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9. Heresy and Apostasy


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 9, 2018


Prior to the return of the Lord, the visible churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy.[i]

“Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice.[ii] Apostasy differs therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance[iii] or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan[iv] both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Timothy 4.3, 4.[v] Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity.[vi] Apostate teachers are described in various verses in the New Testament.[vii] Apostasy in the church, as in Israel[viii] is irremediable, and awaits judgment.[ix]

Inevitably, there is no remedy for apostasy but judgment.[x] For example, Noah preached for 120 years, won no converts, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell.[xi]

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Lu. 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth.[xii] “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Ti. 4.1).

In the New Testament, the apostasy was treated as having already set in. In fact, the Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian; but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Thus, even in the beginning of the church, the apostle Paul and Jude were concerned with the tendency to depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers.[xiii]

Many of our churches today, even many of our independent Bible believing churches, have perverted the gospel of Christ and turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness even though perhaps they have not verbally denied our Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages.[xiv] As a result of this worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity.[xv] The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”[xvi]

Our Lord warned against false teachers.[xvii] The Lord is obviously warning that many of His children will be deceived by the many false prophets which shall arise. With heresy and apostasy, the God-given doctrines and goal for churches and for Christians are left in the dust.  As a result, God is not glorified at all. Everything in the ultimate modern American church is for self—the headship, the “Bibles,” the doctrines taught, the preaching, the music, the dress, the goal, everything.

Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the church to beware of the apostasy.[xviii]

Only a little leaven can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel.[xix]

False teachers deny redemption truth.[xx] Others deny the truth concerning Christ’s person as Son of God, God himself.[xxi]

In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. Jude mentions those who “ran after the error of Balaam for reward.” Many pastors and other Christians today, like Balaam, revert to human reasoning and, among other unbiblical practices, put God’s church under the state for reward—that is, for money, for popularity, or power. They may not have gone completely into apostasy, but heresy is the first step toward apostasy.

The tone of the New Testament writers when dealing with heresy and apostasy is never one of dejection or pessimism. They remained sustained and joyful.[xxii] God & His promises are still the resource of the believer.

2 Timothy, 2 Peter, Jude, and 2 & 3 John deal the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. For example, Paul gives instructions for the “good soldier” in the face of apostasy.[xxiii] Paul instructed Timothy, a preacher whom Paul called his “dearly beloved son (2 Ti. 1.2)” and his “own son in the faith” (1 Ti. 1.2) as to what to do in times of apostasy.[xxiv]

“The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy  are faith (2 Ti. 1.5), the spirit (2 Ti. 1.6-7), the Word of God (2 Ti. 1.13; 3.1-17; 4.3-4), the grace of Christ (2 Ti. 2.1), separation from vessels unto dishonor (2 Ti. 2.4, 20-21), the Lord’s sure reward (2 Ti. 4.7-8), and the Lord’s faithfulness and power (2 Ti. 2.13, 19).


For more thorough studies on heresy and apostasy, to chapters numbered 4-9 at the following webpage:
The Biblical Doctrine of the Church


Endnotes

[i] “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2.3-4).

[ii] 1 Jn. 4.1-3: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.’]; Phil. 3.18: “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ;” 2 Pe. 2.1: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

[iii] Ac. 19.1-6: “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”

[iv] 2 Ti. 2.25, 26 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

[v] 2 Ti. 4.3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”

[vi] 2 Ti. 3.5: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.”

[vii] . 2 Ti. 4.3: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;: 2 Pe. 2.1-19 [quoted here in part]: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: … But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; …  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; ….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage;” Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also thesefilthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

[viii] Isa. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7.

[ix] 2 Thes. 2.10-12: “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness;” 2 Pet. 2.17, 21: “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever…. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them;” Jude 11-15; Re. 3.14-16.

[x] Is. 1.2-7, 24, 25; He. 6.4-8; 10.26-31.

[xi]  Jude 14, 15; Ge. 7.11.

[xii] See, e.g., Ro. 1.5; 1 Co. 16.13; 2 Co. 13.5; Col. 1.23, 2.7; Tit. 1.13; Jude 3.

[xiii] “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you; and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.6-8). “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

[xiv] “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23).

[xv] “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them”  (Ro. 1.24-32).

[xvi]  2 Ti. 3.13.

[xvii] “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt. 7.15). “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-23). “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.4-5). “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.11). “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13.22). “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5.19). “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15.9).

[xviii] “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing he flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Ac. 20.28-31).

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8-9).

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Ga. 3.1)?

“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11.19).

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Co. 11.4).

“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1.10-11).

“Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Ti. 4.1-2).

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Ti. 4.3-5).

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19. All of 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers.).

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 Jn. 9-11).

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4. Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing church and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in 2 Timothy and 2 Peter, the apostasy is treated as having already set in.

[xix] “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Ga. 5.7-9).

[xx] “[False teachers] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1).

[xxi] “BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4.1-5; see also, 1 Jn. 2.18-28).

[xxii] Although Paul as recorded in II Timothy and Peter as recorded in II Peter are aware that martyrdom is near (See 2 Ti. 4.6-8, 2 Pe. 1.14, and Jn. 21.18-19), both are apparently sustained and joyful: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4.7-8). The whole book of 2 Timothy reflects Paul’s joyful attitude as 2 Peter shows Peter to be likewise joyful and sustained.

[xxiii] “[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier….  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: …  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself….  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: …  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.1-4, 8, 11-13, 15-17a, 22-25).

[xxiv] “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of the evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Ti. 4.2-5).

Conclusion to the Doctrine of the Church


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


Click here to go to all lessons on the Bible Doctrine of the Church.
Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 5 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 9, 2018


The Supreme Ruler ordained the church, as He ordained civil government. He gave churches—as He has given individual, family and civil governments—His Word wherein they can learn God’s guidelines which He desires that they choose to follow. Most churches have followed Satan’s, not God’s, principles. He has used false teachers from the beginning. As a result, apostasy crept into the church shortly after its inception. That apostasy has accelerated in America as the  tribulation approaches.

Many American churches today are heretical or apostate. They say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. As to them, God says, you “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Re. 3.17). They follow the principles of the god of this world, not God’s principles. They are of this world and follow the principles of the god of this world. Christ is not of this world, nor are his followers. [i]

Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Ti. 2.14, Ro. 5.14, Ge. 3.1-6).  Christ was not deceived, but His bride was. “As the first Adam had to give up a perfect existence in order to be with his wife, so the last Adam, Christ (1 Co. 15.22, 45), stepped down from heaven to save his bride. While the first Adam ‘blew it,’ the last Adam would make everything right! (Ro. 5:12-21) Charles Wesley set this doctrine to music with the words, ‘Second Adam from above, reinstate us with thy love.’ … “The all-important verse that connects this typology to the present Laodicean apostasy is Ec. 1:9a: ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done….’ Thus, the history of mankind will undoubtedly end the same way it began—with a bride being deceived!” (William P. Grady, How Satan Turned America Against God (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications, Inc., 2005), p. vii.).

Regardless of this inevitable apostasy and the events that are to follow, things are looking good for you and me—that is, if you are a Christian! Christians can have the ultimate hope: the hope that they will reign with the Lord. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Ro. 8.16-17) [Bold emphasis added]. This should be a cause for great rejoicing as well as incentive to be responsible members of a local autonomous New Testament church and to make sure that every effort is made to glorify God and assure that a church remains totally under Christ in every way. The Holy Spirit is now calling out, not the subjects, but the co-heirs and co-rulers of the kingdom.[ii]

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3.16-19).

“[Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Ph. 2.6-8).


Endnotes

[i] See Jn. 8.23-45.

[ii] “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Ti. 2.11-12).

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 1.6).

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Re. 3.21).

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Re. 5.10).

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Ro. 8.15-18).

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life” (1 Co. 6.2-3)?

 

The Meaning and Results of Apostasy, the Final Outcome of Gospel Preaching, the Social Gospel, Emphasis on the Word of God, the Three Directions of Liberal Preaching, the Only Solution to Racism and all the Problems of Mankind, How Men Become Brothers no Matter Their Color, the Only Way to Transform Mankind

Modifications of Non-Copyrighted Comments of Dr. J. Vernon McGee
Published August 22, 2017

In 2 Timothy, an ominous dark cloud is seen on the horizon. It is the coming apostasy. Today, apostasy has broken like a storm, like a Texas tornado, on the world and in the churches. Webster defines apostasy as “total desertion of the principles of faith.” So apostasy is not due to ignorance; which results in heresy. Apostasy is deliberate error. It is intentional departure from the faith. An apostate is one who knows the truth of the gospel and the doctrines of the faith, but he has repudiated them.

Paul in 2 Timothy speaks of the ultimate outcome of gospel preaching. The final fruition will not be the total conversion of mankind, nor will it usher in the millennium. On the contrary, there will come about an apostasy which will well-nigh blot out the faith from the earth. In fact, there are two departures that will occur at the end of the age: One is the departure from the faith. Luke 18:8  “… Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” This, in context demands a negative answer. The other is the departure of believers, those who are members of the family of God, which is what we call the “rapture.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”).

This view is not in keeping with the social gospel today which expects to transform the world by tinkering with the social system. Such vain optimists have no patience with the doleful words of 2 Timothy. The cold and hard facts of history and the events of the present hour demonstrate the accuracy of Paul. We are now in the midst of an apostasy which is cut to the pattern of Paul’s words in remarkable detail.

Most churches have entered the orbit of an awful apostasy. A remnant of New Testament churches are not affected. All members of the family of God are on their way to glory. I believe that many true believers attend apostate churches, not knowing enough about Bible principles to know of the apostasies of the churches they attend. For example, many believers attend corporate 501c3 churches without understanding that such status grieves our Lord who “loved the church and gave himself for it.” Pastors, leaders, “Christian” lawyers, etc. of such churches are either apostates (know the truth but depart from it) or do not know the truth and are therefore heretics.

Because of the threat of apostasy, Paul emphasizes the Word of God here more than he does in any other epistle. In fact, both Paul and Peter agree. Each of them in his “swan song” (2 Timothy and 2 Peter) emphasizes the Word of God and the Gospel.

My friend, the gospel rests upon a tremendous fact, and that fact is the total depravity of man. In other words, man is  a lost sinner. Someone has put it like this:

  • “Where education assumes that the moral nature of man is capable of improvement, traditional Christianity assumes that the moral nature of man is corrupt and absolutely bad. Where it is assumed in education that an outside human agent may be instrumental in the moral improvement of men, in traditional Christianity it is assumed that the agent is God, and even so, the moral nature of man is not improved but exchanged for a new one.

Man is in such a state that he cannot be saved by perfect obedience—because he cannot render it.  Neither can he be saved by imperfect obedience—because God will not accept it.

Therefore, the only solution is the gospel of the grace of God which reaches down and saves the sinner on the basis of the death and resurrection of Christ. Faith in Christ transforms human life. We have a showcase today all over this land of a relatively small number of men and women who have been transformed by the gospel of the grace of God.

Liberal preaching, instead of presenting the grace of God to sinful man, goes out in three different directions. From some liberal pulpits we hear what is really popular psychology. It majors in topics such as this: “How to Overcome” or “How to Think Creatively” or “How to Think Affirmatively or Positively,” or “How to Drive Your Life Purposely.” It says we are on the way upward and onward forever! That is popular psychology, and it is not getting anyone anywhere.

A second type of liberal preaching involves ethics. It preaches a nice little sweet gospel—a sermonette preached by a preacherette to Christianettes. The message goes something like this: “Good is better than evil because it’s nicer and gets you into less trouble.” The picture of the average liberal church is that of a mild-mannered man standing before a group of mild-mannered people, and urging them to be more mild-mannered! There’s nothing quite as insipid as that. No wonder the Lord Jesus said to the church of Laodicea: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor how, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3.15, 16). That would make anybody sick to his tummy. That’s another reason I call these people Alka-Seltzer Christians. They’re not only fizz, foam, and groth, but they cause you to need an Alka-Seltzer.

Then there is the third type of liberal preaching which is called the social gospel. They preach better race relations, pacifism, social justice, the Christian social order, and union of church and state (church and state working with, over or under the other; church incorporation and 501c3 are two of many manifestations of this relationship). It is Christian socialism pure and simple.

In contrast, when the true gospel is preached and men come to Christ, they all become brothers. We don’t need all this talk about better race relations. You cannot create better relationships by forcing people together. Only the gospel of the grace of God will make a man into a brother of mine. When that happens, the color of a man’s skin makes no difference at all.

The solution of man’s problems can come only through the grace of God. We need to recognize that God creates out of nothing. Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing of him. The grace of God through Jesus Christ is the way to transform and save mankind. That is what 2 Timothy teaches, and that is why it is important to study 2 Timothy.

Click here to go to God’s Plan of Salvation.

For a Bible study of 2 Timothy, click here.

A Critique of Pastor Steve Anderson’s YouTube Comments on Church Incorporation and Church 501c3 Status

Jerald Finney
Copyright © October 14, 2013

Article follows sermon links

Click here to hear Pastor Sam Adams sermon which reveals other Steven Anderson lies (Steven Anderson ignorantly attacks anti-501c3 church position, falsely claims his church is non-501-c3, makes false accusations, and blatantly lies to his church.)(Click here for Youtube of Pastor Adams’ sermon.)(To see Steven Anderson’s documents proving his church is 501c3 click here.)

Article:

"Pastor" Steven Anderson
“Pastor” Steven Anderson

Someone recently referred me to a YouTube excerpt from one of Pastor Steven Anderson’s sermons dealing with the issue of church Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0l2EkAZwB8&feature=youtu.be [on August 6, 2020, I clicked this link, and found that you will see, “Private Video. Sign in if you have been grated access to this video.” Now, I wonder why he would do that. However, I quote directly from the video in the article which exposes Anderson on the matters confronted.] A brief review of his ridiculous tirade is in order since Pastor Anderson’s teaching in that blurb is published for the world and since it deals with the institution which Christ loved and gave Himself for. The author offers a cursory analysis in this article, but one can educate himself biblically, historically, and legally on these matters by going to the Separation of Church and State Law blog. Pastor Anderson’s statements, usually in red and parentheses, are followed by the author’s comments.

The author will address some of Anderson’s points in the order or his presentation:

(1) “I don’t go to church because all the churches are 501c3. You didn’t get that from reading the Bible….”

The Bible is a book of many principles. One such principle is separation of church and state. 501c3 churches have at least partially submitted themselves to a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ who desires to be the only head of the local New Testament church. This is explained in much detail in the materials on the above website. For specific information on 501c3 go to the following articles: Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption and The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme.

By the way, all churches are not 501c3 or 508(c)(1)(A), both of which grieve the Lord. See Does God and/or Civil Government Require Churches to Get 501(c)(3) Status?. For more on church 508 status, see Church Internal Revenue Code § 508 Tax Exempt Status and The Bible Answer to the Question, “Is an Incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 Church a Church of Christ?”. I know of many such churches. If you are looking for one in your area, give me a call. Even though there are numerous such churches in America, they are a small remnant, as always.

(2)  “You got that off the internet, off some website…. ”

How does he know where they got it? The author got it from studying the Bible and 501c3 to see if 501c3 displeases our Lord. That is where the author’s pastor got it. The truth about the matter is undeniable by any knowledgeable believer. Of course, one must first understand the Biblical principles of church, government, and separation of church and state before he can fully understand some more advanced matters, but the above articles will easily be comprehended by the believer who has done some study of the Bible. One can study the Biblical principles of church, government, and separation of church and state by going to sections 1-3 (A-C) of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. The book is available free in both PDF and online form. Or one can order this and other books by Jerald Finney by going to Order information for books by Jerald Finney.

(3) He then swerves into an explanation of the meaning of incorporation.

To understand incorporation, go to Church Corporate-501c3 Status, and especially to the Incorporation of Churches chapter. See also, Short Answers to Some Important Questions for accurate information on church incorporation, 501c3, 508 and other matters. You will discover that he does not know what he is talking about. He is out of his field of expertise.

He states that the vehicle outside belongs to “the church” and that for the church to own it, the church has to be its own entity.

