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Archive for April, 2011

(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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(revised 11/16/13)

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 of his that address false teachers.

Following are excerpts from a David Wilkerson message on “Seeker Sensitive Churches” (I have emphasized certain points by bolding them):

The Dangers of The Gospel of Accommodation
(A sermon given by David Wilkerson at an Assemblies of God headquarters chapel service)

A New Gospel

Accommodate means to adapt, to make suitable and acceptable, to make convenient. A gospel of accommodation is creeping into the United States. It’s an American cultural invention to appease the lifestyle of luxury and pleasure. Primarily a Caucasian, suburban gospel, it’s also in our major cities and is sweeping the nation, influencing ministers of every denomination, and giving birth to megachurches with thousands who come to hear a nonconfronting message. It’s an adaptable gospel that is spoon-fed through humorous skits, drama, and short, nonabrasive sermonettes on how to cope—called a seeker-friendly or sinner-friendly gospel.

To begin with, those terms are unscriptural. The gospel of Jesus Christ has always been confronting—there is no such thing as a friendly gospel but a friendly grace.

This new gospel is being propagated by bright, young, talented ministers. They have come upon a formula which states you can go into any town or city; and if you have the right formula, within a short time you can raise a megachurch.

If you are a young man and have certain skills, you find those skills and a part of the city that would best suit you. You move into that area, poll it, and find out what the nonchurchgoers want…

Then you go to your computer and design a gospel that will not confront but will shoot out the desires and the needs of the people. After you have gathered a handful of people, you keep interviewing them to find out what they want; then you design your message to help people cope with their needs. The program you design is intended to make the church comfortable and friendly for all sinners who wish to attend.

This gospel is fast becoming the most prosperous and flourishing of all religious movements. Thousands attend these churches. The pastor is the CEO, and it becomes a business. They make no bones about it: They are following Madison Avenue tactics and can make a success of it. Their formula for quick church growth is cleverly packaged and is being sold especially to young ministers—those who want to be a part of the big boys and what’s happening on a fast track. They want it to happen quickly…

A young man with an accommodating gospel moves into town and and within a very short time has a megachurch. People are flocking there because there is entertainment; it’s a gospel of fun. I’ve been in some of them. It’s the gospel of entertainment that has no conviction whatsoever. There is very little in their gospel that speaks to sinners of repentance, brokenness, and cross-bearing. A Christ is preached, Jesus’ name is mentioned, but Paul said theirs is another gospel, another Jesus.

Paul warned that if you are caught in this trap, if you want that hook of entertainment, that hook of sudden growth, this is the hook: The enemy will put in your path a teaching.

That is something this Movement and every movement is going to have to look at and deal with: It is possible, through unholy ambition, to be transformed from a man of God, who has been seeking God and getting a word from heaven, to an unholy ambition and a tool of Satan. Let every pastor heed this warning: The moment you begin to consider the “competition,” seeds of accommodation will be planted in your heart. Suddenly, Satan will put in your path a wolf in sheep’s clothing—a man who will try to seduce you into ungodly ambition and achieving church growth at any cost. Yet the truth is, it could cost you your soul…

I ask you, how long do you think that audience would stay in church if the pastor was gripped by the Holy Ghost, convicted for “entertaining” people toward hell, and suddenly preached a message entitled, “Be sure your sins will find you out”? How long would people keep coming back if a gospel of holy living and separation from the world was preached? Two things would happen: (1) Those who are misguided, hungry, and didn’t know any better would weep and run to the altar. (2) Those who are judiciously blinded by their pleasures in madness would flee from the church and never come again. The church doors would close.

