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Archive for the ‘Traits of False Teachers’ Category

I wrote a blog awhile back about Tres Dias. In response, a reader recently commented:

“Dave, I chose to respond on your blog for several reasons. Most sites that are critical of Tres Dias and other Fourth Day movements tend to be vindictive, haughty, self-righteous and often base their arguments on supposition, hearsay and unfounded suspicion. You have voiced legitimate, well-considered concerns in a civil, Biblically sound manner…I appreciate that.”

Don’t get me wrong – I have very, very strong positions on many doctrinal issues. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be civil with our “doctrinal opponents”.

Example: my grandfather was a missionary to China and Taiwan. He preached often, witnessed often, and brought many people to a crisis conversion experience of salvation (repenting of sin/conversion/accepting Christ/becoming born again). I remember him telling how he had a deep discussion with some Buddhist monks. He knew the Buddhist teachings better than they did! Because of this, they listened to the gospel message he was able to share. Perhaps some of them accepted Christ and are in Heaven today because of my grandfather – only the Lord knows.

My point is, I am comfortable as a born again Christian discussing the teachings of my opponents with my opponents. If (key word if) my opponents, those who hold to opposing teachings, are sincerely willing to listen to my views.

On the other hand, I have LITTLE TO NO TOLERANCE for the following (in no particular order):

1) Once biblically sound born again Christians who have “apostacized” and are now – in spite of many warnings – brazenly leading other born again Christians astray, like a bull in a china shop

2) New Evangelicals/liberals/mainliners/postmoderns who are invading/hijacking (often covertly) evangelical denominations and leading born again Christians astray

3) Heretical individuals who deceptively, falsely label themselves as “born again Christians”, or order to gain the trust of born again Christians and spread their false teachings

4) New Agers (Oprah Winfrey, Roma Downey, etc.) who deceptively, falsely label themselves as “Christians” – apparently in order to reach the Christian market

There are others I have little to no tolerance for, but the above are the main groups. Hope that helps clarify where I’m coming from with my blogs.

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Jonathan Cahn’s bestselling novel The Harbinger has proved very divisive for online discernment ministries (ODMs). Many ODMs are sympathetic to The Harbinger if not openly endorsing it. Many other ODMs are (rightfully in my opinion) exposing Cahn and  The Harbinger as being heretical.

Berit Kjos has written an excellent expose of Cahn and his quoting of the occult Zohar/Kaballah. I have reposted her expose below; click here for the original source.  I have emphasized certain points in bold orange, and inserted comments [in bolded orange in brackets].

The Zohar & Kabbalistic Mysticism

By Berit Kjos ~  Updated on July 30, 2012

See What’s Wrong with The Harbinger’s “Ancient Mystery”?

Home

Zohar: The Book of Splendor: Basic Readings from the Kabbalah

Below are notes and quotes, not an article. The information they contain provides valuable insights into Jonathan Cahn’s mysterious theology. They may also help to explain some of the puzzles in his popular book, The Harbinger, with its guru-like ‘prophet’, so-called mysteries, and bewildering misapplication of Scripture.

On the video in the box below, Cahn quotes from the Zohar [the mystical rabbinical writings behind the Kabbala] and presents his view of Golgatha [Gulgalta]. Notice in that partial transcript that the “god” who is credited with salvation, redemption, spiritual light and life is merely a place or object — a skull or Gulgalta — not Jesus Christ our Lord! Apparently, the rabbis behind the Zohar have borrowed from the actual Bible but twisted God’s Word into their own esoteric message. Please remember this warnings from God’s true Word:

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it…” Deut. 4:2

Some say that the Zohar is to kabbalists what the Bible is to Christians. That’s partly true! Much of the Zohar even sounds Christian to those who are not familiar with the Bible. But in reality, it presents a deceptive blend of distorted truth and kabbalistic occultism.

Quoting from the Zohar, Jonathan Cahn affirms that an amazing life-changing event did occur at Golgatha. But his teaching is a corruption of our Lord’s redemptive work through the cross! It exalts a skull and a “thing” rather than our Savior and King!

“…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11


Let’s take a look at the video titled The Zo­har Speaks: Gulgalta – The Cosmic Skull.  [This video can now be found hereThe original video was recently removed and replaced with a less controversial message. Please read Cahn's statements below from the original video expressing the twisted, Christ-less deceptions of Kabbalah.]

The speaker is Jonathan Cahn. Notice how he twists Biblical truth, approves of mystical symbolism, and praises the kabbalistic traditions that distort and ignore our actual Savior: [My comments are italicized within brackets]

“I found it in the mystical writings, Jewish writing of the Zohar…. The Zohar speaks, the rabbis are writing of the redemption of the worlds with Messiah’s coming. They speak of life from the dead, they speak of the resurrection — the redemption of the worlds….

 [What "worlds"? Our Lord doesn't promise to redeem any 'worlds.' Instead He calls us to choose between this evil world and life with Him in His Kingdom. “My kingdom is not of this world," He tells us. Only those who trust and follow Him -- and who confess their (bondage to) sin -- can share in the joy of His redemption and eternal salvation!  Perhaps this page will help explain the many worlds that are part of the Kabbalah]

“They say it all will come — the power of all this, the miracle of all this — will come from a sacred thing, a sacred place. And this place, this thing is where all the mercy of God is stored….all the mercy of God pours out from this place… all the blessings come from this place, this ‘thing’ … They call it the Gulgalta….

[That's an occult distortion. God's love, mercy, redemption and guidance doesn't dwell in (or come from) a "thing" or an earthly place! It comes from our wonderful sovereign Lord Himself!]

What is Gulgalta? … The rabbis are saying that all the mercy of God comes from Gulgalta. Gulgalta, the radiance of God that brings to life. Wow! That’s amazing stuff. …the place of the skull.

“All the mercy of God leads to a skull…. From this comes drips — salvation drips, resurrection. For all the forgiveness of God you want, you have to go to Gulgalta….

The rabbis are saying ‘From Gulgalta is all the mercy of God you could ever need…. From Gulgalta the forgiveness of Adonai is poured out to the world. From Gulgalta comes the redemption of the universe[This is from Rabbi Zohar 1, 28b]

[What "universe" would be redeemed? Will this corrupt world will be redeemed rather than destroyed? (1 Thess. 5:2-6) This message is totally contrary to the Bible!]

“In the Gulgalta… sit thousand of myriad of worlds. And from the Gulgalta drips dew and… the dew fills the world and the dead will awaken in the world to come as the dew comes forth. The dew is the lights of the ancient one. The light of the ancient one comes from Gulgalta and as it touches, the dead comes to life.  From Gulgalta is the light of God bringing life from the dead…”

[But the Bible tells us that Jesus -- not the physical place of His crucifixion -- is "the Light of the world." John 8:12]

Gulgalta, the radiance of God that brings to life. Wow! That’s amazing stuff. That may be the first times its ever been said….

“The death of Messiah… all pinpoint us in time and space: … The prophets, Daniel zeroes in on the time period mathematically… those 70x7s. …The Rabbis in the Book of Moed unwittingly gives the name of it… Gulgalta…. Moses zeroed in on the place. He said where shall it be! It says ‘in that Mountain the Lord shall provide the lamb,’ which is the mountain of Moriah…. And now the very hill, the very place here in…the rabbinical writings of the Zohar unwittingly gives the name of it: Gulgaltathe center of everything. Listen to the rabbis!

 [Gulgalta is not the "center of everything!" That honor belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ! He should be at center of all! From Him we receive all the spiritual riches of God: His love, life, light, joy, peace and strength -- everything we need! But He wasn't even mentioned.]

Our Lord is protective of his holy and eternal Word. The following warnings are His, not mine:

“Do not add to His words….” Proverbs 30:6

“…the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light….” John 3:19

“…if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:9

“…the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things…” 2 Timothy 4:2-5

Notice the similarities between the next two paragraphs. The first one is a quote from Cahn’s video message, The Zo­har Speaks. The second one is from the actual writings in the Zohar. Neither one deals with sin, our fallen nature, the reason for redemption, or the painful cost paid by Jesus. The Biblical context is totally distorted!

1. In the Gulgalta… sit thousand of myriad of worlds. And from the Gulgalta drips dew and… the dew fills the world and the dead will awaken in the world to come as the dew comes forth. The dew is the lights of the ancient one. The light of the ancient one comes from Gulgalta and as it touches, the dead comes to life.  From Gulgalta is the light of God bringing life from the dead…”

2. “In the Gulgalta sit thirteen thousand myriads of worlds which move on feet and lean on them. And from that Gulgalta dew drips upon Him who is outside, and fills his head every day…. And from that dew which He who sits outside shakes from His head, the dead will awaken in the World to Come, as it is written, ‘For a dew of light is Thy dew, and the earth shall bring forth the shades (Isa. 26:19). That dew is the light of the pale glow of the Ancient One [That's not a reference to our God!]. And from that dew exist the supernal saints, and it is the manna which they grind for the righteous in the World to Come. And that dew drips down to the field of Sacred Apples…”

 Idra Rabba, Zohar 3: 128b [Quoted in The Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai, Wayne State University, 1979]  Jeremy James, an Irish researcher provided this information.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. ” Colossians 2:8


Compare Jonathan Cahn’s previous message with the following quote from a lecture by the occultist Rudolf Steiner (involved first in Theosophy, then Anthroposophy) titled “The Mystery of Golgatha:”

“MANKIND is reaching out to apprehend the Mystery of Golgotha once more with all the forces of the human soul; to understand it not only from the limited standpoint of present-day civilisation, but so as to unite with it all the forces of man’s being. But this will only be possible if we are ready to approach the Mystery of Golgotha once more in the light of spiritual knowledge.

“…if as initiates of modern time we fill ourselves with Christ, who made manifest His life in the Mystery of Golgotha…then will Christ lead us even through this Death….

“These things must be regained in spiritual knowledge, in the new Science of Initiation. Then only shall we take hold of the Mystery of Golgotha as the true meaning of all Earth-existence.”(From a lecture delivered in Manchester College Chapel, Oxford, August 27,1922.)


