Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

Monthly Archives: June 2016

As we discussed in last month’s article, the church has moved away from all forms and exercises of Biblical discernment and righteous judgment. Therefore, it should not surprise us to see that, from the outside, the modern “church” appears to be a super-kind and loving place where no one is ever criticized and where all variance of opinion can be accepted through friendly dialogue. Happy church-goers rest in fleshly affirmations from their leaders, as these leaders receive all their creative ideas, philosophies, and sciences, throwing them all into one big melting pot. Yet, in this all-encompassing and seemingly tolerant witches’ brew of spiritual heresy, there are overlying goals and plans to which all members are blindly conforming. In fact, as we will see, Christians are being specially bred to further these goals. Through leadership training, primarily designed for church growth, the church has embarked upon this new spiritual breeding project. By sporting slogans, such as “every believer a leader,” we have recently seen a widespread movement in the church world to incorporate programs like “mentoring,” “discipling,” “fathering,” “shepherding,” “coaching,” etc. In each of these, we find that believers are quickly taught to obey leaders, slyly grabbing hold of their obedience to the Holy Spirit. This is why Biblical discernment does not seem to be necessary to believers in such churches. Why would believers be concerned with correct doctrine when they are being trained like foot soldiers? It is not the soldier’s job to worry about the ideologies behind the war; he simply executes the streamlined protocols of his commanding officers. But what is even more chilling is that not only does this leadership training give someone bodily governance over others in his church, it actually causes a spiritual change in him as well.

MAD SCIENTISTS?

It seems as though mad scientists have entered the church today. We hear them speaking of “spiritual DNA” which must be spread through believers and multiplied in their churches. There is a kind of religious eugenics plan taking place in which the next evolutionary advancement depends on having the right DNA. This special breeding process, which occurs through principles of leadership, often begins within small groups, frequently called “cells.” Rick Warren gives us a great example with his “Purpose-Driven DNA.” In an on-line article explaining which churches should receive “Purpose Driven Health Awards,” Warren states, “They form small groups on purpose: Purpose Driven DNA is implanted in every cell (group) of the congregation. Each small group helps the members fulfill each of the five purposes in their lives. The goal is to help every believer live a purpose driven life.” The DNA implementation process is basically the same in all churches; it is just that particular churches have particular brands such as “purpose-driven,” “G-12,” etc. The process closely resembles a multi-level marketing pyramid and may go something like this: “Identify, select and ‘mentor’ a core group of young men… Send out these core leaders in designated directions, like arrows shot into the culture… Assist them in ‘replicating their DNA’ by creating downline networked systems of transitioning churches that follow their particular rendition of the overall model… Now let’s suppose that there were four major directions that the core group leadership of Emergent/emerging took as they were sent out. Each stream would only differ on the externals and nonessentials, but the main agenda would still be emergent transformation.” The plan is to entirely transform the Christian Church!

One ministry purports: “When the people of God begin to realize that the purpose of Jesus on the earth was to birth a new breed of people who would carry the DNA of God within them and bring heaven to earth daily, we will begin to live with purpose. When the people of God begin to realize their identity as the very offspring of God and that as He is right now, so are we in this world, the church will begin to shake the nations with the power of God.” Some have even tried to say that this model began with Jesus and His Disciples: “This follows the model of Jesus and his disciples, or Paul and the men he mentored during the days recorded in Acts. Those men went deep into relationships to make a radical change in their identities and their spiritual DNA.” The idea is that God used “deep relationship” to make “radical change in their identities” is blasphemous. It is Faith in Christ alone which can change the heart of man. Furthermore, we readily find that small group relationships are actually a control tactic used in cults and secret societies. This is precisely where new “spiritual DNA” may be implanted to exert a spiritual control upon a person. In fact, the entire cell multiplication system is motivated by a cult-like spirit! Unfortunately, this only produces a phony Christian who tries to sell Christianity rather than preach the Gospel. Social psychology uses the term “social cohesion,” which has shown that people who see their group as exclusive and meet in relaxed settings become more loyal to one another. Members are, then, more likely to listen to each other and reach compromise when critical decisions are made.

