Capture I the LORD do not changeIf there’s one thing we can rely on these days in spite of the fact that our world is changing so drastically, it’s the ‘unchanging’ nature of God and the ‘unchanging’ truth of God’s Word –the Bible (though I must add that ‘The Message’ and ‘The Voice’ translations are excluded as being ‘God’s Word’ because of the ‘new age’ terminology and the distortions of Scriptures presented in these versions). 

Sadly, however, many of us who are true Christians — born of the Spirit of God —  are also seeing many of our once strong and committed pastors and teachers beginning to change, as well.  And these changes are not for the better!  Instead of a pastor focusing on the importance of his role to ‘preach the Word’ of God and to ‘equip the saints’ and trust God to grow the church as He has always been faithful to do in the past, they have been led into falling for worldly strategies of growing the church by non-Christians such as Peter Drucker.  Rather than ‘contending for the faith’ they now are not only uniting with some pastors and teachers  (who many have serious concerns about)  at conferences, but also they are placing some of these ‘pastors’ in their own pulpits! 

Some are even involving themselves with unbiblical, and even demonic, mystical, spiritual practices such as ‘breath prayers,’ ‘contemplative prayer,’ ‘visualization techniques,’ –occultic practices often cloaked in Christian terminology claiming to allow the ‘Christian’ to ‘hear from God‘ or to ‘connect with God on a deeper, more intimate level.’  (Much more on this in an upcoming post —Lord willing).  God’s Word is no longer seen as the way to hear from God…now it’s all about ‘experiences.’  But to those who are not cautious and who fail to continually test things in light of Scripture, these techniques will lure them in and lead them astray.

How could it be that so many pastors and teachers are going astray?  Is it for the love of money, position, or power?  A ‘mid-life crisis’ maybe? What sin is at the root of all these serious changes we are seeing? 

Is it pride that has caused many of them to close their ears to not only the pleadings of their people to disassociate with certain pastors, but also to the legitimate and serious concerns their people are expressing to them?

God’s Word gives us a picture of the condition  that this world will be in before the return of Christ, as well as Scriptures that give an alarmingly accurate picture of ‘Christianity’ today.  Here are just a few of them:

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Luke 21:10,11)

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3,4)

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first…”  (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”         (1 Timothy 4:1)

**UPDATED MON. 2-17-14 6:20p.m.** May I suggest to you that the reason many of us are seeing pastors and teachers who once strongly stood for Biblical truth without wavering, is because many are choosing to  –compromise.  Take for instance, Pastor Greg Laurie.  When he preached a sermon he always gave a clear gospel presentation complete with making each listener understand they must be willing to repent; to turn from sin and follow Christ, and I believe he still does.  However, there are other things Greg Laurie is doing that gives many of us valid reasons to be concerned.  I’ll share one example with you that I found out from speaking to a person I met on the Internet who left Greg Laurie’s church.  This person told me at the end of 2012 that they “saw signs of spiritual formation in junior high and up.” 

If you are not aware of what Spiritual Formation is, I highly recommend this article (and all the articles) by Pastor Gary Gilley SPIRITUAL FORMATION

Below is a portion of that article that explains the philosophy of Spiritual Formation:

“The Spiritual Formation Movement is concerned more about individual experience than biblical knowledge or truth.  This does not mean that adherents are totally uninterested in the Bible, and some would know it well.  But the emphasis is on what a person experiences through the Bible more so than what they learn.  Contemplatives, such as Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, will strongly encourage Bible reading and prayer but they mean something different from what most Christians mean when they reference the same terms.  As we will see in future articles, contemplative prayer is not the same as prayer defined biblically; “sacred reading” (also called “lectio divina” of Scripture is not the same as Bible study; meditation (mystically encountering God) is not the same as knowing God and so forth.  Many of the same terms are used, but as the classical liberals, and the more recent emergents, are fond of doing, they take our terms, including biblical ones, and give them new definitions and twists.” 

Now back to what I was saying about Greg Laurie: When I first became a Christian and didn’t yet have a full-time job, I would eagerly get up early every morning to hear him preach on the radio instead of sleeping for an extra hour or so.  Never did I think the day would come when he would give in to compromise!  However…one day when I got up in the morning and turned on my computer, I saw the following video on YouTube:

Here is the late Pastor Chuck Smith (who sadly, also gave in to compromise) introducing Rick Warren as his “good friend” at —Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade in 2009:

For those of you who are still unaware of the serious concerns that many of us have with Rick Warren, I urge you to watch this video that I added to many of my other posts, as well, because of the detailed and very important information this video contains on Rick Warren:

**ADDED 2-17-14** And then there’s Francis Chan.  I never heard of him before until my former pastor, James MacDonald, recommended his book ‘Crazy Love‘ one Sunday during his sermon.  I did a ‘search’ on him that day to find out who he was, and at first he just seemed like a very humble man who desired to wholeheartedly seek after God and live an extremely simple life in order to give to the poor.  However, as time went on he began to get involved in promoting the unbiblical practice of  ‘Lectio Divina‘ along with Lecrae, Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, and John Piper at the Passion 2012 Conference.  After reading portions of Ephesians, each speaker would stop and say things like this: 

Beth Moore: “Without any comment, please, let’s pause and be still and ask Jesus to speak His Word to us.”  Let’s pause, be still, and let God’s Word speak to us.” 

Lecrae: “Pause, reflect, and hear from the Lord.” 

John Piper: “Let’s be quiet and ask the Lord to speak.” 

You can’t see it in the video above, but at this conference they had a banner in the background that said “Jesus, speak to me.”  In my search to document that for you, I came across the following, thanks to Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:

Capture Jesus Speak To Me - Passion 2012 Conference SOURCE :APPRISING MINISTRIES – BETH MOORE AND JOHN PIPER LEAD LECTIO DIVINA – LITE AT PASSION 2012

Didn’t God’s Word already speak to them? They just read the whole book of Ephesians out loud, so for them to say to “Be still, and let God’s Word speak” seems to imply they are desiring to hear more than what can be learned by examining the passage of Scripture in context to see what God already said to us through His Word in this particular book, this one being Ephesians. Though God may speak to someone on extremely rare occasions, they are presenting this as a normative practice to be embraced by all Christians.  Everything God wants us to know has already been recorded in His Word, the Bible, and Jesus was God’s final Word to us:

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe.  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:1-3a)

Also, I had heard that there were some who attended Passion 2012 who left there doubting their salvation because they didn’t hear Jesus personally speak to them.  It was mainly because of what Louie Giglio said to them at this conference.  Once again, in my search to find what Louie Giglio actually said so I could share it with you, I found that on the same post by Ken Silva.  These are the words of Louie Giglio at the close of session 5:

“How many of you heard the voice of God speak specifically, clearly, directly, and personally, to you? Can you just put a hand up?  I’d like you to share it.  Can you put a hand up for a minute? 

Just want you to look around; that’s people saying, “God Almighty (pause) the Maker of heaven (pause) the one Who’s sitting on the only throne (pause) that’s not under threat (long pause, audience cheers) –He spoke to me. He spoke to me.”

