Tag Archives: Apostasy

Apostasy: The Wolves are Emerging

For awhile I’ll admit I was confused about the Emerging/Emergent Churches and philosophies, actually I didn’t even know who/what it was.  Until I started this blog, I was basically oblivious to their movement.  For the sake of argument, I’m not going to address the differences between the two, in fact I don’t really care.  If the mere distinction between the two names is their last three letters, then apparently the founders of each movement weren’t particularly concerned with keeping each movement separate and distinguished.  Building on the apostate discussion that I alluded to yesterday, I chose to lead off with this movement because they are the “relative” new kid on the block if you will.  Based on what I’ve read and researched, they are the most dangerous because they attract the youth groups and young people, those who have yet to accept Christ as Savior and those immature in the Christian walk.  They prey on these “babes” in Christ who as the Apostle Paul says, “…lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  Hebrews 5:13-14  It is for each of these persons that I write this post, with Christ-like love to, as Jude said, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”  Jude 22-23 It is my prayer that every person that reads this has their eyes and ears open to spiritual discernment, that they might recognize the evil corruption spread by the “leaders” of the Emerging/Emergent movement.  This is Apostasy: The Wolves.

First let’s establish the Truth.  We were given God’s Holy and inspired Word.  It was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Though there are now newer, more “relevant” translations that distort the original context, the Holy Bible in and of itself, inerrant (without error) and infallible (incapable of error).  In this regard, it is a guide for our lives and a lamp to our paths. Psalm 119:105 In fact in John 1:1-2 NKJV we learn that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.”  Later on in John we get the amazing Truth that, “…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Through these Truth’s we can surmise that God’s Holy Word became flesh in the form of Jesus.  To deny the truths within the Bible is to deny Christ.  To say that we are incapable of wholly knowing the Truth of the Word is to say that we are incapable of knowing Jesus.  All those who have come to know Christ as personal Savior can claim the truth the Apostle Paul writes of in I Corinthians 2:16 NKJV, “For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”  We have the Word and that Word is the Truth, as Jesus stated, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 Yet these truths are contrary to the teachings of the Emerging/ent Church.  Their mission is to create confusion, doubt, and disbelief in God’s Holy Word and leave you to search for the truth internally.  What you “discover” as truth may not be relevant to the truth I find, but we can come together and each be right.  It’s the epitome of thinking outside the box.  A catchy slogan in our progressive, postmodern society, but when applied to God, it’s wholly inadequate and heretically incorrect.  Let me provide an example to explain what I mean.  These wolves teach that each of our lives are different, in that I might be a “circle”, you might be a “pyramid”, another person might be a “sphere”, and so on.  According to them, each of us can take the Bible and conform it to our individual life shape.  So for me as a circle, the Bible fits me one way, for you it fits another way and so on.  The Truth of the matter is the Bible is the box, though the living, breathing Word of God, it’s unchanging.  We can’t conform it to fit a certain ideal or belief or our lives.  Just the opposite!  It’s not the Bible that conforms to us, but our lives that conform to the Bible.  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 So these are the generic beliefs of the Emerging/ent Church.  To create complete ambiguity and confusion with the Bible; to state that each of us are incapable of knowing the Truth and those that do are arrogant.  I want to point out a few specific examples of their thinking from some of the key leaders wolves that will help better inform you as to what I mean.

Let’s start with one of the more doctrinally confused of the movement, Brian McLaren.  Mr. McLaren is pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Maryland.  He’s so powerful within this movement, Time magazine listed him as one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005.  I don’t know if that’s a condemnation of Time’s out-of-touch assessment or just how sad the Evangelical community has become.  Here’s a sample quote from his book A Generous Orthodoxy:

“I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts … rather than resolving the paradox via pronouncements on the eternal destiny of people more convinced by or loyal to other religions than ours, we simply move on … To help Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and everyone else experience life to the full in the way of Jesus (while learning it better myself), I would gladly become one of them (whoever they are), to whatever degree I can, to embrace them, to join them, to enter into their world without judgment but with saving love as mine has been entered by the Lord” (A Generous Orthodoxy, 260, 262, 264).

