Think On This
Broken Churches Broken Churches Broken Churches Broken Churches

This is the fifth and intended final of five articles dealing with today's emerging church. Because the information is rather lengthy, it is broken down into two parts, Part I, laying the foundation for two fundamental questions, and Part II, responding to those questions. Hopefully, in these five articles there is enough information, first, to awaken those who haven't been stirred by the changes within their church, and second, to provide an adequate beginning into the individual's own search in their personal education on this subject. There are too many names and branches of this movement to list them all here but one should be able to discover them through the many references listed.

Don't mistake this movement of the changing or emerging church for a trend. It is here. It is powerful! It is redefining to the world a new philosophy and breed of Christianity. We didn't ask for it. We weren't considered before it stretched its tentacles to touch us in our worship on Sundays. We were not invited into the debate before pastors who were began forcing it upon their congregations. It is not going away any time soon. It is growing in strength and in universal numbers. It has power beyond anything most have seen in our lifetimes. Deception comes in subtleties and many Christians who are not guarded will fall prey right along with the ungodly to whom they appeal with their subtleties. I believe it to be, beyond the first duty of a Christian in their witness, the single greatest issue, and threat, facing the church today.

Now that it is here, we must decide if we want to be identified with this new definition. We must also know beyond doubt who we are in contrast to this new definition before we can express it in clarity and confident distinction to a lost world. We need to be ready to give an answer not only with words but with our lives. As the citizens of Antioch labeled followers of Christ Christian by their lives lived in witness of Him two thousand years ago, the world again will label all whether agreed or not by the actions of the sweeping tide of disciples of this new movement that fail in resemblance one whit of previous generations. Just when we thought we knew who we were, it is time to take a deep look within, not only ourselves, but our local church we have so faithfully supported. Is it what it once was and if not what is it becoming? A legitimate question for all its members. If one of those Antioch Christians could come forward today, would he or she call us Christians after seeing this new breed of Christianity? I have stated in a previous article my thoughts on the form I see the genuine church emerging to be apart from this new modernistic emerging church. This is being echoed by others as well.

Scripture A couple of points need to be made at the outset. First, with few exceptions when I think their work needs to be supported, I make it a practice not to recommend books for a reader to buy that would profit anyone by my recommendations. There are some I wish not to put a dime into their pockets. Some preachers sum up their entire ministry by the numbers and titles of books they've written, one I saw recently strewn out over a timeline of their 40 years in the pulpit. To be popular and published seems to be the aim if you're going to leave your mark in history. Amazing! Many make the argument that one has to read another's entire work to speak legitimately to it is a false one. One doesn't have to experience climbing a mountain before being able to describe and define it to be a mountain. It isn't necessary to see all the rocks and crevices in minute detail to know it is a part of the whole. It doesn't take microscopic examination of an apple and orange to determine the difference when seeking to purchase one or the other at a grocery. Nor do I have to consume all of both for that distinction. A taste sometimes is all that is necessary to discern the identity of its content. Why would I want to consume the whole when I want to dispose of the first bite? Scripture teaches you will know them by their fruit. Certainly, if one is new on the scene and untasted, it may take consuming several pieces of their work before learning from what perspective they speak or write. I won't argue that point. But once that tree has been identified, the fruit has been as well.

Second, and partly due to my above stated practice for book recommendations, in citing another writer or author the reader may choose however they desire to access that material that is more readily available through modern technology than ever before. Beyond the references and links provided within and at the end of this article, and for the sake of brevity, I have limited the numbers of authors and writers I do cite within the article. Please know, I have never agreed with every thing spoken or written by any preacher or writer. Nor I doubt any one else does for that matter. Those chosen for this article do not imply by any means I agree with them in every manner or on every point of their belief or practice. That does not mean they don't have something valid to add to the point of our interest. Writers are imperfect as are their writings. Mine are no less. However, perfection is not a requirement for writing nor speaking out in dissent of what is written. Truth is timeless and error needs exposing. As expected, some are cited in support of the point of view I put forth while others are given as examples for the need I have felt to speak out on such an important topic. I admit there are many who are more versed and qualified in this matter than I and I owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they tirelessly do in educating as many as possible on this danger facing us in these times. I only hope the reader will find here enough sufficient for the purpose in determining the answers to the proposed questions chosen for this topic and that it will be a starting point in pursuing their interest further. At the conclusion, under Encouraging Echoes, I strongly recommend the sermon delivered by Carter Conlon of Times Square Church, NYC, (founded by David Wilkerson of The Cross and the Switchblade) following 9/11/2001. It is a must hear for the lovers of Christ's authentic church.

Our first fundamental question goes something like this from those who are yet uncertain of what they are experiencing within their church: How is one to know if their church is one that has subversively, overtly or just unknowingly (although I think that's highly unlikely) bought into this new emerging church model seen within most megachurches even though their church may be smaller?

Our second question comes from those who already know their church has reached the tipping point (Step #4 of the 8 Step Plan) and have decided they can no longer remain under such a system: How does one know which is still real if they should choose to seek another? Or: "What does one do when they know they can no longer support their existing church?" Conlon's answer will speak to this as well in the conclusion of His sermon. Please read this article and then pray and prepare before listening. Set aside at least one and one half hours for his message.

Apostate These are troubling questions and should be taken seriously by anyone who seeks to remain sound in both doctrine and practice, not giving in to the philosophy of the ends justify the means being adopted by culturally changing churches, adopting methods and ways of the world to identify with the world in seeking the world for audience. The time for burying one's head in the sands is past. Scripture teaches there will be many who appear in Jesus' name in the end who turn truth into a lie and many will be deceived, thinking they are followers of Jesus but those they follow are wolves in sheep's clothing—they are anti-Christ. Just because they call Him by name, claim to speak in His name, does not mean they have come in His name. They do not deny Him by their confession, rather by their actions. Confessing Christ is not the whole of being Christian. The devils also believe and tremble but are not of Him (James 2:19). Paul warns the younger disciple, Timothy: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils..." (I Ti.4:1).

