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(revised 01/10/14)


(image source: http://provoketive.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/hearing_from_god-500×250.jpg)

I mean no disrespect to the late Dallas Willard. But the truth is, he was a major heretical impetus to Richard Foster’s writing of the bestselling, heretical Celebration of Discipline.  Willard’s false teachings (as well as those of Foster, etc.) need to be exposed for what they were/are.

A number of articles have been written about the “Inner Light/Inward Light” heresy of George Fox and the Quakers. I too am researching this; I have written blogs about Quaker heresies here, as well as reposting the articles and blogs of others.

As Evangelical Friends co-pastors, Richard Foster and his Spiritual Formation mentor Dallas Willard taught the Quaker concepts of 1) the Inner Light (the light of Christ in every man), 2) direct revelation/immediate revelation/illumination, etc. Of course these teachings have been around for centuries (at least since the Gnostics I think). Many “non-evangelical” Quakers today believe in a “hybrid” of the Quaker Inner Light teachings and New Age beliefs (Christ consciousness, the inner voice, etc.).

So how exactly do “Inner Light” Quakers believe God speaks to us? Let me illustrate. Suppose a Spiritual Director were to say to a nonchristian (who has never heard the gospel of salvation), “Go sit on top of a mountain, cross your legs and hold your hands up praising God.  Engage in contemplative prayer, empty your mind, and then God can speak to you.” (Remember, this person has never heard the gospel, never read the Bible, has no concept of the Trinity, the Atonement, etc.) According to the Inner Light teaching, Christ is already in every man. (This is some mysterious presence of Christ – not the Holy Spirit.) So the person would supposedly receive direct revelations from God via the presence of Christ within him. Then – when he finally reads a  Bible – it will line up with the direct revelations he received from God. The main problem here: the Inner Light teaching does NOT view God’s Word the Bible as the primary way in which God “speaks” to us. 

I came across an excellent article by Gary Gilley. His article critiques the “hearing God’s voice” teaching of Dallas Willard  – Richard Foster’s former Evangelical Friends (EFCI)  co-pastor and heretical mentor in Spiritual Formation. Gilley’s article has been reposted on some other major discernment websites. I have reposted his article below; click here for Gilley’s original article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]. And I have made a few grammatical corrections, such as underlining the titles of books.

Note – Willard was just one of many who taught/is teaching the heresy of “hearing God’s voice”. Justin Taylor writes here:

Books like Dallas Willard’s Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God and Bill Hybels’s The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond and Henry and Richard Blackaby’s Hearing God’s Voice continue to popularize the idea that a true relationship of intimacy with God requires ongoing private and personal revelations as a normative part of the Christian life.[emphasis mine-DM]

Now on to Gilley’s article:

“Hearing God, Developing a Conversational Relationship With God”
Written by Gary Gilley


(image source: http://images.betterworldbooks.com/159/Hearing-God-9781596440555.jpg)

Hearing God was previous published by Regal (1984), then by Harper (1993), and finally InterVarsity (1999) under the tital [sic] of In Search of Guidance. This updated and expanded edition is published under the Formatio wing of InterVarsity Press which offers numerous books promoting spiritual formation and “Christian” mysticism. At the heart of both spiritual formation and mysticism is God speaking beyond the pages of Scripture. For this reason Hearing God is an important book, written by one of the premiere leaders within the movement. That Willard is merely updating the same message he delivered nearly 30 years ago shows that the spiritual formation movement has not changed its basic teachings. And what are they? In essence, that we can live “the kind of life where hearing God is not an uncommon occurrence” (p. 12), for “hearing God is but one dimension of a richly interactive relationship and obtaining guidance is but one facet of hearing God” (p. 13). In other words, the maturing Christian should expect to hear the voice of God, independent from Scripture, on a regular basis and that voice will reveal God’s individual, specific will for his life. Such individual communication from the Lord, we are told, is absolutely essential because without it there can be no personal walk with God (pp. 26, 31, 67). And it is those who are hearing from God today who will redefine “Christian spirituality for our time” (p. 15).

This premise leads to a very practical problem, however, one Willard will address throughout the book in many ways. The problem is, how does one know that he has really heard from God? Could he not be confusing his own thoughts, or even implanted thoughts from Satan (pp. 235-237), with the voice of God? This is even more problematic because Willard believes that while God can speak audibly or use dreams and visions, normally His voice will come as a “still small voice” heard only within our own hearts and minds. In fact, so vital is this “still small voice” that the author devotes his largest chapter to exploring what it means (chapter 5, pp. 114-153). Yet in all of his discussion on the topic, it never seems to dawn on Willard that the original “still small voice” to Elijah (1 Kings 19:12-18) was in fact an audible voice, not an inward impression or thought.

Since Willard believes that God normally speaks to us through an inner, inaudible, subjective voice (p. 130) and that it is possible that God is speaking and we do not even know it (pp. 118-120), how can we be certain when God is speaking to us? In answer Willard boldly informs us that we can only learn the voice of God through experience (pp. 9, 19, 21, 63, 143). He clearly states, “The only answer to the question, how do we know whether this is from God? is By experience” (p. 218) (emphasis his). The author will use the word “experience” over 130 times, and equivalents hundreds of times more. The mechanics of learning the voice of God is detailed on pages 217-251 but ultimately it all boils down to experience. And until we have the experience it will apparently be necessary for those who have themselves supposedly heard from God to guide us. Without such help we may not be able to detect the voice of God (p. 221). Never mind that the Scriptures never tells us how, nor supplies techniques, to know when God is speaking, nor does the Bible ever tell us that we need to learn the voice of God. This is all pure fabrication on Willard’s part. As a matter of fact every time God speaks in Scripture it is through an audible voice, never through an inner voice, impressions or feelings, and that includes Elijah’s still small voice. Willard is advocating a form of communication from God never found in the pages of Scripture; he then elevates this inner voice to the very essence of our relationship with God. He attempts to prove this not only through his own experience but also by the examples of others such as Ken Taylor, George Fox, Teresa of Avila, St. Francis, Henri Nouwen and many others (see pp. 23-27). Willard attempts to intimidate his readers as well by telling them that God’s communication in this way to early Christians was a normal experience (pp. 70, 119) (which it wasn’t), that if we are not hearing from God it may be that we are out of tune with Him (p. 90), and that the Bible and the church are inadequate for developing a personal relationship with God (pp. 140, 186).

Willard teaches many theological errors as well. For example, as might be expected the author has a low view of Scripture. He believes the Bible is God’s inspired written word given to “provide us with a general understanding of God to inspire and cultivate a corresponding faith” (p. 87). But if we want to find out what God is saying to us personally we must go beyond the Bible (p. 218). Further Willard warns us of what he calls “Bible deism,” which is the view that God communicates to us today through Scripture alone (p. 142). As a matter of fact the Bible may prove a deadly snare: “We can even destroy ourselves by Bible study; specifically, by the study of Paul’s epistles” (p. 187). And even if the Bible is inerrant in the original texts it “does not guarantee sane and sound, much less error-free, interpretations” (p. 185). Willard clearly has a postmodern understanding of Scripture (i.e. it can never be rightly understood apart from God’s present-day communications) (p. 185). In conjunction with this view of Scripture is the idea (wrongly drawn from Luke 17:7-10) that an obsession to obey God “may be the very thing that rules out being the kind of person that He calls us to be” (p. 14).