He is right about that. However, a church can take advantage of the use of a vehicle or the use of a building, for example without owning it. To own anything, a church must become a legal entity, as opposed to a spiritual entity. The Biblical principle is that God desires all His churches to remain spiritual entities only. Study the free materials above to understand this. The book, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities, is a short book for a pastor or believer who already has a basic knowledge of Biblical principles. Pastor Anderson does not meet that condition. The book is available in both PDF and online form, or can be ordered (see the link above). See also, Short Answers to Some Important Questions.

(4)  He then abruptly asks,Who thinks we should get rid of driver’s licenses, … birth certificates, … not carry I.d…“?

That has nothing to do with church incorporation and 501c3. Those things involve the individual, not the church. This author has a driver’s license, birth certificate, and carries an I.D. Anderson, not knowing what he is talking about, resorts to “straw men,” and attacks the straw men. Those who are not studied in these matters may be convinced by his absurdities.

(5)  He says,Running a church legally is really complicated. I spend days….

He is incorrect. His church is run illegally and it takes so much time and effort to run his religious organization that he does not have the time to also pastor a First Amendment (New Testament) church. Maybe that is why he is so ignorant about these matters. He does not have the time to do the studying a pastor is instructed by the Bible to do. He does not have time to be a pastor because his religious organization is a worldly temporal legal entity and not a heavenly eternal spiritual entity.

The non-profit corporation law requirements of the sovereign under whose laws the entity he pastors was organized by the state and overwhelm the pastor, the trustees, and the corporate offices in legal red tape. The incorporated religious organization, a legal entity, is illegally organized according to the Highest Law (God’s Law) and man’s law (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution).

According to the First Amendment, the civil government may make no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) is a law which was made by Congress which, when applied to churches, violates the First Amendment which is a statement of the Biblical principle of separation of church and state (not separation of God and state). Even though many religious organizations run down to get their illegal 501c3 status, the First Amendment guarantees churches the freedom to do things God’s way. Again, see the website for more information on this – the following articles give a quick look at the issues: Does God and/or Civil Government Require Churches to Get 501(c)(3) Status, and Christians Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil.

(6)  Then he says,Same thing with my business. Running a business is even worse than running a church…. [It takes me days and weeks to figure out my taxes].

He runs his church like he runs his business! Exactly. Are you getting the picture? Of course, when one runs a church like he runs a business, he is grieving our Lord, according to the Bible. No wonder this man is so utterly ignorant about these matters. Here he is, running his business and running a church according to the same principles. He is so busy running his religious organization that he has no significant time to study, prepare his sermons and serve as a pastor.

(7)  “That is the way you have to do it in America to be legal in America, like you have to drive with a driver’s license…. I know a pastor in town … he has no driver’s license, he has no vehicle registration, he never files taxes, his church is totally off the grid, I mean he doesn’t report anything….. He even says to me, ‘Don’t do this’…. His church is much smaller than ours…. All of these people jumping up and screaming, ‘I don’t want to go to any church that’s incorporated,’ … you’d think he’d have 5000 people in his service this morning…. That’s shows me that these people are all just talk. They just have an excuse for not going to church….

There are plenty of non-incorporated non-501c3 churches. Refer to the author’s comments under (4) and (5) above for more relevant information. No more time will be expended to explain the obvious about these ridiculous remarks. The goal of a church under Christ is to glorify God. A church which subjects herself to any head other than the Lord Jesus Christ does not glorify God.  “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23). 

The goal of a business is to find out what people want and provide it for them. Anderson probably mixes in enough Bible to entice unstudied believers and others to come to listen to his diatribes and false teachings.

(8)  “There’s all this disinformation and lies out there claiming that any church that’s incorporated is of the devil, and that it’s worshiping Satan, and the head of the IRS actually runs the church….

See Separation of Church and State Law blog, for biblically, historically, and legally reasoned and reliable teaching on these matters. Perhaps Anderson is offering his spurious verbal attacks as justification for his own presumptuous, willful, or ignorant sin.

(9)  “None of it’s Biblical, none of it came from studying of the word of God, none of it came from the Holy Spirit.

Those assertions are applicable to his arguments.

(10) “There are different levels of going off the grid against government…. [Gets back into straw men arguments as “Driver’s License.”] I render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars.

He renders unto Caesar the things that are God’s when he incorporates a church. The church the author is a member of  and the members thereof render unto God the things that are His and unto Caesar the things that are Caesars. See Render unto God the Things that Are His/A Systematic Study or Romans 13 and Related Verses, available in both PDF and online form.

(11) “I’m not going to prison…. If anyone goes to prison because of the way offerings are taken and the way the bank account is, I’m the one that’s gonna go to prison. Pastor Anderson, the money that you make pastoring, I don’t think you should pay taxes on that. You need to be off the grid, our church needs to be totally off the grid. I church needs to do everything in cash. I’m the one that’s gonna go to prison and you’re just gonna disappear off into the sunset.

Anderson speaks like a businessman or the CEO or a corporate religious organization. He speaks in secular, not Biblical terms. A religious organization pays its pastor. The members of a First Amendment (New Testament) church provide for the pastor and his family.

The church the author is a member of is a First Amendment (New Testament) church which means it is non-incorporated and non-501c3. The pastor pays income tax. Tithes, offerings, and gifts which are administered through a common law trust bank account (not a Charitable Trust, Business Trust, or other legal type of trust account). The tithes, offerings, and gifts are given to the Lord Jesus Christ, the owner of the trust estate, not to a corporate 501(c)(3) religious organization.

If any pastor or church member commits a crime and is charged and convicted, he will be punished according to the prescriptions of his state (or the federal) penal code. That is true no matter how one’s church is organized. If one commits a tort, he is subject to suit in civil court, no matter how his church is organized. See Separation of Church and State Law and resources thereon for much more on this. See the website to learn who is more subject to liability – the member of the incorporated and/or 501c3 church or the member of a church which is not a legal entity.

(12) “Most churches are 501c3 and to say they’re wicked, you’re wicked.”

His misleading and false arguments and attacks would be funny if the subject matter were not so important. Sadly, many so called “Doctors” who are pastors, presidents of Bible Colleges, etc. are as lacking in substance and reasoning ability as this man as they argue before their “herd” and before the world, thereby not only hurting the cause of Christ as they mislead the members of their corporation while giving the world a good laugh as they are turned off to what they perceive to be a ridiculous religion. If one is going to invoke the ire of the world, why not do it in a manner which honors God – that is, with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom – the way the apostles did it and the way the Lord instructs us to do it in his word.

The author chooses to stop there with the analysis. The reader has access to enough information in the links above to check the matter out for himself. He can also get the same information by studying the Bible, law, and history.

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2). “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

The incorporated churches and the 501c3 churches have taken on another lover for worldly approval, help, direction, control, power and financial gain. If a church is both incorporated and 501c3, that church has taken on two other lovers and is doubly the adulteress. These actions grieve our Lord, the Bridegroom, Husband, and Head of the church.

Conclusion to “Supreme Court Religion Clause Jurisprudence”


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 20, 2012


Click here to go to links to all Chapters in Section V.


Note. This is an edited version of Section V, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed.


Conclusion to “Supreme Court Religion Clause Jurisprudence”

America was once the greatest nation that has ever been. This was because America came closer by far than any nation to operating under God. America was so close, but yet so far, from God’s ideal.

The founding fathers incorporated some biblical principles into the body of the Constitution. For example, they recognized the depravity of man, and therefore provided for a balance of powers among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. However, they did not understand that the God-ordained goal of any nation is to glorify God. They did not, in the document, proclaim that the purpose of America was to be “the glory of God” and that America was to be a nation under God.

The founding fathers were also influenced by enlightenment principles and included some of those principles in the Constitution. According to enlightenment thought, the purpose of government is the happiness of man and that principle was incorporated into the Constitution. This can be discerned from a facial reading of the document and from a study of the history surrounding the adoption of the Constitution. Regardless of assertions that “happiness of man” is ultimately tied into a correct relationship with God, most Americans did not make that connection, and as a result set out to achieve material success and prosperity in order to obtain temporal happiness. A people of a nation had a government that catered to their happiness.

In spite of this and other fatal flaw in the Constitution, multitudes were converted to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ in revivals which occurred after the Constitution was ratified. As a result, the nation as a people proceeded under God to a large degree for many years even though the civil law under the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, was ever so slowly changing conceptions of marriage, family, church, state, and law itself.

However, as heresy invaded the churches, the population of America became less and less “Christian” and more secular. Later, apostasy overcame many of the churches, initially those of some of the main-line Protestant denominations and later even many or most Baptist churches. Without a solid Christian base, Americans and America, especially in the mid-twentieth century and thereafter, quickly began to adopt satanic principles. America, like all nations before the return of Christ, is doomed to judgment.

Most Christians who are active in the political system have no idea that they are proceeding without knowledge as they blindly follow the teachings and leadership of people like David Barton, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, attorneys such as David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association and others. Only a small handful have ever done any study of the relevant biblical principles, history, and law. The study of most is gleaned from leaders who don’t know, ignore, or censor those matters which conflict with their theology and or their “conservative” beliefs. The author knows this because he was among them for twenty years as he followed the leaders who avowed to return America to the status of “One nation under God.” This author read the ever repackaged false “Christian” revisionist literature. After fifteen years of such activity, he began to see that everything the Christian activist population was doing was resulting in nothing but increasing degeneration. At the same time, many “Christians” including many pastors, as did many “Christians” in Germany under Hitler, blindly confederate with civil government because of their false interpretation of Romans 13.

With the degeneration of the general public came the degeneration of the leaders they elected. President Abraham Lincoln set the example for Presidents who desire to operate outside Constitutional constraints. He became the example for presidential tyranny and eventually for the most tyrannical President this nation has ever known, Barack Obama. As of the time of this posting, America has seen some consequences, but has yet to see all the fruits, of the tyranny of Obama and prior presidents. The United States Senate, at present, is dominated by left-wing radicals. The House is said to be under the control of “conservatives”; but, in truth, a small minority are statesmen who will take a real “conservative” stand. Even “conservative” is not always biblical and therefore polluted. And, in truth, most Senators and Congressmen, like the President, are under the thumb of the elite.

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) laid the groundwork for later Supreme court tyranny. After the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court gradually intruded more and more into the affairs of the states. Humanistic Supreme Court judges are nominated by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The reasoning of the Supreme Court was humanistic, even in the nineteenth century (although not as polluted as in the twentieth, and certainly as in the twenty-first). God was left out. In all the examples in this section, the Court only quoted Scripture once, in Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980) (See page 329 of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website.), and there in a God-defying manner. In 1940, the First Amendment was incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1947, the Supreme Court extended the meaning of “separation of church and state” to also mean “separation of God and state.” Since that time, the Supreme Court has effectively removed almost all vestiges of the sovereign God from public affairs in America, although still upholding the original meaning of the First Amendment to keep the civil government out of the affairs of the church. The task was made much easier for the Court since the Constitution did not proclaim God, and specifically the Lord Jesus Christ, as Sovereign.

“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ep. 1.19-21).

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Ph. 2.9).

As is shown in the Section VI of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website, America, under the god of this world, knew how to tempt even true churches, many which proceeded without knowledge and others which were knowingly disobedient, to place themselves at least partially under another lover. The apostate churches could be expected to do this since they were not churches  anyway (they were assemblies, but not churches in the biblical sense). But it is vexing to see a Bible believing pastor lead a church into such an unbiblical union; and it is sad to see a good pastor who discovers the truth struggle with whether and/or how to fully please the Lord and separate the church he pastors from the state.

How can born again Christians, even Christian lawyers, be so deceived? Most think like Americans, not like Bible-believing Christians. They are American or humanistic in their thinking. The bases for the beliefs of Christian lawyers are American statute and case law, not the Bible. Instead of applying biblical principle, they apply the revised history, the humanistic principles, and the secular reasoning and philosophies they learned in public schools, universities, and law schools. Many believe that by compromising in the political and judicial systems and counseling secular politicians and leaders they will either influence a return to God by the civil government or delay the inevitable takeover of churches by the state. Some of them undoubtedly believe that the church is destined to work hand in hand with the state in preparing the earth for the return of the Lord. Yet, as is apparent to the knowledgeable believer, they have been a party to the march to destruction.  The civil government, through its laws and courts, has at an accelerating pace rejected the sovereign God. Many pastors have taught and advocated union of church and state because of an improper understanding of biblical principles concerning church, state, and separation of church and state. Well-meaning Bible believing pastors and churches who would insist that they love the Lord, in their rallies and meetings to restore God over America, and proceed without knowledge, thereby leading the way to destruction. Bible Colleges, seminaries, and “Christian” literature have also succumbed to humanistic principles and taught those principles to multitudes of born again students who have carried those principles into their various ministries. Most Christians are too consumed with the cares of this world to make any independent study of the issues.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Ti. 2.15).

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Pe. 1.4-10).

The sad fact is that most Christians are more American than they are Christian. America, not God, is the chosen sovereign and guide of most of America’s citizens, including most Christians and churches. Since America is ruled by the principles of the god of this world, the great majority of citizens, Christians, and churches are placing themselves, at least partially to one degree or another, under state control and rule and live according to American (Satanic) principles.

Some Christians can relate to Habakkuk to whom the holiness of God was more important than that Israel should be delivered. Habakkuk cried out to the Lord:

“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth…. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?  And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?  They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.  Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.  Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations” (Hab. 1.2-4.13-17)?

But God assured Habakkuk that He was in control and that judgment would follow the iniquities of the people and the nation. God has given us His Word which explains that judgment follows a turning away from God and His principles.

God is already judging America, but “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Family and marriage have to a large extent been redefined and destroyed by the application of humanist principles. Crime is rampant. People are “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Many “have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (See 2 Ti. 3.2-5). So many “Christians” turn to the state, to false religion, to psychology, or to hedonism instead of to God for answers, for help. Many Americans now look up to the sports entertainment complex, sports commentators and stars for advice and direction on moral matters (Sadly, many of those commentators and stars have better advice than do many “pastors” and spiritual leaders.). In other words, America is, and has been for some time, morally bankrupt. When America completely turns against Israel, America, if she has not ceased to exist before then, will suffer God’s final judgment.

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Re. 22.20).

Apostasy at the End of the Church Age

Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 19, 2012

Click here to go to “Self-exam Questions: Apostasy at the End of the Church Age”

Click here to download and listen to Jerald Finney’s audio teaching on the “Apostasy at the end of the church age.”

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on this and other subjects related to the doctrine of the church.

Note. This is a modified version of Section II, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. 

Re.3.16

The Lord says to the church of the Laodiceans, at the end of the church age and at the final stage of the apostasy:

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Re. 3.15-19).

Many pastors believe that the saved will go to heaven but be without rewards should they not follow after Christ after salvation. Pastor Joey Faust states the following concerning the church at Laodicea:

“To fall from, one has to be in something first. I believe Laodicea is a church made up of TRUE (thus real) Christians, who nevertheless have fallen away from truth and fellowship with Jesus in their materialism, pride, etc. This church and its pastor (and all true churches in the last days who are Laodicean) will lose the right to reign and fellowship with Jesus when He appears—thus the Lord’s command to be zealous and repent” (See J.D. Faust, The Rod: Will God Spare It? (Hanesville, N.C.: Schoettle Publishing Co., Inc. 2002))!

Whether one agrees with Pastor Faust or not concerning this issue, the Bible shows that at the end of the church age, the Lord will be outside the Laodicean church (Re. 3.20). Nonetheless, He will still be there for the individual, just as He, while on earth as the second Adam, still appealed to the individual after the nation Israel rejected His rule over the nation: “If any man will hear my voice, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Ibid.).

UnionOfChurchAndStateThe final result of the apostasy will be the great ecclesiastical harlot spoken of in Revelation 17 and 18. In Revelation 17 is mystery Babylon, the apostate church (J. Vernon McGee, Revelation, Volume 1, p. 89). Dr. McGee states:

“… The church of Thyatira, described in Revelation 2.18-29, which permitted Jezebel to teach, will become the apostate church of the great tribulation. It will attain the goal of the present-day apostates of all the great systems of the world: Romanism, Protestantism, pagan religions, cults and isms. Even in our so-called independent Bible churches there will be those who are not believers, and during the tribulation they will join this great organization that may call itself a church but is not. The Bible calls it a harlot….  This is ecumenical ecclesiasticism of the one-world church….”

