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Archive for the ‘Ecumenism’ Category

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

Click here for the original site of the article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For most of my life, I have had great respect and admiration for Evangelical Friend Everett L. Cattell. In his lifetime he held many wonderful positions, including missionary, Malone College president, etc. However, after recent research, I feel I cannot  overlook or downplay the various examples of his heretical ecumenical side which I have discovered.

Many Evangelical Friends have applauded Dr. Cattell’s ecumenism. Yet the tragic truth is, Dr. Cattell’s ecumenism (particularly his Quaker ecumenism) contributed greatly to the liberalism/downfall of the born again Evangelical Friends denomination (EFCI). (Dr. Cattell was not alone – some other Evangelical Friends leaders also pushed for Quaker ecumenism.) Largely due to their poor denominational decisions, today the EFCI is finding itself solidly in the grips of the heretical Emerging/Emergent church movements.

I have reposted a blog by “Emerging/Convergent”  Evangelical Friend Wess Daniel of Northwest Yearly Meeting, applauding Dr. Cattell. In his blog, Wess also reveals Dr. Cattell’s heretical ecumenical side. Click here for the original source of this blog. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]:

Everett Cattell: Quaker and Mission Theologian

Posted on August 6, 2008

Series contents | Intro | Part Two |

This is a part of a series I will be doing on Cattell and his contributions to the Friends Church and missiology.

Everett Cattell is an important figure when it comes to missiology within the Friends Church. He and his wife Catherine DeVol were sent to India in 1936 where they spent 21 years … as missionaries. There he had the opportunity to work alongside a number of different missions organizations and even got to know Leslie Newbigin and Donald McGavran, two of missiology’s most influential people of the last 50 years.  In 1957, he and Catherine returned to the U.S. where he was made the superintendent of Ohio Yearly Meeting (Damascus) for three years. In 1960, he became the president of Malone College in Canton, Ohio and worked there for 12 years (Abbott, 2006:41-42). Cattell was a leading figure in the Holiness movement within the Evangelical Friends Church and helped to create openness among a variety of Friends branches. Through his interactions with a number of different missions organizations while in India he became good at working ecumenically among those within his own tradition. Quaker scholar David Johns writes,

“Cattell’’s influence in the Society of Friends has been unparalleled with respect to the conceptualization of the nature of Christian missions and in establishing a model of sorts of an evangelical ecumenicism. A notable strength of Cattell is that he provides enough clarity and conviction to address those who are hazy and unconvinced; yet, he also provides enough ambiguity to humble the most self-assured” (Johns, 1992:5).

Cattell was not only good at ecumenicism but also worked hard as a renewal leader within the Friends Church. At the age of 16 he gave a lecture at yearly meeting on “”How Can Ohio Yearly Meeting Take A Forward Step”” (Johns, 6). In the late 1960′s he helped organize [an ecumenical Quaker] conference in St. Louis, which took place in 1970 and was focused on the theme “”The Future of Friends”” (a theme I am particularly interested in). There he gave one of three keynote addresses; his was titled “A New Approach for Friends.” (Also see his essay “The Future of Friends” in Quaker Religious Thought 1966 Vol. VIII No. 2 p. 10-14.)

His book Christian Mission (1981) is one of only two books in the Quaker tradition covering the general study of mission theology I am aware of. The other is by [Friends United Meeting’s] Elton Trueblood and is called, The Validity of Christian Mission. Cattell’’s is the more articulate and seasoned of the two. The book sets out to give a general theology of mission using Scripture, current missiological texts and his own experience as a missionary in India as the basis for his understanding.

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George Fox University is the most liberal/Emergent school in the EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church International). So I was not surprised to learn they had held an interfaith dialogue. Thank you, Ken Cook, for your excellent critique of what I consider an anti-christian event, held at what basically has become a heretical Emerging/Emergent New Evangelical school.

Click here for the original blog, copied and pasted in its entirety below. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]:

Sacred Journey: A Protestant at an Interfaith Dialogue

Interfaith Dialogue

[Author: Ken Cook, January 25, 2012]

When a pastor friend of mine told me that there was an interfaith dialogue at George Fox University, the local college, I was excited to go. I have read, studied, and listened to and about this type of thing, but never had attended one in the flesh. I figured it would be an eye opening experience.

Interfaith Dialogue

The speakers were a Zen Buddhist teacher, a Rabbi, a Muslim and a Woman Pastor (From George Fox). The music and rayers [sic] were done by the local Baha’i Center. (see their bios)[Excuse me? This was held at a “Christian” university – so why did they not take the upper hand and lead the music and prayers? Why did they allow followers of Baha’i to do so?]

Bios of Interfaith Speakers, George Fox 1/15/12

The Jewish Rabbi spoke first. I took notes. By no means is this a complete discussion or recounting, but rather it just hits the things that I felt were most noteworthy. He was discussing the Jewish “Master Story”. He said it was a story of the confronting of power and that the story was centered in Exodus and Numbers. He went on to explain that need to confront power (Pharaoh) and go to the promised land.

The thing that really got to me was the Rabbi’s discussion extolling doubt as a virtue. He started of like this: “You know those tv preachers… I am envious of them, of their confidence.” *Audience has sporadic laughter and agreement*. He continued to expound on the idea of doubt is a virtue of faith. This idea was linked to the idea of a rabbi discouraging a non-Jew from becoming Jewish.  It was a somewhat non-nonsensical argument in my mind.

