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(revised 05/14/15)

In recent days I have been very concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of the “same-sex marriage” issue. In all likelihood, “same-sex marriage” will be approved for all 50 states of the U.S. (plus the District of Columbia) around 07/01/15.

A question for born again Christian readers: are you “vexed” (troubled) by the possibility of nationally recognized gay marriage? I’m not talking about just the possibility of various Christian rights being taking away. I’m also talking about concern over sin itself.

I must admit, I have a tendency to be angry towards sinners themselves. But we need to take a deep breath, step back, and realize why we preach against sin. Sinners are headed straight down the path to Hell and the eternal Lake of Fire, if they do not accept Christ as Saviour. This is what our preaching against sin (of various kinds) should be all about – pointing out sin, and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict so sinners will turn around, repent of sin and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord.

I realize there are various ways to approach sinners and sin. And I would say different people need to be approached in different ways. Plus preachers vary in their personalities and God-given missions. John the Baptist and other prophets seemed to “rail” against sin in righteous anger. On the other hand, Jeremiah was called “the weeping prophet” (see the book of Lamentations), and Jesus wept over Jerusalem.

Following is an excellent, pertinent sermon outline I came across, by Independent Fundamental Baptist Pastor James J. Barker. The original sermon outline can be found here. I hope to add links to the Scripture passages, as time permits.

BEING VEXED IS NOT ENOUGH

Text: II PETER 2:1-9

INTRODUCTION:

1.     I would like to draw your attention to a word found twice in our text this morning – “vexed” (2:7, 8).  Lot was vexed. He did not approve of the so-called “gay lifestyle” of Sodom and Gomorrah.

2.     To be “vexed” means to be troubled, to be afflicted, to be disturbed, to be annoyed, and to be distressed.

3.     From our text we see that Lot was vexed by the filthy behavior of the Sodomites (2:6-8).  In fact, some Greek scholars even translate this word as “tortured” – i.e., Lot was being tortured by “seeing and hearing” what the Sodomites were doing.

4.     If all we had to go by was the OT, most of us would assume that Lot was not a saved man.  However, in II Peter 2:7, Lot is referred to as a just man, and in verse 8 he is referred to as a righteous man.

5.     In other words, Lot was saved.  He was carnal; he was backslidden; he was a compromiser – but he was saved.  Lot knew the Lord.

6.     As we look at the life of Lot this morning, I would like to remind you that I Corinthians 10:11 says these OT historical accounts were “written for our admonition.”

7.     Then the very next verse says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” This is an important lesson for us because in the Bible, Lot represents the carnal, worldly Christian, and the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah represent the world.

8.     Sodom and Gomorrah are referred to many times in both the OT and the NT.  We do not have time to look up all of the references, but we will look at a few in order to demonstrate that in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah is a picture and type of the world (cf. Isaiah 1:9, 10; 3:8, 9; 13:19; Jer. 23:14; 49:17, 18; Ezek. 16:49; Amos 4:11, 12; Zeph. 2:9; Luke 17:28-32; Rev. 11:8).

9.     Did you notice that God not only compares Israel, and Judah, and Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah; He also compares Babylon, Edom, Moab, and Ammon to Sodom and Gomorrah.

10. In other words, just as Lot represents the worldly, carnal believer; and Sodom and Gomorrah represent the world.

11. My message this morning is entitled, “Being Vexed Is Not Enough.”  There are many Christians who complain about the homosexuals but they let their children dress just like the world.  They oppose abortion but they let their children go to proms and get involved in dating.

I. LOT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM THE SODOMITES

1.     Second Peter 2:7 says that Lot was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.”  In the King James Bible, “conversation” refers to conduct and behavior.

2.     Lot was not only vexed by the way they talked, he was vexed by the way they lived – “their unlawful deeds.”

3.     I think it is easy to understand what happened to Lot.  We see this all the time.  For example, a young person goes to public school and tries to live for God and soon he or she gets discouraged – the ridicule, the derision, the sarcasm, the scorn, the contempt – it becomes to much to bear so soon the public school student begins to “blend in” rather than be different from his ungodly classmates.

4.     This peer pressure is very strong with teenagers but it is also a problem with adults.  Christians often hear dirty words and gutter language at work.  Wicked sinners will take God’s name in vain, but many Christians will not object.

5.     This is what happened to Lot.  He should have separated from the Sodomites.  He should have taken a stand for God.  He should have protected his family, but he didn’t.

6.     The Bible says, “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2:8).

7.     Notice, Lot had to endure this ungodliness “day to day.”  He was horribly affected by what he was “seeing and hearing” (2:8).  Many Christians vex their righteous soul by what they are seeing and hearing – for example, by watching garbage on TV, and videos, and the Internet, and listening to rock music, and so on (cf. II Peter 2:8).

8.     Michael Green says, “It is customary for Christians today, living inn a secularized society, no longer to be shocked by sinful things which they see and hear.  They will, for example, without protest sit through a television program presenting material which a generation ago they would never have contemplated watching at a theatre or cinema. But when a man’s conscience becomes dulled to sin, and apathetic about moral standards, he is no longer wiling to look to the Lord for deliverance” (Tyndale Commentary).

9.     Remember, Lot had to be dragged out of Sodom (Gen. 19:16).

10. By the way, notice sodomy is called “unlawful” (II Peter 2:8).  Liberal politicians and wicked judges can pass all the laws that they want but they cannot make homosexuality lawful because God calls it “unlawful.” The Bible also calls it sinful, vile, wicked, abominable, unnatural, dishonorable, unseemly, and foolish.

11. James 1:27 tells us that we should keep ourselves “unspotted from the world,” but too many Christians are like Lot.

II.  LOT DID NOT HAVE A GOOD TESTIMONY IN SODOM

1.     You may remember the interesting conversation between the LORD and Abraham that is recorded in Genesis 18.

2.     In this portion of Scripture, Abraham is attempting to intercede for Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:16-33).

3.     Abraham is pleading for the wicked citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah.  He does not want to see them destroyed.

4.     Note that Abraham starts with 50 (Gen. 18:23, 24) and ends up with the LORD assuring him that He will not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if only ten righteous people can be found there (18:32).

5.     Perhaps Abraham thought that Lot and his extended family would be enough to spare the judgment of God. If Lot had just won his own family to the Lord, along with his daughters’ husbands and his sons’ wives, the Lord would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah, but Lot had absolutely no influence in Sodom (Gen. 19:12-14).

6.     The Scofield Study Bible says, “Lot had utterly lost his testimony” (cf. Gen. 19:9 and Scofield margin – “The world’s contempt for a worldly believer”).

7.     The reason Lot could not persuade his friends and family, and the reason he had absolutely no influence for God was he was not separated.

8.     And because Lot was not separated from all of the wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah, he did not speak out against all of their filthy wickedness.

9.     Preachers today will not deal plainly with sin because (like Lot) they are compromised.   How can they boldly attack rock music when they themselves listen to rock music?  And when they even have it in their churches?

10. Or when they are afraid of losing members?

11. How can they preach against Hollywood if they are captivated by it themselves?

12. How can a preacher speak out against immodest dress when his wife or his daughter wears a mini-skirt?

13. How can a preacher preach about soulwinning if he never goes out soulwinning?  Some preachers say, “My area of expertise is discipleship.”  May I be frank and say that is baloney?  If preachers do not win souls soon there will be nobody left to disciple!

14. In his commentary on this text, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “We are to preach righteousness to such a world.  We are to warn it; to tell it of the judgment that is coming because of its sin; we are to plead with men to see their danger and escape from it.  And above all, we are to give them an example of the Christian life and the Christian character, and of loyalty to God and His truth.”

15. Here is where Lot failed. And when he finally did try to warn them about the judgment of God, they did not take him seriously (Gen. 19:14-16).

16. Thanks to the mercy of God (Gen. 19:16), Lot was able to get his daughters out of Sodom, but he was not able to get the Sodom out of them (cf. Gen. 19:30-38).

17. Isn’t it interesting that in Zech. 2:9, the LORD says, “Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah.”  And that is how these nations began – with an incestuous relationship between Lot and his two daughters right after they escaped from Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:37, 38).

III.  THE STORY OF LOT IS A LESSON FOR US TODAY

1.     We often think that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning against the sin of homosexuality, and it certainly is (cf. II Peter 2:6; Jude 7).

2.     This is one of the reasons why the ungodly hate the Bible.  This is why they make disparaging remarks about fundamental Christians.

3.     There are other reasons as well.  The Bible clearly teaches that if they do not repent and turn to Jesus then they will go to hell.  That is not a message they want to hear.

4.     But the Bible’s strong condemnation of homosexuality is a big bone of contention in these days of moral relativism and apostasy.

5.     However, there is another important lesson here – one that is often overlooked.  Lot represents the modern, worldly Christian.  He is saved but he has little interest in the things of God.

6.     He has godly relatives (e.g., Lot was Abraham’s nephew) but he is more comfortable associating with the wicked crowd (cf. Gen. 13:10-13; 19:1).

7.     Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”

8.     Lot was unwilling to take a stand in Sodom and it cost him his testimony; it cost him his conscience; and it cost him his family.

CONCLUSION:

1.     While the story of Lot is a lesson for the worldly Christian, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning to the unsaved (II Peter 2:6). God will judge the “ungodly” (2:6, 10).

2.     God is patient and long-suffering, but it is unwise to exhaust His patience (II Peter 3:9).

Pastor James J. Barker
email:   jbarker4@optonline.net

(revised 02/03/15)

Many wonderful discernment individuals are exposing the heresies of postmoderns (the Emerging/Emergent/Emergence church movements). One of these discernment individuals is Don Boys, Ph.D., who has written an excellent 12-part series of articles exposing the Emergent Church Movement.

A brief bio of Dr. Boys can be found here, at the bottom of the article. Check out the following excerpt:

Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 13 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. His most recent book is ISLAM: America’s Trojan Horse! These columns go to over 11,000 newspapers, television, and radio stations. His websites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com.

Another web page provides additional info:

Don Boys, Ph.D. is an Independent Baptist evangelist now living in Ringgold, Georgia. He spent 30 years in Indianapolis as an evangelist, Administrator of the Baptist Academy, author, and member of the Indiana House of Representatives. He and his wife, Ellen (who sings in his meetings) do family conferences, revival meetings, child rearing conferences, creation conferences across the nation and in many foreign countries.

And click here for a much longer biography of Dr. Boys.

It is refreshing to read such thorough exposes by Dr. Boys, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB). Like IFB David Cloud, Dr. Boys seems to be very knowledgeable of postmoderns (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence) and their heresies.  (I’m looking for additional IFB discernment ministries that have written about postmoderns.)

Now on to the 12-part series of articles.  (Click here for the original link listing these 12 articles.)

SERIES BY DR. DON BOYS

1) What is Emerging From the Emergent Church?
The Emergent Church heavily promotes many pagan and heretical practices although its adherents profess to be “evangelical.” They may possess a desire to move the world but they are moving it in the wrong direction.

2) Scriptural Truth is Unimportant to Emergent Churches!
Some of the Emergent leaders… …have led the nebulous movement into deep, stagnant waters of heresy; but then that has always happened when a person, church, college, or a movement gets away from the Bible.

3) The Emergent Church Runs Away from the Bible!
Emergent Church leaders ask the same question Satan asked in the Garden, “Hath God said?” They have no confidence in the Word so they have no compass, chart, or anchor. In my opinion, they are not even on the Boat!

4) Emergent Churches Are Kingdom Builders!
Brian McLaren refers to the kingdom incessantly in his book and someone needs to remind him what Jesus said in John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

5) Emergent Church Leaders are Modern Gnostics!
Emergent Church leaders denigrate sin, the savior, and salvation via the cross of Christ.

6) Emergent Church Teaches Everyone Goes to Heaven!
Emergent Church leaders’ distaste for absolute truth and their desire for embracing everyone have led many of them into the heresy of universalism—everyone will go to Heaven.

7) Pagan Practices Taught by Emergent Church!
God warns us in Jer. 10:2, “Learn not the way of the heathen,” but heathenism is exactly what EC leaders are teaching.

8) Top Agenda of the Emergent Church: Social Gospel!
Emergent Church leaders are into the social gospel of the early 1920s, a failure and departure from the Word now as then. One of the EC leaders admitted that the EC is a protest movement, so what do they protest?

9) Emergent Church: Wacko Environmentalism Not Evangelism!
There can be no argument the EC leaders emphasize the environment over eternity.

10) The Emergent Church Teaches One World Religion!
Brian McLaren, recognized as the major leader of the Emergent Church, …characterizes himself as “a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, anabaptist/anglican, methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian.”

11) Emergent Church Leaders: Wolves in Shepherds’ Clothing!
Ken Blanchard, an Emergent Church leader wrote, “Does Buddha have anything to offer non-Buddhists in the work place? My answer is a wholehearted, ‘Yes.’”

12) Emergent Church: Top Evangelicals Like Dr. Dobson Huddle with the Hares and Hunt with the Hounds!
It is obvious that many evangelical leaders do not want to be “put on the spot” especially when they are asked to take a position that embarrasses their friends or supporters.

 

(revised 01/30/15)

I stumbled across the folllowing blog which addresses a number of issues I have written about. Namely, Quaker George Fox’s “Inner Light” heresy, universalism, Spiritual Formation, the Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible, etc.

I am providing excerpts from the blog below. Click here [broken link] for the entire original text of this blog. As of 01/30/15  I found this blogsite run by Tom Lessing, but could not find his 2009 article presented below. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets]. I have also corrected the grammar in a few places to make the excerpts more readable.

The Unholiness of the Renovaré Brotherhood’s “Holiness”

Posted by Tom Lessing on July 9, 2009

Adherents to the Emergent Church have an uncanny ability to tell their congregants what to do without explaining what they really have in mind. They have the knack to use biblical terminology very skillfully and expertly but often fail to elucidate the biblical meaning of the words they hit to and fro like a little ping-pong ball. “Holiness” is one of these words. I encountered this again in one of Stephan Joubert’s regular contributions on e-church under the title “No Steroids for Holiness.”Although it may be a very clever post-modernish title it wreaks of heresy from the very outset, especially when one takes into account who it was who coined the witty little maxim. But allow me to use Stephan’s own words:

You can’t cheat your way to holiness. Or can you? Presently, I am at the Renovare Conference in San Antonio, Texas where the theme is “The Jesus Way.” Yesterday evening I listened to one of my spiritual heroes, Eugene Peterson. In his fine presentation he stressed that there are no spiritual steroids for holiness. You have to live a holy life, one day at a time (emphasis added).

Have you noticed the little ink spots in Stephan’s declaration of holiness?

[The Spiritual Formation definition of  “holiness” is quite different from the born again, biblical Christian definition. For those in Spiritual Formation, “holiness” basically means proficiency in practicing the spiritual disciplines, particularly occultish contemplative prayer/contemplative spirituality. And one usually learns these contemplative techniques from a Spiritual Director who sympathizes with Catholicism in some way. The Spiritual Director, in my mind, acts as sort of a “guru”, a “master teacher”, an “expert” in Spiritual Formation.

Conversely, for the born again, biblically sound Christian, “holiness” means “personal holiness” – obeying the commandments of God’s Word the Bible (the 66 books of the Canon), dying to sin, living for Christ in purity, etc. One passage that describes this is Romans 12:1-2:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”]

What is Renovare?

Here are a few facts about “Renovaré”:

Renovaré is a movement within the Emergent church that was started in 1988 by Richard Foster, a Quaker theologian. [Although Foster has been  an Evangelical Friend, preaching and teaching in the EFCI, his writings betray him as a nonchristian with positions akin to  those of nonchristian, non-evangelical Quaker denominations.] The [nonchristian, non-evangelical] Quakers’ theology is based on the belief that everyone (believers and unbelievers) have an “inner light” which can lead them to truth while they wait and listen to its subjective leading, particularly with the assistance of contemplative practices such as “the silence” and “centering prayer.” Paul Lacout, in Quaker Faith and Practice, described a “silence which is active” causing the Inner Light to “glow.” Their complete reliance on the leading of the inner light has just about ousted the objectivity of God’s Word and its clear-cut doctrines. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Stephan Joubert pledges not to return to the Bible and the church but to advance forward to God (the inner light that guides all of mankind into the Truth).

As soon as you begin to tamper with biblical doctrine, heresy becomes your way and not as the Renovaré brotherhood claims “The Jesus Way.” The Quakers’ assertion that believers and unbelievers have an “inner light” substantiates their equally heretical belief in Universalism. George Fox and Robert Barclay as well as other respected leaders in the Quaker movement hold to the lie that all people are already saved from sin or will eventually be saved from it, the reason being that the Light is within everyone and nobody will therefore be cast into hell. Then there are those within the Quaker movement, such as the Quaker Universalist Group, who believe that it is unnecessary to have any faith in Jesus Christ. [According to Quaker Universalists] people of other faiths or no faith at all have no need of salvation because they already have Light within them… 

What does the Word of God teach us about the Light?

John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God (emphasis added).

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (emphasis added).

Richard Foster, the author of the Renovaré study Bible, endorses many Universalists and pantheists. Here are some of the revealing things they have said in their books:

“The Inner Light, the Inward Christ, is no mere doctrine, belonging peculiarly to a small religious fellowship, to be accepted or rejected as a mere belief. It is the living Center of Reference for all Christian souls and Christian groups – yes, and of non-Christian groups as well” Thomas Kelly:A Testament of Devotion.

“It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are …. If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are … I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point… is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. Thomas Merton: Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these. I would be less a monk. Rob Baker & Gray Henry: Merton and Sufism.

The common denominator between Merton’s brand of Christianity and other religions is mysticism, in particular Buddhism. Stephan Joubert’s spiritual excursion to the Renovaré Conference in San Antonio, Texas is consequently no coincidence. He is merely strengthening his affiliation with his brothers and sisters who are extending a hand of brotherly affection to religions such as Buddhism, and affirming his agreement with Rob Bell who said that truth may also be found in other religions such as Buddhism. When Merton could no longer resist the mystic appeal, he intended to turn his back on Christianity. Guess who advised him to remain a Christian? No! You’re wrong. It was not a concerned Christian but a Hindu swami named Dr. Bramachari. He assured Merton that he could find the very same mysticism within the ranks of the Christian mystics. (Henri J M Nouwen: Contemplative Critic). Dr. Bramachari seems to be far better informed than most Christians of Paul’s warning in II Corinthians and seems to know that Merton can do more damage within the ranks of Christianity if he remains therein stead of becoming a converted Buddhist or Hindu.

II Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Merton affirmed that he could incorporate these mystical traditions into his own Christian tradition if he practiced tolerance of and an openness to Buddhism, Hinduism and other Asian mystical religions. Richard Foster’s entire philosophy is based on Merton’s and others’ contemplative spirituality and their efforts to bridge the gap between Western and Far Eastern spiritualities. Why would someone like Foster who claims to follow The Jesus Way endorse and follow Merton’s heresies? The underlying reason is to forge a new Christianity which gullibly utilizes Christian terminology, such as The Jesus Way and holiness, and gathers together every conceivable religious persuasion under a single umbrella called mysticism, simply because “everyone has the Inner Light.” Roger Oakland asks a similar question in his book Faith Undone:

Why would someone who claims to be a Christian as Foster does, after reading and understanding Merton’s position on East­ern religion, promote his ideas? Foster knows the kind of prayer Merton stood for was different from biblical prayer. He admits that Merton’s prayer lined up with that of Zen masters and Bud­dhist monks. And yet he said, “Merton continues to inspire count­less men and women.” [i]

Stephan Joubert  is obviously one of the countless men and women who have been inspired to follow in the Jesus Way of spurious disciples such as Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson and Thomas Merton. The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Study Bible which was released in 2005 has impacted many people to strive for a [so-called] renewal in the church. Besides Foster, editors included Dallas Willard, Walter Brueggemann, and Eugene Peterson…

[Blogger Tom Lessing then lists a number of heresies in the Renovaré  Spiritual Formation Bible, mostly dealing with prophecy. To read his excellent critique of the Renovaré  Spiritual Formation Bible, click here [broken link] for the entire original blog. Now for the rest of Tom Lessing’s blog…]

So, what is holiness anyway?

Holiness, in a nutshell, is to be like your Creator and Saviour.

I Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

In practice it means that God’s children should talk, think and act completely different from what our world system expects its citizens to do. It comes down to separateness, severance, apartness from the world system and everything it advocates and stands for. The idea of separateness is seen throughout the Bible. Let’s ponder the following verses from Scripture.

Mark 10:34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

II Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

If you proclaim to be a Christian who follows The Jesus Way you dare not associate with false teachers and preachers. Holiness also means to separate yourself from them. It is impossible to plead holiness (without steroids) while you associate with people whose false teaching God hates, to such an extent that He said through the mouth of His disciple Paul:

Galatians 1: 8 and 9 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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Here are a few verses that warn us not to associate with false teachers and preachers.

II John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

II Timothy 3:5-14 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (emphasis added).

I have pleaded with you many times before, Stephan, and I want to do so here again: Repent of your disastrous way which is clearly NOT The Jesus Way and definitely NOT the way of holiness. It is the way that leads to destruction. You are misleading many people in South Africa. Please stop playing with fire and repent!


[i] Richard Foster, Devotional Classics, op. cit., p. 61.

(revised 09/21/14)

I am very proud to belong to the Facebook Group entitled “Concerned Nazarenes.” This Facebook Group was formed to fight against postmodern (Emerging/Emergent) heresies infiltrating the Church of the Nazarene (CotN) denomination.

The growth of Concerned Nazarenes is a great encouragement to me, although I am not a member of the CotN. I am attempting to fight Emerging/Emergent heresies primarily in the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI). Like Richard Foster (click here and here), I grew up in the EFCI (before Foster and others helped hijack it from its strongly  born again, separatist fundamentalist “Gurneyite” Quaker tradition).

“Progressive evangelical” EFCI institutions, particularly George Fox University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary, have been inviting Emerging/ Emergent heretics Richard Foster, Tony Campolo, Jason Clark, Todd Hunter, Dan Kimball, Brennan Manning, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet,  Dallas Willard, and many others to teach and/or speak on various occasions. (Also, click here for a Lighthouse Trails list of Emerging/Emergent names at George Fox University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary.)

To complicate matters further, pastors and professors are increasingly shared between the EFCI and non-evangelical Quaker denominations (nonchristian Quaker denominations that profess Christ as Lord and Teacher but not as Lord and Saviour). The non-evangelical Quaker denomination with the most ties to the EFCI is Friends United Meeting (FUM) – which has many Quaker universalists.

Also, the EFCI has joined various ecumenical Quaker organizations. For example, years ago colleges in the EFCI joined the Friends Association for Higher Education, along with non-evangelical Quaker institutions. My question is, why?

Apparently the EFCI has “become blind” doctrinally. The EFCI continues to increasingly reach out to nonchristian, non-evangelical Quaker pastors and professors with open arms. The thing that counts, to many in the EFCI, is that “they are Quakers”. For these EFCI individuals, it does not seem to matter whether their fellow Quakers (in these other Quaker branches) are born again, professing Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Amazingly, in spite of these accommodations by the EFCI of non-evangelical Quakers and Emerging/Emergent leaders, I have located very few EFCI members who are confronting their denomination regarding these heresies. Concerned EFCI readers, please don’t remain silent! (I have a feeling many concerned EFCI members have already quietly left the denomination and moved on to more biblically sound denominations.)

My point is this. Compared to the Church of the Nazarene, which is being strongly confronted by the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group and various individuals, the EFCI is being confronted by very few individuals. I realize there is a size difference in the denominations (approx. 2.1 million for the CotN as compared to approx. 140,000 worldwide for the EFCI). Yet, for such a small denomination, the EFCI has caused great harm to evangelicalism.  I pray that that members of the EFCI (and ex-members like myself) will speak out against its accommodation of non-evangelical Quakers and Emerging/Emergent teachings. (The EFCI is not alone – very few evangelical denominations today have any members who are actively protesting their slide into Emerging/Emergent and other heretical teachings.)

The Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group serves as a great model for all individuals who are attempting to fight Emerging/Emergents in their quickly disintegrating denominations.

Now on to Manny Silva’s article about the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group. Click here for the original article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]:

Who are Concerned Nazarenes? (posted by Manny Silva as a Doc in Facebook Group “Concerned Nazarenes” 08/09/11)

In August, 2008, Tim Wirth, a former drummer in several rock bands, helped coordinate an event featuring author Ray Yungen (“A Time of Departing, and “For Many Shall Come In My Name”), at the Piqua Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. Since joining the church, he’d become deeply concerned about emerging church philosophy that had crept into the Nazarene denomination – and wanted to alert others to the emergent movement.  Tim met Don and Sue Butler, long-time Nazarenes, who shared the same concerns – and Concerned Nazarenes was launched.

After several meetings and conversations with the Butlers, it was evident that the Holy Spirit had impressed upon their hearts to alert Nazarenes around the world to the emergent agenda.  Shortly after this, Nazarene evangelist Beverly Turner joined Concerned Nazarenes and gave the movement a voice.  Beverly shared the verse that would become the Concerned Nazarenes’ anthem:  “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

Concerned Nazarenes has grown to include Nazarene pastors and evangelists across the United States – each grieved by the spiritual demise of our much-loved denomination under the influence of the emergent movement.  Concerned Nazarenes is a grassroots movement that serves to give voice to all those in the church that share our dismay at the direction in which the emergent movement is striving to guide Nazarene beliefs and practices.  In 2009, more than 500 Nazarenes across the United States delivered a petition to our General Superintendents, seeking clarification of their stance on the Emergent Church movement. Our fervent hope and prayer is that the General Superintendents will respond by purging our denomination of the emergent cancer before it is too late.

When will the Concerned Nazarene DVD be available?

The DVD, “The Emerging Church”, is now available. By the grace of God and the generosity of dedicated Nazarenes, this insightful DVD is being distributed free of charge.  When we consider that heresy cost our dear Savior His life, what is the price of one DVD?  To get a free copy, send a request to: standfortruthministries@gmail.com

Why are we so concerned?

Below, we list the specific concerns of our group, and on our web site we provide articles and links that give more depth to our concerns. Please read these carefully and prayerfully, as the future of the Nazarene Church is at stake.

1.  We are concerned about the authority of God’s Word being undermined.  We consider His Word to be inerrant (without error) in all matters.  The emerging church and a number of scholars within our academic institutions have a lower view of Scripture – often called “soteriological inerrancy*” – which we consider unacceptable.  We do not believe that this is the historical stance of the Church of the Nazarene. We are in full agreement with a resolution for our Article of Faith, “The Holy Scriptures,” that will be presented by the Southwest Indiana District at the General Assembly.  The resolution states that the “Old and New Testaments” are “inerrant throughout and the supreme authority on everything the scriptures teach.” In the words of the Psalmist, David: “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

2.  We are concerned about the teaching of Open Theism within our academic institutions. Open Theism basically teaches, among other heresies, that God cannot know the future if man is to have freedom of choice. The Apostle John wrote: “…God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (I John 3:20). Furthermore, we are concerned about the teaching of evolution in our academic institutions, and the historic account of God’s creation being taught as allegorical.

3.  We are concerned about the invitations extended to emergent  teachers, such as Brian McLaren, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, to speak at our universities and colleges. Their stance on the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, such as sin, judgment and salvation, are a gross distortion of the truth. Because of required chapel attendance, emergent speakers have a captive audience and, as a result, students are forced to listen to emergent speakers or pay a fine if they choose to miss chapel. We are concerned for those who give financially and sacrificially to our academic institutions, expecting the values upon which our denomination was birthed to be upheld – not dismantled by emergent philosophy.

 4. We are concerned about experiential works-based techniques for prayer being promoted on and through our academic campuses. These practices – totally alien to our Wesleyan tradition – include prayer labyrinths, prayer stations and retreats to Roman Catholic monasteries. Most of these contemplative prayer practices are promoted under Spiritual Formation.

5.  We are concerned about the emergent ideology that our academic institutions and General Church within the United States are promoting. We ask a simple question: “Why are we giving a platform to those who would fabricate this falsehood, when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was and is and always will be the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16) for all mankind, and for every generation?” The emergent ideology is a perversion of the Word of God and the doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene.

6. We are concerned that the “Jesus” that the emergent movement is preaching is “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4).  In the introduction to his book, “This Jesus,” Nazarene pastor W. E. McCumber writes:

“Let me tell you why I wrote this little book.  First of all, I love Jesus and I welcome any means of telling others about Him.  Second, I am troubled by “emergent theory” that is moving toward an “emergent church.”  Leaders of this “conversation” or “movement” call themselves “post-modern” and I guess if you need a tag that one is about as good as another. My concern about them springs from their distortions of Scripture and their diminishing of Jesus …. More disturbing to me is the fact that the Jesus they talk about is not the Jesus of Scripture …  Only the Jesus disclosed to us in the New Testament is relevant to our times and adequate for our salvation. To diminish Him is to destroy ourselves.”

We are in full agreement with Rev. McCumber and pray that you share our concerns.  If you do, please join us!

(revised 01/23/15)

You say you’ve never heard of a “separatist fundamentalist” Wesleyan Holiness church? I’m not surprised – such a church is practically unheard of nowadays. Yet I would say 99% of Wesleyan Holiness churches were separatist and fundamentalist prior to 1942 (when the National Association of Evangelicals was formed, popularizing heretical New Evangelicalism). Note – I’m defining “fundamentalist” in this blog as adhering to the  Fundamentals, a series of articles between 1910-1915.

Even as late at 1970 or so, Wesleyan Holiness churches still exhibited separatist and fundamentalist traits. Specifically, they still had regular altar calls, used the King James Version exclusively, and sang hymns exclusively (no guitars, drums, etc.).

Unfortunately, today, virtually the only separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness churches are in the Conservative Holiness denominations. Read on…

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Biblically sound churches need biblically sound pastors. Such men of God are increasingly rare in these End Times. How do we find true men of God? What should we ask prospective pastors?

I am developing a list of questions for a prospective pastor, for a hypothetical separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness church. (These are the things I personally would look for in a pastor coming to my church.) Many of these questions are adapted from a list by Manny Silva.  Click here for his original list, entitled “Questions For a Prospective Pastor.” Manny Silva’s questions are marked with the notation “(MS)”.

A few of my questions reflect my personal theology. Most should be asked by every biblical church. Here are the questions:

1. A simple Yes or No answer: Are you a born again Christian?  If yes, can you give a specific date when you had a “crisis conversion experience”, when you repented of your sins and accepted Christ as your Saviour? Please share your testimony – when, where and how you accepted Christ. Also, please explain your concept of salvation. Does your concept of salvation line up with John Chapter 3? And do you believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven?

2. What is your educational background for the ministry? Were the schools you attended biblically sound? If not, why did you attend these?