True believers will not go through the God’s wrath; they will be raptured out before the wrath of God begins. Keep in mind that tribulation is not the wrath of God. Professing believers who are not saved will be left here on this earth when authentic Christians are raptured. As Dr. George Gill used to say, some churches will meet the Sunday after the rapture and will not miss a member…. They are churches in earthly name only.  They are harlots. The last so-called church is a pseudo-religious system, which is hated by the political beast. The Beast will destroy the harlot in order to set up his own religion.”

1

True believers will be glorified (Mt. 13.36-43; Ro. 8.18-23). The Lord will rapture the dead in Christ: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Th. 4.16-17).

Universal Church Heresy
Universal Church Heresy

I believe Dr. McGee, C.I. Scofield, and many others—including many fundamental “Baptists” who should know better and would know better if they studied the Bible and their history on the issue–are wrong in their understanding of a “true or universal church.” See “C.I. Scofield’s ‘True Church’ Doctrine”. True believers, according to many Bible students and scholars, will not go through the great tribulation, but will not experience the wrath of God which follows. Some believers make a good argument for a mid-tribulation rapture and many for a post-tribulation rapture. Regardless, the Bible never mentions a “true church” or a “universal church.” “A church” or “the church” is mentioned. However, to go from there to a “true church” or a “universal church” prior to the marriage supper of the Lamb is a leap unsupported by Scripture. Only in the heavenly Jerusalem will a general assembly (what could be called a universal church) come into existence. The “true church” or “universal church” doctrine is responsible for totally disordered churches (which includes most fundamental and fundamental Baptist churches), many of whose doctrines are totally off-base according to biblical church doctrine.

rapturesThe author challenges anyone to take the Bible and prove him wrong; he believes that it cannot be done; but if he can be shown that Bible truth proves him wrong, he will repent publically and adjust his teachings accordingly. The author has been proven to be open minded. He has come to his conclusions based upon many years of study of the Bible, the only source which can give the correct answer. He had to abandon much of what he had been taught over twenty-five years of faithful church membership and attendance. Of course, over that period he had not been taught much, because most pastors do not get into the deeper things of God (such as the doctrine of the church, the doctrine of government, the doctrine of separation of church and state, etc.) with the church bodies they are entrusted with. As one pastor who will go unnamed said,” I don’t do that because many of the members of ____ Church would not bear it.” Most pastors learn their doctrine of the church from Bible College of from other Fundamentalists who have bought the traditional anti-scriptural teachings on this matter.

This alleged “true church” doctrine was used to justify the Protestant and Catholic doctrines of universal visible and universal invisible church. This in turn was a basis for the doctrine of union of church and state, the doctrine of sacraments, and will be used by the great spiritual harlot to establish spiritual Babylon in the end times. Of course, this was never an historical Baptist doctrine because it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. Many or most so-called Baptists in America today have betrayed their roots and many biblical doctrines to one degree or another. Most are nothing more than Protestants and many fall so far that they are nothing more than “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Ecclesiastical Babylon (apostate Christendom, the harlot whom many biblical scholars logically conclude will be headed up under the Papacy and which will at that time condone every iniquity of the rich and will be corrupted to the core by commercialism, wealth, and luxury; the “universal church on earth”) will be destroyed by political Babylon, that is by the nations; and political Babylon, the nations, will be crushed by Christ when they come against Israel at the end of the tribulation (See Re. 17.15-18). All this will happen because men choose to succumb to Satan’s principles in order to satisfy their lusts.

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Jesus proclaimed, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He was speaking of the institution of the church which was to be made up of local, autonomous, spiritual bodies. Paul, in his epistles laid out the doctrine of the church. The only “churches” one sees in the Bible on earth until the marriage supper of the lamb, are local, autonomous spiritual bodies. One can refer to the other chapters in this section on the biblical doctrine of the church for much more information on this matter.

There will one day be a “universal church.” “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (He. 12:22-23). That church will come into existence at the marriage of the Lamb: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Re. 19:7-8). “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” (Re. 21:9-10).

bridewaitingUntil the universal church is established by Jesus Christ, we should listen to Jesus and Paul on this matter. Jesus said, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish…. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (Ep. 5:25-27, 30). Paul wrote, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Co. 11:2).

 

Heresy and Apostasy


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 19, 2012


Click here to go to “Self-Exam Questions: Heresy and Apostasy”


 Note. This is a modified version of Section II, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application.


Heresy and Apostasy

2Th2.3Prior to the return of the Lord, the visible churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2.3-4).

1“Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (1 John 4.1-3 [‘Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.’]; Phil. 3.18 [‘For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”]; 2 Pet. 2.1 [“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.’]). Apostasy truthdiffers therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Acts 19.1-6 [‘And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake 7with tongues, and prophesied.’]), or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan (2 Tim. 2.25, 26 [‘In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.’]), both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Tim. 4.3, 4 [‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away theirears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.’]. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (2 Tim. 3.5 [‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.’]). Apostate teachers are described in 2 Tim. 4.3 [“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.]; 2 Pet. 2.1-19 [quoted here in part: ‘But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: … But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; …  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; ….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live Balaamin error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.’]; Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16 [‘For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also thesefilthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the Judgment3error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.’].  Apostasy in the church, as in Israel (Isa. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7), is irremediable, and awaits judgment (2 Thes. 2.10-12 [‘And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’]; 2 Pet. 2.17, 21 [‘These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever…. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.’]; Jude 11-15; Rev. 3.14-16)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to 2 Ti. 3.1, p. 1280). [Bold emphasis mine].

Inevitably, there is no remedy for apostasy but judgment. (Is. 1.2-7, 24, 25; He. 6.4-8; 10.26-31. For example, Noah preached for 120 years, won no converts, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell (Jude 14, 15; Ge. 7.11)).

Lk.18.8b“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Lu. 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Lu. 18.8, p. 1101; see, e.g., Ro. 1.5; 1 Co. 16.13; 2 Co. 13.5; Col. 1.23, 2.7; Tit. 1.13; Jude 3). “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Ti. 4.1).

Ga.1.8-9In the New Testament, the apostasy was treated as having already set in. In fact, the Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian; but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Thus, even in the beginning of the church, the apostle Paul and Jude were concerned with the tendency to depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers:

  • “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you; and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.6-8).
  • “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

Many of our churches today, even many of our independent Bible believing churches, have perverted the gospel of Christ and turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness (“Looseness; irregular indulgence of animal desires; wantonness; lustfulness; Tendency to excite lust, and promote irregular indulgences” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828) definition of “LASCIVIOUSNESS.”). even though perhaps they have not verbally denied our Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

19Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23).

As a result of this worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity:

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them”  (Ro. 1.24-32).

Pope20The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Ti. 3.13).  Our Lord warned against false teachers:

  • “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt. 7.15).
  • “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-23).
  • “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.4-5).
  • “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.11).
  • “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13.22).
  • “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5.19).
  • “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15.9).

The Lord is obviously warning that many of His children will be deceived by the many false prophets which shall arise. With heresy and apostasy, the God-given doctrines and goal for churches and for Christians are left in the dust. The goal or purpose of most churches and “Christians” is the happiness of man and not the glory of God. They ask “What can God do for me,” not “What can I do for God?” Their purpose for giving, for doing, and for going to church is to get something back from God. Many believers today, many in allegedly independent Bible believing churches, are being deceived about many biblical doctrines, including the doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state. As a result, they are, among other things, incorporating, operating as unincorporated associations, and becoming 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations. Section VI of God Betrayed (PDFonline version) and Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches—Spiritual or Legal Entities (PDFonline version) discuss incorporation and tax exempt status of churches in some detail, and will explain ways that a church can hold property and also please God.

As a result, God is not glorified at all. Everything in the ultimate modern American church is for self—the headship, the “Bibles,” the doctrines taught, the preaching, the music, the dress, the goal, everything.

5Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the churches to beware of the apostasy:

  • “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing he flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Ac. 20.28-31).
  • “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8-9).
  • “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Ga. 3.1)?
  • “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11.19).
  • “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Co. 11.4).
  • “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1.10-11).
  • “Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Ti. 4.1-2).
  • “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Ti. 4.3-5).
  • “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19. All of 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers.).
  • “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11).
  • “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).
  • “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4. Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing churches and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in II Timothy and II Peter, the apostasy is treated as having already set in.).
  • “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:6-8).

LeavenOnly a little leaven can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel: “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Ga. 5.7-9).

False teachers deny redemption truth: “[False teachers] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1).  Others deny the truth concerning Christ’s person as Son of God, God himself.

“BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4.1-5; See also, 1 Jn. 2.18-28).

In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. Jude mentions those who “ran after the error of Balaam for reward.” Many pastors and other Christians today, like Balaam, revert to human reasoning, philosophy, and tradition as they sell out God’s churches for reward—that is, for money, popularity, pleasure and power. They may not have gone completely into apostasy, but heresy is the first step toward apostasy.

The tone of the New Testament writers when dealing with heresy and apostasy is never one of dejection or pessimism. God & His promises are still the resource of the believer. Although Paul as recorded in II Timothy and Peter as recorded in II Peter are aware that martyrdom is near (See 2 Ti. 4.6-8, 2 Pe. 1.14, and Jn. 21.18-19), both are apparently sustained and joyful: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finishedmy course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4.7-8). The whole book of II Timothy reflects Paul’s joyful attitude as II Peter shows Peter to be likewise joyful and sustained.

1II Timothy, II Peter, Jude, and II & III John deal the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. For example, Paul instructs the “good soldier” in the face of apostasy:

“[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier….  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: …  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself….  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And 2Ti.4.1-2their word will eat as doth a canker: …  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.1-4, 8, 11-13, 15-17a, 22-25).

Paul instructed Timothy, a preacher whom Paul called his “dearly beloved son (2 Ti. 1.2)” and his “own son in the faith:”

“Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of the evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Ti. 4.2-5).

“The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy  are faith (2 Ti. 1.5), the spirit (2 Ti. 1.6-7), the Word of God (2 Ti. 1.13; 3.1-17; 4.3-4), the grace of Christ (2 Ti. 2.1), separation from vessels unto dishonor (2 Ti. 2.4, 20-21), the Lord’s sure reward (2 Ti. 4.7-8), and the Lord’s faithfulness and power (2 Ti. 2.13, 19).”

 

Book Review: Outcome-Based Religion: Purpose, Apostasy, & the New Paradigm Church

Book Review:
Outcome-Based Religion: Purpose, Apostasy, & the New Paradigm Church
by Mac Dominick,
Cutting Edge Ministries, 2005

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 28, 2011

Outcome Based Religion

Sometimes being honest with oneself is so difficult that even a believer will not face fact and admit that he has been wrong and sinned. Even if his sin was out of ignorance and even if he was following the leadership of others within the “Christian community,” his response in the event that he discovers his sin, according to our Lord, should be one of contrite repentance. That was and is my situation as to, among other things, my religious-political actions for over a twenty year period. In the late 1990s I began to see that the political work of me and millions of other “moral conservatives” had been counterproductive. Since we had neither proceeded according to knowledge nor followed God’s guidelines as laid out in His Word, our efforts have resulted in negative consequences for people, families, churches, and the nation. In fact, many families and individuals along with churches and the nation, have slid down the drain pipe into a moral cesspool. Far fewer people are being saved, and those who are usually end up in compromising churches who are either afraid to preach the whole counsel of God or have completely abandoned Bible preaching. Many men and women conduct their lives in accordance with Satan’s principles of sexual lust, ambition, greed, and/or selfishness. Biblical principles for family are honored by only a small remnant. Apostasy is running rampant. Dr. Bob Jones accurately observed: “the culture was not saved, the converts of the Super-aggressive churches disappeared, promises were not kept, and the majority became very disillusioned.’ As a result, many newly disenfranchised former Fundamentalists were ripe for the picking.” (All quotations are from the book, Outcome-Based Religion). Well-meaning believing activists have contributed to the religious, moral, and political decline of America. En1 (Statement of repentance).

Outcome-Based Religion, studied in conjunction with God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application, En1 (Information on previewing and/or ordering God Betrayed and Outcome-Based Religion) explains in detail why and how this happened. Studying these books will afford a born-again believer the facts, history, and biblical analysis he needs to understand why, in general, churches in America are apostate and America is now morally awful and politically tyrannical. My studies, experiences, and observations confirm much of what is written in Outcome-Based Religion. Additionally, the book includes insights and information that I never discovered and/or considered.

Outcome-Based Religion answers many questions including the following: “Why have none of the goals of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition been met? What is the real impact of these conservative Christians upon American politics? Better yet, how has the Religious Right political machine impacted modern culture? Exactly what has been accomplished from 22 years of effort to ‘change America?’ Why have the well-funded Dominionists not transformed our Constitutional Republic into their ‘heaven-on-earth’ theocracy? Would the reaction to the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States result in a national religious revival, transform the culture, and result in the establishment of Robertson’s theocracy?”

Interwoven throughout the book is the theme of separation. Mr. Dominick correctly points out the two strategies for countering Satan’s attack on the true church: (1) Remain in the body and attempt to reform the body by exposing the error (as in the Protestant Reformation). (2) Separate. “Charles Spurgeon said:

‘Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it. It is our solemn conviction that where there can be no real spiritual communion there should be no pretense of fellowship. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin. As soon as I saw, or thought I saw, that error had become firmly established, I did not deliberate, but quitted the body at once.  Since then my counsel has been, ‘Come out from among them.’ I felt that no protest could be equal to that of distinct separation from known evil. That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear from those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them.  Cost what it may to separate ourselves from those who separate themselves from the truth of God is not alone our liberty, but our duty.’”

Men, even saved men, have a hard time digesting the fact that “When engaging in God’s work, the end never justifies the means. Put simply, God’s work is to be performed God’s way.” “Furthermore, the ‘end justifies the means’ mindset is the certain path to a deepening apostasy. Once Scripture is ignored in one area, another departure will soon follow. The ‘snowball effect’ evidenced by history then leads one religious body after another from small compromises into a complete departure from the truth. This creeping departure is very subtle, and one must look at history and understand the battle for a pure, true church in order to combat apostasy’s deceptive nature.”

“The first six chapters of Outcome-Based Religion detail the movement of conservative Christianity in a steady slide to the left. No sooner had the quest for the truth gained momentum than another attack sought to strike at the heart of biblical truth. These attacks manifest themselves when the church loses the focus of its true mission, and digresses into areas outside of the commands and precepts of Scripture. The true mission of the church is the edification of the saints, reaching the lost for Christ, and to subsequently nurture those converts to spiritual maturity. As to the strategy of many fundamental churches starting in the 1950s, ‘the tragic results [was the production of] an entire generation of born-again individuals whose impact for the cause of Christ was virtually nullified due to the lack of Christian growth and maturity that comes only from sound biblical teaching, true Christian fellowship, and the expository preaching of the Word of God.’” “Yes, the motive was indeed, from a human perspective, noble. The stated outcome—mass evangelization—was praiseworthy. However, the methodology that contradicted the Word of God was seriously flawed. In the final analysis, evangelism in the absence of sound doctrine fails to perpetuate itself.” History proves this to be true. “The great tragedy of the second half of the Twentieth Century and the early Twenty-first Century is the fact that many of the Bible-believing churches organized in opposition to and as a direct result of Modernism in the 1960s and 1970s are now succumbing to New Evangelicalism and Outcome-Based Religion.” How this happened is the subject of the book.

“In order to fully grasp the sequence of events that birthed the New Paradigm Church, the subject of Outcome-Based Religion cannot merely be approached as a phenomenon of the last decade. It must instead be investigated from a complete historical perspective. Therefore, the study of this subject [is] approached from a historical perspective so as to lay the necessary foundation to enable a complete understanding of all aspects of that which is commonly termed the Church Growth Movement.” The book is in two parts. Part I delves into the historical events that contributed to the makeup and basis of the rise of Outcome-Based Religion and Part II discusses the details and components of the resulting organism of Outcome-Based Religion—the New Paradigm Church.

