Archive for the ‘Apostasy’ Category

from The Wall Street Journal

Courtesy of Christian News Network excerpted from a WSJ subscription only article.

A gathering of Southern Baptists here opened this week with Albert Mohler, stalwart head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, apologizing for “denying the reality of sexual orientation,” but saying orientation “can change.”

It closed with a pastor saying “no one goes to hell for being homosexual,” but he added Christians must remind homosexual friends and family members that “the day of judgment is coming.”

The statements from the largest and one of the most conservative Protestant denominations made waves in the religious and gay communities. Some praised the Southern Baptist Convention for softening its tone and message when discussing homosexuals. Critics complained that nothing really had changed.

But others who attended said a shift was taking place. In private meetings and one-on-one encounters during the week, Southern Baptists and gay-rights advocates said they established relationships they hope will carry both sides through a time of deep cultural change, particularly as the church navigates issues such as the increasing acceptance of same-sex ‘marriage’.

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from MSN News:

The pastor of one of the Pacific north-west’s most successful evangelical mega churches stepped down on Tuesday, amid allegations that he bullied dissenting members and plagiarized.

Mark Driscoll announced his resignation from the Mars Hill church in Seattle, Washington, in a letter to church accountability advisers published by Religion News Service and later on the Mars Hill website.

“I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Driscoll. “Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit,” he said.

Described by some as an “evangelical bad boy,” Driscoll founded the now-14,000-member church in 1996. The pastor gives sermons the way some explain neurology in Ted Talks, and he’s credited with bringing evangelicalism into the digital age.

Last Easter, for example, the church’s 15 locations in five states packed in more than 21,000 attendees for its service, and another 50,000 people watched the downtown Seattle service online. Other online promotions, like Mars Hill GO, have the look and sound of an iPad app, but support the church’s missionising theology.

Despite the church’s sophisticated online presence, some of Driscoll’s theological views have been cited as opposing modern sensibilities. Complementarianism, one of the church’s teachings, reasons that men and women were created by God equal in dignity, but that the sexes have specific and distinct roles to play. Men, for instance, are expected to lead the household – and their wives.

After years of pressure, Driscoll took a six-week leave of absence from the church in mid-August, and tendered his resignation to the church’s board of advisers and accountability that investigated him.

“Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ,” Driscoll said.

Controversy began to coalesce around Driscoll in 2007, when he attempted to reduce the power of church elders through the congregation’s bylaws, according to the New York Times. Later, the nine church elders who asked Driscoll to step down resigned or were fired, Driscoll’s books were pulled from the 186 stores of the LifeWay Christian Resources retailer, and petitions called for an investigation into financial mismanagement.

Leaders told RNS that Driscoll was never charged with heresy or immorality, but that, “Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.”

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from Stand Up For The Truth:

Dwight Visioncasting

What is Vision Casting? Where does it come from? And is Vision Casting Biblical? There is a way that is biblical, as our guest explains. And unfortunately, there is a broad way that a growing number of church leaders cast vision that is nowhere to be found in Scripture – but is often used to control and manipulate.  Today we’re going to explore those methods with our guest.

Chris Rosebrough is the host of the daily radio program, Fighting For The Faith, heard around the world on Pirate Christian Radio, a broadcast group he founded to help Christians discern God’s Word by taking a look at what people say and teach in the name of Jesus and holding it up to the light of Scripture.

Stand Up For The Truth is a radio and online ministry that covers news of the day, trends in the church and theological issues that Christians deal with and talk about every day, and we give you a place to be educated, equipped and connected to help you discern along the way. But most importantly, we point you to Christ Jesus as our Savior, and His Word – the Scriptures, as the truth that you can depend on. In fact, you should filter everything you read, hear and consume as a believer – including what you find on this program – through the Scriptures to see if it lines up.


Listen to the podcast here.

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“To pastors outside the Christian-rock-star echo chamber, the issue has never really been one of “will Driscoll repent?” Rather the issue has always been one of “will Christian leaders recognize how foolish it was to expose their people to Driscoll’s preaching and leadership?”

Worldview Weekend:

In many ways, Mark Driscoll’s stepping down from his church brings to a close a somewhat ignominious chapter in the history of American Evangelicalism (you know something is ignominious when it gets Voxified). The Driscoll Decade of Drama unfolded like a circus: for ten years there was a show in town, and there were otherwise respectable people selling tickets. Many of those people have now taken to hoping for Driscoll’s repentance. Here is the most famous example:

First, a few disclaimers. 1. Ten years ago I made a personal rule to not blog on anything related to Mark Driscoll. To the best of my memory I have kept that quasi-vow, but am breaking it now.

Second, I have a huge/tremendous respect for John Piper and Douglas Wilson. They are probably my two favorite living authors, and Wilson is probably my favorite Christian blogger (along with Challies, of course). I mean no disrespect to these men at all.

Now then.

It strikes me that in the chorus of calls to pray for Driscoll’s repentance, or hope for his hopeful repentance, or whatever other optimistic attitude we are supposed to have for that aforementioned repentance, there is something missing. Namely, the ownership of the problem.

And here is where some history is helpful. Much of this is old news, but bear with me.

About 12 years ago Driscoll began publishing and advocating a new way of doing church. Out with regenerate church membership. Out with corporate worship music as it has always been known. Out with sanctification as a theme. Out with a pastor who is actually in your church. In with being cool, in with being gruff, in with the occasional coarse language. While this simplifies it a bit, you get the idea if you see Driscoll in this stage of his ministry essentially taking the seeker sensitive movement to the grunge community of Seattle. MacArthur even labeled his approach to ministry “Grunge Christianity.” While he didn’t mean it as a compliment, that’s the way it was taken, which pretty much says it all.

Over the next few years Driscoll gained national influence as other Christian leaders propped him up. John Piper brought him to his own pastor’s conference as the key-note speaker. The Gospel Coalition made him a board member. He was able to reach a wider and wider audience.

By 2009 it was obvious that the doctrine of sanctification was seriously neglected in the theology that was coming out of Acts 29 and specifically Driscoll’s preaching. In April of 2009 John MacArthur wrote a series of blog posts on Driscoll’s preaching (The Rape of Solomon’s Song)—which to my knowledge is the last time he has said anything publicly about Driscoll. This was the year I gave up talking about/reading/listening to Mark Driscoll. By that point it was either obvious to people what the danger was, or there was really no helping it.

Unfortunately, also in April of 2009 Driscoll preached at the Gospel Coalition’s national conference. And even after that other leaders and institutions continued to expose their people to Driscoll’s leadership and preaching. He did a marriage conference and Liberty University. He started a conference with Rick Warren. He featured on Family Life’s Men’s curriculum. In other words, the groups that Driscoll was lambasting in his books 10 years earlier were eager to have him, and equally eager to expose their people to his teaching.

And Driscoll in turn used his increased influence to expose his new followers—including The Gospel Coalition crew—to TD Jakes. Driscoll’s subsequent claim that Jakes’ modalism could be considered orthodoxy appeared to be the last straw with the TGC crowd through, and Driscoll left their council a short time later.

We can skip the bit about plagiarism, or his stunt at Grace Church, or no-compete clauses for pastors, or buying his way onto the New York Times bestseller list with church money, etc., and jump to present day. Driscoll has been removed from Acts 29, and “charges have been filed” against him within his own church. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds bad. So bad that he is stepping down for six weeks.

Which brings us back to the blog/tweet that we should be hopeful for Driscoll’s repentance. While I am always in favor of repentance, and  remain hopeful for it in everyone, the call for it here is exceptionally tone deaf.

That’s because to pastors outside the Christian-rock-star echo chamber, the issue has never really been one of “will Driscoll repent?” Rather the issue has always been one of “will Christian leaders recognize how foolish it was to expose their people to Driscoll’s preaching and leadership?”

That remains my question today for those that lent him their pulpit and their audience. Looking back on the whole decade (2004-2014), do those leaders (Piper, Wilson, Liberty, Denis Rainey, D. A. Carson, and so on) see that they had a role to play in this? Douglas Wilson–who is one of the Christian leaders who helped Driscoll grow his audience–wrote that he is concerned that some people jumped on the Driscoll train because it was the cool ticket in town, and now they are jumping off only because it is the new cool. To which I say: when the train is on fire, of course it is cool to jump off–after all, everyone is doing it.

But my real question to Wilson is: “Do you see your responsibility for directing people to the train to begin with?”

When the credits roll on this generation of American Christianity, there will be this interesting segment in the 2000’s where a famous Christian essentially mocked sanctification, and instead of being rebuked he was promoted. Obviously this ended poorly for the famous Christian (and his church), but what of those who bought the ticket and took the ride? What of those who sold the tickets? Is it too much to wonder if they will say more than “we sure hope he experiences a sense of hope in this time?” Wilson says that is the best he has to offer—but I don’t buy it.

Specifically, we need more than a simple, “I like Driscoll, and I hope things work out well for him.” I’d like to hear them say, “the biblical qualifications for elders are important, and we made a judgment mistake in holding someone out as a Christian leader who did not meet them.”

Yes, I hope Driscoll comes out feeling like a new man. But more than that, I want the evangelical leaders who were largely responsible for shaping the last decade of Christian leadership to understand the importance of the biblical qualifications for pastors. I want them to see that while the Driscoll Drama may have happened anyway, that doesn’t mean they needed to sell tickets.