This new era has dawned without the knowledge of most and while others slept through its silent birth that have brought these subtle changes upon an unsuspecting church. It is no longer in its infancy. It rages in its juvenile delinquency against authority, rebelling in an unChrist-like spirit and striking out on its own when objected to by an older wiser generation. As in the days of Paul and in like manner after he had established a church on the foundation of the Gospel, these seducing spirits announce their arrival with a new vision, literally, with a new revelation from God they proclaim with bold arrogance. They draw by the thousands, either proselytized from other churches or mostly unrepentant and unregenerate of the world. (Notice in particular this statement: "...those who are interested to learn more about God can connect with new friends...") Jesus says: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Mt.7.21). Do not be fooled even by those claiming large numbers in baptisms. He further says: "Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them" (Lk.21:18). Paul tells us ...evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (II Tim.3:13). Remember, Christ Himself had many followers, calling Him Lord, until He pressed them for a commitment beyond their human needs, desires and lifestyles (Jn.6:66). Then they went away.

Attaining power through such numbers, these men who are redefining the church with a wisdom and spirit not of God set themselves above previous respectable and revered leaders, coalescing into a network highly funded by wealthy benefactors that eats away with increasing rapidity the form of an institution once vibrant but now thrashes in its final throes before totally succumbing. And the money keeps flowing through a wealth generated by materials they sell promoting their agenda to oftentimes unsuspecting pastors and leaders. Their eyes and design are on the entire world. God is watching. He is patient. But His patience has its limits.

There are also many views in the pews on this subject, pros and cons, some highly emotional, ranging from: "What's the big deal? I like this new exciting dramatic way of doing church. It's fun!", to "What is happening to my church that I cannot Biblically support it any longer"? Read these couple of "actual reviews" of a mainline traditional evangelical church for an illustration of the pros of the newer contemporary church. To use the well-worn phrase, Ignorance is Bliss, to dismiss any thoughts on this major shift in definition and practice of today's church will not insulate any church-goer from its impact regardless of their church heritage. All will eventually be affected by this. It is better to be educated and prepared early for what is already happening than be swept away in its movement when it comes to you—if it hasn't already. If it has, face it. For the sake of Christ face it! For the sake of your soul, face it. Do not live in denial.

Much has been written and, I agree, it is difficult to know whose voice to listen to any more. Some giants we once respected have compromised. They are older pastors or their sons branching out on their own with father's permission. They are children playing with fire. They also are embedded deep within the hierarchy of almost every denomination, including Southern Baptist and what once was called: the Sunday School Board. With the advent of the Internet they can be found 24/7 and the eyes begin to glaze over and the head aches after awhile. What once were sound sources and institutions, especially many of our seminaries, can no longer be trusted carte blanche. However, after a thorough and independent investigation, that is something each much search out and decide for themselves through much prayer. I would only suggest not to compromise what His Spirit would indicate even if it goes against the majority and likely will cause pain and sacrifice on your part. Do not let emotions or the easiest course dictate your own conclusions and decisions. These are times unlike any in recent generations. Be informed and take your stand! If you're wondering about your faithfulness, don't be afraid to leave something once you discover that has long since left you. Be true to Christ and you will abide in Him, thus being true to His church not the institution of man and organized religion that has begun to rot from the top down. When confronted with the choice whether to follow man and his ideas or Christ, choose Christ even if you have to walk away! And then, run! Flee from them! Get out of Babylon! Don't look back to Sodom!

There is a great deal of reference material to work through. Take your time. Pace yourself as you work through this final article. Because there is so much available, I had to be very selective for the purpose of time you would spend and knowing this was the final article on such a serious subject. So, please, go through all thoroughly. Some is informative but others are highly impacting. May He bless you in your discoveries and decisions. As I pray for you, would you in turn pray for me and we all will pray for the Body of Christ in the interim transitional time. Christ is our only answer. It is His church and He alone its Sovereign Head. He has already overcome!

End Preface

Part I

During the research for these articles I have run the gamut of emotions. In the beginning, I wondered how could something on the magnitude of this happen relatively so quickly and where are the Biblical giants who once stood as a check to such sweeping changes by a younger more hip generation of pastors who are violating some very basic Biblical doctrines and practices? How did so many young pastors grow into such mega-stars with huge churches overnight? Something didn't seem on the up and up, especially those preaching such a feel good social-gospel. These brand of preachers have been around for years but nothing on such a scale as this, and certainly not as young and seemingly unconnected. TV didn't just happen in the last decade. Was there an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit of the end-time gathering and I just missed it somehow? Where are the hordes of new believers flocking to the baptismal waters in all the churches around the world? By and large, churches are still on the decline except for these new upstarts. Again, questions. Then as I visited different churches where these younger, and some older, pastored, I began hearing the same rhetoric, the same buzz words, almost the same talking points, seeing the same practices and changes. Bells started going off. Point of reference here: I'm over that magic cut off age of being born before 1968 (a point of discovery in research indicating that older ministers are not included in this new movement, especially by the Leadership Network).

Beginning in New Testament times and throughout the centuries, more mature in the faith and wiser men have generally been there to serve as such a check to the younger when they would run a little errant of scripture and spirit of Christ in their idealism, doctrine and practice. Paul is iconic in this manner. The young, like Mark and Timothy, who had begun to receive Godly wisdom would not refuse Godly reproof, rebuke or correction by men like Peter and Paul, men older and more established in faith and doctrine, as Scripture teaches in both the Old and New Testament. Just because a young man possesses a license, title and academic letters does not necessarily make him wiser than an elder in his congregation. Who decided they could redefine Christianity all of a sudden without no clear voice of challenge? There is an arrogance and self-assertion of accomplishments with diminished humility seen more and more among a newer generation of men. Boldness in Christ is one thing. That is tempered with humility, but self-confidence in one's own intellect, knowledge, achievements and construct is quite something else. Christ does not set aside personality in a call but the spirit of decrease as learned from John the Baptist appears somewhat lacking among many today. Is it the man who lives or Christ when leading (Gal.2:20)?

When I discovered that younger more philosophical and impressionable were actually being recruited and trained in apprenticeship in this movement by those same older leaders, some whom I have known personally, who felt the church had to remain relevant by implementation of their own wisdom I became, well, righteously indignant. It seems as though some adults are throwing up their hands in absence of wisdom, credibility and a vision themselves to lead the church in today's world. They are giving the younger permission? to go in a different direction. Seriously? Like father giving son an OK to strike out on his own? It's as though the older says to the younger: "Son, I can't tear down and start over but you can begin something new, just not here. We'll fund you but in another place we won't be affected and appear connected". Insightful! Very insightful. In whom does the authority of God's work reside? (For the best example of this, research the relationship and ministries of Pastor Charles Stanley of Atlanta and the upstart of his son, Andy. One of the best ways to define for yourself the genuine from the false is visualize in your mind standing at the foot of the cross, listening to its message of sin and redemption, then in the same scene visualize the message and scene withing today's modern emergant church.)

