Category Archives: Postmodern Church/Apostasy

Dr. Michael Brown (Sort of) Approves of These ‘Fine Christians…’ Watch at your Own Risk!

Steve Kozar over at Museum of Idolatry put together a video to show how false teachers such as Heidi Baker and Bill & Beni Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA use repetitive phrases and repetitive music to induce their audience into a trance-like state. You will see ordinary folks, who’ve been hypnotized, doing the most bizarre things imaginable, believing that the Holy Spirit is responsible for what they’re experiencing. Kozar begins with a warning to those who view the video that some might find what they see very disturbing.  Here’s what prompted the headline:

Recently, in an exchange on his Facebook page, Dr. Michael Brown was challenged (by Steven Kozar, Chris Rice, Amy Spreeman and others) to call out these false teachers in order to protect his listeners from their very bad doctrine. False teachers like Jennifer LeClaire, Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson and Benny Hinn. Nobody suggested that Dr. Brown personally attack these people, but simply compare their teachings to Scripture. He repeatedly refused. Strangely,  he did not fully endorse them; instead he used vague generalizations like “as far as I know these are fine Christians.”  Dr. Brown wants to be respected as a very knowledgeable scholar and expert, but he continually expresses ignorance about the people and teachings from within his very own movement. Dr. Brown promotes these people on his own radio show, and he’s been a guest on Benny Hinn’s TV show.

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Source: Dr. Michael Brown (Sort of) Approves of These ‘Fine Christians…’ Watch at your Own Risk!

It is not ‘character assassination’ for the church to be the church

Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, contends “for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” In this piece, he takes on “Progressive Christians” and deals with their propensity to erase 2,000-years of Church history in an effort to see that the Church becomes more inclusive, more relevant, more open-minded.  In other words, PC’s are “re-imagining” Christianity to look less like historic orthodox Christianity and more like the world. Burk writes:

Photo credit: RightNow Media

Last night, Jonathan Merritt penned an article for Religion News Service excoriating Christians who have distanced themselves from Jen Hatmaker. He writes:

Hatmaker’s original sin is that she broke ranks with the evangelical powers-that-be on same-sex relationships. In an interview with me last October, Hatmaker stated that if she found out one of her children were gay, she would love that child just the same. If an LGBT friend of Hatmaker’s got married, she said she would attend the wedding. And Hatmaker said she believed LGBT relationships could be holy.

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Source: It is not ‘character assassination’ for the church to be the church

Largest church in the world losing members after pastor embezzled 12 million

People who are barely making a living are no longer giving their hard earned money to fund a lavish lifestyle for shyster pastors, claims Cheryl Preston in a report over at blasting news. “Christians are walking away from mega-churches because of the false doctrine of the prosperity gospel — they are not however walking away from Christ.” Preston writes:

For decades, the Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea has been considered the biggest mega-church in the world. In 2014 however, the pastor Yong Gi Cho was convicted of embezzling 12 million dollars from the church. He was given a suspended sentence and has since retired. According to an MSN article by Matthew Bell, PRI’s The world, church membership has been declining ever since. This is not an isolated example because Christians all over the world, are leaving churches, but not their faith in #Christ. The false doctrine of the prosperity gospel is one major reason…

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Source: Largest church in the world losing members after pastor embezzled 12 million

How much should ‘associations’ factor into my assessment of whether a teacher is false or not?

What do Billy Graham, Ravi Zacharais, Beth Moore and David Jeremiah have in common? They’ve associated with wolves who lead the sheep astray and they’re unrepentant about their associations.  Elizabeth Prata lays out why Christian leaders must not be careless when it comes to their associations.  As a Berean it’s up to you to check out the people evangelical celebs choose to associate with.  For example, when it comes to any sort of gathering, who’s name will appear on the marque with a person you admire? Prata advises

when we look at a leader or teacher’s associations, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We have to take a prayerful & measured look when we’re looking at secondary circumstances like who is hanging around our author or preacher or teacher.

Elizabeth Prata has a lot more to say on this subject over at The End Time blog:

A woman asked me recently whether she should read a certain book because the preface to the book was written by a false teacher, though the book itself was written by a solid teacher.

