Iocane Powder – Holy Ghost Movie

In the movie Princess Bride, the Dread Pirate Roberts is in a battle of wits with Vizzini. Pouring two goblets of wine, he laces the cups with poison. Speaking to Vizzini he says: “Iocane powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadly poisons known to man.”

Of course, Vizzini loses the game and dies from drinking the poison. The heroine, Buttercup speaks to the Dread Pirate Roberts and says, “And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.”

To which the Dread Pirate Roberts responds, “They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to Iocane powder.”

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With that introduction, I want to share the caveat that I have not watched the movie, but neither did I go to see much-hyped “Son of God” by Roma Downey or “Noah” with Russell Crowe. That may turn some of the readers off, but before you go, I want to also say that I have never spiked my cup of tea with strychnine or cyanide or even “Iocane powder” to see if it really is poison like experts tell us it is.

Neither have I sought to “build up an immunity” to the Iocane powders that are invading the evangelical church of America. There are some things that we just understand are not good for us.

What I have done is spent time reading and studying the Word of God. This accomplishes several things. First, when heresy comes along, I do not have to worry about getting sick from the Iocane powder. I recognize it for what it is and instead of trying to see if my immune system is strong enough to handle another dose of poison, I avoid it altogether.

The church is being inundated with slick, social media driven, so-called Christian movies. They are taking the church by storm, and to some, this is a good thing. But to others, like myself, we are watching a largely biblically illiterate church membership being fed more Iocane powder. The results are predictable. The more Iocane powder that is being drunk is turning churches into havens for worldliness, rank ungodliness, and a demeaning of the true holiness of the Triune God.

For the sake of time and space, I intend to point out a few huge doctrinal problems with the movie with the prayer that you and anybody you know will stay away from this movie. Review these words with a discerning spirit and see if what you are hearing about the movie is merely hype or whether it has been dead-reckoned with the Word of God. Please, please, PLEASE, let the true Holy Spirit be your Guide as you peruse the wonderful words of life that God has left to us. This is His love letter and His only Guide as we walk the dark shadows of this life.

Sadly, I know that some are going to go and watch the movie and come out thinking and saying things like, “Isn’t the Holy Ghost great?” Or, “I want more of the Holy Ghost in my life.” Or, “I am so glad that there are great Christian movies that are being made and I hope that others will go see this and come to Christ.” – THAT would be a TRAGEDY!

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So, let’s begin with the dissection.

The trailer opens with Bill Johnson, who styles himself as the pastor of Bethel Church, Redding, California. We could stop right here and end the post because this was enough to send the red flag of HERESY flying from the ramparts. We have addressed the problems and the false teaching of Bethel Church Redding at Defending Contending on many occasions.

The cast is a veritable who’s who of people within the Signs and Wonders movement that has been sweeping throughout the world. The list even includes several pastors from the false ranks of the Vineyard and Willow Creek religious organizations. Our website at Defending Contending has spent several years warning our readers of the heresies and errors that this movement has perpetrated on its followers.

One person that caught my eye was William P. Young, author of “The Shack Outhouse.” This book that does not belong in any true Christian bookstore is nothing more than blasphemy but which has made its author a large amount of money. Here is an excerpt from “Writer’s Digest” magazine dated 2009. “In Young’s story, Jesus is a dark-skinned Middle Eastern Jewish man who thwarts Mack’s expectation of a hunky blonde Jesus. God isn’t a white-haired wizard figure, but rather a matronly black woman who calls herself “Papa” in an attempt to challenge Mack’s preconceived notions. The Holy Spirit is a transparent creature named Sarayu who can’t be seen directly.”

Has the Iocane powder made you throw up yet in your morning breakfast?

If you have any more questions about “The Shack”, we recommend you go this blogpost. Read and weep at what is being found in so-called Christian bookstores.

On the promotional website for the movie, the question is asked, “Why is it called Holy Ghost?” Here is part of the director’s answer, “Early on in the film Darren claims that his desire is to ‘make God famous.’”

Seriously?!