From a Christian perspective this guy was coming out of shallow left field. Doubt isn’t a virtue. Faith is. Nowhere in his presentation, which included a lengthy discussion of Jews seeking justice for the oppressed, was there anything about looking for a messiah. Maybe it is just my Christian perspective, but I thought that the Jews were still looking forward to the Messiah. How is it that we can have a discussion of faith and not mention Jesus the whole time. I wish that he would have answered the question: Who is Jesus to you?

The Muslim speaker presented next. He opened up with a commentary on the moderators opening comments. He was focused upon this idea of justice, and how justice was missing from many of the presentations of this kind (speaking of interfaith discussions I believe). I found myself somewhat frustrated by this talk of justice by a Muslim. It was my belief that justice for this man meant something that is injustice from not just a Christian perspective, but from every other perspective represented there: namely, Sharia Law.  I had stopped listening and my mind was flooded with the few specifics of Sharia that I knew and perhaps the only verse in the Qur’an that I know by heart – O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people. — Qur’an 5:51.  So Here is a man standing before me who is preaching a justice that would mean my (and the rest of those present who were not Muslim) subjugation, oppressive taxation or death. My mind then went on to wonder how many people were actually understanding what he wasn’t saying here. How many people would understand that his concept of justice is in fact unjust.

I came back from my thoughts, in time to hear him begin discussing how cartoons of the prophet are offensive. He explained that from the Islamic perspective all the prophets are to be respected. He then went through in Arabic some of the highlights of the OT prophets, asking the crowd if they could recognize which prophet he meant. Then he got to Isa. I knew I was about to be galled. The crowd of course didn’t recognize the name. He pressured them and finally told us that it was the prophet we would call Jesus; and that we got his name wrong. The smug arrogance of the statement was thick in the air. I could tell that many of the Christians had a deep disagreement and frustration by this statement, which was oddly encouraging that they seemed to take a stand on something.  I would have loved to press this guy on this idea and on the concept that he actually respects Jesus as a prophet, given that he denies what Jesus taught.  I get the feeling that he doesn’t understand that Jesus claimed for himself divinity ( John 8:48ff).

He then went on to discuss Muslim prayers, something that I found interesting is that he said that you get more credit [with Allah] if you pray with at least one other person. The idea was that it was somehow a better work than simply praying alone.  He then discussed heaven and how it is about having more good works than bad works. I was sure that his 15 minutes had elapsed at this point. He must have discussed prayer for another 5 minutes.

He seemed to be winding down, with the concept of missionary work being offensive to Muslims. He said if you come to the poorest and dig a well that is good, but if you dig the well and “Bring your Christ” it is offensive. He made it seem like this type of thing is akin to taking advantage of the poor.  With this he finished. I sat back thinking to myself how he really just didn’t tell the whole story. From my understanding, the concept here is that Jesus is not God in Islam. That to come and preach that Jesus is God is what is offensive to the Muslim.  They need us to do these things for them, but don’t want Christ preached beyond what the Qur’an says about him.

Here is the problem: The Message of Christ is Offensive. ( cf. Gal 5:11, 1 Pet 2:8, Rom 9:33)  I know this may come as a shock to you — the Gospel of the crucified God-Man Jesus Christ is just as offensive to the Muslim as it was to the Jews and Greeks.

One might think that I am a bit off the reservation with the whole justice and Sharia law issue. After Mr. Ahmed’s presentation, I went up to him and asked him if he felt that Sharia law was perfectly Just. His answer was no surprise, he said that it was absolutely just. I would assert that any man who consistently holds to that position, and believes that such a law should govern any land, can never ultimately have religious agreement with a non-Muslim. The difference in concept of justice is so definitively separate. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that he will be violent, abusive or destructive to those of another faith.

Mr. Carlson Spoke after the break. I am not really going to say much about his presentation, for two reasons. 1. Buddhism as a non-Abrahamic faith would require a lot of explaining and 2. Given that he holds to a non-theistic view of Buddhism, the specifics don’t matter as much as the general theism issue in my mind. He is simply an Atheist with an Eastern philosophical-religious system at the end of the day. I believe he should be addressed as any atheist would.

The Final speaker of the night was Sarah Baldwin, the George Fox Campus Pastor. I did Call Mrs. Baldwin a couple days after the event to clarify a couple of things. Sarah presented what she called a “Theology of Suffering.” The focus of her presentation was that we experience the Christian life not as Jesus and me, but as Jesus and we. She stated off with a story about going to Calcutta. She said she was struck by the amount of suffering. She began to tell of a woman who was naked on the streets, and how she experienced “Jesus in the flesh, in the eyes of that woman.”  She then said that she could make sense of the gospel, “whatever you do for the least of these.”  I was ready to lose it.1  The Gospel is not whatever you do for the least of these, the Gospel is defined for us by Paul as –

…That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  1 Corinthians 15:3ff (ESV)

I would say that if we are offering up a gospel different from what Paul dictates for us in scripture, we are in serious trouble.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Galations 1:8-9

However, the most problematic statement by Mrs. Baldwin was, “by Jesus’ Death, he carries our suffering.” I don’t need a crucified savior to relate with my suffering, I need him to remove my sin. [Amen!]

