Who Wants to Be Next?
The Second Sin of King David
Is it a saga of shame, betrayal, and foolishness by those who should (and actually do) know better, or is it more a matter of biblical ignorance, a misplaced zeal, pandering to the pressures of theocratic politics, or convoluted loyalties, or a lack of wisdom from above?
There is no doubt that God’s PEACE plan is the redemptive and regenerative Gospel of Jesus alone; there is no true salvation in any other Name (Acts 4:12), nor any other true God but the God of Israel (Exodus 20:3, Jeremiah 10:10) and other gods are demons (1 Corinthians 10:20, Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalm 106:37). Nor is there any other true “PEACE” except through God’s peace plan based on the New Testament Gospel of salvation by grace and justification through faith (Luke 2:14, Romans 3:17, Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, 1 Peter 5:14, 2 Peter 3:14).
Rick Warren however, has teamed up with Tony Blair to push Rick Warren’s own “Global ‘PEACE’ Plan” aligning governments, industries, and religions ““ all religions (including Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and worshipers of other “gods” which Scripture identifies as demons) to inaugurate Warren’s peace plan contrary to God’s and omits the Gospel of Jesus as the only true “PEACE”.
Warren’s partner in his Christ-less and Gospel-less “peace” plan Tony Blair, converted to Roman Catholicism and as British Prime Minister pushed his “Sexual Orientation Regulation” through Parliament in the UK, making it a prosecutable crime to deny co-equal right of adoption to same-sex couples to bring a baby up as a homosexual or lesbian. After first opposing California’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage prohibition on film, Warren appeared on Larry King Live before tens of millions of viewers and denied that he ever supported it (although the film clip proves he did) and lied apologetically stating to the homosexual and lesbian community that he did not oppose such things condemned by the New Testament as physically, socially, and spiritually destructive (Romans 1: 27-28). Indeed, Warren and Blair have plenty of friends claiming to be “born again” who have likewise compromised on this and other issues such as Bart Campolo (son of the apostate Tony Campolo) and heretical Emergent Church Guru Brian McLaren whom Warren joined to forward Dan Kimball’s book The Emergent Church which is mere post-Modernism in pseudo-Christian packaging in a counterfeit spirituality mimicking the iconic mysticism of the Dark Ages.
Indeed, McLaren rejects propositional truth as essential to Christianity in contrast to the propositional historicity of the resurrection of Christ being foundational to scriptural Christianity. McLaren’s rejection of hell and his replacement of exegesis with the use of imagination in studying the parables of Jesus is a pure unadulterated theological Gnosticism. Again, enter Rick Warren who co-authors the forward to Kimball’s book that defines this “Emergence” ‚ “” the apostate church of the paradigm shift where Leonard Sweet’s pseudo-Christianized New Age meets the mainstream.
What is supremely strange is that the Word of God expressly warns us of deceptions such as Rick Warren’s “PEACE” plan in the Last Days (1 Thessalonians 5:3). So in an open and defiant rejection of the clear and unmitigated warnings of Jesus to be alert for the prophetic signs of His return (Matthew 24: 42), Rick Warren erases Acts 1:6 and replaces it with Matthew 24:3 to argue that we should avoid End Time prophecy because Christ said it is not our business (an argument he attempts to justify by his peculiar brand of a trans-locational “cut-and-paste” substitute for exegesis.)
As is plainly published in his book, Mr. Warren’s Purpose Driven agenda not only abandons but argues against the scriptural imperative of repentance in evangelistic Gospel presentations favoring his “seeker friendly” approach where marketing and psychology determine both the message and how it is presented. In Rick Warren’s world it is what people think they need, not what God states they need which defines “need”. His perverted counterfeit of the scriptural Gospel is Robert Schuller and Bill Hybels taken to their natural conclusions and then reinterpreted in light of the marketing psychology of the late unbeliever, the marketing consultant Peter Drucker. But his Inter-Faith and purely social gospel agenda now eclipses evangelism in any form. This is Rick Warren.
One would be very hard pressed indeed to identify any figure whose positions are so acutely antithetical to essential New Testament dogma or a scriptural definition of the Gospel than Rick Warren. As Jesus warned in the Olivet Discourse, “If possible, even the elect would be deceived”. (Matthew 24: 24) Well, the “elect” certainly appear to be deceived.
