The Tragedy of Apostasy

First, you might be asking, “What is apostasy?” For the Church or the Believer in Jesus Christ, apostasy is basically the falling away from the truth; willing rejection of the truth of God which a person once believed.

My previous post talked about influence and that who is influencing each of us matters as well as who is influencing those people matters. On one hand the Believer should realize that the apostasy of the Church (this isn’t talking about the Catholic church, this is in regard to the NT Church) is made known to us in scripture (Matthew 24:10-12) yet so many don’t recognize it or speak up to expose it. (It is happening now and it is happening fast!) Why? I believe it is because we don’t want to offend the other party and that is the tragedy of apostasy. Believer’s today would rather ignore or tolerate false teaching and keep “the peace” or for the sake of “unity” or to keep from losing a friendship, business opportunities, ministry opportunities, or even to keep from losing popularity with the masses. This. Is. Tragic. Influence is a huge part of it. Beth Moore is probably a really good person apart from her now progressive theology, but the fact remains her doctrine, her theology is no longer Biblically sound – how did she get there? Influence. Who is influencing her? Well, look at who she follows on social media and you will find numerous Emerging/Progressive Christians.

Who do you follow on social media? Why do you follow them? Most likely you follow the people you do because you are a “fan” of what they do…music, movies, Christian leader/teacher etc., or you agree with their thinking and/or theology/doctrine. Have you ever looked at who those Christian teachers are following? You should. It is very eye opening! If who you are following are following and being influenced by others who are not Biblically sound, that is going to trickle down to you at some point. Would you recognize it? Would you even care?

Recently I received a message from Creo Collective a group of Emerging “Missional” pastors and leaders within the EFCA (I wrote some about this in my post Just Like Tempering Eggs), this message was to persuade me that it is not Emergent. I had already done enough research to know that isn’t really the case. Who they follow online also shows that they are aligned with the Emerging Missional Movement. Here is a quick list: Ed Stetzer, Scot McKnight, Alan Hirsch (look at who he follows and you will find the Pope, other EMC including apostates Rob Bell and Brian McLaren), Brad Brisco, Dan Kimball, Reggie McNeal, Erwin McManus, Brennan Manning, Jen Hatmaker, Eugene Petersen, Richard Rohr, Caesar Kalinowski (will find him following EMC and progresives like Brandon Hatmaker), Hugh Halter (you will find him following Jen and Brandon Hatmaker, Rachel Held Evans-LGTBQ advocate/ Christian, Gungor – progressive musician, Rob Bell an apostate, other EMC people) Andy Stanley, Matt Chandler, Jeff Vanderstelt… What’s my point? This is a short list of who Creo follows online – it is a list of EMC leaders, contemplative spiritualists, and even progressive Christians (social justice, LGTBQ advocates). Then if you look at who these people follow, it isn’t really encouraging. Another thing you find among this group and those they follow, is ecumenicism – basically anyone who labels themselves a “Christian” is a brother/sister in Christ….um, this is not Biblical. Because in this list you have Jen Hatmaker, and she and her husband have rejected God’s Word regarding homosexuality and are actually apostates of the Christian faith. (Isaiah 5:20) We are to separate ourselves from such people, not embrace them (1 Cor. 5:11). In this group you will find the embracing of the Catholic faith (not a Christian faith based on Biblical doctrine) … all because of unity, tolerance and everyone is made in the image of God etc. One of the main markers of the Emerging Missional (coined by Brian McLaren) is less importance on doctrine or the sound teaching of it and heightened focus on relationships with people and good works, another marker is having conversations rather than share the gospel, another is ecumenicism/universalism (unity of ALL faiths), another is social justice (which is basically Marxism and not Biblical). Creo Collective and the EFCA are very much connected to the EMC and Progressive Christian movements, and they aren’t alone so is the Southern Baptist Convention, the Wesleyan Church, Presbyterian etc. How can pastors and leaders be influenced by such people and maintain sound Biblical teaching? They can’t. Whoever is influencing them, is shaping what they think and believe about ministry, life, society, and God’s Word (1 Cor. 15:33) In these denominations, there are handfuls of pastors who are rejecting these things, but they are the minority and that is tragic.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