Here’s my big problem with the whole event. There wasn’t a clear proclamation of law and gospel. There was no call to repentance of sinners. I understand an event to gain knowledge about other faiths, but I believe that Christians that are given an audience of non-believers, should be compelled to call them to repent. If we believe that hell is real, and people are really going there, how could we function otherwise? [Therein lies the problem. George Fox University has gone from a born again evangelical position to an Emerging/Emergent position. Those holding to an Emerging/Emergent position would never preach so “offensively” that “ungodly sinners need to come to Christ in repentance to escape a fiery eternity in the Lake of Fire.” After all, they say, “we need to practice missional and/or attractional evangelism, not confrontational evangelism.”  And they call themselves Christians?]

If interfaith events can create unity between contradictory faiths, it must be by the abandonment of the uniqueness of each or one. Moreover, Biblical Christianity is incompatible with any other religion, if we are to keep its unique truths. I believe Paul says it best:

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

1 —  in my later call with Sarah, she clarified that the gospel isn’t “whatever you do for the least of these,” and she described the gospel as what I would call the Eschatology of Hope, the good news of resurrection and the kingdom of God becoming present.

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More and more Protestant churches are practicing Ash Wednesday. Why?

The postmodern (Emerging, Emergent and Emergence) movements are growing by leaps and bounds within the Protestant denominations. Many postmodern Protestant denominations (mainline/liberal as well as evangelical) are getting increasingly involved in Spiritual Formation (which quotes many Catholic mystics), as well as Ash Wednesday, Lent, Advent, and other liturgical “holy days” first practiced in Roman Catholicism.

My point is, more and more Protestant churches are “giving in” to Catholic teachings and practices, not vice versa. Which brings us to the five solas. Protestant church leaders, who have traditionally held to the five solas, are presenting more and more practices from Catholicism, which does not hold to the five solas. As a Protestant who believes the five solas are the true teachings of God’s Word, I find this very troubling.

Here is a helpful Wikipedia article, which mentions the various Protestant views of the five solas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas

Now on to a discussion of Ash Wednesday itself.  Regarding Ash Wednesday and Lent as times for true repentance, there are certainly many Catholics (and Protestants) who do not truly repent during these times. Why else the huge popularity of Mardi Gras the day before Ash Wednesday? In fact, there is an entire Catholic “Carnival” period between Christmas and Ash Wednesday: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/mardigras/ In light of this, it seems to me many Catholics are not truly repentant during Ash Wednesday and Lent – they are just playing church and/or trying to get to Heaven by “good works” and abstaining during Ash Wednesday and Lent.

I came across an excellent article by Craig Portwood exposing the pagan origin of Ash Wednesday.  Click here for the original text of this article. In my repost below, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

“The pagan origin of Ash Wednesday”
by Craig Portwood

It’s not mentioned in the Bible. None of the apostles observed it. Nowhere are Christians commanded to keep it. It was not even officially practiced until nearly 1000 years after Christ’s resurrection. Like so many other non-biblical “Christian” customs, it has pagan roots. It’s a sad fact that modern Christianity has appropriated so many customs from the practice of the heathens, that one might wonder if it should still be called Christianity.

The early Pagan origins of Ash Wednesday

[The following drawing may appear irreverent, but I am including it anyway  to illustrate how unbiblical the practice of Ash Wednesday is. Throughout the Old Testament, God condemned Israel for borrowing a number of  “trivial” pagan practices from its neighbors. I believe our sinless Lord Jesus, knowing the pagan origin of “ashes on the forehead,” would have refused to take part in this sinful practice.]

This ritual “imposition of the ashes” is purportedly in imitation of the repentant act of covering oneself in dust and ashes. The marking of believers on Ash Wednesday is done in combination of another extra-biblical routine called “Lent.” Despite Christ’s command to his followers to abstain from the practice of disfiguring their faces during fasting, it has become a regular practice. He also told us to wash our faces during a fast.

The practice of putting ashes on one’s forehead has been known from ancient times. In the Nordic pagan religion, placing ashes above one’s brow was believed to ensure the protection of the Norse god, Odin. This practice spread to Europe during the Vikings conquests. This laying on of ashes was done on Wednesday, the day named for Odin, Odin’s Day. Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, one of Odin’s names is Ygg. The same is Norse for the World Ash. This name Ygg, closely resembles the Vedic name Agni in pronunciation.

The Norse practice which has become known as Ash Wednesday was itself, drawn from the Vedic Indian religion. Ashes were believed to be the seed Agni , the Indian fire god. It is from this name that the Latins used for fire, ignis. It is from this root word that the English language got the words, ignite, igneous and ignition. Agni was said to have the authority to forgive sins. Ashes were also believed to be symbolic for the purifying blood of the Vedic god Shiva, which it is said had the power to cleanse sins.

Lent

Lent is a period of 40 days preceding the observance of Easter, where the observers are expected to fast or cease from having the use of some other “luxury.” Like the majority of modern, so-called Christian practices, its beginning can be traced to heathen practices.
In his book The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop observed:

Let any one only read the atrocities that were commemorated during the ‘sacred fast’ or Pagan Lent, as described by Arnobius and Clemens Alexandrinus, and surely he must blush for the Christianity of those who, with the full knowledge of all these abominations, ‘went down to Egypt for help’ to stir up the languid devotion of the degenerate church, and who could find no more excellent way to ‘revive’ it, than by borrowing from so polluted a source; the absurdities and abominations connected with which the early Christian writers had held up to scorn. That Christians should ever think of introducing the Pagan abstinence of Lent was a sign of evil; it showed how low they had sunk, and it was also a cause of evil; it inevitably led to deeper degradation. Originally, even in Rome, Lent, with the preceding revelries of the carnival, was entirely unknown….