Bill Hybels Another question begs to be asked: From whom do visions, callings and authority to preach the Word come? Do men now simply choose preaching as a profession like doctors, lawyers, etc. and then seek out the best wisdom of the most popular men or movement? Or, does not Christ still give a Godly call and His requirement for more laborers to be sent into His harvest remain valid and relevant (Lk.10:2)? I don't remember one instance where He called us to dialogue or have a conversation with Him to adjust to cultural changes in every generation that would keep Him cool to the latest hip crowd. Nor to seek the counsel of a modern church guru for radical change and duplicate his vision and blueprint throughout the world, arrogantly calling it God's vision for everyone. Just buy the software, install it in another location and let's all hook up to the mainframe in Illinois or California. We'll even provide free promotion. You won't even have to preach. Just move the pulpit, put a giant screen up front and I'll do it for you from my own location! What? And another thing, when I hear others refer to these new church leaders, I hear the terms articulate, eloquent, even genius banded about frequently but never do I hear how Spirit-filled they are, always about how intellectual and smart they are. When you listen to them in their own words you hear much about human wisdom, logic and themselves and what they've done and want to accomplish. Warren even brags about his book being the greatest best seller ever written by man, second only to the Bible itself.

But back to our point of the disciples, especially the younger, of these new so-called leaders. The Bible does not define the work of the ministry as an apprenticeship nor that of a PR firm. God needs no apprentice, agent or advertising. Is the New Testament no longer valid when prescribing preaching and prayer as the means and method for leaders and workers to come and join in numbers and relevancy for God's business for the church to remain viable and growing? So far, I have not been able to find the passage: Drucker chapter 3 verse 16. Think that's one someone has published as a sequel to the New Testament that is now required reading and exegetical study for every recruited young pastor by the Network's admissions team.

On this point, I will simply refer you to Oswald Chambers' July 17 piece in his work: My Utmost for His Highest, using as his text I Co.2:4: "My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words", and, John 12:32: "...I, if I be lifted up...will draw all men unto me", Here is but one excerpt:

"...Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the efficacy of Redemption, not by impressiveness of speech, not by wooing and winning, but by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of the Redemption comes through the preaching of the Gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher. The real fasting of the preacher is not from food, but rather from eloquence, from impressiveness and exquisite diction, from everything that might hinder the gospel of God being presented..."
Too many have forgotten or chose to ignore these basics of Biblical instruction. Call it fundamentalism if you will, but the greatest fundamentalist I've ever known is Christ. He and His ways are never-changing. He remains the same today as yesterday. His words remain in full effect regardless who or how many men like to dance around them. If Hell is not real then Christ is a liar. If sin, repentance, salvation, sanctification, regeneration, pre-destination, etc., are all to big of churchy words for today's pulpits, maybe some need to step aside and let another fill the giant shoes of their predecessors who could preach them with clarity and unction without erasing them entirely from Biblical discourse. It is the Power of God to translate His WORDS through the unction of the Holy Spirit into the human ear and heart for saving efficacy. It is not how smart or cute one may play on the fads of words in any culture. Preach the Word! Not your words! His Word does not depend on how well you can explain it in your words or the words of your listeners. That is His business. If they are reborn under your preaching they are "born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:13). Pentecost is enough evidence of that! Humans are no more smarter, sophisticated or cultured today than those who have preceded us. This is sheer arrogance in its ultimate. To think what Christ doesn't instruct is no longer relevant?, I say it is the one who thinks and pushes that error in thinking is irrelevant. One final thought before moving on. The one who practices this dumbed down language of His Word won't be able to give an excuse before Him on that day of Judgment when having to give account of your stewardship of His work: "Lord, I don't understand why there aren't as many here as I expected and preached to. I did my best. I tried to explain it in the best way I knew how. I thought they understood." Won't do.

Young Leadersh Conf This practice of recruitment of such young men continues on much the same order as secular universities recruit top students for their fields of study in medicine, law, engineering, etc. Still further along in this process I became very saddened, even discouraged, seeing this tide swelling to seemingly insurmountable proportions. Long-standing pillars and institutions of sound Biblical doctrine now have committees and plans on how they must compromise with this new movement if they are to stem the receding tide of membership and church closures. They meet and offer the young, inexperienced but highly educated, immersed in modern culture an equal seat at their boards and positions of leadership that once took years of demonstration for record of their soundness in doctrine and faith, one such leader calling it: "reverse mentoring". Let me be clear here. These practices fall into two groups, the first are those who already have a world-plan for a network of churches who recruit young culture-immersed pastors to lead in their effort and the second, the traditional evangelical who no longer have a vision for the future who turn to the young to learn how to reach an increasingly secular world. Please don't confuse the two. It is the first this article primarily addresses though the second seems to be rising in imitation, many of whom are buying into the plan of the first, including older pastors, hence, our concern.

Finally, I began to discover an underground rippling of a current of men who felt as I, and began to regain hope, not hope that would take back what is obviously being lost, but hope in Christ's church as He is still building it and as He promised, no, guaranteed, the gates of hell would not prevail against it. It may mean the address we used to call home when going to worship will change, but we should stay within His church regardless if our church leaves us while stuffing itself more and more of the unregenerate world while driving out older born again saints. Christ did come to seek and save the lost but he did not patent and franchise a side-show run by professors, doctors of divinity and philosophy, and the best product marketeers to come down the pike. We chose to follow Christ when He called us not the latest greatest idea of some slick-tongued newcomer redefining Christ's church with all his academic studies in philosophy, marketing, and liberal theology and their admixture in his preaching.

Christ, in His own words and in the writings of His Word in the New Testament, defined His church. This is sufficient. It needs no philosophical understanding for its inculcation and preaching. It needs no new definition required in the light of post-modern thinking, in a world that constantly is changing. It needs no new adaptation for survival and the aid of the strength of the arm of man. Christ doesn't call men to preach Kant, Hume, Augustine, Nietzsche, Voltaire, or today's Hybels, Buford, Warren and their kind nor give sermons on epistemology that seem to be dominating today's pulpits. The church has stood on some serious shaky ground before and done quite well without their wisdom, thank you. Millions down through the centuries have been wooed by His cross lifted without need of these Johnny-come-latelys jet-setting the globe creating a network one day one man will be able to rise and seize power. They are smooth and silver-tongued, charismatic, charming and disarming, make no mistake about it. They dress like the world. They act like the world. They think like the world. They talk like the world. They blend and morph into the world. The older looks at the newer hiper younger and thinks to himself: "How can I compete with that?" And so they cave. They emulate! Bluejeans and shirt-tails hanging on old guys, any guy in the pulpit, ugh hmm, on stage! Are you kidding me? No, Christ's church as He defined it is the one Rock that should remain solid, unchanging, the world should be able to look for hope in the chaos of all else that is constantly in flux around them. If any thing has failed, it has not been His church, it has been the men who stand in its pulpits uncalled or uncommitted to preach Christ crucified to a lost and sinful world, without compromise.

