Feb 22, 2017

I Stand Amazed ~ Thompson/Phelps

3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church ~ Jon Nielson

“What do we do about our kids?” The group of parents sat together in my office, wiping their eyes. I’m a high school pastor, but for once, they weren’t talking about 16-year-olds drinking and partying. Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years. These children had come through our church’s youth program, gone on short-term mission trips and served in several different ministries during their teenage years. Now they didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. And, somehow, these mothers’ ideas for our church to send college students “care packages” during their freshman year to help them feel connected to the church didn’t strike me as a solution with quite enough depth.
The daunting statistics about churchgoing youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?

It’s hard to sort through the various reports and find the real story. And there is no one easy solution for bringing all of those “lost” kids back into the church, other than continuing to pray for them and speaking the gospel into their lives. However, we can all look at the 20-somethings in our churches who are engaged and involved in ministry. What is it that sets apart the kids who stay in the church? Here are just a few observations I have made about such kids, with a few applications for those of us serving in youth ministry.

1. They are converted.

The Apostle Paul, interestingly enough, doesn’t use phrases like “nominal Christian” or “pretty good kid.” The Bible doesn’t seem to mess around with platitudes like: “Yeah, it’s a shame he did that, but he’s got a good heart.” When we listen to the witness of Scripture, particularly on the topic of conversion, we find that there is very little wiggle room. Listen to these words: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17) We youth pastors need to get back to understanding salvation as what it really is: a miracle that comes from the glorious power of God through the working of the Holy Spirit.
We need to stop talking about “good kids.” We need to stop being pleased with attendance at youth group and fun retreats. We need to start getting on our knees and praying that the Holy Spirit will do miraculous saving work in the hearts of our students as the Word of God speaks to them. In short, we need to get back to a focus on conversion. How many of us are preaching to “unconverted evangelicals”? Youth pastors, we need to preach, teach and talk—all the while praying fervently for the miraculous work of regeneration to occur in the hearts and souls of our students by the power of the Holy Spirit! When that happens—when the “old goes” and the “new comes”—it will not be iffy. We will not be dealing with a group of “nominal Christians.” We will be ready to teach, disciple and equip a generation of future church leaders—“new creations”!—who are hungry to know and speak God’s Word. It is converted students who go on to love Jesus and serve the church.

2. They have been equipped, not entertained.

Recently, we had “man day” with some of the guys in our youth group. We began with an hour of basketball at the local park, moved to an intense game of 16” (“Chicago Style”) softball, and finished the afternoon by gorging ourselves on meaty pizzas and 2-liters of soda. I am not against fun (or gross, depending on your opinion of the afternoon I just described) things in youth ministry. But youth pastors especially need to keep repeating the words of Ephesians 4:11-12 to themselves: “[Christ] gave … the teachers to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Christ gives us—teachers—to the church, not for entertainment, encouragement, examples or even friendship primarily. He gives us to the church to “equip” the saints to do gospel ministry in order that the church of Christ may be built up.
If I have not equipped the students in my ministry to share the gospel, disciple a younger believer and lead a Bible study, then I have not fulfilled my calling to them, no matter how good my sermons have been. We pray for conversion; that is all we can do, for it is entirely a gracious gift of God. But after conversion, it is our Christ-given duty to help fan into flame a faith that serves, leads, teaches and grows. If our students leave high school without Bible-reading habits, Bible-study skills, and strong examples of discipleship and prayer, we have lost them. We have entertained, not equipped, them … and it may indeed be time to panic!
Forget your youth programs for a second. Are we sending out from our ministries the kind of students who will show up to college in a different state, join a church and begin doing the work of gospel ministry there without ever being asked? Are we equipping them to that end, or are we merely giving them a good time while they’re with us? We don’t need youth group junkies; we need to be growing churchmen and churchwomen who are equipped to teach, lead and serve. Put your youth ministry strategies aside as you look at that 16-year-old young man and ask: “How can I spend four years with this kid, helping him become the best church deacon and sixth-grade Sunday school class teacher he can be, 10 years down the road?”