So let me get this straight, 1) Disciples do not have to adhere to Christianity 2) It’s ok for people to stick with their world religion and still follow Jesus 3) He would gladly join a world religion to help someone learn the way of Jesus, note he did not say to come to salvation in Christ.  In this brief quote we’ve learned some interesting facts about Mr. McLaren.  He’s denied that Jesus is the only way to salvation and has paved an ecumenical path to knowing God.  Do you see what the wolves try to do?  They use pieces of the Bible, words that are familiar to us to paint their picture of what they want us to believe.  In that sense, it becomes confusing to the reader because it sounds like Gospel, but it’s far from it.  Let’s learn a little bit more, how about some “social gospel” from his book Everything Must Change:

Via Christianity Today: “McLaren tells us that he could only see this kingdom vision of Jesus when he came to a “place of cynically doubting much of what I had been told about Jesus.” To use the words of fellow emergent thinker Peter Rollins, the Northern Irish philosopher at Ikon community, McLaren experienced the “fidelity of betrayal.” He had to betray the Jesus and the gospel and the church that nurtured him to become faithful to the Jesus of this kingdom vision.”

Framing stories are the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of our world, and every theological system has a framing story.  “[The conventional framing story] has specialized in dealing with “spiritual needs” to the exclusion of physical and social needs. It has specialized in people’s destination in the afterlife but has failed to address significant social injustices in this life. It has focused on “me” and “my soul” and “my spiritual life” and “my eternal destiny,” but it has failed to address the dominant societal and global realities of their lifetime: systemic injustice, systemic poverty, systemic ecological crisis, systemic dysfunctions of many kinds.”

According to him, there’s no need to focus on knowing Christ as your Savior, instead you need to focus on ecological crises and societal injustices. 

And one final point, from the website of McLaren himself, a denial the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ:

Q: You know, justification by grace through faith in the finished atoning work of Christ on the cross.
McLaren: Are you sure that’s the gospel?
Q: Of course. Aren’t you?
McLaren: I’m sure that’s a facet of the gospel, and it’s the facet that modern evangelical protestants have assumed is the whole gospel, the heart of the gospel. But what’s the point of that gospel?
Q: What do you mean? I guess it’s so that people can spend eternity with God in heaven in an intimate personal relationship as opposed to … the alternative. You don’t seem to agree.
McLaren: Well, for Jesus, the gospel seemed to have something to do with the kingdom of God.
Q: Which is the kingdom of heaven, which is going to heaven after you die.
McLaren: Are you sure about that?
Q: Aren’t you?
McLaren: This is exactly the point I was trying to make in the article. Many of us are sure we’re “postmodern” now with our candles and hipness and so on, but we haven’t asked some important and hard questions – not about postmodernity, but about modernity and the degree to which our theology and understanding of the gospel have been distorted or narrowed or made “gospel lite” by modernity.
Q: If you were intending to make me feel better, you’re not succeeding.
McLaren: Well, I hope you’ll at least think about this. And search the Scriptures, you know, to see if there’s any validity to the question I’m raising.

 

“The church has been preoccupied with the question, “What happens to your soul after you die?” As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, “Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die.” I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water. I don’t think that the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line.” -Brian McLaren, from the PBS special on the Emerging Church

Seriously, Brian McLaren provides so many opposing Biblical talking points, I could post them all day long.  By now you should get the point.  This guy is a dangerous wolf.  If you see his doctrine, turn away, if you’re reading his books, put them down now and pick up the Word of God.

Next up, the increasingly popular Rob Bell.  This may come as a surprise to some of you because I realize that his books and teaching come across as “cool” and hip and appeal to the younger generations, but he too is involved in the Emerging/ent Church Movement.  Let’s review some of his more infamous quotes.

From Velvet Elvis:

“Salvation is the entire universe being brought back into harmony with its maker.”

