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(revised 07/30/14)

I am proud to have been brought up in the born again, separatist fundamentalist, Wesleyan Holiness tradition, in the only Quaker Yearly Meeting which (to my knowledge) has ever condemned George Fox’s “Inner Light” teaching. Namely, Ohio Yearly Meeting (OYM) (Gurneyite), in 1877-1879.

Yet, today, many in the OYM (now called the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region aka EFC-ER) and apparently consider this a non-issue. Plus,  more and more churches in the EFC-ER are drifting away from Wesleyan Holiness teachings and entertaining Postmodern aka Emerging/Emergent views. But I digress – in this blog I am focusing on the issue of George Fox’s “Inner Light”.

For all intents and purposes, all non-evangelical Quaker denominations today have one teaching in common: George Fox’s mystic, heretical teaching of “the Inner Light.” (Forms of this teaching actually existed before George Fox – more on this in another blog).

The “Inner Light” means different things to different Quaker denominations. Some individuals in the Evangelical Friends Church International aka EFCI (of which the EFC-ER is a part) seem to be “pulling one over” on the remaining born again, biblically sound Evangelical Friends by saying “the Inner Light is the indwelling Holy Spirit.”  But taken to its logical conclusion, this is like comparing apples with oranges. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in every human being. The Holy Spirit does not reside in unregenerate individuals. Therefore the Holy Spirit cannot be “the Inner Light”, “the light of Christ in every man” that George Fox taught.

There are many aspects of the “Inner Light” teaching I could discuss, but I will only cover one aspect here. Non-evangelical Quakers who strongly hold to the “Inner Light” teaching reject the teaching of Jesus as our Saviour, redeeming us through “The Blood and The Cross” (as per John Chapter 3).

For example, I stumbled across a pertinent YouTube video while Googling for videos on Quakers. The congregation seems to be entertained by the singer, yet I found the following excerpt from the lyrics to be almost blasphemous (click here to view all the lyrics):

I’m not a Christian but I’m a Quaker
I’ve got Christ’s inner light but he’s not my savior…
Now I’m a liberal Friend
That means F-G-C… [Friends General Conference]
[emphasis mine][The above phrases are sung not once, but three times during the song - shocking.]

A member of the FGC maintaining he is not a Christian, but a Quaker? I guess this shouldn’t surprise me – there are also Universalist Quakers, nontheist (atheist) Quakers, and Quakers of many other heretical stripes.

And as mentioned previously, all non-evangelical Quakers today seem to believe in some form of “Inner Light” teaching. Question: do Convergent Friends hope to unite all these types of Quakers with evangelical (EFCI) Quakers? If so, we are truly headed towards a “Unitarian Universalist” Quakerism.

Having grown up in what is now the EFCI, I know that most Evangelical Friends/Quakers consider the “Inner Light” teaching a minor part of their heritage – if they know of the “Inner Light” teaching at all. This is not true of non-evangelical Quakers.

Check out the following excerpts, from an article on the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) at Religion Resources Online.org. I have emphasized certain points by bolding and [bracketing]:

The theological beliefs of different Yearly Meetings vary considerably, ranging from evangelical Christianity to universalist and new thought beliefs. Some Yearly Meetings (especially those in parts of the US and Africa affiliated to Friends United Meeting) consider Christ their teacher and Lord. Other yearly meetings (especially those in parts of the US, Asia and Central America which are affiliated to Evangelical Friends Church International) regard Christ as their Lord and savior. Other yearly meetings, especially those in parts of the US which are affiliated to the wider fellowship of conservative Friends, trust in the immediate guidance of an inward Christ [the Inner Light]. There is often a large variety of theological belief in some other yearly meetings (often termed liberal yearly meetings such as those in parts of the US affiliated to Friends General Conference, many yearly meetings in Europe and Australia/New Zealand and the Beanite yearly meetings in western United States), with meetings often having a large proportion of liberal Christians and universalist Christians some of whom trust in the guidance of an inward Christ or inner light, with some non-theists, agnostics, and, as well as some who are also members of other religions, although even amongst liberal yearly meetings this is controversial. Common ideas among members of these liberal Yearly Meetings include a belief of “that of God in everyone”, and shared values (such as to peace, equality and simplicity).

The predominant theological beliefs of different Yearly Meetings do not tally exactly with the style of service, but there is often some co-relation, with many Yearly Meetings that hold programmed worship having more evangelical theological beliefs, and those with unprogrammed worship tending to have more liberal theological beliefs.