3. Their parents preached the gospel to them.

As a youth pastor, I can’t do all this. All this equipping that I’m talking about is utterly beyond my limited capabilities. It is impossible for me to bring conversion, of course, but it is also impossible for me to have an equipping ministry that sends out vibrant churchmen and churchwomen if my ministry is not being reinforced tenfold in the students’ homes. The common thread that binds together almost every ministry-minded 20-something that I know is abundantly clear: a home where the gospel was not peripheral but absolutely central. The 20-somethings who are serving, leading and driving the ministries at our church were kids whose parents made them go to church. They are kids whose parents punished them and held them accountable when they were rebellious. They are kids whose parents read the Bible around the dinner table every night. And they are kids whose parents were tough but who ultimately operated from a framework of grace that held up the cross of Jesus as the basis for peace with God and forgiveness toward one another.
This is not a formula! Kids from wonderful gospel-centered homes leave the church; people from messed-up family backgrounds find eternal life in Jesus and have beautiful marriages and families. But it’s also not a crapshoot. In general, children who are led in their faith during their growing-up years by parents who love Jesus vibrantly, serve their church actively and saturate their home with the gospel completely, grow up to love Jesus and the church. The words of Proverbs 22:6 do not constitute a formula that is true 100 percent of the time, but they do provide us with a principle that comes from the gracious plan of God, the God who delights to see his gracious Word passed from generation to generation: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Youth pastors, pray with all your might for true conversion; that is God’s work. Equip the saints for the work of the ministry; that is your work. Parents, preach the gospel and live the gospel for your children; our work depends on you.

CRAZY Love ~ Francis Chan

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 1: Stop Praying

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 2

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 3

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 4

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 5

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 6

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 7

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 8

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 9

CRAZY LOVE ~ Chapter 10

Feb 16, 2017

Mutating DNA

Ed's Note:  This is Part 2 in a series on the changing evangelical church. ~ St. Mark

past tense: mutated; past participle: mutated
·         change or cause to change in form or nature.

"technology continues to mutate at an alarming rate"
(with reference to a cell, DNA molecule, etc.) undergo or cause to undergo change in a gene or genes.

"the virus is able to mutate into new forms that are immune to the vaccine"

On this dark February evening, I am somewhere over the Caribbean Sea in Row 45 of 52, onboard an Air Canada 767. The seven hour deadhead home from my Bogota shift has given time for reflection. I've been reading Ray Yungen's, "A Time Of Departing", an expose, discussing the drastic error-prone changes in the emerging church.  Yungen writes of New Age spirituality that has infiltrated even much of the evangelical church. While many of the changes are subtle and sometimes difficult to articulate, others are boldly erroneous. Contemplative prayer, "Christian-Yoga", breath prayer, meditation-prayer, spiritual-formation and the "silence", Pantheism (all is God), Panentheism (God is in all things) to name a few. In many churches, according to Yungen, Christianity has sold out to high-tech marketing, a watered-down gospel and many churches have begun their descent towards spiritual apostasy. Sin and repentance are de-emphasized; thinking is deemed less important than feeling.  The love of sound doctrine that has always been a distinguishing characteristic of evangelicalism has all but disappeared.  

It is important to understand that Satan is not simply trying to draw people to the dark side of a good versus evil conflict.  Actually, he is trying to eradicate the gap between himself and God, between good and evil, altogether.  ~ Ray Yungen

Bible scholars remark how the Church is difficult to attack from the outside and history has shown this to be true; through significant and relentless attack it is still very much standing. God always has his people for his purposes!  In the same breath, the same scholars point out how vulnerable the church is to attack from the inside!  Jesus was attacked from the the inside by Peter and Judas as we see in the gospels.

My reading got me thinking through some of the church oddities I'd witnessed in the past few decades. Some of the oddities are not necessarily New-Age, but each occurrence indicates to me that unless one is grounded in biblical understanding, it can be a slippery slope to allowing a variety of junk to creep in.  

Several years ago now, I was invited to what was billed as an "all-church-prayer" service at my own local church, some time after "the new pastor" replaced the "old-timer". In all good faith I approached the event as an opportunity to join with like-minded others to call on God on behalf of the needs of others, and take time to worship corporately and also call on God for the things in my own life that I'd identified as prayer items. One of those things I'd identified was prayer for my local church whose membership had drastically fallen nearly 70% in recent months. 