In the early 19th century, German explorer Alexander von Humboldt noted the practice among the pagans in Mexico, being held in the spring. His account states:

Three days after the vernal equinox…began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun.

A Lent of forty days was also commemorated in Egypt. According to by English scholar John Landseer, in his Sabean Researches (1823), an Egyptian Lent of forty days was held in honor of Osiris.

There is a spiritual signature which bears witness to the spirit of these traditions. It is called Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It is the custom of living it up to get our fill of all the enjoyment the world has to offer before setting off to “Church” in mock repentance on Ash Wednesday. Such celebrations are an indication of the spirit behind the facade.

[Click here for the Wikipedia article on Ash Wednesday. And click here for the Wikipedia article on Mardi Gras, which includes a description of the “Carnival” time period between Christmas and Mardi Gras.]

The Truth

Christ made it plain in John 4:23-24:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

To be sure, those who observe modern “Christian” practices are religious. They may have personal conviction, but they are missing a vital element of the faith. They are lacking truth.

Mark 7:7

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The Bible tells us in chapter 9 of the book of Hebrews, that we are made clean by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No amount of ritual or work of the hand of man can accomplish this.

1st Peter 1:13-16 tells us:

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 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.

The word holy means set apart, different from the rest. If we keep traditions which are not of God, how can we be holy? From what then are we different if we do as they do?

Not everyone has the conviction nor the courage to be set apart from the rest of the world. The sad truth is that mainstream Christianity lost her way, having fallen into apostasy long ago. This apostate tradition is continued by priests, pastors and preachers, ordained not by God in the power of the Holy Spirit, but by men in the spirit of the world.

And their followers wouldn’t have it any other way.

© 2010 Craig Portwood

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(revised 04/12/14)

Although I prefer the Post-Trib Premillenial view, I greatly enjoyed the following article by Don Koenig, in which he defended Premillenialism (including the Pre-Trib view) against Postmillenialists and Preterists. I am especially disturbed by the Emergent/New Apostolic Reformation move towards Postmillenialism (aka “Dominion Theology”, “Kingdom Now Theology.”)

(As an aside, I am leaning towards the Post-Trib view, which like the Pre-Trib view falls under Premillenialism.)

I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Christians will be caught unaware because they gave up premillennialism

Don Koenig
On February 10, 2011 · 33 Comments

One of the chief signs of the end times that premillennial futurists fluffed over in their eagerness to see the return of the Lord for His Church is the passages that make it clear that the Lord is coming at time when we think not (Luke 12:40).

We also know that in the last days there would be Christians mocking other Christians about their belief in the soon return of the Lord [I believe anyone mocking a premillenial return of Christ is mocking Bible prophecy].

2 Peter 3, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

In hindsight, one of the reasons why the hope of a Rapture in the 20th century was premature was because during that period a great percentage of Evangelical Christians believed in premillennialism. They believed in a literal and future fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Therefore, the coming of Jesus really did not fit what Jesus said it would be like in the Church just before His return. Let me explain.

The doctrine of the Rapture and the Lord’s Second coming was one of the major focuses of the Bible believing Church in the last third of the 20th century. Yet, scripture implies that many Christians would not be expecting Jesus when He comes. So one of the signs that premillennial 20th century believers were presumptuous, and that Jesus would not return on our time-lines, was the general expectations that prevailed during that period among Christians. This irrational exuberance led to date setters and the fallout of that led to a general discrediting of all teaching dispensational Premillennial Theology.

Futurist Premillennial Theology probably reached its peak from 1970 to around the year 2000. In those days it was hard to find a Evangelical Bible believing church that did not believe in the soon coming of Jesus with the Rapture of the Church. [I have seen this change for myself in the Evangelical Friends, aka the EFCI, whose top administrative leaders preached about the imminent return of Christ. But no longer – they are becoming increasingly Emergent]. They also taught that the Rapture would be followed by judgment of evil on earth, followed by the establishment of the millennial kingdom where Jesus would rule and reign on earth with His Church for a thousand years, and then Satan once again would be loosed to deceive mankind into a final rebellion.

Because of the Lord’s delay and the presumptuous false hopes presented by some, there since has been a  falling away from premillennial theology. Many pastors now have post-millennial beliefs where the Church will have to Christianize the world before the Lord will actually physically return. Preterism is also gaining ground.   They teach that prophecy about Israel was all fulfilled in 70 AD and the prophetic promises to Israel are either annulled or are now only promises to the spiritual Church. With preterists, the Church is the kingdom promised on earth and the Church allegorically fulfills Bible prophecy. When all the saved come in, God will then judge all and eternity will began. There is no literal thousand year reign on earth in Preterism.

Today premillenial futurist Dispensational Theology is losing ground every day in Evangelical Christianity and you will seldom hear it taught from the pulpits anymore. It also will not be found in your Sunday school material. I think this falling away from premillennialim and the teaching of the imminent coming of Jesus is prophetic in itself. It had to be fulfilled, if we are indeed in the last days.

Jesus said He would come at a time when most think not. That would not have been true when people were still claiming His soon coming and also followed the date setters.  Few premillenial believers in the 1980′s thought that we would still be here in 2011. There are still some premillennial Christians that are hanging on to the hope of the Lord’s soon coming, but they are becoming a smaller and smaller minority within Christianity.