Modern Friends, particularly those in the liberal Yearly Meetingss, often express their beliefs in many ways, including the attitude of trying to see or appeal to “[the light] of God in everyone”; finding and relating to “the Inner light”, “the inward Christ”, or “the spirit of Christ within.” Early Friends more often used terms such as “Truth”, “the Seed”, and “the Pure Principle”, from the idea that each person would be transformed as Christ formed and grew in them. The intention to “see the light” or see “that of God in everyone” is an effort in Quakers to cast aside more superficial differences and focus on the good that they believe all people have in common.

Unlike other Christian denominations, some branches of Quakerism completely reject all forms of religious symbolism and outward sacraments, such as baptism or celebrating the Eucharist. [Many groups of] Quakers also believe in continuing revelation, with the idea that God speaks directly to any person, without the need for any middle-man. For this reason, many deny the idea of priests or holy people, but believe in the priesthood of all believers, and reject the doctrine of sola scriptura. The idea of an inner light (or inward light) of Christ is important to many Quakers: the idea that there is that of God within everyone, guiding them through their lives.

I know, I know, the above is confusing. I hope to list each Quaker denomination, with a doctrinal statement from each denomination regarding the Inner Light and salvation.

Question: why does the EFCI, which claims to believe in salvation through Christ, insist on  associating with non-evangelical, non-believing, “Inner Light”-based Quaker denominations under the umbrella of the FWCC?

The Bible warns us to not associate with unbelievers; the EFCI needs to heed this warning:

14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Cor. 6:14-18, KJV)[emphasis mine]

I find it very interesting that an individual [Richard Foster], so knowledgable of Quaker theology and the heretical Inner Light teaching,  pioneered the Spiritual Formation movement. As it turns out, there are many similarities between the Inner Light teaching and Spiritual Formation teachings. What an abomination! I hope to discuss these similarities more in other blogs. For now, here are some links for further research:

1) http://apprising.org/2006/09/28/richard-foster-and-quaker-inner-light/

2) http://apprising.org/2008/08/25/contemplating-the-inner-light-of-the-quakers/

3) http://apprising.org/2008/08/25/contemplating-the-inner-light-of-the-quakers-pt-2/

4) http://apprising.org/2008/10/22/richard-foster-and-quaker-beliefs/

5) http://apprising.org/2008/11/07/quaker-mystic-richard-foster-circumnavigate-inconsistencies-in-the-bible/

6) http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4659

7) Excerpts from a book by David Cloud. The first section deals with Richard Foster, the Inner Light, and Quakers:

http://dtbrents.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/contemplative-mysticism-a-powerful-ecumenical-bond/

8) The following article discusses heretical aspects of Quakerism, including the Inner Light teaching. I searched for the word “Quaker” in the article and came up with 134 hits:

http://noheresy.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/from-mysticism-to-the-gospel3.pdf

I also found the article here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/48067967/From-Mysticism-to-the-Gospel-Paul-Dan

9) http://www.danielrevelationbiblestudies.com/020420063.htm

10) The following article has various references to Quakers:

http://www.bible-doctrine.org/Renovare_Analysis.htm

11) This is a expose of Willow Creek Church’s involvement in Spiritual Formation. It makes numerous references to Quakers:

http://www.cephas-library.com/renovare_willow_creek.html

12) Now this is scary – an excerpt from a FUM Quaker article (non-evangelical):
During the month of May [2006], The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible appeared in bookstores…  For Friends, it was a great month; for the first time a study Bible was released that reflected Quaker theology.“There is a great deal of Quaker thinking in this Bible,” stated Richard Foster, Editor. “One of the great gifts Quakerism has is that its greatest treasures are focal and very foundational Quaker insights are found in the pages of this Bible.” [The article goes on to discuss other Quaker involvement with this so-called bible.]
Source: http://www.fum.org/QL/issues/0506/foster.htm

(revised 10/23/12)

I have written this blog in memory of  Pentecostal preacher David Wilkerson, who passed away in a tragic auto accident on 04/27/11. Click here for a CBN news item about his passing. David Wilkerson spoke out against many false teachings, including the Emerging/Emergent Church movement. Click here for an older blog of mine, with an audio of David Wilkerson warning about the Emerging/Emergent Church movement. I pray that God will raise up many more great men like David Wilkerson. In addition to the older link above with my blog and video, I want to provide some excerpts here from his sermon.

