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Posts Tagged ‘Confessing Movement’

A reader (Paul Anthony Preussler) has been making a number of  comments on my blogs. Paul has made me aware of a popular postmodern (Emerging/Emergent) UMC blogger, Rev. Jeremy Smith, who goes by the handle of UMJeremy. I realize UMJeremy is just one of many postmodern voices in the increasingly liberal UMC, but he is a loud voice that well represents where the UMC is heading. To put it another way, UMJeremy is one small but very noisy cog in the huge wheel of postmodern United Methodists. (Yes Jeremy, you can take this as a compliment if you wish.)

I realize that to many I come across as attacking individuals, but this is not my intent. It’s likely that, if I met UMJeremy on the street, I would view him as an amicable, sociable fellow. But brotherly love, human fellowship and Christian unity should never trump biblically sound doctrine. If an individual is spreading postmodern heresies and thus tearing down the true, born again Body of Christ, I will call that individual out no matter who he or she is.

UMJeremy has a blog named “Hacking Christianity”. His blogs strike me as typically postmodern musings. They fit the mold of postmoderns Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, etc. etc. Click here for his Manifesto.

Also, click here for UMJeremy’s church bio page. And click here for his Hacking Christianity Facebook Page.

Since I haven’t seen a doctrinal statement yet by UMJeremy (postmoderns are infamous for denying the need for doctrinal statements), I have been surfing a bit for objectionable material. There is plenty to object to, as a born again “fundamentalist right wing Christian”.

Looking through UMJeremy’s Twitter account, I found a number of offensive photos and comments:

1) Nov. 21, 2013 – He posted an image with the following quote. Although unnamed, this is Paul Anthony Preussler commenting on one of my blogs here. UMJeremy captioned the image with this comment: “Looks like I’m winning. This was posted in a “Christians Against Apostasy” group.” UMJeremy claims that he’s winning – but this must have gotten under his skin – why else would he post this on Twitter? What do you think?:

Paul Comment

Question – what does UMJeremy mean by “winning”? Note that he doesn’t deny “advocating acts of theological violence against the scriptures and church tradition”. Nor does he deny his lack of reference to Scripture.

2) Nov. 22, 2013 – UMJeremy quoted Fr. Richard Rohr – many articles have been written about Rohr’s heresies:

Rohr

3) Nov. 17, 2013 – He posted the following photo from the Explo 13 Sacred Space area, which refers to God as “(s)he”. The UMC – like many mainline denominations – is getting heavily into goddess worship – click here for many articles on this.

She
4) Date unknown – UMJeremy attempted to post a video about Bishop Talbert’s “homosexual marriage” breach of the UMC Discipline. Click here for a UMC article about the incident. Here is UMJeremy’s posted photo [with a broken link to the YouTube video], entitled “Good News President on Talbert’s Breach of the Discipline”:

Talbert Breach

There are many more offensive materials I’m sure – I plan to add more as I locate them, so readers can get more of a “handle” on where UMJeremy is coming from, and is headed…

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There are exciting movements going on today, called “Confessing Movements.” These consist mainly of individuals in mainline denominations, working to bring biblical beliefs back to their wayward denominations.

Following is an “Arminian Today” blog about the Confessing Movement in the United Methodist Church (UMC). Personally, I grew up in the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) denomination, which shares a common Wesleyan Holiness heritage with the UMC. (Granted, we have to go back rather far to locate that common, biblically sound heritage.)

Back to the  “Arminian Today”  blog – I am copying the blog verbatim. Click here for the original source of this blog (update 03/10/12 – this link no longer works). I have emphasized certain points by bolding or [bracketing].

2.18.2011
The Confessing Movement in the United Methodist Church
[blogsite author – anonymous]

From time to time I get to pray with a few Methodist pastors. Despite being trained in liberal institutions, these brothers remain somewhat conservative. I say somewhat only in that we haven’t discussed every doctrinal issue and I know that their passion for holiness is not the same as my own from our conversations. But they are still conservative Methodist pastors within the United Methodist Church and for that I am thankful to God. They pray with a desire to see Jesus exalted in His Church and with a passion to see the fire of God that once burned bright in the Methodist church to fall again on the UMC.