I suppose that those following the 2012 end of the world presumptions and heretics like Harold Camping will just make premillennial believers even more rare in the future. This will set the conditions in Christianity for what Peter said would happen in the last days.

Peter said Christians will be mocking other Christians saying, “where is the promise of His coming”, they will obviously insinuate that your belief of a soon coming Rapture and the return of Jesus is a false hope that is even harmful to the Church. Pastors will teach that we must put away all such foolishness and work to Christianize the world through social justice programs. All that are teaching Premillennial Theology with the physical return of Jesus will be marginalized and perhaps not even welcomed in their fellowships.

The trend in Christianity is already this way in the churches that have become unequally yoked with unbelievers that intend to set up an interfaith world of social justice. This trend away from premillennialism will only increase because of more failed date setting. Soon premillennial evangelicals will become open game for soft and hard dominionist media Evangelicals, and their mocking will spread into the general church populations.

That is when this “where is the promise of His coming” rant will be literally fulfilled. Some have claimed fulfillment in the past, but they were really grasping at straws. I do not believe it will be some subtitle innuendo. It will be a direct mocking confrontation against those that hold fast to Premillennial Theology and the soon return of the Lord. This is what I believe Peter is saying in his passage. We have not seen that fulfilled yet, but we see that things are rapidly trending in that direction. We now see the Seeker, Purpose Driven, Emergent and New Apostolic Reformation churches are becoming increasingly hostile toward Premillennial Theology. Get ready for more flame throwing against anyone that takes Bible prophecy literally.

But, blessed is the the person that holds fast to the promise of the Lord’s coming. That promise of His patience was held by only one of the seven church types that identify Christianity, and they are the only Church type that was promised to be kept out of the great trial that will come upon all those that dwell on the earth.

Rev 3:10  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Jesus said, “will there be faith on the earth when I come” (Lk 18:18), Jesus probably was not talking about faith to believe that salvation came through Him. The Church has to have salvation faith, or it is not the Church. Jesus was referring to faith that He would soon return and judge the earth. The answer to His question is that other than a small minority that kept the promise of His coming and His patience, there will not be that kind of faith on the earth when Jesus comes.

We need to keep the faith, the Lord is not slow in coming. He just is not willing that any should perish. Nevertheless, the signs of the times are evident, the Lord will not delay His coming much longer. We are not in darkness, that this day should overtake us as a thief (1 Th 5:4).

Lk 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Finally, one reason not usually talked about why Jesus must return very soon is The Singularity. We are only a few decades from when man will be able to extend his lifespan indefinitely. The doubling of knowledge every 18 months means that artificial intelligence will soon make it possible for collective man to solve any technical problem, but he still will not deal with the problem of his own sin. [This entire paragraph sounds a bit far fetched to me, other than the last phrase:  “he still will not deal with the problem of his own sin.”]

Unforeseen technology will get into the hands of evil people and they would destroy the world if it went on past the middle of this century. So Jesus must return and deal with evil before that happens. The mark of the Beast probably somehow ties in. Man will attempt to undo the confusion given to him at Babel. That is not acceptable while mankind is still in rebellion against God. So the end is soon for sure, but first the scoffers must come from even those that call themselves Christians.


 Don Koenig founded http://www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named “The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages”. This World and Church and Bible Prophecy Blog was started in 2007. This Blog now has over 1000 articles written by Don and contains almost 10,000 comments mostly related to the post topic.

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(revised 04/27/14)

In this blog I wrote about the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC) and its participant denominations.

In 2006, the WHC published its “Holiness Manifesto”. In writing the Holiness Manifesto, it seems they simply took a hybrid of Emergent teachings and Dominionist teachings, then built a manifesto around them. Interesting – all  the time and effort put into meetings, document preparation, etc. Why did they not meet to study and pray about a return to biblically sound Holiness teachings of the past (of the “fundamentalist” Wesleyan Holiness movement of 1900-1920 and earlier)? Because the WCA members themselves are blind, in bondage to postmodern (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence) teachings. And postmodern teachings tie in very closely with the heretical Dominion Theology of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Consider one liberal Wesleyan’s discussion of  so-called “holiness”, found here. (I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in brackets):

During the late 19th century Wesleyan celebrations the English congregationalist preacher and theologian, R. W. Dale, reflecting on the Wesleyan heritage, claimed that Methodists had left the doctrine of holiness with Wesley and had not developed its potential as a great social ethic.

The modern tendency towards individualism has too often resulted in Methodists understanding piety from an individualist perspective and reading the Wesleyan emphasis on sanctification or holiness as an individual experience. The evangelistic practice flowing from this has emphasised [sic] the conversion of people one by one which then leads to changing society or the world. But does this gospel produce any real transformation at all apart from nominal change or conversion from a few personal bad habits? The conversion or even sanctification of the individual leading to societal change may well be a subverting of the gospel leaving untouched personal and structural realities of power relations, domination, greed and violence.

Note how the above quote downplays – and almost condemns – personal holiness (which is biblical holiness).

But I digress – let’s get back to the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium’s 2006, “Holiness Manifesto”. Click here for the original text of the following document. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Holiness Manifesto

Wesleyan Holiness Study Project, Azusa, California, February 2006

The Crisis We Face

There has never been a time in greater need of a compelling articulation of the message of holiness.