I keep this foremost in my mind and before my eyes, because every minister of the gospel one day has to face it when he stands before the Lord. He will say, “Son of man, I made thee a watchman. You were to hear the words of My mouth and give them warnings from Me. You were to tell the wicked, ‘Thou shalt surely die.’ And you gave them no warning nor spoke to warn the wicked to turn from their wicked ways to save their lives. These same wicked men died in their sins, but their blood I’ll require at your hands.”…

It’s cruel, pastor, to lead sinners to the Cross, tell them they are forgiven by faith, and then allow them to go back to their habits and lusts of the flesh, unchanged and still in the devil’s shackles. If the preaching of grace doesn’t have as its goal the producing of a walk of righteousness, then it’s another gospel, another Jesus…

Take it from me: You can get your big church and be one of the big boys, but it’s going to cost you your soul if you preach with a focus only on earthly things, rather than on the things of God…

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Click here for the full transcript of this sermon.

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(revised 10/23/12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR FURTHER READING

There are many additional resources by David Wilkerson:

SermonIndex list of 211 transcripts of sermons

SermonIndex list of 547 audio sermons

World Challenge list of audio sermons

Pulpit Series newsletters

YouTube list of about 2,690 videos

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This will sound like bragging, I’m sure. But I want to let our readers know this blogsite is getting more active and growing. To whoever is reading these blogs, seeing WordPress statistics such as the following motivates me to keep blogging:

Between 04/20/11 and 04/28/11, our blogs were read 727 times. At this rate, in the next 365 days, our blogs will be read over 30,000 times.

This makes me feel very good that readers are finding these blogs and finding help from them. To you all, whoever you are, thank you again for allowing us to minister to you in writing. God bless you – Dave Mosher

P.S.: To make sure readers find your blogs, make sure you provide your blogs with many categories and tags. I am still learning this myself…

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Update 05/07/11 – Readers have been asking me what my birthright denomination is. The denomination is EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church International), of which EFC-NA (Evangelical Friends Church-North America) is a part.
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Some of my blogs may be password protected. When you come across a blog that requires a password, go to the About tab at the top of this blogsite. Then leave me a message such as “Request password” in the Post Comment box.

I password protected some blogs due to some reader complaints. The blogs dealt with issues in my birthright denomination. It was felt that I had been too harsh, or that I was too judgmental, or that I named names unnecessarily, or that I did not really understand what is going on in the denomination. Looking back, I think some of these complaints were legitimate, at least to some extent.

I am considering toning down some of the “tamer” blogs and placing them back online. I will attempt to research other blogs more thoroughly before placing them back online, to make sure I get my facts straight. And there are other blogs I will probably leave offline (password protected) permanently.

To readers from my birthright denomination who FAVOR the blogs I wrote, please, please, PLEASE let me know.  I promise to keep your comments private and confidential unless you inform me otherwise.  I need to have your positive feedback in order for this discernment blogsite to continue its ministry. I had a huge spike in readership of my blogsite during the time I had blogs posted about my birthright denomination. For the most part, I have no idea what percentage of readers favored these blogs, as opposed to what percentage opposed them.

I do see the negative side of my blogging about my birthright denomination – that such articles can cause hurt feelings, loss of friendships, etc. I am still learning about blogging – what works and what does not, what is appropriate and what is not, and how far to push my views. I have seen a great deal of Facebook etiquette broken by various individuals, and I am learning about etiquette (or lack thereof) in the blogosphere as well.

Since this is a discernment blogsite, it is inherently impossible for me to say I will never criticize anyone (and as a result offend them.)  What I can do, is work on being more positive. And I can work on making general statements, rather than naming names (at least not more than absolutely necessary). Hopefully these steps will help smooth things out a bit.

I find the following Bible verse rather intriguing: “… speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15, KJV). This verse tells me it is indeed possible to speak (or blog) the truth of God’s Word and God’s will (including confronting and differing), yet do it in love. I’m still trying to find that balance.

By the way, not to rile things up any more than I already have, but I must say this: I know for a fact there are more and more members of my birthright denomination who are becoming upset about Spiritual Formation, Emerging/Emergent Church teachings, Ecumenism, and other “liberal” issues. This is particularly true for the older generations – approximately ages 50 and up.  So even if I never write any more about this denomination’s issues (or never had), the denomination may eventually face chaos over these issues anyway.