I also have found myself having to rethink my own approach to answering these questions for my own spiritual survival. At the outset of my early walk in Christ, I defined specific areas unopen to me for compromise so when faced with those choices the choice was already made. Sometimes I have been called upon to make that choice on the spot without time for consideration. Hence, there was no need for delay in my response. This new movement has been one of those areas for me that, once discovering the foundation of it, I needed no time for further consideration. The bite from that apple will not remain within my mouth! It is poisonous!

If you were to poll most pastors, you would likely find few have a written definition of Christ's church as they are currently attempting to build it in their ministry. This makes them vulnerable and susceptible to this new wave of Christianity redifiniton and church marketing. Without getting into the plethera of opinions of what constitutes a church, I will begin with offering the basic definition and purpose of the church as outlined in the New Testament—the church, of course, being the purpose for which Christ came and gave His life. I will use the following scripture to begin this brief basic discussion of what constitutes Jesus' church. Then we will look to see how that squares with what is rising in prominence today.

First let us consider what Jesus said Himself of His coming:

  1. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword (Mt.10:34).
  2. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Mt.10:35; Lk.12:53; 14:26).
  3. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk.19:10).
  4. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep (Jn.10:15).
  5. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (Jn.6:37).
  6. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (Jn.10:27,28).
  7. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Mt.18:20).
Consider now Christ's and the New Testament teaching as to the role of the pastor, or shepherd, of His sheep, or Body, or church:
  1. To Peter He said: ...Feed my sheep (Jn.21:17).
  2. In Acts, we read: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28).
  3. And later, Peter himself declares: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind (I Pe.5:2).
The Apostle John tells us in the opening words of his Gospel: He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (Jn.1:11-13).

Scripture Paul later adds:

  1. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II 5:17).
  2. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another (Rom.12:5).
  3. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular (I Co.12:27).
  4. 1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Eph.4:1-16).

As example, we look to the first of His body following the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and Peter's sermon: "...they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:41,42). Ask yourself: In this where can we say there is room for what we see when we walk into today's modern church?

We can say, then, the church is the body of Christ constituted by those who hear His Word and who believe and receive Christ for their salvation. This body is made up of members who are given gifts by the Holy Spirit for their perfection, the work of the ministry and the edifying of the complete body of Christ till all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. One can continue their study to see there are many functions of His body but in the above verses we see sufficient evidence of what constitutes His church and should be the practice in worship. It is made up of believers in Jesus Christ who gave His life for it and promised to build it on sufficient foundation it would withstand the darkest onslaught Satan could bring against it, whether it be by direct frontal assault from the world or through subtle subversion of false voices who slip within. And so it has for centuries.

Therefore, we also can say what church is NOT. First I will say flat out, there is no spiritual feeding and honoring Christ from sipping Starbucks while listening to Christian rock Sunday morning at 11am. There is no such thing as Christian rock. Rock is Satanic as unashamedly admitted by rockers of every generation. Church is not now nor ever intended to be composed of unbelievers nor designed to attract the unbeliever. The unbeliever does not seek Christ! Men may draw them by deciet but they delude themselves in thinking they can gain their confidence to hear they are headed for hell. It is not the church's calling to design its whole program and worship around them! Show me where that is found. Not there. It is designed for the perfecting and edifying of the saints and walking with Him in growth and glory as He leads. The lost does not desire God. Nothing of the flesh has any proclivity to the spiritual. On the contrary. It is anathema to the flesh. Only when the lost is regenerated, born again, does God place those gifts of desire within His new child: to pray, to read His Word, to associate with fellow-believers, to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Worship is not for the unregenerate! How can they worship God who is spirit and they condemned in their sins and darkness? Impossible! No amount and level of so called Christian Rock music is going to accomplish that or even give them a desire to listen to a sermon afterwards, if one is even given. To the carnal unregenerate, it is all just glossed over worldly junk vying in competition for what they've tuned into on their iPod. Where's the cross lifted in what sounds like a bunch of screaming unintelligible demons trying to be heard over screeching instruments and a beat crafted in hell? But boy that sure gets the numbers picking up Starbucks on the way into the "worship arena." What a draw! What a power! What volume! Yea, baby, now that's what we're talking about! Flip-flops, shorts, and tank tops, can't get any better than this, right? A sanctioned Rave every Sunday! Are you kidding me? Not fooling God. The preacher stands back and looks at such a great opportunity, and wonders what his first sermon should be entitled. Hmmm, Hell? Nope. Can't do that one. Heaven? Nope again. They're having too a great time as it is. That won't fly. Sin? Naw, don't want to dampen the party. They might not come back So, gotta make them feel higher. And now off he goes preaching money, success, feel good, etc., etc.

Now here's the kicker. Occasionally some actually do get saved, genuinely converted. After all, God can speak through a rock and an ass to get His message through, right (Nu.22:8; Jos.24:27; Lk.19:40)? So what happens to them next? They begin to read, pray, question other true Christians in their daily life. It doesn't take long for them to realize they can't participate in this ungodly form of church any longer, so, out they go. It has been widely stated these megachurches have bigger back doors than front. Seriously, they leave! So, what you continue to have left and coming are the unregenerate. Now they're caught up in a vicious cycle, having to keep up with the attrition rate. So, it becomes wilder and more theatrical! Human logic alone tells one how this is eventually going to end. And it won't be pretty. Warren and others tell us the numbers and millions of his books sold are proof of God's blessing on them. Really? Numbers are proof? My God man, look at history! Early 20th Century history. Recent history. Today—in the Muslim world! Look as well at what draws numbers on Television for continued success? Decency in programming? No longer in our lifetime! What sells on Madison Ave or in slick tabloids? Numbers are evidence of a lot of things but cannot be used as proof of a man-made plan for adding souls to the kingdom.

