diego about ten years ago, former national coordinator of the Emergent Village, Tony Jones stated:

“This is about our belief that theology changes. The message of the gospel changes. It’s not just the method that changes.”

What? I submit to you that Jesus never changed his message to fit the times! Sadly, too many believers are uninterested, uninformed, or just plain apathetic about the Bible and understanding the times we live in where relevance is emphasized more than repentance.

In a revealing comment about why Jones departed from the traditional Bible church, he described his younger days in a Protestant church like this:

“I’d say there was one word that summed up my religious life: obligation.”

Rather than seek Christ’s kingdom first and dig into Scripture, Jones decided to travel the world and see how other religions and worshippers found peace through prayer and meditation and he adopted other forms of spirituality in his pursuit of religion.

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1

Jones is not alone. These influential men are best-selling authors in Christian stores, speakers at entertaining music festivals, popular on the political Christian Left, and well-known leaders in religious circles. They and their dangerous doctrines have invaded the true body of Christ. The goal in this expose is to provide a basic understanding as well as direct quotes from those who have done great damage to the Church, not to explain or refute each one in detail.

[BREAK] …

Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not a matter of knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is the difference between right and almost right.”

How did we get to the point where many of these liberal, emergent ideas and teachings have blended in with truth and sound doctrine? How have they slithered their way into modern Christianity? The answer goes back to the book of Genesis and the original sin of Adam and Eve. Remember how the serpent deceived Eve by questioning God? (“Did God really say…”) He then encouraged them to disobey God as he declared, “You will not surely die…” (Genesis 3:1-4)

All it takes is a seed of doubt and invitation to sin. Many progressive leaders and deceivers question absolute truth and promote ambiguity and confusion. No wonder these men are so popular – they’re going with the flow of pop culture. Paul warned about conforming to this world (Romans 12:2).

False teachers have been around since the early church days. The major issue with the emergent church is that they reject the authority of Scripture. These teachings were not accepted by evangelical Christians overnight. We can trace the rapid advancement of the emergent church to the late 80’s and 90’s, when people began talking about how to modernize and re-create church to be more attractive to the unchurched.

…Many churches in America now have beautiful buildings, sports facilities, coffee shops, bookstores, great music and sound systems, state of the art lighting, and good drama or video presentations, but how much of their service time is spent preaching the solid truth of Scripture? Many seem to put more of an emphasis on programs keeping people within their own walls or on entertaining the flock rather than feeding them God’s Word. Well, at least the youth are kept happy and occupied.

Young people like to take action for a cause, and many works-based efforts call for organizing, social or environmental action and partnership with government agencies and other religions/leaders. This is a clever way to lure those who are not as mature in the faith.

Another controversial message being promoted is that of social justice, which in its modern use is apostasy. Apostasy means a departure from the faith or one who denies the fundamental doctrines concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. (Wallis’ Sojourners mag for example, puts more emphasis on the environment, immigration, “income inequality,” and poverty than on the Gospel, salvation, repentance, and sin.) The Bible does not teach that the church must work with government or world leaders to implement man’s solutions to our deepest needs and problems. We can no longer deny the fact that humanism, liberalism and secular-progressive influence is alive and well -not only in government, education, media, corporations, and the entertainment industry – but in the Church…

Since not enough Christians know the dangers and the extent of the emergent church movement and their radical teachings, we need to promote awareness starting with what is true. We need to dig deeper in to the Word of God than ever before and know it so well that if we hear a counterfeit message, we’ll recognize it immediately! We need to talk to our pastors and Christian friends. Liberalism, humanism, and secularism are growing cancers in both church and culture so let’s not ignore the causes.

Let’s get out of our comfort zones and take a stand for Christ. The spiritual battle rages all around us and the enemy is on our doorstep. Satan has been at work at a church near you spreading his deceptions. The good news is that we are on to his schemes. Mature believers know that the emergent church teachings are contrary to the gospel of Christ.

Read the full, comprehensive expose on the emergent church here including direct quotes and many resource links: