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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity. Religion’

I don’t like to think that I am being overly critical and seeing error where there is none, but in the course of researching the obvious questionable teachings and practices in the current church scene, I come across what appear to be genuine, sincere ministries, committed to the gospel and to the Bible , and I have to re-examine myself and the scriptures to see if I’m wrong after all, because on the surface all seems well …..  they don’t appear to be following or part of any extreme groups.

These churches’ websites show they are very active in evangelism and almost all are proclaiming great blessings, over-flowing congregations, together with prophecies, visions and the like telling of revival in their midst and spreading throughout the whole world.  Undergirding all this is a huge desire for change – as one ministry puts it  – ‘to turn the tide of anti-christian pollution in our society’.     So why – instead of rejoicing with them – do I get an uneasiness that compels me to dig a bit deeper and look behind the scenes so to speak?

This uneasiness is usually triggered by noticing what a high opinion they tend to have of themselves. There is certainly no lack of ‘self-esteem’. Of course, I suppose you could say that their confidence comes from the belief that God is ‘showing up’ at their meetings and in answer to their prayers, sometimes over many years of lean results.  I can so easily find myself confounded in the face of so many testimonies of wonderful changed lives and miraculous moves of God,  which seem to be the proof that God is indeed at work. BUT – I have to return time and again to the solid ground of God’s word and it’s warnings of deception by seducing spirits.

Church growth seems to be what it’s all really about. They may disassociate themselves from the teachings of Rick Warren, but they nevertheless pick up on his ideas, consciously or unconsciously.

The mission these days seems to be less about saving individual souls, than ‘impacting’ and making a difference in your locality and christianising the world. The main aim is to show non-churched people how loving and friendly we are as God’s family and what better way than via a social gospel that will meet their emotional needs.

To that end also, we have to break down the old denominational barriers to achieve unity and co-operate in our common cause  –  no separation from the world for the truths sake allowed here!

Don’t they know the Church needs to be doctrinally sound to be in God’s will?  The Holy Spirit led the Apostles and the early Church into all truth and as we follow their New Testament example, so we will be led too. It’s just as important to follow the right practices and methods of evangelism too.

There is much targeting of young people – they are much easier to manipulate and influence – especially if music is made the attraction. Disturbingly, I came across this quote by James Ryles who had a dream in 1989 : ‘ And I remember the dream thinking to myself, wow – this is like the Beatles music was new. The Lord spoke to me and said, ” What you saw in the Beatles – the gifting and that sound that they had – was from me. It did not belong to them. It belongeth to me. it was my purpose to bring forth through music a world-wide revival that would usher in the move of my spirit in bringing men and women to Christ” [ Harvest Conference, Denver 1990]        I can see no Biblical precedent for using music in preaching the gospel , or ‘worship’ as a means of evangelising the lost, or    for entertaining anyone!

I don’t know when the title ‘Worship Leader’ crept into the church , but it has always made me cringe.  It misuses the word worship and in actuality is simply a ‘churchy’ name for a Musical Director.    I always thought that worship was something from the individual, redeemed heart to his/her Saviour and Creator. My Bible tells me that is the only true worship that God will accept.  ‘ But the hour comes and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in TRUTH: for the Father seeks  such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH’. John 4:23,24

        Christians are told to  ‘be filled with the Spirit; speaking to YOURSELVES in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord’. Eph:5:18

        The gospel of Christ needs no extra trappings to make it more palatable – the gospel itself is the power of God to save. ‘ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek’. Rom 1:16    Genuine gospel preaching will produce genuine conversions and teaching the truth of God’s word will produce true disciples.

           What are all these new converts taught I wonder?  Most likely that they must submit to their Leaders , attend as many church meetings as possible, find their ‘ministry’ in the Lord [ what an asset if they are a musician!] ; but will they be taught to check everything out with scripture? will they be warned to treat any ‘leadings’ with caution? will they be warned of false prophets and teachers and deception in the church? Probably not – we don’t want to be too negative do we??

          So – if todays prophetic utterances are correct and God is moving by His spirit , bringing great revival to the whole earth, in answer to  all the dedicated ‘prayer ministries’ and spiritual warfare activity – then logically, we cannot be in the Last Days – for we are told of a great falling away of the church before the Lord’s return.  And yet – the world is certainly fitting the pattern of ‘as in the days of Noah’ and it is getting increasingly difficult to live as a Christian in our sin-sick world.

           I have known great anxieties and fears in my life and some very stressful situations over the years that have almost overwhelmed me  – but it has always been the word of God that I’ve turned to and it has kept and sustained me.  Christians have been taught to run to other Christians for help, but they are not always the answer and some will let you down. Don’t live your Christian life off the faith of somebody else  – be strong in the Lord. It is the Lord and His word that we need. It is only through the scriptures that we know His will, how to follow Him, how to keep from deception and how to pray.

        I have been fortunate in having to deal with cults and aberrant Christian teachings from the beginning of my Christian walk, so I have been aware, by God’s grace ,when things haven’t been right scripturally. And now that the church at large is falling away , in spite of my own temporary doubts and sometimes confusion  – I have to be true to my own convictions and my prayer to the Lord, as always, is that in His grace and mercy He will use what I write to help others  – just as I myself have been helped by the many articles written by other concerned believers. Their insights and experiences have been of enormous value, often simply confirming what I’d only suspected.

May God bless and keep you,      Eileen

 
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Before getting into specifics about William Branham I will give a bit of general background to my own experience.

It seems to me that one of the easiest ways for a Christian to be led away from Bible truth is when their admiration for or interest in a particular preacher, ministry or place becomes their main focus.  Add to that the erroneous belief that a true Christian cannot be deceived and you have the potential for a shipwreck ahead – hopefully not permanent!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that when my husband and I were very young in the faith, we joined the local Elim church and were taken under the wing of a very nice man, David, who came regularly to our home to teach us from the Bible.

We were enthralled as he related stories to show us that God  was still doing miraculous things , just as He did in the early church, in the ministries of the great healing Evangelists around at that time [late 60s -70s]. He explained that God was restoring the five-fold ministries [Eph 4:11] to the church and fulfilling Joel’s prophecy as on the Day of Pentecost in Acts.

We were not sufficiently knowledgeable in the scriptures ourselves at the time to question, nor did we see the need to challenge anything we were being taught. He was a lovely Christian man, we got on well with him and he knew his Bible inside out [it seemed to us] –  so what could possibly be wrong? It was years later that we learned these were the heretical teachings of the Latter Rain movement. He also was a member of the Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship who also believe the same.

Well –  the Pastor of our church did not approve and forbade David to meet with us anymore. There was no explanation why , so the inevitable happened and we eventually departed the Elim church and became a small house fellowship. We later met in a small building as our numbers grew.

Then – I think through David – we began to have connections with a church community in Chard, Somerset,  which everyone got very excited about because of the wonderful things that were happening there.

A preacher came from Chard specifically to teach and encourage us all in the gifts of the Spirit. But something he said set the alarm bells ringing. His words were: ” If the [first] voice you hear isn’t the Holy Spirit – then who are you being led by?”  This seemed very unwise counsel to my husband and I – especially as no mention was made of the need for conformity to the scriptures.

Needless to say, things began to happen in the meetings , including being ‘slain’ in the Spirit, as discernment and caution flew out the window in this newfound confidence and freedom.

When we tried to voice our concerns we were faced with anger and the general caution was not to ‘quench the Spirit’ because this was all part of God’s end time outpouring and restoration of signs and wonders to His church.

During our association with David the name of William Branham cropped up regularly. He was much admired and held in almost reverential awe by his followers. We were impressed by the ministry God had given him. We were completely ignorant about him and listened in wonder to the accounts of miraculous healings by this great ‘man of God’.

I am always willing to be objective about people and not to simply accept what may be personal prejudices about anyone , so to that end I read accounts both for and against. I am amazed now at the true picture that emerges from some of those who were close to him and  that William Branham was so accepted [and still is] in pentecostal/charismatic circles without question. There are some enlightening and very interesting videos and articles on line and I’ll put links at the end of this post.

One of the first things I came across was a video by Ed Byskal[?] . It’s titled ‘I Am A Witness’ and begins with a quote from Luke’s opening words to his gospel account. So – you would think it’s a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t you? But NO – it’s his witness to William Branham!

A young looking Ed B. explains that he wants to share his personal experiences so that “you may know with certainty the things of which I am a witness” Luke 1:4   So, the whole video is a defence of and excuses for WB’s many false prophecies and heretical teachings. It seems WB was a humble servant of God with faults and failings, but so exalted and blessed by God with the miraculous, that it made any false teachings and prophecies of no account!  EB , tragically seems to have made it his life’s calling to defend WB – unless of course the selective videos are giving me an unfair picture.

WB had psychic phenomena happening at his birth and throughout his childhood. These included voices, visions and angel visitations, which always frightened him .  This is not surprising when you read that his extremely young parents were not Christians and believed in  fortune telling.

If WB’s followers were/are aware of all this – it doesn’t seem to phase or bother them because they place God’s ‘anointing ‘ above His word. I came across this quote from the FGBMF  ‘Voice’ mag 1961. ‘In Bible days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the sacred records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham.

I will end with a concerned appeal to those who think that Christians cannot be deceived – you are in a danger zone if your focus and admiration is on a particular person, ministry or ‘revival’ location  – however spectacular the signs and wonders and however humble and sincere they may be.  Your focus must always be on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle’s teachings as they are revealed in the Bible.  ‘Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ Psalm 119:105

And don’t let yourself be put off, if, when you think something is wrong and unscriptural, you are told not to ‘judge’, not to ‘touch God’s anointed’, ‘not everything God does is in the Bible’, ‘you have a critical spirit’, or that Bible believers ‘worship’ the Bible or are legalistic.

These are just fear tactics [probably because they are in fear themselves] to keep you quiet and in bondage to their authority.  Don’t be afraid to follow up your doubts and be a good Bible searching Berean.  Read everything in context and get an overall view of what verses are actually saying and don’t let others do your thinking for you. 2 Tim 2:15 and 2 Tim 3:16,17  seem appropriate here.

NB:

For articles on William Branham I would recommend http://www.Letusreason.org.  If you go to the left side bar on their home page you will be able to scroll down to Latter Rain and click to see them.

A You Tube search will find Ed Byskal’s video titled I Am a Witness. There are several other interesting and informative videos there too.

Another ministry that concerns me is The Healing Rooms  and John G Lake.  Let Us Reason has some excellent articles on him too.

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Some Christians seem to think that walking in the Spirit means to excercise the gifts or be led in their daily walk with God via supernatural means, or to read their Bible a lot or be much in prayer. But to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh, according to the Apostle Paul [Gal 5:16-25]  is to show forth love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,  and temperance.  If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfil the desires of the flesh. If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under law.

How often have we had really strong feelings about something that has turned out to be wrong?  The[ fallen] human mind is a strange and powerful thing and can certainly lead us astray and the Bible has a lot to say about the vain imaginations of the heart.

I wouldn’t pretend to understand or know how and when God moves by His Spirit [see John 3:8] but all too often Christians claim that God is guiding them in specific ways and directing them. I’ve always been extremely wary of those who say – ‘the Lord told me this or that’ because very often they are mistaking their own very strong feelings or impressions for the voice of the Holy Spirit, thinking that because they are a child of God it must be His voice.  When events prove them wrong they are very reluctant to admit they were wrong and will provide other explanations.

When the Lord has clearly shown us something in His word – is it then right to spend much time in ‘seeking His will’ for us ? Are we putting our feelings before everything else? For instance – if we see from scripture that our church is digressing from the path of truth – we obviously should defend the faith. If it’s set on its path then we must ‘come out of her’  – if only for our own spiritual welfare, let alone the Bible tells us to.  It is our fleshly feelings that don’t want to rock the boat or think how much we will miss our friends [or even family] and their fellowship, or even the wonderful music, plus the relative safety of staying.  Our feelings may tell us that the ‘time is not right’ and we hope and pray the church will change …. but eventually it dawns on us that it won’t.

It becomes more serious however when Christians experience visions, dreams, near death experiences or angel visitations and bring little or no scriptural discernment to bear.  Indeed, ‘ discernment’ becomes simply a matter of their own feelings again – it feels right  so it must be right – irrespective of what the Bible says.

From whence come false teachings? Well – from these very ‘supernatural’ sources. All Cults stem from them and unfortunately more and more genuine Bible- believing churches are following mystical experiences and ‘signs and wonders’ – believing them to be from God.

For the Born again Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a straightforward reading of the Bible and a genuine love for the truth will keep you on the straight and narrow. But as sure as eggs is eggs, if you have a separate source of teaching or revelation eg angelic, or prophecy [your own or someone else’s] telling you God is doing a new thing or ‘revival’ is on the way,  then the warning bells should be ringing loud and clear – no matter how trusted, famous, admired or important the ‘channel’ might be.

It is the job of seducing spirits to lure believers away from the Word of God and what better or more effective way than through a paranormal experience?  In our day, whole denominations are falling under their influence as Leaders and followers trust their feelings and experiences over and above God’s Word.

Almost every church website I’ve had occasion to look up, display the same ‘visionary’ message and use the same buzz words/slogans/ religious ‘in words’ and usually present the same evangelistic theme.  All this ‘unity’ would be excellent if it were centered on the true Gospel, but sadly it is encased in the social gospel of Dominionism.

Even those churches who may not have embraced false teachings completely, still show their  influence by the language and methods they use for church growth and evangelism  – probably without even being aware they are. It’s become a mixture of a little bit of Dominionism, a little bit of Latter rain, a little bit of Kingdom Now, a little bit of Word of Faith, a little bit of Shepherding, a little bit of  New Apostolic Restoration, with a little bit of Mysticism and Emerging thrown in. The list of ingredients in this mix is endless!

Oh dear –  this all sounds very gloom and doom I know – but it is undeniably happening and is an important sign of living in the Last days.  The Apostle Paul couples it with the rise of the Antichrist in 2 Thess 2:1-12  BUT – he goes on to say verses 13-17:

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning  chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.  Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught , whether by word or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and stablish you in every word and work.

What a wonderful God and Saviour we have …. His word is so precious !

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Matt 23:8-12      But be not called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ and you are all brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant, and whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

       At the outset, let me clarify that I am not advocating disrespect or lack of honour towards those who serve the church – I am simply questioning the way our church hierarchical systems are accepted as scriptural, when they clearly are not.

So, having mentioned in my previous post my thoughts and observations of the divisions that exist between ‘Leaders’ and ‘Laity’, it led me to wondering about the title and leadership role of the Pastor and how it became an office raised above that of Elders and how did the Elders become raised above ‘ordinary’ church members?

I’ve been wrestling with this Leadership and authority in the church thing and trying to get what the scriptures actually teach about it –  I hope and pray with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

As I’ve found so often with other subjects eg the Rapture, there are times when I’ve had to step back from the ‘given’  teachings and look at the scriptures afresh – forgetting all that’s already been taught to me by others.

I’ve found it very helpfull sometimes, when there appears to be a contradiction or conflict, to temporarily set aside a particular verse[s] to try to get an overall picture in a very general way of how the early church viewed things – what they actually practised and taught.

For example – when faced for the first time with the ‘Gap Theory’ for the Genesis account of creation – it was very useful to see if it was in harmony with what the Lord Himself taught and the early church believed.

In the same way – when it comes to the scriptures used by Pastors and Leaders to enforce their authoritative rule over their respective churches [usually as a last resort to shut up dissension]  – Hebrews 13:17 – if we step back to get an overall view of the Lord’s and the Apostles’ teachings and practise – we see that this verse cannot be understood in the   way wordly ideas and hierarchical systems are.  According to Matt 10:25-28 it is to be the exact opposite !

The pattern for the early church is found in Eph 4:1-16 which shows that the church leaders became leaders by virtue of their functions in the Body of Christ via the gifts of God. They are God’s gifts to the Church:  apostles, prophets, pastors teachers, evangelists. They are there as Ministers [Servants] to all the members – themselves included. Nobody is to have the pre-eminence under Christ – He is the only Head. Indeed Diotrephes is singled out for his bad example.  And Paul has much to say about exalting and following particular men in the church. 1 Cor 3:1-11 & 21-23.

In overseeing the church – it must be by mutual submission – functioning for the benefit and welfare [physical and spiritual] of all. There is no authoritative Hierarchy in sight!

So, how come the Pastor in particular has become so elevated to ‘lead’ the church? It simply seems to be a left-over from the priestly systems of the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions – themselves a left-over from the old Jewish sacrificial system. This was originally instigated by God of course for the sins of the people, but replaced by the Mystery of God in Christ and His once for all time sacrifice – fulfilling  the old covenant and bringing in the new. We are all now priests with direct access to God and we answer to no-one else but Christ our Head.

The church is now to be led by Elders, recognised by their God-given gifts ,  no-one thinking too highly of themselves , submitting and serving one another . What they preach or teach is to be judged by the members and nothing is to be kept secret or hidden.

The fact is that almost all Pastors are the head and in almost total control of their church. Yes- he may consult with and listen to the Elders and Deacons, but his is the ultimate authority and voice in any decisions – right or wrong. There is always that fear of going against God’s wishes by not ‘submitting ‘ to him.

Ironically, there can be a strange supposed humility in showing one’s submission and in some cases even one’s conscience is put in subservience.

Further up the hierarchical ladder is the denomination or power group the individual church is affiliated to, so in his turn, the Pastor and his church come under what has become known as ‘covering’.

In many cases, all this means is that the Pastor will always be supported or backed up should any dispute arise at church level. Covering in other instances becomes something much more sinister and causes all sorts of fear and superstitions. The practise is totally unscriptural as far as I can see. Christ is surely the only covering a believer needs!

Because of this hierarchical system many ‘ordinary’ church members’ God- given gifts lie unrecognised and so the church doesn’t function to its full calling.

By accident I came across a web site for church Leaders and I was truly appalled by the wordly advice it was giving. This should not be so if we are truly following the Lord and being led by His Spirit into all truth.

I am indebted to the many web sites and Blogs that have enlightened me with their insights and obvious concerns about the current state of the church – often confirming the vague suspicions I’ve  had when things haven’t seemed quite ‘right’ to me.

I think the Lord is graciously  forgiving and opening many a believers eye , showing we are not as alone as we sometimes think we are. There are many bad things that invade the internet – but it can be [and is] such a wonderful resource for the truth seeker.

As always, I hope what I’ve written will help and re-assure people. I do not claim to be an expert and this blog is purely my own musings – so please excercise your own God-given judgement and discernment in the scriptures to put me right where you think I am wrong.

Many blessings,    Eileen

PS    I know there are many good, faithful and conscientious Pastors out there. I am in no way doubting their integrity – I’m simply questioning the system they are part of and take for granted.

 

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I am not keen to write this post as it is specifically addressing issues I have with the church I’ve been [loosely] attending for roughly 3 years now.

I have often said that truth is very important to me and that is why I invite comment and correction when I get things wrong.

Well – it appears I have got things wrong and caused great offense by associating the Pastor with the false teachings and practices of the AoG, thereby harming his and the local church’s good doctrinal standing publicly [even though I did not identify them by name].  Of course , I am truly sorry if that is the case.

In a face to face meeting, the Pastor assured me that he has spoken out and written articles many times against the path that AoG UK are on and that I was too eager and hasty in writing what I did, without checking the facts.

In my defense, I have to ask why he didn’t enlighten me during our prior email exchanges and give me refs/links ? and why didn’t he immediately correct my blog? It was his silence that led me to assume what I did. Anyway – the bulk of my post was about AoG  not about him and the church.

The fact remains that he and the church are still affiliated with and pay subs to the AoG – so what is one to think?

This whole episode was triggered by two sermons the Pastor gave on ‘Church Membership'[ which he deemed important and invited our comments on] coupled with my viewing of  the AoG website.  This led to my assumptions of their influence …..

Up until this point , I had never been pressed on ‘ membership’ by the Pastor, but now an official eye was going to be kept on who was an actual  member and who wasn’t. They are currently deciding whether this will include signed up or verbal ‘commitment’.

Whether the Pastor realises it or not , [he says nothing has changed]  it is part of a church-wide emphasis nowadays  that says you have to prove your commitment to the church and each other by this covenant, [although the Pastor insists he doesn’t believe in such], and by your attendance at all church meetings unless you have good reason not to be there.

Congregations must be persuaded this is what God requires of them as part of the church ‘family’ with an outward show to the world of how much they love each other. All very noble sounding and scriptural of course . But what of those who, on scriptural grounds , don’t agree with this organised and manufactured unity of love and submission? Well – you have placed yourself outside of the collective haven’t you? You are no longer ‘pastorable’ – if there is such a word.

There seems to also be an unhealthy separation between Leaders and Laity, as their inner circles keep any church problems secret and hidden. What happened to openness and accountability?  Are they not supposed to be servants to the church?

There is a false idea about what constitutes ‘gossip’ , so nothing is discussed and dealt with as it should be. Along with this is the false idea that ‘judging righteously ‘ is mere criticism, so it simply ends up in a pretense of being humble by keeping quiet about issues.

Submission to Leaders is surely done willingly and in good conscience – you cannot be made to submit to something you believe is wrong just because the Leader tells you it’s scriptural to do so because he’s called by God to his office.

I despair when I see/hear Leaders manipulate people into an outward show of loving one another by telling them to hug each other or say ‘I love you’ to the person sitting next to them, or getting them to shout a loud response to their cheer-leading exhortations…..  they are kept perpetual babes in Christ and nothing is taught about scriptural discernment. They are treated as school children and not the mature adults they should be.

Well – I am truly sorry if this post is regarded as negative and pessimistic.  I am hopeful that individual born again believers will see the need to examine everything and seek after the truth that will set them free – free from man’s ways  and the bondage it brings.  The Lord  is teaching us in these last days to rely on Him more as our churches fail us.  He is faithful to His word to keep us in His care as we seek Him through  that very Word.

Maranatha!

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When I first started to go along to my little New Life church, I knew that it had previously been known locally as the Assemblies of God. In my ignorance – and I should have known better – I’d thought the name change was because they’d maybe separated. But only recently did I discover that all AOG churches had the same name change. I’ve never liked the modern desire to rename churches -because ,at least when they had denominational names you knew where they stood doctrinally.

But that’s ok – what’s in a name? After all I knew AOG and my Pastor were doctrinally sound and I never thought it necessary to check what they believed…..   until now that is.

Changes seem to be afoot – particularly in the area of emphasizing Membership and expanding the church building in order to prepare for growth. I won’t go into details here as it is church ‘business’ and I’m in email correspondence with my Pastor about it.  But – what I can do is voice my concerns about AOG in general.