3. Have you pastored, led youth, etc. elsewhere. If so, where?

4. Are you Spirit filled? We are not referring to “Spirit baptized” here. We are looking for a pastor who is mature in Christ, 100% committed to the Lord, walking in obedience to His Word,  and showing all the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23).  We do believe the Holy Spirit can work today miraculously. However, the supernatural manifestation gifts have been so greatly abused, that we strongly frown on the practice of these gifts in a local church. Paul himself alluded to preaching, teaching, etc. as being more important than the gifts of tongues, etc.

5. Wesleyan Holiness – Do you follow the teachings of the “separatist fundamentalist” Holiness movement (as taught in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s)?

6. Do you consider yourself “Independent”? Can you agree to not be tied to, nor accountable to, any denomination? [This would not rule out fellowship with like minded churches.]

7. Fundamentalist – Do you adhere to the series of articles entitled “The Fundamentals” (1910-1915)? This would include 1) being “militantly” opposed to false teachers, and 2) being willing to separate oneself and one’s congregation from false teachers.

8. Evangelical – Do you consider yourself evangelical? If so, do you consider yourself Classic Evangelical, New Evangelical, or Neo-Evangelical? Please define each of these three terms.

9. What is your eschatology? Do you believe the End Times/the Tribulation is coming soon? And do you believe Christ is coming soon (either before, during or after the Tribulation)? Or do you have an Emerging/Emergent eschatology?

10. What is your philosophy of church leadership? Do you believe in taking total control? Or are you submissive to elders, deacons, and/or voting by members?

11. Do you follow a doctrinal statement? If not, why not? [Emerging/Emergent churches usually do not have doctrinal statements.]

12. If you pastored a church previously, did your church have a doctrinal statement? If so, did your church really believe and  follow its doctrinal statement? Or was it just empty words? Were there any mismatches between the church’s doctrinal statement and what you preached?

13. (MS) A simple Yes or No: Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God in everything it teaches?

14. (MS) If you answered No to question 1, who and by what authority determines which parts are in error? Please give some examples of those errors.

15. (MS) Again, if you answered No, explain how anyone can have confidence in the Bible if you claim that some parts of the Bible are in error.

16.  Do you exclusively use the King James Bible? If not, why not? We are looking for a pastor that uses the KJB exclusively in the English, yet is not Ruckmanite (click here for more info from David Cloud). This pastor should hold to the Textus Receptus-KJB (TR-KJB) position, as explained here by Bro. Cloud.

17. How evangelistic are you? Do you regularly preach salvation messages (what we call “The Blood and The Cross”)? Do you have regular altar calls? Do you send out church members to witness door to door, pass out tracts, etc.?

18. Do you have a passion for missions? Please explain your philosophy of missions. Do you feel the main goal of missionaries to help fulfil the Great Commission? Or do you believe in more of a charitable “social gospel” type of mission work?

19. (MS) Do you believe in evolution? If you do, why does the Bible describe creation as the historical way we were created?  How do you explain the New Testament references to Adam by Jesus and the apostles?

20. (MS) If you believe in evolution, does that mean that you believe that Adam and Eve were not real, since you believe we were created through evolution?  What about Romans 5:12, and other similar references in the Bible?

21. (MS) Do you believe that God does not know the future? [the heresy of open theism]

22. (MS) If yes, how does that make us confident in the Biblical prophesies, if we state that God may not know the future?

23. (MS) How does the Bible teach us to pray?

24. (MS) Do you believe that lectio divina is biblical? If so, please give solid scriptural reference that supports it.

25. (MS) Is God capable of making mistakes?

26. (MS) Whether you are familiar with Brian McLaren’s writings or not, do you consider him a Christian, if he denies the substitutionary atonement of the cross, and has stated that people can find Jesus and stay within their own faith?

27. Do you oppose abortion in all cases? If not, in what cases do you believe abortion is permissible?

28. (MS) Do you agree with Tony Jones’ statement that unrepentent homosexuals can still be Christians?

29. (MS) Do you agree with Rob Bell’s teaching that when Peter sank in the water, he really lost faith in himself, and not in Jesus?

30. (MS) Do you believe in sanctioning official ecumenical gatherings and functions with a Roman Catholic Church?

31. (MS) If Yes, is it okay then to also fellowship with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons in their churches?  If not okay, what’s the difference and why?

32. (MS) Prayer labyrinths are very popular now in evangelical universities and churches.  What is your position on labyrinths and whether they are biblically sound?  And would you ever consider using one in our church?

33. (MS) Is the use of prayer beads or prayer ropes biblical?  If not, what is your thought on the fact that Barefoot Ministries [a Nazarene publisher] sells a book that promotes the use of prayer ropes (praying the rosary, in other words).

34. (MS) Do you believe that the Bible is the SOLE authority for Christian faith and practice?

35. (MS) Do you believe pastors should always encourage their congregation to be Bereans, in other words, don’t automatically take their word for it, but search and verify the scriptures, as Paul commended the Bereans?

Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many more questions should be asked when seeking a biblical pastor. Here are some more lists of questions:

1) Questionnaire for Pastoral Candidate

2) Prospective Pastoral Candidate Questionnaire, University Baptist Church (seeking a fundamentalist pastor).

2) An Open Letter to Pastor Search Committees. I found this questionaire very interesting. It states in part, “Very few Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) churches are looking for a pastor who is theologically a liberal or fundamentalist.” The document discusses fundamentalist positions, the Southern Baptist Convention, etc. [Personally I would look for a pastor who is more fundamentalist than they are seeking.]

In a previous blog, I discussed the difference between “the Emergent Church” and “the Emerging Church.” And in another blog, I listed traits of the Emergent Church movement. In this blog, I want to turn my sights to the traits of the Emerging Church.

The following excerpts are taken from an article entitled “How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging in Your Church,” by Roger Oakland:

The Gospel of the Kingdom

One of the main indicators that something has changed can be seen in the way the future is perceived. Rather than urgently proclaiming the gospel according to the Scriptures and believing the time to do so is short, the emphasis has now shifted. No longer are “signs of the times” significant. The battle cry is very different. A major emphasis among evangelicals is the idea that the world can be radically improved through social programs. [Click here for my blog about the EFCI denomination and its changing eschatology.]

This concept, while on the surface may sound very good, has some serious biblical implications. According to the Scriptures, there will be no kingdom of God until the King arrives. All the human effort man can muster up will fall short of bringing utopia. In fact, according to the Scriptures, fallen man will lead us further down the road to a society of despair and lawlessness just like it was in the days of Noah.

Thus, this purpose-driven view of establishing global utopia may be a plan, but it is “driven” by humanistic reasoning and not led by the Holy Spirit. While it is of course good to do good unto others, all the goodness that we can do will not be good enough. Pastors and church leaders who get involved in such man-driven programs can usually be identified by certain characteristics:

* Sound biblical doctrine is dangerous and divisive, and the experiential (i.e., mystical) is given a greater role than doctrine.

* Bible prophecy is no longer taught and is considered a waste of time.

* Israel becomes less and less important and has no biblical significance.

* Eventually the promises for Israel are applied to the church and not Israel (Replacement Theology).

* Bible study is replaced by studying someone’s book and his methods.

* Church health is evaluated on the quantity of people who attend.

* The truth of God’s Word becomes less and less important.

* God’s Word, especially concepts like hell, sin and repentance, is eventually downplayed so the unbeliever is not offended….

[Further down in the article, Oakland gives the following further signs of an Emerging church. There is some repetition of the above, but you get the idea.]

Signs the Emerging Church is Emerging

There are specific warning signs that are symptomatic that a church may be headed down the emergent/contemplative road. In some cases a pastor may not be aware that he is on this road nor understand where the road ends up.

Here are some of the warning signs:

* Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.

* The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.

* More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.

* The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.

* The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.

* The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past.

* An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.

* Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.

* The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.

* While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.

* These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

* There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

* Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.