In his writings, The Love of God, Oswald Chambers spoke an hundred years ago to this very point in his section, Do You Continue To Go With Jesus? (emphasis in bold is mine):

The temptation is to claim that God does something that will prove who we are and what He has done for us. It is a temptation of the devil, and can only be detected as a temptation by the Spirit of God.

Are we taking the pattern and print of our life from some booklet or some band of Christians, or are we continuing with Jesus standing with Him in every new circumstance of life...Have we the one set purpose, which is only born in us by the Son of God, viz., not to do our own will but the will of God?...The temptation of Jesus continued all His earthly life, and they will continue all the time of His life in us...

The temptation may be to compromise with evil—"Don't be so tremendously strong against sin and in denouncing the pleasures and interests that make up this life as it is, and the whole world will be at your feet"!...Have we a place in our heart and mind and life where there is always open communion between ourselves and God so that we can detect the voice of the devil when he comes as "an angel of light"? Every temptation of the devil is full of the most amazing wisdom and the understanding of every problem that ever stretched before men's view. Satan's kingdom is based on wisdom, along the lines he advocates lies success, and men recognize this. Jesus Christ is not on the line of success but on the spiritual line, the holy, practical line and no other. If men and women do not continue to go with Jesus, they will begin to teach what undermines the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

He asks a series of questions. Here are but two:
1. Are we compromising in the tiniest degree in mental conception with forces that do not continue to go with Jesus, or are we maintaining the attitude of Jesus Christ all through?
2. Are we departing from Jesus in the slightest way in connection with the world to which we belong?

Also in his writings, Bringing Sons to Glory: Studies in the Life of Our Lord, Chambers has some very applicable words to our topic found in Section 3 of Part II of The Self-Consciousness of Jesus entitled, The Possibility of Political Messiahship, using as his text Matthew 4:8-11, key verse 9. Following verse 8 after "...the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them", Satan said to him in verse 9: "...All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." Given the fact this was one of the greatest temptations experienced by Christ Himself, Chambers addresses through Christ's own temptation by Satan the inescapable temptation then that comes to all men when presented with the possibility of power through numbers:

This is the most subtle temptation of all—"You are the Son of God, You are here to fulfill all the promises of God, and You know perfectly well that if You compromise judiciously with the powers of evil, You can easily overcome them and will pull the whole world round to Your flag." Is Satan right? He certainly is.

With all too familiar words we hear today by self-described post-modernist theological thinkers and preachers, Chambers goes on to say in his very next sentence:

The first sign of the dethronement of God is the apparent absence of the devil and the peaceful propaganda that is spread abroad. The great cry today is "be broad; accommodate yourself with evil so diplomatically that the line of demarcation is gone. Run up the white flag, say to the prince of this world, "we have been too puritanical in the past, there has been too clear a division between us, now we will go arm-in-arm." Is that the order? Never! "And the devil said unto Him, To Thee will I give all this authority, and the glory of them: for it hath been delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it" (Luke 4:6 RV). Satan is the prince of this world, and during this dispensation he has power to give authority to those who will yield to him and compromise. We are here to stand true to God, not to attack men.

As Satan is known to do, twisting Paul's words in I Co.9:22: "...I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some..." these modern men are on record saying, "I will become like the world in order to win the world." The flaws in this thinking are so transparent. First, even though ...God so loved the world..., and, ...that the world through Him might be saved.... (Jn.3:16-17), Christ did not come to win the world! He did not come to bring peace but a sword (Mt.10:34). He did not come to save the righteous (Mt.9:13) nor the men who live in darkness whose deeds are evil and refuse to come to the light (Jn.3:17-21). He came to seek and save the lost, those to whom the Father would reveal the Son and to Himself He would call (Mt.16:17; Jn.6:37). Secondly, Paul was not speaking of the entire lost world of which he would emulate in order to make Christ's gospel palatable to win some. Paul was speaking of his stooping through weaknesses and humility in the model of Christ stooping to mankind to take back from the house of Satan men both under the law (the Jew) and those upon whom the law was not conferred (the Gentile). To the weak, like Jesus who called men who were heavy burdened to come to Him (Mt.11:28-30), Paul stooped to yoke himself with them to lift them from their stumbling. Read the context of the whole of the chapter as it aligns with Christ's gospel as Paul placed it as the paramount deed ever before him in service to others (vs.16,18). These are the weak of which both Christ and Paul spoke they would stoop to lift to win for the kingdom's sake! To construe these words of Paul to mean the minister of the Gospel should become like all men to win some is anathema. Paul never drank with a man to win a drunk nor slept with a woman to win a harlot. Nor change the gospel into a lie to accommodate the world (Rom.1:25). Of course, I exaggerate but you get my point.

Although Chambers' words were meant for his time, I see them as prophetic for our day, especially these as he speaks further of the temptation of power from worldly devices to win the masses (be careful men, young and older, when you enter within their conferences):

...The temptation to the first Adam was to ignore the supremacy of God over the individual, to make man his own god. What was it Satan tried to make the last Adam do? To do God's will according to His own discernment—"You are the Son of God, assert Your prerogative of Sonship."...The first obedience of Jesus was not to the needs of man but to the will of His Father, and at the heart of every one of Our Lord's answers is this—I came to do God's work in His way, not in My own way, though I am the Son of God."...
Out of this temptation and for this purpose Chambers brings us to this conclusion:
God does not shield us from any requirements of a full grown man or woman, because His aim is to bring many "sons unto glory"; not emotional, hysterical people, but men and women who can withstand and overcome and manifest not only innocence, but holiness. We cannot be innocent in the sense that the first Adam was until we are re-made by regeneration; and we cannot be holy in the sense that the last Adam was holy until we are made one with Him, then the same temptations that betook Our Lord will betake us when we have become His brethren (See Hebrews 2:11).
There is no other will on earth that will benefit the spiritual man or called man of God than the will of the Father. If Christ did not claim the valid right He had to Sonship to do His own will, why do men do so today? Be careful, man or woman of God, whose will and vision it is that you go running after and follow! Was it not Jesus' own unbelieving family who tempted Him to show Himself and His power for this purpose to the crowds at the feast of the tabernacles in Jerusalem (Jn.7)? Jesus did not then nor does He today compromise the will of the Father in His call to the lost and the needs of mankind with the methods, wisdom and suggestions of men just to draw crowds. He could have sat down on the mount of Transfiguration or on the hillsides at the feedings of the five and four thousands and done that without ever having to trod a single dusty trail in seek of the one lost among an hundred. Did He not lament over Jerusalem's failure to be drawn under His wings (Mt.23:37)? He could have drawn them by the same power demonstrated when He cast demons away or spoke to the guards in the garden. Why do men feel the need to build such cathedrals today and why such grand show of it if not to the world to entice them to come? Temptation What man among a thousand cannot help but be affected by the power of such persuasion of so many by the glamour of worldy devices? Did not Jesus attempt to avoid the crowds on most occasions? He knew in their hearts what drew them was not for that eternal bread (Jn.6). The masses sought Him only for their temporal human conditions, to go away excited from the miracle they had witnessed or human blessing they received.

