31 December 2011

"Code Orange" Speaker Kevin Gerald

Well, it's almost here. The Code Orange Revival, hosted by young, Seeker-Driven pastor Steven Furtick, is mere days away. With this event, Furtick aspires to gather a group of leaders together in order to cause an "eruption" of God's power and movement. The speaker lineup for this volcanic event is quite extensive, so over the past weeks and months, we have been examining them one by one. In previous posts, we've looked at LifeChurch.tv visionary Craig Groeschel, prosperity preacher Jentezen Franklin, Hillsong darling Christine Caine, Joel Osteen's worship leader, Israel Houghton, seeming Word-Faith proponent Stovall Weems, pastor Ed Young, Jr., and "Bishop" T.D. Jakes, an apparent modalist, and blatant Word-Faith preacher who has also disgustingly eroticized the ordinance of remembering our Lord's sacrifice through the practice known as Communion. Most recently, we analyzed Perry Noble of Newspring Church. A notable seeker-driven pastor, Noble is quite adept at using the culture as a means to reach the "unchurched" with his weak gospel. Like the other Code Orange Revival speakers, Perry Noble has also unashamedly preached the lie that one's money is under a curse until a tithe has been given to the church. Indeed, the Word of Faith movement is no longer reserved for the flamboyant charismatic minority. Rather, it is quite successfully weaseling its way into mainstream evangelicalism.

It seems most appropriate, then, that Pastor Kevin Gerald would also be a scheduled speaker for this event. Gerald pastors Champions Centre in the Pacific Northwest along with his wife, Sheila. Yes, you read that correctly. The Geralds are co-pastors, so already we have a significant problem.

The very name of Gerald's church offers another challenge: Champions Centre. Really? The motto of this "church" is  "Equipping people to live successful Christian lives." Hm. I would love to know Kevin Gerald's definition of "success," because I have a sneaking suspicion that someone like, oh, the Apostle Paul, would never measure up to such a definition. 
Thankfully, Gerald has already provided for us what he deems to be "success." He has done this through his books and sermons. Sifting through the titles of these is like perusing a grand buffet of Word-Faith specialities. In fact, the reader may remember that we were first introduced to Kevin Gerald in the article Steven Furtick is Lookin' for the Favor. Within this post, we learned that Steven Furtick had gained his inspiration for his own upcoming sermon series on "favor" from Kevin Gerald's "Favor Forever" series. If you’d like to see and hear this Furtick-approved preaching for yourself, you can visit Gerald’s site and listen to his 3 messages on "Favor Forever." You’ll hear such biblically ignorant teachings as Christians may “expect preferential treatment” because of our association with God. This is most interesting, as it seems to be the exact opposite in today’s world! Gerald teaches in his first message that we can expect favor from both God and man! Apparently Paul had it all wrong when he said, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10). In Part 2 of this series, which is loaded with law and works-righteousness, Gerald says that our “thoughts attract and draw like magnetic forces,” which is why we need to be cautious about negative thoughts. After all, he says, God created us to be “very powerful” beings. Such language is classic and typical of Word-Faith and prosperity preachers. Your words have power, so just "name it and claim it" and if you have enough faith (or sow a large enough seed), then whatever blessing you desire is yours. 

Let us take a moment, then, and glance at the titles of Kevin Gerald's books:
(Online Source)
Notice a pattern? Prosperity, power of the mind and, well...YOU. In his book, By Design or Default: Creating a Church Culture that Works, (a book which is endorsed by such names as Ed Young, Jr., Brian Houston of Hillsong, and Tommy Barnett, who is a founder and co-pastor of the LA "Dream Center" as well as pastor of Phoenix First Assembly of God), Gerald reveals his exceedingly shallow understanding of Scripture and of Jesus Christ. In a chapter entitled "How Attractive is Your Message," he writes:
One of the most impressive characteristics of Jesus' ministry was that it attracted crowds - large crowds - crowds that the Bible calls multitudes. They were drawn to Him. The Bible says in Luke 2:52 (KJV) that Jesus "increased...in favour with God and man." This implies that the more people knew about Him, the more they were attracted to Him. 
Individuals and churches that recognize the characteristics that made Jesus attractive to the multitudes and incorporate those ingredients into their church culture also will attract people. This contradicts what some Christians assume because they were taught that being Christlike will cause people to not like them. This mistaken thought comes from the belief that everyone hated Jesus and this led to His death. In their efforts to be Christlike, they assume that being unattractive to people in the world is a good thing.
The truth is, the only people who didn't like Jesus were a few religious leaders who were threatened by His popularity, but thousands of people followed Him just to hear what He had to say.
Although there are plenty of other things about us all that could make us unlikable, an authentic Christlike attitude in our approach to ministry will appeal to people, not repel them. Christlike attitudes will always have an irresistible magnetism on human nature. (pages 33-34, emphasis in the original). 
Okay, grab your Bible and let us challenge from the Word of God some of the claims made here by Kevin Gerald. First, let's look in context at the half-verse that Gerald provides from Luke 2:52:
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:41-52)
What Kevin Gerald has done is taken a verse that summarizes the normal human growth process experienced by Jesus, has selected only the words that serve his own purpose (namely the word "favor") and has used it to misrepresent the true meaning of the text.