In a recent interview, Cahn responded with some interesting comments:

Question: It is stated that Jonathan Cahn ‘says that Zohar, an extrabiblical, mystical source from which the occultic and mystical Kabbalah is derived, greatly influenced his writing.'”

Cahn’s answer:  “Unfortunately this kind of statements represents some of the extreme and bizarre opposition to The Harbinger – It is an extreme false accusation. No. I have never in my life said that the Zohar has greatly influenced my writing – nor has it ever. … Rabbinical writings, mystical or otherwise, have been quoted for ages, in Bible commentaries, apologetics, works such as The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, etc….

The apostle Paul actually quoted from a pagan hymn to Zeus [that's not true] in order to share the truth of the Gospel at Mars Hill. If we were to then to accuse him of being into Zeus worship, or that pagan writings were behind the epistles, or accuse of him of being secretly pagan – I would think we would need to repent. It’s called bearing false witness.

Berit’s response: Here is the Biblical context for Cahn’s reference to Mars Hill. Notice that there is no reference to Zeus. Instead, Paul happened to see the inscription on an altar “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD,” then uses that reference to turn the idol worshippers from an unknown god” to our sovereign God who does makes Himself known to His people:

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus [Mars Hill] and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

“Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. …since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.” Acts 17:22-29

How true that is! But today’s post-modern churches are rarely rooted in the solid foundations of God’s Word. Influenced by secularism, ecumenism, pluralism, mysticism or even occultism, they are fast losing sight of their only source of true hope. Like the Athenian pagans, the American masses have learned to love the world’s darkening thrills.

 “…what communion has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14


From Webster’s Dictionary (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1905)

The Zohar: “A Jewish Cabalistic book attributed by tradition to Rabbi Simon ben Yochi who lived near the end of the 1st century. Modern critics believe it to be a compilation of the 13th century.”

The Cabala [or Kabbalah, Kabbala, etc]:A kind of occult Theosophy or traditional interpretation of Scriptures among Jewish rabbis and certain medieval Christians [Gnostics]….It assumes that every little word, number, and accent of Scriptures contains a hidden sense; and it teaches the methods of interpretation for ascertaining these occult meanings. The Cabalists pretend to foretell events this means.”


The quotes below are from An Encyclopedia of Religion (Edited by Vergilius Ferm, Philosophical Library, pp. 412-413)

1. Zohar: (Splendor, Brightness—derived from Daniel 12.3) “A Jewish mystical work of diverse origin which became the classic text of Kabbalah and the Bible of medieval mysticism.

“The Zohar is in the form of a commentary on the Pentateuch*, written in Aramaic and in Hebrew, which purports to be the record of the revelations made to Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai (2nd C. A.D.) while hiding in a cave for thirteen years, and by him transmitted to his disciples. This pseudepigrapha was… made public in 1300.

“The body of the Zohar is interspersed and supplemented with special tracts and dissertations which together form an unsystematic and frequently contradictory compendium of Jewish mystic lore on the nature of God, His attributes and dimension, the mysteries of the Tetra_grammaton, the evolution of the cosmos, the nature of the human soul, heaven and hell, angelology, magic and astrology…

“Next to the Bible, the Zohar came to be regarded in the centuries following its publication as the holiest book in Judaism and profoundly influenced the theology, liturgy, poetry and the messianic hopes of the people. The Zohar also influenced Christian thought in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a considerable number of eminent Christian scholars were attracted to it, translated portions of it, wrote commentaries upon it and used it for purposes of Christian apologetics.”


2. Kabbalah: (Heb. Kabel—to receive, hence tradition) “The esoteric mystic lore of Judaism based upon an occult interpretation of the Bible and handed down as secret doctrine to the initiated. The origin is obscure. Evidences of kabbalistic themes both as speculative theosophy and practical thaumaturgy are found in Apocryphal and Apocalyptic literature…”

“In the course of its long development, many streams from alien sources flowed into it—Gnosticism, Neo-Platonism, Neo-Pythagoreanism, possibly also Zoroastrianism and Sufism. Its birthplace was Palestine, but it was in Babylonia, during the Geonic period (550-1000 A.D.) that it experienced its first substantial systematic development. At least two important Kabbalistic works were composed … [one was]…on the dimensions of the Deity….

“The most significant book of this period, however, and the one which came to be regarded as the holiest of all Kabbalistic writings, and the very epitome of Jewish mysticism, was the Zohar, made known to the public by Moses de Leon in 1300.

“The next great period of Kabbalah was in the 16th century. Its principal center was in Palestine, more especially in the city of Safed. Next in importance was the center in Poland. The foremost Kabbalists of this period were Moses Cordovero (1522-1570), Isaac Luria (1533- 1572), the father of modern ‘practical’ Kabbalah….Luria was the founder of a school of Kabbalistic speculation in which redemption and messianism figured prominently….

“With the advent of the Zohar, the study of Kabbalah spread among the masses of the people. It ceased to be the secret doctrine of the few…. Frequently leading Rabbinic authorities inveighed against this popular absorption in Kabbalistic studies which fed many superstitions and aberrations.

“Kabbalism attracted the interest of Christian scholars in the Middle Ages….

“The central themes of Kabbalah are the nature of the Deity… and the ways by which He has made Himself manifest—the ‘Ten Sefirot’ (Emanations) the four Universes of Atzilah… the Soul of man, its nature and consummation, the mysteries of the Divine Name, good and evil, man’s place in the universe, heaven and hell, the order of the angels and demons, Israel, the Exile, redemption and the Messiah.

“Kabbalah … regarded not only every word of the Bible— written in Hebrew, the very language of God— but every letter, every vowel and all their possible permutations and combinations as holding profound mysteries. Thus the Bible was interpreted not only literally, allegoricallybut also through the devices of Gematria (the interpretation of a word according to the numerical value of its letters)…. Thus Kabbalah …never came into conflict with the written Scriptures as Christian mystics frequently did.”


From Wikipedia: Kabbalism  ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalism

“The following article is about Kabbalah’s origin. For specific Kabbalistic traditions see Christian Kabbalah, Hermetic Qabalah, and Practical Kabbalah.”

“Kabbalah, also spelled Kabala or Cabala, is an esoteric method, discipline and school of thought. Its definition varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to Christian, New Age, or Occultist syncretic adaptations. Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal and mysterious Ein Sof (no end) and the mortal and finite universe….

“Inside Judaism, it forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation. Outside Judaism, its scriptures are read outside the traditional canons of organized religion…..

“Kabbalah originally developed entirely within the realm of Jewish thought and kabbalists often use classical Jewish sources to explain and demonstrate its esoteric teachings.”

Mystic elements of the Torah

“According to adherents of Kabbalah, its origin begins with secrets that God revealed to Adam. … When read by later generations of Kabbalists, the Torah’s description of the creation in the Book of Genesis reveals mysteries about the godhead itself, the true nature of Adam and Eve… and the Tree of Life…

“The 72 letter name of God which is used in Jewish mysticism for meditation purposes is derived from the Hebrew verbal utterance Moses spoke in the presence of an angel, while the Sea of Reeds parted…” [That's not in the Bible]

“...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-5


God’s people are being deceived! It’s time to wake up and take a stand! Will we search God’s Word for His Truth and guidance, or will we simply flow with the crowd and accept each new and alluring suggestion?

Remember Satan’s lures involves all kinds of enticing but misleading expressions. For those who believe his lies, the source and outcomes is essentially the same: deception, spiritual blindness, and rejection (or false interpretation) of God’s true Word!

Jesus told His disciples that His way would be narrow and difficult. There are few who find it,” he said. But “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Yet, for those who walk with Him, there’s abundant strength in Christ for all the challenges ahead! This promise is for us today:

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Greetings to all at crossroads,

I want to say a very sincere thanks for your constant stand against occultism and new age corruption, as seen recently with J. Cahn and Harbinger.

Your writers have done an excellent, even gifted job of stating the facts about this present heresy. Many of my friends are all abuzz about Cahn’s book, as if it was God’s latest word. The sweet alluring mystery has caught their minds and hearts.

This is especially painful to me because Jesus saved me out of new age and Greek deception over 40 years ago. I look back and now know that it was only His mercy and power that chose me for salvation and rescued me from darkness such as was taught by Rudolph Steiner. Yes, I read him and many others, but when the light of the gospel appeared I burned his books, both  mentally and actually. It grieves me to see folly such as Cahn is saying about Golgotha return again. According to his message, our salvation rests in relics, not in the Saviour’s blood.

Satan’s lies are just re-invented and coated with new sugar each generation.

Crossroads has done an excellent job of presenting the truth that will set us free, not just in the Harbinger articles but in many others I have read. May all of you be blessed for your concern for the lost and for truth. I pray His richest blessing on you and all the words you speak.

For Messiah,
Craig Henderson

Please see The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? (New book)

The Harbinger, the Inverted Tree and Prophetic Speculation

A Prophetic Dream | The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? (article)

 The Harbinger – Part 1: Revealing – or Concealing – America’s Ancient Mystery?

What’s Wrong with The Harbinger’s “Ancient Mystery”?

From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival | Home

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(revised 02/19/14)

To me it’s obvious that Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s novel The Harbinger is heretical. Yet I’m finding a number of discernment ministries with good reputations that are sympathizing with The Harbinger if not endorsing it. So… rather than analyzing why so many born again, biblically sound men and women of God are falling for this, I’m trying another approach to hopefully wake up deceived Christians and nonchristians.

Namely, researching Jonathan Cahn himself – his life, his beliefs, etc.:

… Does he have a doctrinal statement, and what does it say? And does he really believe his own doctrinal statement, or is he just mouthing what he thinks born again Christians want to hear?
… What other books and articles has he written, and are they biblically sound?
… What sermons has he preached, and what seminars has he taught? Exactly what does he teach in his radio and television broadcasts?
… Where did he get his training, and what was he taught?
… Who were his mentors?
… What authors and books does he recommend?
… What pastors, speakers and movements does he recommend?

You get the idea.

If Cahn is a heretic (which I believe he is), his heresies should be able to be easily documented by looking at his life.