Willard teaches a number of other deviate ideas including:

• God plans His life around us (p. 47).

• We become the royal priesthood of God when we have learned to hear from God (pp. 69-71).

• Similarly we become the temple of God through the same means (p. 76).

• As well, we do not start the Christian life as the slave of God, we become His slave in time through a maturing process (p. 77).

• Based on Colossians 1:19-29 he believes the resolution of the world’s problems, although finalized at Christ’s return, begins now (p. 75).

• The gospel is not reconciliation to God by faith but, “The good news that the kingdom rule of God is available to humankind here and now” (p. 202, cf. pp. 203-204).

In order to learn to hear the subjective voice of God, Willard recommends the use of lectio divina, which is custom made for this imaginative endeavor. As a result a co-writer provides six lectio exercises to pave the way (pp. 48-51, 104-105, 132-133, 165-166, 208-209, 247-250). The ultimate goal in all of this is to have the mind of Christ (pp. 71-72) which means to Willard that “we understand what God is doing so well that we often know exactly what God is thinking and intending to do” (p. 71).

The danger of Willard’s imaginative teachings on hearing from God through an inner voice can hardly be exaggerated. Rather than turning people to the inspired authoritative Scriptures for God’s word today, Willard turns us toward the subjective, unreliable self. The result is a people who believe they have heard from God even as they turn from the Word of God itself.

FOR FURTHER READING

Amy Spreeman, God told me to tell you…

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/news_landscape/2014/02/noah_illustration_a_l.jpg

“I was upset — of course,” the director says of Paramount testing alternate versions of the $125 million epic as he and the studio break their silence on efforts to appease a small but vocal segment of the faith-based audience: “Those people can be noisy.”

(source of image and quote: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rough-seas-noah-darren-aronofsky-679315)

Okay, by now many Christians are aware of the “Noah” movie starring Russell Crowe. And probably all of these are aware that the movie is very controversial.

Question is, which religious groups are praising the movie? And which religious groups, on the other hand, are condemning the movie?

Below I’ve provided excerpts from several relevant articles. Besides naming names of various groups, the articles give background concerning how the movie was tested and what reactions it got from various Christian test groups.

Note – I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]. I’m also adding links to endorsements and criticisms by various groups.

ARTICLE #1

Darren Aronofsky floats a fuller version of the Bible’s Noah tale

“… But the real trouble was on the horizon, when Paramount grew anxious that “Noah” might offend some on the religious right and started testing its own cut of the movie while Aronofsky raced to finish his. Franklin said that even with unfinished visual effects and a rough score, Aronofsky’s version tested better than Paramount’s, even though the studio’s had fewer missing pieces and was more polished.

“I think a lot of films of this size go through this. I don’t think it’s singular to us,” Franklin said. “But we were steadfast in our vision for the film. The great thing about the process is that everybody came out agreeing that our version of the movie was the best version of the movie.”

Even so, Paramount again blindsided its filmmakers [including Aronofsky] by agreeing in late February to add a disclaimer to “Noah’s” marketing materials without giving Aronofsky a heads-up.

The move came after several Christian groups [what groups?], including the National Religious Broadcasters, objected to how Aronofsky was interpreting scripture.

On the set: movies and TV

Jerry Johnson, the president and chief executive officer of the NRB, wrote in two blog posts after seeing the film that he found “some” parts of the film to be “commendable,” but his praise was tepid. He was far more vigorous in attacking “Noah,” complaining that a scene about evolution “will be a concern for many” who are creationists, that “secondary biblical details are blurred” and that Aronofsky’s Noah is so dark in some places “that you do not want to like him.”

Several other religious leaders and interested parties have been far kinder to the film, including representatives from the American Bible Society, Catholic Voices USA, the Christian Film and Television Commission and the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Designed to appease people like Johnson and prepare moviegoers for some of Aronofsky’s inventions, Paramount’s disclaimer notes that the film was “inspired by the story of Noah” and that “artistic license has been taken.”

Aronofsky, who is both an atheist and a biblical scholar, knows that no matter how thoroughly he researched his film and for all of his attention to biblical detail — if you look closely there are seven pairs of some “clean animals,” as Genesis has it, in addition to the single pairs of other creatures — some will nevertheless find fault… [ This would be funny if not so tragic - the movie is the very antithesis of biblical accuracy.]

ARTICLE #2

Kim Masters, Rough Seas on ‘Noah’: Darren Aronofsky Opens Up on the Biblical Battle to Woo Christians (and Everyone Else)(The Hollywood Reporter, 2/12/2014)

… The studio is aware that a vocal segment of Christian viewers might reject the film over accuracy. Still, Moore says, “Our anticipation is that the vast majority of the Christian community will embrace it.”

The studio and its faith-based consultant, Grace Hill Media, have reached out to a number of key figures, with some success. Special trailers were screened to positive reactions at U.S. Christian conferences, including Catalyst, the Global Leadership Conference and Women of Faith: Believe God Can Do Anything. In January, Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston of Hillsong, a Pentecostal megachurch based in Australia and with outposts around the world, were invited to a screening on the studio lot. Ben Field, the church’s head of film and television, who was there, says the pastors will support the movie. “If you’re expecting it to be word for word from the Bible, you’re in for a shock,” he says. “There can be an opportunity for Christians to take offense. [But] we were pretty excited that a studio like Paramount would invest in a Bible-themed movie.” On Feb. 4, Pastor Brian, at the church’s Heart and Soul night in Sydney, spoke before a few thousand congregants and joked, “You’ll enjoy the film — if you’re not too religious.”

 Also, Focus on the Family gave a mixed review of  “Noah”, with more favorable comments than I am comfortable with.

 

(revised 04/02/14)

http://godawa.com/movieblog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Noah-Movie-Posters-1.jpg

image source: http://godawa.com/movieblog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Noah-Movie-Posters-1.jpg

Well here we go – once again, secular Hollywood is making a mockery out of biblical accuracy and biblical Truth. Most recently we had Roma Downey and hubby Mark Burnett give us their various “Bible” productions” – 1) refusing to admit that they themselves are not Christians but New Agers, and 2) not addressing the numerous heretical points in their productions.

Now we see similar problems in the “Noah” movie, coming out 03/28/14. The producer 1) describes himself and the other film makers as basically attempting accuracy and Christian ideals, and 2) fails to address the “Noah” movie’s specific heretical and even occult points.

The trailer looked good to me – but looks can be deceiving. Following is the inside scoop – from discernment articles by Amy Spreeman at Stand Up for the Truth, and Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis.

Reading the above two articles, “Noah” looks like another Downey-esque fiasco to me…

I’d like to zero in on specific inaccuracies in the  rough cut of the “Noah” movie, as originally listed by Ken Ham. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets]. Note that Ken Ham’s blog was posted back on 11/19/13 – unfortunately, most of us have been slow in getting out the warnings about “Noah”.

Don’t Be Taken in by the Noah Movie’s Promotion
Ken Ham, 11/19/13

… the main characters of the movie are Noah, his wife, and three sons—and one little girl they rescued after all in her family were murdered by an evil tribe. She was badly injured when they found her, but Noah’s wife placed healing nectar on her stomach and she later grew up to become the eldest son’s wife. For the longest time she was barren in the womb until Noah’s wife convinced Methuselah to bless her womb—against Noah’s wishes.

