IT'S TIME FOR CHRISTIAN LEADERS TO TEST FALSE TEACHERS
By Marsha West
August 28, 2011
I’ve written several articles voicing concern over the Christian Right (CR) uniting with leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) for the purpose of fighting the culture war. Other Christian bloggers are concerned as well and have been asking valid questions, such as why the CR chooses to involve themselves with these fringe groups. As of this date we’re still in the dark. So I’ll toss out the question again: Why do Christian leaders, pastors, and luminaries choose to unite with what Jesus referred to as “ravenous wolves”?
In my article series The Religious Right uniting with Religious Renegades I expressed alarm over some or our Christian leader’s decision to attend Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response: A call to prayer. Many evangelicals were distressed that respected leaders would be standing shoulder to shoulder with folks who are associated with fringe groups such as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the International House of Prayer (IHOP) and the Word of Faith (WoF). These groups hold many of the same unbiblical beliefs such as “positive confession.”
"'Positive Confession', a movement that came to popular acclaim through supposedly good fruit such as healing, has revealed its true nature as something more like a cult, with extremes of belief that bring the Name of the Lord into disrepute. The roots of Word of Faith doctrine are firmly planted in the soil of the metaphysical cults." (Cross + Word, 1997)
For several weeks before The Response many CR leaders who weren’t on board with the rally warned their brothers and sisters who were endorsing it that if they went to Perry’s prayer rally they’d be joining forces with false teachers and heretics. But their warnings went unheeded by many. A case in point would seem to be Joel Rosenberg.
On August 5, Joel posted his reasons for attending The Response (here). He later posted a glowing report of his experience (here). From where I stand it appears he chose to shut his ears to friends and fans that urged him not to lend his good name to an event that included IHOP-Kansas City on the leadership team. Here’s what Joel wrote on his blog:
“The Response” was no ordinary prayer meeting. Personally, I’ve never been to anything like it, and I was blessed by every minute of it. There were no political speeches. No entrance fees. No offering. No fund-raising appeal. No merchandise sold. No light show. No entertainment of any kind. This was simply seven straight hours of prayer and fasting, heartfelt contrition and repentance, Bible reading from the Book of Joel and many other Scriptures, and wonderful worship – both modern praise songs and beloved hymns — with every generation represented along with so many races and ethnic backgrounds. Let’s do more of this.
About those who urged him not to participate he said:
Some evangelicals were critical of “The Response.” They urged people not to attend because they have serious and fundamental theological differences with some of those involved in the event. A few emailed me and urged me not to participate. I heard those concerns and I have strong disagreements with some of the participants, too. But the truth is the vast majority of organizers and participants of this prayer meeting were theologically, morally and ethically solid evangelical, Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ. They included some trusted friends and allies that I have worked with over the years like Dr. James Dobson and Shirley Dobson, Vonette Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Pastor Greg Matte of Houston’s First Baptist, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, among others. Such men and women see the grave crises facing our country. They believe and faithfully teach that the Bible offers the only answers. Together with the governor of an important state, they called the country to pray based on the Scriptures. And many — including the media — paid attention.
Three things. (1) A large number of organizers and endorsers were NAR/IHOP leaders. (2) Bible believing follower of Jesus Christ Tony Perkins has partnered with the NAR in the past (see links below). Tony knows how dangerous these groups are so why does he continue to partner with them? (3) The AFA sponsored and organized the rally so most likely Bible believing follower of Jesus Christ Don Wildmon chose the leadership team. Don knew well in advance that some were apostate IHOP-KC leaders. Is Wildmon (and other Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ in AFA’s leadership) so results oriented that it doesn’t matter to them who they unite with as long as they get the results they want? Another question for AFA is: Do some of its leaders share the NAR’s unbiblical Dominionist beliefs?
Last year Joel Rosenberg was invited to speak at the 2010 Break Forth Canada Conference and promoted the conference positively on his blog. He shared a platform with those in the contemplative/emerging/new spirituality camp including New Age sympathizer and Emergent guru Leonard Sweet and universalist William P. Young. When people wrote to voice their distress over his involvement in the conference, here’s how Joel responded:
The reason I am attending is because it is the largest Christian conference in Canada (some 15,000 are expected to attend), I believe the Holy Spirit wanted me to accept the invitation, and I’m not ready to concede such ground to those who are peddling false teaching. I’ve been asked to come and teach the Word of God and preach the gospel and that’s what I intend to do. I can’t explain why Young, for example, was invited. But why cede the entire stage to him? Moreover, at this critical juncture, I hope to explain why the God of the Bible loves Israel so much and why He wants us to help mobilize a global movement of true believers to stand with Israel while so much of the rest of the world turns against her. Thanks for your concerns. I would appreciate your prayers. God bless you. (Online source)
Holy Spirit wanted him to accept the invitation? That doesn’t seem very
likely in light of what the Bible says:
Please understand that I’m not picking on Joel Rosenberg. To be fair, he’s not alone. Many Christians share a platform with men and women they have theological differences with. I’ve singled Joel out because the reasons he gave for doing it don’t really stand up. It stands to reason that if he’s invited to “teach and preach the gospel” the other speakers are invited for the same reason. At the Canada conference attendees were exposed to Sweet’s and Young’s heresy! Moreover, they were exposed to a false gospel.