“When people use the word hell, what do they mean?  They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires things to be.  Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter-they are all hell on earth.  Jesus’ desire for his followers is that they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth.  What’s disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about Hell here and now.  As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth.” Pg 148

“Heaven is full of forgiven people.  Hell is full of forgiven people.  Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for.  Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for.  The difference is how we choose to live, which story we choose to live in, which version of reality we trust.  Ours or God’s” p. 146

“For Jesus, the question wasn’t how do I get into heaven? But how do I bring heaven to earth?  The question wasn’t, how do I get in there?  But how do I get there, here?” p. 147

Just like McLaren, with Bell his anti-Biblical quotes can go all day.  The themes here are the same, man made solutions to the problems on earth so that they can create a heaven on earth.  They are presenting the same message, both are false gospels.  Jesus said in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  Jesus will return to set up His Kingdom here during His millennial reign.  How can sinful man create heaven on earth in a fallen world?  It certainly sounds like Mr. Bell also refuses to believe in Hell as an actual place.  Those who refuse to accept Christ as their Savior are going to hell.  Your sins are only forgiven if you make the decision to receive Jesus as Savior.

 A few more as I’m sure by now you realize the apostate that is Rob Bell:

 Via Christianity Today: [The Bible is a] “human product…rather than the product of divine fiat” – Rob Bell

 II Timothy 3:16 would disagree with you Mr. Bell.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”

Again From Velvet Elvis: “What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births?  But what if, as you study the origin of the word “virgin” you discover that the word ‘virgin’ in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word ‘virgin’ could mean several things.  And what if you discover that in the first century being ‘born of a virgin’ also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?” p. 26

 In this mini-diatribe of Bell’s he is creating doubt that Jesus was actually born of a virgin.  He is attempting to disassemble the entire supernatural birth of our Lord and Savior.  Think about this, if he disproves the true and holy miraculous birth, then he has disproved the entire foundation of Christianity.  This is a heretical statement!

As we conclude this expose, I want to bring one final point to light.  Both of these men and numerous others within the movement openly support homosexual marriages.  Likewise, you’ve seen how they are creating an ecumenical view of religions and attempt to throw Christianity in the mix too.  Here is their (the devil’s) plan.  They will continue in their mass deception until homosexuality becomes rampant throughout the church.  You will see them begin to promote homosexual pastors at an even greater level than what we’ve seen already.  As they begin their methodical approach to dissecting the Truths of the Bible you will then see them open the broad gate door to other religions on the platform of social issues stating that we only need to know God’s kingdom and even though Jesus showed us how to live, we don’t really need Him to save us from anything, instead all religions need to come together in one accord. 

It might seem like a personal vendetta against these men and their movement, but truthfully it’s not.  When the apostasy’s took place during the time of Paul, he felt compelled through the love of Christ to warn people of the dangers.  As Christians it is our duty  to point out false doctrines so that the Truth of Christ might be known to all.

II Corinthians 11:3-6 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.”

Lack of Spiritual Discernment: Decaying the Church from the Inside

 

Matthew 13:33 “Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

This is the parable of the leaven bread as told in accordance with a series of parables that Jesus gave describing the impacts and influences of the world (devil) on His Kingdom.  What did Jesus mean by this parable?  I’ve seen two schools of thought on this parable, one is the spread of the gospel throughout the world and the positive influence it has and the other is the evils of the world infiltrating the Church through false doctrines.

This parable was placed on my heart while researching current apostasy’s within the church, even though admittedly I was unaware of the implications of this passage.  To me I feel led to read this passage as a warning on corruption.  The “woman” in the passage hid leaven in three measures of meal.  If this was a positive influence on the “meal”, why would she need to hide it?

If the meaning behind this parable were the spreading of the gospel, as some contend (including some pastors who I greatly respect), wouldn’t it be more open and visible than to be hidden in with the rest of the world?  It seems easier to process by thinking that such a large quantity of meal (3 measures equals approximately 30 pounds of flour) has been infiltrated intentionally with a little leaven that attempts to ferment, or corrupt, the entire loaf of bread from the inside. With this context, it’s imperative that we as Christians take a step back and recognize the leaven, or corruption, that is taking place within the church.

The Bible requires us to have spiritual discernment.  By discernment we mean, the ability to distinguish lies from the truth using the Bible as a measuring stick against which all things are tested.  As we read in Philippians 1:9-10 NKJV, “I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”  The knowledge and discernment that Paul is speaking of is that we will have the ability to recognize those evils which oppose God’s will for our lives and His church.  In I Corinthians 5:7-8 NKJV Paul uses the analogy of the leaven bread that we read about earlier, “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

In this passage, the Apostle is directly speaking to the church at Corinth warning them of the defilements that are taking place within the church.  The corruption, defilements, and false doctrines that are hidden in the church today are no different than those from Paul’s day.  The difference is that Paul called for the churches to wake up and recognize the apostasy’s that were taking place within the church.  Today’s church body is not nearly as discerning.

These days the Evangelical community has allowed the Bible to become watered down and its truths diluted leaving the door open and unguarded for the wolves to come in.  When we combine this weakened doctrine with relative, worldly, liberal viewpoints, we get in return an apostasy, “leaven” filled church.

My fear is that the lack of spiritual discernment within the church today is due primarily to the lack of the Holy Spirit, this can be due to a few key reasons of which the most obvious is the absence of true, repentant, faith relying, born again Christians.  There seems to be an increasingly large number of those who think that because of “righteous” living, good works, or simply “believing in God” that they are saved.

Another reason for the lack of spiritual discernment surrounds those people who are truly saved but have yet to submit their lives to the will of God.  Those folks may be more likely to rely on self than on the Holy Spirit and the discernment that develops through reading and studying the word of God, through praying daily, as well as developing strong relationships with Spiritually mature believers.  The Holy Spirit provides the discernment we need to detect false doctrines that seek to infiltrate the church.  I Corinthians 2:11-16 NKJV speaks precisely to this very point:

“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.  For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ”

Over the next few posts, I want to begin to address these apostasy’s that are infiltrating the church.  I want to clearly point out who they are, what to look for, and what ungodly doctrines they are teaching.  I feel it’s extremely important to identify the falsehoods that are taking place in the church today.  Just as we learn in Jude 3-4, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I Thessalonians 5:21-22 “Test all things; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.”

Ephesians 4:14-15 “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ-“

Be Careful what you buy in Christian bookstores

This title blog was posted over at RenewAmerica and addresses some of the many works of apostasy that are making their ways into Christian bookstores, primarily because the publishers and store owners are not paying attention to the content of the books.  It is well worth the read and makes a point to identify some of the many authors of these books.  The following is an excerpt from that post:

For hundreds of years orthodox Christianity has held that the Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, by supernatural power, and that every word in it is true. (2 Tim 3:16) Thus, Scripture has the power, or right, to command how people of faith live their lives. Then theological liberalism rears its ugly head and attempts to undermine established truths. The theological liberal pretends to be a Christian (“progressive Christian” is preferable) as he or she blatantly and unapologetically undermines the Divine authority of the scriptures in matters of faith and life. As a result of the onslaught of liberal influences, the Church is in dire straits!

False teachers and charlatans persist solely because Christian’s have become biblically illiterate. Many believers think studying the Bible is so dull and boring that they can’t be bothered anymore. So they’re ripe for the picking. And this is not the exception but the rule!

If it’s true that the Bible is God’s Word, shouldn’t what He says matter to those who believe in Him? Evidently not because many people who say they “love the Lord” have no clue what’s in the Bible – and clearly they don’t care to find out!

 

A word of warning about Christian bookstores. Bibles are sold in every color, shape and size, in translations that are supposedly “accurate” “up-to- date” and “easy to read.” If you don’t know what you’re buying, be careful! Many Bible translations are highly unorthodox, hence they’re unfit for Christian consumption! Albert Mohler, President of Baptist Theological Seminary, cautions that the translation a person chooses is “what they will have in their minds and what they will hide in their hearts.” Unorthodox material can lead ignorant souls into cults and apostate Christianity – and this is tragic!

The article goes on to point out some of the “prosperity preachers”, “word-faith” teachers, and emergent/emergence church leaders.  Additionally, the author, Marsha West, points the false biblical principles found in the bestseller The Shack.  A book review is provided there by Gary Gilley and below is an excerpt from his review:

 “The Shack, while occasionally getting things right is, in the end, a dangerous piece of fiction. It undermines Scripture and the church, presents at best a mutilated gospel, misrepresents the biblical teachings concerning the Godhead and offers a New Age understanding of God and the universe. This is not a great novel to explain tragedy and pain. It is a misleading work which will confuse many and lead others astray.”  

Check out the whole article here: http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/mwest/090319