As a Pentecostal pastor's son certainly a dedicated all-prayer service was nothing new. In 60 years I've seen it all or so I thought. Throughout my entire life I've been in all kinds of prayer meetings.  Since a baby. I've been in passionate prayer meetings, I've attended lively prayer meetings brimming with fervent singing and worship. Large crowds, small groups, loud groups, warm-house-groups, quiet church-groups, intense altar-area services. I've seen a variety of postures: Kneeling down, standing up and even prostrate postures as I'll share. As a boy, I nearly rolled over laughing as fervent Saint-Annie called on God against the "diry-farts" of the devil coming against her family as she loudly misspoke Ephesians 6 at a prayer service.

 Twice now, once in Windsor and once in Delta, BC,  I've been in a prayer line-up where the so-called "Evangelist / Man-of-God" literally has attempted to push me over into the waiting arms of his assistant standing behind. Believe me, I'm no pushover!  Squaring my shoulders, leaning into the push and firmly planting my second foot behind me, prevented me from falling to my back like the people beside me on both of these occasions. One guy gave me an extra loud victory-shout-prayer accompanied by an extra shove. Alas, his prayer was not answered as I literally dug my heels in all without grinning too hard! He got the message and moved on to knock-down the next victim in line.  What a Man of God; What nonsense!

I've also attended cold prayer meetings, and frankly others have been bizarre like the non-denominational one in BC.  Andrea and I had heard about the church and it's happenings; Word was out all over town ...and thus we went to check it out for ourselves.  I was having a hard time believing the zany reports.  Strangely, it was all true! There I witnessed exceedingly zealous adult participants roaring loudly like lions, and literally making other farm animal sounds accompanied by peals and fits of explosive laughter.  Similtaneously, that church claimed that "the spirit of revival was sweeping through their midst".  Hmmm...Yes, Andrea and I did walk out of that one after a few minutes unable to understand the mislead zealots. 

Another misguided and puzzling denominational scene I witnessed in a large church was a altar-area "prayer-contest" between two less than humble pastors each trying to demonstrate their greater "humility" by each showing who would be the more humble during the post-service-prayer service. Wait for it!  -It was ...Who could get their head lower to the floor?  Yes very strange and very true!  The evident winner, at least the one I silently named as such, was the one who ended up full-length prostrate in his three-piece suit, nose pressed to the carpet shouting the words of David no-less "I can get more un-dignified than this!" (Well, I'll take him at his word...I believe he probably could have!)  The befuddled crowd of onlookers were both perplexed and embarrassingly amused. I'm wondering if this scene caused the Father's heart to be saddened as they really only "prayed" and pandered self-servingly to their crowd. Even the prophets of Baal would've been confused. Performing prayer in front and for the benefit of others is a mistaken way to demonstrate your great degree of humility.  While some of these services have challenged me, yet I will always believe in God's ability to change a situation through the mighty avenue of prayer. Without doubt, prayer moves the hand of God!

Anyhow, let's say I've experienced a broad scope of prayer-service stylings. Yet this time as I walked into the sanctuary, I immediately sensed something made me uncomfortable, yet I couldn't put my finger on exactly why. My mind goes back to the 60's and my boyhood when the neighbour girls tried to coax me to participate in a Ouija-board seance. It felt dark, foreboding and alarmed me. I left and went home.

The communion-altar area was "decorated " with numerous white flickering candles in the darkened large room. Deep bass background "mood-music" tones beamed gently out of the sanctuary sound system. The pastor had selected bass tones to "set-the-mood"!  The bass tones didn't have a melody, just a confusing series of soft "boom boom booms" each in a different key.  It was sort of like hearing a New Age bass guitarist repeatedly play the Morse code "SOS" with the muffled bass sounds in slow motion. Dot-dot-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot with a pause before it's inevitable repetition. It would play for about 20 seconds at low-frequency and stop for 20 seconds. Wash-rinse-repeat for an hour;...Very disconcerting to my ears.

As my annoyance, nerves and discomfort increased steadily,  I readied for whatever discomfort was ahead, I silently and determinedly thought "... God, I've come to meet with you tonight, and won't leave until I have done so in spite of how I feel with these disturbing distractions".  I wandered off to the side of the room and in the darkness I knelt, put my fingers in my ears and began to call on the Name as I completed the evening with the purpose I'd come for. Then again as years before with the Ouija-board scene, I left and went home. An evangelical church that needs New-Age "mood-music", and a darkened room lit with white candles to get its parishioners "feeling in the mood" to spark a call on God is indeed a sad thing to see.