Regarding The Harbinger: I believe it is impossible for heretics to write biblically sound books. Can Richard Foster write a biblically sound book – or Eugene Peterson, Bill Johnson, Todd Bentley, Patricia King, etc. etc.? Of course not – it’s impossible! If Cahn is indeed a heretic, then The Harbinger is heretical.

Note: in this blog I am emphasizing certain points by bolding in orange, and inserting comments [in bolded orange in brackets].

First off, let’s look at a favorable biography of Cahn, found here:

Jonathan Cahn, also fondly known as “The nice Jewish boy” became involved in full-time ministry soon after his college years. From an early age Jonathan questioned his Jewish upbringing rejecting most of its teachings. Consequently he decided not to partake in the usual Bar Mitzvah ceremonies, a traditional rite of passage for young Jewish teenage boys. In seventh grade he became friends with a boy who spoke to him about Jesus, which prompted him to investigate more, searching for answers to his many questions about life and God. He came across Hal Lindsey’s popular book, The Last Great Planet Earth wherein he found evidence of his Jewish Messiah through the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures. This seemed to be a turning point for him, but Jonathan still continued to live his life as he always did, including participating in a rock band. But one thing that did change at that time is his insistence on telling others about Jesus the Messiah─although he himself had not yet made a commitment to the Lord.

After two close calls that could easily have resulted in his death (2 accidents) Jonathan miraculously escaped without any injury and came to realize that if he was to take the Scriptures seriously he would need to make a full-commitment to the Lord, not just a mental acceptance without any lifestyle changes. At the age of 20, grateful that God had spared his life─he drove to a tranquil spot at the top of a mountain, knelt down in prayer and dedicated his life to the Lord. [Is "dedicated" the term Cahn himself uses? Is this his euphemism for repenting of sin and accepting the Messiah as his Saviour? Or did Cahn in fact not have a "crisis conversion experience"?] This marked a major turning point for him. It wasn’t long after that Jonathan was asked to teach a Bible study which led to his first ministry that mainly focused on assisting the needy, the homeless and disabled. [Helping people is okay, but it should always be secondary to evangelism/preaching the gospel/saving lost souls. Has Cahn ever had a truly soulwinning ministry?] Several years later in 1988, he was asked to lead Beth Israel, which with his leadership has grown to be the largest Messianic congregation in the U.S., consisting of both Jews and Gentiles worshiping the Messiah Jesus.

Jonathan Cahn is currently President of Hope of the World – “an end time ministry for an end time world,” and continues to act as senior pastor and Messianic rabbi for Beth Israel/ the Jerusalem Center in Wayne, New Jersey. He has an extensive radio ministry and his teachings are broadcast every day over hundreds of radio stations, some TV stations and by way of shortwave radio broadcasts that reach all around the world. [I'd like to find out when and on what channels/stations he teaches, to hear what exactly what doctrines he is teaching. This list of YouTube videos is a good start.] Jonathan and his ministry team are dedicated to sharing the gospel message. He has ministered to large groups not only here in the U.S., but also to massive audiences in India, Nigeria, Cuba, Mizoram, Honduras, Haiti and continues to reach out to other nations as well. Rabbi Cahn is married and has two children.

In January 2012 his book, The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future was published and quickly became a bestseller, debuting at number 10 and number 28 respectively on the New York Times bestseller list in the print paperback category. The book is also available with an accompanying DVD set. The Harbinger  published by FrontLine, an imprint of Charisma House [formerly known as the charismatic/New Apostolic Reformation "Strang Communications" - read more here] outlines a series of detailed parallels between what has happened in the United States since the 2001 terrorist attacks—including the economic collapse—and similarities in Israel’s history after it turned away from God. The author depicts his personal impressions in a fictional narrative how nine signs he identifies within recent events may signal God’s progressive judgment.

Tessie DeVore, book group executive vice president at Charisma House has stated, “It is a timely message for our nation and a rallying cry for Christians to pray for America.” No doubt she is right and the messages in The Harbinger have ignited a passion for believers who are serious about their faith─to share the Word of God and pray fervently for God’s mercy─to bring repentance and healing to a nation where so many have self-righteously dishonored and abandoned Him. [I disagree with this paragraph - I believe The Harbinger is spreading heresies more than it is bringing  repentance. The book is doing far more harm than good.]

Now let’s look at another short bio, found here on Cahn’s own website. Note especially the wording of the last sentence:

Jonathan Cahn is President of Hope of the World ministries, Senior Pastor and Messianic Rabbi of the the Jerusalem Center/ Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey. He is also the author of the best selling book ‘The Harbinger‘. His teachings are broadcast daily over hundreds of radio stations throughout the United States and the world and on television.  He ministers, as did the first Jewish messengers of the Gospel, sharing the message of Messiah to Jew and Gentile, Israel, and the nations.  He has ministered before mass gatherings in India, Nigeria, Cuba, Mizoram, Honduras, Haiti, & throughout the world.  His teachings are widely known for revealing the deep mysteries of God’s word and for the restoring of the new covenant message to its original biblically Jewish richness and power. [I've commented on a similar statement in the next paragraph below.]

And another revealing bio, found here:

Jonathan Cahn is President of Hope of the World ministries, Senior Pastor, and Rabbi of the Beth Israel Worship Center in Garfield, New Jersey. His teachings are broadcast daily over hundreds of radio stations throughout the United States and the world. He can also be seen weekly on television (“Something Different”). Descended of the line of Aaron, he has been asked to sound the Jubilee trumpet [who "asked" him to do this, and what exactly does "sounding the Jubilee trumpet" mean?] and minister among the nations, a prophetic ministry [but true prophetic ministries do not exist today - only in the ungodly, heretical minds of New Apostolic Reformation "prophets" such as Bill Johnson, Mick Bickle, John and Carol Arnott, Todd Bentley, Patricia King, etc. etc.] of and to the Jew and the Gentile in the last days. His teachings include the revealing of ancient mysteries , the depth and wonders of God’s Word, and the restoration of the Gospel message in its original Biblically Jewish context, richness, and power. [What exactly are the "ancient mysteries" Cahn is revealing? And what exactly does he mean by the "restoration" of the Gospel message? The Bible is sufficient in and of itself to tell us all we need, without having to be interpreted for us in new and revealing ways by a so-called "prophet" like Cahn.]

Some info on Cahn’s Messianic congregation, found here:

The vision for Beth Israel began with Gary Selman, a Messianic Jewish businessman with a heart for sharing the Gospel to Jew and Gentile alike. Helping this vision become a reality was Reverend Charlie Rizzo of the Church of the Nazarene who gave early support to the new work. [The Nazarene denomination is deeply involved in heretical Spiritual Formation/ Contemplative Spirituality and Emerging/Emergent teachings. And the Nazarenes are increasing ties with various New Apostolic Reformation groups including IHOP. Have the Nazarenes influenced Beth Israel and Jonathan Cahn with any of these beliefs?]

Beth Israel became an independent work in 1988 under the leadership, pastorship, and rabbinate of Jonathan Cahn. In this first year it grew from a congregation of about 35 people to three times that size. It soon outgrew its first home in the Paramus Church of the Nazarene, but there was no money for a building….

Beth Israel continues to grow, becoming what is believed to be the largest Messianic Congregation in the United States.

Stand Up for the Truth posted comments by Cahn on the Zohar (Kaballah) here. I’m providing his comments on the Zohar below. Note: the Stand Up for the Truth post also includes Cahn’s brief responses concerning extra-biblical revelation, Gnosticism, etc. Personally, I do not find Cahn’s answers very satisfying – it seems to me he’s just making excuses for his heretical teachings.

I’ve encountered similar excuses when I’ve questioned supposedly born again Evangelical Friends about the heretical Quaker teachings they’re reverting to – such as:

… immediate revelation
… “the Inner Light”/”that of Christ in every man”
… people of various religions going to Heaven because, in faithfully adhering to their own religion, they’re following “the Inner Light” that’s in every person (even though they’ve never heard the name of Christ)

But I digress – back to Cahn’s response regarding his quoting the Zohar, again, posted by Stand Up for the Truth here.:

Question:  It is stated that Jonathan Cahn “says that Zohar, an extrabiblical, mystical source from which the occultic and mystical Kabbalah is derived, greatly influenced his writing.”

Answer:  Unfortunately this kind of statements represents some of the extreme and bizarre opposition to The Harbinger – It is an extreme false accusation.

No. I have never in my life said that the Zohar has greatly influenced my writing – nor has it ever.  What this accusation is taken from and twisted out of recognition from – Is that I have in some special teachings shared quotes found in the rabbinic writings which unwittingly bear witness of the truth of the Gospel – things that most Jewish people have no idea of – such as Isaiah 53 being about the Messiah, or God being Three in One, Messiah dying for our sins [Isaiah 53 in our Bible clearly describes the suffering of Jesus Christ.  Why does Cahn need to appeal to occult, mystic Jewish documents like the Zohar/Kaballah  to get Jewish people to listen? Isn't reading the Bible itself sufficient for Cahn?], or a connection made between the mercy of God and the word “Golgotha.”  These things can be used to share the Gospel.  This has been a standard method of apologetics and evangelism for ages.  Rabbinical writings, mystical or otherwise, have been quoted for ages, in Bible commentaries, apologetics, works such as The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, etc. To take this and then present it as if I or any Christian pastor or scholar is a secret follower of such things because they used a quote to bear witness of the Gospel is, as, one minister friend of mine would say – shameful at best. It should not have even appeared in print.

The apostle Paul actually quoted from a pagan hymn to Zeus in order to share the truth of the Gospel at Mars Hill.  [This argument has used by many heretics to justify their quoting Catholics, Buddhists, etc.] If we were to then to accuse him of being into Zeus worship, or that pagan writings were behind the epistles, or accuse of him of being secretly pagan – I would think we would need to repent.  It’s called bearing false witness.

