As this apostasy grows darker we have now reached the point in postmodern America where the ecumenical new evangelical church once headed by disgraced NAE President Ted Haggard is facing the exact same issue as that encountered by Charles Haddon Spurgeon with the encroaching liberals in the Baptist Union of his day. This article is adapted from an earlier one to focus attention more specifically on what I have chosen to call this the New Downgrade No-Controversy. Today through obvious heretics like Benny Hinn, and men like Emergent Church Guru Brian McLaren with his a-logical double-speak, the Devil is working to sweep the penal substitutionary atonement away. And tragically we see worldly leaders within the Church of our Lord are actually accepting as Evangelicals men who are literally denying the Gospel that’s preached by Evangelicals.

2 Peter 2:1-3

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

A Personal Perspective

Being that the Lord is being kind enough to open the doors for new readers to find Apprising Ministries I begin this article with a quick bit of important background information regarding this work in Christ and the position from which I write it. First of all, this website was literally given to me August 31st of this year, I never asked for this forum. For those who don’t know I am a high school graduate having never attended any college–Bible or otherwise–am not seminary trained, nor have I ever been “indoctrinated” into any particular denominational way of thinking. Although the title “reverend” (which I do not hold in high esteem) was bestowed upon me by the Southern Baptist Convention I was actually called by God as one of His pastor-teachers long before that. Make whatever you will of this, but it is my personal conviction that after numerous attempts to more formally pursue my education, which the Lord chose to prevent, I am convinced He has decided to raise me up in this particular way; further than that I refer the reader to John 7:16-18.

My theology is somewhere a cross between that of C.H. Spurgeon, A.W. Tozer (minus his more mystic bent), and Dr. Walter Martin. It is also my conviction that I have arrived through personal study of the Bible in the Presence of the Lord at what I simply call a biblical position. Therefore I am not a Fundamentalist or an Evangelical–though I have some affinities with both–I only refer to myself as a Christian, and my sincere goal for the cause of my Lord is to give every ounce of strength He gives me to do only what He wishes me to do; now matter what–to the end. In hopes that in this way, by always remembering – by the grace of God I am what I am – I might then achieve my only real goal in this life: Do what I am supposed to do for my gracious Lord and then get out of this cesspool of a world system and arriving home to the words – “Well done, good and faithful servant” (see-Matthew 25:14-23).

Another point I wish to address here at the outset is the command that the pastor-teacher must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9). Unfortunately, today the Church is not willing to refute those who oppose sound doctrine and has instead become more like Peter was in Mark 8:33 where our Lord ended up rebuking him – “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” In fact this comment from respected Evangelical scholar Dr. D.A. Carson in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary will prove enlightening to those who have ears to hear:

Jesus’ words to Peter were not only very severe, they were deliberately spoken in the presence of the other disciples (“Jesus turned and looked at his disciples”). They probably shared Peter’s views and needed the rebuke, too. The severity of the rebuke arises from Jesus’ recognition in Peter’s attempt to dissuade him from going to the Cross the same temptation he had experienced from Satan at the outset of his ministry. Satan offered him the option of using the world’s means of accomplishing his mission (cf. Matt 4:8-10). On that occasion Jesus rebuked him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'” (Matt 4:10). Here, too, Jesus recognized the satanic opposition in Peter. “‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. `You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.'” Peter was opposing the divine will. He had in mind a popular messiahship. That was the way the world thought; it was not how God had planned Jesus’ ministry and mission (Matthew, CD Rom, emphasis added).

So you see, it’s not as if we haven’t had the chance to listen to the Spirit’s subtle warnings not to think like men and then try to preach the Gospel the way men think it should be preached in this biblically foreign mission field of fading postmodern America. For those who have eyes to see, it really is right there in the text of Scripture, and even our own biblical scholars have said it–though apparently they haven’t realized that God the Holy Spirit is using them to speak. Or is it only with bored indifference and a false humility that we pray: “Lord use me as Your vessel.” And I do wish the reader to know I fully understand there are many who ignore my warnings and consider me some kind of radical kook; but I offer it might not be wise to so easily dismiss what I say. O without a doubt the accepted way of writing today is to do a kind of “plus-minus” assessment of a given subject; but I wonder have we really considered this from the Lord’s perspective, or is this rather the things of men in secular academia? Suppose I were to write an article about cancer, would I really need to elaborate on some of the more “positive” aspects of this terminal disease, like say, how quickly and suddenly it can metastasize and just how completely it kills a body?