Noah at first is portrayed as a humble yet strong good man—a father and husband who protected his family from the evil that had come upon the world. But as he helped build the Ark, he was portrayed more like a basket-case who was convinced that his family was the last generation. He repeated over and over again that God would not let them repopulate since God would replant Eden without man and perfection would be reestablished with the “innocent animals” God brought on the Ark. Even when Noah’s eldest son brought news to the family on the Ark that his wife was expecting, the movie’s Noah said essentially, “If it is a male, he shall live. If a girl, I will kill her because it is not God’s will for man to repopulate.”

Here are a few more problem areas seen in the rough cut of the film, most of which I expect to be in the final film:

1) In the film, Noah was robbed of his birthright by Tubal-Cain. The serpent’s body (i.e., Satan), which was shed in Eden, was their “birthright reminder.” It also doubled with magical power that they would wrap around their arm. So weird!

2) Noah’s family only consists of his wife, three sons, and one daughter-in-law, contrary to the Bible.

3) It appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today.

4) “Rocks” (that seem to be fallen angels) build the Ark with Noah!

5) Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather) is a type of witch-doctor, whose mental health is questionable.

6) Tubal-Cain defeats the Rocks who were protecting the finished Ark.

7) A wounded Tubal-Cain axes his way inside the Ark in only about ten minutes and then hides inside. Tubal-Cain then convinces the middle son to lure Noah to the bottom of the Ark in order to murder him (because he was not allowed a wife in the Ark). Tubal-Cain stays alive by eating hibernating lizards. The middle son of Noah has a change of heart and helps kill Tubal-Cain instead.


8) Noah becomes almost crazy as he believes the only purpose to his family’s existence was to help build the Ark for the “innocent” animals (this is a worship of creation).

9) Noah repeatedly tells his family that they were the last generation and were never to procreate. So when his daughter-in-law becomes pregnant, he vows to murder his own grandchild. But he finally has a change of heart.

10) Noah does not have a relationship with God but rather with circumstances and has deadly visions of the Flood.


11) The Ark lands on a cliff next to a beach.


12) After the Flood Noah becomes so distant from his family that he lives in a cave, getting drunk by the beach.

There were many other bizarre, unbiblical aspects in the preview cut. Though it’s possible that some of these elements may not make the final cut (though we suspect most will), compare the above list to the trailer that has just been released! The comparison should be very revealing for you. You wouldn’t get much of a hint of most of the biblical problems in the list above based on watching on this cleverly-put-together trailer. A real con job, to be frank!

By the way, I also read that the name of God is not mentioned in “Noah”. Reminds me of the name of Jesus not being mentioned in the Roma Downey series “Touched by an Angel”. And Christians still think these are Christian productions?

Focus on the Family’s review of  “Noah” details what they see as both bad and good in the movie. Frankly, I have nothing good to say about “Noah”. But I do agree with FOTF’s conclusion regarding the movie:

Long before its release, Noah was deluged in controversy. Some Christians praise the film for its themes of redemption and love winning out over malevolence, others revile it for taking so many liberties with the biblical account.

Director Darren Aronofsky offers a spectacular and often moving story, but it’s obviously not the story of Noah. There’s more Tolkien than Torah here, really, and more of Aronofsky himself than both of those. Perhaps this director made the Creator in his own image—full of mercy, magic and environmental sobriety. If you uncouple the movie from the Bible and take Noah as imaginative, fantastic fiction, it can begin to work. But hooked as it is to such a sacred narrative, well, let’s just say it’ll be hard for some Christians to swallow whole this fractious fable.

Harry Potter fans expect Harry Potter movies to stay mostly true to the book. History buffs are known to require historical dramas to follow actual history. I think it’s reasonable, then, for Christians to ask that the stories most precious to them be treated with faithfulness—and that movies based on them would, y’know, stay at least in the ballpark. But Mr. Aronofsky has chosen a different tack, and so the ancient truth about Noah becomes more of a pretext for Middle-earth rock monsters and a tormented, half-mad Noah ready to kill his own kin.

Here’s a secular editorial that criticizes Christians (such as the National Religious Broadcasters) for wanting to criticize and boycott “Noah”.  Hmm, I wonder why the NRB didn’t also call for a boycott of the Downey-Burnett Bible productions? After all, they too strayed far afield from biblical accuracy.

Speaking of biblical accuracy, there are many “Christians”, etc. who do not take the first eleven chapters of Genesis as being historically literal. With these eleven chapters being “myths” to them, no wonder they have no problem with the serious errors in “Noah”. Consider the following quotes, found here:

Rabbi John Spitzer, associate professor of Jewish studies at Walsh University, said the movie is the interpretation of its director, writers and actors.

 “Once the words go off the page and go on the screen you’re already getting an interpretation, and I think interpretations are fine as long as you know they’re not final,” he said.

“If you don’t believe the movie is telling you the quote, ‘truth’, small t, you have an opportunity to use the movie as a way of discovering the capital T, ‘truth,’ ” Spitzer said. “I’m not afraid of the movie — I believe the Noah story is an important myth in the Bible and as such each of us … we have to be able to take it into our hearts and souls and find the meaning that is relevant.”

“We often think that a myth is something that’s just not true, and that’s not true,” he added. “It describes a truth that can be told best through a story.”

Nicole Johnson, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies at the University of Mount Union, said “the story of Noah can be reinterpreted and retold in interesting ways — in my perspective (it) doesn’t necessarily do a disservice to the understanding of that event.”

Johnson said that “we tend to put a scientific standard on (the Bible) — I’m not sure that’s the right way to interpret something that was supposed to last (for all ages).”

FOR FURTHER READING

Opposing the movie “Noah”

Beginning and End, Russell Crowe’s ‘Noah’ Film – A Warning For Christians (updated 11/13/13)

Brian Godawa, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah: Environmentalist Wacko
(revised version, originally posted 10/29/12)

Brian Godawa,   The Noah Movie: How To Watch It with Wisdom and Discernment (Godawa blog, 03/27/14)

Brian Godawa, The Noah Movie: Deconstructing Noah’s Ark; Godawful Storytelling (Christian Post, 03/28/14)

Brian Mariani, Reviewing “Noah”: Bible-based Entertainment or Deceptive Heresy? (March 26, 2014)

Pastor Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries, The Noah Movie Deception (a YouTube video)

Amy Spreeman, Kaballah, Mysticism and Noah (a Stand Up for the Truth podcast by Dr. Brian Mattson)

Why Hollywood’s Noah falls short (Stand Up for the Truth interview with Jan Markell)(03/27/14)

For the movie “Noah”

‘Noah’ Star Russell Crowe Breaks His Silence About Meeting the Pope (Variety, 03/27/14)

Russell Crowe calls ‘Noah’ criticism ‘irrational’ (USA Today, 03/27/14)

Eliana Dockterman, Russell Crowe Says Flood of Noah Complaints Not Drowning Him (TIME, March 27, 2014)

Alissa Wilkinson, Noah (Christianity Today, March 27, 2014)

For the graphic novel “Noah”, which accompanies the movie

Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel on Their New NOAH Graphic Novel

Articles listing religious organizations for and against “Noah”

Kim Masters, Rough Seas on ‘Noah’: Darren Aronofsky Opens Up on the Biblical Battle to Woo Christians (and Everyone Else) (The Hollywood Reporter, 2/12/2014) – gives background on religious test viewers, and names Christian groups supporting the Noah movie

A Godly, biblically sound movie on Noah, by Ray Comfort

Movie Review and Interview with Ray Comfort on ‘Noah’, the Biblically Accurate Version

 

In spite of much documentation to the contrary, many Christians still believe New Agers Roma Downey and hubby Mark Burnett are born again Christians. Below is one such comment from a reader, with my response attempting yet again to prove Downey and Burnett are not born again Christians but deceptive New Agers.