I’d been aware of criticism about the AOG in America through the Lighthouse Trails web site. As this was concern about the Emerging church influence I didn’t pay much attention to it because I know Emerging , at the moment is much more rife there. AOG in the UK had been very strict about dealing with ‘heresy’ in the past so I’d no reason to think they wouldn’t be now.

A friend alerted me to the UK web site , which I’d honestly never thought to visit before. Oh boy – was I dismayed!  I was rather perturbed to see the words ’emerging leaders’ and the marketing and growth language and buzz words, slogans and the like too.

As with a lot of churches and christian groupings – it’s becoming very hard to pin them down – as someone said – it’s like trying to nail jelly to the wall to try to categorise them or separate them now. Things overlap a lot.

There’s a tendency to treat them as periphery things that don’t really matter as long as the core doctrines are right eg Trinity, Virgin Birth etc.  At one time I believed this too, but as time has gone by and this attitude prevails , the errors increase and become accepted as truth because Leaders have become so reluctant to speak out against anything. The mixture proliferates and God hates mixture.[ Jacob Prasch has an excellent article about this on his web site].

The thing is ,they all claim to be Bible-based and Gospel preaching, but what we find in practise  is that they use methods and have ‘visions’ or goals that are definitely alien to the Bible and the Gospel, and the focus is for Church Growth and prestige .

On the web site there is an invitation to the Leaders conference in 2014  and in the words of the National Leader, John Partington it will be “…. bigger and better than ever before! In the middle of our journey together to transform this nation …. We’re passionate about building leaders to build churches that are going to have a massive and influential impact  on their community and their world ….  you’ll be treated to world class preaching and teaching designed to get right inside the mind of leadership ….”

Can you imagine what the Apostle Paul would have said about this? Didn’t he say he came in fear and trembling, not using man’s wisdom and clever speech, but in dependence on the Holy Spirit in his weakness?

But no – the old way is no longer good enough as the church rushes to join the world in opening their doors to the marketing and management methods currently dominating every area of our lives , in Government, Education, Business, NHS , Charities etc etc.

Is church growth really dependent on our own methods and whipped up enthusiasm to succeed ? Every church, Pastor and member must ‘ be connected’  and have it’s shared vision to meet the needs of and be relevant to, their local community.

Excuse me?  Am I hearing right? I thought it was the Lord’s job to build His church by means of the preaching of the Gospel. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ -for  it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes ….

Instead of sorrowing, the church today is forever excited about forecast growth, success, influence and impact  in the world. Isn’t it wonderful what God is doing with us?

Mmm – the preaching of the Gospel antagonises and alienates the majority. We can’t manufacture what isn’t there, however much human effort , ‘prayer’  and ‘claiming’ we may do.  The true church can’t be manipulated and whipped into shape however motivational and charismatic the Leaders may be. WHY DON’T THEY KNOW THIS??

Could it be that God has given them over to the Lie they want to believe while the church goes on it’s merry way?   It’s never too late for the individual christian, by God’s grace , to stop, reflect and return to Bible truth.

I pray that there may be people out there who this will help …. may the Lord bless and keep you.

Footnote

It can be a traumatic thing to realise the truth and then be rejected by people for declaring it. They usually turn the tables so that it is you who have pride, bitterness etc. Yes – and if you’re anything like me , you re-examine yourself  and things go around in your brain … but love for the truth will out and God is faithful to His word.

What will happen in my little church remains to be seen as it depends on the Pastors response to me I guess. From my experiences in the past, the direction is already set and won’t change, but I live in hope.

As always – please feel free to comment or correct me on anything.

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fade2      This is more by way of an update to my previous post, triggered by receiving the latest Revelation TV Schedule and Newsletter. Since changing my TV package from Sky to Virgin, I no longer have access to the God tv channels or Rev tv but haven’t cancelled my emails  from them. Still – it keeps me updated on what’s happening.  [NB – I found their ‘cosmetic’ change to the way they raise funds very strange I must say.]

      Anyway – my eye was drawn to their Ad for future programmes by two people I wasn’t familiar with – Hugh Osgood and Dr Don Colbert.  Google searches revealed that Hugh Osgood is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Christian Centre. He also has the position of  Elder. Their website claims a number of church ministries were ‘birthed’ there and it was also the church home of the founders of God tv and Revelation tv.

      It’s funny how pieces of the Jigsaw gradually fall into place over time isn’t it?  I’m someone who scratches at the surface of a matter to begin with, and if something seems slightly squiffy or puzzling, I just have to probe deeper and unearth the roots if I can.

      Let me emphasize here that I do not set out deliberately to criticize or pick holes in Christian Ministries [mockingly called ‘Heresy Hunting’ I believe].  In fact I would say I have a tendency to accept people at face value and often take for granted Christian orthodoxy in the normal course of things.

    But, when un-orthodox things are said or read, then for my own clarity and so as not to inadvertently misunderstand, I make a point of finding out what I can. I also hope that what I discover may help others, by God’s grace.

   So then,  seeing that Cornerstone Christian Centre was the starting off point for Rev.tv –  it explains a lot about how and why it is such a compromised mixture of programmes and teachings, for it’s roots are ‘Restored Apostolic’ through and through, which means Dominionism and Kingdom Now ….

   This also means that the gifts of the Spirit are placed on a par with the Bible , so it logically follows that they wouldn’t be too fussed about strict adherence to Christian Doctrine. In fact, they would mistakenly class it as being ‘legalistic’ I’m sure.

   Yes – they claim to be Bible-based believers and will even emphasize its importance – but in reality the word of God is undermined and at times superseded by the latest prophetic word, vision, dream or angelic visitation. It simply becomes unimportant to try to discern or combat false teachings as Unity is the order of the day – we must walk in un-judging harmony with everyone [ note: except those who want to stand for truth].  The very many warnings in scripture go unheeded. Truth is neglected and relegated to becoming the least important thing for the Christian ….   and yet – it is the first listed in our Armoury in Ephesians 6:13-17

   So – far from Rev.tv straying away from the truth – I don’t think it was there in the first place.  No  – I am not saying they aren’t Christians or that they don’t preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. But it is an uneasy mix of truth and error – very deceptive if discernment is not excercised for fear of causing division and being thought unloving and over critical.

    The bad fruit showed up quite clearly during the Jacob Prasch challenge to their compromising, and the dismay among many Christians [myself included]  who tried to reason with Howard , Gordon and Doug at that time was genuine and heartfelt.

In closing I would just say that it would be great if genuine, Bible-believing Pastors concerned themselves more with protecting their flock from false teachings. In my own experience, all the while I was going to evangelistic/healing/Revival meetings all over the place, and while being a local church member at the same time – I don’t think I ever heard preaching about the teachings of these famous evangelists etc. Nobody ever warned us how wrong Latter Rain/Dominionism were. Being caught up in the excitement of it all , we assumed all was fine because nobody thought or taught otherwise !

      Unfortunately it seems to be left to the individual believer to find out the hard way  – sometimes becoming spiritually abused and damaged by getting trapped into groups they might have avoided had they been taught about them.

       We had a few near- misses ourselves I can tell you!  [Ever heard of a chap called [Monte] Kim Miller?]  Don’t ask me how, but several times we supported ministries financially for a while that we shouldn’t have – but graciously the Lord rescued us each time  –  there are always warning bells.   All things work together for our good , and that is why I’m so passionate about writing what I know and warning others. We became lovers of the TRUTH and not men’s ministries.

       The need for discernment is greater than ever as those ‘perilous times’ come.

Maranatha!

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