One should hardly be surprised that the Calvinistic preacher John Piper has jumped into bed with Rick Warren. With his erroneous Replacement Theology, Piper has always been a teacher of error anyway. While we cannot confirm Mr. Piper’s motives, we should rather be surprised if John Piper had not ventured further into error; he was always misled with his reformed nonsense to begin with and has always misled others on various other points, so it is natural he should introduce his church to more error.
There are however, others whom we would have expected to know better since they themselves do not even agree with Rick Warren and in fact fundamentally disagree with much of what Warren represents including his partnership with Kimball and McLaren in promoting “emergence” and who would solidly reject Rick Warren’s dismissal of the importance of eschatological prophecy. Why would doctrinally grounded pastors partner with someone like Rick Warren whose dishonest and backtracking antics on the same-sex marriage issue are plainly wrought in hell? Why would they share platforms with a multi-faith advocate who mutilated the scriptural Gospel they claim to believe in? Why would they ignore their own heritage concerning the importance of studying the return of Christ and share a platform or grant public sanction to someone whose endorsement of the Emergent church is conspicuously of Satan? Why would they share a platform with a virtual New Ager like Leonard Sweet unless it was to debate him? Why this sad, sick compromise? How could a preacher ever endorse a vile specimen of blasphemous heresy like The Shack unless he himself is false?
We do not speak of “guilt by association” (“guilt by association” is not scriptural or Jesus Himself would have been guilty of it), but rather we speak of “guilt by cooperation” with a villain and a deceiver of the very ilk Jesus warned us in His eschatological caveats to beware in the Last Days. In the past we have described this as “riding in Ahab’s chariot” as King Jehoshaphat did. Though a good king and righteous leader himself, he allied himself with a bad one due to political and family pressures and in the ensuing process made himself a target when his misguided actions caused him to become identified with Ahab himself. It is both wrong and dangerous for good leaders to ride in Ahab’s chariot, be it appearing with the money preachers on TBN or standing shoulder to shoulder with them at a conference, church, or rally-type events. It displeases the Lord and sooner or later backfires, not infrequently with devastating costs and destructive ramifications of pressure to continue such unwise relationships in ministry and even to expand them. It is a an ugly enterprise best avoided.
Jesus taught that pastors are shepherds whose task is not only to feed and tend the sheep but protect them from wolves (John 10: 11-13). Why would shepherds who will one day give account to Christ for the welfare of His sheep (1 Peter 5: 1-5) not only fail to protect Christ’s sheep from a scripturally proven “wolf in sheep’s clothing’ (Matthew 7:15) which Jesus called being “a hireling”, but also mislead the sheep into thinking this demonstrable wolf is a fellow shepherd? Why? I know some of these men to be personally good and godly men, so I am left to ponder the painful question ““ why?
Even more importantly however, what do such sad and at times sickening trends mean for the short- to medium-term future for the Body of Christ? That we live in an age of apostasy as Jesus warned us would come is obvious. Yet why do so many men whom God has blessed and used who themselves at one time warned and preached against these spiritual seductions now compromise with them? Tragically, it has surely become a Jeremiah chapter 12 scenario we once more face.
The Lure of Fame & the Mega-Church & Their Tragic Demise
Mega-churches first surfaced in the aftermath of the Jesus Movement, the revival among the hippie generation that followed the tumultuous 1960’s, the last time a genuine revival (authentic by scriptural and historical standards) occurred in the Western World. Its contemporary counterpart ‘The Charismatic Movement” degenerated into experiential instead of scriptural theology, stereotypically substituting hype for anointing, neo-Gnosticism for exegesis, Mysticism for spirituality, religious emotionalism for inspiration, and often confused what amounted to clairvoyance for the gift of prophecy and gibberish for the actual scriptural gift of tongues. Charismata was distorted into charismania often compromising on fundamental doctrine (and not infrequently the purity of the scriptural Gospel itself). The Charismatic Movement categorically failed to transform the denominations in which it took place in any real long-term way or to have a major impact for Christ on society or the fallen world. Massive churches with the capacity to attract young people became known as “mega-churches”.