“God spoke to me.”  (long pause)  Don’t let the voice of the darkness, tell you that you are not (pause) worth (pause) that God would not speak to you.  (pause)  Don’t let him tell you, you don’t matter.  (pause) God spoke to you.” (SOURCE) Apprising Ministries

Then, to make matters even worse, on December 30, 2013, Francis Chan chose to take part in an event at IHOP (International House Of Prayer), where he openly praised its leader, Mike Bickle, thus giving credibility to Mike Bickle and IHOP.  If you are not aware of the unbiblical teachings of Mike Bickle, as well as the unscriptural manifestations and even deadly things that have taken place within this movement, I strongly urge you to watch this video and read the articles below it:

ARTICLE: LOVE AND DEATH IN THE INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER

**UPDATED 2-19-14** EXCELLENT AND THOROUGH ARTICLE FROM THE HERESCOPE BLOG: THE PASSION OF THE PRESENCE

When we as Christians — especially pastors — consider getting involved with another pastor, teacher, or a movement claiming to be ‘Christian,’ we have the God-given responsibility of testing everything in light of Scripture (Acts 17:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:21,22) and we also  need to seriously consider the warnings of those who know more than we may know about a certain person or movement, and check it out before choosing to get involved.  But sadly, as you can hear in the very beginning of the video I posted above, Francis Chan ignored the warnings he received and chose to publicly proclaim to those in attendance at that IHOP event,  the following:

“This is the first time I’ve ever been to an IHOP event.  Which is..it’s kinda crazy to me because I didn’t know that much, and, you know, so I kinda went on the Internet and started looking things up  and, I go ‘man there’s a lot of great things going on here. ‘ And today’s was the first time I ever met Mike Bickle, and, I love that guy.  I do.

There’s people that told me not to…hang out with him.  Like, you know, you know, words like creepy come up and yet I get to know this guy and I’m going,  “Man I love his heart.”  And I just want to publicly say, I love Mike Bickle.”

Then there’s Mega-pastors, Steven Furtick  of Elevation Church in Charlotte N. Carolina, and Perry Noble of Newspring Church in S. Carolina.  Both of whom my former pator, James MacDonald, is  deeply involved with.  I’ll start with Steven Furtick.

INFORMATION CONCERNING STEVEN FURTICK: 

As I shared with you in my >WARNING YOU WITH TEARS< post, Steven Furtick took James MacDonald’s place in the pulpit on August 14, 2011 when James was on his summer break.  Steven Furtick was also one of the pastors who took part in the ‘Elephant Room Conference,’  an idea that James MacDonald had that could have turned into something good, but instead ended in disaster.  (You can also read about that on the previously mentioned post).  I had never heard of Steven Furtick before all of that took place, so I cannot comment on how he was when he first started out, but I can share with you what is presently happening that many find rather disturbing.  Below is something I again found posted by someone on Twitter.  You can find this posted on Elevation Church’s Website.  Read all the points below and see if you find some of their reasons just a little bit disturbing as many other people do –including me:

Capture Reasons Elevation Church is the Best Place to Work

Capture ELEVATION CHURCH COLORING BOOK

Just now (1:47p.m. 2-19-14) I found the above picture through a tweet on Twitter by Stand Up For The Truth.’  This is an illustration from a coloring book at ‘Elevation Church‘ called ‘The Code,’ in which it appears that at a very early age, the children — along with the adults at ‘Elevation Church‘ — are learning that:

Elevation Church is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven.”  And that Elevation Churchwill protect our unity in supporting his vision.”  

I don’t know about you, but I find this rather creepy and downright disturbing!  SOURCE

There’s so much information coming out on Twitter concerning Steven Furtick and Elevation Church that I’m finding it hard to keep up!  Here’s something else for you to take a close look at; ‘The Code‘ for Elevation Kidz that Steven Furtick wants them all to learn:

Capture elevation kids - the code

(SOURCE) FOUND IN TWEET POSTED BY CHRIS ROSEBROUGH

1. We are a generation of honor

2. We act in audacious faith

3.We eat the fish and leave the bones

4. We are known for what we are for

5. We lead the way in generosity

Don’t you find it rather concerning that Jesus isn’t even mentioned in the Kidz Code?

STEVEN FURTICK ADDRESSING ELEVATION CHILDREN TO LEARN ‘THE CODE’

Just searched YouTube and found this precious little girl, Isabella, who seems to know ‘the code’ quite well:

Please pray for the children and families at Elevation Church.  One can only hope and pray that the children at ‘Elevation‘ are learning that our lives should be built upon Christ and His Word as our solid foundation!  (Matthew 7:24-27) (1 Corinthians 3:10,11)  Somehow by all this new information, I am finding it very hard to believe, because the focus clearly is more on Steven Furtick and Elevation Church rather than on Jesus Christ and His Word.

Here are two more“creepy,” things that I heard concerning Steven Furtick and Elevation Church while listening to Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith:

IN THE VIDEO BELOW, CHRIS ROSEBROUGH DISCUSSES ‘VISION CASTING’ WITH ‘ISSUES, ETC.’S,TODD WILKEN.  AT THE 29:10 MARK YOU WILL HEAR THE ‘CREEPY’ CODE FOR STEVEN FURTICK’S, ELEVATION CHURCH, AT 43:10 MINUTE MARK YOU WILL HEAR JAMES MACDONALD SPEAKING TO A GROUP OF PASTORS ABOUT WHAT TO DO WITH THE ‘DIVISIVE’ MAN, AND  AT THE 45:45 MINUTE MARK YOU WILL HEAR WHAT MARK DRISCOLL HAS TO SAY CONCERNING THOSE WHO WILL OPPOSE THE ‘VISION’ OF MARS HILL CHURCH.  NOTE THE EVIL IN HIS VOICE AS HE SPEAKS.  THOUGH I FIND ALL OF THESE CLIPS DISTURBING, MARK DRISCOLL’S CLIP IS THE MOST DISTURBING AND CLEARLY HIS ATTITUDE DOES NOT REFLECT CHRIST AT ALL!

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO CHRIS ROSEBROUGH’S DEC. 16th 2013 PROGRAM:

>>STEVEN FURTICK’S CREEEEEEEPY COMEDY<<

At the links below, you will read about some more disturbing information concerning Steven Furtick and Elevation Church that I also found today on Twitter.  More and more we are seeing manipulative tactics being used on people who attend mega-churches in order to bring about the results that only God can produce in a person’s heart.  Clearly and sadly, many ‘pastors’ today view the church simply as an organization or corporation, and they are using the strategies of men to produce growth and results.  May God bring all who participate in things similar to this to true repentance, for they will stand before a Holy God one day and give an account for all they have done and their motives for doing so, as will each and every one of us have to do. (1 Corinthians 3:12-16)

MORE REASONS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT STEVEN FURTICK:

HOW ELEVATION CHURCH PASTOR FURTICK PRODUCE SPONTANEOUS BAPTISM – BY STUART WATSON<

HOW STEVEN FURTICK ENGINEERED A SPONTANEOUS MIRACLE – BY JAMES DUNCAN OF ‘PAJAMA PAGES’ BLOG

I must admit that over the 14 1/2 years that I attended Harvest Bible Chapel Rolling Meadows, Pastor James would frequently have ‘spontaneous baptisms’ as Steven Furtick does at Elevation Church.  Sadly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the same manipulative tactics that are clearly used at Elevation Church are also used at Harvest Bible Chapel.