I’m glad that people are aware that associations can harm a reputation and can also be an indicator of future doctrinal problems in a leader or teacher. Associations do matter.

The pure and the polluted share nothing in common ultimately. And the people of God cannot form intimate relationships with those who don’t belong to God. All relationships like that are superficial. You cannot make a meaningful relationship with an enemy of the gospel. They live in a different world with a different and completely hostile and antagonistic leader. Separating from Unbelievers part 1

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Source: How much should ‘associations’ factor into my assessment of whether a teacher is false or not?

AWANA Now Teaching Children to Hear the Voice of God

Lighthouse Trails has this lead in followed by a letter from someone who is concerned about the direction AWANA has taken, i.e. getting youngsters involved in unbiblical Spiritual Formation:

Today, the church is “reaping the fruit” of nearly 40 years of Spiritual Formation influence (since Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline was released in 1978). Lighthouse Trails has warned its readers on a number of occasions about the direction AWANA children’s club is going with regard to contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation) (see links below). In the following letter to the editor, you can see that AWANA is now teaching children to “listen to God” (the goal in contemplative prayer).

We thought AWANA clubs was to teach children the Word of God through memorization. Since when did they take it upon themselves to teach children to listen to God voice?  If you have children or grandchildren who participate in AWANA, we strongly urge you to examine all AWANA literature and teaching tools carefully as well as discuss your concerns with your children’s AWANA leaders and make sure they understand the dangers of contemplative spirituality.

The big emphasis in today’s church is, “Hear God’s Voice!” It’s all about feel-good and mystical experiences.  What a tragedy the focus isn’t on “Know God’s Word.”

Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

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Check out CRN’s Research Paper on Spiritual Formation

Source: AWANA Now Teaching Children to Hear the Voice of God

Kong Hee apologises for ‘unwise decisions’, to begin jail term on Apr 21

Kong Hee is on his way to jail for his “unwise decision” to line his pockets with money that belonged to City Harvest Church (CHC). So Pastor Hee released an apology. Channel News Asia reports:

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee has issued an apology to his church and the public for “unwise decisions” he had made in the past.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday night (Apr 19), Kong said: “I am truly sorry … I am filled with grief and regret over my mistakes and I sincerely ask for your forgiveness.”

For the rest of the story and to read Hee’s apology, visit CNA.

Now this from Churchwatch Central (CWC), a group of “churchwatchers” who have done some excellent reporting on Kong Hee and his leadership’s pilfering of church funds; likewise the church’s ties to the New Apostolic Reformation. CWC and Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith have exposed Kong Hee’s church (here) as “a dangerous cult that threatens the Christian faith and the well-being of citizens of Singapore.”

CHC Management Board reacts to Kong Hee’s sentence

“We pronounce deliverance in Jesus name. Not one night will this fair head spend behind bars.” Prophet Phil Pringle, CHC Advisory Pastor – Photo credit Churchwatch Central

From CHC Management Board, we read Aries Zulkarnain’s media release in which he states:

“We put our trust in God that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

This statement is a paraphrase of Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Sadly this scripture barely resembles the lives of Kong Hee, or his leadership. However it does reflect the lives of those who have left CHC after clearly questioning CHC’s teachings and practices.

What Zulkarnain quoted is exactly what CHC has not done.

If CHC put their faith in God, why is their founder, and his senior leaders, going to jail?

This is why things have NOT worked out for the good of CHC and why it has NOT worked for the six accused. If “God works for the good of those who love Him,” why are six leaders from CHC  going to jail?

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The Sketchy Faith Healer

Atlas Obscura shares the fascinating story of John Alexander Dowie, a health and wealth huckster who paved the way for the Benny Hinn’s and Creflo Dollar’s of today. Dowie was not ashamed of his wealth, and he lived in unabashed luxury. “Jesus came to make His people rich,” Dowie preached. Not in the “life to come,” but a “hundredfold now in this time.”

John Alexander Dowie was not America’s first faith healer—but he was the first to get rich doing it. Dowie, a Congregational minister originally from Scotland, discovered his unusual gift in 1876, when he was 29. A small girl dying of diphtheria was miraculously cured after Dowie prayed at her bedside.

