Heresy Comes Softly

It?s pretty funny how easily heresy creeps in. Sure it might
take a while to come up with especially if it?s going to be really convincing.
You know, the mulling it over, making the new concept taste right, justifying
it in Scripture and convincing yourself. Yet, when it makes its first
appearance it does so in such a manner that the non-Berean ear may sit there
unaware, smiling and maybe even ?Amen?ing. To see it happen before your eyes is
outright scary.

Our Assembly was invited to be part of an Inter-Cultural
panel discussion at one of the local brethren assemblies. Personally, I now wonder
why they still call themselves a brethren assembly if they seem to have left a
huge chunk of New Testament principles behind, but that has little to nothing
to do with this post. One of my elders made a suggestion the day before that I
be one of the panelists but I don?t think he notified anyone ahead of time so I
was safe.

Some of the young people I teach on Friday night showed up
at the meeting as well as a huge outpouring of non-Hispanic Caribbeans. On the
stage were four chairs; my elder in one of them, a pastor from an Asian
gathering, a young lady from Campus Crusades and another pastor from a first
Baptist church in Manhattan. The three men went up with Bibles, you young lady
crossed her arms and smiled. One of the men opened the Bible the other two sat
it on their lap. This is never a good sign.

Before I go any further, let me say that there was some
really good insight offered. My elder spoke about the challenges of reaching
the Hispanic culture because it?s actually an amalgamation of many cultures The
Asian brother spoke about how the Chinese are reared in Atheism and others in
Materialism. The best witness to them is to show how you are content in Christ
in your non-materialism. The Campus Crusader explained that we have to embrace
all cultures and see the beauty in them all. To which I eventually stood up and
asked how the panelists would reach me if I am from the homosexual culture?what
part of my culture do they wish to embrace?

That?s about the time that I had to start telling the
suddenly serious faces all around me that I was happily married and never have
been a homosexual. :)

This eventually led to a young woman asking about reading
the books of other religions. Her Buddhist friend said ?you read this book,
I?ll read your book.? The First Baptist Pastor agreed that she was to read the
book only if she was grounded in the faith. He specified that we?re not to go
study other religions but study the words of Christ. Then he pointed out the
reason why the gospel is failing today and why our churches are
decreasing?because there is less power of God in the church and in the world.

Um, what? My
eyebrow went up as various Scriptures started popping into my head. My last
post on the weapons of our warfare came back to me and simultaneously the
lesson I had preached on Ahab?s stupidity also started ringing in the other
ear. The guy was still talking softly making the transition from his good advice
to his bad doctrine.

?The power of God is decreasing and if we want to see people
getting saved we have to look at the book of Acts and see what happened then. We
need miracles of healing and demons being cast out! Look at Acts?every time
there was a healing hundreds of thousands would be saved. When we get back to
increasing the power of God like in Acts, we?ll see people getting saved.?

(In my mind, 1 Cor 3?we?re God?s fellow laborers, but He?s
the one bringing the increase. 1 Cor 10?our weapons are mighty in God already!
Eph 6?we put on the Armor of God but God is already the victor (1 Thes 4). John
16?the Holy Spirit is working in the world. Romans 8?the Holy Spirit helps in
our prayers and in our very own sanctification unto glorification?how is this a
decrease of power? John 4?the people were convinced by the word of Jesus, not
by miracles or display of power. Romans 10?the prerequisite of salvation is
belief, the prerequisite of belief is hearing the message from Christ, the
prerequisite of that is someone who is sent by Christ?there is no display of
power in those steps. Acts 17?was it then a failure since few believed and
there was no power display?)

What?s possibly worse is all the Amen?s. What are people
thinking? In under 5 minutes this guy managed to limit the power of God,
diminish His work to that of external signs and wonders, make the Gospel
dependant on the display of said signs and imply that the stoking the fire of
miracles is inherit in men! Less than 5 minutes to expound something based on
fuzzy Scripture, misquotations and all out bad inductive reasoning (not
deductive at all on this one. He made it sound probable enough to be true and
the Amen?s substantiated that).

Just for your info, take great care with your giving away an
?Amen?. Paul would have us understand all that?s being said to give an honest
?Amen? (1 Cor 14:14-16).

His comments ended about 2 minutes from the closing and the
moderator was about to finalize the meeting in prayer (we?ve been there from 7:30pm and it was by this time 10:15pm) then Henry asked to read a few
verses. I?ll paraphrase it:

??I have five brothers?let me go back and warn them,
Abraham.? (Luke 16:27-31). But Abraham said, ?They have miracles and displays of power let them listen to them?is that what
the verse says? No, it says that ?they have Moses and the Prophets; let them
hear them??then in verse 31 ?If they do not hear miracles and displays of power? No, if they do not hear Moses and
the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead?a
miracle of great power. Preach the Gospel. That?s it.? To this, I said ?Amen!?

-r-

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