(I encourage everyone to read Eric Davis’ post a few weeks ago—there he offers a few necessary lessons from this ordeal)

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2 Timothy 3:2 “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy” 

The big lie of Humanism goes all the way back to Lucifer’s rebellion against God:

Isaiah 14: 12-16:

“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.

The big lie is “it’s all about me” And that is the lie that Joel Osteen peddles! Humanism teaches that there is no God, That we ALL are God, or we all have a God spark in us and we just need to realize that, and when we all do then we can have “Heaven on Earth” Sorry folks but that is the biggest lie ever told! Look around us at what this kind of thinking has created in our society!

The only way that a man can be changed is to “die to self” and surrender his life to redemption in Jesus Christ, and when he does that then the Holy Spirit can come in and begin to guide that person via God’s Word: The Bible! The Holy Spirit will open that person’s eyes to God’s Truth in God’s written word, The Bible! Not via false humanist words straight form the pits of Hell!

from Christian News:

A recently recorded video is circulating online of Victoria Osteen, wife of megachurch speaker and author Joel Osteen, calling on congregants at Lakewood Church to ‘do good for your own self’ because obedience, the church and worship are not for God as much as for self-happiness.

“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it—we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy,” she declares in the undated 36-second clip with her husband standing by her side and nodding. “That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy…”

“So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy,” Osteen continues. “When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

Osteen is the author of the book Love Your Life, and is “co-pastor” of Lakewood in Houston, Texas. Her husband Joel is known for his motivational speeches and his books Your Best Life Now and It’s Your Time.

Steve Camp, pastor of The Cross Church in Palm City, Florida and former singer/songwriter, told Christian News Network that he viewed the video on Wednesday, and while saddened, he was not surprised at her remarks. He stated that Osteen’s statements were humanistic in nature and antithetical to Scripture.

“It’s the age old sin of idolatry—that it’s not about God, it’s about us,” he explained. “True worship for the humanist is about how we feel at the end of the day and what gives us meaning, as opposed to what gives God glory.”

“When we come to see men happy rather than God glorified, it’s not worship, it’s idolatry,” Camp stated, reading from Psalm 115:1, which states, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”

He said that Osteen’s words were essentially blasphemous because they disregard God’s holiness and the way that He is to be worshiped.

“She honestly believes that God exists to make us happy rather than holy,” Camp lamented. “She honestly believes that worship is about our fulfillment rather than His glory. That’s the bottom issue here.”

But he outlined that Scripture commands man to be selflessly abandon themselves to Christ and to not worry about their own lives.

“1 Corinthians so clearly says that whether we eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God. It’s not just self,” Camp stated. “Jesus said … in Matthew 16, ‘Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.’”

He also pointed to Acts 20:24, which reads, “[N]either count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

“The Osteens have just inverted that. They think it’s not the denial of self, but the exaltation of self,” Camp lamented. “They’re not trying to pursue a cross; they’re trying to pursue prosperity. And they’re certainly not following the biblical Jesus; they’re following whatever brings happiness and contentment.”

When asked about the dangers of “me-centered” church, Camp outlined numerous concerns. He explained that besides such congregations not being a real church to begin with, “me-centered” churches are based on pragmatism over Scripture, the pleasure of men over the glory of God, and are more concerned with being liked than being truthful. In doing so, such assemblies thrust the Lord of the Church outside of the Church as in Laodicea, as  Christ declared, “[T]hou sayest, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,’ and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

“The gospel is always counter-cultural. It always runs against that with which man wants to be satisfied and pleased with,” Camp explained. “The me-centered church is about what’s temporal rather than eternal. … The end of worship in a me-centered church has to be money, has to be fame, has to be the pragmatics of temporal culture. Therefore, it won’t do anything to offend a culture.”

“What’s the chief end of man? To bring glory to God and enjoy him forever,” he stated, quoting from Thomas Watson. “I think that’s the thing that’s been lost in our culture.”

Camp, who has spoken with Joel Osteen in the past, and has urged him to speak boldly about Christ instead of worrying about public opinion, said that if he were to encourage Victoria—whom he noted should not be serving as “co-pastor” in the first place—he would call upon her to repent.

“Repent of this self-oriented, feel good gospel you’ve embraced, and don’t let your life be of any value to you or precious to yourself,” he said. “The chief concern in this life is not us. The chief concern is that we bring glory to God, that we further His gospel, and that we testify of His grace. We’re here to do his bidding.”



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A group of former pastors from Mars Hill Church have filed formal charges against the church’s Senior Pastor Mark Driscoll.

All 21 pastors have left or been let go from the church. The 11-page complaint filed with the executive elders at Mars Hill alleges Driscoll’s abusive and intimidating behavior toward church leaders, staff and members.

“For me it was hard. I had been silent for seven years,” said Lief Moi, who is one of the 21 pastors who lodged the complaint with the church.

Moi was also one of the co-founders of Mars Hill Church in 1996. He left the church in 2007 after what he calls controlling and manipulative behavior of his own.