Jesus does not measure His success in numbers as Satan tempted Him in the wilderness and continues to this day to any man who stands in Jesus' name, in every generation to the men who set themselves apart in Jesus' work. Some choose, others are called. Be careful young man you are chosen and of this temptation, for all will be sifted to see if this lust lies within the breast of each. The world needs not a new messiah embued with power not of Christ. Be careful those crowned in gray. Although it is not inexcusable for the young yet understandable when they fall prey, but for you, the hoary-headed, as with Pilate and the Pharisee of Jesus' day with greater understanding and teachings, it is neither (Jn.19:11). Jesus gave great warning of the leaven of the Pharisee (Mt.16:6,11; Lk.12:1). Paul would have us to: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:...".

The church was never intended as an institution for the unregenerate, a lighthouse to, but not for its purpose. The church's mission was never to call within her walls the world but to build up the regenerate to go out into an unregenerate world in seeking to save that which is lost—then bring them in to nurture. It is a fold of the Shepherd's sheep to be feed by those He calls to feed them (Jn.21:17). It is not a corral for goats though one or many may slip in among them. I have often said, if they do no harm, leave them be for as with the shepherds of the fields who insert one or two among his sheep to stir them on cold nights for rotation within the flock for their safety and warmth, they serve their purpose in His kingdom. The Shepherd is capable of guiding them with His rod and staff and separate them in the end.

Thus we end our brief discussion of the form, style and purpose of His church.

End Part I

Part II

With that foundation, let's turn now to our first question at the outset: How is one to know if their church is one that has subversively or overtly bought into this new emerging church model seen within most megachurches even though their church may be smaller? Or, how does the state of your church compare to that for which Christ gave His life?

To begin to answer that question, there is no need for me to repeat here the voluminous work already written describing and identifying the various church models emerging in today's Christian society. In addition to those already given for individual examples on points formerly made, I encourage you to follow the links at the end of this article for as much of that work as you desire. What I will say is this. It is commonly accepted among most leaders in the church world across denominational lines that the institutional church as we once knew it is over, dying, and in most places already dead. Currently, there are streams of religious thinkers engaged at various levels of this post-mortem development. The beginning days of this movement can be traced back to many earlier writers and practitioners but its real impetus began in the later half of the 20th century by a handful of men who knew each other and had many meetings and conversations on the issue of the church going forward. They began producing works moving in the direction they wanted to promote their thoughts into practice. I'm sure you're familiar with the one most widely known in conjunction with this effort, Rick Warren's writings: The Purpose Driven Life and sequel: The Purpose Driven Church, currently serving as pastor (or "mayor" as he calls himself of a city within a city) of the Southern Baptist Church, Saddleback Community Church in Southern California. In 2005, he launched another program called: The Peace Plan, to establish a world-wide network of a "church to church strategy" of "turning an audience into an army."

I know, I can hear some of you saying: Rick Warren? why I have the greatest respect and admiration for him. He's Southern Baptist. He wrote a great book. He hosted a national presidential debate in his church. He's done such great work around the world. I would only say, you need to look behind the curtain. Listen to these examples of his views on spiritual growth: Part 1 and Part 2. Look for his equivocating positions on marriage and homosexuality. Research his involvement and plan to unite religious and political leaders around the world for his will, his agenda. But for now, lets continue with our topic at hand which is the Purpose Driven Church transition program he is pushing.

Briefly, here are the 8 Steps for implementation of Warren's Purpose Driven Church transitional model, one your own pastor likely has on his desk and following, the first 3 steps to be kept secret from the church until he is ready for step 5 and 6:

  • Step one - Prepare for change
  • Step two - Define your changes
  • Step three - Plant your vision with your key leaders
  • Step four - Share your vision with the whole church
  • Step five - Implement your changes
  • Step six - Deal with the opposition
  • Step seven - Make adjustments
  • Step eight - Evaluate the result
Notice nowhere is it open for debate or choice by the church. They are not even informed until the 4th Step and the change occurs immediately following in Step 5, almost from one Sunday to the next. The rub begins in Step 6. This is when serious opposition is asked, or told, to leave the church. At this point the church either caves, splits, or fights back and regains control after firing their staff. Here is one pastor's actual comments to his deacons when he disclosed his intentions the night before going public: "If you vote to return to the old model I will resign right now. The others on my staff will resign in the morning and we will go across the street a build it any way. You cannot stop the vision (they were told it is a vision from God, as taught in the seminars)." There is no veiled threat here. They state it boldly and plainly! What he is saying is: We will build right in your face and shut you down! Wow! What a Christ-like spirit from a called man of God, right? You will find more as you continue your reading and search.

For a peek inside one of these training seminars for pastors seeking to transform their churches into Warren's world-wide model of the Purpose Driven Church, I offer this critique by Chris Rosebrough of Pastor Dan Southerland, formerly of Flamingo Road Church, in Fort Lauderdale, FL (now at Westside Family Church, Kansas), conducting one session for such pastors. Rosebrough comments on Southerland in this way: "...I cannot emphasize enough the fact that Dan Southerland's Church Transitions company has been the "go to" company used by Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven businesses to train pastors into Warren's Druckerite leadership methodologies." It is lengthy, so notate progress on status bar for forward movement in return listening.

Critique of Dan Southerland pastoral training for church transition:

Running parallel to Warren's efforts, greatly aided by Dan Southerland, formerly of Flamingo Road Church in Florida, is another example, Bill Hybels, pastor of Willowcreek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, and founder of The Global Leadership Summit. He is equally active in this new model being foisted upon churches clamoring aboard to transform their own churches in cookie cutter fashion. Each year his Summit, hosted by Willowcreek and offered via satellite to over 200 locations throughout the United States, sponsors conferences " transform Christian leaders Hybels around the world with an injection of vision [whose vision?], skill development and inspiration for the sake of the local church."

