Archive for the ‘Discernment’ Category

Global Leadership Summit and the lack of theological discernment in the church

30 September 2010 Leave a comment
Bill Hybels

Willow Creek, headed by Bill Hybels, is one of the largest churches in America. One of its babies is the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) which has been running for several years. Many churches have jumped on this bandwagon of leadership and growing leadership and running leadership seminars and other leadership BLAH BLAH BLAH. Oh, sorry, I drifted off their for a second or two. Must be all this leadership talk!

The modern church is making so much of leadership and leadership principles that in my opinion, it is forgetting its primary mandate from none other than Jesus Christ Himself. In Mt 28:18-20 it is written:

“18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make leaders in your churches from all nations, certifying them as leaders in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all leadership principles that I have commanded you. And behold, I will put great leaders among you always, to the end of the age.'”

That is how it reads in the Leadership Principles Study Bible, available at all poor Christian bookstores near you!

But, this passage actually says:

“18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”

When the church becomes this concerned with making leaders, then it has lost the plot. The primary mandate for the church is to make disciples, and those disciples must make disciples, recursively.

Enough of this “leadership” talk!

T.D. Jakes

An alarming issue for me is the inclusion of T.D. Jakes. And this is where the theological discernment comes in! T.D. Jakes is a non-repentant, non-trinitarian. That means he does not believe in the Trinity of the Scriptures, hence putting himself outside of the fold of historic, Biblical Christianity. As a result, historically and Biblically, he would be known as a heretic! To find out more on what Jakes really believes you can go here, here and here. You can also read my blog series (first posted at Sovereign Truth) on the heresies of the Word-of-Faith preachers that have invaded the church so deeply.

The problem with all of these false teachers invading the church, is that the church has largely lost its ability to know and express a Biblical theological standpoint! The problem is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not really that important any more!

When asked what is important, these people come up with all kinds of answers that do not really have any link back to the gospel! Things like being relevant, leadership and all kinds of worldly fads. I listened to a sermon by David Wells a while ago in which he said that when the church starts following a fad, that fad is no longer cool!

The church has essentially lost its foundation when it started adding all kinds of other ideas to the gospel and eventually lost much of the gospel. It is for this reason that preachers such as T.D. Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer and others have so easily invaded churches with their books and videos. The “essentials of the gospel” have become non-essential!

Due to this lack of theoscernment, many evangelicals have become evanjellycals.

We simply cannot allow these wolves in sheep’s clothing to further bring doctrines of death to our churches! Just because someone claims the name of Christ, does not mean that Christ has claimed that person. Christianity is a propositional faith. It makes some truth claims, and some of those truth claims are clearly doctrinal, and without them, your faith is no longer the Christian faith. It is on this basis that we can say that Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are not Christian. It is, based on these accepted essential doctrines, that we can say that the WOF preachers and men like T.D. Jakes stand outside of the true Christian fold.

The question is, however, will pastors stand on the truth of the gospel, or on expediency, driven by the urge to be relevant in an age of intolerance.


Evangelical gullibility fuels the flames of "fairy tales as truth"

It has happened to all of us. Some person with a so-called testimony akin to Paul’s Damascus experience visits your church and tells you his story. The story is extremely well told, interspersed with tear-jerking sad stories and side-splitting funny anecdotes, with a smattering of heroics.

The person seems to be so nice that we just can’t help ourselves liking and believing this person. If we don’t believe him, then our subjective ideas of salvation to Christianity will not be confirmed. So, we believe, because it is so great that a satanist or a Muslim had come to Christ and now have such an awesome testimony for Christ! Surely, this is the person God had been waiting for to get those amazing in-roads among satanists and Muslims!

The problem with evangelicalism is that it has lost its ability to discern between truth and lies. Stories are being told from the pulpit to such an extent that it is actually difficult to believe some of those stories on the face of it. How can so many preachers live such interesting lives all of the time? Have you ever thought of that? Or do you by default believe everything that is said from the pulpit?

The question is, in the latest “fairy tales as truth” saga involving Ergun Caner, dean of Liberty University’s theological seminary, how long will people keep on believing the blatant lies told by Caner, stories that have already been conclusively shown as lies?!

Phil Johnson wrote:

“However, the pathetic track record of evangelicals’ consistent failure in dealing with frauds and bunko artists in our midst leads me to be pessimistic about any real resolution in the Caner scandal. The Liberty investigation most definitely did not “exonerate” Caner, but he remains on the Liberty faculty. Caner himself is stonewalling while a handful of his most outspoken supporters are doing their best to demonize his critics. If Liberty continues officially to offer sanctuary to Caner, he will eventually be able to weather the controversy without ever actually admitting any specific wrongdoing. Evangelicals—who have no stomach for protracted controversies and a 40-year habit of offering unconditional restoration to fallen leaders whether they truly repent or not—will soon turn against Caner’s critics.”

The problem with evangelicals is that they too easily believe anything said by someone with the “Christian” label on their forehead. Why is that? It is very interesting that so many hoaxes floating around in cyberspace, have been given wings by evangelicals, especially if these hoaxes involve some dastardly plot against Christianity!

Now we have the dean of a theological seminary fabricating his life story wholesale, and the Christian university he is connected to refuses to call it a “moral issue!” “Thou shalt not lie!”

What troubles me is that evanjellycals so easily believe all kinds of fairy tales told by “reputable” preachers, and hoaxes, yet, they no longer believe and stand for the truth of the gospel!

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

“1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Tim 4:1-2, 16 ESV)

“1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. ” (2 Tim 3:1-9 ESV)

“1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. ” (2 Tim 4:1-5 ESV)

Scientology Dismantled

End Times nuttiness!

7 April 2008 1 comment

Every now and again a new ‘prophet’ comes on the scene. Now, whenever a person builds his whole ministry around the end times I become skeptical. That skepticism sometimes turns into hysterics, from laughter.

It is no different with Ronald Weinland. Here is a guy who has it all together. According to him, he is one of the two witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelation (11:3-12). Further, he claims that the First Trumpet of the 7th Seal will sound on April 17. Yes, the April 17 coming up in 10 days…, of 2008! So, put your seat belts on, because the ride of your life will be starting soon!

Weinland also claims to know who the 2nd witness is, whom he will reveal in a sermon on the Sabbath, 19 April, from Jerusalem. Of course, Weinland is so important in this scenario that he is also the spokesman for both of them!

He claims that Jesus will actually return on Thursday, September 29, 2011. The countdown of the last 1335 days started on 2 Feb 2008.

Of course, this is all a bunch of nonsense. Jesus made it clear that no-one will know when He is going to return.

Isn’t it odd that according to the book of Revelation these two witnesses will display amazing miracles, yet, Weinland can’t heal himself of a little laryngitis!

People like Weinland are the false prophets of our day.

Rick Warren shows lack of discernment

30 January 2008 Leave a comment

It happens to all of us. Somewhere along the line we meet people who claim to be Christians, and we accept that claim at face value. It usually happens to young Christians who have not studied the Bible enough to know what real Christians believe.

It happens to most of us. I remember, when I was but a young Christian with not much knowledge of others who claimed to be Christians, that I, together with my youth group here in South Africa, ran into the ZCCs (Zion Christian Church). To us it was very simple. “Look, it is a Christian church!” However,… these people have merged Christianity with their ancestor worship, and ended up with something that is not Christianity at all! How can you worship the ancestors and Christ together? That is an abomination. It is like worshipping the devil and Jesus while claiming that you are a Christian!

Now this is what I do not understand in Rick Warren’s case. He wants mainline churches to reconcile with evangelical churches to stop their decline in membership.

According to Warren:
“100 years ago the phrase ‘social gospel’ first came out. Some people took that to mean only if we reform the social government and society and not personal faith in Christ Jesus – that is, if we make the world a better place – we don’t need personal redemption.”

Warren feels that the mainline churches went one way and evangelical churches went another. He continued:
“Who’s right? The fact is both are right. Somehow we got divided like Jesus didn’t care about society or members of society didn’t need Jesus. I think we need both.”

Warren’s idea here is ignoratio elenchi. As “Seven of Nine” from Star Trek: Voyager would have said, “Irrelevant!” Warren’s conclusion here is simply irrelevant. It may be right, but it is irrelevant. Sure, we need “personal redemption” and we need to be involved in society. However, Warren misses the point.

While speaking with the dean of the Washington National Cathedral, Samuel T. Lloyd III, Warren said, “The reconciliation is that in a pluralistic world…we (Christians) need to be on the same team because we share the same savior.” This is where many in evangelicalism differ with Warren. It is this very belief of Warren’s that make his statement above ignoratio elenchi.

The fact is that among the mainline churches there is gross apostasy. They either deny all or some of the fundamentals of Christianity. From denying the virgin birth, to denying the death of Christ, to denying the resurrection of Christ, to denying that the Bible is the inerrant inspired Word of God, these people have walked away from what the Bible clearly teaches on almost every facet the Bible touches on, whether doctrinal or moral!

The fact is, contrary to what Mr. Warren has said, we do not “share the same savior.” The fact is that these people cannot call themselves Christians when they deny the very faith they claim to hold onto.

Which brings me back to Rick Warren. Is this man so Biblically inept, that he will welcome anyone into the Christian fold? Who’s next? The Mormons? The Jehovah’s Witnesses? It seems to me that Warren wants to become all things to all people. Yet, contrary to the apostle Paul, it certainly is not to win some. He went to Iran… to pat Ahmedinejad on the back. He went to Jewish synagogues… to help them grow their membership. Now he goes to mainline churches… to reconcile with them. Based on what? That we have the same “savior.” Think again!

How is that so many hold Warren in such high esteem (for some just below God Himself), yet he does not know why evangelicals parted ways with the mainline churches almost 100 years ago? Liberalism flooded what is now called the mainline churches. It came to be accepted in these churches to deny the fundamental doctrines of the faith and to basically become “social clubs” with the name of Christ somewhere close.

Evangelicalism did not part with mainline churches over something like community involvement. It was a doctrinal parting. The evangelical church continued with following the fundamentals of the faith and caring for the poor, etc. Several surveys over the years have concluded that evangelicals give and care more than mainline churches or the world do. Yet, people continue to hold onto the modern media caricature of evangelicals as uncaring. That is simply false!

Ingrid Schlueter wrote:
“Rick Warren’s presence in the pulpit of National Cathedral on January 27, and his call for ‘reconciliation’ with such churches should disgust every Christian who believes in the authority of Holy Scripture and who understands the critical importance of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. National Cathedral is a New Age pantheon to the gods of the world religions. That’s why the church can feature goddess theology proponents teaching women how to dance in ‘sacred circles’, welcome the worship of Tibetan monks, teach Buddhist meditation techniques and introduce attendees to the Jewish Kabbalah. Where is Rick Warren’s concern about the people who are on their way to hell in these churches that blaspheme the Lord Jesus Christ with goddess worship, homosexuality, a rejection of Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement, a denial of the authority of Scripture, and the promotion of the doctrines of anti-Christ?”

The point is that Rick Warren does not seem to exercise any discernment. How can this man want to merge truth and heresy? Truth and apostasy?

To read more on the essentials or fundamentals of the faith, read “What is the Gospel? What is the foundation to the Gospel?

Some posts on the importance of truth and doctrine:
Without truth – empty, heartless gestures to God
The Relevancy of Doctrine
The Gospel: Diluted and non-Saving
Is the preacher a “reliable carrier” of God’s truth?

Media nuisance

19 December 2007 Leave a comment

I wonder how you respond to the media when they “reveal” the “latest” in scholarly research on Jesus, especially when it contradicts everything Christianity has believed for the last 2000 years?

Darrell Bock has written a short article addressing this issue. Even though it is not an in-depth look at the issues, it certainly gets one thinking.

“Not long ago, topics like textual criticism and the extra-biblical Gospels elicited yawns from my seminary students. I went through the obligatory motions of covering these staples of New Testament study, knowing that no matter how hard I tried, questions would be rare and engagement minimal.

“All that has changed. Topics like the James ossuary and the Gospel of Judas have hit Times Square, not only pricking the attention of seminary students, but also garnering coverage from journalists and culture-watchers, from CBS News’s traditional news team to 360 Degrees’s Anderson Cooper.”

Continue reading here

HT: Justin Taylor

Categories: Apologetics, Discernment

Charismatic nuttiness

5 November 2007 Leave a comment

Phil Johnson, one of the PYROMANIACS, has written a two-part blog post on the nuttiness of the charismatic movement.

Even though I will be seen as a charismatic, (yeah, I do believe that the gifts continue today), I do think that Phil’s assessment has great value. It is for this very reason I do NOT like to be labelled a Reformed Charismatic, since the term “charismatic” has the meaning “charismaniac” in my mind. Simply think of all the heretics that are very acceptable within the charismaniac movement, and you immediately know why I would rather see myself as a continuationist and NOT a charismatic.

Anyhow, Phil’s two posts are as follows:
If You Can’t Say Something Nice…
Something “Nice”?