Part I addresses: church history from the first century on, the wedding of paganism and Christianity in the Catholic Church; the Protestant Reformation; the origins of modernism; the infiltration of modernism into American theological institutions and churches; the flaws in the methods of fundamentalist churches 1950-1975 and on which led to their decline; the ecumenical movement; Vatican II which brought a change in Catholic tactics and rescued the ecumenical movement and took a large step toward the establishment of the one world church and the one world political system; modernism and its effects within the Southern Baptist Convention; the Charismatic movement (basic concepts, origins, the three waves, and the results of); Calvary Chapel (a transitional hybrid between Fundamentalism and right wing Charismatic teachings); dominion theology; the rise and fall of the religious right; the attempt to establish the United States as a bona fide religious theocracy; Christian Reconstructionism versus Dispensational Fundamentalism; the Religious Right; the Moral Majority; the Christian Coalition; the death of the Religious Right; the absence of convictions along with the advance of the philosophy and the new definition of tolerance which now guides almost all Americans including those in church; George Bush as the new leader of the religious right; the relationship between the religious right and Outcome-Based Religion; and much more. In short, Part I covers most historical and factual matters which a discerning believer should at least have a working knowledge of in order to be an effective soldier in the spiritual warfare for the souls of men.

Part II explains and analyzes: the goals, motivation and methods of New Paradigm churches. Subjects addressed include a new way of playing church—by the numbers; the battle against Outcome-Based Religion; defining the terms: Purpose-Driven Church, New Paradigm Church; expository preaching; pragmatism; worship; seeker sensitive; doctrine; sin; evangelism; market strategy, change agent; felt needs, cultural relevance; Christian psychology, contemporary Christian music, the Gospel; the object of the game: (The complete transition of the Church from the traditional, Biblical, separatist position to become more aligned to and in tune with the dictates of the Postmodern Culture—thus initiating exponential church growth.); the rules of the New Paradigm Church (Change “Our Thinking of what God is Trying To Do,” Develop a Market Strategy, Build Relationships of Integrity with the Unchurched, Never Criticize What God is Blessing, Never Communicate God’s Word in an Outdated Style (which requires that the church should relate to the popular culture—no KJV—focusing on felt needs, utilizing psychology and counseling, forgetting theology and just loving Jesus, etc.), The music in the Church should be the Style the Target Market listens to on the Radio (the origins of rock and roll, the assertion the music is amoral, etc.), Those Who Oppose the Vision for Change Must be Marginalized or Eliminated); the forerunners of the New Paradigm church movement; the fathers of the church growth movement; the facilitators of the church growth movement; the facilities of the Church Growth Movement (Fuller Theological Seminary being the most influential); living in the time of the paradigm shift, defining the paradigm shift; Outcome-Based Education and Outcome-Based Religion; the Drucker/Demming connection; Drucker and Company in the New Paradigm Church, oaths, covenants, and faith promise; trickle-down church-o-nomics; paradigm shifting sands produce unstable foundations; the purpose-driven life; transformation and acceptance of postmodern, tolerance-based’ global ethics; an appeal  to pastors and an appeal to church members; a call to personal holiness; and more.

“Sadly, the ‘Christian population of western culture has forsaken the ‘old paths’ of the Word of God and  is blindly accepting any lie that sounds religious while not tampering with their lifestyle.” This book will prove very enlightening for those few who still have the ability and desire to seek truth:

1. Christians who still attend a remnant church (a church who still preaches biblical doctrine, loves the Lord and man, and attempts to honor the Great Commission) will gain great insights.
2. Those in mega churches (New Paradigm churches) who actually want to know what they have gotten themselves into and whether they should be there. They will not learn this from their church leaders.
3. Anyone in America who is seeking truth. Sadly, this will exclude a large percentage of Americans, including most who attend a “church.” Most Americans including almost all “Christians,” as pointed out in the book, are the products of Outcome-Based Education and have bought the concepts of the “New Tolerance” and Postmodernism. Such people cannot, as a general rule, seek truth. Truth is antithetical to their very mindset.

“The members of the Church of Jesus Christ must honestly ask the question, ‘How did we allow this to happen to us, and where did we all go so wrong?’ … In the final analysis, Fuller Theological Seminary, Christianity Today, the New and Young Evangelicals, Modernists, Charismatics, Reconstructionists, and Dominionists are to be sarcastically congratulated. They have successfully managed to blindly align themselves with the dark forces of Lucifer at a level sufficiently subtle to enamor the entire evangelical community from the Fundamentalists to the Charismatic Catholics into falling into the snare that has come to characterize Outcome-Based Religion.” “This alignment with Luciferic forces did not transpire overnight. The transition was so subtle and gradual that it can be compared to the proverbial frog in water brought to a slow but deadly boil.” “[T]he call for this new political paradigm known as the New World Order is based primarily on the ancient values of those early generations after the Flood of Noah and their demonically instigated desire for a return to the ungodly civilization that existed prior to the Flood.”

Endnotes

En 1 Writing this book review gives me an opportunity for public repentance. I first repent and ask forgiveness for my sins of ignorance from God; second, from my Christian brothers; and finally, from America and its citizens. I followed unbiblical, uninformed courses of action as to the above mentioned matters for many years after my salvation in 1982. My motive was honorable from a human point of view, but my goal and my methods were not according to the Word of God. That everything is falling into place as foretold in God’s Word and that the One-World government and religion will become a reality even had my actions been according to the Word of God does not nullify the reality that I sinned.

En2 Outcome-Based Religion can be ordered on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com; Jerald Finney has a limited number of copies for sale (click this link for contact information: contact page of churchandstatelaw.com). God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from amazon.com at the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.

Conclusion to Bible Studies on the Biblical Doctrine of Church


Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 9, 2011


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Conclusion to Articles on the Biblical Doctrine of “Church”

41The Supreme Ruler ordained the church, as He ordained civil government. He gave churches—as He has given individual, family and civil governments—His Word wherein they can learn God’s guidelines which He wishes His churches, as well as all other governments, to follow. Satan has successfully misled most churches and other governments, and most have followed his principles. He has used false teachers from the beginning. As a result, apostasy crept into the church shortly after its inception. That apostasy has accelerated in America as the  tribulation approaches.

Many or most people in American churches today are materially rich, but spiritually blind. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Re. 3.17).

1Ti.2.14Ep.5.23-27Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Ti. 2.14, Ro. 5.14, Ge. 3.1-6).  Christ was not deceived, but His bride was. “As the first Adam had to give up a perfect existence in order to be with his wife, so the last Adam, Christ (1 Co. 15.22, 45), stepped down from heaven to save his bride. While the first Adam ‘blew it,’ the last Adam would make everything right! (Ro. 5:12-21) Charles Wesley set this doctrine to music with the words, ‘Second Adam from above, reinstate us with thy love.’ … “The all-important verse that connects this typology to the present Laodicean apostasy is Ec. 1:9a: ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done….’ Thus, the history of mankind will undoubtedly end the same way it began—with a bride being deceived!” (William P. Grady, How Satan Turned America Against God (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications, Inc., 2005), p. vii.).

Jn.3.16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3.16-19).

Ro.5.12-21“[Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Ph. 2.6-8).

3Regardless of this inevitable apostasy and the events that are to follow, things are looking good for you and me—that is, if you are a Christian! Christians have the ultimate hope: they will reign with the Lord. This should be a cause for great rejoicing as well as incentive to be responsible members of a local autonomous New Testament church and to make sure that every effort is made to glorify God and assure that a church remains totally under Christ in every way. The Holy Spirit is now calling out, not the subjects, but the co-heirs and co-rulers of the kingdom.

2Ti.2.12“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Ti. 2.11-12).

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 1.6).

Ro.8.18_2“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Re. 3.21).

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Re. 5.10).

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Ro. 8.15-18).

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life” (1 Co. 6.2-3)?

Recent Accelerated Apostasy in the United States

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September, 2010

Click here to download and/or listen to Jerald Finney’s audio teaching on the
“Recent accelerated apostasy in the United States.”

For links to other articles on heresy and apostasy, see
The Biblical Doctrine of the Church

Contents:                               

I. Preface
II. Introduction
III. American churches take the first step into pragmatic religion
IV. Religious liberalism comes to America
V. Today’s American churches
VI. Theology and psychology merged

A. The Purpose-Driven Church Movement birthed by Rick Warren
B. The standard megachurch gospel

  1. It’s all about you
  2. Jesus and salvation
  3. Metaphysical techniques, infiltration, ecumenicalism
  4. Unbiblical dress, music, “Bibles,” doctrine
  5. Big business and the emerging church

VII. Conclusion

Endnotes

Note. Go directly to blue articles, books, etc. by left clicking.

I. Preface

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2.6-8).

Jack Hyles
Jack Hyles

In an article on heresy and apostasy, “On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, ‘The Treasure is in a Field,’” the author pointed out that Dr. Hyles missed a preeminent principle in the Word of God as to the organization of God’s churches in his sermon, “The Treasure is in a Field”. As a result of his error, the chickens have come home to roost at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (referred to hereinafter as “First Baptist”). As the author has long pointed out, when a church and pastor compromise basic biblical principle regarding separation of church and state, that church has dishonored her love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and has headed down the road to heresy and apostasy. An unrepentant compromising church dishonors God, walks toward apostasy, and will be led by another who will further compromise biblical truth.

In the next article in this series, “Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy,” the author pointed to some heretical teachings at First Baptist which Dr. Hyles would never have tolerated, and – in Part II of that article – summarized biblical teaching on heresy and apostasy in God’s churches.
Jack Schaap
Jack Schaap

As a result of the first two articles mentioned above, pastors and Christians sent e-mail letters expressing their support or opposition to the articles mentioned above. Some of those letters and my responses may be read in the third article in this series, “Letters from pastors regarding Hyles/Schaap and other articles.”

This teaching segment traces the heresies and apostasies in American churches beginning in the early history of the United States of America.

UnityVsTruthThe thinking that sacrifices truth for unity and superficial peace is not biblical. Christians are instructed to examine doctrinal differences in light of Scripture. Christians have a duty to expose and condemn unbiblical teaching and behavior. Paul rebuked people by name (Phil. 4.2-3; 1 Ti. 1.20; 2 Ti. 2.17). John condemned Diotrophes, a church leader who rejected the apostolic letters and authority (3 Jn.).

TruthInLoveBelievers are to speak the truth in love. This series on heresy and apostasy does just that. The ultimate goal is to glorify and please our Lord by presenting truth in the hopes that some Christians and churches will wake up, reject heresy and apostasy, place themselves solely under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and again proclaim the Gospel with power in order that more souls will be saved. Does not the Lamb of God deserve the reward of His suffering? Should Christians not bear their cross for the glory of the One who gave His all for them?

apostasySpiritual treasure is being lost and abandoned and no one seems to know why. This article will show why by looking at the growth of heresy and apostasy in American churches and the results thereof that are now exemplified in the church growth and emerging church movements. Considering the scope of the subject and information, this article is relatively short.

The accompanying sermon, “Conquering the Kingdom of Self” was delivered by James Hoffmeister, missionary to Trinidad on September 12, 2010. As evidenced by his sermon, Brother Hoffmeister loves our Lord and preaches the truth on these matters in love. One may hear uncompromised biblical preaching which honors our Lord in love by going to “Sermons by Pastor Jason Cooley.”

II. Introduction

leavenThe Bible teaches that leaven always corrupts. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (See 1 Co. 5.6 and Ga. 5.9). Leaven is defined by our Lord as evil doctrine: “How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Mt. 16.11-12). “And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod” (Mk. 8.15).

“Leaven Summary: (1) Leaven, as a symbolic or typical substance, is always mentioned in the O.T. in an evil sense (Gen. 19.3, refs.). (2) The use of the word in the N.T. explains its symbolic meaning. It is ‘malice and wickedness,’ as contrasted with ‘sincerity and truth’ (1 Cor. 5.6-8). It is evil doctrine (Mt. 16.12) in its three-fold form of Phariseesism, Sadduceeism, Herodianism (Mt. 16.6; Mk. 8.15). The leaven of the Pharisees was externalism in religion. (Mt. 23.14, 16, 23-28); of the Sadducees, skepticism as to the supernatural and as to the Scriptures (Mt. 22.23, 29); of the Herodians, worldliness—a Herod party amongst the Jews (Mt. 22.16-21; Mk. 3.6)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 4 to Mt. 13.44, p. 1016).

8Many American Bible believing churches and Christians (dissenters in the colonies) who had fought long and hard for religious liberty added a little leaven to their church bodies almost immediately after they achieved religious liberty through the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (See Sections IV and VI of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (reproduced on this website in both PDF and online form. See Review of Books by Jerald Finney and Order infomration for books by Jerald Finney for information on this and other books by Jerald Finney; Click Link to preview of God Betrayed to preview God Betrayed and also, An Abridged History of the First Amendment). They did this by uniting with the state through incorporation, acting against the sound biblical advice of men such as Isaac Backus. Although they remained true to other fundamental Bible principles, they had started down the road to further heresy and apostasy.

III. American churches take the first step into pragmatic religion

1When a church does not love the Lord enough to make sure that she does everything to keep wicked doctrine out of the church and to keep herself totally under her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, a little leaven has entered that church and successive steps away from true biblical doctrine inevitably follow. This principle was seen in the Old Testament when the people of Israel chose to take themselves from under God and demanded a king. The direction for Israel from that point was only downward. She ultimately became totally apostate.  As taught in both the Old and New Testaments, the only remedy for apostasy is God’s judgment.

Churches in America began to dishonor the Lord shortly after the ratification of the Constitution (and even before the ratification of the Constitution). As shown in Section VI of God Betrayed, many Bible believing churches in America, in not studying, understanding, and/or applying biblical principles concerning Christ and His church and biblical principles concerning the relationship of church and state, started the downward slide of God’s churches almost immediately after the ratification of the United States Constitution. They took the first step into pragmatic religion. In one way they said, “Our goal will not be only the glory of God; an additional goal will be the happiness of man.” Churches decided to be practical, to do that which was right in their own eyes. They incorporated, thereby introducing a little leaven into the relationship between church and state. They did this although warned by men such as Isaac Backus.

IV. Religious liberalism comes to America

TenShekelsAndAShirt4With the advent of religious liberalism in the nineteenth century, liberal churches rejected the truth and inerrancy of Scripture, the divinity of Christ, biblical salvation, and other biblical principles. The philosophy of those churches was humanism and the goal of humanism is the happiness of man. Although liberal theologians did not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Christ, heaven and hell, or any of the other cardinal principles of the Bible, they employed a lot of people and needed a way to justify their continued existence. So they said, “We don’t believe in an eternal happiness, but we do know that you have to live 70 years on earth. So come and let us help you enjoy the ride. Let us show you how to be happy while you are alive.” They set out to teach man how to be happy here on earth and to help others who were less fortunate so they also could be happy—the social gospel.  Instead of preaching from the authority of the Bible, they read poems, “preached” smooth things and appealed to the self. Liberal “Christianity,” then as now, was a feel-good religion. God became, for the liberal, a means to an end, a way to achieve happiness while on earth. Liberal “Christianity” is man-centered. (A great sermon that gives the history of religious modernism is Paris Reidhead, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt,” January 1, 1980.)

Paris Reidhead:
Paris Reidhead: “Ten Shekels And A Shirt”

Humanism, or liberalism, affected even many fundamental churches. While many churches at first departed from the biblical doctrine of separation of church and state, most adhered to other major biblical doctrines. They preached inerrancy of Scripture, the depravity of man, the holiness of God, repentance from sin, and salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But with time, since the atmosphere was humanism, the goal of many fundamental churches became the happiness of man, not the glory of God. They said, “We believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and heaven and hell.” But the goal became humanistic—the eternal happiness of man in heaven. Again, the God-given goal for man is the glory of God, not the happiness of man, which is just a by-product of salvation and not a goal. Some fundamentalists began to preach God as a means, not an end, forgetting that it’s not what God can do for the believer but what the believer can do for God. The God-given goal is to preach the gospel so that the Lamb of God may receive the reward of His suffering. (Ibid.-Paris Reidhead, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt,” January 1, 1980.)

God sends his children to the heathen to preach the gospel because He desires to save every person from his or her monstrous sins:

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes…. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Ro. 3.10-18, 23; see also, e.g., De. 31.27; Job 20.11; Ps. 26.10, 53.1-6; Ec. 7.20; Is. 1.5, 64.6; Jer. 17.9 and 23, 22.17; Ro. 7.18; 2 Co. 3.14; Ja. 3; 2 Pe. 2.14; etc.)

TenShekelsAndAShirt31The principle of man’s total sinfulness runs throughout the Bible and explains why every man, to be saved, must repent and trust Christ to save him from those sins. Every person deserves hell. The attitude of the believer should be: “I will serve Him my whole life, even should I go to the hell which I deserve (which is not possible) because He is worthy. He did it all for me because of my monstrous sins.” Believers are a reward for the Savior who died a horrible death on the cross in order to pay the penalty God requires for the sins of every person. (Ibid.)

