THE BIBLE UNDER ATTACK
by Jackie Alnor
|There are spirits in our material
world working diligently today in all facets of what is called
"Christianity." The spirit of antichrist is the prime mover in
this prophesied formation of the end-times "church" whose
ultimate destiny is to become a one-world religious system under the
control of the devil incarnate.
The frustration for the remnant of us who are loyal to the Lord Jesus is that we know that we cannot stop a movement whose time has come. It is God who has put the blindness on those who pay Him lip-service but whose hearts are far from Him. The most we can do is rescue a few, one by one, from the flames.
"And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." [Jude 23]
One way we can recognize where the devil is as work is in the attack on the Word of God, the Bible. This seems to be coming at us from all directions – in both conservative and liberal factions of the visible church. There’s nothing new under the sun; Satan has always cast doubt upon God’s Word in an effort to deceive God’s people. For instance:
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?" [Genesis 3:1]
The creation of false Bible translations is the most obvious way in which the Word of God has come under attack recently. For instance, "The Message Bible" is sold as a translation but it is a paraphrase that is meant to be reader-friendly, but it distorts the meaning of Scripture. One minister noted the losses to the Word of God in "The Message Bible" that he calls a "paraphrased lie":
"The Antichrist is only an anarchist; The simple words "falling away" are removed; The whole idea of a "Restrainer" is missing; The judgment of Antichrist is a ‘puff’; There is no picture of Christ's glorious return; The wicked are banished rather than damned."
And yet, rather than ‘raise Cain’ over such an assault on the Bible, many of today’s church leaders lend their names to the endorsement of the book, i.e.:
"Amy Grant, Benny Hinn, Bill Hybels, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll, Cynthia Heald, Gary Smalley, Gordon MacDonald, J.I. Packer, Jack Hayford, Jerry Jenkins, Jerry Savelle, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, John Maxwell, Joni Eareckson Tada, Joyce Meyer, Keith Miller, Kenneth Copeland, Madeleine L'Engle, Max Lucado, Michael Card, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, Richard Foster, Rick Warren, Rod Parsley, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Vernon Grounds, Walter Kaiser Jr., Warren Wiersbe".
A good barometer of the Evangelical Church today are the popular magazines, such as "Christianity Today" and "Charisma." To see how far off Evangelicalism has gotten from the truth of Scripture, just peruse the pages of the latest CT or "Charisma" and see what ministries are being promoted or what conferences are advertised.
For instance, CT published an article about controversial Catholic author Brennan Manning, whose writings present a new age ecumenical mindset. Although many apologetics ministries have exposed this fact, CT ignored this and referred to his book The Ragamuffin Gospel as a "spiritual classic" in an October 6, 2005 interview, though that book is full of very dangerous teachings. The article, "A 'Coward' Who Stayed to Help" was Manning’s story of his heroics helping victims during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. In a twist of events, CT had to publish a correction to the story some five days later. It turns out that Manning made the whole thing up and CT editors put an addendum to the story that reads:
"From the Editors: We regret to inform our readers that, following this on-the-record conversation, Brennan Manning called our office to apologize. He reiterated that he had been "disoriented, confused, and depressed" lately and that certain details he provided were not true. He did not help identify a child from his apartment complex. He did not help an elderly woman get a ride. And while he was the last one to leave his apartment complex, "the truth is that there was nobody around here for me to help," he said in a voice message to Christianity Today. "The essential truth: I lied."
In spite of the lies, CT kept the interview up unedited and linked to a former story on Brennan Manning from the June 2004 issue of CT that pointed to all the evangelical leaders who embrace this former Franciscan priest. The list of Manning enthusiasts are a who’s who of evangelical leaders such as Eugene Peterson, who wrote "The Message" paraphrased bible and popular Christian counselor Larry Crabb. He is also endorsed by many popular musicians like the late Rich Mullins, Michael Card, Michael W. Smith, and members of U2. These endorsements have given this heretic entrance into evangelical circles and magazines.
Brennan Manning has popularized the idea that the Bible is not to be taken literally and any who do uphold Bible standards are Pharisees and hypocrites. The Bible has to be demoted from the Word of God to a book that only contains the words of men mixed in with the words of God so that ecumenical unity can be achieved between Catholics and Protestants. Both CT and Charisma magazines promote that agenda.
Bible-believing Christians have long been shocked and appalled at the anti-bible rhetoric spewed out by Protestant organizations and movements who once believed in the truth of Scripture. The "Jesus Seminar" "theologians" and people like Episcopal Bishop John Spong have been taken seriously by the secular world as spokespersons for Christianity.
Spong’s latest book is called "The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love." In it he claims that the Bible is full of "tribal and sexist prejudices of that ancient time." And yet he picks and chooses the things he likes in Scripture and tosses out the rest – which is the majority of the Bible.
In denouncing the Bible in such terms you would think that the Episcopal church would defrock him, but instead they prop him up and allow his poison to spread throughout an already dead denomination.
