Archive for August 29th, 2007

Have you ever read or heard of some of the great revivals, where the Spirit of God so moved upon His people that all concern about anything else ceased and the body of Christ sought the face of Christ as one? Whole towns were transformed by God’s power and repentance spread through the church like wildfire. Secret sins were exposed, marriages were healed, worship became life, and the world was transfixed at the demonstration of the Spirit as it moved through God’s people.

Some of the most pronounced sinners would come unexpectedly into a church service and were brought to their knees before the preacher could even begin the message. Entire congregations would sink before the pews and cry out unashamedly for God to cleanse them and save them from hell. Work places would close on weekdays as the owners met the Living Christ, and people would actually run to the church house. Lights would burn in the windows of houses as entire families would be crying out to God led by the husband who was a drunk just a week ago.

Prayer meetings were observed every night and the taverns were closed many times for good. Diminutive preachers with very little speaking skills would be so anointed of the Spirit that in the middle of the seemingly insignificant sermon the pastor of that church and his wife would stand and loudly confess they had grown cold on God and they were begging Him for a fresh awakening in their own lives. It was not uncommon for strangers to enter the city and see people on their faces in the park, confessing their sins and interceding for entire towns, and without knowing why they were drawn to go join them, some who would not be saved until that night. The percentages of young people who were called into the minitry skyrocketed to God’s glory!

In one of the revivals in Wales the Spirit of God so transformed the coal miners that when they descended into the mines, and when they commanded the little ponies to pull the wagons, the ponies would not even move. It wasn’t until later they discovered that the ponies did not recognize those commands because of the absence of swear words. On rare occasions a violent man would come to do the preacher harm and be struck dead in front of the congregation which led to wholesale conversions.

Do you not thirst for God to move among us today in that fashion? Do you ever get tired of the fighting and bickering among us and do you not long to experience a flood of God Spirit that will strip us of us? What would the newspapers report if they saw the body of Christ consumed with prayer, consumed with the Word, consumed with repentance, consumed with worship and shining the love of Christ in their lives and on their lips? And what would the worldly media think when they saw such a surrender, such a love, and such power that was manifested in the church that services were held nightly and the place was packed? Revival, oh yes, revival. The greatest hindrance to revival is not sin or unbelief, and it isn’t worldliness or hedonism, and it isn’t even prayerlessness or complacency. The greatest hindrance to revival is that the church doesn’t even realize we need it more than we need the breath we breathe. Watch this video and let God speak to your heart.

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Arrrrrrr!  There be other watchdawggies afloat!Recently, we seem to have come back to the topic of watchblogging and “discernment” (quotes intentional), which reminded me of an article published early this year in which one watchblog took on the “seamy underbelly” of ‘discernment’ ministries. This seems like an appropriate time for a reposting of this article, available only here on CRN.Info:

There is a campaign of destruction underway in the church. There are lies being passed off as truth; there is slander and gossip and the carnage that is being caused is causing long-term harm to the cause of the Gospel of Christ. No, I’m not talking about attacks from emergent church followers or outraged Purpose Driven disciples. I’m talking about the seamy underbelly of what goes on in the name of “discernment ministry.” I have been in ministry since 1988 and I can say with confidence that the enemy of Jesus Christ has to do very little. The church is really, really good at destroying itself.

This post is prompted by an ongoing attack against the American Family Association by several in the “discernment” community. These attacks have also been against me and Christian Worldview Network’s Brannon Howse. The squalor of the dealings that have taken place would rival that of anything you would find in a secular workplace and it saddens me to say that. I have been repeatedly told that these issues should stay behind the scenes for the “sake of Christ”. However, those who say this are the same ones who are publicly picking fights with Christian brothers and sisters in the same line of work and using their columns and websites to attack them. This is the reason for my post. I give to you just two recent examples of how some in the “discernment realm” work.

Example One: I recently featured a very articulate guest on contemplative spirituality on the Crosstalk Show. The show went beautifully and much information was given out in warning to the church. Within a short time, however, the guest received a hostile letter from Paul Proctor, berating her for being on my radio program. He even further challenged her as to how she could let me link to the work at Herescope.com. What mattered not at all to Mr. Proctor was the fact that solid information went out to thousands of people on 87 radio stations because of the guest’s work. What mattered was that the guest had dared to be on MY radio program. Paul Proctor was convinced that he had the right to bully guests I featured on Crosstalk because he believes I am compromised. The guest then received contacts from two others in the discernment realm, friends of Proctor’s, regarding her being on my radio program.

Another example: Bud Press of the Christian Research Service website informed Rev. Ken Silva that if he didn’t stop writing for Slice of Laodicea, (because we were compromised), he would remove his links from his site. Ken refused to be bullied and strong-armed into seeing things Bud’s way and Bud removed his links.

What was it about me that had made me so repugnant that Paul Proctor and Bud Press would bully others to stay away from me? Answer: I write for Brannon Howse and the Christian Worldview Network, as does Pastor Bob DeWaay, Mark Cahill, Dwayna Litz, Jan Markell and a host of other excellent Christian writers who care about biblical truth. Because Paul Proctor, Deborah Dombrowski and Bud Press don’t agree with Brannon because, as Proctor sneeringly puts it in his latest column, he is a “dear friend” of Tim Wildmon at AFA, I am tainted goods to be avoided at all costs. There was an attempt a few months ago to get as many discernment writers as possible to drop off Brannon’s site through an old fashioned tool—peer pressure. Paul Proctor resigned from Brannon’s site and copied a number of us in on his resignation letter. When I, Bob DeWaay, Jan Markell and a number of others refused to stop publishing the truth on emergent, etc. on Brannon’s site, Paul Proctor and friends were most unhappy. Which leads us to the shameful state of events today.

What is most disturbing in this case is the gossip and false information that has been carried by these “discernment” folks. One researcher who sought to reconcile with me and who apologized for helping to spread false information was warned ahead of time to “be careful” if he talked to me. Brannon Howse was labeled a dangerous “change agent”, and I was accused of being an adherent to “replacement theology”, despite numerous radio shows on Israel and its importance to the end times. This gossip and slander continues unabated at this hour. Worse still, these individuals are publishing columns and links to columns, like the one on Lighthouse Trails, blasting Tim Wildmon for “promoting” contemplative. These people have been harassing Tim Wildmon for months, demanding that he conduct his decency organization like their own “discernment” ministries. They have deliberately sought to find what evil they can on the American Family Association secular online bookstore link that they use for the sale of their own books. The only people finding New Age and contemplative books on Wildmon’s site are the ones spending their time looking for them: Bud Press, Deborah Dombrowski and Paul Proctor.

This is the closest thing to a nasty personal vendetta, couched in pious language, I have seen recently. Paul Proctor’s language isn’t all that pious, actually, as he calls Tim Wildmon a hypocrite and derisively refers to his friendship with Brannon in his latest column. Paul Proctor and Bud Press are not in a position of authority to demand that Tim Wildmon carry out his organization’s work according to Bud and Paul’s own standards. We answer to the Lord for our own ministries, not Bud and Paul. Further, the outrageous and threatening behavior of Bud toward Ken Silva in trying to force him to stop writing for Slice is evidence that something is clearly out of control in these men’s minds and hearts. Likewise, Paul Proctor’s troubling of a guest who appeared on my show is way over the top. That is mafioso behavior, not the behavior of a brother in Christ.

At one time I linked to research sites like Christian Research Service and Lighthouse Trails. I felt that the truth on false teaching and error was most important to get out. Things have reached a point, however, where it is plain that the false teaching entering the church isn’t the most important thing that needs addressing. This situation has been simmering underground for months. With Paul Proctor, Deborah Dombrowski and Bud Press’s latest attack on Tim Wildmon today, it has erupted into the face of the Christian public.

Is Christianity just a matter of holding right positions, or should it impact how we relate to each other as believers? Are the commands of Scripture telling us to be tender-hearted and forgiving of one another less important than the verses about heresy and false teaching? Is gossip and slander okay if it is conducted by those knee deep in research on contemplative spirituality? If some New Agers have more personal peace and treat people more kindly than born-again Christians, doesn’t it say something about the content of our hearts? We can rant and rave about contemplative spirituality, meditation, breath prayers and yoga until we’re blue in the face, but if we can’t reconcile with fellow believers who believe the same things and would prefer to publicly find fault and attack them because they don’t do everything the way we do, we have nothing to share with the world. We become frauds.