AT THE 45 MINUTE MARK AT THE LINK BELOW, CHRIS ROSEBROUGH POINTS OUT THE SERIOUS AND EVEN BLASPHEMOUS THINGS STEVEN FURTICK SAYS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH SANDY KRAKOWSKI CONCERNING HIS NEW BOOK, ‘CRASH THE CHATTERBOX’

CHRIS ROSEBROUGH — FURTICK’S CHATTERBOX BLASPHEMY

STAND UP FOR THE TRUTH PODCAST – WHEN DOES A CHURCH CROSS INTO A CULT

**UPDATED 3-4-14** FINAL POINT WHY YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT STEVEN FURTICK:

Last year at the ‘Holy Trinity Brompton  Leadership Conference,’ Steven Furtick said the following starting @4:15:

“I feel real strongly what God put in me to give to you tonight…”  “So I want to share with you…tonight from the Old Testament book of 2 Kings, and I want to share with you about a transitional moment in the life of Elisha the prophet.  And if you’ll stay with me in this sermon…I don’t know that you’ll take a lot of notes…usually when I come to a conference like this by this point I feel like I cannot write another thing…I have a notebook full of ideas, and…I feel like I don’t need another piece of information at this point.  So with that in mind, I thought I would get a little bit beyond the information realm, and…maybe we can move together tonight into a time of impartation (someone cheers at this point) and then maybe together we can see if  God would bring us into a… an encounter  with Him before we leave this place that…will change us and change our world.” (applause) SOURCE

In case you’re wondering why what Steven Furtick said should be very concerning, and in case you’re not aware of what ‘a time of impartation’ is to many leaders in the Charismatic Movement, please consider watching the following videos I posted below.  Briefly I will just say that since 1990 Nicky Gumbel has been the leader of the Alpha Course, and Holy Trinity Brompton Church is known for their promotion of the ‘Toronto Blessing‘ which includes ‘manifestations of animal noises,’ people being ‘slain in the spirit,’people acting ‘drunk in the spirit‘, and many other unbiblical manifestations as you will see in the second video that I posted below.

BENNY HINN HAVING A TIME OF IMPARTATION:

SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY BY ANDREW STROM:

ALPHA –  ATTEND OR AVOID – CECIL ANDREWS – PART 1 OF 2

Is it possible that Steven Furtick has gotten involved with these types of manifestations since he has become involved with Nicky Gumbel?  I am only speculating at this point, but it really makes you wonder why he used the term ‘a time of impartation‘ instead of ‘a time of prayer.’

**UPDATED 2-20-14** INFORMATION CONCERNING PERRY NOBLE:

Just as with Steven Furtick, I never heard of Perry Noble until information came out concerning the first ‘Elephant Room Conference‘ in which he took part in along with Steven Furtick and others.  As many in the ‘Church Growth Movement‘ do, Perry Noble chooses to use worldly methods to appeal to unbelievers in order to bring them into the church.  And in April of 2009 he chose to play AC DC’s song, ‘Highway To Hell‘ at his Easter Service at Newspring Church.  His reason for doing so, however, does not line up with what he declared during the ‘Elephant Room Conference.’  In the video below you will hear not only a short clip from ‘The Elephant Room Conference‘  in which Perry Noble explains his reason for doing so, but also you will hear him explain to his whole church congregation the reason why he played ‘Highway to Hell‘ for his Easter service.  His reason seems quite clear by what he says, but ultimately God will be the one who will judge his motives:

After listening to what he says in the video above, I encourage you to listen to the entire segment that took place during the Elephant Room Conference at the first link below where you can hear James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll, and Perry Noble discuss his decision to play that song in church:

SHOULD CHURCH LEADERS PLAY “HIGHWAY TO HELL” TO REACH UNBELIEVERS – CHURCHLEADERS WEBSITE

MORE RELATED ARTICLES

PERRY NOBLE MANGLES THE SCRIPTURES IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY PERFORMING HIGHWAY TO HELL IN CHURCH – CHRIS ROSEBROUGH OF ‘LETTER OF MARQUE’/’FIGHTING FOR THE FAITH’

ERIC YOUNG ‘HIGHWAY TO HELL’ BY PHIL JOHNSON VIS A VIS PERRY NOBLE JAMES MACDONALD AND THE DEMISE OF THE EVANGELICAL DISCERNMENT

A REVIEW OF PERRY NOBLE’S SERMON FROM AC/DC SUNDAY – IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT HE PLAYED THE SONG, ‘HIGHWAY TO HELL’ DID PERRY NOBLE AT LEAST PREACH THE GOSPEL ON EASTER OF 2009? READ HIS THOROUGH REVIEW AT THE LINK BELOW AND FIND OUT:

‘DEFENDING.CONTENDING.’BLOG – PERRY NOBLE’S MESSAGE FROM AC/DC SUNDAY

JAMES DUNCAN OF ‘PAJAMA PAGES’ – WHO KNEW YOU NEEDED AN EXCUSE NOT TO PLAY HIGHWAY TO HELL?

**UPDATED 2-28-14** INFORMATION CONCERNING JAMES MACDONALD:

Then there’s my former pastor, James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows, whom I deeply appreciated because of his strong stand for Biblical truth and how he would preach God’s Word without apology.  After leaving my former Assembly of God Church of 16 years because the leadership was beginning to get involved with the ‘Pensacola revival,’ I was finally beginning to trust a pastor again, and felt assured that James would be a pastor who would never give in to compromise.  However, as many of us now know, sadly he did begin to change.  If I had to pinpoint exactly when he started to change, I can say without a doubt it was right after he came back from staying with Greg Laurie when he was having his cancer treatments.  And by reading some comments on The Elephant’s Debt and comments on some of the posts on Blood Stained Ink, I know that many other people who used to attend HBCRM (and some who still attend) have come to that same realization.  Whether Greg Laurie influenced him in some way, or someone else did, it was obvious to many of us that he was no longer the same James MacDonald that we once knew and looked forward to hearing when he preached almost every Saturday evening and Sunday morning.  He changed so much that one morning as I heard him preaching I actually had these thoughts: 

“Who are you, and where is the real James MacDonald?  Did someone clone him and replace the real James with his clone?” 

One day when I was doing a ‘search’ on the Internet, I came across the following article which made me laugh:

CAREFULLY SCRIPTED ELEPHANT AVOIDANCE — E R SAGA (PART 3) — BY CAMERON BUETTEL

It was rather comforting knowing now that I wasn’t the only one who had some outlandish thoughts about James because the changes in him were so obvious and rather concerning!  In the article above which was written on February 10th 2012, Cameron Buettel said the following:

“It would seem that my theory about the real James MacDonald being abducted by aliens some time last year is not as far fetched as my doubters first thought.  Of the multitudes of weird things James MacDonald has done over the last year or so, perhaps the most alarming was his invitation to TD Jakes to attend his Elephant Room Conference where “brothers” discuss their methodological differences.” (SOURCE)

Yes, Cameron, I am in total agreement!  And  because of what happen that night concerning T D Jakes   —  as I explained in detail in my WARNING YOU WITH TEARS post — I did not return to Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows — my church of over 14 1/2 years — ever again.