Note – I realize there are readers who oppose David Wilkerson for one reason or another. It is not my purpose here to debate Bro. Wilkerson’s theological positions; I am merely providing excerpts from a sermon of his with which I agree (and I do agree with most of his teachings).

Click here for the full transcript of Bro. Wilkerson’s sermon. Note – I have emphasized some excerpts by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Seeking the Face of God
by David Wilkerson, November 7, 2005

… There is a new movement today called the “emerging church.”

This new movement claims to be “rethinking Christianity.” It began about ten years ago [1995], starting with small groups of believers who had become disillusioned with the “sinner friendly” mega-church movement. One news reporter calls it a movement of “mega burnout,” made up of young people tired of the shallow gospel of self-fulfillment…

Many who have become disillusioned are now gravitating to the emerging church movement. A Dallas newspaper characterized the movement this way: “Many emerging churches weave together elements from different religious traditions, especially Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Some are renewing medieval mystical practices such as ’walking the labyrinth.’ It is a pick-it-yourself, mix-and-match approach stressing community and social justice. Hell is rejected [or at least rarely mentioned] because it makes God look like a torturer.’” Such churches use images, candles, incense and other things in worship. Many of these churches connect with each other through Internet blogs, and the movement is making inroads into established denominations. Their common claims are, “We’re trying to get reconnected to Jesus — the radical Jesus.” “We want to put a more humane face on Christ.” “Let’s dialog and try to figure out Jesus together.” No! They’re putting their own face on Christ, and it’s not the Christ of Scripture. All theology, all concepts of Jesus, are negotiable to them. They encourage “engaging our imagination about what Jesus was saying.” One of their key spokesmen states, “Clarity is good, but sometimes intrigue may be even more precious.”…

I also have a solemn warning for every young pastor and truth-seeking person who surfs the internet or browses bookstores. You’re going to see books, articles and blogs about new brands of Christianity that are very articulate, very well written, very well presented. But beware: the hook being used is Jesus and it is another Jesus. Unless you know the Christ of God’s Word, you will be deceived.

In over fifty years of ministry [as of 2005], I have seen every conceivable wind and wave of false doctrine come through. They always gather up a following, and within a few years they vanish, leaving the faith of many shipwrecked. And this was all before the advent of the internet. Now a doctrine of demons can spread over the earth in a matter of hours.

The emerging church movement is not going to go away. It will keep evolving in different forms, until all that Jesus prophesied will come to pass. What saddens me is that thousands of ministers are going to be transformed by these “educated voices.” Many will be deceived and start preaching a Jesus of their own imagination, because they quit seeking God and became engrossed in new theologies of radicalism. In place of God’s Word, they will preach a radical Jesus who’s against war, who will bring down the establishment, who will wipe out poverty.

Anyone who reads the gospels knows what Jesus has already said on all these human matters. Yes, our Savior loved the poor and commanded his church to provide for widows and orphans. We’re to mirror Christ’s love to the world through our own lives of sacrifice and devotion. But the emerging church has replaced this mirror with a painter’s canvas. It says we can paint Jesus with any face that comes to our imagination. This is a direct attack on the divinity of Christ, meant to bring him down to nothing more than a human level. I see it as the enemy’s last assault on the church before Jesus returns.

We need  to take very seriously the warnings in David Wilkerson’s sermon. That is my goal, along with many other discernment ministries: to warn Christians (especially evangelicals) about  Spiritual Formation, Emerging/ Emergent Church teachings, Ecumenism and other false teachings. I pray it’s not too late…

FOR FURTHER READING

There are many additional resources by David Wilkerson:

SermonIndex list of 211 transcripts of sermons

SermonIndex list of 547 audio sermons

World Challenge list of audio sermons

Pulpit Series newsletters

YouTube list of about 2,690 videos

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.
———————————————————————————————
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:
———————————————————————————————
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.)

Plain and simple, I like lists. Lists of cults, lists of false teachings, even lists of lists. So I was intrigued to come across a “list” article reposted here by our friends Amy and Mike on the Stand Up for the Truth website. In this article, a diehard postmodern lists and discusses “6 things [that he thinks] Christians should just stop saying”. Be forewarned – his list is extremely liberal/ Emergent and anti-Christian. This, my friend, is a look inside the minds of today’s postmoderns – sick.