The public attacks on Tim Wildmon and American Family Association need to stop. The gossip and slander against me, Brannon Howse and Tim Wildmon need to stop. It is because of Brannon Howse’s encouragement that Tim Wildmon has allowed countless programs on purpose driven error and emerging church issues to air on his large network of Christian stations. It is because of Brannon Howse that the truth on these same issues is reaching untold thousands who would otherwise never hear about these matters. I know, because I get the emails from people who read my columns, some of which had never heard of contemplative spirituality, etc. before encountering columns on Christian Worldview Network.

When soldiers begin to turn and shoot their own, combat fatigue has set in. No general would long keep soldiers like this in the field. Speaking from my own experience, combat fatigue is a huge menace in this job. I have had to cut back because of my own dangerous level of fatigue recently. How long the Lord will keep any of us in the field if these issues are not resolved, is questionable. Like the church at Ephesus in the book of Revelation, we can become very good at discerning error from truth, but when we’ve lost our first love for the Lord Jesus, it starts showing in our relationships. The Lord’s words warn us that he will put our lampstands out completely if we don’t repent. It’s a wake up call for all of us involved in putting out this information.

While I’m not in complete concert with this writer, I have to agree with them on many of the statements made in this heartfelt article.

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Slice’s latest missive is a hysterical, huffy piece about Rob Bell preaching in front of an unmade bed. Here’s the bit to focus on:

Rob Bell preached on the same subject with an unmade bed behind him on the “stage”. How long until the bed will be occupied? I predict it won’t be long until this kind of sensuality goes even father. To keep a buzz going, you simply have to continue to provide ever more titillating offerings. After all, if God gave us sexuality, what would be wrong with celebrating it in a “Christian” setting? Or so they will claim. You were warned.

This is a continuing theme and, I guess argument from from the watchdoggies, a prediction of apocalyptic theological terror sweeping through the whole of Christendom. I’m sort of curious how accurate these guys actually are. Any chance our lovely commenters would like to scour the watchdoggies’ site to catalog these predictions?

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We challenge you to write a post criticizing Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, Rob Bell, Billy Graham, or any one of your usual targets without calling anyone a heretic, apostate, or a fornicator with evil. Try to make your point about what you view as the demise of the Evangelical Church without referring to it as a “spiritual whorehouse,” “mystic murky mess,” or any of your other mean-spirited alliterations.

 To quote Mr. Aikman at the end of his CT article:

“Christians should be an example. By all means criticize fellow Christians if necessary, but do so with grace.”

In so doing, we will show the world a “gentleness, modesty and wisdom” that just might bring some grace and savor to our crumbling civilization.

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From Wikipedia
Although some emergent thinkers such as Brian McLaren and many Evangelical scholars such as D. A. Carson use “emerging” and “emergent” as synonyms, a large number of participants in the emerging church movement maintain a distinction between them. “Emergent” is sometimes more closely associated with Emergent Village. Those participants in the movement who assert this distinction believe “emergents” and “emergent village” to be a part of the emerging church movement but prefer to use the term “emerging church” to refer to the movement as a whole while using the term “emergent” in a more limited way, referring to Brian McLaren and emergentvillage. Many of those within the emerging church movement who do not closely identify with emergentvillage tend to avoid that organization’s interest in radical theological reformulation and focus more on new ways of “doing church” and expressing their spirituality. Mark Driscoll, an early leader associated with the emerging church conversation, now distances himself from the “emergent thread.” In a short video clip, he summarizes some of his concerns. Some observers consider the “emergent stream” to be one major part within the larger emerging church movement. This may be attributed to the stronger voice of the ‘emergent’ stream found in the US which contrasts the more subtle and diverse development of the movement in the UK, Australia and New Zealand over a longer period of time. As a result of the above factors, the use of correct vocabulary to describe a given participant in this movement can occasionally be awkward, confusing, or controversial.

In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake. — Mark Driscoll

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