In his slick promotional video for 2013's conference produced to enhance his claim , he declares: "Leadership is a craft...If you're a leader you have do whatever you have to do to keep your passion hot." Anyone who knows anything about leadership knows this to be flat out not true. Leadership IS NOT a craft. Simon Magus employed a craft that was rebuked by Peter (Acts 8:9-24). That term is typically hyphenated with nouns other than Christian. Do we really want it associated with Christian? This new movement has bought heavily into Peter Drucker's business model of leadership for social influence. However, I offer this one example in contrast and more to what a true leader is. Look at both and decide for yourself which Christ reflected. Christ did have a craft; He was a carpenter. Being a carpenter did not equip and empower Him to call upon Peter and John, and many since, to follow Him as they did and do still. He was and is the embodiment of true leadership in submission to no other will and plan but the Father's. It is His leadership He lives out through those gifted by the Holy Spirit to lead others in obedience and performance of the Father's unchanging will. Men, and women, have lived and led in His power and direction long before Drucker, Warren, Southerland, or Hybels appeared on scene promoting their will! To listen to them and their disciples, it is miraculous one Christian survived through the centuries before they arrived on scene to lead us into the promised land, here and now! For a little further insight into the mindset of this thinking consider this question asked by Hybels in another free promotional video: "Will the local church, the hope of the world, be able to sustain itself until the end of time?" See any thing wrong in just the premise of this question? The implication is, no! unless it gets outside help. And just who do you think is the outside help they mean?

I will bring to your attention two other entities deeply involved in the new emergent church movement that will, hopefully, further help you to see this is not a new movement. A group called, Leadership Network, was formed in 1984 by a business man named, Bob Buford, to answer specific questions posed at that time among group thinkers:

  • Leaders are always focused on What’s Next.
  • What is God doing now? How can we join?
  • What is the "Aha!" that we need to move us further?
This Network began reaching out by invitation only to selected younger pastors and leaders to attend meetings for dialogue and promotion of their purposes. Annual conferences began in the mid-late 90's where this was pushed full throttle. By their own admission, a pastor or leader "born before 1968 had to come with one born after that date to be a translator" (because of the group's buzz words and culture code language). Pastors would ask if that meant they couldn't come unless they brought one of their college students. Incredible. This restricted attendees to those preferred. This network is highly funded and invests in promising new young church leaders, those they recruit, who will institute their new world vision. Among those who were hired for this recruitment process was Doug Paggit who became co-founder of Emergent Village because, as he states: "...many of us were disillusioned and disenfranchised by the conventional ecclesial institutions of the late 20th century." Below, you will find links to an interview with him that will reveal some very troubling beliefs among many of this Network. It should not be ignored. These young men are now heading a great number, if not the majority, of megachurches throughout America. One needs to dig deep to find their doctrinal positions. Be prepared for what you will discover.

As you can see, there is no centralized head as of yet of this new world-wide phenomenon currently of different stripes but cut from the same cloth, but... Now, let me pose this question: Is your pastor, associate or team leader(s) absent for any length of time on an undisclosed trip at the church's expense? Without getting deeper into the weeds in this article, I have selected these significant writings as a beginning into your look behind this movement, documents and things your church does not want you to see or hear:

  1. Rick Warren interview on the Question: How do you organize a mega-church?
  2. The Eight Step Plan for transition outlined in the Purpose Driven Church Plan in Southerland's own words.
  3. Church Transitioning - Leading Your Church Through Change - Official Site Documentation
  4. The Emerging Church & The Road to Rome - a video presentation by Roger Oakland - (53 min.).
  5. Interview with Doug Pagitt by Todd Friel - Pt.1 (11 min.) - Paggit is a top leader in the Leadership Network recruiting young pastors.
  6. Interview with Doug Pagitt by Todd Friel - Pt.2 (11 min.) - Paggit Interview Part 2.
  7. Anothr look inside Warren's Purpose Drive Model

Roger Oakland offers an informative commentary on things to look for in your church to help discover if your church is headed down this path. Here is an excerpt from his work entitled: How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging in Your Church.

There are specific warning signs that are symptomatic that a church may be headed down the emergent/contemplative road. In some cases a pastor may not be aware that he is on this road nor understand where the road ends up. Here are some of the warning signs:
  • Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.
  • The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.
  • More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.
  • The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.
  • The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.
  • The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past.
  • An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.
  • Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.
  • The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.
  • While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.
  • These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.
  • There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.
  • There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.
  • Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.

Broken Pencil You probably need a break at this point and I don't blame you. I can't tell you how many times, and days, in the past few years I have had to just walk away from such overwhelming shocking information. If it were all to be publicly declared at the outset by any church ministry, likely, there would be two types of reactions. One, the people would be so inundated with such a volume of material they could not digest it all before having to take some sort of action on it. They would be compelled to go along not knowing up front what they were deciding and approving. (They would have to "pass the bill" in order to find out what's in it.) Or, secondly, there would be such a violent reaction to it, not passing the basic Biblical smell test, it would be banned by acclamation! However, it is not the intent of the authors of such a plan to disclose it until after the 4th Step of the 8 Step plan for introduction as mentioned earlier. By then it is too late. It's deceitful! It's done! Case closed.

This should be enough information to begin to answer our first proposed question and by now you are probably ready to move on to the second: How does one know which is still real if they should choose to seek another? It should be obvious by now one should first look for those tell-tale signs seen within their own church if they are present within one being considered as a new place for worship. Ask questions of its members. Don't be reticent to ask even its leadership when being called upon during a courtesy visit. Ask for their Statement of Faith, Church Constitution and By-laws. What is their history of church management and discipline? What is their church's definition, which should be clearly stated in their Constitution. Are there any plans, immediate or long-term, to change their approach in church mission and work. What are their affiliations? Who do they consider on the world-stage as proponents of their Biblical views and practices? What are the typical style of sermons one can expect on a regular basis. Are they more expository rather than topical or teaching? If they are in line with you on this thinking, they will not be offended, rather, appreciative you are well informed and deeply interested in matters of such serious nature. Look for them to express that appreciation. If they don't and become defensive and withdrawn, well... Another question to ask: Who is it the church exists for, the lost or the saved, the seeker or the saint?