Amazingly, this is the garbage many evangelical churches and colleges today are entertaining, in clinging eagerly to the teachings of Emergents Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, and a myriad of other heretics. (Some of these postmodern/Emergent leaders hold to just a few of the six anti-Christian views below; most hold to all six anti-Christian views.)

Now on to the article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

Six ways Progressive theology is destroying Christianity

Jesus is So Cool

[Introductory comments by Stand Up for the Truth]:

First they asked you to think outside the box of Truth; now they’re asking you to stop speaking Truth altogether.  The Progressive wing of the Church has been able to grow and thrive, thanks in part to the re-surging Emergent movement that has long been taking the doctrines of Christianity apart. Here’s how contributor to the extreme leftist publication Huffington Post (a site from which I share frequently about the activities of the Christian Left), is trying to re-shape the Bride of Christ into the harlot of Babylon.  How influential is this guy? Steve is celebrated as the “Voice of the SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious),” as well as author, speaker, thought leader and spiritual teacher.  His latest article is getting thunderous applause. Gird your loins:

6 Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

It is time. No, it is past time. Christians must stop saying the following things.

1. The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. It isn’t inerrant and not likely even in the “original manuscripts.” But then, I cannot say that with absolute certainty, anymore than anyone else can either. Why? Because no such “original” manuscripts even exists. That’s like saying, “We believe there are aliens on other planets!” Good for you. Now, prove it. As we have it, no matter what translation you favor, the Bible is replete with errors. To pretend otherwise is your right. To say otherwise is a lie. You are entitled to your opinions, your assumptions, even your beliefs. What you are not entitled to is a misrepresentation of the facts. A corollary to this that Christians should stop saying is this:

2. We just believe the Bible. That, too, is false. What you really believe is your interpretation of the Bible. And the last I checked, the history of the Christian church is the history of disagreement over “interpretation.” How else do you explain the scores of denominations within Christianity alone? It would be patently more honest of Christians to say, “The following represents our understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures, but we are also aware there are many equally sincere Christians who interpret the Scriptures differently from us.” A third thing Christians should stop saying:

3. Jesus is the only way to heaven. What you are really saying is, “The way we interpret John 14:6 is that Jesus was clearly drawing a line in the sand and telling his hearers and the world: ‘If you do not believe in Me, you won’t go to the Father when you die.’” For this, I refer back to No. 2 above: what you and your group of believers really mean to say is, “It is our interpretation of John 14:6 that Jesus is saying that He is the only way to heaven.” There are scores of Christians, however, and I am one of them, who do not interpret Jesus’ words in John 14 the same way. Just because I do not makes me no less Christian than you are. So stop drawing lines in the sand, please, between equally sincere followers of Jesus. When I read the 14th chapter of John, I see a context that yields an alternative reading of the text. Instead of Jesus starting some new religion here and saying, “OK, fellas, I’m going to go away soon” — referring to his death — “but, before I go, you should know that where I’m going you, and others who believe just like you, will one day be, too — that is, of course, if they believe like you believe that I am the only way to heaven. That is to say, if the people around you and who come after you don’t believe that I am the only way to heaven, then, of course, they’ll have to go to hell. Is all that clear?” I offer an alternative interpretation: When Jesus spoke to them about leaving them, they were understandably shaken. How could they not be? After all, they had left everything to follow him. Now, just a year, or two, or three years later, Jesus is saying he’s getting ready to leave them? But, of course, they’re upset. So Thomas, speaking on behalf of the others, asks, “But where are you going and why can’t we go with you? Furthermore, how will we know the way?” Jesus responds in tender, reassuring ways. Sensing the fragility of their faith, seeing the anxiety on their faces, he reassures them that, in God’s house are many rooms, “mansions” or places. Yes, He’s going away but where He’s going they, too, will go. Just as He has led them this far, He will lead them further still (and what follows in the latter part of John 14 is the beautiful reassurance of the on-going presence of God in the Holy Spirit). So, for me personally, and many other Christians, too, Jesus is no more pointing to himself as the “one-and-only-way” to God than Thomas is expressing in his question concern for Hindus, Muslims or Buddhists and whether they’ll go to heaven? I can assure you that Thomas, and the others, were only concerned about themselves. And yet, even at that point, Jesus is tender in His care of them and seeks to reassure them that, just as He and the Father were one, and just as they had trusted the things He had been saying to them during his time with them, so they could trust him and what he was saying at this time, too. Yes, he was leaving them. But no, they would not be left alone. Where he was, they would be. He had shown them the way to the Father. But, even after He’s gone from them, they will know the way then, too. The Comforter would guide them. And so, the Church is here today. But not because Christians declare, “There is no way to go to heaven if you don’t believe in Jesus.” The Church is here today because when people do trust the things Jesus said about Himself, about His relationship to the Father…when people believe and so live the teachings of Jesus they, too, are changed — they, too, become “new creations in Christ,” as Saint Paul put it (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now, I took longer with this one thing Christians need to stop saying because many Christians seem stuck here, thinking that there’s only one way to interpret Jesus’ words about being the way. It is my hope these Christians will know there are equally sincere Christians like myself and others who do not believe Jesus was drawing a line in the sand between him and some new religion he was creating and all the other religions of the world. Again, it’s your right to “believe” or, more accurately, interpret Scripture as you wish. You do not, however, have permission to arrogantly assume your way of interpreting the words of Jesus are the only way to understand His words. Last I checked, no one’s interpretation of anything is infallible. Not yours. Not mine. A fourth thing Christians need to stop saying:

4. The rapture of Jesus is imminent. Again, if you want to believe in some secret rapture of Christians from the earth just before the Tribulation, if you want to believe in and carry around in your hip pocket detailed charts and graphs of how its all going to happen, then so be it. But do the rest of us a favor and stop saying so in public. So far, your record of correctly predicting the future earns a flunking grade. And I and scores of other Christians are frankly tired of apologizing for your arrogant — and so far, absolutely wrong — predictions as to when it’ll happen. My recommendation? Burn up your charts and go live like Christ. Quit masking your real fears by calling them faith. It isn’t faith that leads you to sell all you have, give the proceeds to some wacko, and go camp out on Mount Horeb as you await the rapture. It’s stupidity instead. It’s embarrassing, too. It makes thoughtful Christians have to apologize to the world and explain that we’re not all off-our-rockers, at least, not yet, anyway. So, please, please. If you want to believe in the charts that Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye and other “get-rich-off-the-stupidity-of-Christians” have duped scores into believing, then have at it. Just stay out of the news please! Go quietly to your campsites and do your waiting.:

5. Homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle and it is a sin against God. This one issue, my friend, is on the outs. If you don’t know that, you are more blind than the Republicans were in the last election. They misinterpreted the political environment and so completely blew it when it came to getting their candidate elected. And you, my friend, are misinterpreting the moral, spiritual and religious environment — and the changes that are coming. My son said it well the other day. We were discussing homosexuality and same-sex marriage and he observed, “Dad, it’s your generation that’s hung up on these issues. Once you guys get out of the way and the younger generation moves into the decision-making arena, these issues will disappear. The day will come when, just as slavery is unthinkable in our consciousness today, it will be equally unthinkable to deny anyone the right to be who they are or the right to same-sex marriage.” You can still revere the Bible, my friend, but move beyond the prejudice of Paul or anyone else. You don’t need to make Saint Paul infallible to treat the Bible as important. Finally, please, please Christians stop insisting that…

6. The earth is less than 10,000 years old. If you want to believe that Genesis is a scientific description of the origins of the universe, then have at it. Just stop insisting that those myths be taught in our public schools. You do no service to the Bible nor to the morality of this country by demanding school administrators include textbooks that teach that nonsense or by demanding courts hang the Ten Commandments on chamber walls or classroom walls. If this democracy is going to survive, get over your silly, misinformed notions that our forefathers were all Bible-believing, Bible thumping, Genesis-affirming Christians who came to this country to establish your kind of Christian nation and then expect everyone else to conform to your misguided assumptions. Whew! I feel better. Thanks for letting me get a few things off my chest. Now, there is one thing I think all Christians, including me, should remember — no, should practice (and we should practice this between ourselves first, too) — and that is the one simple thing Jesus once said would be the one-and-only thing the world would know us by… Not our beliefs. Not our doctrines. Not our denomination’s distinctions. Not even our declarations. Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love” (John 13:35). When we love, what more needs to be said?

[Note - the reposting of the above article here on the Stand Up for the Truth website is followed by a number of insightful reader comments.]

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