The next question asks, “What do you mean when you say ‘led by the Holy Spirit’?” This is very telling. Here Darren claims that God still speaks to people through many different ways. He employs prayer walking and forms of contemplative mysticism to attain a “dialogue back and forth with God.” In his own words,

“Sometimes he heard a still, small voice in his head; sometimes he and those around him had dreams directing them where to go; sometimes he would get a familiar feeling in his stomach that, in the past, always told him that God was on something.”

These are the words of somebody who does not discern truth through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. In John 16:8, Jesus tells His disciples that they will be guided into all truth and that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of coming judgment. The Holy Spirit is not a Jedi force. He is the 3rd Person of the Trinity. He is equally God just as God the Father is and as is God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ).

Feeling the effects of the Iocane powder yet?

iocaine powder

The trailer continues with people seeking to “impart” the Spirit of God to anonymous individuals that they stop on the street. This can be seen as the main characters walk up to somebody, rub their hands together to generate heat, and supposedly transfer the Holy Spirit to those who have experienced no new birth. This is heresy. Only God has the ability to make a person a new creation in Christ and when they become one of His children, then they are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption.

Michael W. Smith states that he wants to come to the point where he never ever is offended by anyone again. This goes completely contrary to what we saw in the life of the early New Testament Church and the writings of the apostles. The gospel will always cause offense, and we, who are true believers, will be offended when the Triune Godhead, His Word, and His Church is slandered.

One final point – Korn! Where in the world do we begin? This band has stated repeatedly that there inspiration is a long list of heavy metal bands whose life and lyrics are totally opposed to everything that is pure and holy. A quick perusal of their lyrics and music genre will show the discerning reader that Korn is NOT led by the Holy Spirit of God. They are perverse, vulgar, and are leading people astray from the Bible just as Bill Johnson, William Young, Michael W. Smith, and others are.

Now you have a choice. You can THINK you are building up a resistance to Iocane powder or you can flee back to the Word of God. You can swallow the lies that continue to penetrate the church through the filters of hell, or you can strive for a life of holiness that is based on the ONLY way that God speaks to us today – through His perfect, inerrant, and infallible Word, the Bible.

I have used this illustration before and conclude because I think it is so appropriate. Suppose I had a barrel of apples sitting on my porch and inside just one of those apples, I had placed one drop of cyanide. I invite you to take one, but tell you first that you need to know that somewhere in the barrel is one apple with just one drop of poison. However, don’t worry, the chances of you picking that one apple is very slim, so enjoy whatever apple you want to eat.

Nobody in their right mind would dive into that apple barrel to even touch the apples, much less have a desire to eat one. As a sane, rational human, you know that the entire barrel has now been tainted. It would be dangerous to attempt even one small bite.

Friends, listen to me. The barrel of apples has been tainted with more than just one drop of poison. It is riddled with the Iocane poison of the world. What is being offered will kill you just as surely with one drop as with an entire cup of poison. Flee from heresy. Run back to the Lord Jesus Christ and plead with Him for mercy and forgiveness. There is true healing at the cross, not in the heresy that is being put on offer by the makers of this most recent cinematic drivel.

This is the bottom line – the “Holy Ghost” is poison. It is Iocane powder and it is NOT of God. It will NOT present the true gospel, because the characters do have a true gospel to present. They are heresy spreaders. False teachers. Wolves in sheep’s clothing leading Christians astray.

Strange Fire

Strange Fire by John MacArthur  strange-fire-the-danger-of-offending-the-holy-spirit-with-counterfeit-worship

a review

One area many – dare I say most – current day evangelicals have gone astray from orthodox Christianity is the topic of MacArthur’s latest book. From Southern Baptists to contemporary “Christian” radio, slogans and anecdotes fill space and airways with the message that it’s normal to hear from God. This is not the biblical message of “hearing” from God as you read and study His Word – it’s the dangerous practice of believing inferences and confirmations from myriad sources are God’s way of “speaking to your heart”. It is this claim of extra-biblical revelation that MacArthur addresses in Strange Fire. If your blood isn’t stirred up by the thought of reading and entire book detailing the train wreck of uninhibited charismania, it’s important, maybe more so – that this book also provides the child of God very good counsel on the identity, mission, and work of the Holy Spirit.

MacArthur’s book is comprised of 12 chapters on topics covering new apostles and prophets, gifts of healing and tongues, the work of the Spirit in salvation, sanctification, and the Scripture; the last chapter is an open letter to his continuationist friends. And he provides a handy appendix with several pages of quotes from the past on the topic of the continuation of spiritual gifts, in support of his claim that the current craze is not part of historic, orthodox Christianity. I’ve heard from some who think MacArthur has lumped all continuationists into one bucket of heresy – drawing equivalence between some respected theologians and the likes of Benny Hinn. But MacArthur’s letter to his friends is very clear that he sees much good in the work of these friends, as well as much thin theological ice that their “open canon” represents. He considers them dear brothers who need to be awakened to the danger they pose by sharing some views with flaming heretics – sometimes endorsing and appearing with them.

I will leave it to you to read the chapters detailing the train wreck of the strange fire doctrines, and focus some attention on the last third of the book. Citing an observation from A.W. Tozer, MacArthur says our “view of God is the foundational reality in our thinking, and it encompasses all that we believe about the Holy Spirit.” He points out the truth that while many miracle seekers flock after Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley, a true miracle takes place every time a spiritually dead sinner is raised to new life in Christ. This is too mundane for experience-based Christians, but is glorious to behold by those who inhabit the heavens – and ought to be recognized as such by us. The Holy Spirit works in the birth of new saints by a.) convicting the unredeemed of their sins, b.) convicting unbelievers of righteousness, and c.) convicts sinners that divine judgments are real and necessary. The Spirit of the living God then regenerates the elect – removes the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh by granting faith to believe the gospel. This is work man cannot do, any more than man can bring about his own natural birth. Salvation is of the Lord, as Jonah declared from the belly of the fish, and the triune God does not share His glory with anyone.

Still in this vein, the Holy Spirit also brings repentance to those He regenerates, liberating us from the power of sin and death and producing love for His righteousness. He enables fellowship with God and makes sweet the fellowship of the saints. We are heirs of the kingdom, free from the dread of God and drawn to Him as our Father, enabled to joyfully sing praises to Him. And here, then, is one biblical truth that cannot be reconciled with the “second baptism” doctrine: the Holy Spirit indwells every man, woman, and child He raises to new life in Christ. He is our Comforter and Helper; protecting, empowering, and encouraging us.

MacArthur delineates the difference between being filled with the Spirit of God and the heretical notion of being drunk on the Spirit. Drunkenness is irrational, out-of-control behavior, while filled with the Spirit is joyful, self-controlled submission to God. Being filled with the Spirit of God is an ongoing experience in the life of every Christian – not an occasional orgy with John Crowder. “Rather than being hopelessly distracted by charismatic counterfeits, believers need to rediscover the real ministry of the Holy Spirit, which is to activate His power in us through His Word, so that we can truly conquer sin for the glory of Christ, the blessing of His church, and the benefit of the lost.”

His last chapter on the true work of the Holy Spirit focuses on the Spirit’s role and identity in the Scriptures. MacArthur gives us a very quick run through history, highlighting a few of the faithful men used by God and several of those who fell or jumped into heresy and have misled countless simple folk. “By departing from the sole authority of Scripture, bot Roman Catholicism and theological liberalism became enemies of true Christianity, fraudulent versions of the very thing they claimed to represent. … Because He is the God of truth, His Word is infallible. Because He cannot lie, His Word is inerrant. Because He is the King of kings, His Word is absolute and supreme.” The Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture, provides illumination for the minds of Christians, and the Spirit gives power to the reading and preaching of Scripture. To reject the Scriptures is to reject the Spirit of God – and the entire trinity.

In his “open letter”, the last chapter, MacArthur observes that, “rather than confronting charismatic errors head-on, continuationists leaders find themselves flirting with aspects of a movement that is full of serious error and corrupt leadership.” These otherwise solid theologians allow the charismatics to set the vocabulary, changing the meaning of words and phrases from what the Bible and history show them to be, in order to justify the nonsensical babbling that passes for tongues in modern churches. “The continuationist position invites any personal impression or subjective feeling as a potential revelation from God. Moreover, it removes any authoritative, objective standard for questioning the legitimacy of someone’s supposed revelation from God.”

All in all, this should be a welcomed book in any Christian’s home. We do need to be provoked to think biblically – about gifts and the One Who gives them.

Connecting the Dots – Kundalini to New Evangelicalism

We have spent a great deal of time in the past addressing issues that are greatly affecting true, biblical Christianity. The problem today is that more and more people are being duped into believing that a myriad of wolves are preaching and teaching the truth.

Children love to play connect the dots. Connecting the dots allows them to see a picture take place by counting each number in sequence. If the numbers are not put together correctly, then the picture will be nothing more than a jumbled mess. In similar fashion, it is not hard to see the dots that are now connecting the false religions of the world with so-called Christianity. Let’s look at how these dots are not only connected, but still being connected on the stages of churches and church conferences.

Let’s look at the first dot on the page. Kundalini is a mystical power that has often been called the Hindu’s version of the Holy Spirit. Kundalini is purely demonic. There are many videos that can be found on the dangers of this system which also includes the use of yoga and the encouragement to followers to allow their minds to be emptied in order for peace to fill them.

Any true minister would point out the heresy of such a religious system!

The second dot makes a radical jump from the blatant heresy of Hinduism to charismatic churches. The connection of the second dot actually produces a sordid picture because it allowed the first vestiges of eastern religion into mainstream religious circles.

This second dot produced the same type of power and manifestations as found in Hinduism but was now connected with people like Rodney Howard Browne, Oral & Richard Roberts, the Toronto Movement, and the events from 2008 in Lakeland, Florida spearheaded by Todd Bentley and openly promoted by GodTV. Many others within the Word of Faith movement bought into the heresy in various ways which then opened up the door to further invasions of demonic activity. These individuals included Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers, TD Jakes, Rick Joyner, John Crowder and others. In the meantime, people continue to be duped into believing that these crazy, demonic acts are somehow from God.

Any true minister would point out the heresy of such a religious system!

The third dot took things like Toronto Blessing and the Holy Laughter Movement and made slight and subtle changes so as to be included in a wider array of preachers and churches. This third dot saw a continuing growth of churches spring to life in a way that has been unparalleled in recent history. This growth produced a wide impact and sought to point out that these great visitations from God were also to be found outside of charismatic circles. This included groups like IHOP in Kansas City, Bethel Church in Redding, CA, Perry Noble of NewSpring Church, and Ed Young of Fellowship Church. Of course, experience became more valuable than doctrine and anybody that believed to the contrary was considered a judgmental evangelical.

Any true minister would point out the heresy of such a religious system!

The fourth dot that comes to light is that when doctrine is taken out of preaching, it is normally superseded not just by experiences but also by music which normally drives much of what is found in the vast majority of the mega-churches today. Because people are coming for the music or the experiences, they also want their ears to be tickled into believing that somehow they are “best buds” with God who will accept them the way they are and not demand any change. When experience becomes the vital entity in church, then churches will begin to hold hands with anybody else who holds to the same thing – all for the sake of the kingdom, of course! This then was further compounded by groups like Promise Keepers who held hands with ANYBODY. ALL were accepted in the name of love including Mormons, Roman Catholics, and all mainline denominations. And more swallowed the Kool-Aid. You see, this dot allows the inclusion of people like Louie Giglio and Mark Driscoll, and bands like Jesus Culture and David Crowder.

Any true minister would point out the heresy of such a religious system!

The fifth dot is the one that is probably the scariest. Discernment ministries have been pointing out the coming apostasy for a few decades and few took notice because they did not believe it would ever affect them. After all, that was only the kind of thing that happened in charismatic circles. The fifth dot made the connection to evangelical circles. The problem being that experience was becoming so important that even those within what would have been termed sound evangelicalism began jumping on board. Southern Baptists were soon swallowing the poison with ease by the likes of Beth Moore and Henry Blackaby, both of whom have crossed the line of sound doctrine into an acceptance of “whatever floats your boat works for me as well because we won’t judge what Jesus accepts or does not accept!”

People who just a few decades ago would never have listened or permitted a woman to speak have now crossed the line of full acceptance. These people who stand to preach now are pushing an agenda that comes right out of the pits of hell. Can we not see that the devil is not concerned about those who live a life of debauchery for he already has them in his grip? He is concerned with doctrine for this is what drives a church towards purity. If the devil can get the focus OFF of doctrine and onto music or experiences or unity in love, then he will see the vast introduction of further heresies into the church at large.

Experience is still driving the crayon across the page as the dots continue to be connected. This now brings us to the next connection which some may vehemently decry, but it is necessary to help in completing a picture for the true Berean Christian.

Any true minister would point out the heresy of such a religious system!

The sixth dot though helps us to see the truth of Paul’s writings when he tells us that in the last days, there will be a falling away. Those who are falling away are IN the church. They are not on the periphery, but are actually sitting in their cushioned chairs sipping their lattes listening with rapt attention to the drivel that falls from the lips of so-many so-called preachers of the gospel. The gospel being preached is devoid of truth, devoid of the biblical Jesus, is devoid of repentance, is devoid of the mention of sin, and is devoid of anything that would connect it with a Bride who is making herself ready for the return of the Bridegroom.

This dot, while scary, is actually the logical continuance of the fifth dot. What is scary though is those who have perpetuated the lie that there is no connection from themselves to the heresy that is damning the souls of millions to hell. Those in this dot are those who stand in front of tens of thousands and would openly endorse the teachings and heresies of those found under some of the other dots. A true minister continues to take a stand against heresy and will preach the truth no matter where he may be. He will not be concerned about book sales or larger followings for his megachurch. He will remain a SLAVE of Jesus Christ and will teach truth NO MATTER THE COST!

The problem we face with this sixth dot though is that there seem to be many who are jumping into this particular arena, and with a straight face, seek to convince their people that unity is vital and that “we will never compromise the truth.” However, when the error surfaces, the truth is spoken with a finely polished veneer that says “I will not condemn my brother or sister in the Lord!” Or, the truth will be spoken but with just enough double-speak to ensure that anybody in the audience can find approval with what is said. The hearer is given the opportunity to twist the Scriptures to mean whatever they want it to mean so that they can find endorsement for their sin before God.

This was recently seen at Passion 2013 when John Piper and Francis Chan refused to openly condemn heresy. This was seen by their sharing and enjoying the stage with those who preach a different gospel. Their message may have been truth at its core, but their refusal to take a stand poisoned the message to the point where any and all could come away feeling good about themselves or could come away thinking they had a good relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sadly, within the confines of the sixth dot are men who have been preaching the gospel and yet have failed miserably in standing for the truth. They willingly share the stage with proponents of everything ranging from those teaching slight error to heretics, who then share the stage with those who are openly heretics and opposed to Jesus Christ and biblical truth, who in turn then share the stage with the false religions of the world.

In this camp, the world sees John Piper preach one thing but live another. They see him holding hands with the Mark Driscolls and the Rick Warrens and the Louie Giglios and the Beth Moores of the church. They then see these people endorsing people even further afield to include Roman Catholicism and the New Age Mysticism that is so prevalent.

And the church wonders why we do not see true revival?????

The world connects the dots better than the church is doing. They see Roman Catholics holding hands with Presbyterians who are holding hands with Baptists who are holding hands with New Evangelicals who are holding hands with Word of Faith proponents who are holding hands with the demonic activities that are identical to what is found in Hinduism and who are in turn holding hands with Roman Catholicism. They see nothing different – just a different name.

The devil laughs while the church-at-large looks at the dots and thinks it portrays the kingdom of God. God looks at the dots and sees the rank apostasy that is being openly permitted – a rank apostasy that would never have been permitted just a handful of years ago.

So to summarize the picture that is appearing. It is not even subtle anymore, but is out in the open.

Dot 1 – Hinduism – Kundalini
Dot 2 – Charismania
Dot 3 – Church growth gurus promote numbers over truth
Dot 4 – Doctrine begins to disappear for the sake of “love”
Dot 5 – Experience trumps doctrine in new evangelical circles
Dot 6 – Evangelicals fall all over each other in order to line up with the wolves in the pulpits of the world.