The NT Church is falling away at warp speed! I believe the reason why is that there are no longer clear lines as to what is really Biblical Christianity and what is not. If you look at what is happening in society right now, we are seeing scripture leap off its pages, and the Bible says that when these things happen, there will be a great falling away of the Elect…that’s the Church. We have allowed so much unsound teaching into the Church through influence and now the Church is conditioned to it. If our spiritual mentors have taken a turn towards a ditch of false teaching, we need to call them out on it and if they don’t listen, we need to separate from them, but most of us don’t. Why? Most likely we don’t want to admit that the people that have had an impact on our spiritual journey have managed to jump the track into something that is no longer Biblically sound. A year ago or close to it when the Lord started me looking into Caesar Kalinowski, it opened a box of people who I had enjoyed learning from that I would need to step away from (Look into one false teacher and your search will naturally take you into a circle of others who teach the same) – if we missed something that showed the move to an unbiblical direction, we repent, separate from them and warn others about them. The tragedy of apostasy is the Church today would rather appeal to the feelings of men rather than stand for the truth of God’s Word. That’s it. StraightUp!

Just Like Tempering Eggs

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

In July 2019, I watched some video training by a guy on Facebook that was shared by one of my pastors. I quickly saw some things that really were not inline with scripture. As I began to look a bit closer into him and those who he is connected with in ministry, as well as those who endorse his books, I found a line leading right into the Emerging Missional Church Movement. As I continued looking into these people, I eventually stumbled onto a connection of this in the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America).

In my looking into these people and others connected with them, I came across a couple of articles about the EFCA and contemplative spirituality on the Lighthouse Trails website from 2013 and 2014, but nothing more current, so in February of this year I sent a Letter to the Editor sharing with them what I was finding and asked them what they were seeing more currently, so below is my letter, their response and a comment that was left by an E-Free pastor. I have prayed about what to do with this information for weeks, and as I continue to have conversations with people and their concerns about false teaching and just things that are not biblically sound happening in their churches or churches of people known to them, I believe it is time to share this.

ME:

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I know you have posted some things regarding the EFCA back in 2013-2014 and contemplative spirituality, but I haven’t seen anything more current so I thought I would share some things with you that I see. As a member (Technically) of an EFCA church, I accidentally stumbled across some things that, if correct, should be concerning to anyone who is attached to the EFCA.

So, as you probably know, in June 2019, the EFCA removed “premillennial” [belief in a thousand year reign of Christ after the tribulation] from their SOF and replaced it with “glorious return.” I wondered why, and this past Fall, I found the answer. There is a Vimeo video online of the President of the EFCA sharing why he wanted people to vote yes to the language change from premillennial to glorious return. What was his reason? A group of young pastors who wanted to credential under the EFCA but they couldn’t say they agreed with the premillennial view. I could be wrong, but that sounds like compromise. On June 19, 2019, the amendment was approved.

Then, in a search about the “Emerging Missional” movement, a blog post showed up on the EFCA website titled “Understanding the Missional Church” dated May 2012. The EFCA is going in the direction of the Missional Church movement or at least part of it is. Inside the EFCA is a grass roots group of pastors and leaders who desire to live and be “missional”*— that group is known as Creo Collective. Now, might this be the group of pastors who weren’t sure they could agree with the “premillennial” view? You have to Google Creo Collective (www.creocollective.org) to find them as they don’t just show up on the EFCA website.

I should mention that it is my understanding that not all EFCA pastors agree with the direction the EFCA is headed (however, that is not the case in our local church). From what I can tell, this movement is actually a part of the Emerging Church or at least it would appear that way. Why? Well, in 2018 Creo Collective trained EFCA pastors and leaders on the APEST model as taught by Alan Hirsch and his book Forgotten Ways. Alan Hirsch, as I believe you know, is an emerging church leader, and he is endorsed by many other EMC leaders. When you look at people Hirsch quotes, they are not people most Christians would be quoting. He tends to quote contemplative spiritualists, social-justice teachers, progressives, Catholic priests, etc. When I looked on the Creo Collective FB page for 2020, the first thing that comes up for training (coaching) is spiritual formation and later in the schedule is more training (coaching) on the APEST.

What’s my concern? Is the EFCA in fact lining up with the Emerging Church movement? What do you at Lighthouse Trails see happening?

