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Archive for the ‘Apostasy’ Category

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.

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(revised 11/19/15)

The news headlines are foreboding for born again Christians in America. As we all know, in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court declared 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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(Revised 11/19/15)

Today many LGBT 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 LGBT people or their property. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Can LGBT 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 LGBT 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 11/19/15)

In recent days I have been very concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the “same-sex marriage” issue. As we all know, “same-sex marriage” was approved for all 50 states of the U.S. (plus the District of Columbia) in 2015.

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

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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.

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(revised 01/30/15)

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

It angers me when New Agers are so deceptive, deluding born again Christians into thinking they are Christians (Oprah Winfrey and other New Agers are also trying to deceive us in this way). Following is a March 2014 First for Women article I came across with New Age quotes from Roma Downey. (I realize there may be copyright issues concerning the posting of this article – for now at least, I am leaving the article online primarily for other discernment ministries to access and quote.) Here’s the article:

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

Other New Age buzzwords in the above article,  quoting Downey:

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

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

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

FOR FURTHER RESEARCH

Apparently Downey is a darling of the following yoga website, which lists many of her online video interviews about “The Son of God” movie.
http://yogasanas.net/index.php/component/relatedvideos/?vid=Jq90uQnP5ko

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

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

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

Combined Articles on Entire Sanctification
By John Henderson

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

Scriptural Holiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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