Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Hey Pastors-Wanna Protect False Teachers? Here's Your Template!" by Steven Kozar

The following is an actual devotional email sent from the pastor of a large charismatic church (this is the same one that I wrote about on Oct. 31, 2014). This pastor, it just so happens, has a former member that wrote a satirical article on his blog the previous week entitled "Want Some False Doctrine in Your Life? Try These Handy Tips!" Yes, it’s me. It might just be a coincidence that he wrote this right after my blog post, but in any case, I decided to comment on his email/letter that appears to address people like me (his words are in bold and mine are in parenthesis, as usual). In a nutshell, he admits that it's important to teach good doctrine and refute false teachers but, in reality, he gives a free pass to just about any and all false teachers. This pastor believes in Rick Joyner’s book “The Final Quest” so much that he gave it to all of his new, young elders to read. He believes that it is a true understanding of the end times. It is not-it’s a heretical and sickening book, and I told him so. He also is a big fan of Bill Johnson; so much so, that he went to a pastor’s conference at Bethel Church and came home to preach a sermon filled with “Bill Johnsonisms.” Johnson's teaching DVDs are used at this church. So he has been confronted with specific false teachers and their teachings in a respectful manner from his church members. This is not a matter of angry, ignorant parishioners throwing a fit. I believe this email/letter is an example of how a “signs and wonders” pastor glosses over serious theological issues to retain the continued support of his church members.  

Dealing with Differences

          "'Master,' said John, 'we saw a man driving out demons in Your Name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.'  'Do not stop him,' Jesus said, 'for whoever is not against you is for you.'" Luke 9:49-50

        When I first came to Christ, I was part of a church that believed we were the only pure expression of Christianity in our city.  Every sermon featured some way we were better than everyone else.  We only used the King James Bible, for instance, and believed every other translation was defiled and leading people into heresy.  We were "it", and everyone else was deceived at some level.

          Looking back, I feel sadness for how proud and blind we were; not just about ourselves, but about who God is.  We had made the God of all grace so small and picky that if you didn't believe exactly like we did you were on the outside.  The truth is that we were small and picky, not God.
 (This is a set-up for his argument in the rest of this letter. He's right about these people, though; I certainly don’t want to be like these Christians. The problem is we don't get to actually meet these people and hear their side of the story, so it's a bit of a "straw man" argument, but still, I agree with him about being too exclusive and too judgmental. What’s missing from this whole letter are the very real people, like me, who aren't angry, “King James Only” fundamentalists-which is another exaggerated  stereotype I realize-but just ordinary Christians who want their pastor to hold fast to correct doctrine. Once people like us start to do our homework and we learn about the false teachers in our midst, we get pigeon-holed into an easy to refute stereotype.)

          John is clearly proud of the disciples' rebuke of this man who wasn't, "one of us." (Don't you hate it when pastors ascribe a particular motive to someone in a Bible story, even though we don't have that information from the Bible? Maybe John was just ignorant; or maybe he just said the first thing that popped into his head. We don't know that he was proud, but this helps make the argument...) Jesus had a wider circle of those who are with Him.

People come to me with accusations against Christian leaders across the body of Christ.  Sometimes it's about what a leader said and sometimes it's about something questionable they did.  I'm almost always in agreement with those who are bringing the charge - leaders are flawed and often say things and do things that are a little off.  But once in a while the person bringing the accusation wants more than agreement - they want me to publicly renounce that leader and their group. (The Bible tells pastors to contend for the faith, to hold fast to correct doctrine, to correct and rebuke false teachers, to protect the flock... Acts 20:28-31: “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” Notice how how he claims that discernment Christians supposedly want him to "renounce a leader and his group"  which is much more personal, harsh and extreme than saying "renounce the false teachings coming from a leader or group." )

          At this point I become a disappointment to them.  Jesus is not ashamed to call me His brother (Hebrews 2:11) with all of my flaws and errors, so I want to be unashamed to stand next to brothers and sisters who love Jesus, but aren't just like our group. (Wow. So as long as someone "loves Jesus" we should give him or her a pass on their teaching? This is a really bad idea. Last time I checked, there were no false teachers that claimed to dislike Jesus. There were no heretics in church history that made claims of "not loving" Jesus. Notice how this is has been turned into a personal issue, when it should be about whether or not a teaching lines up with scripture. Also notice how this makes discernment almost the same as discrimination, with "one group against another," instead of simply comparing a teaching against scripture to test it.)