THE NEW APOSTOLIC BREED

Thus, a new apostolic breed is coming, and make no mistake about it, anyone who fails to accept the new DNA will quickly be shunned from this elite “Christian” clique and uncover the stinging wrath which lies in wait within what otherwise seem to be extremely loving leaders. In fact, the idea has already been suggested that those who do not have the right DNA must be eliminated due to their “reptilian brain!” Doesn’t this sound a whole lot more like Darwinian atheists than preachers? And who are some of the gurus at the top of this unholy pyramid? Headed by Bob Buford, the Leadership Network has played a key role in building and training a generation of “pastoral” leaders. Not surprisingly, Buford himself had a mentor, a businessman named Peter Drucker. It also should not surprise us that these principles actually originated outside the church, and Drucker’s philosophies are particularly scary. Having been influenced by esoteric German philosophy during the 1800s, his ideas are actually the same ones that gave rise to the totalitarian governments of the Twentieth Century, which were utilitarian in nature, designed to manage people on earth. These governments required humans to perform under an oppressive system of accountability. Therefore, the Leadership Network spread, not Biblical principles, but Nazi-like disciplines. “…like leaven, the thoughts and ideas of Drucker have permeated throughout the evangelical world. Buford’s role has been to add sugar to the starter, making sure that the leaven could rapidly fill the whole lump.”

THE LEADERSHIP NETWORK

The Leadership Network is also connected with what is called the New Apostolic Reformation, headed by C. Peter Wagner. In a 1999 publication of the Leadership Network called Next, Wagner wrote an article entitled, “Another New Wineskin… The New Apostolic Reformation.” Connected with the New Apostolic Reformation we find more big wigs like Bill Hybels, Robert Schuller, and Rick Warren. Smaller congregations across the country model their own churches after the “successful” churches of these men. In his book, Churchquake: How the New Apostolic Reformation is Shaking up the Church as we Know It, Wagner identifies both Hybels and Warren as New Apostolic pastors. Wagner even oversaw Rick Warren’s doctrinal thesis at Fuller Theological Seminary, which later became his first book, The Purpose-Driven Church. Actually, Robert Schuller, who has been influenced by many New Age teachers as he promoted ideas like “positive thinking” and “unlimited human potential,” has played a large role in Warren’s, Hybels’, and Wagner’s lives. A September 8, 1989 “Christianity Today” showed a picture of Hybels with Dr. Robert Schuller and C. Peter Wagner at Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. And, Schuller’s influence upon Rick Warren has been so obvious, Warren has been accused by plagiary. It is a fact that Warren did attend many of Schuller’s pastoral training courses before his own ministry took off.

MENTORING

Starting with the term “mentor,” let’s look at the original origins of some of these leadership terms and practices. Like Buford’s leadership principles, “mentoring” first became popular in today’s New Age business world. Over the past 25 years, business gurus and leadership training workshops have endorsed mentoring principles to build their businesses. Mentoring has spread throughout all aspects of society including the corporate world, education, social work, community clubs, various religions, etc., and somehow it has even become an integral part of pop culture, just as hip as personalized cyberspaces and café lattes. So, of course, worldly-minded “pastors” had to have a piece of this universally appealing pie to help grow their congregations. A movement known as Promise Keepers played a large role in this. True Biblical discipling means to teach the Word of God so that a person may grow in his personal relationship with Christ. But, mentoring brings forth the idea of role modeling so that others may imitate certain behaviors, attitudes, characteristics, etc. It has been said that “imitation is the highest form of flattery”, so it is obvious that this system idolizes men while taking the focus away from Jesus and His Word. The Church was not meant to be a place for cloning and copying one another. It is a place for entirely new creations in Christ to be grown and nurtured in the Ways of the Lord. Nonetheless, Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox (Issue #286) included several links to secular websites which give tons of helpful hints for the advancement of mentoring programs. Apparently, the modern church needs advice from the secular business world, since mentoring is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

SPIRIT GUIDE

Today “mentor” generally refers to a title or position. A mentor has the position of guiding or instructing another. However, in times past, “Mentor” was used as an actual name, both the name of a man and the name of a spirit! Yes, a channeled demonic spirit! An entranced medium may allow a “state possession” by “an invisible operator” also called a “guide” to “deliver direct or relayed messages.” So in the occult world, “mentor”< clearly denotes the idea of a “spirit guide,” often accessed through demonic possession. Seeing that mentorship is widely used from the occult to the modern commercial enterprises, there is clearly something captivating about the concept. So, the question must be asked: just exactly what spirit or spirits is the modern church passing down to the next generation? A famous psychic medium named Stainton Moses was “the charge [ channeler, ed.] of an organized band of 49 spirits” who asserted “that a missionary effort to uplift the human race was being made in the spirit realms.” “Mentor,” in fact, was said to be the name of one of these 49 spirits. Remember, Adolf Hitler also had a plan to “uplift” the human race and produce a special breed of men; he wanted to spawn a supreme Arian race. Now, if a man does indeed pass-on or “impart” (another leadership buzzword to watch out for) a spirit to another man it is not the Holy Spirit, but another spirit. This includes all thoughts of passing on one’s own spirit, a spiritual gift, a spiritual anointing, or in worst case scenario, a disembodied spirit which may temporarily possess a man.