Moving on, it is certainly true that Jesus drew large crowds when He spoke. Yet, Scripture tells us exactly why the majority of the people were present. Scripture also tells us that the majority of people turned away when they heard the difficult truth of Jesus' message. In John 6, Jesus feeds the 5,000. The next day, the crowds are seeking Him again, but not because they were enamored of His message. Rather, they sought to fill their bellies:
On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (John 6:22-27)
When the people pressed Jesus further regarding His message, He told them the shocking truth. For the sake of space, I will let you read verses 28-51 on your own, and will pick up in John 6:52:
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. (John 6:52-66)
These early followers were not only "a few religious leaders who were threatened." These were the multitudes. These were the crowds who were following Jesus merely for the temporal comfort they thought He could offer them through miracle healing and feedings. And these crowds turned away, decisively and finally, when they came to know the truth, that Jesus Christ alone was the Bread of Life. There are many other passages to which we could turn to dispute Gerald's claims that everybody simply adored Jesus and His message. Luke 9:57-62 comes to mind, as does its parallel passage in Matthew 8:18-22. Passages such as Luke 14:25-35 are also familiar, and were most definitely quite unpopular with the crowds. After all, who wants to be told that they must take up their cross to follow Jesus? Who wants to be told that true discipleship requires a willingness to give up family, earthly comfort, and possibly even one's own life? And do we need to be reminded of the day of Christ's crucifixion, when the crowds, incited by the chief priests and Pharisees, shouted aloud to Pilate, "CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!"

Contrary to the teaching of Kevin Gerald, those who have been saved by Christ, and who live according to His Word, will indeed be rejected by the world. How do I know this? Because Jesus Christ said so:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. (John 15:18-23)
One must wonder, then, how it is that Pastor Gerald can have a true Gospel message to share? For if he desires to be likable to the world, then he cannot possibly be preaching about sin, repentance, and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
With that, let's look at the titles of just four of Gerald's popular sermon series:
(Online Source)
The reader may notice that the series entitled Breaking Free is, of course, centered around one's finances. And what seeker-driven, prosperity gospel would be complete without preaching about living an extraordinary life?! After all, God doesn't want dull, boring Christians who go about their day-to-day humdrum lives faithfully serving Him even in the mundane. No! He wants followers to whom He may grant "God-sized dreams" and "audacious faith!" Speaking of audacious faith, Kevin Gerald has also preached a Sun Stand Still sermon series. With teachings like this, then, it should not surprise us that Gerald will be joining false teachers Joel and Victoria Osteen at their upcoming Night of Hope as Champions Centre hosts the event on January 6. Indeed, Kevin Gerald has more than adequately proven himself to be a perpetrator of a weak, false, prosperity-centered gospel. 

This seems like the perfect place to pause and listen to exactly how Kevin Gerald "invites" a person to come to Christ. Here is Kevin Gerald presenting his version of the unbiblical "sinner's prayer":

Here is the transcript of the above prayer, as printed on the Champions Centre website:

If you want a new beginning in your life and in your relationship with God, just pray this prayer right now, wherever you are. 

Lord Jesus, I welcome you now into my heart. Forgive me of all my sins and make me a new person. I receive you now as the leader and the Lord of my life. I boldly declare that I'll never be the same again. In Jesus' name, amen. (Online Source)
Honestly, what does any of that even mean? Where in Scripture do we see a prayer like that? Where is the explanation of sin and why we need a Savior? Where is the explanation of Christ's finished work on the cross? Where is the call to repent and trust in Jesus alone for salvation? None of those elements are present and why? Because Kevin Gerald is more interested in making false converts who dutifully fill the offering plate than he is with calling people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. How can I say this with such certainty? Because a true minister of the Gospel, a true under-shepherd of Christ, a true preacher of the Word of God, would never feature something like this at his church:

There it is, the now-infamous "your money is cursed unless you tithe" message, and it has obviously been ingrained into the attendees of Champions Centre. In the end, "Pastor" Kevin Gerald is nothing more than another money-focused, "favor" seeking, Word of Faith prosperity preacher. He may not be as well-known or popular as so many others, but he is most assuredly just as dangerous. Yet he has been embraced by Steven Furtick, and Steven Furtick has been embraced by trusted, so-called "conservative Bible teachers." May we pray that God would open the eyes of those who have been deceived.

The advertised purpose of Code Orange Revival may be to bring about an "eruption of God's power and movement," but there is another dangerous theme that has emerged. That theme is the propagation of the heretical Word-Faith doctrine, and it ought to cause one to begin to question seriously just what kind of "eruption" is going to occur next monthReader, it is time that we acknowledge that this deviant teaching has effectively infiltrated America's "evangelical" church. 

The reader would do well to remember that among Furtick's list of scheduled speakers are the "young, restless and reformed" Acts 29 pastor and Gospel Coalition council member Matt Chandler as well as fellow Gospel Coalition council member James MacDonald of Walk in the Word and Harvest Bible Chapel fame. Both of these men will also be speaking at Perry Noble's Newspring Leadership Conference in 2012. As we have asked before, we ask again, especially of MacDonald and Chandler, two supposedly conservative and reformed pastors: Why? Why would you agree time and again to share a stage and a platform with men and women who preach not just a weak gospel, but a false one? One must begin to wonder about the motivation behind your consistent appearance with the same group of dangerous, even shameful, teachers. The members of your local and extended flocks deserve an explanation from the men they no doubt trust and respect.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

Steven Furtick's 12 Days of Revival
"Code Orange" Speaker Craig Groeschel
"Code Orange" Speaker Christine Caine
"Code Orange" Speaker Jentezen Franklin
"Code Orange" Speaker Israel Houghton
"Code Orange" Speaker Stovall Weems
"Code Orange" Speaker Ed Young, Jr.
"Code Orange" Speaker "Bishop" T.D. Jakes
"Code Orange" Speaker Perry Noble

30 December 2011

This 'n' That

As we prepare to awaken Sunday morning to a new year, it's important to ask yourself, "Do I like me?" The answer to this question is vital. After all, if you don't like yourself, you're bound to be a bit of a "gloomy Gus" and let's face it, nobody wants to hang out with a downer. A simple, narcissistic reading of the Scripture reveals to us just how important elevated self-esteem really is. As Saddleback Church announced last week, "God is mad about you," so why in the world are you not wild about yourself too? Do you suffer from conviction of sin and an awareness of your fallenness? Do you find yourself relying on Christ's righteousness instead of your own fabulosity? If so, then my dear friend, you need a bit of a pick-me-up. Happily, Joyce Meyer has just the thing.

Happy to Be Me! will help you to realize that you really are fantastic, and that there is nothing about you that needs to change. Nope, all that has to happen is that you must learn to like who you are. Once you have achieved this self-acceptance, good things are bound to happen. Upon truly becoming happy with yourself just as you are, you will undoubtedly begin to see God's destiny for your life begin to unfold. But you must first come to this place of acknowledgement of your awesomeness. Otherwise, God is completely powerless to help you.

So, as you prepare to make your donation of $25 or more in order to receive this "free" resource from Joyce Meyer Ministries, here is your week in review (kind of):
  • Due to volcanic activity, a new island has arisen in the Red Sea.
  • I wish some of today's "conservative Bible teachers" would listen to this, and heed it. It is true that bad company corrupts good character. Unless, of course, God lied to us in His Word.
  • Voddie Baucham preaches about Modern Spirituality and your mind:

29 December 2011

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is from a sermon entitled, The Hospital of Waiters Visited with the Gospel:
Do you not understand it? Christ bore the wrath of God, instead of those who trust him. Jesus Christ took the sins of all who trust him, and was punished in the room and stead of every believer, so that God will not punish a believer, because he has punished Christ for him. Christ died for the man who believes in him, so that it would be injustice on the part of God to punish that man, for how shall he punish twice for the same offense? 
Faith is the seal and evidence that you were redeemed nineteen hundred years ago upon the bloody tree of Calvary, and you are justified, and who shall lay anything to your charge. “It is God that justifies you: who is he that condemns you? It is Christ that died; yea, rather, that is risen again.” This is the gospel of your salvation.
HT: The Daily Spurgeon

28 December 2011

Beth Moore is Seeing Visions & Moving Mountains with Her Words

Yes, that's right, God is speaking to Beth Moore and giving her visions:

And, interestingly, that supposed vision of the "Church as Jesus sees it" includes the Roman Catholic "denomination:"

In this clip, we hear Moore teaching a little bit of positive confession as she talks about God teaching her to move mountains with her words.

HT: Apprising Ministries

Beth Moore Recommends "Jesus Calling" Book Claiming Direct Divine Revelation (Apprising Ministries)
SBC Lifeway Bible Teacher Beth Moore Praising Apostate Mystic and Contemplative Prayer (Apprising Ministries)
James MacDonald Thinks Beth Moore Studies are "Pretty Phenomenal"

27 December 2011

Is There Something of Your Father About You?

I end, then, with this searching question. It is the most profound question a man can ever face in this life and world. Is there anything special about you? I am not asking whether you are living a good, moral, upright life. I am not asking whether you say your prayers, or whether you go to church regularly. I am asking none of these things. There are people who do all that and still are not Christians. If that is all, what do ye more than others, what is there special about you? Is there anything of this special quality about you? Is there something of your Father about you? It is a fact that children sometimes do not resemble their parents very closely. People look at them and say: "Yes, there is something of his father there after all," or "I see something of the mother; not very much, but there is something." Is there just that much of God about you? That is the test. If God is your Father, somewhere or another, in some form or other, the family likeness will be there, the traces of your Parentage will inevitably appear. What is there special about you? God grant that as we examine ourselves we may discover something of the uniqueness and the separateness that not only divides us from others, but which proclaims that we are children of our Father which is in heaven.
-D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount 

26 December 2011

Saddleback Church: "God is Mad About You"

Yesterday, like many churches, pastors and individuals, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church sent out Christmas wishes on Twitter. Unfortunately, they also sent out some bad theology:

(Online Source)
That's right, God is C-R-A-Z-Y, gaga over you. It's all about you! In fact, this almost makes it sound as though Christmas is even about you! Congratulations, wretched sinner, you are awesome. With no visible disclaimer, this message presumably is for everybody, even those who have not been washed by the blood of Christ, saved by grace through faith in Him. Apparently, texts like James 4:4 don't mean a thing to this "church."
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Seeing the above tweet from Saddleback Church brought back memories of junior high, when boys and girls would express their "feelings" for one another in the manner of a carefully folded note, passed quietly in history class.

It seems that God is just passing you a note in class, because He's "mad about you." Won't you check "Yes" and tell Him that you like Him, too?

Friend, if you have not repented and placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, then you are not a friend of God. You are His enemy. All have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If not covered by the perfect blood of the spotless Lamb, we cannot stand before our holy God, for we are not righteous of ourselves.
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
And if, then, we are living lost and dead in our sins, we are at war with a holy God.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.
If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and readied his bow; (Psalm 7:11-12) 
So, either Saddleback lied, or God has lied to us in His Word. It shouldn't take too long to figure out which. But hey, anything for a warm-fuzzy tweet on Christmas Day, right?
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers. (Psalm 5:4-5)
Without Jesus Christ, you are not and cannot be reconciled to God. And so, with the Apostle Paul, I implore you, "on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

24 December 2011

Come, Let Us Adore Him

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:1-20)
On this Christmas Eve, may we all remember that the true spirit of Christmas is worship. O come, let us worship our Lord, Jesus Christ!