I agree heartily that we need to continually find ourselves at the altar. Recently I was told by my pastor "as long as I'm here, there will NEVER be an altar call" (exact words verbatim). I was flabbergasted to say the least. Instead in place of an altar call, he tells the congregation "...email me if you have questions". (Exact words verbatim during an Easter service). He brought in a woman who led the congregation in yoga breathing exercises in the Sunday morning worship service saying "...some of you need help with stressful life circumstances... these breathing exercises will help you to be calm". (Again this was exactly what she said without exaggeration). Yup... I wouldn't have believed this happened in a PAOC church either...except I was there stunned with my mouth open.

 I'm seeing a watered-down gospel. However I don't feel this is an isolated situation. In my opinion many churches have begun their descent towards spiritual apostasy. Sin and repentance are de-emphasized; thinking is deemed less important than feeling. The love of sound doctrine that has always been a distinguishing characteristic of evangelicalism has all but disappeared. In this case, this same gentleman often dresses for his success in skinny jeans & sneakers (etc.). He told me that this church has to be "taken-down and then built up again". I can only surmise that this means basically that the old saints have "gotta go" and we are setting this place up for young, middle-age Canadians. (or as Rick Warren says, "Pillars of the church only hold things up"). When the old timer left (he was 66 years old), this "new guy" (apx 45 years old now) put the pulpit in storage in the basement, and moved away the seats to make room for about a dozen big, round tables that seat 6 people with white table-cloths on them. This apparently is to facilitate & foster better fellowship and conversation during the AM service. (Otherwise they listen to the preaching????). I pray often for this pastor.

Call it theological drift or whatever you want, but this definitely is not our DNA! 
Has our DNA has mutated? The Church is under attack from the inside. Such is the spirit of the emerging New-Age church.  We need an awakening from the Holy Spirit.


Here is a story from the Babylon Bee:
Holy Spirit Unable To Move Through Congregation When Fog Machine Breaks

    • It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery...

     The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love...

    You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”   I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.  ~ Galatians 5
  • 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
  • Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  ~ 1 John 4:1
  • For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
  • For in him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And you are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power ~ Colossians 2:9-10
  • But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do. ~ Matthew 6:7
  • And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no gret thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
  • All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  ~ 2 Timothy 3:16
  • Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:21
  • Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  • While the bridgroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  ~ Matthew 25:5
  • Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. no man comes to the father but by me."  ~ John 14:6

Feb 15, 2017

3 Warning Signs For The Church ~ Jim Cymbala

Pastor Jim Cymbala prophetically examines concerns of modern cultural trends and looks at three warning signs God is sending to the church.

Brooklyn Tabernacle pastor Jim Cymbala believes that the church is on the brink of a major storm. Decreased church attendance, anemic messages and pastoral burn-out illustrate diminishing signs of the spiritual life of Christ. Here Cymbala shares three warning signs that the church needs to be aware of during a time where it is becoming increasingly important to hear from Heaven.