So eventually many fundamental churches, in the humanistic earthly and spiritual atmospheres in America, began to preach, “Come, add Jesus to your life, and you will have eternal happiness in heaven.” The goal became humanistic. When someone made a verbal profession of adding Jesus to his life, someone would slap him on the back, congratulate him, and welcome him into a church. Yes, a saved person goes to heaven, but that is not his goal. The goal is the glory of God. Many “Bible believing” churches no longer preach that man is sinful, that men are monsters of iniquity, that man deserves hell, that God saves men because He endured the agonies of torture and crucifixion for them, and that He deserves the reward for His suffering (that is, He deserves those for whom He died).  Christianity says, “The end of all being is the glory of God.” Humanism says, “The end of all being is the happiness of man.” “One was born in hell, the deification of man; and the other in heaven, the glory of God” (Ibid.). Humanism may or may not bring temporary happiness. Some professing Christians do not respond to God’s calls for service because to do so would not make them happy. When one’s goal is the glory of God, he responds to God’s call whether he believes it will make him happy or not. True Christianity brings eternal happiness, but only as a side effect, and not as a goal.

384The advance of apostasy accelerated in Europe and America starting in the mid-eighteen hundreds. As a result, only a small remnant remains in Europe, and the deception engulfs the church in America more and more each day. Since the birth of religious liberalism, which developed the idea that rationalism is superior to revelation, in the mid-nineteenth century, “the contest between those polarities grows hotter, suggesting that this contest may be the final battle of human history” (Dave Breese, 7 Men who Rule the World from the Grave (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1990), pp. 89-104). Until perhaps the mid-eighteen-hundreds, “the Bible was the authoritative book, the government was to be respected, order in society was to be kept—that’s the way it was” (Ibid., p. 90).  But things were changing quickly, and one of the most fundamental changes was within the Christian religion:

“That change was so dramatic, so fundamental, so far-reaching that it can be said that because of it the Christian religion, though retaining its external form, became a fundamentally different thing on the inside. At the close of the century, the churches were still there, the choirs still sang, the babies were still baptized, and the candles continued to burn, but the substance, the core—yes, the life—of Christianity was gone. The idea that God was in the midst of it all and that He had revealed Himself in His inspired, infallible Word—that idea, that life, slipped through the fingers of an unsuspecting church in those days” (Ibid., p. 91).

JuliusWellhausenIn the nineteenth century a German rationalist scholar named Julius Wellhausen stepped to the fore and religious liberalism came into being. “Before Wellhausen came on the scene, the Bible was generally accepted as the revealed, true, and inerrant Word of God; and Christians everywhere believed that all of Scripture was given by inspiration of God.” The German rationalists, with Wallhausen at the forefront, changed all that. Wallhausen taught that human reason was totally dependable and insisted that the Bible could not be trusted (Ibid.). A cold wind of doubt, distrust of God, and spiritual disquiet, influenced by the coming of Darwinism and Marxism, began to blow through the churches, the schools, and the homes of Germany and Europe. “From that point, the advent of anti-revelational liberalism, Christianity ceased to be a religion based on divine revelation but rather became a set of composite religious views anchored in human reason.” “The Christian religion became a complex set of human rationalizations, rather than the revealed truth of God” (Ibid., p. 92).

Initially, the effect of his new theology upon a Christian culture was on the schools, churches, and scholarship of Europe. Quickly, the state-churches embraced the rationalistic point of view, lost the concept of divine revelation and faith in the Bible; and Europe lost its soul (Ibid.).  The result in Europe—as of 1990, less than one percent of Europe was evangelical Christian (Ibid., p. 102).

J. Greshcham Machen
J. Greshcham Machen

“Soon after it came into being, liberalism leaped the ocean and began to be preached in the old-line denominational churches, colleges, and seminaries of the eastern seaboard of the United States” (Ibid., p. 97). J. Greshcham Machen, a great scholar, discussed those days and the coming of liberalism to the Methodists, Anglicans, and especially the Presbyterians, reminding us of what liberalism truly is. “Machen wrote Christianity and Liberalism in 1924, but for many institutions, the old-line denominations, it was too late because the arguments of liberalism had already subverted many educational establishments” (Ibid., p. 98).  Happily, one can now look at the record and rejoice in the fact that liberalism, although it became firmly rooted in America, did not win the day in the United States, carrying everything before it as it had done in Europe and to the significant extent in England (Ibid., pp. 99-101).

5Another aspect of liberalism deserves note:

“[I]ts insistence in calling itself Christian. While denying the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the true nature of faith, and most of the other cardinal Christian doctrines, the liberals still want conservative Christians to think of them as ‘one of us.’ As a consequence it is almost a rule of life that the liberals do not leave the visible church. [Even though] they tell of plans to open new churches, start new seminaries and the like, alas, that does not happen. There is a severe strain of dishonesty about this reluctance to leave, this maintaining a pretense of Christianity by those who deny the faith. Great clarity could be wrought by liberals if they called their religion by another name than Christianity and set up shop on their own” (Ibid., p. 103).

Frank Hamlin LittellFranklin Hamlin Littell observed in 1962 that American churches, once faithful and disciplined, had in their prosperity settled back into the world, and that America would seem well on the way to secularization and faithlessness. Most American church members in 1962 were first-generation, or at best second-generation Christians who but vaguely grasped the implications of Christianity (Franklin Hamlin Littell, From State Church to Pluralism: A Protestant Interpretation of Religion in American History. (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1962), p. viii).  At that time the problems of the church were promiscuity and depreciation of the integrity and authority of the family, materialistic standards of success, racialism (the practice of religion as a tribal cult), and widespread theological illiteracy (IbIbid., ix). Always the “new Christians” have brought over into the church some of the habits of their unbaptized condition (Ibid., p. 82). [I]n America the “new Christians,” whose conversions were not followed by class meetings and careful instruction, either fell back in a short time into the old way of life or were gathered up in new prophetic cults started by, among others, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Norman Vincent Peale, Marcus Garvey, and Father Devine which blended tribal wisdom with selected or corrupted Christian teachings (Ibid., pp. 83-85). Joseph Smith’s message, for example, offered a solution to those who had looked in vain to the revivalists for food to sustain their awakened spirits, for a new pattern of community to express their new faith (Ibid., p. 85).  Camp meetings and revivalists worked through the area year after year, converting & reconverting, without giving clear and careful guidance to newborn men & women as to how to continue their pilgrimage in responsible churchmanship (Ibid., p. 86).

It was perhaps inevitable that, as “converts” remained unchanged in life, eventually even the verbal phase should be softened & accommodated to popular opinions (Ibid., p. 125).  In the latter half of the 19th century, various professional evangelists turned from dealing with major issues in society, proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all of life, calling upon men to repent, convert, and be healed and introduced a new style of message; avoiding any offense to the ruling elements in the cities, their patrons, they concentrated on the “sins” of the workingmen: drinking, swearing, gambling, and joining unions (Ibid., pp. 125-26). The decline in great preaching—i.e. proclamation of the Word that convicts & converts, that moves to repentance and to turning again to the Lord of nations & generations—is one of the most striking measures of the deterioration of the Free Churches into culture-religion (Ibid., p. 126).

The ordinary members who never have had the discontinuity between life in Christ and life in the world brought home to them are less at fault for the inadequate training than the leadership of the churches, who—though sworn to uphold the form of sound words and doctrine—neglect catechetical instruction and concentrate solely on the acquisition of more and new members at any price (Ibid., p. 134).  These problems are greatest in the churches which have grown most—Baptist, Methodist, and Churches of Christ (Ibid., p. 135).  In the most live theological circles in America, however, even as early as 1962, there was growing up the realization that the 19th century had ended with the rise of the most terrible apostasy & mass defections experienced by Christendom since Islam swept through & captured the ancient strongholds of Christianity in North Africa (Ibid., p. 165). Theologically and ecclesiologically those who are determined that the American churches shall bless “our way of life” stand exactly where the collaborators with the Nazis, the “German Christians,” stood in the 1930s and 1940s. Theirs is the same curious mixture of creedless “spirituality,” of treason toward the … church (Ibid., p. 166).

Thus, by 1962, apostasy had taken its toll on American churches. The nineteenth century ended with “mass defections from the churches of Europe. In her decline, Christianity “spawned the most monstrous ideologies and political religions.

“The warning that comes to America, that is declared to her by her ablest theologians, is that ‘Christendom’ is no longer a viable concept, that the nineteenth-century continuum is split apart. Nevertheless, it is serious error—though a common one—to bracket the churches in America & the churches of Europe in a common destiny. True, the most serious challenge confronting the faith in America is also tribal religion, Protestant nativism, apostasy of the sort that many of the churches in Europe also have had to struggle with. The words of Professor Edmund Schlink on the condition of religion in pre-Hitler Germany might be transferred without amendment or alteration to popular religion of the present in America:

“‘… people had grown accustomed to regard God primarily as the protector of ordered family life, a help in the education of children and a friend in the events of life such as leaving school, marriage and death. He had become the guarantor of national and civic security, in the midst of the insecurities of this world’” (Ibid., pp. 165-166 citing Schlink, Edmund, ‘The Witness of the German Church Struggle,’ in the Universal Church in God’s Design (London: SCM Press, 1948), p. 99).

V. Today’s American Churches

YeaHathGodSaid

2 Timothy 4:3:
2 Timothy 4:3: ” For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”

In today’s American churches, as always, Satan is using the same technique he used to attack and draw people away from the Word of God in the Garden of Eden where he started the deception by saying, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden” (Ge. 3.1)? Eve then answered, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Ge. 3.2-3). She erroneously added to God’s Word “… neither shall ye touch it” (Ge. 3.3).

  • The “‘Yea, hath God said…?’ strategy may be the Serpent of Old’s most deadly. The process involves weaning evangelical Christians away from the knowledge of, and understanding of, and a dependence upon the Word of God. The objective is to produce biblically shallow Christians who are functionally illiterate regarding what the Bible teaches, and who therefore have no accurate basis for, or interest in, discerning biblical truth from error….
  • “Conditioned by a subversive weaning process, these biblically shallow Christians have little or no concern about doctrine. They major in the experiential, with their feelings almost exclusively determining what they believe. [As the apostle Paul said,] ‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables’ (2 Ti. 4:3, 4).
  • “Today, experiential Christianity has extended far beyond the bounds of what was considered a fringe evangelical element[, the extreme Charismatics and Pentecostals]. It now pervades the entire church, including those denominations and movements once known for their conservative doctrinal views and biblical adherence. They have vigorously blocked the lying signs and wonders seduction at their front doors while opening wide their side entrances and youth rooms to the purveyors of the experiential in less obvious yet equally disastrous forms.
  • “… [T]rue Christianity is both doctrinal and experiential….
  • “The chief error today in the evangelical church is that experiences (feelings, emotions, passions, intuitions, etc.) have become the guide for entering into and attempting to establish true spirituality. Rather than subjective feelings and emotions being present as a result of one’s adherence to sound doctrine, they have become the judge of whether or not something is truly Christian. Instead of testing a teaching or practice or situation by the Word of God, the arbiter becomes ‘how one feels about it.’ This puts the human imagination in the seat of judgment….
  • “‘… There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death (Pr. 14.12; 16.25).’ ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Is. 8.20).’
  • 39“Experientialism (what feels right to man) is a leaven working its way through the entire church as it undermines biblical truth. Today there are many infectious manifestations, with heavy emphasis upon the following: signs and wonders, faith-healing and prosperity, logos vs. rhema, the new apostles and prophets, kingdom-dominion, redeeming-the-culture missions, strategic spiritual warfare, inner-healing, 12-steps, Christian psychology, evangelical social-activism; ecumenism, church growth, purpose-driven, emerging church, contemplative mysticism, church entertainment, contemporary worship, culturally accommodating Bible versions, and visually translated Bibles. All these movements are in opposition to the clear teaching of God’s Word, yet multitudes follow them eagerly.
  • “… All these diverse endeavors, while giving lip service to the Scriptures, … whether through ignorance, self-delusion, or planned deceit, critically subvert its teachings” (T. A. McMahon, “Weaning Evangelicals Off the Word—Part I,” The Berean Call, Vol. XXII, No. 2, February 2007, pp. 1-2. Search www.THEBEREANCALL.ORG for related articles or the books offered for explanations of the movements listed in the quoted material.).

Satan is using this “Yea, hath God said” strategy in today’s churches in a variety of ways. This article will look at a few. Today, “[t]he true Christ and the true faith of the Bible are being replaced rapidly with diseased substitutes offered by a group of teachers who belong to what has been labeled the “Faith Movement” (Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers 1993), p. 11; this statement is true, but Hank Hanegraaff is heretical about some very important matters). Multitudes who name the name of Christ have adopted a wildly distorted perception of what it means to be a Christian.

7“Under the banner, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ multitudes are being duped by a gospel of greed and are embracing doctrines straight from metaphysical cults….” Eternal truths from the Word of God are being perverted into bad mythology—and all the while Christianity is hurtling at breakneck speed into a crisis of unparalleled proportions (Ibid.).

Spiritual leaders are teaching that Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross, that they are God and Jesus, that we should not pray such “faith-destroying words” as “If it be thy will,” that we are in control and God has to be given permission to work in the earth realm, and that man was created equal with God and can stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority (Ibid.).

8In Christianity in Crisis Hank Hanegraaff [En1] chronicles a composite of erroneous teachings of individuals such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederick Price, and many others.  Many of the followers of these false teachers are sincere, born again believers who love the Lord. En2  Hanegraff points out the chief teachers of this movement, noting that “the bulk of their theology can be traced to the cultic teachings of the Faith Movement and that much of the theology of the Faith Movement can be traced to such cults as Religious Science, Christian Science, and the Unity School of Christianity” (Ibid, p. 29). These men “point to Scripture,’ produce ‘miracles,’ and operate under the banner of ‘Jesus is Lord’” (Ibid., p. 39).

“Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in they name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-3). Jesus said “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6.40).

9Many of the churches in the Faith Movement are cults or cultic (Hanegraaff, pp. 42-45). One definition of a cult is: “[A]ny religious movement which claims the backing of Christ or the Bible, but distorts the central message of Christianity by 1) an additional revelation, and 2) by displacing a fundamental tenet of the faith with a secondary matter. A primary characteristic of cults in general is the practice of taking biblical texts out of context in order to develop pretexts for their theological perversions” (Ibid., p. 43).

Although cults use biblical terms, the meanings they attach to those terms are erroneous. Most or all cults, for example, do not believe that Jesus was the only Son of God or that the Son of God was also God. Islam, for example, believes that Jesus was a great prophet, but that he was not God; Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was the Archangel Michael.

10Satan, through his false teachers, says to Christians seeking to solve their mental, emotional, and behavioral problems, “Yea, hath God said?” and then points out that the “science of psychology” will show them how to love themselves and overcome those problems. Many churches have “turned from God’s Word to psychology, that is, to man’s bankrupt theories in attempting to resolve mental, emotional, and behavioral problems;” in other words, to doctrines of devils which are designed to undermine what is taught in Scripture (See T. A. McMahon, “Psychology and the Evangelical Church,” The Berean Call, Vol. XXI, No. 3, March 2006, pp. 3-4; T. A. McMahon, “Psychology and Prophecy,” The Berean Call, Vol. XXI, No. 4, April 2006, pp. 3-4; T. A. McMahon, “Psychology and the Doctrines of Devils,” The Berean Call, Vol. XXI, No. 10, October 2007, pp. 3-4. Search http://www.thebereancall.org/ for articles and books offered to examine various issues concerning psychology in the church today. Some titles: Psychotherapy, The End of Christian “Psychology;” Psychobabble: the Failure of Modern Psychology;, Hypnosis: Medical, Scientific or Occultic; Four Temperaments: Astrology & Personality Testing; Competent to Minister: The Biblical Care of Souls; 12 Steps to Destruction: Codependency Recovery Heresy; James Dobson’s Gospel of Self-Esteem & Psychology.).  Since many Christians are biblically illiterate but well-informed in the teachings of Satan through the public schools, the secular and “Christian” institutes of higher learning including most Bible colleges and Christian seminaries, the secular media including secular books and magazines, much of the so-called “Christian” media, worldly friends and relatives, and perhaps their own pastors, psychology has had little resistance in most “Christian” circles to prevent it from becoming a very effective “Yea, hath God said” technique used to infiltrate the church today.

