We must never confuse our desire for people to accept the Gospel, with creating a Gospel that is acceptable to people.” – Oswald Chambers
The writing was on the Banner. I just didn’t immediately notice it.
I pulled into the church parking lot one bright Sunday morning, going through my normal routine. I delivered my kids to their various classes and sat down in our gym-turned-auditorium. Service began as usual, with our pop-star praise and worship leader grooving and crooning to the beat. I gritted my teeth, closed my eyes and attempted to worship God despite the distractions. When our pastor stepped up to the pulpit he declared, “Welcome to XXXX XXXXXXXXXX Church.”
Excuse me? What did he just say? I looked around, first to assure myself I had not taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Yep, it was the right place. Next, I gauged the reaction of the congregation. However, nobody blinked an eye at his calling the church by a different name. Continue reading
With all my recent posts focused squarely upon the outlandish and destructive tendencies in our churches, I found an uplifting piece of news in the mail today that I would like to share. I received a bulletin from my current church’s student ministry. The youth pastor wrote a blurb informing parents about the summer agenda for his jr. high and high school ministries. I did a double take when I read that the high schoolers would be reading through AW Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God.
Tozer, now deceased, was a mid-twentieth century pastor/teacher/author who has been called by many a modern day prophet. His bold, uncompromising preaching of the full counsel of God, cutting edge commentary on the culture of his day and stern warnings against the changing methods and message of evangelicalism earned him that title. His warnings hold true more so today than in his time because, as I’m sure you are well aware, evangelicalism has plunged further and further into the depths of silliness and biblical irrelevance. He is one of the most widely quoted men of God in the Christian blogosphere. In fact, I have a post featuring my favorite quote from him.
In a nutshell, Tozer’s teachings are strong meat, not skim milk, like many youth ministry teachings today. Kudos to our youth minister for daring to feed his young flock substantial spiritual food. The Pursuit of God is considered a Christian classic. I admit, I haven’t yet got my mitts on it, but it is high on my reading list. I’ve read many devotions and selected passages from his writings so I feel I am at least somewhat qualified to recommend him.
Hmmmm, I wonder if our youth minister will let me sit in on these summer courses. Honestly, I would be thrilled, I’m sure I would learn a lot. It’s not everyday an adult believer could actually grow in grace through a youth group, but it looks like this is no ordinary ministry.
Ok, this is a quick post – a little bit of live-blogging if you will. I’m sitting here at home watching in disbelief as TD Jakes promotes his new book, Reposition Yourself – Living Life Without Limits on TBN. First of all, he has four mimes complete with white face make-up, acting out his sermon in the background as he talks about breaking free of the bonds of mediocrity.
Yikes! And I thought Powerpoint presentations had great potential to divert our attention away from the word, Oh my! Four clowns making wild hand gestures and overly dramatic physical contortions to the tune of a Christian message cancels out the effectiveness of Bishop Jake’s usually compelling delivery. Welcome to the brave new world of self-defeating ministry, folks.
He’s promoting this book pretty heavily. The sermon he’s preaching is lifted from the book and he interrupts himself every few minutes to run a mini-infomercial giving us an inside flap style synopsis of the book’s contents. He says it’s about personal fulfilment that can be achieved by making small adjustments to your life that, oh by the way, you can only discover if you buy his book. He made a remark that God had given him fresh new perspectives that he is unveiling to the world so we can live the abundant life. The hair on the back of my neck rises every time I hear preachers using words such as ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ in the same sentence with ‘God’ and the ‘bible’.
And in an ‘Oh my goodness, no he didn’t’ moment, he actually spouted the old worn cliche’ ‘God helps those who helps themselves’ in the midst of his message! He even quotes the ‘faith without works is dead’ scripture in support of it. Does he have any inkling of what the grace of God really is? Can man help himself in any way in regards to salvation? Does God expect us to work our way to glory in our own strength? It is utter foolishness at best and rank heresy at worst to make this unsubstantiated claim as if it had any basis in scripture.
I’ve had enough, time to change the channel. If you are a fan of TD Jakes, may I humbly suggest you do the same.
In Part 1 of this series I wrote that three major events led directly to my departure from my old church several months ago. I want to chronicle those events here in hope that some of my readers may be able to detect the infiltration of the heretical principles of the church growth/seeker sensitive/purpose-driven movement creeping into their own congregations.
In October of 2005 I underwent my own personal reformation of belief, turning away from Arminianism to Calvinism, away from a man-centered theology to a Christocentric theology. This startling change began, due in part, to my intense dissatisfaction with the church and the preaching from the pulpit. As I examined the messages I couldn’t help but feel the biblical content was minimal, with the wisdom of men used as filler. That sent me on a journey to discover the truth about the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This, in turn, led me to embrace Reformation Theology. However, I did not leave my church immediately. Instead, I turned on my discernment radar and listened closely to every word spoken from the pulpit. Sadly, I must report, the results were appalling. Continue reading
In the past year I went from blessed believer in my church to blessed subtraction. The events leading to my exodus can be traced back to about three years ago. Circumstances culminated quickly within the past year-and-a-half as the veil of deception lifted from my heart. After serving this Assembly of God fellowship for over eleven years I finally came to the crossroad between conviction and compromise. I chose conviction.
So, my family and I have left behind friends, ministries and memories to embark on a new mission that God is leading us into. I am excited for the glories that lie on the horizon, but my heart aches also for those things I have left behind. Leaving a church is akin to getting a divorce from a beloved spouse. You might love her deeply but unfaithfulness must by necessity drive you apart. It is painful; resentment and bitterness can fester on both sides if the Lord is not sought to help heal wounds and forgive trespasses. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can at times be overwhelming. Opposition from those you called brothers and sisters in Christ can suck the life out of you; stirring feelings of guilt and doubt.
It’s been several months ago, but I distinctly remember having dinner one Friday evening over at a friend’s house with his family. Another recently married couple ate with us too. They all attend a different church than we do, but our beliefs had always been very similar – at least until I embraced the doctrines of grace. The differences in our theologies had become apparent, and somewhat troublesome to them. Despite their apprehension, I proclaimed the gospel truth as I understood it in an after dinner conversation. The wife of the recently married couple sat at rapt attention as I gave a brief overview of the doctrines of Grace. At one point I made a remark about God casting the reprobate into hell, whose sins have not been washed away by the blood of Jesus. She perked up, eyes wide, mouth agape and chimed in with this gem, “God doesn’t send people to hell!” Continue reading