IMPARTATION

“Impartation” can be defined as the transmission of information or communication by means of transmitted signals. The spiritual impartation used in churches today follows this exactly thought, but the information transferred is spiritual in nature. One pastor of a cell-group oriented church recently told his congregation: “Today, I want to talk about what it means to be spiritually reproducing yourself or to multiply the Christ in you over into another person… spiritual reproduction is the impartation and transfer of one’s own values and skills to another person or generation.” But, neither the Holy Spirit nor any part of the Holy Spirit can be passed from one person to another. The Holy Spirit is a Person Himself: He is God. HE does not separate and distribute Himself through humanity. Any Work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life can only be generated through that individual’s Faith in Christ and Him Crucified. In this way alone can the person of Christ live within a man. Any other “life” imparted is dead while it lives; it is demonic.

GREEK MYTHOLOGY

Concerning his name as a human personality, Mentor was actually a character in Greek mythology. When he left for the Trojan War, Odysseus left Mentor to protect and teach his son, Telemachus. The first recorded modern use of the term in 1699, comes from a book entitled, “Les Adventures de Telemaque”, by French mystic, religious writer and educator, Francois Fenelon. Here is a quote from page 136 in this book: “Oh happy Telemachus! You will never be bewildered as I have been bewildered as I have been bewildered, while you have such a guide and instructor! Mentor, you are the master!” Interestingly, the Bible warns of the philosophy and wisdom of the Greeks. Perhaps the biggest problem here is the simple fact that a person may learn to rely on a mentor rather than Christ. Sure, the mentor will often claim that he points to Christ, but when the student has a question, who does he run to first – his mentor or Jesus? Slowly but surely, a mentor can become a living idol, an all-knowing spiritual advisor and trusted friend. Even after a mentor dies, one could find himself seeking his mentor’s advice as he, perhaps even subconsciously, invokes his mentor’s spirit to comfort and counsel him along life’s perplexing path. “‘I’ve long since ceased trying to determine what thoughts are mine and which come from Peter,’ says Mr. Buford…” The Devil’s tricks are often very subtle. Jesus is the trusted Friend and Counselor you need. Satan will try to substitute many in His place.

“The best of them is a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of your watchmen and your visitation comes; now shall be their perplexity. Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lies in your bosom. For the son dishonours the father, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me” (Mic. 7:4-7).

“…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).

 

~F. Swaggart

 “That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There has not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man” (Judg. 16:17).

Samson’s remarkable strength came as a direct result of his consecration to the Lord.  The term “Nazarite” comes from the Hebrew word “nazir” meaning “consecrated” or “separated.”  The Nazarite Vow required a man or woman not to cut one’s hair, to abstain from the fruit of the vine (wine), and not to touch a dead body (as death portrayed the Fall of man, while the Nazarite was to epitomize Life).  In such, the Lord made it clear how important separation from the world would be for those He would use in the Works and Callings of His Kingdom.  John the Baptist was also a Nazarite:  “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Lk. 1:15).

Samson kept the Nazarite Vow until he found a part of the world upon which he began to set his affections.  His love for Delilah (Delilah being a type of the world) caused Samson to relinquish his Vow of Separation to God.  The cutting of his hair was the outward sign of his heart’s betrayal.  As a result, he lost his strength!  The Philistines overtook him; they even took his sight.  This should be a tremendous lesson to Believers today.  The Lord views affection toward the world as spiritual adultery committed against Him.  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I Jn. 2:15).  Under the New Covenant, however, Believers do not need to take the Nazarite Vow, because we rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit to separate and distinguish us from the world.