JAMIE WROTE:

If Roma Downey is not a Christian, but a “New Ager”, why is she encouraging Christians to read their Bibles? Why is she constantly talking about a relationship with God? I don’t think that Roma and her husband are trying to deceive people. On the contrary, I think they have been deceived somewhat. They have made it clear that they embrace Jesus and the Gospel message. Roma is good friends with Kathie-Lee Gifford, who is a strong evangelical Christian [frankly Gifford is not a very consistent Christian witness nowadays IMHO - DM]. However, she is also good friends and kind of a surrogate daughter to Della Reese, who runs a New Age church. In short, I think Roma and her husband lack discernment in these matters, and have adopted New Age philosophies coupled with true Christian teachings. I pray that God would give them discernment to realize these teachings are dangerous and go against the Word of God.

MY REPLY

Thanks for giving your opinion, Jamie.  I know Roma Downey has said things akin to “I want people to read their Bible.” The statement I heard was “the movie ‘Son of God’ will help people fall in love with Jesus all over again.” But I am perplexed as to why Downey and hubby Mark Burnett would say these things; I still believe they must have some hidden New Age agenda. Read on…

What is the CORE worldview of Downey and Burnett? Is their core belief a born again, biblically sound stance, with peripheral beliefs of Catholicism, Celtic traditions, New Age practices, etc.? Or are born again, biblically sound teachings (if they even hold to any) somewhere in the periphery of their potpourri of beliefs? I would have to say it’s the latter.

I have never heard Downey and Burnett renounce their Catholic, Celtic and New Age practices. And, I have never heard Downey or Burnett say anything like: “I was in bondage to Catholic and Celtic false teachings and New Age practices. Then I repented of my sins, of these false teachings, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, accepted Him as my Saviour, and now I’m pleading with others to leave these false teachings.”

What does it mean to be a born again Christian? Several “signs” come to mind:

1) Having experienced a “crisis conversion experience”: hearing a gospel presentation, being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, repenting of sin, believing in Christ, accepting Him as Saviour, then following Him sincerely and wholeheartedly, abandoning all nonchristian “faith traditions”. (See John Chapter 3, particularly verse 16.)

2) Believing in born again, biblically sound doctrinal statements and creeds (not just mouthing them as so many mainline/liberal denominations do, but truly believing them). Here are a few examples of Christian creeds and confessions: http://carm.org/creeds-and-confessions

3) Believing in the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas

4) Believing in The Fundamentals of 1910-1915, which were written in opposition to the Modernists in the the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fundamentals

A truly born again, biblically sound Christian would believe in all four of the above positions. And in my mind, Downey and Burnett fail on all four of these.

Note – Click here for a recent blog of mine, in which I described a March 2014 article re: Downey. Here Downey uses a great deal of New Age terminology. As of this writing, she still has not renounced these practices.

On another note, so many evangelicals today are incorporating Roman Catholic, ecumenical, interfaith, contemplative, postmodern (Emerging/ Emergent), and yes – even New Age – teachings. Once evangelicals strayed off the straight and narrow path of born again, bibically sound doctrine, I believe they began falling into apostasy. And yes, I believe born again Christians can “lose” their salvation – making shipwreck of their faith as the Apostle Paul put it.

Hope that helps clarify my position on Roma Downey and hubby Mark Burnett.  God bless you – Dave

Well we endured the very popular “The Bible” TV miniseries, and now “The Son of God” movie. I wonder how many evangelicals have been deceived into believing Roma Downey has become a born again Christian. Truth is, Downey is still a New Ager, in spite of many public statements by her and hubby Mark Burnett that they are Christians.

It angers me when New Agers are so deceptive, deluding born again Christians into thinking they are Christians. (Oprah Winfrey and other New Agers are also trying to deceive us in this way.) Following is some of the recent info I have gathered so far on Downey.

(image source: http://www.firstforwomen.com/issue)

In the above March 2014 magazine, Downey said, “I think we all have a responsibility to see God in each other. That’s how I’ve raised my children – that no matter whose face they look into, they’re looking into the face of God, who’s in all of us.”
Source: First for Women magazine, 03/31/14, pp. 44-45

Other New Age buzzwords used in the above article about Downey:

“light, peace and happiness”
“doing work that spreads the message of God’s love”
“rituals she relies on to stay centered”
[candlelight] “promotes mindfulness”
[I light a candle and it] “calls in the light”

Also, in the article Downey says she is reading the book The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman sounds New Age to me. Even if Hoffman isn’t New Age, Downey apparently likes her occultic themes. Check out this info from Wikipedia:

“Many of her works fall into the genre of magic realism and contain elements of magic, irony, and non-standard romances and relationships.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Hoffman

FOR FURTHER RESEARCH

Apparently Downey is a darling of the following yoga website, which lists many of her online video interviews about “The Son of God” movie.

http://yogasanas.net/index.php/component/relatedvideos/?vid=Jq90uQnP5ko

A 2013 Lighthouse Trails discernment article on Downey, with links for further research:  http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=12323

I have had the privilege of meeting John Henderson in the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group. This Group is primarily concerned about the invasion of postmodern heresies into the Church of the Nazarene denomination. But the Group is also  working for the revival of born again, biblically sound, “fundamentalist” Wesleyan Holiness. Following is a repost of John’s combined articles on Entire Sanctification, originally posted here.

I am in the process of adding links to John’s articles below, as well as emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

Combined Articles on Entire Sanctification
By John Henderson

The following are articles and portions of articles I have posted recently on Concerned Nazarenes. Since a discussion has arisen about it, I thought it proper to repost this information.

Scriptural Holiness

There has been a neglect of Scriptural holiness in a general sense throughout the Wesleyan holiness movement. The drift has been going on for some time as revealed by the now well-known message of Dr. Keith Drury of the Wesleyan Church, “The Holiness Movement is Dead!” It was a message that alarmed and challenged those of us in attendance at that Presidential Breakfast of the Christian Holiness Association in 1995 at First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a message that completely redirected my perception and determination of what I already instinctively knew was happening.

Dr. Millard Reed, Trevecca Nazarene College’s new president, was to be the next speaker in a late morning service. He went to his home nearby and completely re-wrote his message to supplement what Drury had just presented in order to show the possibilities of holiness renewal. It was a perfect supplement. With the disease of a dead holiness movement now fully exposed and the possibilities of recovery encouraged, I felt compelled to try to do something about it in some way. What could a powerless, uninfluential aging nobody do? That was my starting point.