A year later he launched his healing ministry. After stints in Australia and California, Dowie moved to Chicago and opened a church near the site of the 1893 World’s Fair. Sadie Cody, who was in town to see her uncle Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show at the fair, went to see Dowie about a tumor in her back. After he laid his hands on her, Cody later said, she “felt a new life” inside her. The tumor vanished, and word of Dowie’s seemingly miraculous healing powers spread quickly.

In his lifetime, Dowie claimed to cure scores of serious afflictions, including smallpox, cancer, broken limbs, and blindness, as well as lesser ailments like asthma and arthritis. Medical doctors and mainline Protestant ministers, however, dismissed Dowie as a charlatan, noting that many of the illnesses he claimed to cure were psychosomatic, while the most dramatic healings were obviously staged.

Nonetheless, Dowie’s flock multiplied rapidly, and by 1901 he had amassed enough followers to establish his own version of utopia, a biblical city built from scratch on 10 square miles of farmland 40 miles north of Chicago.

Read more: The Sketchy Faith Healer

‘Bible Answer Man’ Booted From Bott Radio Network After Hank Hanegraaff Joins Orthodox Church

According to Christian Post (a site we do not recommend), Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, will replace the “Bible Answer Man”:

The “Bible Answer Man” radio show program with Hank Hanegraaff has been booted from Bott Radio Network over concerns regarding biblical accuracy, following Hanegraaff’s conversion into the Eastern Orthodox Church.

“We want to make sure that our listeners know that the programming that we have on Bott Radio Network is thoroughly biblical,” said BRN President Richard P. Bott II, a member of Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kansas, according to Baptist Press.

BRN had reportedly been broadcasting the “Bible Answer Man” since the 1980s, even before Hanegraaff joined the show in 1989.

“We live in strategic times,” Bott told BP.

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Source: ‘Bible Answer Man’ Booted From Bott Radio Network After Hank Hanegraaff Joins Orthodox Church

Visiting Hank Hanegraaff’s New Greek Orthodox Church

After attending a service at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church, Jeff Maples of Pulpit & Pen made this observation: A lost person could not walk into this church and walk out a changed man. It was literally a Pagan practice. Like a seance. Pure witchcraft was going on in this place.

Now read about Maples experience during a recent St. Nektarios church service:

One of the biggest complaints against Pulpit & Pen we get consistently is that we somehow don’t “have all our facts,” or are “misrepresenting” someone or something. I received countless emails claiming that I “misrepresented” Greek Orthodoxy in my recent posts regarding Hank Hanegraaff and that I should do more research. Well, what better way to research than to go straight to the source in person? Saturday, April 15, known as Holy Saturday in the Orthodox tradition, I along with a couple of friends went to visit St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC–the church that Hanegraaff was recently chrismated in. The service began at 11:30 pm, and was still going strong showing no signs of slowing down when we decided to leave at around 2:00 am. While we hoped to have the opportunity to confront Hanegraaff in person, being that we all had to get up early the next morning to worship the living God on Easter morning, we decided to call it a night early. However, there are quite a few things that we can take away from this experience in this church.

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Source: Visiting Hank Hanegraaff’s New Greek Orthodox Church

10 Signs of a Cultic Church

From Berean Research:

Cross Examined has a piece by Brian Chilton who asks: “How does one know that a church has the characteristics of a cultic church?” Good question.  According to Chilton, there is a difference between a cult and a cultic church and he gives some signs of cultic churches. So we want you to know what those distinctions are. We’ve included links for further study at the end that will help you grow in your faith:

#2 Personal interpretations are held to an equal or higher view than biblical truth. A good example of a cultic church would be Bethel Church in Redding, CA

A few weeks back, I was troubled to hear about a Word of Faith congregation in Spindale, North Carolina, that was guilty of abusing its members. Reports included young children being punched by the leadership while being called Satanists. Jane Whaley and her husband are at the center of these accusations. The full report can be accessed here.

Unfortunately, cultic churches abound. Just last night, a guest pastor from the Philippines spoke about particular cults in his land. He noted that one cult did not allow the congregants to open their Bibles as everything had to be interpreted by the leadership. Churches like these are identified as cultic churches as contrasted with authentic churches. Authentic churches are the body of Christ. They are the assemblies of baptized believers who fully adopt biblical principles and have the freedom to grow and develop in their relationship with Christ.