SEPARATION

Separation is an inherent part of the very purpose of the Church, her purpose being the proclamation of the Gospel!  It is a vital part of our witness/our testimony to demonstrate that we have been Saved and changed!  One renowned preacher, G. Campbell Morgan, said, “. . . the Church of God needs to remember that fellowship with God necessitates separation from all who fail to fulfill the responsibilities of fellowship in light or in love.”  The Lord requires separateness of Believers over and over again in the Scriptures – in both the Old and New Testaments.  “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Cor. 6:17).  And notice this particular verse is speaking of separation from the apostate church as well.  Just as there is no fellowship with the world, there is no fellowship with a backslidden church.  Regarding what he referred to as “secondary separation,” Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have preached God’s truth, so far as I know it, and I have not been ashamed of its peculiarities.  That I might not stultify my testimony, I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith and even from those who associate with them.” [1]

SATAN

So, why is it so important to the Lord to have His People remain separate and distinct from the world?  Why does this give the Lord glory?  Because this present world is actually ruled by Satan.  Since the Fall, Satan has been able to influence man in all his actions and endeavors, so the ways of unredeemed man actually reflect the will of the enemy, not the Lord’s.  One pastor recently asked, “Is there any Scriptural directive calling us to renovate the Land of the Lost into a facade of faith so that it will appear to be Christian owned and operated when our Lord returns, even though it is clearly stated four times in Scripture that Satan is the ‘prince of this world’?”[2]  You see, Biblical separation is separation from Satan and from the antichrist system he is presently establishing.  Christians are considered foreigners in an evil kingdom, which is why it is so important for the Child of God to develop discernment as he grows.  “But strong meat belongs to them who are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).  Satan will even disguise his followers as professing Believers to cause confusion.  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I Jn. 4:1).

THE WAY OUT

God allows His people to remain in Satan’s territory for one purpose — to show others the Way out!  This is the only reason we remain on Earth after we are Saved, so we must remain “in” it without being “of ” it!  “No man who wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who has chosen him to be a soldier” (II Tim. 2:4).  Of course, the Devil is not pleased with our inhabitance, and he will try everything in his power to pull us back into fellowship with his fellows!  He even offered Christ the kingdoms of this Earth:  “And the Devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the Devil said unto Him, All this power will I give You, and the glory of them:  for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.  If You therefore will worship me, all shall be Yours.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind Me, Satan:  for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Lk. 4:5-8).

WEAK?

It is also interesting to note that during the time of Samson, men with long hair were viewed as weak, yet it was one of the requirements of the Nazarite Vow.  Certainly it was a humbling position to be in, but it actually spoke volumes regarding the Source of Samson’s strength.  It gave God the glory.  It is the same today.  Separation may put a Believer in a position of weakness in the eyes of the world.  For instance, a particular Believer may refuse to partner in business with a nonbeliever, possibly lessening his/her potential to make a greater financial income.  But, it is just such a Believer whom the Lord delights in strengthening and supplying by His Power!  It is when a man humbles himself to the guiding of the Spirit that the Lord may use him the most mightily!  “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor. 12:10).  Likewise, the Church as a whole is always strengthened when she remains separate.  Again, this is God’s way of demonstrating His Own Strength!  When the Church intermingles with the world and/or takes on the methods and ways of the world, the Lord is not glorified as He should be.  The Work Jesus did at Calvary is distinct and exclusive, and Faith in it always begins to distinguish you from the world.  If you deny this separation, you deny the Cross!

UNITY?

Yet, this is the precise sin of the modern church.  The modern church is preaching unity rather than separation!  Preachers today seem to think there is “strength in numbers,” but this is a false strength that will ultimately break down in the face of adversity.  It is the Lord’s Power Alone that can defeat the enemy’s schemes, which is why Satan constantly tries to get the Church to look for strength in anything other than Christ and Him Crucified!  Believers must understand that the Lord wants His Church to be different!  But, the modern church strives to appeal to, work with, and unify with the world and/or other apostate churches.  Remember what happened when Samson chose to love Delilah in this manner?  She eventually caused him to betray his First Love.  But nonetheless, the modern church has invented a new “Do-Good Gospel.”  In other words, they say in “doing-good” together and “loving” one another despite our differences, people will begin to “experience” God on an individual basis.  While it is true that “good works” can produce a spiritual “experience,” the spirit felt is not necessarily the Lord.  Rather “good works” produce a religious spirit (when done apart from proper Faith).  This is quite disturbing because churches quickly fill up with religious people rather than Saved people.  People who are simply religious cannot tell the difference in true and false doctrine, so their criteria for knowing about the Lord becomes “experience.”  Some Protestants have even converted back to Roman Catholicism simply because of the spiritual “experiences” they have had with mystic Catholic rituals, no matter that these are completely unbiblical and ungodly.  The Emergent Church is one of the greatest promoters of this road back to Rome as they emphasize and promote unbiblical spiritual attractions such as prayer stations, statues, incense, liturgy, candles, icons, and the sacraments including the Eucharist.