There have been those who have expressed to me that I don’t know what I’m talking about as I run these various aberrant and heretical movements together, i.e. when I refer to the “ecumenical new evangelical purpose driven emergent word faith church.” Let me assure you that as one trained in Comparative Religion I know very well how to study and evaluate the doctrinal beliefs of a given religious system. However, as a pastor-teacher the Bible tells me there are times where I have to – command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer (see-1 Timothy 1:3-7) and I am also not afraid to speak the truth from God’s perspective – “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). And so, in spite of the conveniently comfortable way in which the modern/postmodern Evangelical church as assimilated itself into the pragmatic business methods of the world, when we are shown from the Bible that these practices are not in line with what God Himself would have us do, and since the only other source left is that of the Devil himself, I am actually quite justified in lumping together what–despite many variant levels of compromised, aberrant, and/or heretical doctrines–ultimately originates from the same rotten root in antichrist. For they come from the same serpentine sourece as they merge onto the way that is broad, and they–and all who follow them–will arrive at the same eternal destination.

Laugh at me if you will, but no matter how much we’d like to try and convince ourselves that God understands; He’ll just sort it all out in the end, etc., the absolute fact remains that Jesus has left us here as His ambassadors (see–2 Corinthians 5:20). In John 20:21 our Lord clearly says – “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Logically then, just as it was also once a part of His job, the Master has now entrusted us to warn people who are in sin–and particularly those within the Body of Christ–to leave that practice immediately. Sin means “to miss the mark” of Christ, and when we do miss this mark it is God’s Name which is sullied and it is His Church that is mocked. In 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ministers of the Gospel are instructed by the Apostle Paul that regardless of prevailing opinions in whatever culture our Lord sends us into – we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. Well, my brother ministers, this isn’t a drill; to be a pastor-teacher is not a game, and some of the saddest words in the Bible are – Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me (2 Timothy 4:9). And how it breaks our Lord’s heart today there are far more Demas’ in His Church today than there are Pauls.

My prayer in this personal perspective is that perhaps it will reach some of the younger ministers on staff who–before their own hearts harden as well–hadn’t yet seen the “business as usual” that American Evangelical Christianity has become. The fact that will come with devastating consequences as new evangelicalism rots is that not many senior pastors are going to listen, what with their book deals and multi-million dollar corporations to protect. Be that as it may however, it will prove time well spent for them to reexamine the following from Proverbs 7:

Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent (v.10)…With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life (vv.21-23).

Do you really think this proverb is only about adultery in this world, or could it also be there is still such a thing as the spiritual adultery that we so often see our Lord rebuking His people for; that continual condemnation of compromise we read about in the writings of His true prophets? Is it possible, that as a senior pastor who ought to know better, God is now warning you that the allure of “success” in the ministry has become your own personal prostitute, about whom you justify yourself? I encourage you in the Lord to ask Him if it is not you that the Spirit speaks of when He says – “Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death” (vv. 24-27).

Who Is An Evangelical?

The purpose of this article, adapted from the longer feature article Emergent Church: Guru Brian McLaren, is to shine additional light onto the deception of the Emerging Church, which is rapidly emerging as a non-Christian pagan cult operating within the Evangelical camp of our Lord’s Church. Strong words, but it’s about time someone came out and called this movement exactly what it is – didaskalia daimonion – the doctrines of demons bringing us right back into liberalism through postmodern skepticism. Shame on our so-called leaders–with much more of a forum than I–for sharing platforms with a man like Brian McLaren, a pastor adrift who’s a-logical double-speak ends up as a denial of the very Gospel of Jesus Christ that he is supposed to clearly proclaim to others. Take for instance the Congress 2006 coming to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA in February of next year. On the bill of so-called “Inspirational Speakers – redefining (watch that word) love in culturally relevant ways,” we see James T.Meeks, executive vice president of the National Rainbow–PUSH Coalition, Brian McLaren and Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

What I’m about to share is exactly the reason why I would no longer call myself an Evangelical. From Tim Stafford’s Christianity Today article entitled “Good Morning, Evangelicals” we read the following compromised stance concerning the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3, NKJV). Watch here as NAE president Ted Haggard provides us with a most impressive display of advanced fence straddling. I’ve condensed it here for brevity and to prevent nausea:

Who Is an Evangelical?

“When I became president of the NAE [National Association of Evangelicals],” Haggard tells the Inquirer’s Nussbaum, “the talk was about doing away with the term evangelical. Evangelicalism was morphing and changing so much that people were wondering if the term applied. The first decision I made as president was to start using the term prolifically and defining it simply. I define an evangelical as a person who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that the Bible is the Word of God, and that you must be born again.”

[Nussbaum asks] “Because, by your definition, Jimmy Carter is an evangelical.”

“He is.”

“Bill Clinton?”

“He is an evangelical.”

I see Bill Clinton is an Evangelical. The man who brought about as much shame as could possibly be brought to the highest office in the land; a man who used his training as a lawyer in an unsuccessful effort trying to avoid moral responsibility for his sin by attempting to have us redefine the word “is.” “Redefine/reexamine/reemerge,” you know, come to think of it, Bill Clinton would fit in rather well with the rubbery rhetoric of Brian McLaren and the Emergent Church. So I guess Haggard is right here taking into account how lukewarm the Evangelical community has now become. Why look who else qualifies as an Evangelical according to president Haggard:

Evangelicalism is a continuum of theologies all the way from Benny Hinn to R. C. Sproul. The R. C. Sproul crowd has a hard time with Benny Hinn, and the Benny Hinn crowd has a hard time with R. C. Sproul. But they’re all evangelicals. (ibid.)

Benny Hinn, the extremely flamboyant proponent of virtually every heresy of the Word Faith Movement–an obvious distortion of the historic orthodox Christian faith–is an Evangelical according to Haggard, who then compares Hinn’s “crowd” with that of Dr. R.C. Sproul. While I don’t agree with Sproul on everything he is at least an orthodox Christian theologian, but even Hank Hanegraaff–who is a far cry from his predecessor at CRI–has called the Word Faith Movement of which Hinn is undoubtedly a leader, “a deadly cancer that is ravaging the Body of Christ” (Christianity In Crisis, back cover). The last time I checked if a patient has cancer and it is at all possible to do so the cancer is then surgically removed, but under no circumstances is it to be welcomed as a healthy part of that person’s body.

Perhaps we’ve all forgotten what “pastor” Hinn has taught regarding the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross, which even Evangelicals profess to believe is the heart of the Gospel of our great God and Savior. Well, most of them seem to, at least publicly:

“He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, ‘The only way I can stop sin is by Me becoming it. I can’t just stop it by letting it touch Me; I and it must become one.’ Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan where He became sin!” (Trinity Broadcasting Network, December 1, 1990).

Jesus was born again [in hell]” (Our Position in Christ part 1, 1991, ).

“My, you know, whoosh! The Holy Ghost is just showing me some stuff. I’m getting dizzy! I’m telling you the truth – it’s, it’s just heavy right now on me… He’s [referring to Jesus] in the underworld now. God isn’t there, the Holy Ghost isn’t there, and the Bible says He was begotten. Do you know what the word begotten means? It means reborn. Do you want another shocker? Have you been begotten? So was He. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Jesus was reborn. You say, ‘What are you talking about?’… He was reborn. He had to be reborn… If He was not reborn, I could not be reborn, I would never be reborn. How can I face Jesus and say, “Jesus, You went through everything I’ve gone through, except the new birth?”

And here’s a little bonus teaching from “Evangelical” pastor Benny Hinn straight out of Isaiah 14:14 and Genesis 3:5. It would actually be a good idea for the new evangelical church to “reexamine” these Scriptures once again to see if we can emerge with just who was the original source for the following demonic doctrine of deception.