**UPDATED 2-27-14** As previously mentioned, James came up with the idea of the ‘Elephant Room Conference.’  We then began to see James form a close bond (or should I say they formed a “tribe,” as they referred to it in these ‘Elephant Room’ conferences) with pastors that many of us have valid concerns about: Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick, Perry Noble…and then in ER2 there was T D Jakes –a known Modalist.  An idea that could have been amazing if James would have firmly, but lovingly held each pastor accountable to God’s Word and challenged them in certain areas where they were compromising, sadly ER2 ended in disaster because of how TDJakes was basically declared as having embraced the Biblical understanding of the Trinity, when it was obvious to many Biblical scholars who examined all that he had said that night that he was still using the language of a Modalist.  (Please consider listening to the many videos I added on my ‘Warning You With Tears’ post that examine all that T D Jakes said at ‘ER2’ in light of Scripture and in light of how one who does not believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity describes God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit). And even though James did stand his ground concerning Perry Noble’s idea of playing ‘Highway To Hell’ and constantly and firmly said it “was a bad idea,” and said,  “”I just don’t get it at all,”  and “The message of ‘Highway To Hell’ is blatantly offensive,” if you listen to the link I posted above — ‘Should Church Leaders Play ‘Highway To Hell’ To Reach Unbelievers,’ —  after James continued to listen to Perry Noble justify his reasons for playing it, near the end you will sadly hear James suddenly begin to change his once firm stand on his strong opposition to it.  Towards the end of the video after listening to Perry Noble constantly defend his decision to play ‘HTH’, he asks Matt Chandler if he would play ‘HTH’ in his church, and then James says the following: 

“He’s really making me think.  I gotta say that.  I mean he’s really making me think… he has a strategy, it’s thought through…he believes it honors God, he doesn’t think he’s compromising in any way.” Like he is on it with a passion, and a reason, and defending it –toe to toe.” …”He’s thought it through very carefully” 

After Matt Chandler expresses concern about the possibility that pastors may fly into license; all things are permissible,’ James says:

“To me personally I would never allow something that so defames the glory of God and the reputation of Jesus.  I would not allow it in my service.  Unclean!  I would not allow it.” 

Concerning Perry Noble’s decision to play ‘Highway To Hell,’ Mark Driscoll asked James: 

“…do you think it was a sin against God?” 

James replied:

“…I don’t doubt his motives and I definitely don’t think it was sin for him to do it…” 

“Here’s my thought on the subject for what it’s worth:  I’m already being instructed by this.  Frankly I’m not surprised, but I’m blessed by the sincerity, and the intentionality with which you’re doing the things that you’re doing.  Like I’m instructed by that.  I’m going have to think about that –some more.  My perspective is this:  If it doesn’t adorn the gospel…it’s the beauty of Christ that’s at stake in everything we do.  The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (Then quotes 2 Corinthians 3:18 )

“If it doesn’t adorn the beauty of God’s great Son, if it doesn’t display Him and show Him off…it’s the manifest presence  of God in the service which is the powerful life changing element.   I believe that if it doesn’t adorn the gospel it doesn’t advance the gospel.  We may see fruit…some fruit from it…we may draw people with it, we may draw decisions with it…and I’ll say it as simply as I know how in summary: I do think that if it doesn’t adorn the gospel, it doesn’t advance the gospel.”

Perry Noble says, in part:

…I think it was used to adore, and be used to advance the gospel because the song was redeemed.”

James replied:

“I’m gonna just say that I’m really blessed by you right now because your…your thinking is a lot different that I thought it was gonna to be.  I think you’re wrong about it.  But you really have thought it through…as you said, ‘we prayed on it’…”  “I’m just gonna stand on that point… if it doesn’t make Jesus more beautiful to people it’s not advancing our mission.”  ” If it’s not elevating God and God’s glory and God’s great Son then it’s not advancing the mission.  I really struggle with this idea that to be-in order to connect people  with Christ you have to be like them.  That ‘I gotta become like them to reach them’ is something that uh…I’m just not there yet.”

Perry: 

That’s what Jesus did.”

James: 

“Yeah?” (Silence for 3 seconds, and then James says:  “That would take another session.” 

James:

All right.  Fantastic.  Let’s wrap it up.” 

And then that particular ‘conversation’ came to an end.

These conferences seemed more like ‘Hegelian Dialectic‘ sessions where the goal is to wear down those with opposing views so they conform to the beliefs of the majority.  Did you notice how James would have his focus on Scripture, and yet notice how many times “I think”  was said instead of them keeping their focus on the truth of God’s Word and the Holiness of God and the reverence that we should have in our times of worship.  A shift began to take place where the belief of playing something so horrendous in a church as ‘Highway To Hell‘ was slowly becoming a possibility…at the very end it seemed that James might possibly consider trying to ‘be like them to reach them‘ with maybe a little more time and a little more thought.

We cannot be led by our feelings or our own ideas and justify something by simply saying, “We prayed about it.”  Our standard to judge what’s right and wrong must always be God’s Word, and we must never lose sight of the fact that God is pure and completely Holy and our worship we give to Him must be nothing less than that; pure and completely holy! 

“…worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”  (Hebrews 12:28,29)

If you are not aware of what the Hegelian Dialectic Process is, I highly encourage you to watch the following video: 

Just think of the many who attended ER2 in January 2012 or watched by live stream and walked away that night believing that TD Jakes indeed is a “brother-in-Christ.”  Think of those who bought the DVD’s, and those who are not firmly grounded in the truth of God’s Word who may even begin to  listen to his sermons and be caught up in his ‘Word of Faith‘ false teachings, which is another serious error in T D Jakes‘ teachings that James and the other pastors chose not to address and confront him on that night.  Those of us who are ‘born of the Spirit,’ must be Bereans and examine the Scriptures daily to see if what is being said (and done by those who claim to speak for God) is true,’  (Acts 17:11) so that we will not be deceived.  We are not to trust in men but in God alone.  Pastors and teachers are to follow Christ and His command to ‘preach the Word,’ and to ‘go and make disciples,’ and not be led astray by following the dictates of their deceitful hearts.

Not only have  some people lost sight of the Holiness of God, but also many have lost their fear of God.  Profanity in the pulpit is a common occurrence in many churches today, when God’s Word clearly says otherwise, concerning the speech and conversations of those who profess to be followers of Christ and leaders in the church, as you can see from some of the Scriptures I posted further down.

When friendships with certain people begin to eclipse our ability to discern, and if our acceptance by others slowly becomes more important that our desire to honor and please God, you can be sure that it will be the beginning of a continuous downward spiral.  And that is what I believe we are all witnessing concerning James and many pastors and teachers today –compromise for the sake of ‘unity’  and acceptance which not only causes one to harden their heart against the warnings and truth presented in God’s Word, but also hinders them from discerning truth from error. 

Here’s another example:  In January, James went away for some rest.  And by his tweet below you can see that on one of those days he attended Perry Noble’s Newspring Church.  And concerning Perry Noble’s new series on ‘CHANGE,’ he said the following:

Capture James MacDonald at New Spring Church Jan. 12, 2014

I haven’t yet listened to the actual sermon that James listened to on that particular Sunday, but it was entitled: Three Things That Must Happen For Change To Happen.’  If you’d like, you can go to Newspring Church’s website and listen to it in light of Scripture (Acts 17:11) and come to your own conclusion.

If you’d like to listen to a Biblical analysis of one of Perry Noble’s sermons in his series on Change, you can listen to Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith,’ at the link below.  That will give you a glimpse into how Perry Noble misapplies Scripture, and will also leave you wondering why James would publicly tell his followers on Twitter that one of Perry Noble’s sermons is “great.”  Maybe that particular one was, but by all the other ones I have heard him  ‘preach,’ I am sorry to say that it is highly unlikely that it was.

MISADVENTURES IN BAD HERMENEUTICS – PERRY NOBLE TURNS JOHN 3:16 INTO A TITHING TEXT

Here’s an example of how Perry Noble clearly takes  Scriptures out of context.  In this video Perry takes Scriptures that can only apply to Jesus and applies them to Steven Furtick!  It is not a stretch at all that Chris Rosebrough entitled the following video, THE BLASPHEMOUS GOSPEL OF STEVEN FURTICK BY PERRY NOBLE’

Another concern we should have with James and his involvement with — and promotion of — Perry Noble, is the fact that Perry Noble promotes the book, SACRED MARRIAGE by Gary Thomas.  In the following video Perry says:

It is the best book on marriage written,” and “…very excellent information that everybody needs to hear”

And in case you’re wondering why Perry Noble promoting that book by Gary Thomas is concerning to many, please consider reading the following articles at Lighthouse Trails at the link below this ‘quick capture‘ and you will understand why you should be concerned about Perry Noble or any pastor promoting a book by Gary Thomas.  Here’s an excerpt from one of those articles which clearly reveals why many are concerned about the unbiblical and even mystical teachings that Gary Thomas presents in his books:

Capture GARY THOMAS SACRED MARRIAGE AND MYSTICISMSOURCE

ARTICLES AT LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS-GARY THOMAS SACRED MARRIAGE AND MYSTICISM

 

SCRIPTURES FOR YOU TO REFLECT ON

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

“He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind; for He is not a human being, that He should change His mind.” (1 Samuel 15:29)

“I the LORD do not change.” (Malachi 3:6a)

“People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”                    (Hebrews 6:16-19a)

 

**2-9-14 ** PLEASE READ THESE SCRIPTURES WITH THIS QUESTION IN MIND: DO THE QUALITIES IN SOME OF THESE SCRIPTURES DESCRIBE MY PASTOR?

“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s suffering who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)

“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.  Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own family well and see that his own family obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.  He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”  (1 Timothy 3:1-7) 

“An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:6-9)

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.  For Scripture says,  “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”  Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.  But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.  I charge you in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.” (1 Timothy 5:17-21)

“So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-15)

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.  Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” (Romans 16:17,18)

“Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.  For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard!  Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:26-31)

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.  I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” (2 Corinthians 12:20)

“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good.  For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that man will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34-37)

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.  And live a life of love,just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore do not be partners with them.  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.  This is why it is said,  “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  (Ephesians 5:1-16)

“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”  (Colossians 3:8)

“Let your conversations be always full of grace, …so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  (Colossians 4:6)

“Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed.”                     (1 Samuel 2:3)

“To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”  (Proverbs 8:13)

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”  (Proverbs 11:2)

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)

“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advise.” (Proverbs 13:10)

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”             (Proverbs 16:18)

“A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)

“The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:11)

“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’  (Obadiah 1:3)

“The Word of the LORD came to me:  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says,  “Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves!  Should not shepherds take care of the flock?  You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.  You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.  You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.  You have ruled them harshly and brutally.  So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.  My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every hill.  They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.  Therefore, you shepherds, hear the Word of the LORD:  As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because My shepherds did not search for My flock but cared for themselves rather than My flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the Word of the LORD:  This is what the Sovereign LORD says:  I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for My flock.  I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves.  I will rescue My flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.  For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I Myself will search for My sheep and look after them.  As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them,  so will I look after My sheep.  I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” (Ezekiel 34:1-12)

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7,8)

**UPDATE 2-9-14** If you have read all the Scriptures above, then please click HERE, and if your pastor is  JAMES MACDONALD OF HARVEST BIBLE CHAPEL ROLLING MEADOWS, please take the next hour or so to listen to his message from the ‘ACT LIKE MEN’ CONFERENCE in its entirety. 

If you have been one of those who have ignored the serious concerns that many of us have tried to warn you about concerning James MacDonald’s character, and how much he has changed, after listening to his message can you now honestly say that his character and speech honors Christ and matches the Biblical description of an elder?If you are a man and you brought your son or a man you were sharing Christ’s love and the gospel with to this conference, would you be proud of the speech of your pastor, or cringe and feel ashamed?  Or more importantly, what do you think Jesus thought of his message?  Did James truly glorify God with his whole message, or did he compromise in order to please men? 

Since James has become very good friends with Mark Driscoll — who is sadly referred to by many as “the cussing pastor,” — maybe he has been wrongly influenced by his behavior.  However, there is no excuse for James speaking as he did at the ‘Act Like Men‘ conference.  He knows full well how our speech and our behavior as a follower of Christ is to reflect Christ and not reflect the behavior of the world.

James’ brother is in extremely critical condition after suffering a massive stroke, and I am deeply sorry to hear that and am praying for him, but this issue needs to be dealt with and not ignored!

SECOND ITEM OF CONCERN:

A long time former member of Harvest Bible Chapel Rolling Meadows informed me that HBCRM sent out a very lengthy letter to those who have recently left Harvest.  (I have not received one yet.  Maybe they are sending letters only to those who have not already let them know why they have left).  Below is a ‘quick capture‘ of a condensed summary giving just the main highlights in the letter that this person received from HBCRM and was nice enough to share with me by email:

Capture HBCRM LETTER MAILED TO THOSE WHO HAVE LEFT HARVEST

So, former Harvesters, what would it take for you to return?  Would you even consider returning?  Would you return if James sincerely repented for the reasons that caused you to leave?  Are you planning on responding to this letter?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Someone who just read the recent HBCRMElder’s Update‘ informed me of the fact that James has agreed to take a pay cut and made many other commendable ‘lifestyle adjustments.’  But is this enough?  True change takes place in the heart when godly sorrow grips a person and they realize the wrong they have done and ask forgiveness from those they have offended and sinned against.  Are we seeing these changes take place in the heart and words of James?  Only God knows his heart, so we must not judge his intentions, but the evidence of true repentance must be more than superficial changes.