A quick Google search will reveal some surprising statistics about Christians in America. For example, one website says that 246,780,000 people (79.5 percent of the population) in the United States are Christians.1 That’s a huge percentage of Americans who claim to be followers of Christ!
But is it true or a bogus number?
If nearly 80 percent of the population were Christian, wouldn’t we see the effects of that in culture?
Let me ask the question in a different way. Are eight out of ten people in your school, office, or community Bible-believing, churchgoing followers of Jesus? That’s not the case in Brooklyn, where I live and work. My guess is that’s not the case where you live either.
In the book The Great Evangelical Recession, author John S. Dickerson takes a closer look at these often exaggerated statistics and the data behind them and finds that the numbers don’t add up. He points out that the vast majority of those claiming to be “Christian” rarely attend any church, nor do they trust in Christ alone for their salvation, nor do they value God’s Word as the only rule for faith and practice.
You’ve run into this before, right?
You’re in a conversation with someone who said they were a “Christian,” but as the conversation moves deeper, you find their thinking plainly non-Christian. They don’t value the Bible as God’s Word. Or they maintain that there are multiple ways to receive salvation and Jesus is just one of those. What they describe is so different from what you know the Bible teaches, it is hard to imagine how they could call themselves believers in Jesus.
Jenny, a friend from church, recently had a conversation with a woman who identified herself as a Christian. Yet as the conversation developed, the woman also told Jenny that she believed that everyone should make up their own religion. Perhaps they should also make up a name for that religion, because it is not Christianity!
To get an accurate count of Bible-believing Christians in America, Dickerson looked at four studies by four different researchers who had four different motivations and used four different methodologies to calculate the number. Their unanimous conclusion was that “the actual number of evangelical Christians is shockingly between 7 to 8.9 percent of the United States population, not 40 percent and certainly not 70 percent.”2 That’s right, only 7 to 8.9 percent of America.
The truth is that the number of real believers in Jesus is in a massive decline, and that decline is happening much more rapidly than we have thought. While many boast of America being a “Christian nation,” Dickerson’s researchers say it’s fewer than one out of ten. And it gets worse. He predicts that within thirty years, the number of evangelical Christians will drop to one in every twenty-five Americans!
These numbers are a clear warning that the lights are going out.

Over the last decade, leaders from several denominations have told me that new members, average attendance, baptisms, and giving have all declined in their churches. The largest evangelical denomination sadly reports that new converts as measured by baptisms in 2012 was the lowest since 1948!
Talking with pastors throughout the country, I know these trends aren’t limited to any one denomination. Recently, while in Louisiana, I prayed at an altar with a pastor who was distraught over the lack of spiritual results in his ministry. This man had been a pastor for nearly thirty years and had weathered many of the typical ups and downs pastors experience. He had a passion for ministry, and all he wanted to do was lead people to Jesus. With a heavy heart and tears in his eyes, he said, “Listen, Jim, I love God, but I haven’t baptized ten new converts in two years! There are people all around who need Jesus, but I can’t seem to reach them. I don’t know what to do.” Then he broke down sobbing.
His story isn’t unique or surprising.
In 2012 the Barna Group found that 46 percent of churchgoers said “their life had not changed at all as a result of churchgoing.”4 On top of that, “three out of five church attenders (61 percent) said they could not remember a significant new insight gained by attending church services.”5 What is even more bothersome is that “one-third of those who have attended a church in the past have never felt God’s presence while in a congregational setting” (emphasis added).

Think of it: More than half of churchgoers don’t remember even one significant new insight gained by going to God’s house!

Something strange is going on here.
It is obvious the overwhelming majority of our ministries are not producing much fruit in the form of converted, changed lives. And people are not experiencing God in our churches. This would have been unthinkable in the early days of the Christian church as described in the New Testament. This is a critical warning sign that something is terribly wrong.

Pastor Jim Cymbala ~ Brooklyn Tabernacle, New York City

Not only are the majority not getting spiritual insight from their church experience, but a growing number aren’t getting it from the Bible either. According to the American Bible Society’s “State of the Bible 2013” report, the number of Americans who are antagonistic toward the Bible has increased from 10 percent to 17 percent from 2011 to 2013.7 Where will we be in five or ten years if this trend continues?
To counter that statistic, at first glance it might seem positive that two out of three Americans believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life.8 But only one out of five (21 percent) actively read the Bible at least four times a week.9 Even among churchgoers who believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, only 20 percent say they think about it during the day.10 God has spoken to us through his Word, but fewer are taking the time to listen.
Surveys also show that there is barely any difference between the lifestyles of Christian churchgoers and the behavior of those who don’t believe in God at all. Yet the Scriptures define believers in Jesus as “saints,” a people who have been separated from the world and belong exclusively to Jesus.

Fewer people inside the church believe in the truth and power found in Scripture. An even smaller percentage actively read and apply its truth to their lives. This turning away from Scripture is another calamitous sign.