They began on the crest of the Jesus Movement pioneered by Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa. While some mainstream Evangelical churches rejected the saved hippies and Moody Bible Institute told them to get a haircut and not have a beard if they wanted to go to Bible college, others like Chuck Smith and Jews For Jesus founder Moishe Rosen saw the potential of a radical contingent of young people saved out of the hippie counter-culture whose numbers and zeal could be transformed into a new generation of Bible-believing Christians. Just as the hippies with their youth and numbers were able to play a pivotal role in driving two crooked presidents out of the White House, that energy and those numbers of demographic Baby Boomers could impact society for Christ. Up to a very clear point it actually did. While many of these “Jesus Freak” sects such as Moe Berg’s Children of God, Pastor Stevens Bible Speaks, and Stuart Traille’s Forever Family degenerated into cults, those with solid pastoral leadership actually gave new badly needed life blood to the Body of Christ. However the manner in which mega-churches began and the manner in which they have ended up are two desperately different things entirely. The list of fundamental differences demonstrating how something that commenced as positive in a scripturally-based manner under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit mutated into a series of “flavor of the month” fad-based spectacles is conspicuous.
- The early mega-churches such as Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and its initial church plants grew by tons of young people actually being saved through evangelism and discipleship. Today most mega-churches grow primarily by transfer growth with people leaving one church for another chasing the latest show in town.
- The early mega-churches largely grew by emphasizing eschatological prophecy and the return of Jesus. Today in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven agenda end time prophecy is actively discouraged as to be avoided in favor of a social activism which is temporal in focus.
- The original mega-churches grew by preaching an uncompromising scriptural Gospel that saw Christ alone as the Way, the Truth, and the Life where salvation was by grace and justification by faith. Modern mega-churches are Ecumenical, accepting of a social and/or sacramental gospel of religious ritualism from Bill Hybels and Robert Schuller hosting Islamic preachers in their pulpits to Rick Warren’s “Global Peace Plan” stating we can unite with any religion to transform the world by religion and activism instead of by Christ alone.
- A seeker-friendly dilution of the Gospel ignoring the centrality of the New Testament stress on the need for repentance is urged by Rick Warren while compromise on fundamental issues of scriptural standards of morality replace a biblical emphasis on the holiness without which “no man shall see God”. (Hebrews 12:14)
- The original mega-churches grew by biblical discipleship and the exegetical exposition of scripture. Modern mega-churches grow by motivational speaking where pop psychology is put into Christian jargon and hype-artistry is substituted for anointing. Instead of Bibles the Purpose Driven devotees read the corrupted paraphrase The Message wildly deviating from the original Greek and Hebrew in meaning. Christian classics such as Pilgrim’s Progress or authors like A. W. Tozer, F. B. Meyer, and Watchman Nee are discarded in favor of blasphemous heresy such as The Shack. Exposition of God’s Word is replaced by Gnostic spiritualization of scriptural texts pushed by Brian McLaren and New Testament spirituality is literally replaced by seeking light in the Dark Ages with a return to Pre-Reformation monastic Mysticism such as labyrinths, visualization aided by icons, candles, incense, the Lectio Divina urged by imitators of Jesuit founder Ignatius Loyala, and yoga breathing exercises such as suggested by Joyce Hugget. Kundalini Yoga is copied and called “The Toronto Experience”.
- In the early mega-churches growth was celebrated with the worship of God. In the modern mega-churches, as with Hillsong, it is the worship of “worship” that engenders growth oblivious to the fact that when entertainment is used to draw people, entertainment must be used to keep them. Indeed, instead of by way of Bible study, in modern mega-churches many people in fact get their doctrine in this way (usually false doctrine camouflaged by superficial elements of truth).
- The early mega-churches were built on the Rock, not on the programs of men and withstood the test of time; the new generation of mega-churches do not. Let us consider their track undeniable record:
- Jim Bakker’s PTL Club and Heritage USA (the biggest ministry in the world at one time with the third largest theme park in the world and the biggest money preacher) ““ A SELF-INFLICTED DEATH.
- John Arnett’s Airport Vineyard Church, Toronto ““ The show is over, a dwindled vestige of its counterfeit revival carnal, freak show self.
- Ken Gott ““ Sunderland Assemblies of God, the UK clone of Toronto ““ The show is also over where at one point it degenerated into a handful of leftovers meeting in a rented room at the Roker Hotel.
- John Kilpatrick’s Brownsville Assembly of God, Pensacola, Florida ““ Following a financial scandal and a huge split, that failed revival is also over with no revival in its wake.
- Paula White’s Church Without Walls, the fastest growing church in the USA in 2008 ““ Following yet another of her divorces the church caved in on itself leaving a reported $13 million in debt.
- Jim McConnell’s Whitewell Elim, Belfast, Ireland’s mega-church ““ A massive split following scandals in Romania and teaching the crazy British-Israelite doctrine.
- Todd Bentley and the Straders Lakeland Fiasco ““ After abandoning his wife and three children and running off with another woman after being prophesied over falsely by Peter Wagner, Bill Johnson, Che Anh, and Rick Joyner while he was involved in heavy adultery, Lakeland died a self-inflicted death. (Now Joyner is trying to bring Bentley and the adulteress he married after divorcing his rightful wife back into a ministry of “financial blessing”.)
- Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral ““ The Positive Thinking Mecca where psychology displaced the preaching of the cross and inspired its imitators Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek and Rick Warren’s Saddleback is now in debt $55 million with no way out.
WHO WANTS TO BE NEXT???
Even once upon a time doctrinally good mega-churches such as the ministry of the man who was the biggest televangelist in the world, Jimmy Swaggert, has likewise all but died a self-inflicted death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is not just mega-churches that were never any good which put themselves at risk, but churches which began well but deviated from God’s Word and lost sight of where Jesus was really at. We must understand that these were seen as the most successful mega-churches in the world at one time that others emulated and imitated, wanting to have a “BIG CHURCH TOO”, but in the wrong way and often for the wrong reasons.
In the quest for this growth we have witnessed pastors who may themselves have began well become obsessed by initial success but not discern spiritually or comprehend theologically what was really happening. They took their eyes off of Jesus and their nose out of the Bible and put it on a false barometer of success and a misinterpretation of divine blessing.
Not only did they ride in Ahab’s chariot appearing on TBN or jumping on any bandwagon coming down the pike from counterfeit revivals in Toronto, to the Purpose Driven lie, to promoting easy growth formulas in the form of books doctrinally incompatible with God’s Word such as The Prayer of Jabez, The God Chasers, and The Shack, but also Ecumenical fast growth gimmicks like Alpha courses that do not really work in the long run because they lack firm scriptural substance.
When Bill Clinton was American president he twice vetoed the congressional ban on partial-birth abortion (dragging a baby out its mother’s womb in a late-term pregnancy with forceps, doing a sub-occipital puncture through its skull, and sucking his or her brains out with a suction catheter while the infant is still alive ““ a procedure also supported by Barak Obama), Clinton was invited to be keynote speaker at Bill Hybel’s pastoral leadership conference. This was following the Lewinsky scandal (complete with Mr. Clinton vaginally inserting cigars into a troubled young girl the age of his daughter in the Oval Office and lying about it under oath). In Bill Hybel’s estimation, who could be better to coach Evangelical pastors about leadership? Yet 5,000 of them showed up to hear Clinton and ask him questions, but not one of these worthless hypocritical hirelings pretending to be pastors challenged Clinton about partial-birth abortion which will warrant God’s judgment. Fortunately Isaiah was not like that when he challenged King Manasseh over the sacrificial killing of infants even though according to Jewish history it cost him his life. Yet this demonstrates the lengths such pastors will venture in their pursuit of numbers. They forget that God’s Word condemns this chasing numbers at the cost of doing God’s true will calling it “The Second Sin of David” and as with David it results in eventual de-population under the judgment of God.
They call it “zeal for the Lord” but it is really the ambition of men. They call it “building the Kingdom of God”, but it really has become building the empires of men. Motives become mixed and good intentions blind the pursuant to the reality. An untenable compromise comes next but this is always followed by hypocrisy. A bad guy is seen as “good” because he appears to be a model of success and a good guy not subscribing to it is labeled “bad” because he is perceived as an obstacle to the agenda. Then money becomes involved, often due to ambitious and colossal building programs which are only good when they are truly ordained of God and not achieved by compromise with things that God calls wrong. It is a numbers game. It is, once again, “The Second Sin of David”.
My question is again: WHO WANTS TO BE NEXT???
I once did a recording on the subject The Second Sin of David some years ago. Moriel will provide a free copy to any pastor of any active church of any movement or denomination who wants one if they contact one of our branches. (It is free for active pastors).
We are told in 1 Corinthians 10 that the tragic history of Old Testament Israel and its failing were written for our instruction as believers as a caveat that we should not make the same mistakes. This history is especially recorded in the books of Chronicles and Kings. It is amazing how one single generation could change everything for either good or bad.
Toward the end of his life at the close of the 18th Century John Wesley bemoaned that the Methodists with their mighty revival was already declining due to a deficiency in the reading and exposition of Scripture. Wesley asked publicly, “If this is what is happening when I am still alive, what will become of it once I am dead?” Methodism as it had been with its dynamism and power essentially died with him. Yet another revival took place in England called Primitive Methodism which reverted to Wesley’s original beliefs and convictions and refused to follow the mainstream. Over time other Methodist movements such as The Wesleyans and The early Church of The Nazarene (which in more recent times has also begun to lose its way) led by Phineas Bresee continued to follow true Methodism by following the true Jesus on the basis of Scripture.
We now once again approach such a juncture. I have readily defended Chuck Smith publicly from the unjust attacks on him and on his character by Christianity Today magazine, the “Phoenix Preacher” and others. But how can I defend some of those claiming to be Calvary Chapels who no longer by their actions believe or do what Chuck taught?
Much to his credit Chuck Smith always tossed heretics such as Lonnie Frisbee and John Wimber out of Calvary Chapels and more recently Chuck Smith has rightly (and at considerable personal cost) withstood those introducing Emergent Church practices and beliefs into Calvary Chapels. There are indeed many godly men in Calvary Chapels whose ministry I can endorse without hesitation such as Don McClure, Raul and Xavier Reese, Edmund Coronel, Jack Hibbs, Damian Khyle, Lloyd Pulley, Claude Stauffer, Jim King, Dwight Douville, Bill Gallatin, Daryl Skinner, Greg Jones, Ray Bentley, Mike MacIntosh, Rob Yardley, John Higgins and many others from America, to the Far East, to New Zealand, to Britain and Europe. I sanction the ministry of all of them without hesitation. There are also however, others who leave me confused, leave the church of Jesus misguided, and leave themselves on the wrong road often due to “The Second Sin of David”; it is no longer about Jesus but about the numbers or about something having nothing to do with Jesus.
What do I do when Gayle Irwin cover endorses a heretical specimen of blasphemous trash like The Shack authored by a man who says there is no hell? Following an ugly financial scandal in the newspapers, what do I do when Skip Heitzig invites a teacher of New Age in pseudo-Christian packaging from an extreme axis who most would define as “Emergence’ like Leonard Sweet with worship by a Roman Catholic who adheres to the false Christianity of Rome? Chuck Smith made it clear that he does not want this Emergent influence in Calvary Chapel and he is correct. What do I do when good men of God like Roger Oakland and Paul Smith are marginalized by theocratic politics?
As Wesley warned, this is what happened to Methodism in the 18th Century. As J. C. Rhyle warned, this is what happened to the Anglicans in the 19th Century. As David Powell warned this is what happened to the Assemblies of God in the 20th Century. And this is now what is facing Calvary Chapels a full decade into the 21st Century. Men like Spurgeon and Martin Lloyd Jones warned what would become of the church in Great Britain if it did no repent. They were right and were proven to be right. At one time A. W. Tozer, Dave Hunt, Larry Thomas and David Wilkerson warned America along the same lines and they too were proven right. Jeremiahs are always proven to be right (2 Chronicles 36:12, 16); they are vindicated by both God and history and always will be.
When John Wesley asked the question he was in his nineties. Today David Wilkerson, Tim La Haye, Chuck Smith, and Dave Hunt are all in their eighties. May God bless each of them.
In Britain after Martin Lloyd Jones, Campbell Morgan, and F. F. Bruce passed away there were no more earthly leaders in the Body of Christ in Britain anymore, only theocrats and opportunists whose detrimental activities and false doctrines were punctuated by the occasional voices of a few who dare to speak out against them such as Clifford Hill, David Noakes, Stuart Dool, Alec Passmore and Steven Gardner. Now America seems to be going the same way. Will there be another generation of scripturally grounded leaders for God to raise up or will America go down the same sad path as Britain in becoming post-Christian/neo-Pagan with a spiritually and doctrinally dilapidated church? Will we see a modern equivalent of Free Methodism to rekindle the flame of the last revival now being forgotten and its tenets abandoned? God knows and time will tell, but it will not be a long time. We may be absolutely certain that this question will be answered and decided within the not too distant future.
Meanwhile however, as “The Second Sin of David” marches on unobstructed we are compelled by this uncomfortable reality to respectfully once more ask the question: WHO WANTS TO BE NEXT???