* There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.

* Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave…

The Emerging Church movement is surely a sign of the End Times.  Evangelical churches, which were once biblically sound, are becoming Emerging and then Emergent (as more and more biblically sound Christians leave the churches). It is especially shocking to see these changes happen in the very churches you are attending. I have to say, practically every evangelical church I have ever attended is somewhere on this road to apostasy. Heaven help them!

Having seen firsthand the dangerous, divisive, destructive ways of Emerging churches, I have developed the following Summary Statement:

Regarding Spiritual Formation (particularly Contemplative Prayer/ Contemplative Spirituality) and Emerging/ Emergent teachings:

We want these things to stop being taught in our denominations, to cease completely. And with the eternal destiny of so many souls at stake, we will not take “no” for an answer. Either the churches stop teaching these things, or we will plead with their members to LEAVE, to “run for your life” as Carter Conlon so movingly put it. It’s as simple as that.

Click here for a step by step guide to leaving an apostate church and locating a biblical church.

I thank God for the many individuals and discernment ministries that see this apostasy (even if their pastors don’t see it) and are promptly leaving such churches. Note – it is also important to speak out against Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings. Pray, asking the Lord how you should go about this.

A word of encouragement: there will always be a remnant of truly born again, biblically sound Christians on earth until Christ returns. I pray you remain a member of that remnant. Consider the following passage:

2b) Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, 3)Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4) But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5) Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Rom. 11:2b-5, KJV)

I am privileged to be Facebook Friends with John Henderson, a member and Administrator of the Facebook “Concerned Nazarenes” Group. In the face of the Supreme Court gay “marriage” hearings, John has written an excellent article regarding homosexuality. The need of this hour, in these End Times, is for born again Christians to confront this and many other sins. Through such articles, hopefully the Holy Spirit will convict sinners, leading them to repent of their sins and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord. Personally, I would feel amiss if I did not warn sinners of the path they’re on, leading to an eternity in Hell and the Lake of Fire.

Following is a repost of John’s article, also posted on the blog of my good Facebook Friend Manny Silva (click here for the original).

Why I am Compelled to Oppose Homosexuality
(By John Henderson)

I am under obligation to declare the whole council of God. I would not know that homosexuality (behavior and orientation) were an abomination before God outside of the Scriptures. I recall the time when homosexuals asked only to be left to themselves. We did that. Then they asked for more and more, each time getting what they asked for. Now they are in a militant demand-mode to the point that American ministers are being threatened imprisonment in some places if they refuse to perform “gay” marriages and American Christian businesses are being fined for refusing to serve “gay” customers.

There was a period when, as a practicing psychotherapist, I carried a client load of homosexuals seeking counseling about their difficulties surrounding the sin. Without exception, when I brought them face to face with the solution of deliverance in Jesus Christ, they walked away, some being haughtily offended that I should even suggest they were in need of forgiveness and redemption. Every one of my clients intentionally chose to follow the homosexual lifestyle instead of coming to Christ. Word got around and they stopped seeking me as a counselor.

I am not aware of anyone at this time in my family who is homosexual. There are those, however, who are very dear to me who are addicted to other kinds of sin, sins just as damning. I do not make excuses for them but let those I love know with biblical clarity where they stand and what needs to happen in their lives whenever the subject should come up. I am obligated before God to be true to their eternal souls.

There is not one person caught up in that lifestyle that I do not feel strong compassion for, often to the point of tears. But I cannot, through false sentimentality, make them feel comfortable, accepted, and secure in the sin they have chosen. There are leaders in my own denomination who coddle them, sooth them, and make them feel comfortable in this choice of theirs and it is damning their poor souls to hell. Those leaders shall answer to God for that failure to be a watchman on the tower.

If my own sons, daughters, or sister announced they were “gay”, I would still love them. They would be just as welcome in my home as ever before. I would not engage in shaming or humiliating them or doing anything to put them down or alienate them from my love. Any “gay” stranger or acquaintance in need of help will get that help without qualification or hesitation. At the same time—and they would already know this—I would not let them off the hook concerning the claims of Christ on their souls. I would not change God’s rules just because they were precious to me or because I needed to better “understand” them somehow.

I do not go about seeking battles with homosexuals. The homosexual agenda is another matter. It is currently a powerful tool of the Marxist socialist agenda with the self-proclaimed objective of undermining and eventually destroying the Christian biblical influence in our society. It is not a person-on-person struggle. It is a struggle of two worlds, each with diametrically opposite objectives. People are only the pawns in a demonic battle against the Church of our Lord—which is actually a rebellion against the Lordship of Christ.

If my dear ones should choose to follow that way (or any other way that leads to destruction), I will be forced, with broken heart, to watch them slipping into hell. Since I do not want to be caught in that position, I intend to cry out all the more in warning that they are going 190 miles an hour down a dead-end street. I had rather hurt their feelings and offend them greatly, and have them despise me than to be even partly responsible for what becomes of them if this is the direction they choose for themselves.

I am aware there are desperate attempts to justify homosexuality, especially in efforts to make it appear that it is somehow okay with God and even supported by the Bible. There are homosexual “churches”, homosexual “ministers” and even a “Queen James Bible” translation. That is only whistling in the dark.

2 Peter 2:7 tells us that God “rescued righteous Lot, who was deeply distressed by the lifestyle of the lawless in [their] debauchery.” One may assume he probably brought up the subject more than once while living there. We know he remained righteous in spite of it to the point that God had to remove him and his family before he could destroy the two cities because of Abraham’s prayer. God would have spared the cities had there been only ten righteous in both places, but there were only Lot, his wife (who perished afterwards), and two daughters. One might assume that only Lot was righteous and the other three benefited with their lives because of his righteousness.

When righteousness is removed, homosexuality takes over and the wrath of God is all that remains. Even those who could have escaped, such as Lot’s two sons-in-law, will perish along with the intentionally degenerate. The simple truth is that you cannot mock God and expect Him to look the other way.

The news headlines are foreboding for born again Christians in America. It appears that, as of 07/01/15 or so, the U.S. Supreme Court may make gay “marriage” legal in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

I was surprised that gay marriage is not new – a number of other countries have had gay marriage for quite some time now. This Wikipedia article lists countries where gay marriage is already legalized, as well as countries which are close to legalizing gay marriage.

But readers might ask, “Why is this a big deal? Christians in America have been losing their rights for decades now. After all, prayer was removed from our public schools over fifty years ago.”

Here’s the big deal. With the national legalization of gay “marriage”, the United States is entering uncharted waters morally. Never in history has a nation as large as ours legalized homosexual sin/perversion in this way.

… The Court’s decision may impact the form of biblically based churches dramatically. Churches that hold to a strict and conservative interpretation of the Bible’s teaching about gender and marriage may find themselves “Romanized”.

The elites of first century Rome would not allow the church an institutional presence in society. “The Christian churches were associations which were not legally authorized, and the Roman authorities, always suspicious of organizations which might prove seditious, regarded them with jaundiced eye,” writes Kenneth Scott LaTourette.

In our time this means local churches that do not embrace same-sex marriage would find their legal status shaky or non-existent, as well as parachurch groups, conservative Christian colleges, church-based humanitarian agencies, and all other religious institutions – Christian and otherwise – supporting the traditional view of marriage.

Without state-recognized corporate status everything from mortgages and building permits to employment and hiring practices is threatened – all of them essential for institutional function.

Journalist Ben Shapiro notes that there is already a movement on the state level “to revoke non-profit status for religious organizations that do not abide by same-sex marriage.” The Supreme Court’s decision could make churches refusing to comply “private institutions engaging in commerce,” and therefore subject to laws already in place. Refusal to perform a same-sex wedding would put a church out of business…

Mr. Henley then provides some excellent info on corporations which are lining up in favor of “same sex marriage”(and by inference disciplining/harrassing/persecuting Christian employees who stand up for traditional marriage).

Mr. Henley then goes on to analyze the state of American Christianity. Namely, where we stand currently in the slide towards full-blown persecution. He writes:

Previously, I wrote in The Christian Post about the process by which the prophetic voice is silenced in a culture: Marginalization, caricaturization, vilification, criminalization, elimination.

We have reached the stage of vilification – conservative Christians are now regarded by the consensus establishments as the villains in “transformed” America. The Supreme Court may well take us to the criminalization stage.

The biblical church therefore must learn to live as the first century Christians did in Rome.

Their faith would not permit violent resistance to the state. Rather, as Dr. Martin Luther King would demonstrate, the resistance would take the positive form of standing for truth midst the antagonism of individuals and institutions opposing their freedom. [This is the one part of Mr. Henley’s article on which I have a serious difference of opinion. I have a problem with Mr. Henley referring to MLK here. MLK led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) – which today fights for gay marriage and other LGBTQ “rights” – and thus against Christians who favor traditional marriage. The SCLC  lists a number of born again Christian agencies, under the heading of LGBTQ hate groups, even providing info on these Christian groups to the FBI. I should give Mr. Henley the benefit of a doubt – perhaps he is not aware of this…]  The first century Roman Christians knew the greatest they could do in the exclusion of marginalization, ridicule of caricaturization, loathing of vilification, infamy of criminalization, and threat of elimination was to live out their faith in the midst of a society that hated them.

Since they did not have official sanction for an institutional presence in Rome, the Roman Christians operated through organic relational communities. In homes, catacombs, and other secret places, they functioned as the body of Christ. And when they emerged up into the public glare they manifested the face of Christ.

This is what the biblical church must prepare for now. Leaders should begin thinking about what will happen if non-profit status is lost. Christian institutions must embrace a Book of Acts strategy for corporate operation. Schools must train future church leaders in New Testament strategies…

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Today many LGBTQ proponents of gay marriage are accusing born again Christians of hate crimes. Seems to me they’re confusing the definitions of these supposed transgressions: “bias”, “discrimination”, “bullying”, “persecution”, “hate speech”, “hate literature, and “hate crimes”.

Regarding the traditional definition of “hate crimes”, I have never heard of truly born again, biblically sound, mature, godly Christians causing violent, physical, bodily harm to LGBTQ people or their property. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Can LGBTQ people say they have never caused violent, physical, bodily harm to truly born again, biblically sound, mature, godly Christians or their property?

But I digress. The question at hand: does the Bible have hate speech towards LGBTQ people, as they claim? I say no! And Pastor Jack Wellman concurs. I have taken the liberty of reposting Pastor Wellman’s article below. Click here for the original posting of his article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Jack WellmanArticle by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book  Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.

Does The Bible Have Hate Speech?

Some call what is preached in the Bible hate speech.  Does the Bible actually have hate speech?

What is Hate?

There are laws in Canada that make it a crime to preach against certain things that exist in their society and these laws may soon be coming to the U.S but is there really hate speech in the Bible?  Can we say that with authority?  We know that God hates sin and it is said that God hates divorce but it never says that God hates divorced people.  Psalm 7:11 says that “God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” but the Hebrew doesn’t actually call it “hate” but the Hebrew word “za`am” means “to denounce, express indignation,” or “to be indignant” and it is the wicked because of their sin that God denounces and expresses His indignation against.  For those who have repented and put their trust in God, His anger against sin was satisfied by Jesus Christ at the cross.  Christ “was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” and “upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:5) which is what Paul wrote “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1) so now there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).  God hates sin because sin was very costly…costing Jesus His life and the price for our sins was placed upon Jesus at Calvary in unimaginable torment and suffering that went on for hours.  God loves the Son but He also loves those who have repented and trusted in Him too so Jesus took the wrath of God so that we wouldn’t have to bear it ourselves in hell and it was “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

Does God Hates Sin but Love the Sinner?

If we look at the Bible verses that contain the word sin + hate we can see that it is not always directly pointed toward the person but what the person does.  I hated it when my son or daughter disobeyed me but I never hated them…so in my love I disciplined them.  If I didn’t love them, I would do nothing…that would be apathy.  Regarding the sin and not as much the sinner, God has much to say about it and it’s not good; “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him” (Prov 6:16).  The psalmist added “you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you” (Psalm 5:4).  For the most part, the world is separated from God by their sins (Isaiah 59:2) and if we love the world, then the love of the Father is not in us because whoever has “friendship with the world is at enmity (or hostility) with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).  That’s why those “who love the Lord, hate evil [and] He preserves the lives of his saints” (Psalm 97:10).

What is Love?

If you knew someone who was blind and they were walking toward the edge of a cliff, it would be hateful to not warn them. You could be held legally liable for not warning them.  Just as if you saw a child drowning in a swimming pool and did nothing to save them would be criminally negligent, so it is to not warn people that if they step out of this life without Christ, they face an eternal punishment from which there is no escape.  It is not hateful to warn them of an impending judgment that is coming, on the contrary, it is the most loving thing you can ever do…even if it comes at the expense of their hating you.  It is really the message that they hate and not the messenger.  The message from Jesus’ own lips says “whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18b).  Everyone loves John 3:16 but it means nothing without John 3:18.

Conclusion

The opposite of love is not hate…it is indifference or apathy.  Do we care that people are dying every day without Christ and will suffer in hell for their sins?  Do we not care enough to point them to the One and only way that they can be saved (Acts 4:12)?  I believe if we don’t share the bad news of people’s sins separating them from a Holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and that “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36b) the “good news” of salvation in Jesus Christ alone will mean nothing.  It’s actually a cruel thing to not tell others that they will stand before God and be judged someday apart from Christ (Rev 20:12-15) and that no works will ever be good enough to save them (Eph 2:8-9).  They must repent of (turn away, forsake) their sins and then put their trust in Jesus Christ.  Show them love by telling them the truth; that God is angry at the sinner every day (Psalm 7:11).  Tell them how they can be saved from God’s wrath and after they die and at the judgment (Heb 9:27) they will be saved.  And tell them to their face that it is in their “hard and impenitent heart [that they] are storing up wrath for [themselves] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom 2:5) so they need to repent, believe, and be saved (John 3:16).

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(revised 01/30/15)

I feel privileged to be Facebook Friends with John Henderson, a member of the “anti-Emergent” Facebook Group Concerned Nazarenes. This Facebook Group is attempting to confront and warn members primarily of The Church of the Nazarene denomination.

I, John, and many others are concerned about the doctrinal falling away of many evangelical churches and entire evangelical denominations. Most of these churches are falling away from biblically sound doctrine into the postmodern heresies of Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Leonard Sweet, etc. etc.

Interestingly, all of the above individuals have spoken and/or taught at the heretical George Fox University and/or George Fox Evangelical Seminary, schools in the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) denomination. The EFCI was once (relatively) biblically sound.  But, in recent decades, all the Regions of the EFCI (including the once very biblically sound, Wesleyan Holiness EFC-ER) have begun trending quickly into postmodern “progressive evangelical” apostasy.

By the way, John – like myself – is Wesleyan Holiness in doctrine. We hold to the Wesleyan-Arminian position that a born again Christian can turn his or her back on God, walking away into apostasy and “losing” his or her salvation. Technically, we believe in “conditional eternal security”.

So why exactly is the EFCI (and many other evangelical denominations) falling away? There are many factors I’m sure – factors which I will not attempt to enumerate here. But I did find the following post by my friend John Henderson very pertinent. Click here for the original source of this post. Note: I am inserting comments [in brackets] and emphasizing certain points by bolding.

Point of No Return
By John Henderson
12/14/14

This is one of those things where I would welcome, would embrace, having someone tell me I was wrong and showing me how so. It has to do when a person or a group has gone so far in the wrong direction, making wrong choices, and ignoring and neglecting God that they will never return to their better days outside of a divine miracle of intervention.