Redeemed ~ Gaithers

Franklin Graham: Trump Refugee Order Is Right, But This Still Needs to Happen ~CBN News


Evangelist Franklin Graham says he supports President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily barring refugees from seven countries, saying it is the responsibility of the church, not the government to come to the aid of refugees. 
When asked about how Christians should approach the subject, he told CBN News:
"Well, Jerusalem had walls...and it had gates...and those gates were closed at night or when threats came, those gates were closed and the walls were their borders. Listen, I have locks on my house and it’s not because I’m angry at the people outside or I’m mad at them, but because I love the people on the inside and at night I lock my doors."
Graham said it's necessary to give closer scrutiny to all immigrants who want to come to America.
"We are a nation and we need to protect our borders. There are threats today, that did not have even 10 years ago. We need extreme vetting, not just for seven nations, we need extreme vetting for everyone coming into this country and I don’t care what country you come from, we should know who you are, what you stand for, what you believe. If you don’t support our democracy and our freedom and the liberty that we cherish, don’t come, you’re not welcome. And I think that should be for all people of all nations, we need to be far more selective of who we allow into this country we’ve had this open door policy for too long, we cannot afford it. It is at our own peril if we continue that way."
However, Graham said in a recent Facebook post, that Trump's policy by no means relieves Christians from the God-given duty to aid refugees.  
"The president's job is not the same as the job of the church.  As Christians we are clearly taught in the Bible to care for the poor and oppressed,"  Graham wrote.
"As Christians we are commanded to help all, regardless of religious background or ethnicity, like the Good Samaritan Jesus shared about in the Bible. Our job is to show God's love and compassion."

Graham says he supports safe zones in Syria and Iraq that are protected by the international community until a political solution is found. He says Christians should help provide for and manage those refugee camps.  

Since 2014, Operation Blessing International has been in the war-torn areas of the Middle East, supplying fresh food, bedding, diapers and other necessities to refugees who were forced to flee their homes on a moment's notice. 

Saudi Arabia's King Salman, in a telephone call on Sunday with President Trump, agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, a White House statement said.
And in an interview with CBN News, President Trump told CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody that Christian refugees fleeing from the Middle East to America should take priority.  

"They've been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them," President Trump said.
Nevertheless, David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, an organization whose mission is to help Christian refugees, said in a statement that he opposes President Trump's plan to prioritize Christians.
"We stand for a need-based resettlement approach that treats all faiths equally. We can't support a religious test in the United States, or in any other country. Policies akin to this drive horrendous persecution of Christians around the globe. A process that prioritizes one religion over another, as the Trump administration has proposed, can have negative effects not just in America, but around the world," Curry said.

On the other hand, Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom said in a statement that Christians should be prioritized. 
"Of the 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted under the ramped-up refugee program during the last fiscal year, a mere 0.5 percent were Christians, equivalent to about a dozen families. Yet, by State Department estimates, Christians accounted for up to 10 percent of Syria's population," Shea said.

"The State Department argued it was already prioritizing the 'vulnerable minorities.' But in several aspects, the Christians were in reality put at the back of the line," she said.
*CBN neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office.
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Feb 6, 2017

Is Your Church Going "Purpose-Driven"? How Can You Tell? ~ Noah Hutchings

Ed's Note:  This is Part 1 of a series on the emerging New-Age church.

Related:  Part 2: Mutating DNA
INTRODUCTION: In his book "The DARK SIDE of the Purpose-Driven Church",
Noah Hutchings (December 11, 1922 – died June 17, 2015) reveals a recent church blight and the greatest paradigm shift in church government and message since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany in 1517.

Image result for the dark side of the purpose driven churchWithout doubt, Dr. Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Church has become a tremendous force in the world, but Noah Hutchings sees a dark side to this force.

Dr. Warren stated on May 23, 2005, at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: "The word 'Fundamentalist' actually comes from a document in the 1920's called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith.  And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity."

The five fundamentals of the faith to which Dr. Warren objected are:

  1. The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible.
  2. The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ.
  3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
  4. Christ's atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world.
  5. The literal Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Purpose Driven Church religion at best is a distortion of the gospel; at worst, a movement to unite all religions to produce a one-world church.