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Hank Hanegraaff, Greek Orthodoxy, and Patterns in the Cults

Over at Pulpit & Pen, Seth Dunn examines the claim that the man who took over the leadership of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) following the death of its founder Dr. Walter Martin has left the biblical Christian faith to become Eastern Orthodox which, ironically, is considered a cult. Since CRI is a counter-cult ministry it should come as no surprise that this has become a huge story.  Dunn writes:

With the recent defection of Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, to the Greek Orthodox religion, an examination of the compatibility of this religion with Biblical Christianity is in order. Unfortunately, such an examination is a difficult task where the Orthodox religion is concerned. According to an article published by the Christian Research Institute (CRI), “Orthodoxy is not a monolithic bloc that shares a unified tradition and church life.” Despite this, a discerning examination of Greek Orthodoxy is not impossible. Using a variety of available sources, it can be concluded that Greek Orthodoxy falls outside the bounds of Biblical Christianity and exhibits patterns common to other sub-Christian cults. The Watchman Fellowship, an evangelical discernment ministry, has identified four patterns which are common to cults. Greek Orthodoxy exhibits three of them.

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CRN posted Hank Hanegraaff’s response

Source: Hank Hanegraaff, Greek Orthodoxy, and Patterns in the Cults

Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

Hank Hanegraaff addressed his conversion to the Orthodox faith on his radio show The Bible Answer Man in response to a caller who expressed concern that in becoming Eastern Orthodox, Hank had left the Christian faith. Following is his response:

I am now a member of an Orthodox Church, but nothing has changed in my faith. I have been attending an Orthodox church for a long time—for over two years, really, as a result of what happened when I went to China, many years ago. I saw Chinese Christians who were deeply in love with the Lord, and I learned that while they may not have had as much intellectual acumen or knowledge as I did, they had life. And so I learned that while truth matters, life matters more, and I remember flying back from China after spending time with just common people who had adeep, intense love for the Lord, and wondering, “Was I even a Christian?”

I was comparing my ability to communicate truth with their deep and abiding love for the Lord Jesus Christ… One man, by the way, said to me, truth matters but life matters more. In other words, it is not just knowing about Jesus Christ, it is experiencing the Resurrected Christ. As a result of that I started studying what was communicated by the progeny of Watchman Nee with respect to theosis and that drove me back to the early Christian Church.

And I suppose over that period of time I have fallen ever more in love with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s sort of like my wife—I have never been more in love with my wife than I am today, and I’ve never been more in love with my Lord Jesus Christ than I am today. I’ve been impacted by the whole idea of knowing Jesus Christ, experiencing Jesus Christ, and partaking of the graces of Jesus Christ through the Eucharist or the Lord’s Table. And that has become so central in my life, but as far as the statement that you mentioned, that I’ve left the Christian faith—nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact I believe what I have always believed, as codified in the Nicene Creed, and as championed by mere Christianity.

Hanegraaff recited the Nicene Creed and then concluded:

In other words, I am as deeply committed to championing mere Christianity and the essentials of the historic Christian faith, as I have ever been.

Articles that come from different perspectives:

Evangelical Apologist Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

“Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff Joins Orthodox Church

The Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff, Leaves the Christian Faith?

Research:

Why Write About the Orthodox Church?

“We need to write about the Orthodox Church because it has a membership of over 200 million people worldwide and because it claims to be the only true Church on earth. When any such claim is made involving so many people, it is necessary to  research and write about such a group and compare it to scripture.”

What is the Eastern Orthodox Church and what are the beliefs of Orthodox Christians

“The Orthodox Church claims to be the one true church of Christ, and seeks to trace its origin back to the original apostles through an unbroken chain of apostolic succession. Orthodox thinkers debate the spiritual status of Roman Catholics and Protestants, and a few still consider them heretics. Like Catholics and Protestants, however, Orthodox believers affirm the Trinity, the Bible as the Word of God, Jesus as God the Son, and many other biblical doctrines. However, in doctrine, they have much more in common with Roman Catholics than they do with Protestant Christians.”

Source: Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy