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A Charge Is More Than A Command - 2 Timothy 4:1-5

" Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; …" 2nd Thessalonians 2:3

Satan hates the Bible and wants people to stop reading it, speaking it, preaching it and proclaiming it.

Written by: the Dial-a-prayer.com webmaster
Have you noticed many pastors these days preaching a lot out of the Word of God? I haven't! Instead, many churches are asking people to come every week, fill a pew, get some coffee, donuts and enjoy themselves. Not expect anything major from God's word. What happened to learning what the Bible has to say?
Recommended link for pastors: The Responsibilities Of A Good Shepherd

Two weeks ago, I sat through a service where a pastor preached, at most, 5% of his sermon from the Bible. What Bible teaching there was comprised of simply reading 2-3 verses and a quick "if you want to accept Jesus" invitation the very last 20 seconds of the "sermon." I don't remember if they said "and come back next week" but that's usually all that's expected of those that attend church these days.

Golf's three ugliest words: still your shot. — Dave Marr
Two days ago, I sat through a sermon that was about 40% on the Bible. Largely, a selection of Bible verses which allowed the pastor to merge on and off scripture like an off ramp on a highway. When merging off he would tell his own ideas, personal stories and what he's read in psychology books sometimes in the same breath as when he spoke from scripture. It wasn't a bad sermon if you compare it to others around the nation, but it fell short of what the Bible says a Pastor should do. The sermon also didn't inspire many, if any, to study their Bible or do anything throughout the week. I wanted to tell the Pastor, "still your shot" after it was all over.

...It is now standard practice among core evangelicals to borrow psychology and methodology from the world. Some think they can simply add human insights to Scripture and thus baptize worldly wisdom to make it "Christian."
Ashamed of the Gospel, page 110


I've also sat through sermons the last year from other pastors. Let me give some details on a semi large church, somewhat beautiful, paid for, no debt. This General Baptist church has a pastor who talked rapidly and endlessly, standing immediately in front of the first pew with a small portable lectern to hold his notes rather than speaking from the raised stage. The first couple of years at his new job, he had a habit of walking around the room various times while preaching. Literally walking up and down every aisle to the back of the room, even to the doors, while he kept talking to around 200-250 in attendance. Thankfully he didn't go out to the bathroom while preaching. He used Bible quotes and things that sounded spiritual and from the Bible, but I couldn't follow his message most of the time even with his 3-5 point outline. Offsite Link: Four Disjointed Points is not a Sermon This General Baptist pastor's sermons came across to me like paragraphs that didn't seem to fit into the same sermon. We figured out that while he preached from the Bible, he was avoiding things he and the church leaders didn't want to cover. For example: This pastor and church leaders NEVER mentioned prophecy and NEVER told people how to go to heaven. In fact the pastor once stated publically, on a Sunday morning just before a service, that he would NEVER have an alter call. Until now, I've never met a pastor that took pride in never telling people how to go to heaven.
Former members, of this church, came up to me in restaurants and missionary meetings and advised me this church is run by one large family. The people that came up to me said they were happy going to another church now. We don't attend there now either. Another former member told me that members of the church leadership once went out to California and came back all excited about what they learned at Saddleback. This, General Baptist, church uses wording from Saddleback in their membership covenants (which we refused to agree to. The coveneant wording basically says that the member agrees to do everything the church leadership tells them to do and nobody will complain to them nor say anything against their decisions.
Here's a good article by Paul Proctor on Warren and Hybels pushing covenants: CHURCH MEMBERSHIP COVENANTS
Jesus said to But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:37 . Other scripture tells us to not make such a covenant regardless of whatever renegade church leaders put together to control people)

Let me tell you about another pastor at another church I'll refer to as Pastor Food. Pastor Food spent a great deal of time, during his sermons, talking about food, laughing, making comments and small jokes, talking about getting out of service on time to eat, sticking in some Bible teaching here and there and telling lots and lots of stories from when he or his family were on mission trips and other personal stories. I'm not against food, or stories from time to time, but let's focuson the Bible, for Paul said "preach the Word."

An update on Pastor Food. The Sunday morning after Thanksgiving 2010 (the last time we attended), he announced that he didn't have much of a sermon but to come back later that night for a good one. His morning sermon didn't touch much on the Bible at all. Instead, he spoke a lot about food, personal stories, healing stories etc. They did pray for the sick that morning, which a lot of churches fail to do, and they have a good, yet overly repetitive and extremely loud, song service.

"There are so many ... personal anecdotes that the hearer knows the pastor better than she knows Christ"
quote from Douglas D. Webster, Selling Jesus: What's Wrong
with Marketing the Church Page 83-84,
also quoted in Ashamed of the Gospel page 121.

I'm not saying that these pastors fail to preach some Scripture, I'm saying they don't do enough or do it well week after week according to what Paul CHARGED them to do in 2 Timothy 4 and other parts of scripture.

Now I come to what the Bible says to pastor's of churches. The title of this article comes from a quote from the Liberty Bible Commentary, starting on page 2515, on the II Timothy 4:1-5 passage.:

~2 Tim 4:1~ ...A charge is more than a command for a charge carries with it the moral obligation to be carried out.......

~2 Tim 4:2~ . Preach the word. This means to herald as the emperor's herald gave a formal message in an authoritative way. Be consistent, he says, always at it. ...

~2 Tim 4:3~ . The time will come and most believe it is here today. Itching ears will be "tickled" by preachers who do not preach the Bible. Many pastors bow to the wishes of ungodly congregations who only want to hear what pleases them.

~2 Tim 4:4~ . Turn away (Gr apostrpho) is in the Greek active voice and has the idea of deliberate action by themselves. Shall be turned (Gr ektrepo) means they are acted upon; it is a medical term meaning "to twist out of place."

~2 Tim 4:5~ But, in contrast to these, Timothy is to watch, which has the idea of being sober and alert. Endure afflictions. Satan doesn't play games. He puts up a fight. The preacher must not get discouraged and run. Do the work of an evangelist. Every pastor must evangelize, he must be a soul-winner. He cannot simply pray and preach. He cannot expect his people to witness if he doesn't. He must preach "BE ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor 11:1). To make full proof of his ministry the pastor must be faithful in all above admonitions.

Please listen to the podcast below from FightingFortheFaith.com, it explains a lot! AMAZING audio start to finish!


Recommended Reading:

How the Church growth movement drives the Gospel out of Churches. By: Bob Dewaay (offsite link: Critical Issues Commentary cicministry.org)

Note: I don't trust everything by John MacArthur, I think he gives a lot of good info at times then other times he exposes himself as a false teacher. That's how things are done to slip something bad in with the good. That said, I will strongly recommend quite a bit of his book: Ashamed of the Gospel: When The Church Becomes Like the World by: John F. MacArthur. Published 1993
Find this book at the library, bookstore or online and read at least the first 20 pages of it.

Note: While this book is great in talking about the marketing of the church and a historical account of destruction where preachers failed to follow God's plan in states such as New York, I want to mention that the author goes off for about 10 pages talking about Calvinism Pre-destination doctrine which may be incorrectly presented from scripture. Another pastor's sermon effectively deals with pre-destination which is worth a listen: (mp3 offsite link) LWF.org Sermon You Can Be Sure, Adrian Rogers and in another sermon (mp3 offsite link) LWF.org sermon Predestined to Hell? Absolutely Not! Adrian Rogers


The Willow Creek Dilemma: Why Our Association With Them Is Wrong By Chris Carmichael (offsite link inplainsite.org)

The People’s Church, Willow Creek, and the Church Growth Movement (offsite link) by Paul Proctor

"One of the most damning aspects of Willow Creek and the whole Church Growth Movement is the hypocrisy that makes up its very foundation and operation. Having its members sign covenants, (which is expressly forbidden by Holy Scripture), saying they will not criticize or complain about the church or its leadership is not just socialism ("tyranny with a smile"), but a coup de tat of the church and its Divine mission."

"The bottom line is this; Willow Creek is a showboat, sold as a Christian cruise that in time will be remembered as another Titanic."

Treason in the Church: Trading Truth for a "Social Gospel"

DAN SOUTHERLAND AND CULT-LIKE HOSTILE TAKEOVER TACTICS OF PURPOSE-DRIVEN/SEEKER-DRIVEN CHURCH TRANSITIONING(Please listen to the excellent mp3 link on this offsite link page from fightingforthefaith.com)

" ...in the book of Acts we don't have the church changing their service to make it seeker driven for the Romans."

Offsite link: Purpose Drivel: How We Got Purpose Driven From Our Church

Offsite Link: Willow Creek Heresy Comes Down Under
"In a nutshell . . It's all about preaching another gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:14 - Galatians 1:6)"

The following are great quotes from Paul Proctor's Article: WILLOW CREEK
HEGELIAN DIALECTIC & THE NEW WORLD ORDER

read offsite link full of information: www.inplainsite.org:
Rick Warren’s Strange Bedfellows

Mfairlady: Willow Creek Community Church: Space For Transformation?

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

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"I thank you for your sharing this information. I had to leave the Baptist church I was attending because they brought in the Seeker Driven Purpose Driven Rick Apostate Warren's Globalism..."

 

2 Timothy 4
I CHARGE thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom. Preach the word....But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (kjv)


6/28/2010 Update: The pastor that preached only 5% of his sermon on the Bible three weeks ago, preached about 40% from the Bible yesterday.
Stats: He preached 30 minutes. The first 9-10 minutes, didn't mention anything from the Bible whatsoever. The next 10 minutes a little over half, next 10 minutes about the same.


"We simply need to get back to preaching the truth and planting the seed. If we're faithful in that, the soil God has prepared will bear fruit." (pages 85,86)

"Paul ... You don't see him counseling Timothy or Titus to bone up on secular culture, learn to quote the classics or study philosophy... He simply commanded them to preach the Word, in season and out of season -- and to be prepared to face the world's hostility if they were faithful in that task."
Page 150 Ashamed of the Gospel


7/6/2010 update:
July 4th Sunday the pastor preached roughly 15%, of his time, from the Gospel. The pastor's most memorable lines were talking about a church that had their pastor's mud wrestle (I guess to bring up attendance) and entertained the idea of doing the same at the church. (A wrestling event was mentioned on page 69 of 'Ashamed of the Gospel: When The Church Becomes Like the World by'
John MacArthur, published in 1993)
I left a short note in his church mailbox, which was stamped with his name and LEAD PASTOR. My note saying 2 Timothy 4 and Ashamed of the Gospel are things that should be on his reading list this week along with my name and phone number.

His July 4th stats: On stage roughly 35 minutes, first half 0% from the Bible. The last half around 30% toward preaching any Christian message at all.

"There have been only a couple
cases where churches were brought back from the brink of Purpose Driven destruction. .... These pastors are so deluded by their man-made “vision” that they rebel against the vision God gave to all churches in the Bible."
How the Church growth movement drives the Gospel out of Churches. By: Bob Dewaay (offsite link: Critical Issues Commentary cicministry.org)


7/12/2010 Update
The senior pastor preached again. About 40% of the sermon was from the Bible. Starting out with a portion of an interview with Jack Welch former CEO of GE, being interviewed for the WillowCreek Leadership Summit he also mentioned Hugh Hefner and a basketball player in the news this month. The sermon started out by bringing in worldly knowledge concerning who should manage a church. During the course of the 25-30 minute sermon, the pastor very rapidly read sections or paraphrased sections of the Bible to a low lit sanctuary few could read in. He rightly, but awkwardly, presented the Bible's answer to what Jack Welch said, which is, God will often use those that others wouldn't think are worthwhile. Those that Jack Welch would fire or pass over entirely, might be what God would use to do great things. The pastor mentioned how much he loves Bill Hybels pastor of Willow Creek community church in Chicago. However, you can read what others have said about Bill Hybels at www.DeceptionInTheChurch.com

The pastor surely doesn't understand who Hybels really is and what he is doing. For example, one can view an eye opening expose on the band U2, and it's lead singer Bono at theater.goodfight.org Bill Hybels asked Bono to speak at his leadership conference a couple years ago. According to the video at goodfight.org, Bono has denied Christ and is into demons, he even proudly pranced around the stage with demon horns when he portrayed his demon persona Mephisto.


Now that the pastor is using inspiration for his sermons from Jack Welch and Bill Hybels, I wonder when a "6Sigma" program in the church will be started. Or if he'll talk "tollgates" in sermons or force people to move to a different position every 3 years. Just like Jack Welch did when he was CEO of GE.
In my opinion, regardless of whether the sermon was salvaged at the end with an actual message from the Bible, I think it could have been better preached from the Bible itself, not through outside sources. I don't understand why he encourages everyone to attend the Willow Creek Leadership Summit since he himself criticized one of the main speakers as giving good business advice but unsound Biblical advice on how to run a church or ministry.

The pastor should listen to the sermon: Learning to Share Jesus (offsite mp3 link Adrian Rogers)

"Why should he discuss philosophy or human insight? Those things have nothing to offer. But Jesus Christ--the crucified, risen and redeeming Savior--offers the only true hope for the world. The faithful preacher--indeed, every true disciple--must uphold Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world as the only way, the only truth, and the only true life (cf John 14:6) If we try to win them with entertainment, or clever arguments, or scholastic credentials, or worldly wisdom, we will fail, and we will ultimately mislead them."
Ashamed of the Gospel pages 116-117


July 16th, 2010
I was reminded this week that my own mother, who had taught Sunday School to 4 and 5 year old children for nearly 40 years total and 30 years at this church, decided to quit teaching Sunday School rather than be apart of putting the children through the new curriculum, the run around (not good for this age group) and ideas brought down from Willow Creek. She wrote a letter saying she couldn't do it, it was wrong.
I found out, from my dad, that my mother may not have sent the letter to the pastors after all. But I did find what she wrote and I'll post some of that here because it is valuable information concerning changes forced on her Sunday School class after the pastors followed Willow Creek's ideas:

"... The children should be singing simple songs that teach basic truths rather than the songs they are singing.  Very few of the younger children are participating if you watch during song time....

...  I can't understand why teachers are supposed to use 2nd and 3rd grade literature to teach kindergarten and 1st grade students.  There are at least 4 big publishing houses, that have experts in the field of young children, who write lessons far superior than what we are using

I always knew when the lesson went well and the children had a good time in our class and learned something.  I don't have that certainty anymore.  I am not making a difference and further more I am not enjoying it.  All these years I never lost my joy of teaching - always excited to get the literature for the new quarter and learn what was new in songs or craft or teaching aids."


The church website seems to have an absence of Jesus, at least on the front page and many others. Not only is Jesus missing, there's no scripture too. What shocks me the most is they are turning Wednesday night services, which have been the "prayer meeting" night for over 4 decades, into yet another friendly service. Advertising a change starting in August 2010, "Weekend-Free Wednesdays" right on the front page.

"...some churches now offer their largest services on Friday or Saturday night instead of Sunday morning. These services are usually heavy on music and entertainment, offering people an alternative to the theater or social circuit. Church members can now 'get church out of the way' early, then have the rest of the weekend to use as they wish."
Ashamed of the Gospel pages 45-46 published 1993

I read in the church bulletin that they got the idea out of a USA today poll or study. Regardless of whether they choose USA today, or some other source to make church decisions, it is not God's Word.

Concerning the demise of the Wednesday night service. It started at least 10-15 years back. One of the turning points for me was when they started reducing the prayer time and having musicians play while people were on their knees at the pews. While I'm not opposed to music, I couldn't concentrate and pray even with my fingers in my ears. The music quickly grew in volume when the pastors wanted to move the service along. Thirty years ago, people would pray for maybe 6-8 minutes then the pastors started shortening it to closer to 4, and then to around 3 minutes. This demise also was around the time that they dropped the Sunday night service and had already started sending people up to Willow Creek for ideas.

 

 


July 19th 2010 Update: Sunday's music service was actually pretty good, but when it came to preaching God's Word the service fizzled. After 5 minutes of announcements by the pastor, he launched into Psalm 145 with brief passages out of Psalm 119 and Psalm 148. He spoke for another 25-30 minutes. His message was about how creation is proof of God's existence. Yes, looking at creation, even the smallest or largest elements of it, one see's the Creator God behind it, not random chance. This message could have been covered in 5 minutes or in a church bulletin paragraph. I'd say about 35% of the sermon was on the Bible. I thought the sermon used less and less Bible the further along it went.

"The beginner is troubled about whether there is a God or not; the older Christian believes in a God but does not trust Him. What is the difference?"

George MacDonald
Preached at Brixton Congregational Church, Brixton

I looked to my left, saw an attractive 20ish young lady, nicely dressed, with her Bible in her lap. (She actually brought her own Bible, one of the few.) She looked unimpressed, at least she didn't take notes. My wife, didn't have much to say about the sermon. I looked up and noticed that they took out the lights in the sanctuary some time ago that hung from the balcony ceiling originally. The lights were quite old, had crosses on the sides and came from the original sanctuary at the same location (now a small gym since the late 1980's) I remember walking down the left aisle of the old sanctuary, under those lights, with my mom and dad back in the 60's and 70's. (We started attending here in 1967.) The old lights would have provided more light for reading.


They have a wall partly full of Willow Creek material. This wall used to house part of a Bible and religious library. Now it's full of marketing idea's. I'm probably taking a safe guess in assuming that this material contains what Willow Creek pastor, Bill Hybels admitted that he got wrong.

Read offsite link: HeresyHunter: Bill Hybels: We Were Wrong!

"BUT there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies..."
2 Peter 2:1

Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek said:

Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet.

Read offsite link page 3: Crosswalk Bob Burney

Read Offsite link by Jan Markell:
When Evangelicals Dine with the Wicked


Read offsite link: Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2009
A Whore In Satin Sheets
"Seeker Sensitivity, as we have pointed out at great length, is compromise incorporated, completely absurd and absolutely unscriptural."


I went to a church service in a foreign country 4 years ago. The service was 3 and a half hours long. They had a long song service with a band, followed by about 90 minutes of solid preaching, followed by another 20 minutes of singing. It was in a beat up old movie theater with probably 130 people in attendance filling nearly every seat. The joy of the Lord was there. They didn't have a lot but they made the most of what they had.


I noticed that the pastors now have a large countdown clock to keep them on schedule. Most things are timed to the minute, announcements, songs, and sermon with an occasional late dismissal. I haven't noticed many prayers being said at the close anymore.


July 26th Update: Yesterday's sermon was by a young preacher usually handling middle school students. He spoke approximately 30-33 minutes while sitting on a stool on stage. About 60% of the time he stuck to scripture, although was not much more than reading through Psalm 19 and making comments along the way. This young pastor started by semi-jokingly mentioning how little scripture one of the pastors had covered lately. (4 verses)

"To have a Purpose Driven
church, the gospel has to be veiled or watered down in order to avoid offending the target audience." How the Church growth movement drives the Gospel out of Churches.

My wife said that he might have some potential in the future. Another person commented about how young and heavy he was sitting there. Based on his final sentences I'd say he doesn't believe he should be confrontational or has wrongly been told not to be. Isaiah 58 records what God said to do:

Isaiah chapter 58: Shout with a voice of a trumpet blast. Tell my people of their sins!.... for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

 

2 Timothy 4: "...endure afflictions..."

Paul went to jail many times and expected other pastors to as well if that's what it took to preach the Gospel. Others like John Bunyon spent 12 years in prison and said "If you release me today, I will preach tomorrow."

The lights were very dim in the sanctuary throughout the sermon. Like trying to read under a 15 watt light bulb. Nobody stopped the service to have the lights brought up. After the service, the lights were brought up for people to leave and the light seemed about 8 times brighter.

When we came into church, the service had just started and the band was playing. There were quite a lot of people still in the foyer, not a Bible in the hands of anyone including the greeters and people opening the doors. The 30 or so people we saw outside before even coming in the building didn't have a Bible either. Coming in the back of the sanctuary, I didn't see any Bible with anyone except one 23ish woman in the back rows. Later a 33ish woman sat near us that had brought her own Bible. She tried to read and take notes during the sermon even in the low light. Lots of people brought in cups filled with different drinks, but no Bibles. Later I saw 6-7 Bibles in the hands of people lingering in the foyer. My guess is 1 in 45 brought their own Bibles and fewer than 1 in 25 even tried to use one found in the pew. However, probably 1 in 10 brought drinks.

 


Bibles in the pews but gently used

To paraphrase Spurgeon (and many others): it's embarrassing how many riches can be found in God's Word.

There's over 800 pages in most Bibles but the pastors seem to have difficulty in preaching out of it.

"If the pastor wanted to preach the gospel and teach the Bible he would not be transitioning away from being a Bible church." How the Church growth movement drives the Gospel out of Churches.


August 2nd Update:
We attended yesterday's church service, arriving 5-10 minutes before it started. The attendance was slightly down but I noticed quite a few more people bringing their own Bible then last week. I'd guess about 1 in 18 people brought their own Bible.

The music was good, especially the last two songs. The lady singing, in the yellow top, made a great 45 second mini sermon between songs. When the pastor got up to preach, the lights were kept very low again, same as last week. Like reading under a 15 watt light bulb.

The pastor started out by giving a run down about how Wednesday night services would be a repeat of the Sunday service in every way. He mentioned research by reading USA today and some other reasons for how they will conduct the Wednesday service, along with people wanting a way to enjoy their weekends.

This is shocking! They will have one sermon a week? They have over 5 pastors in the church, and one sermon! Instead they should have many sermons every week because we are at crunch time! The rapture is imminent, the church is under assault, our nation is under assault, the anti-christ may appear on the scene at any time (if he isn't active already) and they want to have one short sermon (that barely touches the Bible) repeated 3 times a week?

I saw recently that they are advertising "Weekend-Free Wednesdays" on at least one bus stop bench in town.

"Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season" 2 Timothy 4

Phillips Modern English translation

The pastor was on stage around 35 minutes. During this time I'd say he did a solid 50% of the time on the Bible. He spoke with what looked like a small music stand to hold his notes.
Offsite link: How to Be Irrelevant

The sermon started out with short quotes from a comedian, an atheist and Charles Darwin and some other quotes. He used quite a few Bible references in his sermon and I think the sermon passages might have inspired some to read their Bible during the week. However, it was very dark in the sanctuary, and only one time did he ask people in the pews to take their Bible or get one out of the pew and read along with him. I saw some around me try to read. I used my cell phone to get some light on the text. The sermon was very light in subject, "leadership" was the topic. I guess leading into the Willow Creek Leadership Summit this week. Encouraging people to sign up and watch it live on Thursday and Friday for about $110 or $300 if they didn't use the coupon code that he gave out.

I was a bit shocked to hear the pastor preach that we can't trust or ask ourselves to know how to do things, we have to follow God. I think that was the gist of the sermon. (Although if I've got it wrong and someone else wants to give a short summary of the sermon I'd be glad to post it here.) Maybe the pastor is wondering if this plan to follow marketing is working or not (Nah! he's thoroughly deceived.)

After the service we spoke with the senior pastor in the foyer. The foyer had cleared out quickly. Nobody lingered much at all. We told him about our concerns; my wife mentioned the light was too dim to read. He mentioned the media team wants an "atmosphere like a rock concert" and to the best of my recollection a word for word quote: "people can't take hard messages from the Bible. It's just too much for them. They are just dealing with too much these days." but said that he'll "take what we said seriously."

During this conversation I got pretty loud and I asked the pastor: Who is running things? The pastors? God? or the group in the back? I didn't get an answer. I also asked him to take a look at the Bible's in the pews, gently used after 10-15 years! (They made a big to-do when they replaced the (aging) hymnals with the Bibles back then too. Hybels church removes churchy things like hymnals also which talk about Jesus dying for our sins the cross, heaven, hell,, etc.)

My sister missed the rhyme of turning to Jesus Paid It All, Hymn 138 John T. Grape

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.


My wife said, a couple things about the lights and how the preaching needs to be from God's word. The pastor must have studied the material from Willow Creek or other sources on how to handle church goers that are resistant or complain about the marketing-the-church-seeker-friendly-don't-upset-anyone-by-preaching-the-Bible-too-much approach because he didn't want to make any waves. Instead, it seemed to us that he wanted us to drift off. Noticing his response was leaning toward we're not changing much but might increase the light just a little, I then told him a lot of what I have written on this page already. However, I didn't tell him about this page. I'm going to finish it up and give it to the pastoral staff and they can all read it together.

Although my wife had left during part of the conversation she heard enough to say later that the Bible is accurate about how the churches will fall away in the Last Days.


The first 5 minutes of Jack Van Impe's broadcast on Sunday August 1st is worth watching. The Van Impe's gave headline reports that the churches in Europe and America are emptying out. Then, with Bible raised, Jack Van Impe quotes some of 2 Timothy 4 and said that the churches are not preaching God's word. They are instead preaching little nothing sermons with a rock concert to draw a crowd. People are getting nothing out of the sermon and are eventually walking away. Unfortunately, I can't post the actual video clip here.
Here is the link to their site, watch or listen to their tv program with air date July 31 2010 while you can.


Update Sunday August 8th
This is a hard one to talk about and difficult to summarize but here it goes. The service started with the band playing (but not singing the lyrics) to an AC / DC rock song about a night of sex. You can look up the lyrics to "You shook me all night long" The band was pretty good and I did see them raising their hands later.

(Note: For quite some time, the pastors have been asking the band to play an exciting warm up song to start the service. For example: Easter Sunday 2009 they started with: "Footloose"
"... You can fly if you'd only cut
Loose, footloose kick off your Sunday shoes
Oowhee, Marie shake it, shake it for me"
)

Back to my review of August 8th. After 25 minutes of music and light show they collected tithes and offerings. The senior pastor stood up and said a lot of what he wrote on a FAQ on the web site, saying the other pastor was sort of leaving the church to start a "plant" in a nearby city. They rarely ever refer to this "plant" as a church. He went on glowingly talking about the pastor that is leaving and talked about how the church was needing to support him etc. As I said further up, there was really too much said to summarize it properly here.

The pastor that is leaving then spoke about 10-15 minutes, reading a long passage out of the 2nd chapter of Acts, then another verse out of Acts 11. Then talked about he is leaving to do what he feels God is calling him to do. Preach to un churched people. He mentioned going to Afghanistan some years ago with his family to help in a mission project there, and meeting an American missionary there who was just killed, mentioned on the news this weekend along with about 9 other Christian Medical missionaries by the Taliban. A lot of people are upset around the nation concerning this. I hope to ask a doctor friend of ours if she knew the people that died, as she worked in Afghanistan a lot over the last years and even went into the very area's these missionaries were murdered to help the Afghan people.

Then the senior pastor spoke the rest of the time. I say "spoke" because it really wasn't preaching. It was mostly giving announcements in the form of a sermon. He has often done this over the years, substitute announcements instead of preaching, talk about where they are going, where they've been etc. and how they'll do things in the future. He put things in glowing terms, a few times people clapped. One odd event was when he brought out a tree log with a open Bible on top of it, and a metal spike had been pounded through the center of it, the spine, and the spike stood up about 10 inches above the Bible. I didn't hear that sermon in the past but he said he had driven a spike through one of his old Bibles, during a past sermon. He said the tree log and spiked Bible on top reminds him that the Bible is their center and keeps it in his office. (This sounds like something a witch or satanist would do to me. While perhaps not damaging the text, isn't damaging the spine synonymous with paralyzing something? Regardless, there are clearly better ways to illustrate that "the Bible is our center" then staking a Bible this way. For example: Why not spend 2 hours a Sunday and preach out of it?
If you have to rely on a thing like that to remind you to keep you "centered" what does that say about your faith? Here's another idea, put a banner in the foyer saying "the Bible is our center, So bring your Bible and expect the pastors to preach effectively out of it."

The Faith Church (www.hit.hu) In Hungary has 6 hour services and the place is packed.)

The senior pastor said that the church is finally about where he has wanted to take the church for a long time. (also mentioned elsewhere he wasn't going back either. He wrote and posted a letter saying that in the new era of the church they would warn people once then kick them out of the church. Note: Since they incorporated the church long ago and just have some Trustees to deal with, they can pretty much do what they want anyway.)
Regardless, I'm guessing he learned to say this in a "Transitions" training seminar.)
The senior pastor said that the pastor that is leaving to start the "plant" helped him to take the church about where he wanted it to go for a long time. He said he wants more rock bands, media artists, and to try new things in different services. I don't remember if he said the word "experiment" but I think that was what he meant they want to do in the early service.

offsite link: Exposing The Cult-Like Hostile Takeover Tactics of the Purpose-Driven Church Transitioning Seminar

The lights during the talk were about twice as bright as previous weeks, like reading under a 30 to 40 watt bulb which was enough to see to read. Near the end, the lights went down again, for the band to play. The pastor stood up to make one more comment. He asked people to fill out a response card / questionnaire. However, the person handling the lights must not have been paying attention because the pastor asked the lights to be brought up twice and then only after a long delay did it increase.

There were other odd things said Sunday morning but I don't have the time nor do I think it's worth saying any more here other than this one: They took up an offering the last week to send a copy of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit to the mission in Myanmar / Burma.


Offsite YouTube video Links:
Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats - Charles Spurgeon

John MacArthur on Charles Spurgeon & Worldly Preaching

MUST SEE: Worldly Churches and Why They Grow

The Church is Changing, What is Emerging?

Are You Considering the Rick Warren & Bill Hybels Model for Your Church?

Read offsite link: Schuller Planted, Hybels Watered, Warren (Peter Drucker) Gives The Increase
By Orrel Steinkamp, The Plumbline, Volume 10, No. 3, November/December 2005


Read offsite link: Warren, Blanchard, Hybels, Laurie, Buford Launching New York Leadership Center


I just learned a great Christian musician and singer died back in June. Dana Key, from the Christian group DeGarmo and Key. I listened to their albums hundreds of times. One of Dana Key's great songs, "Mary", a mini sermon in itself, would be wonderful to hear performed in the church service leading into a sermon. The song is a rock song but with a cello. I noticed a lady playing a cello last month in a service, hope they can do this one.

"Mary" Lyrics by Dana Key
Mary why have you come here?
With your heart so sad and your eyes filled with tears
Think back, think back, what did he say?
He said that he would die, but he'd rise the third day
He's higher, raised up by the Father's power Higher, up from the dead
He did what He said So
Mary please don't be afraid There's no man there where he did lay
Run now, run now, tell your friends Jesus was dead but he lives again
He's risen, raised up with our sins forgiven
Risen up from the grave Oooh, oooh, oooh, with the power to save
Aaaah, Mary why did you come here?
With your heart so sad and your eyes filled with tears
Why don't you run now, run now, tell your friends
Jesus was dead but he lives again
He's ri-i-sen, ri-i-sen, ri-i-sen today, yeah, yeah!


August 14th: We ran into a man that attended services here with his wife. He showed up on our street at a yard sale at the same time we walked down there in the morning. Coincidence or God arranging this? Without asking, he almost immediately started telling us that he had written a long letter with many scripture references and sent it to about 7 people at the church, saying they were on an unscriptural path. He even had a meeting with a pastor twice. He said that many others have warned them that they are not following God's direction laid out in the Bible. While it doesn't surprise me that there has been many others confronting the pastors. it seems like God is giving confirmation here that we are to continue.

"If you love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15


August 15th: We attended the service today. The last two songs of the song service were good. The pastor, who has preached as little as 5% in the past from the Bible, preached about 70%, of his 35 minutes on stage, from the Bible today. An enormous improvement. I may be wrong, but it seemed like there was a lot more buzz after the service ended. While the pastor pretty much stayed on scripture, he did wander off a little and it distracted from the sermon. The sermon was on a "light" topic however. I doubt the topic or message offended anyone in the room. But he offended me when he said we would need a page number to find II Chronicles. My guess is even a Buddhist or a Hindu, could find II Chronicles. Isn't this an admission that the pastors are no longer teaching scripture? I don't remember the last time they actually encouraged people to read outside of church, memorize or carry their Bible.


The pastor was also wrong when he said the book of Samuel was on two leaders Saul and David. No, it was on at least 4 leaders, the prophet Samuel was one of the greatest men of all time. Samuel was the man that showed up, in his old age, at the gates of Bethlehem with a cow and the city leaders came out trembling in fear. He was the man that none of his prayers fell to the ground and the entire nation turned out for his funeral. Then another leader mentioned was Eli, who's family didn't follow God's prescribed way. Eli's family wanted to do things differently.

The lights were again very dim, and it was very hard to read. About a 15 or 18 watt light bulb in brightness where we sat. (At least this week I dimlysee that the we-want-a-rock-concert-atmosphere team won out over the spiked-Bible-is-our-center team.) At the end of the service, the senior pastor stood up and announced how successful he thought the first "Weekend Free Wednesday" service was. Kind of reminded me of something on the video link I mentioned earlier: Worldly Churches and Why They Grow "so the end justifies the means?"
I'll say again how much improved the service was because the pastor preached scripture.

One of the troubling things, I noticed Sunday, was when we walked into the building. The same 21ish young lady held the door for us this week as last week. I asked her if she brought her Bible. She smiled, said no she didn't bring her Bible this week either.. but then said, well I did bring my phone and there's a Bible app on it.


The church is now using stupid quotes from Craig Groeschel on their web pages and apparently are now in partnership with his ministry too.
"To reach people no one else is reaching... we must do things no one else is doing."

This is on a page concerning missionaries. I know quite a few of the missionaries that came out of this church and many are at the top of their field and have been so since the 80's. Now the pastors seem to be getting into partnership with yet another marketing group grow the church organization headed by Greg Groeschel. Here's a quote about him I found on Wikipedia:

"In 1996, Groeschel and a handful of people started Life Covenant Church in a two-car garage. Groeschel later told Business Week that he started by performing market research of non-churchgoers, and designed his church in response to what he learned "

Doesn't sound like Groeschel really consulted the Bible does it? (Concerning Groeschel, a sermon review of his sermon "The Path to Your Greatest Potential" where he uses Nietzchean superman themes rather than Biblical Sanctification is available on FightingForTheFaith.com)
The little I've heard from this Oklahoma pastor Greg Groeschel makes me wonder why the church pastors are linked up with him too.

By the way, a missionary told me that 2 of the churches that have supported them in another state "are declining in numbers and spiritual maturity"


August 22nd Update: We arrived late to church today, for several reasons, but walked in while a lady was making a, long and awkward, introduction to tithing and giving. We sat down and a couple minutes later she finished. Then they started passing the white plastic 10 inch tall buckets. (I guess they think the nice offering plates are too churchy and have decided to remove as much as possible to remind people they are in a church service.)

Sundays' sermon was a little bit of a tag team sermon with another person that we know. They mostly sat on stage, kind of submissive like. (see Offsite Youtube video: How to be Irrelevant) They stuck to teaching out of the Bible I'd say around 80% of their time. They were quite a bit more focused on talking about Jesus dying for our sins, paying the price for sins then other's have preached the last months. They still managed to keep the sermon on the light side and didn't make any effort to encourage people to read and study their Bible or pray during the week. When they diverted from scripture it wasn't so good. Afterwards, there was even more buzz in the sanctuary then last week, although there was a lot of stuff going on about missions today so that may have contributed too.

 


Offsite Link: CNN Advocates Watered-down Politically Correct Christianity

August 30th Update: Concerning yesterday's service. Arrived late, saw someone playing guitar was giving a long talk between songs, went up and sat down in the center of the balcony this time. A married couple in their 30's "spoke" today. At first, I thought it would be good when I saw the husband carry his Bible on stage. He spoke about 5 minutes out of the Bible, 1st Samuel. I thought, "hey this will be great." Then it quickly slid downhill, not talking from scripture, using words like "Journey" as in spiritual Journey. His wife spoke a couple times coming back and forth from a table and chair setup one would see in a coffee shop. I wasn't impressed, they didn't cover the Bible any more. Enough said. 15% of their time they spoke from the Bible. The senior pastor gave them a hug at the end and encouraged applause.

From the balcony, in the low light just dimly spotlighting the center of the stage, it didn't appear to me to be a Christian service, but something else. The terminology, coffee shop table and chair setup, lack of Bible truth with the exception of the first minutes, made it so. They were probably advised or their sermon was approved to do this but I've had enough of it.

Before leaving, I spoke briefly afterwards to a lady who is in her 30's. She didn't elaborate but said she's upset with how things have been going lately at church. I'll ask her what she meant by that another time.

 


Sept. 6 update: Learned yesterday that the church stopped soul winning visits. This caused a long time member involved in this ministry to leave the church. I need to get more info on this but it sounds very much like what is mentioned on page 4 of the following link: "...He asked if he
could share about Christ with visitors who came to church. Again their answer was no. An “evangelical” church was forbidding one of its members from sharing the gospel."

More info on the pastor stopping soul winning outside the church. I spoke with the person that left the church and he said that senior pastor had read a verse out of the Bible and then announced he was ending the, long running, Evangelism Ministry focused on soul winning outside the church. The man that I spoke with and at least one other long time member (a brother-in-law of one of the pastors) went to the senior pastor to discuss this and read other verses out of the Bible which do say to tell other's about Christ and witness. No change in the senior pastor's decision. This pastor has usually had the attitude of "It's my way or the highway." For example, on at least one occasion he told the congregation from the stage that if they didn't like the music "there's the door!" (while pointing)

In either late 1982 or in 1983 I remember hearing a report that this same senior pastor announced publically at church that he wasn't quite a Christian before that time. By that time he had already been a pastor at the church for decades.

Concerning verses in the Bible there's a verse (2 John verses 9-11) that says not to even greet or allow in your home not to encourage at all anyone that doesn't teach what Christ taught. "people can't take hard messages from the Bible. It's just too much for them. They are just dealing with too much these days." That statement, from the senior pastor, doesn't sound to me like an admission that they are preaching everything Christ taught because Jesus said some very harsh things. Therefore, I cannot encourage them but point out Biblical error.

How the Church growth movement drives the Gospel out of Churches. By: Bob Dewaay (offsite link: Critical Issues Commentary cicministry.org)

I had lunch with my sister who came to town for the holiday. She said the last time she was at this church the sermon only included half a verse of scripture, and a dance that her daughters said came from "High School Musical" My sister won't go back to that service.


Take a look at http://www.alittleleaven.com otherwise known as The Museum of Idolatry: Artifacts of Apostasy. Site is worth a look. I particularly liked the video titled: "Van Halen's Jump Poorly Performed by 'Church' Praise Band" and "Motocross in Church...During the Sermon" and "Seeker-Driven Church Thrown Out of Elementary School For Wanting To Preach Obscenity"


September 10th update.

Several days ago, I received a call from the retired pastor of the Church, angry that I handed out letters to some leaders at church about what his son's are doing. He was also angry I used a quote that he says, in practically every service, about doing things we KNOW TO DO without waiting around for someone else. (I guess he doesn't think it applies to when his family is in Biblical error.)
I think he will never confront his children, as he didn't want to hear about any of this.. He only hesitated briefly when I said his son's didn't respond and ignored over 2 messages from us. Apparently, his son's ignoring us disturbed him greatly. Over the years, his son, the senior pastor has told the, 100 or so, older members various things to get them on board to allow changes. This allowed him to gradually "Transition s" the church closer toward a Willow Creek & Saddleback gospel.
The retired pastor surprised me when he said it didn't matter that the church played AC/DC if they didn't play the lyrics. I thought I'd never hear him say that.
On his demand, I've removed his name, church name, pictures and ministry phone number from this website. But I may use their names in the future. I'll let God lead me.
Click this link to read most of the text from my letter.


September 21, 2010
The Pastor's and leadership have suddenly jerked directly into the path of the Emergent Church garbage. Emergent church keywords are now actively being used: "re-envision/reinvent/re-imagine." They also will promote and passout t-shirts for the "I am Second" campaign which seems to be suspicious to me. Suspicous for a number of reasons but especially because Emergent church advocates are embracing it. Click here to read some good comments found on deceptionbytes about "I Am Second."
It seems like it's a twist on what football great Gale Sayers said. written about in his 1971 autobiography titled "I am Third." The book was introduced by Bill Cosby. Gale Sayers said, "The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third." Regardless, whether it's "I am Second" or "I am Third" it isn't exactly scriptural for Paul the Apostle said, "I am last of all."

The senior pastor is just so excited about all this too and apparently he's not the only one. He'll give, yet another announcement in the form of a sermon in, he hopes, all four services this week. Looks like it could be a 30 minute talk immediately at the start of the 60 minute service, concerning the plans or vision that he's received. In his own words: He will "...present a crystal-clear picture of our <church name> vision: How we got here. Who we are. Where we're going."

It looks to me like the pastor's are following Willow Creek, as Willow Creek and other's are embracing Emergent Church methods. More info at offsite link: www.LighthouseTrailsResearch.com

"There's a lot on the web concerning the Emergent church and why it is so bad. www.understandingthetimes.org and www.deceptioninthechurch.com are good places to start reading.

ROGER OAKLAND SPECIAL REPORT: God’s Word Shines Light Upon End Time Apostasy

Some more thoughts on the "I Am Second" campaign and it's creators:The creator of the "I Am Second" campaign is E3 Partner's www.e3partners.org. In my opinion, Jesus is a very soft sell on most of their webpages as displayed on September 2010. So soft, it's hard to figure out it's a Christian ministry at first and second glance. However, I found a small section of downloads under resources that were great which they hyperlink only as "Cubes" which are later referred to as EvangeCube's. But the download page it was on, didn't explain what it was until it was opened. It's basically a picture tract that flips open in different ways to show people and tell them about sin, Jesus coming and dying on the cross for our sins and accepting Him to be saved. Great, I like it, it's nice. When did they create this? Another large download under resources for churches was apparently copied from another ministry based in Grand Rapids, Hope Ministries, with a copyright of 1999. It's pretty good too, again, why don't they proclaim this more? Instead their website front page has an odd headline: "Discover Your Mission, Join the World Community Today." There's several odd suggestions in that statement coming from a Christian ministry. Jesus said we are not of this world and the world hates us because of Him. I'm surprised they don't have the prayer section finished too. "Soon you will have the opportunity to get resources to grow your prayer life or the prayer foundation of your church." "Suggested ways to pray and specific items to pray for will be found here." A ministry founded in 1987 doesn't have this together already on their website? Now, contrast E3 Partners with Campus Crusade for Christ's website which has a link on the front page "How to know God" and resources on prayer inside.
It looks like E3 Partner's isn't as suspicious as I first thought. But i still have some concern about whether they are changing their message; "...join the world community today" is just too wrong of a phrase. Did something change in their ministry? Are they adopting more Emergent church terminology?

"join the world" is not the message of the Bible. Read 1st John chapter 2 in the Bible

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world".

KJV translation


The pastor's, like many of these Purpose Driven and Emergent Church pastors (including Hybels and Warren), really have set themselves up to not be accountable to anyone. There's a great podcast on this subject at www.FightingForTheFaith.com
:Taking Joseph Away From the Purpose-Driven Dreamers:Walter Martin: Its Not Unloving to Confront Error dated September 22, 2010

September 29, Partial update
I don't have all the details of last Sunday but I do know that the pastor's passed out a large foldout. It was roughly 4 pages of material saying a lot of stuff but reading between the lines I see them laying the groundwork or hinting that they will do even more wild things in the near future. Also there were veiled threats that they will get rid of Christians that complain about the changes. They "say" they will listen, then talk with them, then warn them, then it seems to me they do something else if the person doesn't shut up or get out. The pastors believe they will will see rapid church growth any time now.

Offsite Link: Playing the Pharisee Card


Southwest Radio Ministries (SWRC.com) pointed out that Rick Warren rejected some or all of the five tenants of faith in May 23, 2005. Saying:

"Now the word "fundamentalist" actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones."
source: pewforum.org Myths of the Modern Megachurch May 23, 2005
The five fundamentals of the faith to which Dr. Warren objected are:
  1. The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible
  2. The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ
  3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
  4. Christ's atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world
  5. The literal second coming of Jesus Christ
Take note that Rick Warren said there were no large churches that believe this. Saddleback Church is a large church.

Concerning Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. A recent glaring example of Rick Warren publicly twisting scripture and encouraging other pastors to follow his lead was on parade at the Desiring God Conference. It's a very long review but I'd recommend you listen to it at FightingFortheFaith.com (October 4) If you don't want to hear it all, just listen to the last 35 minutes.
alternately, I've transcribed some of the quotes from the audio review and posted it on a web page here at www.Dial-A-Prayer.com Rick Warren of Saddlebach Church

The review contains plenty of Warren examples of twisting the Bible, plus at the very end he refers to having members signing covenants at his church too, which is something the Bible tells us not to do. It's amazing that pastors across the country, and yes here in Evansville Indiana, follow Warren and Hybels and others like them like Groupies.

Here's a good article by Paul Proctor on Warren and Hybels pushing covenants: CHURCH MEMBERSHIP COVENANTS


October 12 Update
I heard the church is laying off 12 or 13 staff and 2 or 3 others are heading over to work at the "plant." Surely the economy has something to do with it, plus some are leaving to help start "the plant" by being attenders there. However my observation is the major, underlying cause of this is they largely stopped preaching the Bible and followed false teachers. Had they stuck with preaching to Christians and followed the Bible they wouldn't be so much in this mess. There's been dozen's, maybe hundreds, of Christians that have left for another church. Some after confronting the pastors about not following scripture.

Let me recommend another good book by John MacArthur published in 2007, The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception.

October 16th
At the 17 minute mark of the Jack Van Impe Presents tv program they spent 5 minutes talking about how so many churches today are not preaching the gospel, not preaching doctrine but preaching nothing sermons to people with latte's.. Jack Van Impe quoted a lot of scripture verses confronting it and said bluntly

"... now what do you do when you go to a church where you haven't heard a good Bible sermon in weeks? Get Out! That's Roman's 16:17 Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine in which you received and AVOID THEM. That's easy to understand..."
He also pointed to scripture saying the ministers, and others, are in big trouble for preaching another Gospel. Van Impe even used the scripture 2 John vs 9-11 hinting that we should not let them in our home or give them a greeting because they are not abiding in the doctrine of Christ. He emphasized the word doctrine probably a dozen times when he quoted scripture.
While it is still available, here's the MP3 audio download link program: 1042 at JVIM.org


Paul Proctor's article on Church Membership Coverenants may be read here


 

Quote from the THE DAY OF RECKONING by Paul Proctor:

You see, today's “secular Christians” decided somewhere back there that it was time to bring the culture into the church in the interest of evangelism and make the gospel more relevant to reprobates, thereby compelling Christians into a compromised co-existence with the enemies of Christ by giving them a place and a voice once reserved exclusively for the redeemed.

Now it has become the driving desire of countless congregations around this country to expand and refashion their simple structures into grand palaces of bread and circus where believers and unbelievers can be lured into facilitated fellowships of compromise and consensus by way of their “felt needs” to enjoy not only the steady beat of the street but also a steady diet of passion-filled, purpose-driven psycho-heresy and all of the cultural relevance a secular Christian could covet; praising, worshiping and serving one another in the name of Christ while tolerating anything and everything at the expense of His Word so as to justify and gratify the appetites and senses of all; creating a chaotic peace; a “unity in diversity” by the mixing of truth with lie and good with evil; something the bible clearly condemns.

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