Are you ready for some real revelation knowledgeyou are god.

You are a little god on earth running around.

So here we have an “Evangelical” pastor who not only denies the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross, but he then goes on and blasphemes by teaching mankind is also god. Does that sound vaguely familiar, perhaps you will now recall Isaiah 14:14 where Lucifer says – “I will make myself like the Most High”; or how about Genesis 3:5 where Satan tells Eve a variation of this lie when he says – ye shall be as gods. As many of you know this is also exactly what Jospeh Smith of the Mormon Church taught. Do we really think that when the awesome and majestic Yahweh Elohim hears these kinds of things He just winks and says – “Imagine that; what an interesting coincidence.”

Oh, I know the argument well: “But Hinn apologized for these statements; he repented (and repented and…).” Well, I’ll leave the Lord judge his heart, but I will encourage you to follow Christ’s advice to “Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment” (John 7:24). For you see an insoluble problem remains here, and that would be that Hinn clearly claims “revelation knowledge” from God the Holy Spirit when he teaches this heresy. And I can find no reference in Holy Scripture to the LORD God Almighty of biblical revelation being schizophrenic. But here we see the problem of the mainstream Evangelical church and the inevitable result of Robert Schuller’s psycho-philo-theological “new” reformation which gave birth to this whole seeker sensitive Church Growth Movement in the first place. This skubalon has so grieved God the Holy Spirit that He has withdrawn enough of His power today that obvious false teachers like Schuller and Hinn, and now the not so obvious McLaren, have been allowed to remain within our Lord’s Church like parasites sucking vital resources away from true works of God.

The Pagan Cult Among Us

It is my firm conviction in Christ that this current growing apostasy is the direct result of ministers of the Gospel in so-called postmodern America forgetting the most important aspect when it comes to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And you have no excuse because it is written: our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5) and we simply cannot win people to Christ by our own pragmatic methods because the Bible also says – “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty (Zechariah 4:6). A sappy sentimentality and a false sense of the love of God we have sown, and a sappy sentimentality and a false sense of unity in the Body of Christ we have reaped. You need to ask yourself why it is that you can’t see it?

In my previous two pastoral missives I presented the case as to why I believe this schismatic movement known as the Emergent Church is actually a non-Christian pagan cult being allowed to operate from within our Lord’s Church. The second article took this assertion a step further and presented another important facet in the case of Brian McLaren denying the Gospel itself. This was done from an interview that he posts on his own website with additional documentation from Mike Oppenheimer’s fine article on the Emergent Church Now Ready for Prime Time Players which you can read here. What the Lord has laid on my heart is the importance of shining light onto this Emerging from the shadows Church with its obvious roots in the cult of liberal theology, primarily through so many pastors and leaders within this movement who have a neo-orthodox view of Scripture at best. Another major concern should also be the Emergent Church exposing unwitting sheep to various practices of pagan mysticism–if not outright Gnosticism.

You must understand that when the Evangelical church allowed counterfeit minister Robert Schuller to come in under the guise of an orthodox Christian pastor in the early seventies, the tragic result has been the devastating effect that his psycho-babble has had on Evangelicalism. Schuller’s spiritual strychnine actually originated in the ooze of metaphysical Gnosticism in the Mind Science cults, and now many Evangelical pastors as far reaching as a Charles Stanley have ended up with this serpent of “self-love” slithering in to inject its venom into their teachings. I believe Christ is prompting me to tell you that Brian McLaren–who is also a soft-spoken heretic like Schuller–is Satan’s next viper; only this time the Devil is after your kids. Can’t you see how this “gray-haired professorial-type,” who sounds so intellectual to those who aren’t trained in logic is now such a deadly threat to the impressionable young? For more detailed information please see the article Emergent Church: Guru Brian McLaren.