We continued the slide as bemoaned by Dr. Drury some ten years later when he observed that, although there was an initial response that day that seemed positive and enthusiastic, nothing was actually done over that period to raise us from the deathbed of the movement.

As we are in 2014, almost another 15 years later, we see that not only have we remained dead and the corpse is now rotted, but the skeleton has been bleached and re-fleshed in the progressive new age apparel of mysticism and doctrines of demons. Even John Wesley has been morphed into the postmodern mold to the point that Scriptural holiness is counterfeited in a fabricated frame of reference, thus becoming a false doctrine itself. They have become words without substance and void of life. What could be worse than neglected holiness? Could it be hypocritical holiness or counterfeited holiness?

Drury predicted that if the heirs of the Scriptural holiness movement did not turn it around, God would seek out other venues and other people. I think He is doing just that at this point in time because the caretakers of the holiness movement have abandoned it and gone over to the enemy, even opposing in deed and word the very truth of the matter. In the very midst of “holiness apostasy” (my term), God is, at this very moment, raising up the dry bones, as it were, to once again become His mighty army of Scriptural holiness.

Although Scriptural holiness is defined in doctrinal statements and exegetical teachings, it is more than how we define and explain it. It is the very heart of the victorious Christian life and a necessity for all believers who would follow their Lord in total commitment.

Scriptural holiness is just that—Scriptural—and it transcends all philosophical and theological expositions of it. If it is only of the head, that is not enough! It must be more and also be of the beating heart of the soul. It is the epitome of Christ in us, the hope of glory. It is His life in us on the highest plane of spiritual living through the fullness of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying grace, a grace that is first instantaneous and then progressive throughout a life of obedience to the will of God. It is the sanctified believer following Christ, walking as He walked; walking with Him. It is being made pure as He is pure, righteous as He is righteous, and, yes, perfect as He is perfect. “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Being in this world we are not of this world!

Consider this comparison. Adam was created as a perfect man. That was God’s design for the human race. He was to multiply and replenish the earth with his kind. Instead, Adam sinned and sin came upon his descendants. He then reproduced fallen humanity with a carnal nature—a deformity of the creation of God.

Jesus reverses that on a higher level. He saves from sin, then sanctifies us wholly through the fullness of the Spirit (baptism of the Spirit), thus returning us to what John Wesley correctly calls Christian perfection. Just as Adam was able at all times to obey or disobey, so is the sanctified believer. I should hasten to remind us that Adamic perfection and Christian perfection are not the same. Adam’s was perfection by creation and the sanctified Christian’s is made perfect (a spiritual sense of perfection) by grace through faith. Both are tempted to sin but both needed not yield to temptation. Both were granted the gift of free-will. Adam failed. We need not! The sanctified can still sin but are not under bondage to sin. Any sin must be forgiven.

Sin has never resided in the flesh. All the affections of the “flesh” are spiritual, not bodily. It is only in the spirit of man and there it infects the human soul. The host (the mortal body) does indeed suffer because of the sins of the spirit but is not responsible for those sins.
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Scriptural Holiness, a Practical Experience

I watched a video several years ago of a camp meeting service where the evangelist was preaching on Scriptural holiness. As the cameras panned the audience and the preaching continued, I noticed two things: (1) the evangelist was “cut and dried.” Each point was like a lecture preparing you for the exam to follow; and (2) the audience was bored out of their “gourd”.
Scriptural holiness is much more than a doctrinal system or a systematic outline. There is a holiness doctrine for sure because there is a dynamic reality we call by various terms but all referring to the same grace of God. The terms are generally interchangeable, usually describing some comprehensible aspect of Scriptural holiness. Even Scriptural holiness is one of the terms. Some will parse the words, but they actually are so interchangeable as make that unnecessary. A Scottish educator of the mid-20th century, Stanley Banks, provides some of the thoughts for this article. Aside from Scripture quotes, direct quotes will be his comments.

Banks’ use of concise concepts proves very useful for our purposes here. Recognizing that it is possible to so mishandle the loftiest statements in the Scriptures on holiness in such an objective and prospective manner that the actual realization of being entirely sanctified is missed, it is necessary to always be Scriptural rather than merely theological or philosophical. Philosophy and theology serve the Scriptures, and not the other way around.

The life of Christ is our example of this holy life in Christ. His life is our pattern for living in holiness. We are to be Christlike, not analogous to Christ. It is His nature in us, not something to merely mimic. A Christian is neither almost saved nor almost sanctified. It is always complete salvation and entire sanctification.

We should understand that there is “a sin that dwelleth in me,” as Paul says it. “It is something distinct from the acts of sin, and is related to those acts as is cause to effect.” Banks says it is the “infection of nature” that remains in the regenerated.

Romans chapters 6-8 provide several descriptions of the same nature: the old man (hereditary evil); the body of sin (accumulated evil); inward enmity (hostility to God); the law of sin (downward drag); and the inward moral corruption (carnality from the fall of Adam). It is the “germ of sin that has caused all disruption and perversion in the human nature, and that causes us to be so un-Christlike, and which in its very essence is antagonistic to the operation of the Holy Spirit’s activities within us to make us Christlike.”

There is no hope of our being Christlike in the fullest sense unless God does something about this indwelling sin nature that is incurably hostile towards God. There cannot be a fight going on. Suppression only leads to eventual explosion. There has to be full surrender on our part and the “old man” must be crucified so that Christ reigns unchallenged in our hearts. It is all His work in “destroying” the old man. We cannot do a thing about it any more than we can save our own souls. It is as much an act of faith as it is of being born again, relying solely on His work in us.

This deliverance can only be enacted by God in the believer. The unredeemed are in no position to deal with the carnal nature or for God to deal with it. They are disqualified from this until they are regenerated. They are lost and need first to be saved. Once they have been saved by grace, they are in position to “go on unto perfection” as the Scriptures admonish. Thus, entire sanctification is attainable only by the born-again. This is clearly shown to be so in the prayer of Jesus in John 17 when He prayed, “sanctify them through Thy truth.” The “them” are all believers of all time, just as Jesus made it clear in John 17.

The Executor of all grace is the Holy Spirit. He brings us to salvation and He brings us to sanctification. Being born of the Spirit is a crisis of faith and being purified in our hearts is a crisis of faith. Both are instantaneous and both are definite and drastic works of grace enacted by the Holy Spirit in response to our faith. Salvation is the rescue and sanctification is the empowering. Someone once said that in salvation we have the Holy Spirit and in sanctification the Holy Spirit has us.

In sanctification we move from the realm of struggling with the sin nature as described in Romans 7 to full liberty in the fullness of the Spirit in Romans 8. We have not been paroled from carnality; we have been set fully free.

We speak of being filled with the Spirit. It is a simple thing to understand that if we are filled with the Spirit, there is nothing else there. Our having been emptied of self, He has the whole heart to Himself. The potential at salvation is made actual in sanctification. We are now empowered (His power working in us) to a life of dependence—a constant reliance on the Blood of Christ for continual cleansing and strengthening. “We must abide in the place where the precious blood goes on cleansing.” Those who really know the mind of John Wesley may recall that he once wrote Adam Clarke that “to retain the grace of God is more than to gain it” and “this should be strongly urged upon all those who have tasted perfect love.” (Perfect love was one of Wesley’s favorite terms for Scriptural holiness.)