Thankfully there is a movement within the UMC to call Methodists back to the fire and passion of John Wesley. Wesley, contrary to popular opinion, didn’t start the Methodist church. He never left the Church of England and his call was reformation and revival among Anglicans of Wesley’s day. But from Wesley and Whitefield came forth the Methodist church. From the time shortly after the death of John Wesley until the early 20th century, the Methodist church dominated. In the United States alone the Methodist church planted more churches and saw more souls come to faith in Christ than any other movements. The fires of revival that came from John Wesley did not die until the Methodist colleges and universities begin to embrace the spirit of the age and adopted to modernity. Various Methodist colleges and seminaries, one by one, begin to subscribe to the unorthodox views coming out of Europe in the late 19th century that denied inerrancy and the infallibility of the Bible, embraced evolution, and embraced a faulty understanding of Jesus Christ, His cross, His resurrection, and His gospel. This led to the demise of the Methodist church and since the early part of the 20th century, the Methodist church has been irrelevant in terms of making an eternal impact for God’s true kingdom.

But there is hope. God is raising up men and women in the Methodist church that are being faithful to Jesus and His kingdom. They are embracing the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, that Jesus Christ is fully God and He alone is the way of salvation, that God desires holiness and that He wants all the nations to hear His gospel (Mark 16:15). These Methodists are beginning to show signs of the old fashioned holiness fire that burned in the chests of John Wesley, George Whitefield, John Fletcher, Richard Watson, Francis Asbury, Richard Allen, E.M. Bounds, Peter Cartwright, and Samuel Chadwick. I would also place Leonard Ravenhill in with these men of God along with other “Methodists” such as William and Catherine Booth. The fire of God that sparked a passion for souls, for prayer, for worldwide revival is starting to brew again in the hearts of many Methodists and I praise God for that. They are tired of church as usual and they want to see the Lord glorified in His Church again.

I urge you to pray for the Confessing Methodist movement. I believe that this faithful remnant has keep the UMC from going the way of the PCUSA or the Lutherans. The Holy Spirit is using many from the confessing movement to turn hearts back to the Lord Jesus and once again the gospel of the new birth that comes through faith in Jesus Christ is being preached (John 3:3-7; 1 Peter 1:18-19). 2 Corinthians 5:17 is once again being taught by many confessing Methodists. Luke 24:47-49 is once again being lived out among confessing Methodists. The fire of holiness from passages such as Acts 15:9 is being prayed for and applied by confessing Methodists. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is once again being taken seriously as is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. I praise God for this and so should you too my friends.

For more on the confessing movement, see their website here.

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(revised 01/25/14)

The Confessing Movement is very encouraging, a bright spot in the sea of End Times apostasy. It consists primarily of individuals attending mainline churches.

Following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on “the Confessing Movement”, found here (Wikipedia is probably not the most accurate source). I have emphasized points by bolding and added comments in [brackets].

Here is the Wikipedia excerpt:

“The Confessing Movement is an Evangelical movement [primarily] within … mainline Protestant denominations to return those churches to what the members of the movement see as theological orthodoxy.

It relates and cross pollinates with other conservative Christian movements such as Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Holiness groups, Anabaptists, and Fundamentalists. Its members have a stated commitment to remain in their home denominations, unless forced out, to stay and work for reform from within, in contrast to what they see as other modern reform movements that splintered Protestantism into thousands of denominations. They acknowledge that full reform of their churches may not be achieved. Of particular concern to those in the Confessing movement has been a perceived lack of concern for, or non-evangelical approaches to, evangelism, to the deity of Christ, to questions of sexuality and homosexuality in particular.”

I found several denominational lists of Confessing Movements:

1) In the Wikipedia article mentioned above, there are sections dealing with Confessing Movements in the following denominations:

4.1 Presbyterian
4.2 Methodist
4.3 Episcopalian/Anglican
4.4 Church of the Brethren
4.5 Lutheran
4.6 United Church of Christ

Read through each of the above sections, and you will find a number of links to related websites for each denomination.