Next, examine the spirit of the new church's leadership. Do they demonstrate the Spirit of Christ in their tone and tactics when answering their critics? Do they speak in an authoritarian totalitarian manner, condemning any one who disagrees with their ideas, calling to repentance any side who is not on their side? Is their human arrogance clearly on display and they make no apologies for it? When a minister attacks another minister's theological position that is one thing but when he levels, even with humor, an ad hominem attack upon his wife's appearance that implies his own wife to be perfect in every sense seen through the eyes of every other man. Non-sensical. He no longer speaks with the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. That is not the Spirit of Christ but another spirit putting those words into his mouth. He should not only be ashamed but seek forgiveness from the woman toward whom he leveled the criticism and repentance and forgiveness from God. This, from a nationally known and well respected preacher who saw the light and split from this movement. Still, from such spirit, flee.

  • When the same minister who won't call specific sexual sins a sin but will call it a sin when one takes a theological and philosophical position other than his own, flee.
  • When a minister refuses to define his views on specific doctrine any longer, or, has changed them entirely, flee.
  • When a minister denies there is a literal hell with eternal punishment as Jesus Himself taught, flee.
  • When a minister denies heaven as a real place as Jesus defines it, flee.
  • When a minister's words are weighed and more than half are those of his own views, or others, as to what the Bible says or means, or meant to say, flee.

On the flip side, I don't have to tell you the positive things to look for in a pastor or church leadership. You know your Bible. You have sat before them. They are not outdated regardless what this new crowd says. You may have to pray hard and look long, but there are still some who have not gone over to the dark-side. If, after a thorough search, your search is not rewarding, there are other options. Listen among yourselves. Although Southerland speaks of a great vision and movement of God within this church transition craze concerning small cells, I am not talking about buying into that wing of their program. I am talking about allowing God's Spirit to lead in whether two or three might gather in His name and He would come among them as He promised. In Jewish practice, ten are usually required for a quorum for a legitimate group in worship. Jesus spoke to less. Believe Him. Take Him at His Word. You are on solid Biblical ground. Search the scripture. Start in John 14 concerning the teaching and total ministry of the Holy Spirit. He will not fail to instruct. Seek Him in much prayer. He says if a son ask for bread from a father, would the father give him a stone? No. He will feed His sheep and send a shepherd, guaranteed!

To sum up this article, permit me to use another apropos quote by another author from a time overlapping that of Chambers. It is ironic the very Old Testament book, Nehemiah, these modern church reformers use as part of their scriptural foundation for their model, in his August 20th Evening Devotion C.H. Spurgeon takes for his text, offering words with a prophetic sound for our day, Nehemiah 3:8: "And they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall."

Cities well fortified have broad walls, and so had Jerusalem in her glory. The New Jerusalem must, in like manner, be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, and separation from its customs and spirit. The tendency of these days break down the holy barrier, and make the distinction between the church and the world merely nominal. Professors are no longer strict and Puritanical, questionable literature is read on all hands, frivolous pastimes are currently indulged, and a general laxity threatens to deprive the Lord's peculiar people of those sacred singularities which separate them from sinners. It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one: then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in. Beloved reader, be it your aim in heart, in word, in dress, in action to maintain the broad wall, remembering that the friendship of this world is enmity against God.

The broad wall afforded a pleasant place of resort for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from which they could command prospects of the surrounding country. This reminds us of the Lord's exceeding broad commandments, in which we walk at liberty in communion with Jesus, overlooking the scenes of earth, and looking out towards the glories of heaven. Separated from the world, and denying ourselves all ungodliness and fleshly lusts, we are nevertheless not in prison, nor restricted within narrow bounds; nay, we walk at liberty, because we keep His precepts. Come, reader, this evening walk with God in His statutes. As friend met friend upon the city wall, so meet thou thy God in the way of holy prayer and meditation. The bulwarks of salvation thou hast a right to traverse, for thou art a freeman of the royal burgh, a citizen of the metropolis of the universe.

Let me repeat it again just in case you missed it: It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one: then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in.

I can only add, Amen!

End Part II
- Author: Ken Livingston

As mentioned earlier in this article, here is the recommended sermon by Pastor Carter Conlon of Times Square Church, NYC on false doctrine and teachers:

-  Run For Your Life: Come Out From Among Them - Carter Conlon (1hr.15min. Note his exposition of Proverbs 7 at time 57:45 on the status bar.)

HR Download this article: Broken Churches - (PDFPDF format - right click on link and select: Save target as...).

See also Issue #1: Modern Church.
See also Issue #2: Walking With God.
See also Issue #3: Addicted to Experiences.
See also Issue #4: State of the Church.
Read additional studies and topics in our Studies Area.

Writings Index

Previous Page
Further Findings:
  1. Of Chaos and Confusion: The Modern Church - A Megiddo Films Production
  2. An Exposé of The Purpose Driven Church pushed by Rick Warren - Video
  3. The Real Roots of the Emergent Church - Video
  4. Four models of the emerging church - Wess Daniels
  5. Review of Rick Warren's Lecture at Desiring God
  6. Insight into Origins of Purpose Driven Churches
  7. The Seeker-Friendly Way of Doing Church
  8. Rick Warren, the Church Growth Movement and "dissenters"
  9. Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven? Part 1
  10. Strategy for church growth splits congregants by Suzanne Sataline / The Wall Street Journal
  12. What is causing evangelicals to split?
  13. A Southeastern Tennessee SBC church that went Purpose Driven and purged it
  14. ENFORCEMENT OF CHURCH GROWTH TECHNIQUES by Church of God and Assemblies of God
  15. Rock the Lakes - Rock Concerts promoted by Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc.
  16. Rod Parsley - Ziplining - (Amazing! What a circus in church!) (notice the flashing lights)
  17. Pastoral Apprenticeship: 'for leaders seeking to move into pastor/elder roles in church ministry' (Amazing!)
  18. Andy Stanley on his mentor - Bill Hybels (in his own words)
  19. The Coming One World Religion, Tony Blair, Rick Warren and Modern Evangelicalism-Part 1
  20. ...and so much more! (Don't support them by buying their books. Find them by other means.)
Encouraging Echoes:
  1. R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias discuss post-modernism, modernism, liberalism, and the emergent church. Is there any real difference among the four?
  2. The Seeker-Sensitive Movement: thoughts by R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias.
  3. Worst Thing To Happen To A Preacher - Leonard Ravenhill - Part 1
  4. Worst Thing To Happen To A Preacher - Leonard Ravenhill - Part 2
  5. Worst Thing To Happen To A Preacher - Leonard Ravenhill - Part 3
  6. Run For Your Life: Come Out From Among Them - Carter Conlon (Note his exposition of Proverbs 7 at time 57:45 on status bar.)
  7. David Wilkerson: The Apostasy Sermon
  8. Voices of the Emerging Church - (Leaders identified - close is excellent.)