There are thousands of articles on the Internet describing the chaos which is already occurring in the Nazarene denomination (and many other denominations) over these very same issues. (No, I have never been a member of the Nazarene denomination.) Even if I were to remove my discernment blogsite completely (or had never created it), dissatisfied/ concerned members of my birthright denomination would still seek out blogsites similar to mine. They would still locate articles on their own, from numerous other websites, finding out about these issues and the various denominational splits which are resulting.

I pray that God willing, and with enough supporters, we could perhaps form what is called a “Confessing Movement” dealing with my birthright denomination. A Confessing Movement is, in a nutshell, members that commit themselves to remain in a denomination while expressing their wishes for a return to biblical teachings within the denomination. Click here for my blog about Confessing Movements. I must admit, the “Confessing Movement” approach is more positive than my “Discernment Blogsite” approach.

Bottom line – I still believe Spiritual Formation, Emerging/Emergent teachings, and Ecumenism come straight from the pit of Hell. I find it interesting that progressives/liberals of every theological stripe gladly accept these teachings as their own. Every mainline denomination from Episcopalians, to UMC, to UCC, and the list goes on and on. Even Unitarian Universalists and New Agers seem comfortable with Spiritual Formation, Emerging/Emergent teachings, and Ecumenism. This should be a huge red flag to born again Christians to stay away from these teachings. Yet young people (approximately ages 13-30) in evangelical churches continue to flock to these teachings in droves. God help them. And God help all those “pied pipers” who are leading these evangelical young people down the path to Hell. Sorry folks – I will not back down on my stand against Spiritual Formation, Emerging/Emergent teachings, and Ecumenism. I’ll just be “nicer”!

God bless you all – Dave Mosher

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Much has been written showing that most contemplative practices within Spiritual Formation have been drawn from “other faith traditions.” “Other faith traditions” is a Spiritual Formation “code word” for other world religions – including the New Age movement.

The books and articles of so-called “Christian” contemplative writers are filled with references to contemplative practices from other world religions. Yet born again Christian readers are drawn to their writings, accepting and practicing them without question. For the life of me, I cannot understand how Christians who claim to be born again and Bible believing can accept these writers without question, incorporating their ungodly, nonchristian practices into their daily Christian faith and practices.

Following is an excerpt describing just a few examples of “Christian” contemplative writers referring to other world religions. The entire article by Carol Brooks, entitled “Contemplating the Alternative,” can be found here:

In fact quite a few of the major players in the contemplative prayer movement have incorporated Eastern Religions into Christianity. Although many think that people like Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating were devout Christians, the truth is that they were all Catholics who not only could not see through Rome’s foundational heresies, but promoted the integration of pagan practices such as Zen Buddhism and Hindu yoga with Christianity.

In the foreword to Thomas Ryan’s 1993 book, Disciplines For Christian Living, Henri Nouwen wrote:

The author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian and does not hesitate to bring that wisdom home.

While in his own book Pray to Live (p.19-28) he says the following about Thomas Merton:

Merton had encountered Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism and Vedanta many years prior to his Asian journey. Merton was able to uncover the stream where the wisdom of East and West merge and flow together, beyond dogma, in the depths of inner experience…. Merton embraced the spiritual philosophies of the East and integrated this wisdom into (his) own life through direct practice.

Other Evangelicals followed suit. In Celebration Of Discipline Richard Foster heartily endorses Tilden Edward’s book, Spiritual Friend, which says:

“This mystical stream [contemplative prayer and other monastic traditions] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality (and to that of Sufis Moslems)…this exchange, together with the more popular Eastern impact in the West through transcendental meditation, Hatha Yoga, the martial arts, and through many available courses on Eastern religions in universities, has aided a recent rediscovery of Christian apophatic mystical tradition.… [Pgs. 18 and 19]

While Contemplative Prayer is widely accepted as Christian, Eastern religions such Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism and Occult/New Age devotees have long practiced an almost identical form of ‘prayer’, which however, does not mean the same thing to every person experiencing it, since what is considered sacred varies from group to group. The experience is therefore interpreted according to the beliefs and practices of the practitioner.

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