Moi said he was not happy with the direction of the church and quietly resigned.  After seven year of healing and reflection, he felt like it was time to come forward about his concerns for the future of Mars Hill.

“Part of me felt relief. The biggest thing is a deep compassion and concern for Mark and his family,” said he said.

The charges allege 25 instances over the last four years where Driscoll is accused of inappropriate behavior, including bullying, threatening, domineering and shaming of church leaders and members.

The charges filed by the pastors includes:

•    “Pastor Mark exhibits lack of self-control by his speech and by verbally assaulting others.”
•    “Pastor Mark exhibits anger and ungraceful ways of dealing with those with whom he disagrees and who he disagrees with. He does this by (among other ways) putting people down, caricaturing and dismissing.
•    “We believe that the way Pastor Mark leads has created a culture of fear instead of a culture of candor and safety. People are often afraid to ask questions or challenge certain ideas.”
•    “Pastor Mark is verbally abusive to people who challenge him, disagree with him, or question him.”

An incident was also noted in the statement of charges where Driscoll used profanity in discussion with a church elder.

In recent days Driscoll was let go from the ACTS 29 Network, and removed from two other Christian conferences.

Mars Hill church released this statement to KOMO 4 News:

“We take these allegations seriously and we are thankful that we have a process in place where allegations will be reviewed by our Board and our elders. As it is relatively new that these former elders submitted this, at this time we don’t have any information on how long that process will take or what the outcome will be, but we look forward to having Pastor Mark back from vacation this Sunday.”

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from Christian News:

Less than a year after announcing her support for same-sex ‘marriage,’ a UK-based worship artist whose songs are sung in American churches on any given Sunday has come out as a lesbian.

Vicky Beeching first was introduced in the Christian music industry in 2002, but became more prominent with the release of her worship album Yesterday, Today and Forever in 2005. The release featured songs such as Above All ElseGreat is Your Glory, Search Me, and a new take on the hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. She released two additional albums in 2007 and 2010, co-writing the song Glory to God Forever with fellow worship artist Steve Fee and touring with the band Delirious and singer/songwriter Rebecca St. James.

In 2012, Beeching outlined her feminist beliefs in an article entitled Jesus Was a Feminist and So Am I and appeared on BBC News to explain why she believed women should be permitted to serve as bishops in the Angelican church.

“My Christian friends chide me for my overtly feminist views, while the atheist-feminist circles I move in despair at my commitment to what they see as a patriarchal religion,” she wrote. “It would be much easier to choose one or the other—Christianity or feminism, but I believe they should be—and are—utterly compatible.”

n December of last year, Beeching came out in support of same-sex “marriage” in appearing on UK’s Good Morning Sunday hosted by Clare Balding. She later posted her thoughts more in-depth in three separate entries on her blog.

“Not many evangelical Christians hold the theology hold that I do in affirming that same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage is acceptable to God and can be celebrated,” Beeching told Christianity Today in June. “Since speaking out and blogging about equal marriage, there’s been a boycott of my songs. My income comes from royalties, so unless they’re sung, I lose my income, which has been difficult. It’s been deeply painful to see people writing off 15 years of my work, saying that it’s now tarnished.”

Now, The Independent released an interview with Beeching on Wednesday, where the singer/songwriter/blogger came out as a lesbian herself.

“I felt like coming out was something I needed to do,” she said. “The [UK Angelican] Church has now voted to enable women to become bishops, literally almost a month ago today, on July 14th. The next big hurdle the church faces is the discussion around sexuality. So it felt important for me to add my voice to that debate as it will be the key topic for the decades to come. And my voice will make much more difference if I’m open about my sexuality, as I can share more honestly about what it’s like to be a gay Christian.”

She said that she had been struggling with same-sex attraction since she was twelve, and eventually decided to stop fighting it.

“What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love,” Beeching stated. “I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people.”

And now, she says she wants to work to change the beliefs of those in the Church.

“I am not angry with the Church even though it’s been a painful journey. I still hold as tightly to my Christian faith as ever,” Beeching said. “I have a lot of hope for the future of the Church—that we can see a move towards inclusion, welcome and love for LGBT people.”

Reaction to Beeching’s announcement has been mixed.

“Wow, what an example of being covered by the blood of the Lamb!” one commenter wrote.

“So sad,” another stated. “God loves the way that we are, but not our sins. Please remember that. [Just] because we think that we’re right [doesn’t] mean that God is okay with our decision.”

“It’s amazing how people can justify what Christ is against. We do sin and ask for forgiveness for making that mistake. Then we make the change to become stronger so we don’t do it again,” a third commenter wrote. “And you wonder why people think Christians are hypocrites. Start standing up for what Christ teaches. Black or white. Hot or cold. There’s no grey or warm in Gods eyes!”

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