In a previous article I pointed out that some of The Response organizers and participants were also involved in the May Day 2010: A cry to God for a Nation in Distress put on by NAR “prophet” Cindy Jacobs of General’s International. James Dobson promoted the event and recorded an audio message encouraging people to attend. Several CR leaders who attended both prayer rallies have been guests on Mormon Glenn Beck’s radio and TV broadcast. Glenn’s guests have included Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, mega church Pastor Jim Garlow, David Barton of Wall Builders, televangelist James Robison (he didn’t attend The Response), even Joel Rosenberg. Rev. John Hagee was one of the only pastors to pray solo at The Response. Hagee chose Glenn Beck as a keynote speaker for “A Night to Honor Israel.” CR leader Gary Bauer, President of Our American Values and a board member of Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, also spoke. For readers who are unfamiliar with Rev. Hagee, he’s the founder and pastor of San Antonio-based Cornerstone Church which is one of America’s largest WoF churches (prosperity gospel, name it and claim it). According to G. Richard Fisher, Hagee is a false teacher:
[C]areful evaluation of the teachings of Hagee…reveals false teaching and a defective view of a basic and essential issue regarding salvation and the Gospel. Hagee preaches another way of salvation for the Jew, which is in direct violation of Paul’s warnings in Galatians 1:6-9. (Online source)
Some of you are probably thinking, “Hagee’s books line the shelves of Christian bookstores and sell like hotcakes so he must be a solid Christian.”
It ain’t necessarily so:
“How a book sells is not an indication of its merit. The American public has a seemingly bottomless appetite for nonsense, as evidenced by the countless tomes about astrology, aliens from outer space, quack diets, and UFOs that have regularly graced best-seller lists over the years. Some books that sold millions have later been exposed as hoaxes. A slot on the best-seller list tells you exactly one thing about a book: that a lot of people bought it.” (Online source)
The point I’m making is that even discerning Christians are finding it difficult to ferret out true believers from those that have a very different agenda.
I have one final question for CR leaders: Do you not know that:
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 9-11) (Bold mine)
The NAR’s aberrant doctrines and beliefs are causing division in the Church. In Romans 16:17-18, Paul writes,
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (See also Philippians 3:17-19).
CR leaders must be obedient to God’s Word and stop uniting with those who are deceiving the hearts of the simple and do as Paul says: Mark them!
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from a 1988 message given by the late Dr. Walter Martin Warning of the Word Faith Movement’s teaching to the church:
Jesus said there will come men who will speak claiming their authority is from me…There will come men who will speak in my Name. That is, I am supposedly saying this to you – that’s a very important phrase! They are going to come and say I'm speaking to you in my Name, they will work miracles in my Name, they will cast out devils…they will prophesy and preach. But when I meet them I will say, leave me, I never knew you, workers of iniquity!
Why? Because they use His authority and His Name because the power was in Jesus’ Name, or in Jesus' authority, not in them. And God honored the Name of His Son. And they took that as a means of teaching their own false doctrines and false prophecies and because of that they corrupted the faith of the church. But inwardly, spiritually, they really roooaaar! And if you don't know fleece from fur, you’re dinner, dumb dumb. And the only way you can know fleece from fur is to know how to test them. And you don't test them by Walter Martin or by Norman Geisler, as good as the apologist and defenders of Christianity might be and as much as you trust them. You don't test them by other people. You test them by Scripture. Then if your fidelity is the Scripture, and your allegiance is the Scripture, you reject them! But, says Paul, in the last days men are going to be drawn away by false teachers and prophets in the Church speaking in the Name of Jesus and you’re not going to test them. You’re going to go along with them. And they’re gonna fragment and divide the Church because you won’t test them. Well, it’s about time we test them. (Note: For clarity I took the liberty of making a few changes. The original quote is on Let Us Reason Ministries.)
Apostolic Reformation article links—On Solid Rock Resources
The Devil's Algebra (False teaching and the real Gospel of Jesus Christ)—Jacob
Prasch, Morial Ministries
© 2011 Marsha West
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