23 December 2011

"Code Orange" Speaker Perry Noble

Well, it's almost here. The Code Orange Revival, hosted by young, Seeker-Driven pastor Steven Furtick, is less than one month away. With this event, Furtick aspires to gather a group of leaders together in order to cause an "eruption" of God's power and movement. The speaker lineup for this volcanic event is quite extensive, so over the past weeks and months, we have been examining them one by one. In previous posts, we've looked at LifeChurch.tv visionary Craig Groeschel, prosperity preacher Jentezen Franklin, Hillsong darling Christine Caine, Joel Osteen's worship leader, Israel Houghton, seeming Word-Faith proponent Stovall Weems, and pastor Ed Young, Jr., who seemingly has his mind focused on two of the world's most favorable lusts: sex and money. Our last post examined "Bishop" T.D. Jakes. With all of the publicity Jakes has received of late, it seemed unnecessary to detail the many obvious reasons why one should be concerned that he would be included in a so-called Christian conference. In summary, we noted that Jakes is an apparent modalist, a blatant and charismatic Word-Faith and prosperity "gospel" preacher, and that he has most disgustingly eroticized the ordinance of remembering our Lord's sacrifice through the practice known as Communion. Truly we ought to be amazed that any Christian pastor would include T.D. Jakes in a speaker line-up for a conference, thereby affirming Jakes to be a man from whom Christians can learn and grow.
Today we turn to another familiar name, Perry Noble. Noble is the senior pastor of Newspring Church in South Carolina, a most prominent mega-church. Noble has rapidly become a favorite among those who shrink away from "traditional" church services. Newspring makes no qualms about its endeavors to "do church" for the "unchurched." Those visiting the Newspring website, seeking to learn more about God, would likely find themselves on the "Next Steps" page. Here one can read some facts about Jesus (Step #1), and then move straight to baptism (Step #2), commitment (Step #3, as in, commitment to a church, namely Newspring), and finally, volunteering (Step #4). Sounds awfully works-driven, doesn't it? Interestingly enough, while the initial link to the "Next Steps" page seems to exist for those wanting to know more about Christ, the Gospel is never presented! Oh yes, on the page formally titled "Salvation through Jesus," there are some wonderful, glorious truths presented about our Lord, but there is no actual Gospel presentation. There is no mention of sin, repentance, or submission of one's life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. No mention of Jesus Christ suffering the wrath of God - the punishment that we deserve - in the place of those sinners whom God has redeemed. Nowhere on that page does Newspring Church teach about the resurrection, wherein Jesus Christ defeated death, sin and Satan. The apparent message sent by this website is that  one need only believe some facts about Jesus, and then one is saved and may be baptized as evidence of that salvation. But, salvation from what? The Newspring website does not tell us. But then, when one is "doing church for the unchurched," one cannot have such offensive things as sin getting in the way of growing the numbers.

Newspring's seeker-driven methodology perhaps is most obvious in their manner of musical worship, as walking into Newspring on a Sunday morning seems to be akin to walking into a pop or rock concert. A recent example of this is when Newspring opened their church service earlier this year with their own rendition of Katy Perry's "Firework." Of course, none of the lyrics were changed, and so a song that is essentially celebrating homosexuality was brought before the perfect, holy God of the universe as "worship."

Perhaps the most well-known example of Newspring's bizarre definition of musical worship is their opening of the 2009 Easter service with AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

Many readers will remember that this song choice caused quite a stir earlier this year, as it was realized that, within just a couple of weeks, Perry Noble offered two very different explanations for his use of this song:

Upon release of this telling side-by-side comparison, James MacDonald, of Harvest Bible Chapel and Walk in the Word, quickly jumped to Noble's defense, unequivocally asserting that Perry Noble did not lie. This writer has yet to fully understand MacDonald's seeming postmodern rationale for arriving at this conclusion. Nevertheless, setting aside for one moment the issue of Noble's apparent lie; when we view the second half of the video above, when we hear the vitriol and the foul language used by a supposed man of God, how are we to react? Is this man someone that should be viewed as a shepherd? Is this man someone whom God would truly call to act as an under-shepherd, leading and teaching the precious sheep of His flock? Or is this man someone who enjoys the spotlight, who enjoys controversy, and who seeks to entertain, generate laughs, and gain numbers, both in the pews and in the offering plate?

Speaking of the offering plate, it was demonstrated in the post Which One of These is Just Like the Other? that Perry Noble, like so many of the other "Code Orange" speakers we have examined thus far, has been known to preach the infamous "tithe or your money is cursed" sermon. He even brought in to Newspring Church Robert Morris's The Blessed Life sermon series. As you may recall from the same post mentioned above, Morris seems to be one of the primary culprits of bringing this aberrant twisting of Malachi 3 into mainstream evangelicalism. Today, we have seen this taught, not just in these blatant seeker-driven churches, but also in seemingly "conservative" churches such as Harvest Bible Chapel. Truly nothing is new under the sun, mankind has always been willing to sacrifice the truth of the Word of God for a dollar.