11Scripture warns: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves….” (2 Ti. 3.1, 2). Although men have, since the Garden of Eden, been self-seeking and self-serving, “it has only been since the rise of modern psychology that self has been proclaimed as the solution to all of our mental, emotional and behavioral ills” (T. A. McMahon, “Psychology in Prophecy,” p. 3). With the theory of evolution which, if believed, eliminated the need for God, mankind is left only with “self” and must solve all his problems (Ibid.). This requires man, of course to be innately good, since it would be impossible for man to help an innately sinful person (Ibid.), for a man to love an innately sinful person.  The Bible teaches that man already loves himself to the point where he is selfish.

The great commandments are, according to Jesus, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment (Here, the Lord quotes De. 6.5).  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (This quote is from Le. 19.18)” (Mt. 22.37-40; Mk. 12.28-34; Lu. 10.25-28).

Even Augustine, the murderer that he was, got some things right.
Even Augustine, the murderer that he was, got some things right.

Thus, Jesus indicates that we already love ourselves, something that is consistent with the view of man as seen in all Scripture, and the view of man presented by reality. Would one really get down on himself if he did not love himself?

13The key for the disciple of Christ is to learn to love God so much that he gives up all that he has and, by comparison, he hates himself and others: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Lu. 14.26-27). In context of Scripture, Jesus was saying that although one is to love others, and although one loves himself, that love, compared to the love one is to have for God, is equal to hate. In other words, a disciple is to put God far above anyone, including himself. Jesus also said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Lu. 14.33).

  • Whereas the Bible teaches that man is sinful by nature, “[a]ll the psychotherapeutic selfisms, from self-love to self-esteem to self-image to self-actualization to self-realization—and ultimately to self-deification—are predicated upon the innate goodness of one’s nature.
  • “Humanistic psychology—to which all psychotherapies are related—is the pseudo-scientific belief system of the Antichrist, who is the personification of human evil. The bases of his religion were introduced to mankind by Satan in his seduction of Eve (turning her away from obedience to God and toward her own self-interests, even godhood—Genesis 3) and culminate in a man, the Antichrist, setting himself up in the temple of God to be worshiped as God (2 Thesallonians 2:4). It’s all about the worship of self….
  • “Only biblical Christianity stands against the exaltation of self that ties all other religions together. The Bible declares self to be evil and hopeless and says that man’s salvation can come only from God as it is received by faith in Jesus alone, who satisfied divine justice by His full payment for the sins of mankind, according to the Scriptures. All other religions look to self to obtain salvation, ultimately through one’s own efforts, whether by rituals, sacraments, meditation, liturgies, good works, and so forth” (T. A. McMahon, “Psychology in Prophecy,” p. 3).

14Even though, from a biblical perspective, psychotherapy is an antichristian, religious counterfeit, the evangelical church is a primary referral service for counseling psychologists and psychiatrists, and many large churches have licensed psychotherapists on staff (T. A. McMahon, “Psychology and the Evangelical Church,” p. 3). And in spite of the fact that psychotherapy, according to numerous scientific studies, rarely works (and then only superficially) and is known to be harmful, “[m]ost evangelicals are convinced that psychotherapy is scientific and is necessary to supply what is lacking in the Bible regarding man’s mental, emotional, and behavioral needs” (Ibid.). By mixing psychology and Christianity in the hope of merging “science” and faith, Christians have ignored biblical principles and common sense (Ibid., pp. 3-4).  Psychology is not a science nor can it be Christianized (Ibid.). Although the situation in the church is serious, Scripture tells us it will far exceed what we can imagine: “The apostle Paul is emphatic in his warning that ‘in the last days’ man’s condition will be ‘perilous’” (Ibid., p. 4, citing I Timothy 3.1-2.).

VI. Theology and psychology merged

NormanVincentPealeNorman Vincent Peale pioneered the merger of theology and psychology. His blasphemous humanistic views were then spread throughout the “Christian” community by Robert Schuller, and even by many conservative evangelical preachers and teachers of note such as Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Josh McDowell, Anthony Hoekema, and Norm Geisler who “bought into, taught, Christianized, and further popularized the concepts of self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, and self-image.”  “… [[S]welling numbers of highly regarded, degreed professionals teach the church what they have gleaned from ‘the counsel of the ungodly.’]” Rick Warren, a pastor with great influence in churches and in America today lists in an article in Ladies Home Journal five humanistic unbiblical truths: accept yourself, love yourself, be true to yourself, forgive yourself, believe in yourself (T. A. McMahon, “Psychology in Prophecy,” p. 4).

“Rick Warren’s 30 million copies of The Purpose-Driven Life include Jungian concepts, such as Psychological ‘types.’ Saddleback Church’s ‘Celebrate Recovery’ program (See TBC Oct ’05), which has been exported to 4,500 churches and Prison Fellowship Ministries, is based on A.A.’s 12-Step principles. A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson received the 12 steps during the time he was in contact with spirit entities. He later wrote a personal letter to Carl Jung thanking him for his influence….  Warren is not the only witting or unwitting promoter among evangelicals of what Jung learned from demons. He is just the most successful and the best known” (T. A. McMahon, “Psychology in Prophecy,” p. 4.).

16“Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, the son of a Protestant pastor who seriously doubted his professed faith, was more popular among professing Christians than was Sigmund Freud (an atheist) because of his perceived affinity for religion and things spiritual. However, Jung was anti-biblical and resentful of organized Christianity from his youth. His early symbolic visions revealed Jesus as a Dark Lord and God defecating on a cathedral. His mother’s side of the family was heavily involved in spiritualism…. Jung’s teachings are doctrines of demons, gleaned directly from seducing spirits…. Jung promoted all things occult, including astrology, alchemy, the I-Ching, mysticism, necromancy, visualization, dream interpretation, the active imagination, yoga, meditation, etc.” (T. A. McMahon, “Psychology and Doctrines of Devils,” p. 4).

The results of the natural progression of humanistic pragmatism are seen today in the Church Growth Movement and the Emerging Church Movement in America.

A. The Purpose-Driven Church Movement birthed by Rick Warren

17Noah Hutchings states that “Perhaps the greatest paradigm shift that has visited the church since the Protestant Reformation … may be occurring at the present time in the Purpose-Driven Church Movement birthed by Rick Warren” (Noah W. Hutchings, The Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church (Bethany, Oklahoma: Bible Belt Publishing, 2005), p. 7). Rick Warren was influenced by the Church Growth Movement of Donald McGavran. Marshall Davis explains that the Church Growth Movement applies scientific principles to the church, principles which “can be successfully applied to any organization—secular or religious, Christian or non-Christian…. Mormons and New Age religions are welcomed into the seminars, and they successfully employ the principles of church growth taught there” (Marshall Davis, More Than a Purpose (Enumclaw, WA: Pleasant Word, 2006), p. 23).

15As a seminary student, Warren studied the one hundred largest American churches in order to discover why they grew so large. He became the champion of the movement. He, like church growth leaders before him, embraces pragmatism, but without restraint of right and wrong—the end justifies the means. In a Christian worldview, God justifies the means. Pragmatism says that any strategy that works is good no matter where it comes from; if it doesn’t work, it is bad. Rick Warren has gone “further and said that if something is working, then it is of God” (Ibid., p. 149.). If a “church” is growing, then it must be of God. For example, the new idea of tolerance attracts people to the “church” whereas the biblical concept of tolerance repels people in this postmodern age. The biblical concept of tolerance says, “Let’s discuss our disagreements amiably in an effort to discover truth. God gives everyone freewill and no one will be forced to accept the truth; every belief, even false beliefs, will be tolerated.” They will be tolerated in society, but a New Testament church cannot accept known unrepentant sinners, heretics and apostates into membership. The postmodern concept of tolerance says, “All lifestyles, beliefs, philosophies, and truth claims are equal; and, since one has no right to say that his are superior to any other, intolerance is the only thing that will not be tolerated.”

“The average American believes that all religions basically teach the same thing. They are not really interested in religious doctrine anyway. They are interested in application, something that will work in their personal lives…. Americans have embraced the idea of religious tolerance and acceptance. They do not want an exclusivist religion that says, ‘My way or the highway.’ They want a form of Christianity that is fun on Sundays and useful on Mondays, and preferably not too time consuming…. The Purpose-Driven Life’s ‘40 days to spiritual maturity’ is just about right” (Ibid., pp. 168-169).

Since the teaching of the anti-biblical concept of tolerance “works,” it must be of God. Nor can a “church” teach theological doctrine with any precision. That would result in offending some who would refrain from coming to “church.” Pragmatism opens the door to all kinds of satanic infiltration including the New Age. Satan is a deceiver. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Co. 11.14).

In using anything and everything that will work, Warren appeals to the average American who will always be more influenced by the information corresponding with what they have received as Americans than they will be by something new to them like true biblical doctrine. This is true even should they really get saved, as can be seen by looking at the membership of the average “Bible believing church.”

“American seekers do not care if there is a little New Age mixed in with their gospel. They are used to it. They hear it on Oprah. They watch Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra on PBS. They may have read Bernie Siegel. The Saddleback Sams and Sallys targeted by Rick Warren are baby-boomers who went through the 1960s and 70s. They feel comfortable with the ideas of Eastern religions. They take yoga classes and send their children to karate classes” (Davis, pp. 168-169).

2“[T]he spiritual foundation of this whole Purpose-Driven Movement [can] be found in the writings and teachings of Robert Schuller’s 50-year ministry” (Warren Smith, Deceived on Purpose, (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2004), p. 171; see also, John S. Torell, “The Destruction of the Southern Baptist Convention,” The Flaming Sword,” Volume 3, 2007, available at http://www.eaec.org.). In turn Schuller’s ministry was greatly influenced by How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale as well as by other teachings of Norman Vincent Peale (Davis, pp. 26-27). Robert Schuller is the real architect of this movement. The following words express the author’s sentiment regarding this movement exactly: “I believe this movement to be one of the worst distortions of the church that American ingenuity, born of an outworn capitalist mentality, could possibly devise” (Hutchings, p. 29). The theology of the megachurches and ultra-churches of the Church Growth Movement purports to be biblical. However, for the most part, at least as pushed by the leaders of the movement, a spattering of biblical quotes from mainly perverted interpretations of the Bible are interspersed in a sea of business, humanistic, and New Age principles, some or all of which are being copied by untold numbers of churches throughout the nation and world. For example, the “Purpose-Driven Life does not use the Bible as an authority. It quotes it [actually, for the most part, interpretations of the Bible] as a supporting witness when it is useful to do so” (Davis, p. 106).

19Pastors and Christian leaders, many of whom are apparently solid Bible-believers, flock to Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral to learn principles of “successful church leadership” as did Rick Warren. Schuller reveals an obvious hypocrisy in what he says to Christians and has undeniable ties to the New Age Movement. He promotes Jerry Jampolsky whose life is founded upon the principles of A Course in Miracles and whom Schuller falsely portrays as a traditional Christian when in fact the god of Jampolsky is not the God of the Word of God. Here are some examples of the New Age teaching in which Jampolsky believes:

20“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross;’ the journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey;’ the recognition of God is the recognition of yourself; when God created you He made you part of Him; there is no sin; it has no consequence. The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation; and for Christ takes many forms with different names until their oneness can be recognized” (Smith, pp. 88-89 citing Foundation for Inner Peace, A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume: pp. 52, 147, 100, 183, 237 (Text), 88 (Manual)).

“Schuller is revealing himself to be the kind of leader who is willing to compromise and sacrifice God’s truth for the purposes of the New Age and the New Spirituality” (Ibid., p. 99). Yet untold thousands of pastors and “Christian leaders” flock to his seminars and subscribe to some or all of his teachings.

Those who think that they can attend Rick Warren’s or Robert Schuller’s seminars or read and study their teachings in any way and not be negatively influenced thereby forget the ample warnings in Scripture such as:

  • “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ep. 5.11).
  • ”Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us…. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thes. 3.6, 14-15).
  • “Separation in Scripture includes separation ‘from’ whatever is contrary to the mind of God: and ‘unto’ God Himself.  The underlying principle is that in a moral universe it is impossible for God to fully bless and use His children who are in compromise or complicity with evil” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to II Co. 6.17, p. 1234. The principles of separation are found throughout the Bible).
  • “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Pe. 3.17).

Rick Warren violated this principle of separation. In 1979, Rick Warren as a last year seminary student drove from Texas to California with his wife to attend a Robert Schuller church growth seminar. Warren’s wife is quoted as saying, “‘We had a very stony ride out to the conference,’ she says, because such nontraditional ministry scared her to death. Schuller, though, won them over. ‘He had a profound influence on Rick,’ Kay says. ‘We were captivated by his positive appeal to nonbelievers. I never looked back’” (Smith, p. 104, citing Tim Stafford, “A Regular Purpose-Driven Guy,” Christianity Today, November 18, 2002, Vol. 46, No. 12 (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/012/1.42.html), p. 4; see also, Davis, p. 27).

Rick Warren was so transformed that he became a leading deceiver in the “Christian” world. He went back to Schuller’s institute for pastors many times. Warren and Schuller parted ways after Schuller invited Stephen Covey, “a devout Mormon who has publicly ridiculed evangelicals and the Christian gospel,” to speak at the Crystal Cathedral. Although Warren and Schuller have parted ways “Schuller’s legacy remains in the teachings and methodology of The Purpose-Driven Life,” (Davis, p. 28) and in all Warren’s teachings.

B. The standard megachurch gospel

1. It’s all about you

18Satan, through his false teachers, says to Christians seeking to solve their mental, emotional, and behavioral problems, “Yea, hath God said?” and then points out that the “science of psychology” will show him how to love himself and overcome those problems. Charles Spurgeon of England, correctly “warned about changing the Gospel to accommodate changing society:

“The idea of a progressive gospel seems to have fascinated many. To us that notion is a sort of cross-breed between nonsense and blasphemy. After the gospel has been found effectual in the eternal salvation of untold multitudes, it seems rather late in the day to alter it; and, since it is the revelation of the all-wise and unchanging God, it appears somewhat audacious to attempt its improvement…” (Hutchings, p. 29, quoting Charles Spurgeon).

21OlsteenThe standard megachurch gospel is not the gospel of the Bible. “It is a reincarnation of the old-time liberalism that infiltrated evangelical ranks a hundred years ago” (Davis, p. 110). The emergence of the Church Growth Movement and megachurches is carrying the techniques and principles of religious liberalism plus more to the extreme. Due to the anemic and compromised state of Christianity and Christian pastors, leaders, and other church members in America now, the chance that American Christendom will suffer the same fate as that of Europe after the onslaught of religious modernism beginning in the nineteenth century is great.

Warren begins his book The Purpose-Driven Life with the statement, “It is not about you,” (Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), p. 17) then proceeds to write a whole book about how “you” can be happy. The preface of the book states that, “By the end of this journey, you will know God’s purposes for your life and will understand the big picture…. Having this perspective will reduce your stress, simplify your decisions, increase your satisfaction, and most important, prepare you for eternity…” (Ibid., p. 9). The book lists “five great benefits of living a purpose-driven life:” [k]nowing your purpose gives meaning to your life,” “simplifies your life,” “focuses your life,” ‘motivates your life,” and “prepares you for eternity” (Ibid., pp. 30-34).

Noah W. Hutchings points out that Rick Warren “belittles pop-psychology then repeatedly promotes it by simply calling it something else. He publicly cuts ties with Robert Schuller, then regurgitates some of the most odious things that Schuller has been teaching for thirty years. He claims commitment to the Scriptures then undermines them at almost every turn. He will tell his followers that he is not tampering with the message but only reengineering the methods, when in fact he has so altered the message as to make it all but unrecognizable” (Hutchings, p. 107 quoting Dr. Gary E. Gilley, “The Gospel According to Warren” available at http://www.svchapel.org).

Warren camouflages the “Yea hath God said” strategy; and only the true biblical believer, student, or scholar can discern the lies of the movement. Warren uses a seeker sensitive approach contrary to biblical principle. Warren also utilizes the idea “of being driven by the purposes of God,” an idea that is foreign to the Scriptures (Davis, p. 41). Such a concept is similar to the Islamic concept—the Muslim is Allah’s servant and the only way he relates to Allah is by submitting himself to Allah’s five-fold purpose for human life: faith, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and worship” (Ibid., p. 43). There is only works without relationship.