Sorry, for me the logic does not follow. If Cahn is the born again Christian that he claims, he should condemn the ungodly, occult Zohar/Kaballah. He should not quote it, except in condemnation of its passages.  Let’s look at it another way – would a born again, biblically sound Christian:

… quote from a Catholic document to evangelize Catholics because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Mormon document to evangelize Mormons because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Jehovah’s Witnesses document to evangelize Jehovah’s Witnesses because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a New Age document to evangelize New Agers because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Wiccan document to evangelize Wiccans because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Satanic document to evangelize Satanists because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?

I realize born again, biblically sound (in my opinion) Christians such as A.W. Tozer and even H. Orton Wiley have commended the writings of Catholic mystics. But they should not have. These and many other born again Christians set a dangerous precedent, helping pave the way for today’s contemplative Emerging/Emergents to quote Catholic mystics, etc.

And as I mentioned above, aside from his quoting the Zohar/Kaballah, why does Cahn need to “reveal ancient mysteries” to “Jews and Gentiles?” Why can’t he just preach the Bible as it is, without having to reveal various mysteries that have supposedly been hidden for centuries in its pages? I believe this is going way beyond what God’s Word says. Cahn is treading on dangerous, heretical ground here, twisting God’s Holy Word, reinterpreting passages to say things God never intended.

It would be very insightful to also locate detailed info about Cahn’s true positions on the following questions. To me it seems Cahn was quite flippant, evasive and unrepentant in responding to the questions below, in this interview:

Question: Why infer that God is giving extra-biblical revelation, when the Bible was given once and for all to the saints?

Concern: Israel is not America, and God did not make a covenant with us, nor are we the apple of His eye.

Question: Is the publisher pronouncing Rabbi Cahn a foretelling prophet?

Question: What else has the publisher put out there?

Question: Does Rabbi Cahn draw from extra-biblical, mystical writings as his sources?

Question: One critic said that since The Harbinger speaks of mysteries being revealed – does this have to do with Gnostic beliefs?

Question: It is stated that Jonathan Cahn “says that Zohar, an extrabiblical, mystical source from which the occultic and mystical Kabbalah is derived, greatly influenced his writing.” [I have attempted to expose Cahn's true position on the Zohar/Kaballah in the paragraphs above. I've also reposted Berit Kjos' much more detailed expose here - God bless you Berit!]

Question: Does The Harbinger say that Isaiah is prophesying of America?

FOR FURTHER READING

Audio sermons by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn (full of heresies)

Christine Pack, A Commentary on The Harbinger: A Warning About The Harbinger

Ken Silva, David James’ Book “The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?” Available

Ken Silva, Jim Bakker’s Homage to Jonathan Cahn Who Says He’s Blessed by Bakker’s Mentoring

Ken Silva, Patriotic Idolatry: “America for Jesus,” the NAR and Jonathan Cain

Ken Silva, Prophet Rabbi Jonathan Cain?

Read Full Post »

(revised 01/29/14)

I came across an excellent list of “discernment questions” from “Stand Up for the Truth.” These are questions to ask a pastor when seeking a biblically sound church. (I hope to add additional questions to the list.)

Thank you for this great blog, Mike and Amy!

Click here for the original source of this blog.

Church shopping? 35 Key Questions to Ask the Church

Holy Hill steeple

I originally posted this late last year, but we’ve had some many requests from people who are looking for a new church home that I’m re-posting to bump it higher:

If you are looking for a new church, you need to ask some very important questions of church leadership before you become a member. Here are 35 to get you started:

FOUNDATIONAL BELIEFS

1.   Is the Bible the 100% true, accurate Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit?

2.   Is Jesus the Son of God and the only way to eternal life with God? Is there any way to God or eternal life other than through Jesus?

3.   What does the Bible say the world will look like when Jesus returns? Do we need to gain dominion of the earth before that happens?

4.   Can man, through his actions, change or alter biblical prophecy?

THEOLOGY

5.   What is the doctrinal statement of the church and may I have a copy?

6.   Does a person have any responsibilities to God upon accepting salvation?

7.   What books other than the bible have you used to develop sermons?

8.   What are your views on “Replacement Theology”?

TEACHINGS AND SERVICES

9.   Is your Bible Teaching solely based on the Five Sola’s ?

10.  How important is popular culture in structuring your services?

11.  How do you train and equip your people to carry out the Great Commission?

12.  Does your worship service include people laughing or being slain in the spirit?

13.  Do you preach sermons that talk about exposing false teachers and false doctrines, or do you preach that Christians should never question anointed teachers?

14.  What curricula do your children and teen programs use?

15.  Are you a Willow Creek Association church?

DEPTH OF SPIRITUALITY LEADERSHIP

16.   Who are some of your favorite authors? What books other than the bible have influenced your theology or teachings?

17.  To whom are church leaders accountable? Has your leadership ever been questioned by members? How was it addressed?

18.  What growth is more important to our church—growth in numbers or in depth of spiritual commitment of our members? (Only let them pick one, not both !!)

19.  What is the most crucial issue your church has faced and how was it resolved?

20.  How do you determine the spiritual growth of your members?

SOCIAL ISSUES

21.  What is meant by the word “Church,” and what is its purpose?

22.  What is the role of the church in social issues or politics?

23.  When do you believe that life begins?

24.  What are the church’s views on marriage and sexuality? Please share scriptures that confirm your beliefs.

25.  How does the church feel about/handle divorce among your members?

26.  What are your views on “contextualization” of the gospel? How important is being “relevant” to the community?

27.  Do you believe that Christians and Muslims pray to the same God; that Yahweh and Allah are the same?

MODERN MOVEMENTS WITHIN THE CHURCH

28.  What are your thoughts and the church’s stances on:

29.  The Purpose Driven Church

30.  Spiritual Formation

31.  Contemplative Prayer and Biblical meditation

32.  Word of Faith

33.  The New Apostolic Reformation

34.  Social Justice Movement

35.  The Emergent Church

Related articles

9 Responses to “Church shopping? 35 Key Questions to Ask the Church”

  1. Dan #

    I think fruit would have to be looked at to determine what you are dealing with:

    You can have a bible preaching church filled with self righteousness and religion who are inwardly focused, entirely lacking in grace and mercy and love. The idol here is knowledge and they deny the Holy Spirits power.

    You can also have the opposite where you have a building full of non Christians who outwardly appear better than Christians and think pursuing good deeds is the path to salvation. These will stay away from the gospel of Jesus Christ but will use God’s word to provoke action from the members as well as guilt. The idol here is works.

    If you go to a church and all the area demographics are represented and they hold up the word of life and the sanctifying work of the holy spirit. Where the elders know God’s word and love it and try to walk in obedience to it, knowing it is through obedience that the truth of God’s word is opened to us. Where no one thinks himself very much but Christ Jesus and him crucified is their boast. A group whose aim is to die to self as demonstrated by their love for one another and are willing to be held accountable to that standard of selflessness represented by our Savior, who came not to do His own will but the One who sent Him. That group you would want to tie into and not let go. Their banner is Jesus Christ and their lives show it.

    August 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM Reply
  2. Dan, I just heard a very interesting teaching on Fruit and what it really is. The teacher said most of us think of fruit as good works…. Anyway if you are interested, here is the link: http://bit.ly/MDJo9b

    August 3, 2012 at 10:50 AM Reply
  3. mw4tkn #

    Some great questions. Moved to Texas 2 years ago and asked many questions, I think allot of Pastors are like woah who is this guy? Allot of the readers may not know why some of these questions are important.

    August 19, 2013 at 2:59 AM Reply
  4. Buffy #

    This has been the huge dilemma of my life of late. I have been to every church that might have had hope in the area (about 50,000 population). Truly, they are either into seeker sensitive stuff, emergent, mystical stuff, eastern meditation, Beth Moore, Richard Foster on and on it goes! I have left several churches who told me they were not into this or that, only to find out that they were!

    I was in a church which I liked and joined and after assurances from the pastor that they were not into Rick Warren and within a short time, they trotted out the old Purpose Driven Church book and started using “The lingo”. Then I found out that the adult Sunday School teacher got his daily devotions right from Warren’s daily devotions. That pastor got mad at me, so did that teacher.

    I was in another church that I felt okay with because I used to go to it when my children were growing up. I was shocked to hear the pastor try to teach the whole church how to do meditation via Richard Foster! Then the women were doing Beth Moore stuff and then moved on to Joyce Meyer. When I came to talk to the pastor with an armload of material on Foster, he got mad when I mentioned Rick Warren in a negative way. It was like that whole church was under a trance. When I tried to talk to the women about Moore and Meyer, their answer was to remove me from their email list! I have since run into some of them around town and some (not all) would not even speak to me when I was a matter of inches from them!

    I had gotten to a point of having a long list of “pastor questions” and I am sure this was a pain for the pastors I talked to. Many had not a clue why I had trouble with Rick Warren! When I asked them if they would read a book about him…nope! Now I am the lay person in this deal, why don’t they have the answers?

    Then I read stuff by people who sit in judgment because others don’t have a church. They use stuff like the old rag, ”If you find a perfect church, don’t join it, because you will ruin it”. First off, I do not expect, nor look for perfection, but being free of false teachers should not be too much to ask! Why am I the trouble maker when I want to hear Bible and not feel good platitudes? Why am I ruining things when I want to sing hymns filled with wonderful doctrine, instead of mindless praise songs that belong at church camp campfires at best? Some of these praise songs have refrains that are sung over and over and over until I just can’t stand it anymore and stop singing. Have any of you ever noticed that many of the modern praise songs take the focus off from what the Lord has done for us and puts it onto what WE are doing to praise Him and how long WE will praise him.

    Grouchy old woman? Maybe, but I just want to worship an awesome God in a way that glories Him, not man. I want to hear God’s Word in church, not man’s, I want to sing Hymns that glorify Him and what he has done to save us. Anything less is not really worshipping Him, in my opinion! I drive way out into the country now and have found a lovely small country church that seems to love the Lord, preach the Bible, sing hymns and welcome those who want the same. I am happy to be able to have that, but sad that I am surrounded by churches that I don’t feel safe to attend. I am sad that I have to drive that far to go to a safe church.