Pastors and church leaders at every level of the church have come to new heights of frustration in seeking ways to revitalize their congregations and denominations. What we are doing is not working. Membership in churches of all traditions has flat-lined. In many cases, churches are declining. We are not even keeping pace with the biological growth rate in North America. The power and health of churches has also been drained by the incessant search for a better method, a more effective fad, a newer and bigger program to yield growth. In the process of trying to lead growing, vibrant churches, our people have become largely ineffective and fallen prey to a generic Christianity that results in congregations that are indistinguishable from the culture around them. Churches need a clear, compelling message that will replace the ‘holy grail’ of methods as the focus of our mission!

Many church leaders have become hostages to the success mentality of numeric and programmatic influence. They have become so concerned about ‘how’ they do church that they have neglected the weightier matter of ‘what’ the church declares. We have inundated the ‘market’ with methodological efforts to grow the church. In the process, many of our leaders have lost the ability to lead. They cannot lead because they have no compelling message to give, no compelling vision of God, no transformational understanding of God’s otherness. [Excuse me? I would think born again Christian pastors would know what the compelling, transformational message is – the gospel of salvation through the blood atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary. So why aren’t pastors preaching this?] They know it and long to find the centering power of a message that makes a difference. Now more than ever, they long to soak up a deep understanding of God’s call to holiness—transformed living. They want a mission. They want a message!

People all around are looking for a future without possessing a spiritual memory. They beg for a generous and integrative word from Christians that makes sense and makes a difference. [Does the gospel make sense to unbelievers? Of course not – what they need is a convicting message, conviction from the Holy Spirit, drawing them to repent and accept Christ.] If God is going to be relevant to people, we have a responsibility to make it clear to them. [God is relevant to people, but people need to come to Him in repentance. We should have a confrontational message, not the attractional message of New Evangelicals.] We have to shed our obsession with cumbersome language, awkward expectations, and intransigent patterns. [So are the authors of this document saying that biblical terms such as “repentance”, “salvation”, “atonement”, “justification”, etc. are “cumbersome” and “awkward”? Heaven forbid. Again, one of the major faults of New Evangelicals is that they have tried to preach an attractional message.] What is the core, the center, the essence of God’s call? That is our message, and that is our mission!

People in churches are tired of our petty lines of demarcation that artificially create compartments, denominations, and divisions. [Apparently the authors of this document are saying denominational divisions are bad; this is obvious in the efforts of the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC) to bring unity between numerous denominations. This, in spite of widely diverging doctrines, some of which are extremely heretical – such as the UPCI’s “Jesus Only” teachings.] They are tired of building institutions. They long for a clear, articulate message that transcends institutionalism and in-fighting among followers of Jesus Christ. They are embarrassed by the corporate mentality of churches that defend parts of the gospel as if it were their own. They want to know the unifying power of God that transforms. They want to see the awesomeness of God’s holiness that compels us to oneness in which there is a testimony of power. They accept the fact that not all of us will look alike; there will be diversity. But they want to know that churches and leaders believe that we are one—bound by the holy character of God who gives us all life and love. They want a message that is unifying. The only message that can do that comes from the nature of God, who is unity in diversity. [Are the unchurched really attracted to churches involved in unity? Or is this simply the agenda of the authors of this document?]

Therefore, in this critical time, we set forth for the church’s well being a fresh focus on holiness. [A fresh focus? Actually they mean a different focus, a redefinition of traditional, bibical holiness.] In our view, this focus is the heart of scripture concerning Christian existence for all times—and clearly for our time. [In other words, in these “postmodern” times, when the route to go is Emerging/Emergent/Emergence teachings.]

The Message We Have

God is holy and calls us to be a holy people.

God, who is holy, has abundant and steadfast love for us. God’s holy love is revealed to us in the life and teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. [True, but love is only one side of God; His justice demands that sinners who reject Him and His offer of salvation are punished for eternity in a Lake of Fire. Again, here is a major fault of New Evangelicals – refusing to present a “negative” message. Heaven forbid that unbelievers get turned off by what the Bible commands us to preach to them.] God continues to work, giving life, hope and salvation through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, drawing us into God’s own holy, loving life. God transforms us, delivering us from sin, idolatry, bondage, and self-centeredness to love and serve God, others, and to be stewards of creation [“Stewards of creation”? This sounds Emergent – see more on this below]. Thus, we are renewed in the image of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. [Excuse me? Nowhere in this paragraph do I see mention of a crisis conversion experience, in which sinners come to repentance and accept Christ as their Saviour.]

Apart from God, no one is holy. Holy people are set apart for God’s purpose in the world. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, holy people live and love like Jesus Christ. Holiness is both gift and response, renewing and transforming, personal and communal, ethical and missional. [Ah, “missional” – there is a key term used by postmoderns.] The holy people of God follow Jesus Christ in engaging all the cultures of the world and drawing all peoples to God. [“Holy people of God”? Is this the new phrase for “born again Christians”? “Drawing all peoples to God”? Is this the new term for “preaching the gospel of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ”? It irks me when postmodern Christians water down biblically sound terminology. It’s as if they want to be politically correct and not turn off anyone – not even other Christians.]

Holy people are not legalistic or judgmental. They do not pursue an exclusive, private state of being better than others. [These first two sentences seem like a putdown of fundamentalists – such as Independent Fundamentalist Baptists and Conservative Holiness denominations. To me, these two groups are truly holy – I would rather fellowship with one holy fundamentalist, than 1,000 “holy” postmoderns.] Holiness is not flawlessness but the fulfillment of God’s intention for us. The pursuit of holiness can never cease because love can never be exhausted. [It seems the authors here are equating holiness with love; they are emphasizing social holiness, not personal holiness. The concept of holiness as loving and relational has been around for years; in the Nazarene denomination it was popularized by Mildred Wynkoop and others.]