Watching, C.J.

The following is the response from those at Lighthouse Trails. Their comments are used with permission and may not be used without their verbal or written consent.

LT:

“We agree that there are some EFCA leaders and pastors who are not promoting or embracing emergent church teachings or heading in that direction. However, we also share your concerns about EFCA as a whole and about their present leadership and direction. What we were observing in 2013 and 2014 regarding the EFCA has now borne its emergent “fruit.” As you can see in this 2011 recommend resources list, EFCA had made the decision to go down the contemplative mystical path. And now today, as you have pointed out, partly through EFCA groups like Creo Collective, they have followed the “natural” course that contemplative leads to—emergent, “progressive,” social justice; and based on what has happened to so many other denominations, we predict it will only get worse for the EFCA. Once a group starts down the contemplative path, only a determined and committed effort and desire to stop will keep that group from going full-blown emergent, socialist, and ultimately anti-Gospel.

While EFCA doctrines of belief statements still adhere to biblical principles, there are definite indications they are compromsing in order to keep everyone happy. We must remember that doctrines of belief statements are not enough to show an accurate gauge to how biblically healthy a denomination is. What must also be looked at are the various movements, recommendations, groups, pastors, churches, and offshoots of a denomination because those are what give a far more accurate glimpse into the future of that denomination. Creo Collective, plus the EFCA connections to emergent leaders such as Alan Hirsch are two examples of where EFCA is going.

One of several examples we saw of EFCA’s apparent compromising in order to keep everyone happy is a statement made about Replacement Theology** where they make allowance within their denominational structure to accept it or reject it. And coupled with their recent vote to remove the word “premillennial” (a word that would generally include Israel’s role in the last days scenario), our concerns that EFCA is indeed becoming emergent are only heightened.

*Missional: Replacing the term missions; it strives to improve society through social justice. De-emphasizes evangelism to the lost. Emphasizes being relevant and connected to the culture.”

The following is a comment left by an E-Free pastor after my letter was posted on Lighthouse Trails website, again I was given permission to use his comment. This is not a pastor I personally know nor is he from my state or district.

“As a Pastor of a EV Free Church I can tell you that you are correct that there has been a massive turn towards Emergent Spirituality within the EFCA. I have labored to warn leadership at our District and National levels concerning the dangers of Spiritual Formation, Contemplative Spirituality and their Social Gospel leanings. All of those efforts fell on deaf ears. Our District leadership has invited Emergent Speakers for district leadership meetings and they have endorsed such heretical mystics as St John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. Our little church will not be embracing any of that. We are going to stick with the Bible and the simple gospel message of the cross. We are not interested in the latest church buzzwords and business models. We are definitely in a time of Apostasy and I am thankful for Lighthouse Trails, the Berean Call, and men and women such as Dave Hunt, Warren Smith, Ray Yungen, Caryl Matrisciana, Trevor Baker and others who have had the courage to stand for the Lord in these last hours. My prayer is that the church would wake up and cast off the works of darkness! Our prayers are with you! Endure dear saints, the Lord is coming soon!”

Over the past few months I have talked with two other E-Free pastors who confirm the concerns expressed in this post.

So, why do I post this? Because people need to know. We are in serious times in society and in the Church. As I have prayed as to whether the Lord would even want me to put this out there, He kept bringing to mind the process of tempering eggs. I love to make Creme Brulee, and when you do that, you have to temper the eggs with the hot cream little at a time. What I got from the Lord in His bringing this to mind, is this, deception comes into the Church a little at a time just like adding a little hot cream mixture to the eggs a little at a time so the eggs adjust to the change that is taking place and eventually you can just mix the rest of the cream in without worrying about messing up the eggs. That is the same thing with deception coming into the church, it comes a little at a time, tempering you so that you are conditioned to the change that is taking place, by the time people realize what is happening they will already actively be supporting and living in a Christianity that is no longer about a biblical gospel, a biblical Jesus, or even a true biblical Christianity. This post isn’t just for those connected to the EFCA it is for any Believer in Jesus Christ who is seeing some things that appear to be out of line of Biblical Christianity – it is time for the Church to wake up! That’s it. StraightUp!