UNEQUALLY YOKED?

Another way the Lord admonishes Believers to remain separate is by requiring us not to be unequally yoked.  “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has Righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? (II Cor. 6:14).  The yoke is quite a powerful symbol in Scripture!  It referred to the cattle yoke which bound animals to a plow so that they can work in unison.  Old Testament law forbade even an ox and donkey to plow together (Deut. 22:10).  The yoke was also used figuratively to refer to bondage and the burden born by slaves (Ex. 6:6-7; I Tim. 6:1).  Jesus would later tell us, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Mat. 11:30).  When a person is Saved, he has a newfound yoke with Jesus which has freed him from all the enslaving yokes of the enemy.  So, while it is perfectly fine for Christians to participate in society, they should not join in common cause with it.  Christ cannot be joined to a fallen world.  Those who walk by Faith can never walk with those who walk by the flesh and self-will. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).  God even forbade Israel from making international alliances for defensive and economic purposes — even though the practice was common among other nations (Ex. 23:32; Josh. 23:12).  The primary reason for this was spiritual, seeing that treaty relationships would involve contact with pagan religions and, thereby, call for toleration of pagan practices.  This is exactly what happened when Solomon got involved in international alliances.  When Jehoshaphat made a trade alliance with Israel’s wicked king, Ahaziah, a prophet came to him and announced, “. . . Because you have joined yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has broken your works . . .”
(II Chron. 20:37).[3]

ALLIANCES

Sadly, these are just the types of alliances that are going on in the modern church.  Pastors like Rick Warren are teaming-up with globalist/communist leaders to work toward common goals, but all this is really a guise for the Antichrist to bring about his one-world order.  “Rick Warren was invited by the U.N. and accepted, to come to the U.N. Interfaith Prayer Meeting which was attended by leaders of Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism and every other faith.  Since most of these religions don’t believe in Christ, it is clear this was not a Christian prayer meeting but was a guise to have a globalist political conference.  The U.N. believes that religions must be pacified and brought into its fold in order to have world peace.  The U.N.’s plan is to synthesize all religions into one, and Rick Warren seems to be the point man to facilitate this.  That is why Rick Warren said, ‘The man of peace can even be a Moslem.’” [4]   False preachers try to impose a guilt trip on Christians if they will not sacrifice their personal needs for the needs of the community.  But, remember the word “communism” actually comes from the word “community,” and ultimately the church will lose her freedom to a religious dictatorship if she refuses to remain separate from the governmental affairs of this world.  This country has stood on the principle of the separation of church and state for a reason!

SEPARATION NOT ISOLATION

The point should also be made that in the Church some have confused the idea of separation with isolation.  For instance, we have seen monks and/or nuns of many religions isolate themselves throughout history, but this is not what God meant by separation.  Jesus ate with sinners without compromising.  “Actually, Jesus contemplated that His people would have such intercourse with the world, and that in it they would do goodBut in none of this is there to be any compromise of principle; in none to be any yielding to the opinions and practices that are contrary to the Word of GodAs we have already stated, if we isolate ourselves, we cannot let our light shine. . . .  As well, separation’ must be that which is guided and directed by the Holy Spirit and not legalism.”  “Nevertheless, having said that, one can be certain that the Holy Spirit is not going to place a seal of approval upon that which is obviously wrong.”5If the Holy Spirit is telling you to separate and be different in any area of your life, do it!  Even if other professing Believers do not, you must obey for yourself, because what you are sensing is actually the beginnings of an eternal separation.  Remember, only the Lord knows who is truly Saved and who is not.  God’s Word tells us that “the wheat and the tares” will reside together, but that the Lord will separate them in the end (Mat., Chpt. 13).  So Believer, rejoice and obey the Lord, because what you are sensing is simply His Spirit beginning this work in the hearts of those who are truly His!  You are wheat, and it is your destiny to be separate from the tares!

 

~J. Swaggart Ministries