    August 19, 2013 at 9:31 AM Reply
    • Marsha R. #

      Buffy, remember what Jesus said…..His true disciples will be persecuted! Matthew 7:14 says “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” We are the few who find it. God’s Spirit is within all of us that are feeling the exact same way. We are fed up with these churches of today that are NOT being the churches as Jesus commanded. In fact, when we attend, we feel a part of something that is almost “evil” if you will and the Holy Spirit that dwells inside of us tells us that we cannot be a part of the heresy taking place! Maybe it would be alright if God could use us in a church where we could speak His Truth and changes would take place. However, the apostasy is so widespread that I’m beginning to believe that we, as true Christians, are being called OUT OF THE CHURCH. Perhaps soon, we will be creating underground churches? I believe that’s where it’s heading. I am, personally, worshipping God from my home and know of many other mature Christian believers that are doing the same. They believe that God has called them out of the church as well. It’s no coincidence that we are ALL feeling this way. I believe the Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work in us and God is paving the way for His will to be done. Right now, we just don’t know what that is at the moment. However, I believe the Lord Jesus is coming very SOON! Praise God. :)

      August 22, 2013 at 6:05 AM Reply
  5. Buffy , wow thanks for sharing!!

    Lately, I can relate…

    August 19, 2013 at 2:58 PM Reply
  6. SammiD #

    Right on Buffy!
    I will not andI have not attended church for years because every church in my area is like the ones you described! I am a Christian and I worship God in my home.
    What else can we do?

    August 20, 2013 at 5:56 AM Reply
  7. You have a great list, but as a Pastor, I can tell you that Pastors will give you the answer you want. These questions need to be reworded to get the “real” answer. I’ve given a rework of the first 4 questions.

    1. Is the Bible the 100% true, accurate Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit? Change this to: “How do you hear from God?” If they say “The Bible and only the Bible,” you’ve got a winner. If they say “the Bible, circumstances, other people…” go ahead and end the interview.

    2. Is Jesus the Son of God and the only way to eternal life with God? Is there any way to God or eternal life other than through Jesus? Change this to: “What happens to people who have never heard the Gospel, are they saved?” While this is a tough question, it gives insight into the Pastor’s insistence that Jesus is the only way.

    3. What does the Bible say the world will look like when Jesus returns? Do we need to gain dominion of the earth before that happens? Change to: “What are some things the church can do to expand the Kingdom of God to usher Christ’s return?” If he gives any answer other than “nothing,” then move on.

    4. Can man, through his actions, change or alter biblical prophecy? Change to: “It seems like many things in the Middle East are a fulfillment of prophecy, or perhaps they are the result of some bad political decisions after WWII. Do you have some thoughts on this?” His answer will reveal whether or not he thinks there is a fulfillment of prophetic events.

    Bottom line: don’t give your answer then ask your question, because the Pastor will likely tell you what you want to hear. This may even be subconscious. Craft questions that force the Pastor to give an answer without knowing your position. Be careful not to respond too much to each question, or he will know your position by the end of the interview.

    I am a Pastor, and I love it when people dig into my theology. I want a good fit between me and my church members, and when they ask questions, I can begin to know whether this will work or not.

    August 20, 2013 at 7:29 AM Reply

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I have come across some excellent articles by Bro. David Cloud critiquing the heretical New Evangelical movement (aka the Neo-Evangelical movement). So I was pleasantly surprised to find even more historical details in an article by Biblical Discernment Ministries (BDM).

Click here for the original text of this article, which I have reposted  below. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in brackets.

Neo-Evangelicalism

Characteristics and Positions

In general, a neo-evangelical would be defined as one who has taken a “lower view” of Scripture, has developed a more open, inclusivistic spirit toward liberalism, and has become ecumenical in evangelism efforts. The movement was one born of compromise, nurtured on pride of intellect, growing on appeasement of evil, and doomed by the judgment of God’s Word (Lightner, p. 109). In general, the neo-evangelicals “are radical — theologically, politically, and socially” (Pickering, p. 131). One of the chief spokesmen of neo-evangelicalism would be Billy Graham; chief neo-evangelical scholars would be Edward Carnell, Carl Henry, and Bernard Ramm; major neo-evangelical organizations would be the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), The World Evangelical Fellowship, the Lausanne Committee, Campus Crusade for Christ, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; and major neo-evangelical periodicals would be Christianity Today and Moody Monthly. Following are some of the characteristics and positions of the leading neo-evangelicals (see Overview below) (Where indicated, quotes and excerpts are taken from Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, by Ernest Pickering, pp. 131-138; Neoevangelicalism Today, by Robert P. Lightner, 208 pages; or from a Grace Seminary course syllabus on “Biblical Fundamentalism” by John C. Whitcomb, 1979, pp 1-2.):

Leading Characteristics of Neo-Evangelicals:

(1)  Espousal of, or toleration toward, questionable views of Scripture; e.g., most neo-evangelicals, to one degree or another, have scuttled the doctrine of total, complete inerrancy of the Bible (regardless of the lip-service given to it); there is evidence of the acceptance of a conceptual theory of inspiration, but the neo-evangelical hesitates to accept the total verbal inspiration of the Bible. The issue becomes: “Is the Bible inerrant in all its pronouncements [the conservative fundamental view], or is it merely an inerrant record of some inspired truth [the neo-evangelical view]?” A “popular view of the Bible now promoted” among neo-evangelicals is that “the Bible is inerrant when it is teaching us about God and His redemptive works (that is, when instructing in important doctrinal matters [revelational]), but it may contain errors in other areas about which it speaks [non-revelational matters]” (Lightner, pp. 80-81, 84; Pickering, pp. 132-133).

(2)  The sufficiency of Scripture is effectively denied as evidenced by neo-evangelical attempts to “Christianize” pagan ideas and systems founded upon unbelief (i.e., psychology/psychiatry, numerology, astrology, personality theory, etc.) In effect, the Bible is deemed NOT sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and godliness (cf. 2 Pe. 1:3,4). Emphasis has been shifted from the authority of Bible doctrine to the realm of human experience, thereby causing churches to move toward a seminar type of ministry rather than an authoritative and dogmatic preaching ministry.

(3)  The neo-evangelical’s weak view of the inerrancy of Scripture has inevitability led to the toleration of a wide diversity of theological viewpoints (Pickering, p. 131).

(4)  Expresses a dangerous subservience to science; the desire to gain intellectual acceptability has led to a friendly attitude toward science, almost to the point of placing scholarship and science in the seat of authority. This is evidenced in a friendliness toward, or acceptance of, evolutionary theories (e.g., progressive creation and/or theistic evolution), with particularly broad concessions to organic evolutionism and uniformitarianism at the expense of a consistent and normal interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. (Lightner, p. 76; Pickering, p. 132; Whitcomb, p. 1)

(5)  Emphasis upon the implications of the social gospel; neo-evangelicals view the gospel as being two-pronged in nature — individual and social, thereby neglecting New Testament priorities. As a result, rather than making the gospel applicable to the world, the gospel tends to get watered down to make it acceptable to the world. “The societal impact which [the neo-evangelical] proposes to make fosters the connotation of a ‘Christianization’ of society …” which frequently speaks of a “‘Christian culture,’ a ‘new society,’ and a ‘new social order,’ … [the neo-evangelical aligns] himself and his church with existing social reform movements.” (Pickering, p. 134; Whitcomb, p. 1; Lightner, pp. 67-68, 91-92)

(6)  Enthusiasm over cooperative evangelism, even to the extent of aligning with groups that have been traditionally subversive of Bible truth (e.g., Roman Catholicism). (Pickering, p. 134) Billy Graham, more than any other, has epitomized this inclusivistic approach to evangelism (as opposed to the Biblical separatistic approach). Official neo-evangelical evangelism projects following this approach would be “AD 2000 Evangelism” and “Discipleship 2000,” both claiming the goal of reaching all the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the year 2000.

(7)  Strong criticism of traditional fundamentalism, particularly criticism of its doctrinal emphasis, which is said to have caused neglect of the social application of Christianity to the world (Pickering, p. 135; Lightner, pp. 133-134); this criticism usually includes the call for preaching only a “positive message,” as often expressed by the statement, “God called me to win souls, not to criticize others.”

(8)  The ways of the world are readily accepted by the neo-evangelical; there is a tendency toward finding justifiable reasons condoning and using that which evolves from a carnality, sensuality, secularism, and worldliness (especially in regards to music, theatrics, emotionalistic and psychological manipulations, promotionalism, and general appearance).

(9)  Pleas for more political involvement and “Christian” Activism (Pickering, p. 135).

(10) Unbiblical views regarding God’s role for women (Pickering, p. 135).

(11) Based upon a generally weak view of Scripture, there has been a natural shift from objective Biblical doctrine to subjective experience — allowance for the possible validity of apostolic sign-gifts for our own day (prophecy, tongues, miracles of healing through special persons, etc.) (Whitcomb, p. 2).

(12) Shift away from dispensational premillennialism to some form of “historic premillennialism” (even postmillennialism views are becoming widespread), together with a minimizing of the importance of Biblical eschatology in general, not from doctrinal conviction, but for ecumenical opportunity (Whitcomb, p. 2; Lightner, p. 101).

(13) Emphasis upon the unity of the church in preference to its purity. “Neo-evangelicals either tone down or completely neglect ecclesiastical separation from apostasy and personal separation from the world until these are virtually denied.” (Pickering, p. 135; Lightner, p. 16) (See later in report for more specific comments on this neglect of the Biblical doctrine of separation.)

Further Descriptions of Neo-Evangelicalism:

William Ashbrook — “A movement born of compromise, nurtured on the pride of intellect, growing on the appeasement of evil, and doomed by the judgment of the Word of God.”

Charles Woodbridge — “A movement with a new mood (toleration of false teachers, ridicule of fundamentalists), with a new method (‘the end justifies the means’), a new theology (questioning the canon of the Bible, its inerrant authority, and the nature of its content), and a new ethic (repudiation of personal separation for interaction with the culture). … following the downward path of toleration of error, accommodation to error, cooperation with error, contamination by error, and capitulation to error.”

Ernest Pickering — “It lacks moral courage in the face of the great conflict with apostasy. It lacks doctrinal clarity in important areas of theology. It makes unwarranted concessions to the enemies of the cross of Christ.”