A New Kind of Christianity – What?

Have you heard this? Maybe you have heard something like one of these – “A new way of being Christian”, “Reinventing the Church”, or “Re-Imaging Christianity”. You might be saying yes or you might be shaking your head no and thinking what?! These are statements you will hear from “evangelical Christians” (Those who are connected to the Emerging “Missional” Church movement) who think that the Church needs to change in order to be more relevant to today’s society and culture, but actually, it is all a bunch of false gibberish, ideas, philosophies, concepts and methods that are not biblically sound. There is only one way to be a Christian (through repentance and a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), that doesn’t change and the Word of God doesn’t change because God doesn’t change. (Hebrews 13:8) the Word of God and the Gospel are just as relevant today as they have ever been- that will NOT change! Whether a society accepts God’s Word as absolute Truth or not, the fact remains that it IS!

So, what does something like “A new way of being Christian” mean? Well, it means being a culturally friendly Christian. It means softening the Gospel so you don’t have to feel weird or sacrifice a friendship because you shared the Gospel and someone got offended, so now you have one less friend. What does this soft gospel look like? The Story of God (A summary of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation). Sorry but this is NOT the biblical Gospel! Jesus never commanded the disciples or us to go share the “Story of God” – Jesus never shared the Story of God. Jesus told people, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near.” When we soften the Gospel so that we don’t offend people, we are denying who Christ really is and what He really did on the Cross. The Word of God tells us, that if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. (Matthew 10:33) Think about that! Jesus will DENY you before His Father if you deny Him before men- that should scare the milk duds out of you! The only thing that is relevant in any culture at any time is the Word of God and the biblical Gospel, Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Repent and call on the name of Jesus and you will be saved – that’s it.

One such person who promotes The Story of God in his book The Gospel Primer is Caesar Kalinowski. Now there are many things with this guys overall “doctrine” that should raise flags, but for now I am going to focus on this book. It is not biblically sound. Just the concept of learning and telling the story of God over the pure biblical Gospel is not biblical. This book, which I have read through, has a few things that should send up red flags, as if any more are needed beyond the obvious. Personally, this book sounds like nothing more than conditioning. It is all about getting you, the Christian, to second guess what you believe and to get you to rethink what and how you should be sharing the “gospel” – Pg. 65 He writes, “But if we want to tell our stories in ways that others who have not learned this UNUSUAL DIALECT will relate to and connect with, we need to RETRAIN ourselves to proclaim the gospel using language that communicates good news in words that the listener will understand.” Um, NO!!! Sharing the Gospel as demonstrated in scripture is NOT hard to understand, it is offensive!(1 Cor.1:18) … and we can’t have that now can we? (that is sarcasm) We do not get to change that! The Gospel is not meant to make people feel good or even happy. There is a cost to following Jesus.

On another page 1.1 he writes “In a nutshell, we can sum it up this way: The gospel is that God himself has come to rescue and renew creation in and through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Why does creation (which includes you and me) need rescuing? Because of sin. There is a huge problem in this, this is kingdom now theology and it is not biblical. Jesus did not live, die and resurrect to rescue and renew creation, Jesus died and rose again to redeem HUMANITY from SEPARATION from God because of SIN. This planet we live on is His provision to sustain His creation (you, me and every other human) but He did not shed His blood to save the earth. In this same section, he writes, “In order to effectively equip our missional community to be “fluent” in the gospel (he isn’t talking about the biblical gospel), we will need to create a culture where it is normal to speak the gospel to each other regularly, naturally.” This is conditioning! If you hear something enough and do it enough, you can convince yourself it is right. This is not! Then there is the whole concept of being “missional” the main concept of the Emerging Church. No where in scripture are we told to be incarnational or missional. They are not biblical concepts. They are however, the idea of people who think they have figured out a better way to be Christian. This book is published by Missio Publishing, a publisher for emerging and progressive Christians like Brandon Hatmaker. The editor of this book is Hugh Halter (check out his FB page) who is also an Emerging Missional Church leader who is endorsed by Brian McLaren another Emerging Missional guy (Google him or even find him on YouTube…this guy is NOT a Christian). The Word of God says we are to have NOTHING to do with false teachers. Caesar is surrounded by them. That’s it. StraightUp!