God wants us to be, think, speak, and act in the world in a Christ-like manner. We invite all to embrace God’s call to:

  • be filled with all the fullness of God in Jesus Christ—Holy Spirit-endowed co-workers for the reign of God; [“Reign of God” is a Dominionism term. Consider a quote from this site: “Dominion or Kingdom theology… is largely based upon a post-millennial view which is that Christ will return to earth after the thousand year reign of God’s kingdom. The church progressively brings righteousness and peace to the world which will eventually be Christianized. Following a brief time of tribulation, Christ will return to earth and establish a new heaven and a new earth for eternity.” This fits in very well with the theology of many of the participating denominations in the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium. Many are Pentecostal denominations, actively involved in Dominionist, New Apostolic Reformation teachings. Instead of going from a pre-Trib view to a post-Trib view, it seems the Holiness authors and the Pentecostal authors of the Holiness Manifesto have succumbed to a post-millenial eschatology. Scary.]
  • live lives that are devout, pure, and reconciled, thereby being Jesus Christ’s agents of transformation in the world; [“Agents of transformation” – another Dominionist term. The Bible does not command us to be “agents of transformation”, but witnesses for Christ, preaching the gospel of salvation to every creature.]
  • live as a faithful covenant people, building accountable community, growing up into Jesus Christ, embodying the spirit of God’s law in holy love; [Embodying the spirit of God’s law in holy love? What about “obeying the commands of God’s Word, living morally pure and holy lives”? Why don’t postmoderns mention this?]
  • exercise for the common good [“For the common good”? Why not use the Bible’s phrase “the body of Christ”?] an effective array of ministries and callings, according to the diversity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
  • practice compassionate ministries, solidarity with the poor, advocacy for equality, justice, reconciliation, and peace; [In other words, “social holiness”, the social gospel repackaged. What does this have to do with the message of salvation which saves us from an eternal burning Lake of Fire? Are we to “save” people from misery in this world, or from  eternal damnation?]
  • care for the earth, God’s gift in trust to us, working in faith, hope, and confidence for the healing and care of all creation. [In other words, Christian environmentalism, a postmodern stewardship of Planet Earth.]

By the grace of God, let us covenant together to be a holy people.

The Action We Take

May this call impel us to rise to this biblical vision of Christian mission:

  • Preach the transforming message of holiness; [this is not biblical; the biblical message is the transforming message of salvation through the atonement of  Jesus Christ on the bloody cross of Calvary – not holiness aka “social holiness”]
  • Teach the principles of Christ-like love and forgiveness; [the Bible commands us to make disciples – not teach “Christ-like love and forgiveness”]
  • Embody lives that reflect Jesus Christ;
  • Lead in engaging with the cultures of the world [What does “engaging with the cultures” really mean? Postmodern missions today are into “contextualization”; they are not presenting the biblical gospel message of Christ’s death on the cross for their sins.]
  • Partner with others to multiply its effect for the reconciliation of all things. [“Reconciliation of all things” – yet another Dominionism Theology phrase.]

For this we live and labor to the glory of God.

SOME COMMENTS ON THE “HOLINESS MANIFESTO”

What is the connection between the Emergent movement and Dominion Theology? Consider this excellent quote from Don Koenig’s article, The Woman On The Beast In End Time Prophecy Has Dominion Theology, posted in 2006:

You might wonder how the seeker friendly movement and the emergent church movement fit in with Dominion Theology. In general, neither Rosemary [the seeker sensitive movement] nor her baby  [the Emergent Church movement] teaches about the prophetic passages of the Bible with any rapture of the Church or any judgment coming on the earth prior to the return of Jesus Christ. They both teach a form of religious humanism. They want world religion to be the woman who socializes the world and establishes a humanistic utopia before the return of Jesus or even without and [sic] true biblical Jesus. They might even call their world social agenda the great commission but there is no salvation message within. They have a gospel of humanistic social good works where world religion will establish dominion in the world.

The Bible does not instruct us to take the world by social good works and compromise with world religions. It tells the Church to preach the Gospel of salvation to every creature. The Bible clearly teaches that the world will remain in opposition to God and it will not become a paradise until after the wrath of God is poured out and Jesus returns with His saints in glory. The Bible prophetically teaches that the “Christian” church will depart from the truth and depart from sound doctrine in the last days. This just happens to be what is taking place through these heretical movements. Thus, their worldview and the social actions that they are taking to put the world under religion indicate that the “Seeker Friendly” church growth movement and the “Emergent Church” movement embraces [sic] socialist humanistic Dominion Theology.

FOR FURTHER READING

The Holiness Manifesto

The Holiness Manifesto (click on the link to preview online) – a book with a number of essays defending the Holiness Manifesto. The manifesto itself is found in Chapter Three of the book.

The Holiness Manifesto!– a good blog critiquing the document

Holiness Manifesto – a blog with some liberal United Methodist comments

THE HOLINESS MANIFESTO: AN ECUMENICAL DOCUMENT, by Don Thorsen (Wesleyan Theological Journal, Fall 2007, pp. 209,224) – viewable online

Holiness Redefined

” “H” is for Holiness” – Chapter 3, preview available online in book entitled “A” is for Abductive: The Language of the Emerging Church, by Leonard Sweet, Leonard Brian D. McLaren, and Jerry Haselmayer (2003)

Social Holiness

“Social Holiness: Experiments in prayer and other subversive acts in the local church and community,” by Duane Clinker (2006)[click here to download this “doc” file] – quoted by Brian McLaren in his book Everything Must Change.

Dominion Theology/Kingdom Now Theology

Dominion Theology

Dominion Theology (Wikipedia article)

Dominionism (Wikipedia article)

NAR and Dominionism Have Been a Concern of Conservative Christian Groups for Many Years, by Rachel Tabachnick (Oct 18, 2011)

What is Dominionism?

Who Invented Dominionism?  (09/09/11)

Connections between Dominionism/Kingdom Now Theology, the New Apostolic Reformation and the Emergent Movement

Emergent Churches are Kingdom Builders!

The Kingdom of Emergent Theology – Part 1, by Gary Gilley
The Kingdom of Emergent Theology – Part 2, by Gary Gilley
The Kingdom of Emergent Theology – Part 3, by Gary Gilley

Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola,  and the Third Way x

PARTICIPANT DENOMINATIONS IN THE WESLEYAN HOLINESS CONSORTIUM

(I will be adding links as I locate them, regarding the involvement of these denominations in Emergent teachings and Dominion/ Kingdom Now teachings.)

Assemblies of God 

A WARNING To The Assemblies of God, by Travers van der Merwe (originally taped in 1989) – warns the AOG about involvement of various pastors, etc. in Dominionism Theology/Kingdom Now Theology.

Brethren in Christ Church

Christian & Missionary Alliance

Christian & Missionary Alliance – Canada

Church of God – Anderson

Church of God – Cleveland

Church of the Nazarene

The Evangelical Church

Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI)

– The EFCI is not a participating denomination in the WHC. However, the EFCI did participate in the writing of the Holiness Manifesto. For more info, check out the paragraph on the EFCI near the bottom of this blog.

Free Methodist Church

The Foursquare Church

Grace Communion International

Int’l Pentecostal Holiness Church

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United Methodist Church

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Wesleyan Church

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(blog under construction – revised 01/27/12)

In this blog I critiqued the Global Wesleyan Alliance (GWA), which I believe is being formed as an Emergent alliance.

So I was not surprised to learn that a hybrid Emergent/Dominionist alliance was formed back in 2006, in this case between Holiness denominations and Pentecostal denominations (which grew out of the Holiness movement): the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC).

Actually, the GWA is just now being formed, and it is an Emergent alliance from the get go. The WHC, formed in 2006, has also been into Emergent teachings and Dominion Theology from the very beginning.

I just learned from Manny Silva of the “Concerned Nazarenes” Facebook Group that the WHC met recently. (A press release about the meeting was publishing in the Nazarene Holiness Today, so it seems the postmodern Nazarene leaders have had their fingers in yet another Emergent pie for years now.) Manny wrote:

Unity is a big word here again. Note one of the participants- Jack Hayford – who is connected to C. Peter Wagner and the New Apostolic Reformation.

Among the various heretical charismatic/Third Wave denominations, the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) jumped out at me. They are Oneness Pentecostals (aka Jesus only Pentecostals), as this article of theirs clearly shows.   Most discernment ministries do not even consider them born again Christians – but rather a cult – since one of the key doctrines in a truly Christian doctrinal statement is the doctrine of the Trinity, which the UPCI denies. So why would the WHC even consider allowing the UPCI to join? This is just one example of the WHC’s terrible lack of discernment.

Another denomination that jumped out at me is the UMC (United Methodist Church). It is liberal/mainline, increasingly Emergent, and a member of the National Council of Churches.

I could go on and on describing heresies of the WHC’s participating denominations, But I am instead providing this link to the list of WHC participating denominations, for you to examine them yourself.

Regarding both the GWA and the WHC, it appears that neither group includes the Conservative Holiness denominations. I assume the GWA and the WHC 1) don’t want the Conservative Holiness denominations to join, or 2) the Conservative Holiness denominations have enough discernment and common sense not to join.

And here is an interesting pdf document for download, that discusses the origin and development of the WHC. On page 1, the Evangelical Friends denomination (EFCI) is listed as one of the denominations helping prepare The Holiness Manifesto. I find it interesting that the EFCI takes part in various Holiness ventures like this, without actually joining multi-denominational Holiness organizations. I can only conclude that the EFCI prefers instead to join ecumenical efforts with non-evangelical (nonchristian) Quaker denominations. Most significantly, the EFCI takes part in the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), which they joined in 1970. [In case you’re wondering, many of my blogs on this blogsite deal specifically with the EFCI – the denomination of my childhood (it was still biblically sound at that time) and later the denomination of  Spiritual Formation heretic Richard Foster.]

But I digress. The EFCI is considered a Holiness denomination, but so far it is not a member of the WHC.

In this blog, I have merely discussed the WHC participant denominations. For further documentation that the WHC is a deeply Emergent/Dominionist consortium,  check out my blog critiquing the WHC’s “Holiness Manifesto”, published in 2006.

FOR FURTHER READING

Apostles, Prophets, and Aberrant Doctrine: Book review of Understanding the Five Fold Ministry (edited by Matthew D. Green), by Holly Pivec – This book review mentions Foursquare leader Jack Hayford, as well as the Assemblies of God, all connected with the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium.

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