Any true minister would point out the heresy of such a religious system!

A few final questions to ponder – Will Berean Christians swallow the bait? Will we allow ourselves to be duped into thinking that we can all just get along? Will we one day come to the point where the crucifixion cannot even be mentioned because that would be to condemn those who believe there are many roads to heaven? Will we continue to endorse those in Dot 6 because of who they are or will we refuse to follow their error knowing and realizing that the dots that connect one connect to each other and they all in turn – connect to hell from where the heresy all originally starts?

CONNECT THE DOTS!

Do you like the horror that is taking place on the page? Will you remain blind because you prefer the easy route? We do not need any more dots to see the dangers found in the picture. We need godly men and women who will stand for truth no matter what it takes or what it costs! The future of your church and mine depends on it.

CONNECT THE DOTS!

Is Jesus Culture Just Another Christian Band?

Following one of our recent posts on the Passion 2013 conference, one of the issues that came to light is the concern over the worship group “Jesus Culture.” This group has grown immensely in popularity among evangelical youth. Yet many are not aware of the fact that they originate out of the Bethel Church in Redding, California which is known for its false teachings about signs and wonders and is part of the heretical “New Apostolic Reformation” movement. The following video does a very good job exposing the background of Jesus Culture and why discerning Christians should be very concerned about them. Please take the time to watch and learn.

Gospel, Discernment, and Passion 2013!

It is my prayer that this post will prove to be a connection between the matters of presenting the gospel and that of the area of discernment among the body of Christ.

First, I note that each contributor has a different set of giftings for which I am very thankful. When The Pilgrim was the primary owner of the blog, we were blessed in the addition of good men who I believe continue to take Defending Contending in a solidly, biblical direction. Chris, who took over from The Pilgrim, has a huge heart for evangelism and outreach as does Bill Phillips. Manfred, Fourpointer, and Abiding Through Grace have helped to bring a solid reformed perspective to this part of the blogosphere. The Pilgrim and I set a tone for world missions and also the need of discernment in the Body of Christ.

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Yet, each contributor is only human. We make mistakes, and further, we all have areas of sin that the Holy Spirit has to work to correct in our lives. None of us have arrived, nor would we ever want to portray such a picture. As our long-time readers will remember, there are times that we have each had to ask forgiveness for something we wrote, maybe that was in haste or in anger. Through all of this we continue to move forward and desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

For the record, we are not always in agreement with our thought processes, nor with a particular point of doctrine that we seek to understand. However, there is no question that we all love the Savior and desire truth in the inward parts of our heart and soul. My fellow contributors may not even be in full agreement with this post, but I believe I can safely assert that we all have the same desires – purity in the church and a church that is fervent about spreading the gospel message!

Recently, both Chris and I have posted a few articles that have dealt with two areas that are not diametrically opposed to each other. Conversely, they are actually a very necessary part of how we are to operate within the confines of a local church setting. His approach and strong desire for the presentation of the gospel has been matched by my own desire to have a spirit of discernment as we present our case before the thousands of readers we see come to DefCon every week.

In the midst of this, some have questioned our decisions either to bring a spotlight on a pastor, or in not going far enough in our condemnation. This is my main reason for writing this, especially in light of what we are seeing take place at Passion 2013 right now in Atlanta, Georgia.

From a gospel perspective, I believe that if more people were being presented with a Christ-centered message versus a man-centered message that there would be far fewer who were in attendance. The problem with Passion 2013 is that those in attendance are being driven by emotion. Further, they are seeing this event being openly endorsed by men such as David Platt and Justin Taylor. This event is not only being endorsed by well-known ministers, but men who should know better are also involved in preaching there such as John Piper.

The question we are faced with is, “Does such an endorsement automatically place men like Piper, Platt, or Taylor under such a cloud that we have the right to call their salvation into question and classify them as unbelievers?”

This is where the discernment perspective must come in. There are wolves who have always sought to infiltrate the church of the spotless Lamb of God. There will always be wolves. There can be no doubt that the salvation of a person is a matter that ultimately can only be known between that individual and the Sovereign God of the Universe. However, the Scriptures make it abundantly clear that we can be fruit inspectors and that by the works of others we can have a clearer picture as to their spiritual condition or lack thereof.

