Rise Up O’ Men of God

Where are the men in our churches who are willing to stand for what is right? We have bought into the world’s philosophies and the church has become feminized. Men, God has given a divine order for the reason that we might show the picture of Christ and His Bride to the nations. If we are going to advance in the battle, we must have men with a rod of iron in their backbone. May God forgive us for ever quitting in the first place!

HT: Jeremy B. Strang

Few Will Find It – The Rest Will Be Damned!

Today is the first day of the last month of 2013, and while for some it is a day of worship in church, for many thousands, it will be their final day on earth. For them, the day of judgment will arrive whether they believe it or not, and whether they like it or not will not matter one iota.

Today is the day of salvation for those who have never placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Flee to him and plead for mercy before it is too late.

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!

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.

2paths
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!

jesusband
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

Can We Call Them Brothers in Christ?

John-Piper-Rick-Warren3Recently, we received an email here at DefCon that I believe addressed a very valid and important question.  The reader asked our opinion on a discussion he was having with someone regarding Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll and John Piper. The question asked during his discussion was how can a Christian call any of these men a “true brother in Christ,” especially given the various concerns raised about them, even here on this blog. As the head administrator of this site, the task was mine to attempt to answer this particular question. After thinking the matter through, I responded to our reader with what I believe is a balanced and biblical stance on the matter. My desire is to share that response here on DefCon so that others who have a similar question may benefit from it. My response was a follows:

“Hello there. This is the Chris Hohnholz, the head administrator of DefCon. Thanks much for writing to us. I have given your email a lot of thought and will do my best to give you a decent answer. Before I do though, I want to make it clear that I am speaking only for myself. Even though I run this blog, I do not claim to speak for all the writers, not even the author of the article you linked. I say that as a means of ensuring that anything that I might blow it on is not conveyed to my writers.

mark-driscollMy thought on this is that there is a difference between not supporting or endorsing a pastor and declaring that said pastor is not a brother in Christ. To give a separate example, I’m sure you are aware of the chaos James MacDonald has caused with his Elephant Room nonsense. In years past, he has been considered a respected pastor. Even folks of a reformed theology have at least considered him within orthodoxy. Yet with his endorsing pastors who are questionable, and now declaring T.D. Jakes (who is a heretic) to be within the camp, he is NOT someone we would support or endorse. However, does his current sinful behavior mean he is not saved. I do not believe we can declare that at this time. If he truly is saved, I believe the Holy Spirit will bring him into repentance. If he is not, I think we will see him walk further and further from the truth. But until one or the other happens, I will not declare he is not a brother, but I will warn folks against what he is doing.

I think much can be said of the three pastors you have written Todd about. With Warren, I really worry about him because everything he is about is antithetical to the Bible. I think his smiling and charismatic personality carries with it a dangerous man-centered message that will definitely lead people and ministries astray. That alone makes me wonder about his salvation, but I would stop short of that because I simply haven’t seen him teach anything that is directly heretical. Much the same with Driscoll. He teaches orthodox messages, but his willingness to taint that message with foul language, to give graphic sexual messages and his unbiblical “visions” from God make him someone I wouldn’t endorse at all. But I really don’t know about him not being a brother. Is he simply just ignorant on these things or is he deliberately teaching things that will one day bear out as heretical. I can only say that we should be warning folks against him. Piper is the one who really perplexes me. He has preached so many great and godly messages that still continue to edify the saints. Yet, he is willing to lock arms with folks like Warren, he is willing to appear in conferences where contemplative prayer is going on without so much as a peep in refutation. He is giving those folks a platform that they never should have. I do believe Piper is a brother, but he is flat out wrong in what he is doing. As such, I don’t support what he is doing.

I do not know if this answer helps you in any way, but I believe that until these men either establish themselves as heretical or they repent and prove themselves as faithful brethren, our best bet is to warn against what they have said or done, but to reserve judgment of their state of salvation.

Again, I am thankful for your writing to us and am equally grateful for your support of our blog. May God bless you.

Chris Hohnholz
DefCon Administrator”

John Piper now endorses a book by a contemplative female reverend.

John Piper has endorsed the book Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity by Lauren Winner, a deacon at St. Luke’s who (according to her bio on the church’s webpage) “looks forward to celebrating her ordination to the priesthood,” and (according to the Laity Lodge webpage) is scheduled to be a speaker this June at a contemplative retreat.

 HT: Sola Sisters

Book recommendation: “Deceived on Purpose” by Warren Smith.

I recently finished the book Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith. Smith, a former New Ager turned Christian, wrote this heavily footnoted book after reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life and seeing the many New Age parallels throughout Rick Warren’s bestseller.

Warren Smith chronicles these familiar New Age teachings found in The Purpose Driven Life in his book Deceived on Purpose.  

Warren Smith also goes into detail about Rick Warren’s ties to Robert Schuller. And once Warren Smith begins connecting the dots between Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Bruce Wilkinson, Eugene Peterson and many well known New Agers like Neale Donald Walsch, Bernie Siegel, Benjamin Creme, and others, you will never look at Rick Warren the same way again and you will be even more disturbed as to why John Piper is willing to link arms with Rick Warren.

You can purchase the paperback version of the book here, or the e-book version here.

“As a self-proclaimed ‘change agent,’ it seemed that one of Rick Warren’s unstated purposes was 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.”  Deceived on Purpose Page 113