The elder update also speaks of “accountability between senior staff and Elder board,“and “the priority of seeking reconciliation in relationships with former church leaders.”  All good steps in the right direction, for sure!

But what about the ”ELDER VIDEO” in which the character of men were destroyed in front of all who attended Harvest that day?  What kind of impression did ‘first time visitors’ have if they attended that particular day? Below is a ‘quick capture’ of a review of HBCRM on ‘yelp,’ given by a person who attended HBCRM only a few times, and one of those times he attended was the day the ‘Elder Update‘ video was played for the entire congregation.  I accidentally came across this a couple of weeks ago:

Capture Review of HBC on yelp

The ‘elders video,’ incident  was bad enough, but what do you think a first time visitor thought if they came to HBCRM on Easter Sunday 2013 when James chose to preach on –money??!!  I never would have thought that James would have passed up an opportunity to preach the gospel on such a perfect day as the day we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  How utterly sad and even possibly blasphemous that he would choose to do such a thing!  Truly James has changed!

Personally, I would not return even if he had a sincere change of heart and repented and asked forgiveness from all the people he has hurt, although I am still continuing to pray that one day that will indeed happen. 

Even though I have forgiven James and long to be with some of my friends who are still there, I have found a church where the pastor has served faithfully for many years, and who preaches verse by verse without taking any verses out of context, or distorting it in order to add his own agenda.  My new pastor preaches every Sunday and does not get involved with pastors who distort the Word of God.  My new pastor knows me by name, and has talked with me almost every Sunday over the two years that I have now been there since leaving HBCRM.  I have even had lunch with my pastor and his wife and daughter, and he kindly and generously paid for my lunch.  Sadly, James would not even know me by name, even though I was a member for over 14 years and sat in the front of church within the first three or four rows, Sunday after Sunday.  A smaller, more intimate church where they sing hymns with lyrics that praise God, giving Him all the glory He is SO deserving of, and where people know one another and encourage one another has been the kind of church I have now found, and I am very happy and at peace there.  No more waiting for James to change and going home every Sunday feeling discouraged and righteously angry because of how he used certain Scriptures to insult those of us who have discernment and instead he labeled us as being “divisive.”

Please keep James and his brother in your prayers as I will be doing.  It is not my intent to “bash” James— it saddens me to post this, especially knowing his brother is now in such serious condition, but I found this audio from the ‘Act Like MenConference before I heard about his brother, and had been planning on updating this post with more information since I wrote it on Jan. 23, 2014.  My sole intention of adding the audio clip is that I am hoping and praying that God will use it to help those of you who are not only continuing to cling to the idea of “how much James has accomplished in the past,” but also to help those of you who are refusing to listen to the concerns that many have expressed on ‘The Elephant’s Debt,’ (especially on their latest and possibly last post —TO EVERY SEASON’ ).  It is my prayer that many of you will finally realize — after first reading the Scriptures I posted and then listening to his message — that indeed the character of James does not line up with the godly character traits that an elder must have according to God’s Word, and that all of you will begin to think and pray about what God would have you to do.

Scott and Ryan have shed light on many serious concerns regarding the conduct and character of James MacDonald.  Many godly men have come forward to give their statements concerning why they have left, and they have shared their personal stories of their experiences with James.  It’s time that all of us get our focus on Jesus, and not on any man and his ministry.  It’s time to examine the evidence and seek God in prayer for answers and wisdom as to what He would have you all to do.

Men, no matter who your pastor is, you are ordained by God to be the spiritual leader for your family.  You will have to stand before God one day and give an account for how you have led your wife and your children spiritually, so please make sure you are testing all the messages that your pastor is preaching against the Word of God, (Acts 17:11) and if necessary, find a new church home where the Word of God is accurately preached and the pastor’s character reflects the character of Christ Himself.

HBCRM members and attendees, spend time praying for God to change James’ heart, but seek God as to how much longer He would have you wait to see true repentance take place.  Or maybe in your time of prayer He will lead you to begin a search to find a new church where the pastor is accountable to godly men who have been appointed as elders by the votes of members of the church, and where the pastor will be faithful to preach God’s Word and will not give in to compromise.

**UPDATED 3-5-14** 7:05 p.m.** IN CLOSING

There was a time when most men of God were faithful to the call of God to go and preach the gospel and make disciples and correct and rebuke those who were in error.  But sadly today some pastors simply view the church as an ‘organization’ and some even go as far as saying, “I think that Jesus is the product” (that they attempt to sell) as T D Jakes stated in the following interview:

Many mega-pastors use worldly marketing strategies and some use feel-good messages that appeal to the desires of their ‘consumers’ to grow their church instead of preaching a gospel of sin and repentance and the glorious good news of the gospel of God’s mercy and grace.  Many may leave feeling good and many will probably even come back, but without hearing the truth that we are all sinners on the road to a real eternal lake of fire, their ‘best life’ will be only the good they experience here ‘now’ on this earth, and those who have ‘preached’ a ‘gospel’ that has no power to save will have to stand before God one day and answer for what they have done and failed to do.  The blood of their people will be upon their hands. 

And some pastors go to the other extreme and focus more on the law and make their people feel condemned because of their sins, and they do not share the ‘good news’ of the gospel that if they repent and receive what Jesus did when He not only took upon Himself the detestable sins  that we have committed, but also Jesus took upon Himself the full wrath of God that was intended for us because of our sins, and that we can be completely forgiven and clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and our sins will then be as far as the east is from the west, and cast into the depths of the sea.  

Presently we are seeing more and more pastors and teachers focusing on ‘unity’ and focusing less and less on Biblical truth.  Few today are men of God who have remained faithful to preach and to teach God’s Word to their congregations –all because they have not allowed the pressure to conform to the new standards to measure success as a church by, which seems to be,“It’s all about the numbers,” as mega-pastor Steven Furtick has been known to say.  More and more these types of pastors continue to lose sight of their mission of preaching the gospel and equipping the saints, and instead seek to build more and more churches which have become their empires destined to crumble if these pastors do not repent and return to Jesus, their first love.

The true gospel is about preaching sin and repentance to people to make them see their need for a Savior, and realizing that God alone has the power to convict someone of sin and to lead someone to repentance.  To use emotionally manipulating tactics — such as playing music when the pastor is preaching or about to give an altar call, or planting people in the service to come forward so as to motivate others to follow and come forward in an altar call — (as many of us have discovered is being done by seeing the latest news coming out concerning Steven Furtick, Elevation Church, and so-called ‘spontaneous baptisms‘), or to present sermons and music in a worship service that appeals to the sinful nature of men, implies that the good news of the gospel no longer has the power nor is it sufficient any longer to save someone.  And nothing could be further from the truth!

Many pastors and teachers — and all of us who are followers of Christ, for that matter — may start out with pure motives and a heart that desires to follow God without compromise, however, what really matters is how we finish on this road called ‘life.’  This thought came to mind towards the end February of this year as I was doing my daily Bible reading.  As I often do at the start of a new year, I began reading through the Old Testament.  On this one particular day as I was reading through 2 Chronicles, I began to reflect upon the many kings of Israel who started out serving God, but in the end they began to compromise and did not remain faithful to God.  Here are just a few of them:

“Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD.  He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles.  He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey His laws and commands.  He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him.  Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.  Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said,  “LORD, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty.  Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this vast army.  O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You.”  The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah.  The Cushites fled, and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar.  “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded.  He went out to meet Asa and said to him,  “Listen to me, Asa and all and all Judah and Benjamin.  The LORD is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.  But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”  When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage.  He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim.  He repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the portico of the LORD’s temple.  They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul.  All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.  They took an oath to the LORD with loud acclamation, with shouting, and with trumpets and horns.  All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly.  They sought God eagerly, and He was found by them.  So the LORD gave them rest on every side.  King Asa also deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole.  Asa cut the pole down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley.  Although he did not remove the high places from Israel, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life.  “At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa King of Judah and said to him,  “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand.  Were not the Cushites and the Libyans a mighty army with great number of chariots and horsemen?  Yet when you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hands.  For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.  You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.  Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison.  At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.  The events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.  In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet.  Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.  Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his fathers.” (2 Chronicles 14:2-5,9-13a,15:1,2,8,9,12-17,16:7-13)

“Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years.  His mother’s name was Jehoaddin; she was from Jerusalem.  He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly.  When Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir.  He set them up as his own gods, bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them.  The anger of the LORD burned against Amaziah, and He sent a prophet to him, who said,  “Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?”  While he was still speaking, the king said to him,  “Have we appointed you as an adviser to the king?  Stop!  Why be struck down?”  So the prophet stopped but said,  “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.”  From the time that Amaziah turned away from following the LORD, they conspired against him in Jerusalem and he fled to Lachish, but they sent men after him to Lachish and killed him there.  He was brought back by horse and was buried with his fathers in the city of Judah.”              (2 Chronicles 25:1,2,14-16,27,28)

“Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years.  His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem.  He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done.  He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God.  As  long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.  God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabs who lived in Gur Baal, and against the Meunites.  The Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread as far as the border of Egypt, because he had become very powerful.  But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.  He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.  Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in.  They confronted him and said,  “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD.  That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense.  Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.”  Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry.  While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.  When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out.  Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.  King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died.” (2 Chronicles 27:3-5,7,8,16-21)

After reading all the many accounts of the kings of Israel, suddenly I thought of many popular pastors and teachers who no longer serve God wholeheartedly and who began to change and who have given in to compromise.  These pastors no longer contend for the faith and no longer protect their sheep from false teachers as they once did.  Instead they invite them in to preach from their very own pulpits!  On the day they stand before a Holy God who alone knows their hearts and their motives, it won’t matter how many churches they planted, or how many people came forward in an altar call, or how many came forward to be baptized.  What will matter is did they really place their trust in Christ.  And, if so, were they faithful to preach the gospel without compromise?  Were they faithful to earnestly contend for the faith?  Were they faithful to preach His Word in season  and out of season and teach their people how to rightly divide His Word?  Did they bring correction when it was needed?  Did they expose error and protect their people lovingly and fervently as a shepherd protects his sheep from wolves whose main intent is to kill and destroy them?

Many pastors and teachers — and many ordinary followers of Christ, as well — need to have a fresh realization of the Holiness of God.  Because, sadly, many obviously have lost their fear of God, or they would not be doing some of the many things that they are doing these days and claiming that ‘God told them to do it.’  We all need to have our focus on Jesus Christ alone, and seek Him in His Word alone.

We also need to pray for our pastors and teachers, and pray for one another that God would fill our hearts with repentance and that we would seek Him wholeheartedly so that we will not change along with the culture of this world that is so obviously in rebellion against a Holy God.

A W TOZER – THE HOLINESS OF GOD

 

As always, God has a remnant of believers who will not give in to compromise and who will continue to earnestly contend for the faith.  Will you be one of them?

WHY I WROTE THE FOLLOWING POEM

I began writing this poem a few months ago out of concern because of what I see happening in mega-churches in general.  However, after listening to a video of a sermon from the weekend of January 4th and 5th 2014 preached by James MacDonald — my former pastor for over 14 1/2 years — and hearing how he enticed the people in his congregation by saying,“The biggest miracle that’s ever happened in the history of Harvest Bible Chapel is happening right now,” and how he went on to say that ‘he couldn’t tell everyone about it yet, but would in a few months,’ and upon learning from an ‘inside source‘  at the very end of December that “the [giving] “envelopes” were on every chair as people entered the auditorium,” and that “…the give stage was set from the beginning,” I was then strongly motivated to finish this poem so that I could warn people of not only the manipulative tactics that some pastors use to lure them in and to keep them there, but also I again realized the need to remind people of the importance of  looking to Jesus Christ alone and studying God’s Word so that people would not be deceived by  men and lured and  captivated by their ‘vision casting’ plans that are presented to them by these pastors. Therefore, the following poem has some verses that are much longer than the verses in most of my other poems because whenever I attempt to express my concerns about serious matters, I find it very difficult to condense my thoughts into short verses.  I apologize for how it appears, but I hope the message comes across without the lengthy verses being a distraction to you.

Thank you very much for stopping by and taking time out of your busy day to read some of my posts and poems.

God Bless You

~Living4HisGlory

 

YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THE FOLLOWING:

**ADDED 2-26-14** THE CULT OF THE VISIONEER – TODD PRUITT, REFORMATION 21 BLOG

**ADDED 3-5-14** PAUL PROCTOR – THE PEOPLE’S CHURCH WILLOWCREEK AND THE CHURCH GROWTH MOVEMENT

**ADDED 2-20-14** PASTOR RANDY WHITE – WHY I LEFT THE CHURCH GROWTH MOVEMENT

SAME INFORMATION AS ARTICLE ABOVE, BUT IN VIDEO FORM BELOW.  ARTICLE READ BY CHRIS ROSEBROUGH OF ‘FIGHTING FOR THE FAITH

19736917

UNCHANGING

I serve a God who is unchanging, His Word is living and complete

Yet some ignore this truth, to seek new revelations and experiences at His feet

Then there’s the mighty mega-pastor, who once lived in humble, simple ways

When asked the reason for his success, he would always give God the praise

A foundation once built on Christ and on His Word alone

Has given way to building using strategies of men, and God’s Word is twisted so his

own agenda can be shown

Many eyes are now being opened, discernment and knowledge are some reasons why

As God’s Spirit and godly men reveal what’s hidden in darkness, the truth is then

hard to deny

Rather than repent, these men seem to just continue to plan and to scheme

They hype up their sheep with hints of exciting things to come; the newest

mega-pastor’s dream

Their hope is to keep the devoted ones coming and giving, so as not to foil their

slightly revealed vision casted plan

Sadly these pastors have drifted far from their calling, to preach God’s Word and to

reveal a Holy God to sinful man

Shouldn’t it be enough to proclaim what Christ has done

To proclaim the unchanging glorious gospel; sin has been atoned for, it is finished,