Taking this to another level, we must also consider discipline as found in Matthew 18. First, we must recognize that discipline is to be practiced between fellow believers, but that some aspects can only be effected in a local church setting. As an example, if I have offended another brother contributor, I have the responsibility before God to make that right. However, should things heat up and we have a falling out, neither my church, nor the church where the fellow contributor is in fellowship, have the right to bring another under discipline if they are not a member or in fellowship with that particular assembly.

Therefore, for those who lack in discernment in evangelical circles, we at DefCon can only bring warnings to others. We cannot bring ultimate judgment against another. Further, many seek to use Matthew 18 to make the point that if we have not taken our grievances to that person in question that we have no right to make public our concerns. This also comes from a poor understanding of this passage. The level of discipline is first to be enacted and finalized at the level to which it is either private or public knowledge. For example, if a brother contributor and I have a disagreement and we resolve the matter without it going public in any form or fashion, it goes no further. Restoration has taken place.

However, a person who has a public ministry and has openly stated where he stands or is showing a lack of discernment has taken the matter to a public level. There is no more private conversations necessary for the testimony at stake is no longer just a personal one, but is a dispersion against the Bride of Christ before a lost world.

Either way, at no point, does Matthew 18 give us the freedom to state to the world that the person who is offending others is an unbeliever. We are told and given the right by Christ that if such a person goes all the way to the final step of discipline that they are to be placed outside of the protection of the local church. They are then to be TREATED as one who is an unbeliever. The entire process is to continue giving forth the message to them and seek to provide restoration. This was a primary purpose for the writing of 1 and 2 Corinthians. Matthew 18 was fully enacted, but 2 Corinthians was necessary for the church to see their error in not admitting the brother back into fellowship. In this case, the man in question was in grievous sin that was not even found among the amoral society of Romans. Yet, at no point in either book does Paul question this man’s salvation!

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So, let us look further at the events currently unfolding at Passion 2013. There are some there who are teaching another gospel and are openly teaching or practicing or promoting heresy. This, in my estimation, includes Louie Giglio. It also includes groups or individuals that are practicing doctrines of demons. This group would include David Crowder, Christy Nockels and the band Jesus Culture.

A thorough expose on these groups can be found at Apprising.Org, and I highly recommend any person with questions to go and read my Christian brother’s blog posts before making any negative comments about my inclusion of these groups or individuals. Suffice it to say for now that these music artists are highly charismatic and further give evidence that Jesus is merely a byword, not a Person Who has changed their way of life. For further information, I would highly recommend reading the following post as well on the connections of those leading Passion 2013.

In addition, you have a woman, Beth Moore, who is clearly in contradiction to the teaching of God’s Word. She is considered an elder, teaches and preaches to men, but further is openly involved in the Roman Catholic teaching of contemplative mysticism. This type of meditation and mindless repetitious prayers were openly condemned by our Savior during His earthly ministry. Beth continues to refuse to be corrected and has continued a slide further into the acceptance of Roman Catholics as being on the same road to heaven as Christianity.

The Bible makes it clear that there is only one way to heaven, and what the Roman Catholic system teaches is not salvation by faith through grace alone. Beth is no longer just endorsing religions such as Roman Catholicism. Her teaching shows that she is promoting a completely different gospel. While we would pray and hope that she will see the error of her ways, we can only conclude at this point with the words of the apostle Paul in Galatians 1 – if anybody, even an angel, preach ANY OTHER gospel than what we have preached to you, then let them be accursed. This is not my words, nor is it my decision. Her actions and words bring condemnation upon her and her ministry.

So what about John Piper? Personally, I have learned much from several of his earlier books with the exception of his teaching of “Christian” hedonism. A very poor choice of terminology and shaky theology at best is at play here. However, in more recent times, there have been growing questions about his connections, his endorsements, and I am convinced that this has produced questions about where his theology is changing to from books such as “Future Grace.”