By the mid 1970’s, the late Dr. Walter Martin, America’s foremost authority on non-Christian cults and religions having their origin in the United States, had begun speaking about “the Cult of Liberal Theology.” His study into this area of theology began in the mid 1950’s when J. Howard Pugh, founder of Sun Oil Company and chairman of the laymen’s committee in the Presbyterian Church, became concerned with leadership rising within that denomination that just would not believe the Bible. Pugh called Martin into his office to discuss the situation and told him, “they want our churches; they want our seminaries; they want our schools; they want our money; they want everything else, but they will not have our Christ and the salvation taught in the Bible.” When Pugh had received inside information that Princeton Theological Seminary was about to abandon the inerrancy and infallibility of Holy Scripture, he commissioned Martin to embark on what would prove to be a landmark study into the devastating effects of liberal theology.

Here are a few of Dr. Martin’s pertinent observations:

There is a progression that takes place in liberal theology: It begins with a corrupt bibliology, a corrupt view of the nature and the inspiration of Scripture. They have a corrupt theology because once you are picking and choosing from the Bible what you want, your theology has to suffer from it, because your human reason is corrupt. From the corrupt theology proceeds a corrupt Christology, Jesus Christ loses His position, and the great doctrines of Who He is and what He did are diluted and finally destroyed. From the corrupt Christology comes a corrupt pneumatology, that is a corrupt view of the Holy Spirit and of what the Spirit does and is doing in the Church. Then from this corrupt bibliology, theology, Christology and pneumatology liberal theology ends up in a complete lack of proper morality, and actually leads people away from what the Gospel says into unChristian and immoral positions.

Mr. Pugh gave me a job and said, “I want you to do something that is very important. Princeton Theological Seminary is about to go down the tubes on Scripture. The Presbyterian Church is getting ready for a new confessional and they will use that confessional as a means of denying foundational truths of Presbyterian theology.” I said, “Are you sure?” He said, “I know it!” And so they did, he knew it from the inside. He said, “I want you to make a study of every major theological seminary in the United States; I don’t care what it costs. And I want you to document for me what happened to them. Are they orthodox, neo-orthodox, or liberal; and then I want you to tell me how they got that way.”

So I did, and it was amazing what emerged. Point number one; every major theological seminary that has turned from orthodox Christianity began with disbelief of Biblical doctrine. There wasn’t a single exception. This corrupt Bibliology then lead them to the next step. Their Theology began to be touched by it, their view of the Cross, the Virgin Birth were both immediately questioned; then came the miracles of Christ. And finally they had emptied the Gospel of all its content; they were simply using the outward shell so that they go on collecting money from the people and the churches; because they knew that if the people in the pew knew that they were apostate, they’d throw them out. So the strategy was hang on to the trust funds; hang on to the money we’ve got; hang on the properties we control, and we will gradually educate the laymen into this new approach to theology.

And then finally we will take control of everything. The gradual process of feeding you theological poison until you become immunized enough so that you don’t know what’s happening to you. And when you wake up to what’s happening to you, it’s too late they’ve got everything. That is not a baseless charge, I stand prepared to prove that the Cult of Liberal Theology in the United States has deliberately and consistently followed this methodology to entrap, control and dominate the denominations and the churches of the United States and our educational institutions. The study with Mr. Pugh confirmed the fact that once the Theology became corrupt, gradually then the view of Christ Himself underwent change. (The Cult of Liberalism, audio tape, side 1)

It’s vital for Evangelical leaders to wake up to the fact that men like Brian McLaren are bent on dragging the Social Gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch back into the Church, and you need to remember that its base teaching is the inherent goodness of mankind. Can you see now why the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ is currently under attack in the Evangelical church? And now what I shared from Dr. Walter Martin becomes all the more appropriate because the Trojan Horse of the Emergent Church has just unloaded this same cult of liberalism to make its reentrance in the Christian Church, only this time within the Evangelical camp itself. The question then becomes: What is the true Body of Christ going to do with this deadly cancer it has contracted. Will it be courageous enough to follow the example of C.H. Spurgeon–the man they say they admire so–in the Downgrade Controversy where he stood against the very doctrines of demons are already beginning to eat away at healthy people within our Lord’s Church?

Or rather, will history one day show that indeed there was The New Downgrade No-Controversy?