Francis Stiles — “Neo-evangelicalism is a religious philosophy. It attempts to reach and minister to man through his felt needs. It seeks to commend man for his achievements and realign his energies for good. It emphasizes unity at the expense of truth and reduces the Biblical requirements of purity and separation unto God until they are obscure. Man and his present circumstances, rather than God and His eternal precepts, are the core of its concern.


Position of Neo-Evangelicals with Regard to Separation
:

[Separation from modernism, neo-orthodoxy, and all other errant philosophies and doctrines.]

(1) Willingness to remain within old-line denominations, even those that are clearly apostate, under the guise of favorably influencing them with the gospel. The neo-evangelical hopes to emphasize points of agreement with the liberal and the neo-orthodox rather than points of disagreement, in order to “recapture” denominations. (Pickering, p. 136; Lightner, p. 57)

(2) Ecclesiastical separation is considered to be merely a matter of conscience rather than a command of Scripture; the neo-evangelical ignores Rom. 16:17,18. (Lightner, pp. 94, 152-153)

(3) Maintains broad ecumenical fellowship, even to the extent of being involved in the apostate National and World Council of Churches; evangelicals are even urged “to obtain all or part of their training at liberal universities and seminaries” in order to “give evangelism more clout.” The conservative is called upon to welcome the neo-orthodox as friends and brethren since “truth is welcomed wherever it is preached.” This ecumenism generally involves the elevation of “love” above doctrine. (Pickering, pp. 136-137; Whitcomb, p. 1; Lightner, p. 56)

(4) Participates in ecumenical missionary efforts, clearly placing a higher priority on “opportunity” than on “purity of testimony.” (The neo-evangelical also tends to justify questionable methods in missions or evangelism by pointing to successes, e.g., the popularity of the enterprise, numbers, “conversions,” etc.) Leaders in this effort would be Billy Graham, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and the Latin American Mission. (Pickering, pp. 137-138; Lightner, p. 155)

Contemporary Fundamentalism is defined by the doctrine and practice of Biblical separation. To a large degree the difference between Conservative Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism is a matter of separation. Contemporary Fundamentalism maintains stricter views of moral and ecclesiastical (or doctrinal) separation than Evangelicalism. While many spiritual leaders in conservative evangelical circles would practice separation from apostates and Roman Catholics, virtually none would practice separation from [professing] believers who persist in sinful doctrine or sinful practice. In many cases, while certain conservative evangelical leaders would oppose false doctrine by actively teaching against it, few would actively separate from [professing] believers who persist in false doctrine. History has vindicated the Fundamentalist view of separation; that is, no doctrinal position can be maintained over time apart from the practice of separation. (Source: Rocco Piserchia)

Part of the immediate problem is that many so-called evangelical churches and leaders spent much of the mid-twentieth century separating themselves from those who preached separation from unbelief. The neo-evangelicals had such a horror of separation that they had to separate from the separationists. Carl Henry was one of the leaders of the neo-evangelicals. He and others wanted to lead a movement that would distance itself from fundamentalism, and neo-evangelicalism was born. This in turn led quickly to Billy Graham’s acceptance of liberal churches as sponsors of his crusades in the 1950s, and in the 1960s to acceptance of Romanist churches as sponsors of the crusades. What the Bible teaches on theological and ecclesiastical separation was ignored; and compromise, though under different labels, became the modus operandi of the neo-evangelicals. It was called “cooperation” — and who is anti-social enough to oppose cooperation? It was called “engagement,” and who is isolationist enough to reject engagement? It was called “co-belligerence,” a metaphor borrowed from war in which two parties fighting a third party do not fight each other. But the idea of co-belligerence — let alone the notions of cooperation and theological alliance — is itself a betrayal of Christ; it is abandoning theological warfare for cultural warfare. Co-belligerence involves deciding that Christians will neither criticize Romanism nor evangelize Roman Catholics, nor criticize Arminianism nor evangelize Arminians, nor criticize Judaism nor evangelize Jews — because they are our allies in the Culture Wars against the secularists. But fighting Culture Wars is not the Great Commission; Scripture knows only Theology Wars, and in those Wars, all unbiblical thoughts and institutions are the enemies of Christ. Making a separate peace with any one of them, as co-belligerency requires, is treason to Christ.


Overview: The following overview of Neo-Evangelicalism is excerpted from Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, by Dr. Ernest D. Pickering (copyright 1979, Regular Baptist Press), pp. 127-130:

Some errors are openly evident to true believers. Others are far more difficult to discern. The old modernism was transparently erroneous. God’s people saw immediately that men who denied great truths taught in Scripture, such as the virgin birth of Christ and His substitutionary death, were obviously heretics. They were branded as such and duly rejected.

In more recent years, however, systems of thought have been espoused by men thought of as evangelical, teaching in evangelical schools, or ministering to multitudes in evangelism. These are more subtle in their compromises and are much more difficult for the average believer to detect. The more truth contained in a specific system of thought the more difficult it is to isolate the errors. So it has been with the system which has been named the “new evangelicalism.”

Someone has said that the new evangelicalism had its beginnings with a mood. Perhaps this is true, and it makes it the more pernicious because a mood is extremely difficult to describe. You may feel it, but you cannot verbally diagnose it.

After the great struggles between modernism and fundamentalism, a group of younger men arose who had been reared, for the most part, in the homes and churches of fundamentalism. They were intellectually bright and aspiring scholars, many of them trained in either completely secular or liberally oriented religious schools. They were embarrassed by what they viewed as the “backwoodsy” provincialism of fundamentalism. Somehow they wanted to make evangelical truth more “relevant” and acceptable to a larger segment of society. No doubt many of them were sincere in their desire to do so. This mood which characterized them, however, was to lead them into strange paths.

Among these young scholars a more open spirit developed toward liberalism. Not that they openly embraced it, for they did not. But they desired to have more interaction with liberal scholars and leaders, with the hope of learning from them and hopefully imparting some Biblical truth to them as well. It was also their fervent desire that evangelical scholarship have wider recognition. They noted that evangelicalism (fundamentalism) was viewed as unscholarly by society as a whole. Why could not evangelicals win recognition through the writing of books and by securing faculty appointments at prestigious institutions? Of course, to win such recognition before unbelieving scholars, who, for the most part, were bitter enemies of Biblical truth, it would be necessary to show that evangelicals were sufficiently broad-minded and flexible to be able to accept new ideas and work them into their system of thought. Two areas were particularly troublesome to humanistic, unregenerate scholars: the doctrine of Biblical infallibility and the doctrine of creationism. But rising young evangelical thinkers were prepared to make concessions in these areas. Some began to adopt compromising positions regarding creationism. They accepted certain evolutionary premises, using such terms as “theistic evolution” or “threshold creationism.” It was an attempt to incorporate at least parts of the theory of evolution into a Biblical framework.

As they moved along in their efforts, the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture became more and more of a stumbling block. If the Bible were without error when speaking in areas of biology, cosmology, geology and the like, then evangelicals would have no latitude to formulate views that would accommodate to contemporary scientific theories. So, many evangelicals began to equivocate on the doctrine of infallibility.

There were also the pressures of ecumenicity. Ecumenism is a hot commodity these days. Everyone who is anyone is in favor of getting together. For one to be against all [professing] Christians working together is like being opposed to the most sacred things in human life. The ecumenical fever struck many evangelicals. They disdained the isolationism of fundamentalism and longed for wider fellowship and broader horizons. They felt that the evangelical viewpoint should be represented in ecumenical circles. Definite moves were made to see that it was.

With these attitudes prevailing, several historical incidents took place, which were important stepping-stones to the public, visible ascendancy of the new evangelicalism. One of the earliest was the organization of Fuller Theological Seminary (1947). Named after Charles Fuller, famous radio preacher, one of its main purposes, according to its first president, Harold Ockenga, was to train young men to go back into the old-line denominations and win a place for evangelicalism. Because millions of people were acquainted with Charles Fuller through the “Old-Fashioned Revival Hour,” and because he was a strong Bible believer and preacher, the public naturally assumed that the school which bore his name would also occupy his theological position. In this they were sadly misled. Fuller became one of the major fountainheads for the new evangelical philosophy, and it has drifted farther and farther from the position of the man whose name it bears.

In 1956, articles appeared in Christian Life magazine entitled “Is Evangelical Theology Changing?” The conclusion of most of those interviewed was that it was changing. Among those responding to the question were Vernon Grounds, Bernard Ramm, and Edward Carnell. They felt that fundamentalism was changing for the better by having a more open attitude toward the gift of tongues, by being less dispensational, and by evidencing a more accepting attitude toward science.

In 1956, the magazine Christianity Today was begun. It was intended as an evangelical counterpart to the prestigious liberal journal Christian Century. In early issues, two editorials appeared which showed the direction of the magazine. These were entitled “Beyond the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy” and “Dare We Renew the Controversy?” The thought was expressed that too much time has been wasted on fighting the battles with modernism; evangelicals should now progress to more productive efforts. Another editorial, “The Perils of Independency,” supported the mediating view of the NAE [National Association of Evangelicals] as over against the views of independency (fundamental separatism) or church unionism (ecumenism). The editors of the periodical expressed the opinion that “the apostasy condemned by Independency is not as clearly discernible as it is assumed” (Editorial, “The Perils of Independency,” Christianity Today, Nov.12, 1956, pp. 20-23).

Interestingly, in the early days of Christianity Today‘s existence, the Conservative Baptist Fellowship submitted a display ad for the famous Casebooks written by Chester Tulga. These books exposed various forms of modernism and unbelief. The magazine refused to run the ad, explaining the reaction of their editorial committee thus:

“There was a strong feeling, however, that in view of our circulation among many different groups, and of our announced intention to win the liberal, we would be, by running this ad in an early issue, standing the risk of alienating the very persons whom we are trying to win” (Quoted by R.T. Ketcham, “Christianity Today–An Analysis,” Baptist Bulletin, XXII, March 1957, pp.8,9).