His endorsements are wrong, and I have not seen one thing that convinces me that he is preaching at Passion 2013 with the intention of bringing biblical clarity to the thousands who are gathered. Actually, he now openly endorses the ungodliness that is in place, holds hands with Beth Moore, and has even been captured on video practicing contemplative mysticism! This certainly does bring him into question and at this time, I believe we are only left with two conclusions. First, his lack of discernment continues to drive him down the road towards full-blown apostasy at the expense of biblical truth. Second, while I am not prepared to question whether he has ever come to a point of saving faith, I am prepared to learn from the words of John MacArthur, who has in the past noted that a person who evidences no change, has no fruit, and continues in full-blown apostasy must be concerned as to whether they were ever saved to begin with.

Sadly, the problem is compounded by the inclusion of heretics like Judah Smith, who co-pastors a church with his wife in Washington. His connection includes preaching at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and Mark Driscoll fully endorsed this event. Yes, this is the same Driscoll and Warren that are so openly welcomed and share pulpits with John Piper. These men all have the same thing in common – they are students of humanist authors like Peter Drucker, who died as a heathen pagan – without Christ.

My prayer is that those who like Chan, Piper, Platt, and Taylor, who have preached and taught the truth will wake up and see the truth. The truth is that they are being sucked into the whirlpool of expediency, the whirlpool that says numbers are more important than truth, the whirlpool that produces ever-increasing numbers of false conversions, and the whirlpool of apostasy that threatens to swallow all the other whirlpools like the black holes of space. Soon no spiritual light will shine forth from their ministries for error, heresy, and the doctrines of demons will swallow any glimmer from view, or it will ultimately prove that there was no light to begin with.

nouturn For now, I would share the words from the apostle Paul as seen in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

Today, we MUST have the true gospel of Jesus Christ being preached to the world. The church has an awesome responsibility to reach out to the world and share in love the truth of God’s Word. The world must hear that there is ONLY one way to heaven and that is through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

However, preachers, pastors and ministers of the gospel must not only practice spiritual discernment, but they must also teach their people how to discern between what is right and what is wrong. Conferences like Passion 2013 are filled with thousands who are either not saved, or they fall under the category of being let down by the men who were entrusted with their spiritual well-being.

Pastors who have not stood up to this nonsense should repent for putting their people in harm’s way. Parents who have allowed their children to attend such a conference should also repent for putting their children, whom they were given to protect, in the way of the forces of hell that seek to blind the minds of their precious gifts. Men like Francis Chan, David Platt, Justin Taylor, and John Piper have a responsibility to take a stand no matter what it costs in the way of book sales, or affiliations, or even the numbers of followers they have garnered. If there is a time for men like these to take a stand and apologize for their lack of discernment and for misleading the body of Christ around the world by their open endorsements of heresy, charismania, and yes, even the doctrines of demons being openly endorsed by people like Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Louie Giglio and others.

But then again, Paul warned us in 2 Thessalonians that there would come a time before the return of the Lord that apostasy would take place within the church. Maybe this is what we are seeing. I fear for those who have failed in their calling and with their testimony. I fear for what they will face when they stand before the Lord in judgment.

May we not pride ourselves on who we are, nor that we have not fallen ourselves! Brothers and sisters, may our thoughts remain on the Author and Finisher of our faith. May we remember that but for the grace of God, we could be the ones that are where these others now find themselves.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Mark – TJM

False Teachers

Several years ago, my wife took up the job of organizing the library of the church we were members of. She found some material that looked questionable and asked me to help her figure out which authors should be put in the closet on the “heresy shelf”.

I spent several weeks reading books and researching popular authors and developed a “cheat sheet” of false teachers and a sample of the heresy they taught. Below is a screen shot, the file (6 pages) can be downloaded here.

While I hope this is useful, please note that it is not up to date – some of the newer false teachers this site has brought to light are not included. But the people on this list are behind most of the folks now popular that we should be aware of.

Be on your guard, for the deceiver prowls around like a lion looking for his next meal. A little leaven leavens the whole lump – so do not buy the lie that you should “chew up the meat and spit out the bones.” Test everything – hold to that which is good. When you determine a man (or a woman) to be a false teacher, from such, turn away.