2. Jesus and salvation

SADDLEBACK-CHURCHWarren is wrong on his doctrines concerning Jesus and salvation. As to Jesus Christ, the doctrinal statement of Warren’s church, Saddleback, neither mentions the virgin birth and that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, nor is there any mention of the substitutionary atonement. Warren never explains the nature and purpose of Jesus nor does he explain how one is saved through Jesus Christ. Although the “Purpose-Driven Christ is a shadowy figure, undefined and unexplained,” “that does not stop Warren from leading readers to commit their lives to Jesus and then assure them that they are eternally saved” (Ibid., pp. 54-64).

As to salvation, Warren’s teaching is totally unbiblical (See Ibid., pp. 63-72; see also John S. Torell, “The Destruction of the Southern Baptist Convention” The Flaming Sword, Volume 3, 2007, pp. 16-18, available at http://www.eaec.org). For example, there is no confession of sin or repentance—just say a little prayer, “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you,” and “[y]ou’re in the club.” “Just believe a few platitudes, receive an unexplained Jesus, and you are assured of eternal life. What a deal?” (Ibid., pp. 60-66) There is no recognition of who a lost person is—a lost sinner—or who the biblical Jesus is, since one’s concept of who God or Jesus is is of little importance. The Purpose-Driven gospel is nothing more than a postmodern version of the old time liberalism, described by Richard Niebuhr as ‘a God without wrath [bringing] men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross” (Ibid., p. 66 quoting H. Richard Niebuhr quoted in Guiness, Dining With the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts With Modernity (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), p. 78).

3. Metaphysical techniques, infiltration, ecumenicalism

23Along with seeker-sensitive techniques which aimed at meeting people’s needs as they saw it, Warren Smith, a Christian who was saved out of the New Age Movement, points out that Rick Warren immediately began to utilize age-old metaphysical techniques which are taught in the New Age movement (Smith, pp. 104-105). Those techniques have been so successful that they are practiced, taught, and emulated by millions in growing churches and in personal lives, to the glory of Satan. Smith’s book, cited herein, should be read for its extensive insights into the New Age teachings within Rick Warren’s writings.

Smith points out that one of Rick Warren’s unstated purposes as a self-proclaimed “change agent,” seems to be to:

“mainstream Robert Schuller’s teachings into the more traditional ‘Bible-based’ wing of the Church. Many believers who seem to trust Rick Warren, ironically, do not trust Robert Schuller. Rick Warren’s ‘magic’ seems to be able to make the teachings of Robert Schuller palatable to believers who would have otherwise never accepted these same teachings had they come directly from Schuller himself. And … one of Rick Warren’s colleagues[, Bruce Wilkinson, (whose book The Dream Giver and whose teachings on dreams are based upon the teachings of Robert Schuller and are contrary to biblical principles] [is] also in the process of doing much the same thing” (Ibid., p. 113; see pp. 115-120 for more on Bruce Wilkinson’s teachings and book The Dream Giver).

Smith points out that Rick Warren wrote on the dedication page of The Purpose-Driven Life: “This book is dedicated to you. Before you were born, God planned this moment in your life. It is no accident that you are holding this book” (Ibid., pp. 20-21, citing Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), Dedication Page. Warren Smith, on pp. 37-37 states that a King James Bible given him several years before he and his wife realized how deceived they were by A Course in Miracles and New Age Teachings helped save their lives.). This assertion, actually an assertion that it was “meant to be,” has lead many to immersion in the New Age movement.

Only true Bible believing, knowledgeable Christians—thus effectively disqualifying most megachurch pastors, leaders, and members as well as many other pastors and “Christians”—can know what is happening in the Church Growth Movement:

“Imbedded in th[e] ideological framework [of members of the church who are dispensational in their theology and hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture] is also the realization that the church of Jesus Christ is facing a major shift away from the ‘Old Time Religion’ of its fathers and grandfathers. This shift is not a minor adjustment, but rather, a major change that threatens to alter the face of Christianity forever. Tragically, if this shift continues unchecked, the subsequent change will create a new ‘hybrid Christianity’ that will bear little resemblance to the ‘faith of our fathers’ or the church as described in the New Testament. This new hybrid is instead birthing a ‘false Christianity’ that will lead its adherents to a pseudo-faith that will result in their missing the Rapture, believing ‘a lie’ and falling into the arms of Antichrist as gently as the falling petals of an autumn rose” (Hutchings, pp. 19-20, quoting Rebuilding the Tower of Babel, chapter one, “Angel of Light”).

The churches of the Church Growth Movement must be filled with lost people, some members who linger on whether deceived or not, and/or deceived saved people who migrated in or were saved somehow by hearing and responding to the true gospel of salvation from other sources.

These churches propose to bring all denominations together and bring about church growth, not by sound biblical techniques but by using New Age and other satanic and/or business techniques such as: changing perception by viewing people as “churched or unchurched rather than “saved” or “lost;” “‘finding out what impresses the unchurched in your community’ and doing it;” attracting the multitudes by bringing in popular heroes (like, e.g., almost nude wrestlers); using “successful principles and good cash flow;” modeling pastors after businessmen and planning strategically; winning people by building relationships rather than by preaching expository sermons; moving “from a theocentric approach to ministry to a ‘human needs approach;’” deciding not to “convert any other religious people to my viewpoint;” refusing to point out that one “recognize his own personal sin, … need for repentance, … need for crucifixion of self;” teaching that ‘[t]he Christ Spirit dwells in every human being,” that “nothing exists but God,” that “Christ  was self-esteem incarnate;” recognizing that “[t]he most destructive thing that can be done to a person is to call him a sinner,” that sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human  being of his or her self-esteem” (Ibid., pp. 21-22 referencing Mac Dominick from his book Outcome Based Religion).

4. Unbiblical dress, music, “Bibles,” doctrine

26These churches generally, among other errors, change to unbiblical dress, music, “Bibles,” and false interpretations of Scripture, and eliminate and belittle doctrine in their teaching. “Rick Warren has transformed the worship of God into an informal get together,” (Davis, p. 128. See Sundquist, pp. 98-102 for an analysis of Rick Warren’s teaching on worship) as is exemplified by the clothing and other aspects of worship. Members of a Purpose Driven Church are expected to dress like Rick Warren dresses. Anyone who wears a tie or coat may be “considered mainstream and against the pastor” (Hutchings, p. 137).

The Word of God teaches that all a believer does should be holy and for the glory of God. “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin” (Mt. 6.28).  “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” (1 Ti. 2.9). One can discern that biblically one should dress neatly and cleanly in a way that glorifies God and that no member should be coerced into dressing like everyone else as long as he dresses according to the directives of the Word of God. Many public schools once recognized the principle that in order to maintain stability, and promote respect for teachers and staff, standards of dress (but not uniformity) and respectful titles were required. Informality in a school or church setting corresponds with contempt, disrespect, rebelliousness, and selfishness.

No comprehensive treatment of music is attempted here, but just a few comments are appropriate. Rick Warren copies the type of music that draws the biggest crowds in the secular world and “proudly reports that Saddleback is known as ‘the flock that likes to rock’” (Davis, p. 120).

24“According to a professor of preaching at Emory University, the typical megachurch praise song is ‘simplistic, repetitive, and finally, boring…In the short run, it gets you on your feet clapping your hands, but in the long run it cultivates a monotonic, downsized faith, a faith too naïve and simple to handle complexity, too repetitive to deal with real change.’ Yet in the short run the strategy works. Warren reports that within a year of adopting this popular style of music that his church ‘exploded with growth’” (Ibid., pp. 120-121 quoting a professor of preaching at Emory University quoted in Alan Wolfe, The Transformation of American Religion (New York: Free Press, 2003), p. 29).

25Warren believes the only difference between Christian and non-Christian music is the lyrics. The truth is that “[t]he language is still there, but the substance has been thrown away. Without any real truth, reality is turned into theater, and life into a show” (Ibid., p. 121 quoting Udo W. Middelmann, The Market-Driven Church (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), p. 145).

Rock music, regardless of the words, dishonors God, appeals to the flesh, and adversely affects man.  According to music evangelist David Armistead, whereas traditional hymns have simple rhythms which place greater emphasis on the words and appeal to spiritual principles and the spiritual nature, Christian rock emphasizes complex rhythms which are usually loud and excite the flesh, and, generally speaking, simple, repetitive words with shallow meaning (Message delivered in January, 2008, at Capitol City Baptist Church in Austin, Texas). Rock music, whether “Christian” or secular, is “a war upon certainty and stability;” is “sex” with which “you have to hit them in the face” (according to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones); “is supposed to be outrageous;” “can be addictive (physically addictive because it rediscovered the power of pagan music in its volume, repetitiveness, and highly syncopated rhythm patterns);” has “very little melody, only rhythm” (which seemingly reverts the listeners to savagery thrusting constant listeners into turmoil); has a beat which “is contrary to our natural body beats and rhythms” and “can actually weaken you” since it “interferes with brain wave patterns, causing mental stress;” and can “alter the brain permanently” (Hutchings, pp. 97-101 referring to Dr. Jack Wheaton (Emmy Award winner and professor of music at three major universities, including the University of Southern California, and lecturer at over fifty colleges), The Paganization of Worship).

Rick Warren sang, as he said he has always wanted to do, “Purple Haze”—written and made popular by Jimmy Hendrix, a heroin and sex addict who died of a drug overdose in 1970—before thirty thousand in the Anaheim Angels baseball stadium. He said, “We are loud. We are really, really loud…. We’re not going to turn it down…. Baby boomers want to feel the music, not just hear it” (Torell, pp. 11-12; Hutchings, pp. 101-103). But music need not go as far as did “Purple Haze” in order to be classified as “rock music” with all or many of the attributes listed above. Much “Christian” rock has all the attributes of “Purple Haze” except for the lyrics. Noah W. Hutchings appropriately comments:

27“I doubt that the Purpose Driven Church movement would have ever gotten off the ground without the heavy-metal rock, drug-inspired, hippie music of the 60’s that has been revived by a new champion in so-called church praise groups. This music came out of one of the darkest periods of national morality, the 1960s hippie generation, so need we say more” (Hutchings, p. 104).

As far as church services, the Bible is not to be seen and never read from as authority, but “is used more like a sourcebook of illustrations that has some helpful tips to guide us through the journey of life.” Warren gives people relief, not truth, since that is what they are seeking. “Scripture verses are used as supporting evidence for the points instead of the foundational authority for the sermon” (Davis, p. 138). The praise band and worship team are center stage. In The Purpose-Driven Life, Mr. Warren references fifteen versions of the Bible. In his 1995 book, The Purpose-Driven Church, Warren states:

Read Scripture from a newer translation. With all the wonderful translations and paraphrases available today, there is no legitimate reason for complicating the Good News with four-hundred-year-old English. Using the King James Version creates an unnecessary cultural barrier…. Clarity is more important than poetry” (Smith, p. 39 quoting Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), p. 297).

That the King James Version complicates the “Good News” is a brazenly false assertion. If the King James Version can provide the clarity for a New Age man and wife to discern the deceptions of the New Age teachings, it can provide the clarity for anyone who reads and understands the English language to discover God’s truth (Smith). Warren Smith wrote:

“It was the clarity and precision of our King James Bible that had exposed the deception behind our New Age teachings. And it is the clarity and precision of our King James Bible that continues to expose these same New Age teachings that are creeping into the Church today. I just thank God no one put something like The Message in my hands when I was in the New Age. And I thank God for kindly Christian widows [like the one who gave me the King James Bible that was responsible for exposing the New Age to me]” (Ibid., p. 40).

28The Message, a false interpretation of Scripture, is one of Warren’s favorites and is referenced more than any other. The Message obscures and alters verses from Scripture, omits important details, and adds misleading words and phrases, all this in such a way as to allow a New Ager to read The Message without being challenged as to his satanic beliefs (Ibid., pp. 24-27).

Rick Warren constantly quotes from this corrupt paraphrase as though it were God’s Holy Word (Torell, p. 12. See James Sundquist, Who’s Driving the Purpose Driven Church? (Rock Star Publishing, 2004) for a thorough examination of Warren’s perversions of Scripture). Rick Warren used many words and phrases with deep New Age meanings from The Message. By so doing, ministers in “the Purpose Driven Movement can make the Bible say things that are not true but fit doctrine [such as New Age] that these men are devising” (Smith, p. 35).  For example, Warren quotes The Message version of Colossians 1.16 right under the title to the first chapter, “It All Starts with God:” “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, … everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him” (See Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, p. 17). The Message uses this phrase, “as above, so below,” an occultic New Age term, in the Lord’s Prayer. What does this signify?

  • “Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, believed to be a contemporary of the Hebrew prophet Abraham, proclaimed this fundamental truth about the universe: ‘As above, so below; as below, so above.’ This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked….
  • “‘As above, so below’ means that the two worlds are instantaneously seen to be one when we realize our essential unity with God…. The one and the many, time and eternity, are all One’ (Ellipsis dots in original)” (Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of New Age Journal, As Above, So Below: Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1992), p. xi who quotes, in the second quoted paragraph, Sufi scholar Reshad Field, quoted in Smith, p. 32).

The term “as above, so below,” according to the New Age Journal Editor who stated that “old forms of religion no longer serve people, and that the term ‘as above, so below’ describes the ‘emerging spirituality’ that is quickly moving onto the world’s scene. [The meaning of the term can be verified by a Google search.]” (Smith, pp. 32-35). Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, and Eugene Peterson are not only exposing one of the central concepts of the “New Spirituality” and probable New World Religion—the idea that the “transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within [us all] are one”—“they seem to be agreeing with it!” (Ibid., p. 158).

Warren also suggests other New Age and anti-biblical concepts in his teachings which are described by Warren Smith such as the concept that “at least metaphorically, everyone’s life is ‘driven’ by some force,” the “Rick Warren’s implication and Robert Schuller’s contention that God is ‘in every person’” (See Ibid., pp. 81-82, 86; See also, James Sundquist, “Christian Meditation—Concerning Prayer: Is It Christian?” at www.abrahamic-faith.com/James/Part%20XI%20Christian%20Meditation-Centering%20Prayer.html).

In The Purpose-Driven Life Warren takes verses and portions of verses out of context to support his conclusions (See James Sundquist, Who’s Driving the Purpose Driven Church? (Rock Star Publishing, 2004) for a thorough study). For example, Warren Smith points out that Warren quotes a portion out of Isaiah 49.4 to incorrectly conclude that Isaiah had no hope. He does the same thing in incorrectly asserting that Job had lost hope. At the same time, he prefaced his whole discussion about the importance of having “‘hope’ and a deep sense of life purpose’” by referring to [Bernie Siegel] a man whose own hope and purpose are so totally invested in the false teachings of the New Age (Smith, pp. 47-52).

In The Purpose-Driven Life Warren includes many quotes from not only Christians such as C. S. Lewis, Martin Luther, and A. W. Tozer but also from many people who publicly oppose the gospel such as Bertrand Russell, an atheist “known for his refutation of Christianity;” Anais Nin, a French feminist “who was notorious for her sexual promiscuity, including bigamy;” Thomas Carlyle, “the nineteenth century essayist who rejected Christianity and embraced Transcendentalism;” George Bernard Shaw who was a playwright and “a leader in the precursor to the theosophy movement, which sees God as an impersonal pantheistic force in nature; and Aldous Huxley who wrote one of the classic books “of the drug culture of the 1960s” (Davis, pp. 165-167; Sundquist, pp. 87-97, for an analysis of false teachers quoted by Warren).

All the interpretations of the Bible promoted by the Purpose Driven Church, unlike the King James Version of the Bible, view doctrine as less and less important, and Purpose Driven Churches view doctrine as divisive, bad, or evil. They specialize in uniting people in “love” since doctrine divides. Warren constantly discards the role of doctrine. He designs his preaching to appeal to the happiness of man—that is, what appeals to the earthly desires of his listeners—not God’s Word. He gives people what they want—relief, not truth.  “Recent polls reveal that 75 percent of people do not go to church to discover truth but to improve their lives” (Ibid., p. 53). As one person said, “[Rick Warren takes] all the new so-called versions of the Bible and quote[s] from the one or ones when put together makes the scriptures say what he wants them to say” (See Hutchings., pp. 56-74 for a brief analysis of The Message plus other informative information concerning Bible translations and other matters such as the Purpose Driven Church view of “doctrine.” The quote is on p. 74.).