The DARK SIDE of the Purpose Driven Church is available on Amazon.
(or free thru SW Radio Ministries)


Church Growth Movement ~ Noah Hutchings (website: SouthWest Radio Ministries)

hands holding growing plantThe Church Growth Movement, also known as the Purpose Driven Church/Life Movement, is sweeping through many churches throughout the United States today. Because this movement has caused the breakup and division of those churches, we receive more questions from our listeners and supporters about the Purpose Driven Church Movement than on any other subject.
These concerns from listeners prompted us to set up a resource section for those who want to find out more about the Church Growth Movement and the Purpose Driven Church Movement/

About the Church Growth Movement

According to Dr. Larry Spargimino in his article "The Megafall of the Megachurch," Donald A. McGavran, known as the "father of the church growth school," and one of his students, C. Peter Wagner, promoted the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary throughout the evangelical, pentecostal, and charismatic movements staring in the 1960s.
Wagner went on to establish the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelism. Its first international congress was held in 1974, headlined by none other than Billy Graham. However, basic Bible doctrine was the great casualty at the conference because it was viewed as being divisive.

What the Church Growth Movement Believes

Every movement has a set of core beliefs, and the Church Growth Movement is no exception. The founders set forth five basic tenets:
  • God's will for every local church is numerical growth. It is important for churches to grow numerically. However, according to the Church Growth Movement, small churches are failures. If that is so, when Noah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, among others, would be considered failures by the Church Growth Movement. 
  • The needs and opinions of lost people should determine the strategy of the church. The world says, "If it feels good, do it." Jesus said, “. . . Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The Word of God must always determine our standards and values, not the world.
  • The lack of adequate church growth worldwide proves the needs for a new reformation. The Protestant Reformation involved doctrine; the Church Growth Reformation emphasized practices and living, feedig the poor, and curing disease. Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is either far down the list or not mentioned at all.
  • Man's "sacred need" for self-esteem will bring this new reformation. Church Growth leaders say that people need to learn to love themselves and talking about those who are "saved" and "lost" is counterproductive. Jesus said, “. . . If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
  • Appeal to felt needs. People have many needs—some for basic food and shelter, others for fame and fortune. Jesus said, “. . . I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Jesus didn't promise earthly gain but eternal life, and He lost many followers because he refused to change His message (John 6:66). Neither should we.
To learn more about the Church Growth Movement, download Dr. Spargimino's article Megafall of the Megachurch. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it here for free.

Rick WarrenAbout the Purpose Driven Church Movement

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren has sold over 25 million copies. Rick Warren presents specials on major television networks like Fox News and CNN, and his Saddleback Church in California is touted as a model for Christian churches in the United States and throughout the world.
But what does Rick Warren actually believe? In an article titled "The Church—The Greatest Force on Earth," Rick Warren explains, in eight major points, how great the church is. However, these eight points never mention the main reason for the church and the Author and FInisher of the Christian faith—the Lord Jesus Christ.
Warren has promoted the Purpose Driven Church/Life format he uses at Saddleback Church to convince and train many pastors and church leaders to become Purpose Driven Life churches. Consequently, many churches in the past several years have changed to this format, leaving church members confused and bewildered.

What You Can Do? 

If your church is in the initial stages of change (music or the first 40–day program), your church could be saved by talking to other church members, and with activist intervention by 10–20 percent of the membership. If nothing is done at this early stage, then by the time the program advances to step four, there is little that can be done except look for another church. Your church has become a Purpose Driven entity in association with Saddleback Church of Orange County or Willow Creek of Chicago.

You must educate yourself, and others, so that you can mobilize the membership to effectively resist. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

Dr. Warren in his world peace plan has stated intentions of sending one billion Christians into the world to eliminate human problems.   The number one characteristic of a cult is a messianic, charismatic leader.

Purpose Driven Church books are published by Zondervan, one of Rupert Murdoch’s many properties, including 175 newspapers and international television and satellite communications, in - cluding in China. Various reports indicate he is building his third wife, Windi Deng, a 22,000–foot mansion in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Dr. Warren stated on May 23, 2005, at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: “The word ‘fundamentalist’ actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity.” The five fundamentals of the faith to which Dr. Warren objected are: 

1. The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible 
2. The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ 
3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 
4. Christ’s atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world 
5. The literal second coming of Jesus Christ 

Are we to believe that Christians who hold to these basic foundational doctrines of the Christian faith are narrow and legalistic? According to the New Testament definition, those who believe otherwise are not Christians.

To start a Purpose Driven Church or change to one with the full knowledge and consent of the membership is one thing, but to practically steal a church from Christians who have given and served to build it without their knowledge or consent is quite another.

Don’t be fooled by the Saddleback website.
"You don’t catch many fish unless you have a look-alike bait! "
Additional copies may be obtained from: Southwest Radio Ministries, Box 100, Bethany, OK 73008 1-800-652-1144 www.swrc.com 25 for $10 – 100 for $20 

For more in-depth information: 

The Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church by N. W. Hutchings 1 copy for your gift of $15

Is Your Church Going Purpose Driven? How Can You Tell? 
~A tract by Noah Hutchings (Going PDC)

In the past ten years a large percentage of churches in America, and in other countries, have changed from a traditional New Testament church model to a contemporary Purpose Driven model, many with sorrowful results. Contrary to Purpose Driven Church proponents, millions have been leaving their churches after the change occurred. It is important that every church member know if their church is targeted for a  PDC takeover (Purpose Driven Church takeover).

Initially, a small clique of church staff, possibly including the pastor or a new pastor, plans the change without telling the rest of the church membership. Church Transitions, an associate of Saddleback Church in California, trains the clique initiating the change in eight published steps.

  1. Prepare for change
  2. Define your changes
  3. Plant your vision with your key leaders
  4. Share your vision with the whole church
  5. Implement your changes
  6. Deal with the opposition
  7. Make adjustments
  8. Evaluate the result

The church membership is not to be informed of the transition until the fourth step. After the sixth step in the process of change, if there are some in the church who voice concerns, the following is suggested:

1. Identify those who are resisting the changes; 
2. Assess the effectiveness of their opposition; 
3. Befriend those who are undecided about the changes; 
4. Marginalize more persistent resisters; 
5. Vilify those who stay and fight; 
6. Establish new rules that will silence all resistance.

This means the church membership is not told until it is too late to make a difference. In other words the members either accept the changes, or leave the church, which they may have served and given to build.

Dr. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life has stated:

“When you reveal the vision to the church, the old pillars are going to leave. But let them leave . . . they only hold things up.” 

Dr. Warren is right in one way. It is the senior members of the church who do indeed hold a church up and keep it from falling into apostasy. While some PDC initiators may not implement the full PDC format, generally these are the signs indicating that your church may be targeted for a Purpose Driven Church format:

1. Change in music to a contemporary rock style. 
2. Removal of hymn books; eliminating the choir. 
3. Replacement of organ and piano with heavy metal instruments.
4. Repetitive singing of praise lyrics. 
5. Dressing down to casual attire. 
6. Eliminating of business meetings, church committees, council of elders, board of deacons, etc.
7. The pastor, or a new leader with a few assistants, usually four, takes charge of all church business.
8. A repetitive 40–day Purpose Driven Church study program stressing psychological relationships with each other, the community, or the world, begins.
9. Funded budgeted programs are abandoned, or ignored, with ambiguous financial reports made.
10. Sunday morning, evening, and/ or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times; some may even be eliminated.
11. Sunday School teachers are moved to different classes, or replaced by new teachers more sympathetic with the changes being implemented.
12. The name “Sunday school” is dropped and classes are given new names. 
13. Crosses and other traditional Christian symbols may be moved from both the inside and outside of the church building. The pulpit may also be removed. 
14. In accordance with Dr. Warren’s instructions, new version Bibles are used; or only verses flashed on a screen are referenced during regular services.
15. Purpose Driven Church films, purchased from Saddleback, precede or are used during regular services.
16. The décor, including the carpets, may be changed to eliminate any resemblance to the former church.
17. The word “church” is often taken from the name of the church, and the church may be called a “campus.” Denominational names may also be removed.
18. An emphasis on more fun and party sessions for the youth. 
19. Elimination of altar calls or salvation invitations at the close of the services. 
20. The elimination of such words as “unsaved,” “lost,” “sin,” “Hell,” “Heaven,” and other gospel verities from the pastor’s messages. 
21. The reclassification of the saved and lost to the “churched” and “unchurched.” 
22. The marginalizing, or ostracizing, of all who are not avid promoters of the new Purpose Driven program. 
23. Closed meetings between the pastor or chosen staff members without any reports made to the general membership.
24. Open hostility to members who do not openly embrace the new program, or who may have left for another church.

______- >>> Go to Part 2:  Mutating DNA