The ministry of evangelist Billy Graham also aided the rise of the new evangelicalism, since he was one of its chief spokesmen. His crusades, mixed in nature as they were, gave popular expression to the whole philosophy behind new evangelicalism.

Many of the new evangelicals were authors, some of them prolific. Books and articles began to appear from their pens. Edward Carnell, Carl Henry, Bernard Ramm and others produced works which had widespread influence and promoted aspects of the new evangelical position.

The National Association of Evangelicals became an organizational haven for leaders of this movement. The NAE made no official statements about it, but its own approach to the question of the apostasy made it a natural gathering place for the new evangelicals.

[Return to Text]


Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 8/01

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Thanks to our discernment ministries friend Manny Silva for making us aware of Greg Gordon’s article, reposted on Manny’s blogsite.

Click here for the original site of the article.

95 THESES TO THE MODERN EVANGELICAL CHURCH
“revised”! by Greg Gordon [founder of sermonindex.net]

Saints, I have revised many of these and also all of them are of a size that will fit on tiwtter and facebook easily to re-post. Pray about sharing these with others and sharing each theses individually. I believe many need to hear these truths and they are shared in the humility of my weakness and lack in my own Christian Life. May God in His mercy come and revive North American Christianity for His glory alone. “May the Lamb of God receive the reward of His sufferings in our lives today!”

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Official website for the theses: http://95moderntheses.wordpress.com/

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1. The “church” at large has forgotten that the chief end of man is to glorify God. (Rom 16:27; 1Cor 6:20; Mt 6:9; 1Cor 10:31)

2. Christians ignore most of the methods, practices and principles found in the book of Acts. (Acts 2:42,44; Acts 2:46; Acts 2:38)

3. Many treat “church” like any other social club or sports event that they might attend. (Acts 2:46; Heb 10:25; Acts 1:14)

4. We’ve made Christianity about the individual rather than the community of believers. (Rom 12:5; 1Cor 12:12; 2Tim 4:16)

5. In most “churches” the priesthood of all believers isn’t acknowledged and the role of pastor is abused. (1Pt 2:9; 1Cor 12:12; Eph 4:11-13)

6. The “church” as a whole has lost the concept of their being grafted into the promises given to Israel. (Rom 11:15, 17-18, 20, 25)

7. There needs to be a recovery of teaching the whole counsel of God, especially in expository form. (Acts 20:27; 1Tim 4:6, 2Tim 2:15)

8. We take it too lightly that we have the blessing and honor of having God’s Scriptures in our possession. (Ps 119:16; Acts 13:44; Neh 8:9)

9. There has never been more access to the Word of God, yet so little reading of it. (1Tim 4:13; Neh 8:1-3; Ps 119:59)

10. Some read the Scriptures to attain knowledge, but do not practice what they read. (Jam 1:22; Mt 7:21; 3Jn 4)

11. Worship has become an idol in many “churches”. The music often resembles that of the world. (Amos 5:23; Phil 4:8; 1Jn 5:21)

12. The world is shaping the views of the “church” more than the “church” shaping the world. (Rom 12:2; Mt 5:13; 1Cor 1:22-23)

13. The “church” spends more money on dog food than on missions. (2Cor 9:6; Lk 21:2; Acts 4:34-35)

14. We take lightly the cost of discipleship laid out by Jesus Christ and do not deny our lives. (Lk 14:33; Lk 14:26-27; Mt 8:19-20)

15. There is a lack of true discipleship and making others to be obedient disciples. (Mt 28:20; 2Tim 2:2; 2Tim 2:14)

16. Many subscribe to the error that parts of life are to be spiritual while others are to be secular. (1Pt 4:2; Col 3:3; 1Jn 2:6)

17. Modern Christians often find Jesus’ command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent. (Phil 2:21; Jam 3:16; Rom 12:1-2)

18. Self disciplines in the Christian life such as fasting and praying are considered legalistic. (2Tim 2:21; 2Tim 1:8; Mt 6:17)

19. Little thought and contemplation is put towards the lostness of men, the seriousness of the Gospel. (Phil 3:8; Gal 2:20; Heb 10:34)

20. We are living with an epidemic of cheap grace with flippant confession and shallow consecration. (Lk 14:28-30; Lk 14:26; Jam 4:8)

21. Since the inception of the Church, the Gospel had the requirements of repentance and discipleship. (Acts 2:38; Lk 14:26; Jn 8:31)

22. Now forgiveness is offered without repentance, discipleship without obedience, salvation without sanctity. (Heb 10:29; 4:11; Lk 13:24)

23. Introspection, counting the cost, godly sorrow over sin, are all foreign to many in the “church”. (Acts 2:37; Ps 119:9; Heb 6:1-2)

24. The modern church loves itself more than its neighbor. (1Cor 3:3; Gal 5:13; Phil 2:3)

25. The church must repent of its idolization of personality, and of business principles. (2Cor 2:17; 1Cor 3:5; 1Cor 12:23)

26. Many elders and pastors of the “church” sadly are fleecing the flock to supply their own wants. (Jn 10:12-13; 1Pt 5:2-3; Rev 2:15)

27. The qualities most in demand in today’s pastorate are frequently foreign to the Scriptures. (1Tim 3:2-3; 1Tim 3:5; 1Tim 1:5-7)

28. The professionalization of the pastorate is a sin and needs to be repented of. (2Cor 11:13; Gal 3:1; Gal 2:6)

29. There must be repentance for the ambitious desire and idolization of the celebrity pastorate. (3Jn 9; Jer 17:5; 1Cor 12:22)

30. Pastors must trust the Spirit, not statistics. (2Sam 24:1; 1Cor 1:25; Rom 8:14)

31. Modern day prophets are being stoned by criticism and neglect. (2Tim 4:3-4; Gal 1:10; Jer 1:7-8)

32. God’s prophets are ill-treated and shunned by most “christians” considered too harsh or extreme. (Jer 6:10; Isa 6:9-10; Gal 4:16)

33. The prophets prophesy falsely, priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so. (Mt 24:4, 11-12; 1Cor 1:19, Jude 8 )

34. There are many false gospels being preached from pulpits in our day. (2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:8-9; Jude 16)

35. There is an epidemic of a “mock” salvation message. It is correct in doctrine, but false in reality. (2Cor 3:6; 1Jn 5:11-12; Rom 8:9)

36. A salvation that does not make men holy is trusted in by a deceived multitude. (Jude 4; Rom 8:1; Rom 6:17-18)

37. There is a needed perseverance in the truths of the Gospel without unbelief. (Eph 1:1; Heb 6:11-12; Heb 10:26-27)

38. A great need is to see “christians” become saints in actual experience. (1Jn 2:29; Col 3:5-8; Tit 3:8)

39. Many professors of religion are forbidding people to be a part of the holy body of Christ. (Mt 23:13; Ps 119:1-2; 2Pt 1:3-4)

40. Preaching has become all about the happiness of man and not the glory of God. (Jn 6:26; Rom 4:20; 1Pt 4:11)

41. Preachers give smooth words to entice men, yet very few give any words of correction or rebuke. (Jer 6:14; Pro 1:23; 1Tim 5:20)
———————————————————————————–
[Note: Theses #42 through #52 are found in this sermon by Carter Conlon- DM]

42. Run from gospels that focus on our success and prosperity in the name of Jesus Christ. (Jn 2:16; Acts 20:33; Jer 6:13)

43. Run from gospels that focus on self-improvement. (1Tim 6:5; Heb 12:14; Jam 4:14)

44. Run from churches where men, and not Christ, are glorified. (Col 1:18; Jude 25; Jn 16:14)

45. Run from churches where there is no Bible, no cross, no mention of the blood of Christ. (1Pt 1:18-19; Eph 3:13; Rev 1:5)

46. Run from churches where the worship leaves you cold, where there’s no sense of God’s presence. (1Cor 5:4; Ps 80:14-15; Jer 12:11)

47. Run from churches where you’re comfortable in your sin. (1Cor 14:25; Heb 10:30-31; Heb 4:13)

48. Run from churches that use the pulpit of God for a personal agenda. (Jude 10-11,19; 3Jn 9)

49. Run from those who preach division between races and cultures. (Jam 2:4, Gal 3:28, Rev 5:9)

50. Run from ungodly, spasmodic movements and endless empty prophesying. (Jer 5:13; 1Cor 14:33, 1Jn 2:16)

51. Run from preachers who tell mostly stories and jokes. (Eph 5:4; Tit 1:8; 2:12)

52. Run from those that are only after money, who use one gimmick after another to get your money. (2Pt 2:3; 2Cor 12:14; 1Cor 9:18)
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53. The phrase “accept Jesus as your personal Saviour” is not found in the Scriptures. (Rom 10:9-10; Col 1:13; Acts 26:20)

54. Evidence of true conversion does not seem important to modern day Christians. (1Jn 2:6; 1Jn 4:17; Mt 7:20)

55. Thousands of sinners think of God as having only one attribute: Love! But they continue in sin. (Rom 1:18; Acts 5:11; Ps 2:12)

56. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” has hindered true evangelism. (Rom 3:19; Acts 26:18; Phil 3:18-21)

57. A Gospel of love and grace only, without the law of God being preached. This is a doctrine of Satan. (2Tim 4:3-4; Rom 2:4-5; 3:19)

58. There has clearly arisen a careless mixture of 20th century reasoning with God’s revelation. (Col 2:8; Rom 1:25; Gal 1:6)

59. Decisionism and the “sinner’s prayer” has been a major cause of false conversions in the “church”. (2Pt 2:1-2; Eph 2:4-5; 2Cor 5:17-18)

60. Many will be surprised to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you, depart from me.” (Mt 7:22-23; 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21)

61. Men have taken the place of the Holy Spirit in confirming men in their supposed salvation. (1Jn 2:3-5; 2Ths 1:8; Gal 6:12-15)

62. The doctrine of hell and eternal suffering is something little grasped by most professing “christians”. (Mt 13:42; Jam 5:1; Ps 9:17)

63. The judgment seat of Christ is perhaps one of the most neglected topics in the modern pulpit. (2Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 1Cor 3:13)