A story coming out of Newspring Church that perhaps some are not familiar with is that of Dr. James Duncan. This man did something as innocent as questioning and criticizing Newspring Church on his personal blog, and having done so, found himself and his family embroiled in a series of threatening, hateful acts perpetrated by employees of Newspring. While I will not endeavor to recount the story here, I suggest that you visit Duncan's site and read his personal account. You can also listen to his interview with Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith. Also in this episode, you will hear Perry Noble claiming to receive direct revelation from God. So what can be concluded from this? Well, if Perry Noble is hearing directly from God, then he cannot be questioned, can he? Because to question Noble is to question God. I pray, then, that the reader sees the incredible danger of such claims! And, hearing of the story of James Duncan, ought we to be concerned about the behavior of these employees at Newspring Church? Most definitely! After all, are they not led by Perry Noble? Is not the fruit of a man's leadership quite evident in the people he leads and teaches?

Like every one of the scheduled speakers for the upcoming Code Orange Revival, this post could go on and on. I suspect, however, that many of my readers are already quite familiar with Perry Noble and have already arrived at their own personal conclusions about him and his ministry. Suffice it to say that the fruit of this man's ministry is tainted, at best. From his own behavior and language, to that of his employees, Perry Noble should be ashamed of the way he has fleeced and deceived his flock. His words to those with whom he has been entrusted are at times nothing short of abusive:

And yet, his numbers grow, people "make decisions," and I fear many are led into a false sense of assurance and security. While this writer most definitely prays that the alleged salvations that occur en masse at Newspring are true and eternal, it seems quite unlikely that true conviction of sin and salvation can occur in an environment such as has been prepared by Perry Noble. And yet, many flock to Newspring. Perhaps the best conclusion, then, is to acknowledge that the goats desire to have their ears tickled, and loud music, flashing lights, and a crude pastor all feed that carnal urge. And so while Noble entertains his flock of goats, he easily squeezes from them their money as well because, let's face it, maintaining a mega-church takes cash.

Indeed, aside from his childish antics, Perry Noble falls right in line with the theme that we have seen developing among the speakers of the Code Orange RevivalThat theme is the propagation of the heretical Word-Faith doctrine, and it ought to cause one to begin to question seriously just what kind of "eruption" is going to occur next month at the Code Orange RevivalIt's almost as if a bizarre, Word-Faith-esque clique is forming among some of these preachers. Reader, it is time that we acknowledge that this deviant teaching has effectively infiltrated America's "evangelical" church. 

The reader also would do well to remember that among Furtick's list of scheduled speakers are the "young, restless and reformed" Acts 29 pastor and Gospel Coalition council member Matt Chandler as well as fellow Gospel Coalition council member James MacDonald of Walk in the Word and Harvest Bible Chapel fame. Both of these men will also be speaking at Perry Noble's Newspring Leadership Conference in 2012. Once again we must ask, especially of MacDonald and Chandler, two supposedly conservative and reformed pastors: Why? Why would you agree time and again to share a stage and a platform with men and women who preach not just a weak gospel, but a false one? One must begin to wonder about the motivation behind your consistent appearance with the same group of dangerous, even shameful, teachers. The members of your local and extended flocks deserve an explanation from the men they no doubt trust and respect.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)
Steven Furtick's 12 Days of Revival
"Code Orange" Speaker Craig Groeschel
"Code Orange" Speaker Christine Caine
"Code Orange" Speaker Jentezen Franklin
"Code Orange" Speaker Israel Houghton
"Code Orange" Speaker Stovall Weems
"Code Orange" Speaker Ed Young, Jr.
"Code Orange" Speaker "Bishop" T.D. Jakes

This 'n' That

Well, Christmas is nearly here. Hard to believe, isn't it? And so the weekend will be spent busily trying to enjoy everything we think we need to enjoy in order to truly experience Christmas. Dear Christian, if you have been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then no amount of cookies, presents, carols or decorations will bring you the true joy of Christmas. May we thank our Lord for His gracious willingness to humble Himself in obedience to His Father so that we, an undeserving pack of sinners, may be saved from His wrath and judgment.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
On a lighter note, if you are still looking for a last minute gift for that blogger in your life, might I make a few suggestions? New beanbag chairs are always welcome (when you sit as much as we do, those cheap beans really get squished). Most of us also actually prefer Doritos (usually the spicy nacho ones) to Cheetos, so a bag of those makes a great stocking stuffer. And this T-shirt is a must for your favorite blogger. Hopefully that gives you some additional ideas to finish off your Christmas list. And as you work to check off those final details (even though you undoubtedly told yourself that this year you were not going to make a big deal out of the holiday), here's your week in review (kind of):
  • As you may recall, Rob Bell has resigned from Mars Hill Bible Church in order to move on to bigger and better things. Namely, producing television. This past Sunday, Bell delivered his final "sermon" to MHBC. You can read the transcript here.
  • Our prayers our with R.C. Sproul, Jr. and his family as his wife, Denise Sproul went to be with the Lord this past Sunday. While we weep with the family for their earthly loss, we rejoice for Denise who is now with her loving Savior! 
  • Yoga for horses. Seriously. How can anyone participate in this and keep a straight face?
  • I knew there was a reason I always liked Legos.
  • One of my favorite Christmas movies is The Nativity. You can watch the full length movie here, but I have to warn you: Santa Claus does not make an appearance.
  • The Grace to You blog has been running a great series of brief posts by John MacArthur discussing various aspects of the Christmas story. Make sure you read all of them here.
  • Don't miss Christmas:

22 December 2011

Beth Moore Recommends "Jesus Calling"

The following was written by Pastor-Teacher Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:


by Ken Silva Pastor-Teacher
The largely pretending to be Protestant evangelical community continues its pilgrimage back to the legalistic spiritual bondage of apostate Roman Catholicism and its evil author the Church of Rome.
As an online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries does what we can to document this woeful walk away from the truths recaptured during the Lord’s Reformation.
How sad He must be to see James Robison And Rick Warren Working To Reverse The Protestant Reformation. Bottom line is this: If sinful ecumenicists like Robison and Warren are right, then the Reformers were wrong.
Beyond question Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore still remains enormously popular within today’s anything goes evanjellyfish.
Not unlike charismatic megachurch pastors such as PDL Pope Rick Warren, Moore is also an SBC figure apparently receiving direct revelations from God. As I’ve been pointing out lately, this kind of thing is becoming a real problem in evangelicalism as virtually every other sentence or two out of the mouths of e.g. Rick Warren or Beth Moore is “God told me” this or “the Lord said” that to me.
The main point being, we’re finding ourselves heading right into the very type of neo-Gnosticism that so infected the theology of the Church of Rome that it would anathematize the very Gospel of Jesus Christ. This liver shiver theology, where doctrine is being decided by what someone feels God is saying rather than by what the Bible tells us God has said, has also given rise to attractional Prophet-F├╝hrers like Steven Furtick.
We’re reaching the point in the mainstream of the visible church where charismania is beginning to rule the day, which is going to lead to our having to deal with dueling revelations. Oddly enough, the Southern Baptist Convention, which seems to stand for Slowly Becoming Catholic (SBC) is said to frown upon charismatic practices; but I guess they’re okay as long as someone isn’t a Calvinist. I mean we can’t have that.
Yet aside from Warren and Moore in the SBC, for example, there’s the neo-Gnostic Henry Blackaby. His mysticism-lite Experiencing God mythology has attained near Scripture-like status within. This is another area where the SBC Idol of Autonomy comes in so handy; leaders simply hide behind it and say nothing. Some talk about how autonomy of the local church stops when proper Biblical doctrine is violated, but that’s all it is.
At this point I remind you again that the work of Beth Moore has received quite a boost from the aforementioned ecumenicist James Robison. Every Wednesday she appears on Robison’s LIFE Today—TV program in a segment entitled Wednesdays With Beth. Right now that website is “getting a makeover” so the segments are currently found at LightSource:
What is the concern here is the book that Beth Moore recommends for her followers this past Wednesday December 14, 2011:
You may also find it interesting to know that Jesus Calling (JC) by Sarah Young, which is said to be “Devotions for Every Day of the Year,” is published by Thomas Nelson publishing:
As I pointed out previously, in the case of Beth Moore and JC, this is not a matter of guilt-by-association, this is guilt-by-endorsement. Moore is absolutely recommending Sarah Young who is herself making the clear claim that she has received direct revelation from God and Jesus; though in a postmodern fashion she insists it’s really not. It kind of depends what audience she’s speaking with and the direction of the theological winds.
For example, Young tells us in her Introduction:
I began seeking God’s Presence in earnest. My days started alone with God, equipped with Bible, devotional book, prayer journal, pen, and coffee. As I waited in His Presence, God began to reveal Himself to me.[1]
You hear that type of language in charismatic and mystic circles, which are now overlapping with the spread of neo-Gnostic so-called “spiritual disciplines” of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) under the guise of supposed Spiritual Formation. However, this is a form of divination, the occult; it is the attempt to gain knowledge of God outside of the Bible, a means of grace He has prescribed as the way to come to Him.
Beth Moore is on record below including herself among those who practice the crown jewel of CSM; a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness commonly known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP):
In fact, CSM and CCP are the same practices employed by apostate Roman Catholic mystics. It’s a very dangerous thing to do because God reveals the only means by which we can legitimately come to Him; and so-called “listening” isn’t part of them. With this in mind, some time ago CBN ran Q & A with Sarah Young where she’s asked how she learned “to ‘dialogue’ with God?”
Her answer should disturb you:
My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930′s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they “listened.” About a year after I started reading this book, I began to wonder if I too could receive  messages during my times of communing with God. (Online source)
There’s nowhere in the Bible that we’re taught about waiting in God’s Presence in order to write personal messages we allegedly receive from God. The lives of the writers of inspired Scripture are not normative for the Christian. In fact, this all begins to sound like what’s known as occultic automatic writing; and yet, Young still tells us “this little paperback became a treasure to me.”[2]
However, these two women listeners tell us they were personally receiving direct revelations from God Himself to instruct them, unlike us mere mortals who go to Scripture:
with my friend a very wonderful thing happened.  From the first, beautiful messages were given to her from the Lord Himself, and every day from then these messages have never failed us.
We felt all unworthy and overwhelmed by the wonder of it, and could hardly realize that we were being taught, trained and encouraged day by day by Him personally, when millions of souls who are  far worthier, had to be content with guidance from the Bible, sermons, their Churches, books and other sources.[3]
As you can plainly see, they do claim divine inspiration for their writings; and like her listening mentors, so does Sarah Young. CBN asks her how “awkward was it initially to begin a ‘dialogue” with God?” Young replies:
It felt a little awkward the first time I tried it, but I did receive a short message… at that point my journaling changed from monologue to dialogue. Day by day, messages began to flow more freely. This new way of communicating with God became the high point of my day.
(Online source)
Now she realizes she’s describing divine inspiration for her messages so Young tries to add this caveat, “I knew that my writings were not inspired (as only Scripture is).” But she can’t have it both ways; when God speaks, it is Scripture. Or are we supposed to believe He also speaks non-authoritatively. Here the following from my friend Dr. Gary Gilley will prove helpful when he tells us people like Sarah Young:
would claim that while they believe that God speaks to His people apart from the Bible today, that these revelations are not on par with Scripture. That is, God speaks today but not with the same authority as He did in His Word. So do not accuse us of adding to Scripture, they would say.
Interestingly enough, this brings up another issue. We find in the Bible that God did speak, either orally (including through His prophets) or through the written Word, but in both ways — always,His Word is authoritative. It was nothing less than a word from God — one that must be obeyed and heeded! (Online source, emphasis his)
Like I said before, that supposedly conservative Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore would recommend her readers buy this book by Sarah Young ought to be cause for serious concern about her discernment. In his review of Jesus Calling Tim Challies now gets to the heart of the matter concerning this kind of neo-Gnosticism of these supposedly superior listeners:
As I have spoken to others about the book, I’ve heard some people say that this book is written as if Jesus is speaking to the reader. But it’s important to know that Young makes a far more audacious claim—this is Jesus speaking, through her. The messages he has given her, she now passes on to us.
This is a very good time to pause and consider this claim. Sarah is claiming some kind of new revelation from God. She is saying that God speaks to her and that she then passes these messages to others. Immediately we need to ask what she believes about the Bible. Is she claiming that these messages are equal to Scripture? That they trump Scripture?…
Young begins to share those words of God as daily devotionals, saying “I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. The more difficult my life circumstances, the more I need these encouraging directives from my Creator.”
James Montgomery Boice once said that the real battle in our times would not be the inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture, but its sufficiency—are we going to rely on the Bible or will we continually long for other revelation? In Jesus Calling we see this so clearly. Young teaches that though the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it is insufficient. It was not enough for her and, implicitly, she teaches that it cannot be enough for us…
Jesus Calling is, in its own way, a very dangerous book. Though the theology is largely sound enough, my great concern is that it teaches that hearing words directly from Jesus and then sharing these words with others is the normal Christian experience. In fact, it elevates this experience over all others. And this is a dangerous precedent to set. I see no reason that I would ever recommend this book. (Online source)
Again, quite obviously, Beth Moore does not agree with this sound Biblical position expressed by Tim Challies.
End notes:
[1] Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Location 658).
[2] Ibid.