Apparently Rick Warren, as do Robert Schuller and Bruce Wilkinson, adheres to replacement theology, and the preterist, amillennial position. He, as did the religion of many of America’s colonists as will be documented and explained in Section IV of God Betrayed, “The history of the First Amendment” (Click here to go to online version) although their methods were different from Warren’s, believes that the church will eliminate war, hunger, disease, crime, and ignorance in preparation for the return of the Lord. He stated, “Our goal will be to enlist one billion foot soldiers for the Kingdom of God, who will permanently change the face of international missions to take on these five ‘global giants for which the church can become the ultimate distribution and change agent to overcome Spiritual Emptiness, Self-serving Leadership, Poverty, Disease, and Ignorance” (Ibid., pp. 85-86 quoting Rick Warren from his April 17, 2005 Anaheim Declaration).

To achieve this goal, on April 17, 2005, the same day he sang “Purple Haze” to 30,000 in Angel Stadium, Warren launched a 5-step PEACE Plan which has a format similar to the 5-Step P.E.A.C.E. plan of Neale Donald Walsch, a New Age leader, that is totally antagonistic to the Bible’s true Gospel of Jesus Christ (Smith, p. 137; see pp. 131-142 for a analysis of this plan; see p. 162 for more similarities between the Rick Warren’s plan and the 5-step plan proposed by Neale Donald Walsch. See also, Davis, pp. 158-159. See also, James Sundquist, Rick Warren’s Global Peace Plan vs. Scriptural Teachings on Peace (Rock Salt Publishing, 2006)). Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, and Bruce Wilkinson “seem [] to minimize that Satan is described in the Bible as the extremely deceptive ‘god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4), and that he comes as an ‘angel of light’ and his ministers as ‘ministers of righteousness’ (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)” (Smith, p. 142).

Warren needs to read and believe the properly translated Bible – the King James translation. Jesus, in Matthew 24, in answer to the disciples’ question to Him—“Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?” (Mt. 24.3)—gave them much prophetic detail concerning the great spiritual deception that would engulf the world and the signs that would prevail before His coming. He stated that there would be “wars and rumors of wars,” “that nation would rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,” that there would be “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places,” that His followers would be persecuted and martyred, that “many false prophets” who will “deceive many” would arise, and that love would wax cold because of the prevalence of iniquity (Mt. 24, 25; Mk. 13.5-13; Lu. 21.8-19). “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thes. 5.2-3). Rick Warren and many other “Christian” leaders just do not understand these biblical principles. A false Christ is deceiving Warren and his followers who are being used to mislead the world for satanic purposes (See Smith, pp. 147-148).

22The Purpose-Driven Life is full of ridiculous misinterpretations of Scripture in addition to those already mentioned. One example is the assertion in the introduction to The Purpose-Driven Life that “The Bible is clear that God considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period. Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purpose he took 40 days” (Warren, pp. 10-11). This is totally inaccurate, and the examples that he cites do not support his assertion. Therefore, “Warren’s whole premise of purpose is fatally flawed” (Sundquist, Who’s Driving the Purpose Driven Church?, p. 18. See pp. 18-22 for a thorough biblical examination of Warren’s assertion). Noah was not transformed by being on the ark for forty days, Moses was not transformed by being on Mount Sinai forty days, and the twelve spies were not transformed by the forty days spent in the Promised Land. Actually, one is transformed at the moment of salvation and his purpose becomes, at that moment, the glory of God. A believer grows in the Lord by Bible study and as a member of a local body of believers.

To achieve their version of success, pastors of Purpose Driven Churches become clones of Rick Warren who “has gutted the Christian faith of all its content, thus maximizing his capacity to appeal to ALL religious backgrounds, as well as the ‘unchurched’ who possess sizable incomes, but sadly, with no place to direct it…. Anyone who wants to gut the Christian faith of her vocabulary for the sake of Church growth, is not a shepherd but a cheap hireling…” (Hutchings, pp. 57-58, citing Theodore Letis of Concordia University. Of course, some pastors adopt only some of Warren’s techniques. For example, some try to preach the Bible while adopting Warren’s philosophy of dress, and/or music, etc. They are mixing light with darkness.).

35The process of preparing an existing conservative church for the goals of the Purpose Driven Church movement is in several steps and takes three to five years. Churches which decide to go the way of the Purpose Driven Church will see changes. Many of the leaders of the movement, like Rick Warren, are replacement theologians, and—like the covenant theologians of the colonial era (See Section IV of God Betrayed)—viciously and without restraint lie about, libel, and slander those who disagree with their theology (See, e.g., Hutchings, pp. 9-22, and Sundquist, Rick Warren’s Global Peace Plan… pp. 8-13 (examples given of the viciousness of PD Churches such as First Baptist Church of Dallas)). Leaders of these churches are vicious to those who cross them. In line with the New Age secular philosophy and techniques these churches adopt, they discard those who disagree with them, especially those who were pillars of the church. The “old pillars” usually leave when the membership of the church, in step four, is told what is happening. If there is opposition, “those who are against the change in music, worship, and leadership are marginalized and asked to leave” (Hutchings, pp. 135-136, 141-143).

32Furthermore, in such a church “a very deliberate change of attitude and presentation of God occurs.” Services, for both adults and children, become more entertainment based—for example, from Bible based emphasis, such churches emphasize things such as “Black Light Friday Night;” a disco ball for their Friday night dances; “‘Christian’ concerts where there are mosh-pits, ear-shattering music, and a total lack of dress codes;” and bringing in “skateboarders, pro wrestlers (some brandishing tattoos and/or piercings), who claim to be Christians but whose extreme lifestyles are fuel for rebellion;” and the incorporation of pagan practices such as “contemplative prayer” which is nothing more than camouflaged Eastern meditation (Ibid., pp. 127-128). In the Purpose Driven Church, fun with lots of parties, music, and games for the youth has replaced holiness and the glory of God as the church’s goal. “John McArthur observes, ‘Many Christians have the misconception that to win the world to Christ we must first win the world’s favor. If we can get the world to like us, they will embrace our Savior. That is the philosophy behind the user-friendly church movement’” (Ibid., p. 138 quoting John McArthur from Dr. Gary E. Gilley, The Little Church Went to Market, p. 28).

33The shift to more of an entertainment base is accompanied by the loss of authentic worship. The Christian who loves the Lord needs to worship God, not be entertained. After a few days in the world, a child of God who is part of the wife of Christ needs the refreshment that accompanies the assembly of the saints of God. He wants something different from what the secular world has thrust in his face. Marshall Davis describes the effects on himself of services in a Purpose Driven Church:

  • “I want to worship God: I do not want to applaud men. The congregational applause that now punctuates evangelical worship feels like a secular intrusion into sacred space. I feel like overturning some tables—or at least some padded chairs. [Applause is appropriate at a concert or a theatre to show appreciation for the performers.] It feels sacrilegious to applaud worship leaders for worshipping God.
  • “[After attending services in some churches when out of town] I always leave the worship service feeling like I need to take a shower.… I feel like I have been to a high school pep rally, and I need to find a place to worship as an adult. I get this feeling in a lot of evangelical churches” (Davis, pp. 114-115).

Rick Warren considers this change in the concept of worship a good thing. He spells out his new type of worship in his books. To Warren, worship can include anything. This is the flaw of pantheism coming through to this concept of worship. Everything is sacred. But to be sacred, something must be set apart. “If the sacred is no longer distinguished from the world, it has lost its sacredness” (Ibid., p. 116). When everything can be worship nothing is definitely worship. Worship in the Purpose Driven Church imitates the world and is not set apart. How can it please God?

5. Big business and the emerging church

34One more aspect of the Purpose Driven Church needs to be at least mentioned: it is a merchandizing phenomenon. The Purpose Driven Church has become big business:

“Rich Karlgaard, the publisher of Forbes magazine, calls The Purpose-Driven Church, ‘the best book on entrepreneurship, business, investment that I’ve read in some time’” (Ibid., p. 79, citing Rich Karlgaard, “Purpose Driven,” Forges.com: www.forbes.com/business/). Megachurch pastors often act as chief executives and use business tactics. “Both the philosophy and vocabulary of the marketplace have been imported into the church…. Christianity has become big business in America, and the megachurches are leading the way…. Half of all churchgoing Americans are attending only 12 percent of the nation’s four hundred thousand churches…. The average American church, which has a congregation of less than 100 in worship, is going out of business at the rate of fifty a week, while the Christian supercenters are thriving…. The American Christian has gone from being a disciple to being a customer, from being a follower of the Lord Jesus to being a consumer of a spiritual commodity…. As Gebhards observes, ‘Today, however, the church is a place of self-indulgence and self-satisfaction. Self-interest has become pandemic, even in worship, making it difficult for some churchgoers to imagine that Christianity is not intended to revolve around them…. The philosophy of the megachurch is to compete with the world on its own terms and using the same strategies that businesses have found to work successfully” (Ibid., pp. 79-87 quoting Karlgaard; Luisa Kroll, “Christian Capitalism: Megachurches, Megabusinesses” Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/2003/09/17/cz_lk_0917megachurch.html (September 17, 2003); James B. Twitchell, Branded Nation (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 81, 82-83; George Mair, A Life With a Purpose, (New York: Berkley Books, 2005), 125; Kurt Gabhards, “Choking on Choices” Combating Consumerism With a Biblical Mindset,” in Fools Gold: Discerning Truth in An Age of Error (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005) John McArthur, General Editor, 164).

The megachurches in general are “light on doctrine, ignorant of religious history, and tolerant of theological error, as long as the person has ‘accepted Jesus Christ.’” Thus, “[t]he next crop of leaders will not have the foundation of a solid theological and religious upbringing” (Ibid., pp. 159-160). Consequently, they will be in position to slide further down the slope to apostasy. In fact, that slide is already occurring.

emerging-org1There is an emerging trend beyond the Church Growth Movement that embraces all the marks of apostasy (T. A. McMahon, “Weaning Evangelicals off the Word,” The Berean Call, Vol. XXII, No. 9, September 2007, pp. 3-4). This is a movement called the Emerging Church Movement. In this movement “sound doctrine” (1 Ti. 4.3-4) gives way to what “seemeth right unto a man;” apostate teachers advance an experiential mode that appeals to fleshly lusts and promotes self-serving fables and myths; “these ‘deceitful workers’ and lying ‘ministers of righteousness (2 Co. 11.13-15)’ draw upon teachings of ‘seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;’ (1 Ti. 4.1) ‘grievous wolves’ have entered among the flock teaching ‘perverse things, to draw away disciples among them’” (1 Ti. 4.1).

  • “For many of those helping to promote the movement, their motivation to ‘try something different’ grew out of the frustration of their own very limited success in evangelizing and discipling young people. Some of the leaders were in seeker-sensitive and purpose –driven churches, and they saw firsthand that their church-growth marketing schemes were not effective for drawing those in their late teens, 20s, and early 30s. The main fare of most consumer-driven churches features contemporary music with shallow, repetitive choruses, topical 30-minutes-or-less sermons (mostly psychology-based), a host of social programs to attract the lost (and the fleshly nature of Christians), and ‘Bible studies’ that address everything but the Bible….
  • “[The roots of motivating youth through the use of a youth room with subdued, ‘catacombish,’ candlelit environment with the worship band using acoustic guitars was a youth-oriented MTV concert. This new ‘vintage form of Christianity,’ featuring rituals, ceremony, candles, incense, prayer stations, and images to create a spiritually experiential atmosphere for evangelicals, which is an imitation of unbiblical Eastern Orthodox and medieval Roman Catholic liturgies, is directly at odds with the method of Peter in Acts chapter 2.] In the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter’s preaching brought conviction of sin, repentance, and belief; 3,000 came to Christ that day….
  • “[ECM leaders] go far beyond subtly ‘weaning evangelicals off the Word’ to rendering the Bible and its doctrines as the enemy when it comes to drawing the world in general and, specifically, our postmodern culture, to the love of Jesus….
  • “[The ECM] approach attempts to accommodate Jesus and the Scriptures (actually ‘another Jesus’ and a corrupted and emasculated Word) to our postmodern culture.
  • “Rick Bell writes in Velvet Elvis, following 22 pages of weakening the authority of the Bible (making statements such as ‘It is possible to make the Bible say whatever we want it to, isn’t it?’ and ‘With God being so massive and awe-inspiring and full of truth, why is his book capable of so much confusion?: ‘[L]et’s make a group decision to drop once and for all the Bible-as-owner’s manual metaphor [i.e., God’s specific instructions for mankind]. It’s terrible. It really is…. We have to embrace the Bible as the wild, uncensored, passionate account it is of experiencing the living God.’ …
  • “His view, common to most emergent writers, is that the key to the authority of Scripture is one’s interpretation, and that is most authoritative when the interpretation takes place in a community and validated by a ‘group decision’: ‘Community, community, community. Together with others, wrestling and searching and engaging the Bible as a group of people hungry to know God in order to follow God.’
  • “We are now told [contrary to clear biblical teaching] that understanding and obedience to what God said are subject to a community’s interpretation. Consequently, ECM churches disdain preaching and authoritative teaching, yet they delight in discussion, causing some to dump the pulpit in favor of a dialogue-led Starbucks environment. As the goals of the community change, we’re told the interpretation may also change….
  • “Kristen Bell acknowledges …, ‘I grew up thinking that we figured out the Bible … that  we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means, and yet I feel like life is big again—like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color.’ Brian McLaren, the most prominent of the emergent leaders, echoes Bell’s ‘doctrine’ of avoidance regarding what the Bible says about homosexuality: ‘Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making [doctrinal] pronouncements. In the meantime, we’ll practice playful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they’ll be admittedly provisional. We’ll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years, for ongoing reflection.’
  • “[ECM leaders use the same approach Satan used to seduce Eve. For example, Brian McLaren says,] ‘The church latched on to that old doctrine of original sin like a dog to a stick, and before you knew it, the whole gospel got twisted around it. Instead of being God’s big message of saving love for the whole world, the gospel became a little bit of secret information on how to solve the pesky legal problem of original sin.’
  • “He says elsewhere, ‘I don’t think we’ve got the gospel right yet. What does it mean to be saved? … None of us have arrived at orthodoxy” (Ibid., pp. 3-4 citing Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 044-45, 062-63; Andy Crouch, “The Emergent Mystique,” Christianity Today, November 2004, Vol. 48, No. 11, 36ff; http://www.christianitytoday.com/leaders/newsletter/2006/cln60123.html; Brian McLaren, The Last Word and the Word After That (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1005), 134; Steve Chalke and Alan Mann, The Lost Message of Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003, 182-83).

VII. Conclusion

36Churches in America early on, by incorporating, introduced a little leaven into their marriage relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Not long after that, religious modernism hit America, overtook many churches, and added more corruption to even many Bible believing churches who replaced their God-given goal, the glory of God, with the humanistic goal, the happiness of man. Instead of exalting Christ and abasing man, they abased Christ and exalted man. Seeing what happened in Christendom generally, in America, and in “fundamental Bible believing” circles, it is not surprising to see that the great majority of churches have, along with their other unbiblical practices and teachings, taken themselves from under the headship of Christ in at least some, if not most or all matters. The slide downward toward apostasy has now accelerated with implementation of “pragmatic” but unbiblical practices introduced by a resurgence of religious liberalism. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Re. 22.20).

Endnotes

En1 Hank Hanegraaff is a Christian and an expert on cults and religions. He airs a radio talk show, “The Bible Answer Man,” and offers many books and other resources which are made available on the website, equip.org. I disagree with much of Mr. Hanegraaff’s theology—for example, his theology concerning prophecy—but there is much to glean from his teaching concerning certain false teachers.

En2 See Hank Hanegraaff, pp. 41-42. The author of this book, like Hank Hanegraaff, has met many of these people, many of whom are very committed to the cause of Christ and who were completely oblivious to the rank heresy they were being fed. Jesus taught us not to judge self-righteously or hypocritically. We cannot discern the intent of the heart, but can only look at the outside. However, those who knowingly accept Faith Theology are clearly embracing a different gospel, which is in reality no gospel at all.