It continues as a life of discipline and development. In full cooperation with the Holy Spirit, the sanctified person necessarily launches into a life-pattern of the discipline of body, mind, emotions, and will. Nothing is held from Him in reserve for self-indulgence. The purity of the heart develops into maturity of character and experience. The world can see the difference. They will know that we have been with Jesus. It is rightly called a mountaintop experience as compared to Moses being on Sinai with God and his face shining when he returned.

Do you want to see a real revival? This will bring it about. The world and the backsliding church are plunging headlong together into perdition and there is no rescue possible other than the faithful evangelistic drive by a sanctified Church that is committed to holiness of heart and life-style and that is followed by boldly witnessing to that world and apostate church without fear or favor.

NOTE: While it is sadly true that the holiness movement has had more than its fair share of shallow and often hypocritical “testimonies” of entire sanctification, I believe there have been much more that were genuine such as those presented in the following:
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Understanding Entire Sanctification Through Testimonies

This matter that we in the Christian community variously refer to as sanctification, being filled with the Holy Spirit, holiness; and other terms is being, in my opinion largely neglected for any number of excuses, even by those who hold to sanctification as what is often called a second work of grace.

The general concept of Christian holiness is not merely a pet doctrine of those who hold to the doctrines of Wesley or the Keswicks. There is ample evidence that it is generally accepted among evangelical Christians as an integral part of the Christian experience, however defined and taught. It is not my intentions here to delve into the doctrine all that much, if at all. That can be for another time if needful. I want to go directly to the experience of what I choose to call entire sanctification, that moment after the new birth when the believer is endued with the power of the Holy Spirit—the divine baptism of the Holy Spirit—and cleansed from the dominion of inbred sin through the crucifixion of the old man or carnal nature. I use as a guide the testimonies of several Christians in a single meeting of a day of prayer at Emmanuel Bible College in Birkenhead, Scotland Wednesday, March 6, 1946. Reporting was the college founder, J. D. Drysdale.

Important aspects involved in the testimonies speak, I think, to us today in a very significant and challenging way. Drysdale sets up the testimonies with the statement: “When one has experienced the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire (Matt. 3:11), as I did in 1906, one can never be satisfied with formal religion, or lukewarmness in one’s own heart.”

I offer excerpts from four testimonies together in the hopes of providing a thread of what we face in our own lives in 2014. All those speaking appear to be long-term Christians. I number each speaker for clarity.

Speaker 1: “I became conscious that the old lusts and passions were beginning to take hold upon me, and were bringing me into captivity.” [This person had sought the blessing of entire sanctification several times in the past and deeply longed for holiness and purity. The person then stated:] “Suddenly the Holy Ghost fell upon me, and I felt within myself that I had been liberated from the power of indwelling sin, that the old man had received the death blow, and that, at long last, I was free within.”

Speaker 2: “For a long time I had been conscious that God had something better for me than I was experiencing . . . I wanted to plan my own life. I was in utter agony for the blessing of a clean heart.” [He (I use the editorial “he”) continued until he then said,] “I, too, cried out for deliverance from the bondage from within, and glory to God, He set me free. . . . The Word of God is alive to me now and it is easy to get through to God in prayer. Oh, how long I have been trying to reform myself but now the Lord is transforming me by the power of His Holy Spirit.”

Speaker 3: “He faithfully revealed to me that everything must be put upon the altar, then the fire fell and burned up indwelling sin.”

Speaker 4 [an especially significant testimony]: “I knew that some needed the blessing of a clean heart, but never thought that I myself needed it. I often professed to have it, and it was this old profession to which I was so tenaciously clinging that blurred my vision and kept me from acknowledging my need. And yet, how powerless I was! Many a time I longed to be free, and was often perplexed because I had no more liberty. . . . I began to pray, and tried to praise like others, but in my heart I was as dry as a stick. . . . I kept on praying for others, and even sought to help others through; but all the time, deep down in my heart, I knew there was not complete satisfaction; and as questions arose in my heart, I tried not to yield to them, and kept looking back to the time when I got the experience, in the hope that I would get peace in that way. At last, when nearly all the others had got through, the Lord broke me down. Oh, the pride of past professions! When I had opened my heart to the Lord, confessed my state and laid all on the altar, my trouble now was to claim the blessing by faith, and this I did by taking God at His word. Immediately I did so, the witness came and my heart was filed with praise.”

There were many other testimonies, each powerful and convicting. That was a great day for that Bible College. God is no different today. That blessing is for us here and now as it was in 1906 for Drysdale and 1946 for those at the college day of prayer. It is there for the receiving if we but forsake our pride and seek only Him. Know Him in His fullness first, then seek out the explanations.

(revised 02/12/14)

There is a debate going on today among Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, regarding the nature of conversion. Followers of Jack Hyles for example believe that when accepting Christ (becoming born again), one must repent. But they define “repentance” not as repenting of sin, but as turning from unbelief to belief.

Sorry, folks, repentance from sin is essential. I came across the following Baptist blog detailing the need to repent from sin. Click here for the original source of this article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets]. I am also adding some links and some images.

Bible Repentance

Here is a message on repentance in the life of a believer from a member of our church:

From Repentance to Revival

[and a sermon as follows]

The Baptist, Bible position on Repentance
by Pastor Matt McPhillips (Pastor from Port Huron, MI.)

I am going to attempt to write about the doctrine of repentance. About two years ago I became so troubled about my lack of study about the Gospel and my acceptance of four points and a prayer that I dove into studying it head first.  Not knowing completely what my conclusion would be, I saturated myself with books, articles, and sermons by men of the 1900’s, 1800’s, 1700’s, and 1600’s only to find an amazing thing.  The issue of what is repentance in reference to salvation is a modern issue.  I looked at the numerous confessions of faith only to realize they all defined it as a sorrow for and turning from sin. This would include the London Confession (1644), Armenian [Arminian] Confession (1834)[I assume this is the same as the Confession of the Free-Will Baptists (1834)], Philadelphia Association (1734), French Confession (1879), Swiss Confession (1848), New Hampshire [Baptist] Confession (1833) and many others. As much as it pained me, I even began to look at non-Baptist confessions only to find the same.  So, maybe it was that I would find men from the past that would define it as a change of mind from unbelief to belief or one’s dependence to another and I was amazed at what I found.  Notice that all of these men agreed as to the true nature of repentance [repenting of sin].

Oliver B. Green “True repentance is sorrow for sin committed against a holy God and not only sorrow for sin, but TURNING FROM SIN, FORSAKING SIN AND TURNING TO GOD. Sin nailed the Savior to the cross and certainly that fact alone is sufficient reason why ALL WHO HAVE GENUINELY REPENTED HATE SIN AND FORSAKE SINFUL WAYS” (Oliver B. Greene, Commentary of Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:37-38, 1969).

Lester RoloffRepentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven” (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1950s).

Charles Spurgeon“Just now some professedly Christian teachers are misleading many by saying that ‘repentance is only a change of mind.’ [Interestingly, this teaching was present back in the  Spurgeon's day - it did not originate with Independent Fudamentalist Baptist Jack Hyles.] It is true that the original word does convey the idea of a change of mind; but the whole teaching of Scripture concerning the repentance which is not to be repented of is that it is a much more radical and complete change than is implied by our common phrase about changing one’s mind. The repentance that does not include sincere sorrow for sin is not the saving grace that is wrought by the Holy Spirit. God-given repentance makes men grieve in their inmost souls over the sin they have committed, and works in them a gracious hatred of evil in every shape and form. We cannot find a better definition of repentance than the one many of us learned at our mother’s knee: ‘Repentance is to leave the sin we loved before, and show that we in earnest grieve by doing so no more’” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Royal Saviour,” Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, Feb. 1, 1872).

George Whitefield“Repentance is the carnal and corrupt disposition of men being changed into a renewed and sanctified disposition. … It is the nature of such repentance to make a change, and the greatest change that can be made here in the soul. Thus you see what repentance implies in its own nature; it denotes an abhorrence of all evil”  (George Whitefield, “Repentance,” c. 1750).

D.L.Moody“If you ask people what it is they will tell you, it is feeling sorry.  If you ask a man if he repents, he will tell you oh yes; I generally feel sorry for my sins.  That is no repentance.  It is something more than a feeling sorry.  Repentance is turning right about and forsaking sin.  I wanted to speak on Sunday about that verse in Isaiah, which says, “Let the guilty forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” That is what it is.  If a man don’t turn from his sin he won’t be accepted of God, and if righteousness don’t produce a turning about – a turning from bad to good – it isn’t true righteousness.”

William Tyndale“Concerning this word repentance … the very sense and signification both of the Hebrew and also of the Greek word is, ‘to be converted and to turn to God with all the heart, to know his will, and to live according to his laws; and to be cured of our corrupt nature with the oil of his Spirit, and wine of obedience to his doctrine.” (William Tyndale, “To the Reader,” Tyndale New Testament, 1534).

Jonathan Edwards “So saving repentance and faith are implied in each other. They are both one and the same conversion of the soul from sin to God, through Christ; the act of the soul turning from sin to God through Christ, as it respects the thing from which the turning is, viz. sin, is called repentance; and as it respects the thing to which, and the mediation by which it turns, it is called faith” (Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, 1741).

Charles FinneyA turning from sin to holiness, or more strictly, from a state of consecration to self to a state of consecration to God, is and must be the turning, the change of mind, or the repentance that is required of all sinners. Nothing less can constitute a virtuous repentance, and nothing more can be required” (Charles Finney, “Repentance and Impenitence,” 1878).

Harry Ironside“Shallow preaching that does not grapple with the terrible fact of man’s sinfulness and guilt, calling on ‘all men everywhere to repent,’ results in shallow conversions; and so we have a myriad of glib-tongued professors today who give no evidence of regeneration whatever. Prating of salvation by grace, they manifest no grace in their lives. Loudly declaring they are justified by faith alone, they fail to remember that ‘faith without works is dead’; and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God. … To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ. … So to face these tremendous facts is to change one’s mind completely, so that the pleasure lover sees and confesses the folly of his empty life; the self-indulgent learns to hate the passions that express the corruption of his nature; the self-righteous sees himself a condemned sinner in the eyes of a holy God; the man who has been hiding from God seeks to find a hiding place in Him; the Christ-rejector realizes and owns his need of life and salvation”  (Harry Ironside, Except Ye Repent, 1937).

I thought to myself this can’t be, how could we have men today defining repentance different that they did throughout history and then I found a message preached by D.L. Moody in which he was honest as to the reason he did not preach repentance and the basis for today’s lack of it. “You will find my text tonight in the seventeenth chapter of Acts, part of the thirtieth verse: “And now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” I have heard a number of complaints about the preaching here in the Tabernacle, that repentance has not been touched upon. The fact is that I have never had very great success in preaching upon repentance.  When I have preached it people haven’t repented. I’ve had far more success when I’ve preached Christ’s goodness.  But tonight I will preach about repentance, so you will have no more cause of complaint.  I believe in repentance just as much as I believe in the Word of God.”

Repentance does not work in our mega-this and mega-that mentality and if it works we do it and if not we don’t.  When our goal is momentum, results, and growth, we will neglect or diminish truth that might hinder our numerical growth. After all Jesus did say, “Preach momentum; be instant in season and out of season”.  Didn’t He?  John the Baptist went everywhere preaching momentum, decisions, and growth, right? So I went to the creator of easy believe/quick prayer methodology,  Charles Finney. Surely he would have diminished repentance in order to produce results.  Listen to what he said were signs of genuine repentance and false repentance:

Genuine Repentance

  • There is in your mind a conscious change of views and feeling in regard to sin.
  • The disposition to repeat sin is gone.
  • It worketh a reformation of conduct.
  • It changes our character and conduct.

False Repentance

  • It is not founded on such a change of opinion.
  • It is founded on selfishness.
  • It leaves the feelings unchanged.
  • It works death.
  • It produces only a partial reformation of conduct.
  • Its reformation is temporary.
  • It is a forced reformation.
  • It leads to self-righteousness.
  • It leads to a false security.
  • It hardens the heart.
  • It sears the conscience.

Now this  cannot be true, how did we get to this place in our churches?  Well, it starts with the dumbing down of our biblical study to be approved of God and our elevation of academic, liberal arts, and growth equals power mentality. We have Baptists following non-Baptists in modern day evangelism and methods. We have the ecumenical, fundamentalist movement diminishing doctrine, and we have liberal arts schools training preachers instead of local churches training them.  We have Christian newspaper editors establishing orthodoxy instead of Baptist preachers in Baptist pulpits.  Sadly today, psychological manipulation experts teach soulwinning, while Protestant revivalists are touted as our heroes. So I realized I have been deceived, misled, and ignorant of my Baptist doctrine and sold a bill of goods in order to protect a system of thought not found in history or the Bible.

I will leave you with these questions:

  1. Can you show me the examples of people getting saved and not changing in the Bible?
  2. Can you show repentance that did not amend the life of the person in the Bible?
  3. Can you find our modern day definition of repentance more than 100 years ago?
  4. Why would we ignore Matthew, Mark, and Luke and only  use John as our basis for the Gospel?
  5. When Jesus cast out the money changers, gave us Matthew 18, told us to turn them over to Satan (I Corinthians 5), commanded us to rebuke before all, to reprove and rebuke was he teaching us to protect momentum?

I do not have an axe to grind, but I am deeply troubled and burdened about our lack of revival and our man-made attempts to create it.

Note From Brother Ted Alexander: First let me say that I very much agree with this article.  I am bothered by the modern day preachers tampering with the doctrine of repentance and pulling out the word repentance from their message and even tampering with the old hymns. The revisions do not line the messages or songs up with the Bible or the historic Baptist position on repentance. Brother McPhillips pointed out that the modern fundamentalist, limp-wristed, numbers- driven definition of repentance is not found before the early part of the Laodacean church age/fundamentalist movement.  We wonder why ”Christian” people today live like the world and America is going to hell!  Could it be because Jesus was right in Matt. 7?  Has our generation been decieved [sic] into easy-prayer salvation that is not salvation at all?  When our desire becomes God alone, and we seek true conversions more than numbers and the approval of the brethren, we will begin to preach for God’s glory instead of a packed pew?  THINK!!!