Christ has won

Shouldn’t we simply bow in humble reverence, and praise His Holy name

And not continually praise how great our church is, and focus on its growth and its

fame

What about instructing their sheep in sound doctrine, and dying to self and turning

from sin

And warning of wolves in sheep’s clothing, instead they’re uniting and inviting them in

God’s Word is unchanging, His truth is what sets men free

But many pastors fail to teach God’s Word or to prepare their people for eternity

Caught up in being relevant and planting churches, many have strayed off the straight

and narrow path

They have changed their once powerful gospel message, without repentance these

pastors will sadly face God’s wrath

Abandoning their sheep, giving in to compromise, no longer faithful to love and to lead

These pastors leave a trail of wounded people, they have turned a deaf ear to the truth

when they plead

There is still hope for change through repentance, if they choose to surrender to

conviction and no longer rebel

If ignored, the cost to themselves and their hearers, will be none other than the

fires of hell

The methods and messages of some pastors truly are changing, but our God is

unchanging and His Word makes it clear

That we must contend for the faith, for deception is great, and proves Christ return is

indeed drawing near

Copyright© 2014 Mary K. Dalke/Living4HisGlory/Living For His Glory All rights reserved.

**UPDATED 3-14-14 6:33 P.M. ADDED LINK TO PASTOR TOM PENNINGTON’S SERMON SERIES ‘WOLVES IN THE PULPIT’ (SEE UNDER ‘YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THE FOLLOWING.’

**UPDATED AND COMPLETED WEDNESDAY, 3-5-14** 7:17 P.M.

**UPDATED WEDNESDAY 3-5-14 10:00 A.M.** ADDED ARTICLE ON THE CHURCH GROWTH MOVEMENT BY PAUL PROCTOR. SEE UNDER ‘FURTHER READING.’ DATED IN RED.

**UPDATED TUESDAY 3-4-14 6:02 P.M.**  ADDED INFORMATION CONCERNING STEVEN FURTICK.  SEE UNDER ‘FINAL POINT WHY YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT STEVEN FURTICK,’ DATED IN RED.  WILL ADD CLOSING THOUGHTS WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS WHICH WILL FINALLY COMPLETE THIS POST.

**UPDATED SATURDAY 3-1-14 3:30 P.M.**  ADDED SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS.  SEE UNDER ‘IN CLOSING’ AND ‘WHY I WROTE THIS POEM,’ DATED IN RED.  ALMOST FINISHED…JUST A LITTLE MORE TO GO.  LORD WILLING, SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY EARLY NEXT WEEK.

**UPDATED FRIDAY 2-28-14 10:10 P.M.** ADDED SOME ‘CONVERSATION’ BETWEEN JAMES MACDONALD, PERRY NOBLE, AND MARK DRISCOLL FROM ‘ELEPHANT ROOM 1’ CONCERNING PERRY N. PLAYING ‘HIGHWAY TO HELL.’  ( DATED IN RED – SEE UNDER ‘INFORMATION CONCERNING JAMES MACDONALD’)

**UPDATED THURSDAY 2-27-14  9:17 p.m.** ADDED MORE INFORMATION CONCERNING JAMES AND PERRY NOBLE (DATED IN RED) JUST NEED TO ADD MY CLOSING COMMENTS, BUT MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FINISH TOMORROW.  HAVE AN IMPORTANT FAMILY MATTER TO ATTEND TO THAT CAME UP.  LORD WILLING, I WILL COMPLETE THIS POST WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.  THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY, AND THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

**UPDATED WEDNESDAY 2-26-14 9:00 p.m.**  ADDED ARTICLE ‘THE CULT OF THE VISIONEER’ BY TODD PRUITT UNDER ‘FURTHER READING,’  SOME INFORMATION CONCERNING JAMES MACDONALD, AND AN ARTICLE CONCERNING JAMES BY CAMERON BUETTEL.  (DATE IN RED).  LORD WILLING, I AM HOPING TO COMPLETE THIS POST BY THE END OF THIS WEEK.  THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

**UPDATED FRIDAY 2-21-14 12:00 P.M**. ADDED ‘STAND UP FOR THE TRUTH’ PODCAST CONCERNING STEVEN FURTICK -“WHEN DOES A CHURCH CROSS INTO A CULT” AND VIDEO OF STEVEN F. ENCOURAGING ‘ELEVATION CHILDREN’ TO LEARN ‘THE CODE.’

**UPDATED THURSDAY 2-20-14 9:13 P.M.** ADDED MANY LINKS TO INFORMATION ON PERRY NOBLE, PERRY NOBLE VIDEO, ARTICLE BY DR. RANDY WHITE CONCERNING THE ‘CHURCH GROWTH MOVEMENT.  (DATED IN RED).

**UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 2-19-2014** ADDED  INFORMATION ON STEVEN FURTICK AND ELEVATION CHURCH, AND MORE ON FRANCIS CHAN.  ALSO ADDED LINK (COLORED IN RED) TO THE ‘ELDER  VIDEO.’ ALL INFORMATION DATED AND COLORED IN RED.  THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

**UPDATED MONDAY, 2-17-14 6:20p.m.** ADDED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GREG LAURIE AND INFORMATION ON FRANCIS CHAN.  SEE INFORMATION DATED 2-17-14

** UPDATE 2-15-14 9:26 P.M.**  I WAS HOPING TO FINISH THIS POST BY TODAY, BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT I NEEDED TO TAKE CARE OF FIRST.  LORD WILLING, I HOPE TO FINALLY COMPLETE THIS POST BY WEDNESDAY.  ONCE AGAIN, I AM VERY SORRY, AND APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.

**UPDATED 2-12-14**SEE UNDER THE FIRST SET OF SCRIPTURES. DATE IN RED.  LORD WILLING, HOPE TO HAVE THIS POST COMPLETED BY THE END OF THIS WEEK

**UPDATED 2-9-14 9:01 p.m.**  ADDED LINK TO JAMES MACDONALD’S MESSAGE FROM HIS ‘ACT LIKE MEN’ CONFERENCE WITH SOME THOUGHTS FOR YOU TO PRAYERFULLY PONDER, AS WELL AS A HBCRM REVIEW I CAME ACROSS ON ‘YELP,’ AND INFORMATION ON A LETTER RECENTLY SENT TO MANY WHO HAVE LEFT HBCRM.  (ALL UPDATES DATED IN RED

UPDATE 2-6-14  3:32P.M. ADDED MORE SCRIPTURES**  WILL TRY TO COMPLETE POST WHEN TIME ALLOWS…NEED TO CATCH UP ON SOME THINGS FIRST.  THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

UPDATE 1-31-14 11:38A.M.**  FOR THE PAST WEEK I HAVE BEEN GATHERING INFORMATION TO SUPPORT SOME OF THE COMMENTS I WILL BE ADDING TO FINALLY FINISH THIS POST.  LORD WILLING, I HOPE TO HAVE EVERYTHING I AM SEARCHING FOR — AND THIS POST COMPLETED — BY EARLY NEXT WEEK –MAYBE SOONER.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

 

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