          I understand and value the desire for truth and the need to be on guard against deception (that sounds good, but he never does the very thing he claims to value), but we must be very careful before pointing the finger at others lest we condemn someone who Jesus accepts and delights in. (This is the most ridiculous part of this whole letter. Since he knows that Jesus delights in these un-named teachers, we should give them a pass. How do we know that Jesus delights in them? We don't, but you're not supposed to think about that... because that would involve discernment, and that would make you a small, proud and blind Christian-like the ones in the beginning of this letter.)  May God help us be humble and generous toward all those who are different from us.  (Of course, everybody agrees with this general statement, but what about false teachings and heresy? That’s a completely different issue than people who are simply “different from us.”) "Accept one another," Paul says to Christians who were judging each other over minor differences, "just as Christ has accepted you." (Romans 15:7) (It’s amazing that he completely ignores the problem of heretical teachings! He just pretends it’s not ever a problem and skims right past it. Apparently every problem is a “minor difference.”)

So here’s the template, pastors:
1.  Talk about those judgmental, narrow-minded Christians who pester everyone with Bible verses. It helps make your case if you admit to being one of them in your past. As a side note, notice how this makes you the judgmental one now, and notice how this makes you the one who is more humble than the other guy. Nice.

2. Go ahead and admit that you don’t agree with certain unorthodox teachings. It sounds good to say that someone else is “off.” They’re not heterodox or heretical; they’re just “off.” Key point here: Avoid specifics!

3. Refuse to make any public statement about the false teachers you personally enjoy. Key point here: YOU get to decide who is a “good guy” and who is not.

4. Make an appeal for acceptance and humility; but only do it after you've determined who should be accepted (not those angry Bible thumpers!) and who is humble enough (of course, that would be you and all of those teachers/pastors whom you approve of). 

                                          -Steven Kozar  (sorry for the weird type/formatting in this article; I think that's what you get when using a computer leftover from the Eisenhower era...)

God is crazy about you??

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What a Deal-Bill Johnson's $400 thumb drive!!

Yeah, this is just the kind of thing the (real, Biblical) Apostles would've done-sell their sermons for outrageous profit:

2 Corinthians 2:17 "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God."
2 Peter 2:3 "and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."

Here's Bill Johnson's car:

Friday, March 13, 2015

"The New Apostolic Reformation End Times Scripture" by Steven Kozar

New and Improved Scripture (that fits the New Apostolic Reformation)

His disciples asked Him, "Tell us, what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered them and said, "See to it that no one deceives you with Bible verses about this, that and the other thing-who can understand all that doctrine, anyway? Just buy all the books, CDs and DVDs from the Apostles, Prophets and Pastors. You will know them by their catch phrases, advertising campaigns and highly publicized conferences. Do they have gigantic churches, TV shows and best-selling books? Then you can trust them. Do they live in ostentatious mansions and fly in private jets, having derived all of their riches from the sheep they pretend to help? Then do whatever they say and continue giving them your money. Remember that time I went into the temple and drove out the money changers with a whip? Well, in the last days that gets reversed; you will pay the new money changers to tickle your ears, whilst ignoring the preaching of the Gospel. I know I originally said, 'It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves;' but in the last days I will raise up a group of new and better apostles who will get filthy rich even as they proclaim false teachings. They will make many errors with their "fortune-telling" style of prophesying, and their lives will often be a moral train wreck, but as long as they do it in my name, it's all good!" His disciples then asked Him, "what if they talk about doing many great miracles, but produce very few results? And what if they talk more about themselves than about You? And what if they mishandle the Holy Scriptures by constantly taking verses out of context? And what if..." Jesus interrupted them and said, "Hello? Didn't you hear Me the first time?? As long as they do these things in My name it's all good! Let's just be positive; remember, your words have creative power, so try and speak good things into existence. In fact, I think I felt a shift in the atmosphere as I said that. Did you guys feel that?!" At this the disciples marveled, because it didn't sound like any of His other teachings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rick Joyner's Voodoo Service

 I posted this frightening video last year but it was removed (probably by Joyner's legal staff)-I found it again on YouTube. This is footage from Morning Star TV (with additional type/commentary added by someone later). I know it  might seem "over the top" to show this, but sometimes people need to be jolted into attention. I dare you to watch all seven demonic minutes:

"Want Some False Doctrine in Your Life? Try These Handy Tips!" by Steven Kozar

Don't be shy about it-admit it: false doctrine is fun and, well, it just feels good. Here are some handy tips to keep you fully deceived and incapable of discernment:

1. Always think to yourself: "I know what he meant" when false teachings are taught; don't listen to the actual words themselves. Pretend you are giving someone the "benefit of the doubt" when you're actually permitting bad teaching. Also, bad teaching isn't so bad if the pastor tells an emotional story to drive home the heresy; and he must be telling the truth if he starts to cry, especially at the same point of the story in multiple services!

2. Here's a handy saying: "No church is perfect!" The assumption here is that it's not of any value to carefully examine doctrine because all churches are wrong in one way or another, so just accept anything. If you go to the church because "you feel comfortable there" and the "worship team really rocks" you'll probably never have to think much about doctrine anyway. This can also be modified as: "No pastor is perfect!" False teachers and mediocre pastors really appreciate it when you think this way.

3. Focus on your feelings rather than the clear teachings of Scripture. Because you're a sinner, this will be very easy. For added validation of your false beliefs, convince yourself that God told you to disobey Him and somehow violate His word; but don't use such obvious language. For example, say: "I really feel that God spoke to my heart, that's why I believe it's okay to       (fill in the blank with whatever sin and/or false doctrine you want). A great little catch phrase to instill this principle would be something like this: "Theology will never change a man as much as a direct encounter with God." Of course, if you really had a direct encounter with God you'd probably be dead...

4. Allow false doctrine from a teacher because "he has some good things to say, too..." A handy little phrase to repeat is: "Chew on the meat and spit out the bones." Although this concept isn't Biblical, pretend that it is. It will probably help you to imagine yourself "open-minded" and "non-judgmental" when you repeatedly ignore God's clear instructions to hold fast to correct doctrine.

5. Consider "doctrine" the same thing as "religiosity" or "legalism." If you realize that doctrine is just another word for teaching (and the Bible demands correct teaching) you might decide to become more discerning, and remember, false teachers everywhere are counting on you to stay ignorant and gullible.

6. Promote false teaching "for the sake of the un-churched." You want to have lot's of new people coming to church, don't you? Well, give the public what they want and watch attendance skyrocket! Remember, the unrepentant sinners out there will show up if they are promised something to appease their selfish desires. Better sex? Bigger paychecks? Well-behaved children? God can give your un-saved neighbor all of that-and more! The seeker-friendly pastor already knows this dynamic growth program, and with your blind support (and weekly tithe checks) he will craft emotionally appealing motivational speeches to convert pagans into regular attending members! And let's not forget that these same pastors ("leadership experts") will provide your community with a sense of purpose and identity (and a six-figure salary for themselves), so don't bog them down with Biblical requirements that would stunt the growth of the organization.

7. "Group Think" is a major component of false doctrine, so, "go with the group!" Fortunately for you, there are plenty of groups that are teaching and promoting false doctrine, so just pick the one you're most comfortable with and buy into their twisted version of Christianity. Here are some of your choices: 
     First, there's the "What do we believe this month?" "Emerging", Post-Modern church (think: Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, etc.). Millennials love this one; it's hip and it only get's hipper as it dumps Biblical doctrine in favor of pagan mysticism and cultural sensitivity (which is usually just capitulation to the culture). Remember, you're never actually believing false doctrine, you're just "having a conversation!" Wink wink, nudge nudge.
     Second, for the suburban soccer-mom crowd, there's the "seeker-friendly" mega church (think: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, etc.). These churches are a mash-up between a cinema-plex, a shopping mall and a Starbucks. Bigger is better, right?! And if you ever (accidentally) start to question whether anything lines up with Scripture, you can just take a look around the vast auditorium: this many people can't be wrong! As long as you think so, you clever little conformist! 
     Thirdly, for the truly adventurous, you can find a vast number of Charismatic churches that aren't even close to orthodox Christianity! (Think: Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, T.D. Jakes, etc.) What's not to like about a church that believes anyone can come up with new doctrine anytime by hearing directly from God?! Oh sure, they give lip service to the Bible, but with proof-texting, they can make the Bible appear to say anything! Does God just want you to be rich, happy and successful? Sure He does! Do we just have to "speak that into existence?" Sure we do! Remember, the Holy Spirit is your personal genie in a bottle, and after you've swayed back and forth with the praise band for an hour or two, you'll actually start to believe that. Key words and phrases: "Woooo!" "Fire!" "More, Lord, more!" "Shaba!" "I feel a releasing of the anointing that is beginning to shift the atmosphere, and the mantle of His presence is about to come down so that the glory of His anointing can release His presence into the manifold destiny of His glory..."