FOR FURTHER READING

Easy Believism Fast Track to Hell

David Cloud’s articles (Google hits) criticizing the “easy believism” or “easy prayerism” heresy of Jack Hyles

Johnny the Baptist, Does Repent Really Mean Repent? – defends the need to repent of sin

The Repentance Blacklist – a long list of so-called heretics who say repentance of sin is necessary when accepting Christ. (Actually, this fellow has done us a favor by listing those who hold to the biblical position.)

Back in 2010, I came across the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group. It was through this Group that I ended up corresponding with Aaron Wright. Aaron, along with his brother Adam and their dad Troy, have a discernment ministry called Foundations Research Group.

Interestingly, Aaron, Adam and Troy had been attending the Evangelical Friends church in which I grew up. This church (as well as many churches in the Evangelical Friends denomination) is increasingly following the postmodern/ Emerging/Emergent teachings of heretics Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. etc. Aaron, Adam and Troy attempted to “wake people up” in this Evangelical Friends church. Unfortunately, their efforts failed.

Aaron, Adam and Troy now attend a Grace Brethren Church in North Canton, Ohio along with their families. Eric Barger’s 2010 seminar was held at this church.

Troy has written various discernment articles. My Concerned Nazarene friend Manny Silva posted one of these – an article by Troy entitled “Falling Away”. Click here for the original posting of this article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Falling Away
March 29, 2012 by reformednazarene

[Introductory comments by Manny Silva (reformednazarene)]:
The following is from a brother in the Lord, Troy Wright, of Foundations Research Group.  With his sons Aaron and Adam, they work diligently at providing information, as well as teaching, about the many dangers that have come into the evangelical church.  I met them finally last year at an Eric Barger conference in Canton, Ohio.  If you are in Ohio and you need resources or any kind of help in dealing with false teaching, please contact them.

Falling Away
(Troy Wright)

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2: 1-2)

The Bible predicts a “Great falling away from the faith” in the last days shortly before the return of Christ to earth to establish His earthly kingdom. Foundations Research Group is an apologetics/discernment ministry of under-shepherds (sheepdogs) committed to the protection and guarding of the sheep. We seek to support local pastors (shepherds) by providing research and support tools that time prohibits them from gathering on their own.

Our prayer is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and heart to the apostasy that is prophetically sweeping over the church in these last days. May He give you unashamed courage to stand up for Biblical truth in your own church and to expose these false teachings wherever they pop up.

Do not be naïve about the reception you will encounter. You would think that in light of Paul’s instructions throughout his letters to call out and expose deceivers and Christ’s example with the religious leaders during His ministry, committed Christians would have unashamedly cried out the truth long before these teachings established their footholds in our churches. But in the name of Christian unity, love, and meekness the silence has been deafening. But let one small voice boldly speak truth in the face of the deception and suddenly all the Christians grow vocal chords and are emboldened with courage to shout their disapproval…….not at the false teachings……..but at their Christian brother for voicing his “mean-spirited” judgment and stirring up dissension in the church. Thanks to the “seeker friendly” mentality they don’t want to offend anyone by disagreeing openly and suggesting absolute truth. That would appear too “narrow” and would be disrespectful to the heretics……….and we are talking about heresy. The teachers of these apostate movements attack the very foundations of historic, apostolic Christianity as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

Those of us who have been serving Christ for a generation or more remember when the Bible was revered as the very Words of God Himself throughout the pulpits all across America. We knew that a day was soon coming when the world would forsake the God of the Bible and swear their allegiance to a one-world ecumenical religious system. We recognized through Bible prophesy that we were living in the last days of men’s rebellion against their creator and that the soon return of Christ for His church was right at the door. We assumed that the “great apostasy” preceding His return referred to all those liberal churches of the last 2 centuries and of course Roman Catholicism. Because of the Biblical foundation of our faith, it was easy to discern false doctrine and heresy.

What is so alarming to all of us is that in just three short decades or so, we have watched one Bible-believing church after another fall into disbelief and even paganism until now it’s difficult to find anyone who is willing to stand up for truth in our pulpits. Our fundamental denominations are caving in to ecumenical pressures as their seminaries are filled with liberal professors and new age thought. Due to the feel-good-gospel and the you-can-have-it-now message, our churches are full of false converts who are oblivious to Bible truth and are offended when they hear it. Since they are clueless about Bible prophesy and what’s really going on around them, anyone who sounds a warning is considered a nut, not to mention politically incorrect and socially despicable.

Our war is with the lies of the enemy of our souls. We aren’t directly fighting the wolves who are attacking the flock with their false teachings and books. Our main battles in this war are with the goats……..those church members and leadership who God has permitted to live among us until he separates us at the rapture. They sit in our pews with us and sing our songs. They like hanging out with sheep. Though never really surrendered or regenerated, they intellectually and logically ascent to the same beliefs as we do. They do all the same stuff as sheep but without a life or death commitment to Biblical truth. They actually think they are sheep because of the great works they do…..sheep stuff. They even try to convince the Lord at the resurrection that they are sheep but He tells them “I never knew you.”

Because goats have not surrendered lordship over to Jesus, they are very possessive of their environments. They don’t want anyone messing with their territory. If you try to spiritually take a goat where he doesn’t want to go he will buck you. Goats aren’t concerned about the welfare of the flock but only with the comfort of their own stall. Doctrine is of no importance to goats. You see, sheep eat sheep food…….the pure milk of the gospel of truth. They feed from the hand of the Good Shepherd. They know His voice and eat of The Word. Goats, “on the other hand,” will eat anything. They even eat garbage. They don’t care where it comes from or how clean it is. If they can get it down, they will eat it. Goats especially like goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is that watered-down, low-fat gospel fit for goats who are lactose “intolerant” of the nutritious, pure milk of the gospel. When a pastor offers sheep food from the pulpit, he will fill his church with sheep. If he offers goat’s milk he will fill his church with goats.

I cannot stress enough how lonely this battle is for most people. Most of your friends and relatives will encourage you to keep quiet if you disagree with the church’s new teaching and simply leave the church without a controversy. They always bring up Matthew 18:15-17 instructing you to go to the person privately and not to bring reproach on the church. This scripture is for a brother in sin or for someone personally offended and is out of context when used for false teachers in the church. We are never instructed to be quiet or understanding toward wolves attacking the flock in scripture. As Paul, we are to lovingly and with all truthfulness expose, correct, call out by name, print, and warn the other churches about unrepentant heretics as his letters did in the early church and were passed around to the entire body of Christ. God’s Word is offensive to all who love not the truth whether in the church or out and THEY WILL LET YOU KNOW IT.

Make no mistake about it, these movements have leaked into every seminary and every church to some degree in the form of books, videos, study courses, worship seminars, pastoral retreats, small groups and  youth leaders.

Don’t be discouraged. There are thousands of Christians in churches all over the country fighting this same truth war with these last-days false teachers. We and many other good ministries across America have lots of materials available for you. You can contact us by internet through our e-mail at frgsheepdogs@hotmail.com. The scriptures warn us to “come out of her” in Revelation 18 referring to the apostate church. If you don’t feel equipped to fight this battle, find another church that stands for Biblical truth. But first find a warrior in your church who you can share this material with who feels compelled to stay and fight for the flock. Pray, pray, pray for our pastors and leaders in these last days. Behold….He comes quickly!

Troy Wright
co-researcher / Foundations Research Group
Canton, Ohio
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