It happened first in the Garden of Eden. God made it clear to Adam and Eve what the limits were and what would happen if they went beyond them. They went past them and, in the day they sinned, they died spiritually on the spot and physically a few years later. Not only were those the consequences to them but they brought sin and damnation upon all of their descendants that only the Cross of Christ could overcome.

One might argue that God’s creation was perfect and it was impossible for man to undo what God had done. That is a good argument but it was not what happened. Salvation is perfect but man can still trample the perfect redemption.

That is how it is. There is a point where a person can go beyond the possibility of repentance—not because God is powerless but because his or her conscience is so seared by unbelief and rebellion that they cannot come to repentance. Someone has likened it to no longer hearing God’s call because the heart is so filled with animosity to the things of God and the attractions of the world that His call is drowned out by the din of those things. The call has not diminished. The hearing has ignored it so long that it is as though there is no call.

We have a grandfather clock in our hallway. It chimes the Westminster chimes every 15 minutes. Frankly, I do not notice them very often because I am accustomed to ignoring them. A visitor sleeping in a nearby room will often remind me of them. I try to remember to silence the chimes when we have overnight guests.

For this reason, I think a backslider who once followed Christ faithfully is less likely to return than would be a reprobate who has never received Christ. I think of the man who wrote that great song, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” who apparently never made it back. There are statics [sic] that say younger people are more likely to receive Christ than are older people. I often wonder if I would have ever turned to Christ had I put it off at the age of 15 until a later time; had I decided to taste of the world a bit before considering Christ.

There are many sad stories of people who put off salvation so long until all opportunities are gone. I do not like to hear of them but they are out there. Many of them I knew personally.

That same thing is true of once-great churches. I have yet to learn of a backslidden church or denomination that ever returned to its original level of spiritual life, activity, and influence after having started down the road of compromise. The slide was always gradual and hardly noticeable in the beginning. After a while, people started to notice something was wrong and eventually there were those who began to warn about it. There were occasional turnabouts, but not many and not often. Once the fatal drift took hold, it was too late. The cancer of sin had eaten away too much for there to be a recovery. If there ever was to be a cure, it had to be divine, but usually God had been so excluded that He was no longer considered that relevant and His call was no longer being heard.

The good news is that it does not have to turn out like that. There is still that clarion call and most can still hear it. Some will turn to Christ who seemed beyond the call.

I was told that when news got out that I had been saved, there were some who found it unbelievable about me. One person reportedly expressed such disbelief as to say: “Not him! Not that Henderson boy! Anybody but him could be saved!” I am glad that the Holy Spirit thought differently. God may have had to reach a little farther for me but He did. The stain of sin may have penetrated deeply even at my young age, but the Blood of Jesus went deeper than the stain had gone.

I have often thought that my own point of no return was very near then. An accident that should have been fatal convinced me of that. I had come to Christ shortly before the accident—maybe a week, two at the most—and believe I would have perished in the accident if I had put off salvation. I broke my neck in three places in a diving accident and walked away with no permanent damage of any sort.

Genuine revival is still possible. Maybe it won’t look like we used to know or expect, but it can be every bit as real and far-reaching as ever. As long as the Holy Spirit is still with and in us, everything pertaining to the preaching of the gospel is still just as possible as it was in the beginning. That will not change or diminish until Jesus comes again.

(rough draft)

(image source: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/10/b6/03/10b6034de0667891454f6fd8334e501c.jpg)

I have taken up stargazing recently, and am becoming very interested in Creation Astronomy (the biblically sound Young Earth Creation view which states that God created the Sun, Moon and stars on the fourth literal 24-hour day, about 6,000 years ago).

One of the questions that has occurred to me: what is the purpose of the stars? More specifically, why did God create so many stars?

Of course I should ask, who are we to question God’s actions and decisions? But as created beings with intelligence and an inquisitive mind, the question does occur to us.

A recently acquired Facebook Friend, Jay Ryan, points out that God created  the Sun, Moon and stars for “signs and seasons”. Jay has devoted an entire book  to explaining this in more detail.  Jay Ryan explains how God created the Sun, Moon and stars for “signs and seasons”, as the following Bible verse says:

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” (Gen. 1:14)

The above verse forms the basis of what Jay describes as Classical Astronomy. In this article he explains Classical Astronomy in more detail, and points out the faults in modern day secular astronomy.

But this question still puzzles me: why did God create so many stars? And what about distant objects in space? Is it wrong for mankind to research deep space, as is the emphasis today in secular astronomy? And what is the purpose of deep space objects? (Another question I hope to deal with in another blog: why did God create such a vast universe, yet create life on just one planet?)

Here a few thoughts off the top of my head, as to why God created such a vast universe with so many stars. I am searching for Bible verses to back up these points. The points are in no specific order, and there is some overlap:

1) For mankind’s pleasure

2) To show God’s awesome power (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence)

3) To show God’s grace and love for mankind

4) To humble mankind

5) To challenge mankind intellectually

At some point we have to sit back and say “my Lord and my God” and “we… just… don’t… know…” 99% of the answers. This one thing I know, our God is a truly awesome God. In the end we must admit, His creation of the Universe is truly beyond our comprehension.

For learning purposes, I’m compiling a list of prominent names in Creation Astronomy (a Young Earth view which I heartily endorse). There is so much evolutionary garbage out there (such as the Big Bang theory) – I want to start off learning astronomy from a true, accurate, biblical point of view, not some “fairy tale” atheistic nonsense.

Following is a VERY rough draft of my list of prominent names in Creation Astronomy. I am working on adding links for each name (I was hoping to add the links before publishing, but readers have already expressed an interest in seeing the  list.)

Some names are well known, others not so much. If interested in more info on certain individuals, try Googling them or posting a comment here asking for more info.

And, thank you to all below, for your articles, books, lectures, YouTube videos, etc. that help teach the rest of us a biblical view of astronomy. God bless you!

On to the work-in-progress list:

Chris Ashcraft (Christopher W. Ashcraft) – listed at nwcreation.net

Don Batten – wrote “100 Evidences for a Young Age…”

Dr. Jerry Bergman

Rod Bernitt

Dr. Walt Brown

Dr. John Byl

Nathaniel Coleman (pen name for Jonathan David Whitcomb)

Charles Creager Jr.

Dr. Donald B. DeYoung

Dr. Danny Faulkner

Phil Fernandez

Jeannie Fulbright

Robert V. Gentry

Dr. Werner Gitt

Guillermo Gonzalez

Vinnie Harned

John Gideon Hartnett

Dr. Jonathan Henry

Bob Hill

Dr. D. Russell Humphreys (D.R. Humphreys)

Norman Huntington (pen name for Jonathan David Whitcomb)

Dr. David King

Dr. Jason Lisle

Henry Morris IV – at ICR; not a Creation astronomer, but knows Creation astronomers I’m sure

Michael Oard

Spike Psarris

Mike Riddle

Andrew Rigg

David Rives

Diego Rodriques

Jay Ryan

Ron Samec (Ronald G. Samec)

John Sanford

Barry Setterfield

Frank Sherwin

Dr. Harold S. Slusher – “formerly of the Institute for Creation Research, is best known for his critiques of radiometric dating techniques. He is also known for the r̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶b̶i̶z̶a̶r̶r̶e̶ suggestion that the universe is much smaller than it appears, because its geometry is Riemannian as opposed to Euclidean.” [Note – the source of this quote is critical of Creationism.]
a list of books and articles
four sermons/lectures on Creation and Evolution (several mention Creation Astronomy)

Andrew Snelling

James Sundquist – not a Creation astronomer, but has written a Creation Astronomy article, provided a commentary in  a Creation Astronomy DVD, etc. He is mentioned at nwcreation.net.

Simon Turpin

James Upton

Dr. Larry Vardiman (ICR)

Jonathan David Whitcomb (pen names – Nathaniel Coleman, Norman Huntington)

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