2) The Association for Church Renewal website provides links to the following denominational Confession Movements:

American Baptist Church
Anglican Communion Episcopal Church
Church of the Brethren
Disciples of Christ Christian Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church In America (ELCA)
Presbyterian Church USA
United Church of Canada
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church

Source: http://www.associationforchurchrenewal.com/

3) Mennonites
Source: http://www.fcminformer.org/

4) Finally, the longest list, at Wikinoah.org. Note the following comment in this article: “each mainline denomination has within it a Confessing Movement or renewal movement which is more conservative in tone.”

Here is the list of mainline denominations (I am searching for the Confessing Movement websites for each of these denominations):

  • American Baptist Churches USA 1,442,824 members (2001)[4]
  • Armenian Apostolic Church / Catholicossate of Cilicia
  • Armenian Apostolic Church / Catholicossate of Etchmiadzin
  • Assyrian Church of the East 120,000 members (1989)[5]
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 804,842 members (2001)[6]
  • Congregational Christian Churches, (not part of any national CCC body)
  • Dutch Reformed Church 9,395 members (2001)[7]
  • Eastern Orthodox Church: American Diocese
  • Episcopal Church in the United States of America
  • Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 5,099,877 members (2001)[8]
  • International Council of Community Churches 200,263 members (2000)[9]
  • Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Metropolitan Community Church 44,000 members (1998)[10]
  • Moravians (religion) in America, Alaska Province
  • Moravians (religion) in America, Northern Province 24,650 members (2003)[11]
  • Moravians (religion) in America, Southern Province 21,513 members (1991)[12]
  • National Association of Congregational Christian Churches 65,569 members (2000)[13]
  • North American Baptist Conference
  • Presbyterian Church (USA) 3,455,952 members (2001)[14]
  • Reformed Church in America 285,453 members (2001)[15]
  • Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • United Church of Christ 1,359,105 members (2001)[16]
  • United Methodist Church 8,298,145 members (2001)[17]

Source: http://www.wikinoah.org/index.php?title=Mainline#_note-ardamain

Perhaps the Confessing Movement can provide us with a working model for how to deal with Spiritual Formation and the Emerging/ Emergent Church movements. We should examine the Confessing Movement groups more closely, to see how they have organized themselves and spoken out in protest against their denominations. (I am still trying to locate specific Confessing Movement criticisms of Spiritual Formation and the Emerging/Emergent Church movements; the criticisms located so far have used more general terms, such as “the deity of Christ”, “biblical inerrancy”, etc.)

Up to this point, I have recommended leaving any denomination that is getting swallowed up in Spiritual Formation and the Emerging/Emergent Church movements. One problem with this approach, however, is as follows. Suppose one leaves an Emerging Church (Emerging Churches still retain at least some biblical doctrines). As concerned Christians continue leaving an Emerging Church, it eventually becomes Emergent (aka Liberalism 2.0) – no biblical attenders are left.

On the other hand, if one remains in a Spiritual Formation/Emerging/Emergent church with a FAMILY, he risks exposing his family members to false teachings which will very likely lead them away from biblical Christian faith. My best advice for those with families, under these circumstances, would be to pray, pray, pray about whether you should stay or leave. Consider factors such as your spiritual strength, the spiritual strength of your spouse, and the spiritual strength of your children (as well as their ages).

There are individuals whose Christian faith grows when confronted; they are tried and tested and end up maturing when their pastors try to present false teachings. This was the case for me. During my “single years,” I attended several churches that were biblically sound at one point. As they changed and started falling into apostasy, I felt led to  study their doctrinal errors; I eventually moved on to more biblically sound churches. I can honestly say I am a more mature, knowledgeable, discerning Christian for having attended all of these churches. And, hopefully I can help others encountering similar false teachings in their churches.

FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
(I’m looking for more recent publications)

The Rebirth of Orthdoxy: Signs of New Life in Christianity, by Thomas C. Oden (2002), pp. 140-153 (click on the TITLE to read online)

The Remnant Spirit: Conservative Reform in Mainline Protestantism,
by Douglas E. Cowan (2003)(click on the TITLE to read online)

In Googling for more info, I also found two less common terms for the Confessing Movement: “Renewal Movement” and “Remnant Movement.”

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