64. The second coming of Christ needs to be re-instated as the church’s general thrust and burden. (1Jn 3:2-3; Col 3:4-6; 1Ths 4:14-17)

65. The church has lost the fear of God and has over emphasized the love of God. (Heb 12:28-29; Lk 12:5; Heb 10:31)

66. The church has left evangelism to a few trained professionals. (Acts 8:1,4; Acts 4:29; Rom 10:14)

67. Repentance is considered a one-time act in modern evangelism rather than a way of life. (Rev 3:19; Heb 12:17; 2Pt 3:9)

68. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is something that is not taught in many pulpits. (Acts 2:36; 1Cor 12:3; Rom 6:18)

69. Many in “churches” are not open to correction, church discipline or rebuke. (1Cor 5:5; 1Cor 11:31-32; Heb 12:7-9)

70. Some preach salvation as a theory instead of persuading men to come to Christ. (Jn 5:40; Col 1:28; 2Cor 4:5)

71. There has been a loss of the fullness and majesty of the gospel. (1Tim 1:11; Jude 25; Rom 15:29)

72. There is little mention of sin or the depravity of man from “church” pulpits. (Jn 3:20; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5)

73. Covetousness, consumerism, and coddling of the world’s goods does not appear wrong. (Jer 22:17; 1Jn 2:15-16; 1Tim 3:3)

74. Little is made of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in churches or in evangelism. (1Cor 15:14-15; Acts 4:10, 33)

75. The “church” has relied more on technology than God. (Zech 4:6; 1Cor 1:21; 2:4)

76. The prayer meeting is considered one of the least important meetings in the “church”. (1Tim 2:1; Acts 4:31; Phil 4:6)

77. Pastors have never prayed less than they do in the “church” today. (Jer 10:21; Phil 2:21; Eph 6:18-19)

78. Very few are waiting on God for His direction and purpose for His Church. (Eph 1:11; Ps 37:7; Isa 40:31)

79. The “church” has many organizers, but few agonizers. (Phil 3:18-19; Rom 9:1-3; Jer 9:1)

80. We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the “church”. (2Tim 4:2; 1Cor 14:39; 1Cor 12:31)

81. A serious, sober, self-controlled Christianity is very seldom found or preached. (2Pt 3:11; 1Pt 4:7; Jude 3)

82. The “church” at large has forgotten how to pray. (1Jn 3:22; Acts 6:4; 1Ths 5:17)

83. Many “churches” are more dependent on tradition than the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Mk 7:13; Acts 16:6; Acts 13:2)

84. Multitudes of professors preach and teach: that you cannot be freed from sin. (Rom 16:18; Rom 6:1-2; 2Pt 2:1)

85. The Apostles and Christ always preached the possibility to walk free from sin. (Tit 2:11-12; 1Pt 1:14-16; Rom 6:19)

86. Sinners are not saved to sin, but rather, saved to holiness and good works. (Rom 6:13; Eph 2:10; 2Pt 3:14)

87. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. (2Tim 2:19; 1Pt 4:17-18; 2Tim 3:12)

88. A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day. (1Tim 6:3; 2Ths 3:6; 2Ths 2:13)

89. Many are confused about obedience, and good works that are readily mentioned in the Scriptures. (Tit 3:8; Jn 10:32; Rev 3:15)

90. Little emphasis is put on the plan of God to make us like Jesus Christ in “churches”. (1Pt 1:14-16; 1Jn 2:6; 1Pt 4:1)

91. Christ did not die on the cross to obtain a worldly “church” but for a “glorious Church.” (Eph 5:27; Tit 2:14; Col 4:12)

92. Christ does not come into an unregenerate and impure heart as many contemporary theologians say. (2Cor 5:17; Mt 5:8; Eze 18:31)

93. A holy Church is God’s blessing to the world; an unholy “church” is God’s judgment upon the world. (Mt 5:14,16; Eph 4:1; 1Ths 2:12)

94. If Christianity is to make any headway in the present time, it must be proved to be more than a theory. (2Ths 3:6-7; 1Ths 4:1,11-12)

95. Unbelief has gagged and bound us as risen Lazarus! We need release in this final hour! (Heb 3:12-14; 1Cor 3:21-23; Heb 11:6)

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(revised 11/09/13)

(image source: http://alivewithchrist.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/wolf-in-sheeps-clothing1.jpg)

Pentecostal preacher David Wilkerson passed away in a tragic auto accident on 04/27/11. Click here for a CBN news item on his passing.

In memory of the late David Wilkerson (1931-2011), I am attempting to locate and post various sermons of his. Specifically, sermons regarding false teachers.

Following are excerpts from a Wilkerson sermon regarding traits of false teachers. I have emphasized certain points by bolding or [bracketing] them. The entire sermon is excellent; I had a hard time narrowing it down.

Note: I find it interesting that this sermon was preached in 1991, before the rise of Emerging/Emergent teachings. This sermon seems very relevant.

[World Challenge Pulpit Series]
Another Jesus, Another Spirit, Another Gospel
By David Wilkerson
October 7, 1991

… New doctrines, new revelations and new gospels are springing up almost daily. And it’s going to get much worse. The Bible clearly warns that in the last days strange doctrines will come forth – introducing another Jesus, another Spirit, another gospel!

The apostle Paul called together the elders of the church at Ephesus, and his final words to these beloved saints were: “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30)…

Beloved, my greatest joy in glory – along with Paul and every true minister of God - will be to hear each of your names called by the Lord, see you stand before Him overflowing with devotion and humility, and hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

That truly is the one desire of my heart. And that is why I preach with fire and zeal. If Paul were alive today and preaching from the pulpit of Times Square Church, he would say the same thing to us tearfully every time he spoke: “Beware! An invasion is coming! False teachers and false doctrines will bombard you from all sides. They will introduce to you another Christ. They will not be of the Holy Spirit, but of another spirit. And it will not be the true gospel – it will be another.” …

So often, a good-hearted, solid Christian will hand me a tape and say, “You’ve got to hear this teacher. The message is incredible, powerful! Everybody’s talking about it.” So I listen. And it sounds pretty good – anointed, new and fresh. But then the Spirit begins to churn inside me.

Does this ever happen with you? As you listen, you feel an uneasiness – so you wait, and you keep listening. You say, “I don’t hear anything wrong yet. But something does not sound right.” And if you stay with it, suddenly, there it is – error. Gross, total error – frightful heresy! Unscriptural interpretations, fanciful dreams, man’s own ideas, as if a mystery is being unlocked. But it does not line up with God’s Word.

Paul was amazed by how easily some of the Galatians were swayed: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8)….

Paul was saying, “Don’t be so gentlemanly and ladylike about it. If it’s not the gospel you heard from me, it’s not of God. It’s accursed, rotten, deadly. It is serious business, and it will trouble you if you get caught up in it. So don’t take it lightly. Don’t bear with it, and don’t be nice about it. Let the one who preaches it be accursed!”

How shall we know then what is the true gospel, and what is accursed?

… all false gospels have the same traits in common. God did not leave this important matter to guess-work. He has made it very clear, and there are absolute clues to watch for, which expose the teaching as false:

1. Any Teaching That Undermines the Fear of God is Accursed – Of the Devil!

All false teachers have this one message in common: “Relax, God cant’ be hard. He won’t hurt you–He loves you. A loving God wants you to enjoy life.” The enemy’s trick is to move you away from the awesome reverence and fear of a holy God who judges sin.  All false doctrine has this one aim–to undermine the fear of God in you…

I’ve heard from godly, heartbroken youth pastors who have been fired from their churches or are quitting. They preach holiness and the fear of God to the teenagers, but the pastors and parents are complaining that they bring a bondage to the youth: “We don’t want you preaching that stuff to our kids.” These teenagers (some of whom are preacher’s kids) are living in total rebellion. They are disrespectful, fooling their parents, lusting after the world. And the messages about holiness and the fear of God are shaking these kids up because they’re never heard it before.

We have raised an entire generation that is totally devoid of the fear of God. They have never known anything about judgement. They’ve always had everything they’ve wanted. They say, “We want rock-and-roll,” and their parents say, “don’t upset them. Bring rock-and-roll into the church and give it Christian lyrics.” Or, “they’re going to have sex anyway, so let’s give them protection.” [I almost left out this "racy" statement, but I wanted to point out that I personally encountered this view of teenage sexuality almost thirty years ago - in a supposedly conservative evangelical denomination!]

These youth have never known God’s fear, because pastors and parents have made God out to be the great appeaser in the sky. Only a handful of Christian youth today walk in holiness. Why? Because pastors are too weak to preach the gospel in the pulpit–and because parents are living double lives, and their kids know it!

Some Christians have written to me, “Brother Dave, you preach so hard. Do you preach that way all the time in your church? Do the people take it?” My answer is this: We are called to preach the Word with such power and authority that it will produce a constant fear of God in every hearer. Those who won’t forsake their pet sins won’t stay, because they will be offended. They will turn away their ears from the truth and will seek out teachers to cater to their lusts (see 2 Timothy 4:1-4).

God’s Word says, “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6). Here is what I believe a true gospel message must produce in us:

1) A hatred for sin that allows no excuses or alibis.
2) A conviction for all spiritual laziness and compromise.
3) An inner knowledge that God does not wink at our sins.
4) A conviction that we will reap what we sow.
5) A righteous, holy fear of God.
6) A confidence that He will deliver us from every sin we hate and resist.

… Beware of any message that breaks conviction for sin, that produces a spirit of non-vigilance, that eases you back softly and whispers, “All is well.” All such tranquilizers are false gospels!

David Wilkerson then presented three more clues to look for in recognizing false teachers:

2. Beware of Any Gospel That Diverts You From Single-Minded Devotion to Jesus Christ
3. There Can Be No Devotion to Christ Without a Walk of Holiness
4. The True Gospel Is Concerned With Your Heart [and convicts your heart of sin] – for Out of It Come the Issues Of Life!

Click here for the entire transcript of David Wilkerson’s sermon.

This is a very important sermon; I pray you will read through the entire sermon carefully. Note – each of the clues to spotting false teachers is extremely important; each point could be covered in depth in a separate blog, respectively.

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