The same problem is seen in the United Methodist Church that also gives platforms to Bible haters. One of their own, Susan Cady, co-author of "Sophia: The Future of Feminist Spirituality" pastors one of the oldest Methodist Churches in Philadelphia. She is a closet witch who denounces the Bible for what she calls its patriarchal slant. Rather than receiving discipline for the evils she spreads about Christianity and the Word of God, she gets elevated into positions of prominence. What would John Wesley think of that?
Yet it is the Bible-denouncers in Christendom that get all the press. These are the ones that are featured in secular television documentaries such as the "Mysteries of the Bible" series who are quoted as denying the historical accuracy of the Bible. Who better than a seminary scholar (such as the Christ-denying Jesus Seminar leaders) or an ordained minister of a large denomination to quote as saying that the parting of the Red Sea never really occurred? These churchmen/women are a real disgrace to Christianity and give ammunition to those who hate God.
Many mainline denominations have forsaken the Bible in exchange for the ideas of the popular culture. Practicing homosexuals are embraced in the memberships of these denominations and those who object are marginalized. Churches such as the UCC (United Church of Christ), the Lutheran Church, the United Methodist Church, Disciples of Christ, and the Society of Friends (Quakers) no longer tolerate the teaching of their founders. The "Battle for the Bible" has been lost in the mainline denominations.
The largest "Christian" television network in the world, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), frequently highlights the "ministry" of their so-called prophet Kim Clement. Clement, along with another so-called visionary of a new church, Tommy Tenney, were interviewed by hosts Matthew and Laurie Crouch on a Praise the Lord program five years ago. Clement shared a video clip of one of his meetings in which he had gone into a "prophetic" frenzy and "prophesied" a glimpse of what the church would look like in the future.
"There shall be a world-wide move of God," Clement shouted to a rock beat by his band in the background. "There will be a world-wide universal move of my spirit and the spirit of the lord says, 'they will prepare for the greatest kingdom that has ever been around, the kingdom of my son. I will change the laws of this country. I will put favor, favor, favor, in the church of the living God. And for seven years you will have the greatest prosperity you have ever dreamed about. And it's yours! It's yours! It's yours! Says the lord. Come on!" [And the crowd shouts and jumps and hollers.]
Back to studio, host Matt Crouch responded, "That is church, the way it's supposed to be!" "All messed up!" added his wife Laurie. "Absolutely chaotic at the hands of Kim Clement," Matt concluded. "And that was an awesome service. That was the last day of the year 2000 . . . And he was prophesying to America. That's what those things are like. And you know when we talk about wrecking church and walking in with the hands folded and stuff (Matt says mockingly) -- you walk in there and you see people going absolutely berserk in the presence of the lord and dancing. When you talked about losing dignity -- there are people that lose their dignity that are hungry and passionate for praise and worship and they will show up at his meetings."
Tommy Tenney piped in, "I think he's got an anointing to kill religious spirits!" "They are dead as a doornail, ha ha ha," Matt Crouch responded.
On an earlier program with the same hosts and guests, Clement taunted church leadership as he perceived it. "We may be young, we may be great looking, we may be very wealthy and rich, we're just provoking them. And we didn't take 20 years to get there. The whole thing's changing. The appearance of Christ is so different in every generation." And then he turned his attach to the Bible. "You know, we aren't even thinking now about Tribulation and seven years of this and pre and mid and post and all this stuff. We don't care about that. We just want to see the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God. We don't waste our time with that…We are living in the greatest time the church has ever been in, we're living right now. And a lot of people don't want to see that because they'd rather go home and be with the Lord. We don't want to do that!"
This hatred for the church shows in a view of the Bible as passe. Clement does not carry a Bible, put presents his spontaneous "prophecies" as God’s word today. His friend Tommy Tenney who wrote the book, "The God Chasers" concurs and reveals further the TBN attitude toward God’s Word.
"A God chaser may be excited about some dusty truth," Tenney wrote, "that passed in the path, and how long ago it was. But that's just the problem. How long ago was it? A true God chaser is not happy with just past truth; he must have present truth. God chasers don't want to just study from the moldy pages of what God has done; they're anxious to see what God is doing. There is a vast difference between present truth and past truth. I'm afraid that most of what the Church has studied is past truth, and very little of what we know is present truth."
Examples of the recent attack on God’s Word from the TBN camp are too many to number. TBN continues this trend in upholding ecumenism, downgrading the Bible, and elevating teachers who have scandals associated with the ministries. And their network can be seen from anywhere on the planet, giving legs to the forming Mother Harlot.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
An on-line news service recently reported: "’The Roman Catholic Hierarchy who penned a document saying that some parts of the Bible are not true, are sadly misguided.’ So says best-selling author Ray Comfort… The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland last week warned their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect ‘total accuracy’ from the Bible."
Yet this is not news in the Catholic Church. Rome has never held Scripture in high esteem as the actual Word of God. Catholic Church tradition through the writings of their "church fathers" has always had equal clout.
THE EMERGING CHURCH MOVEMENT
The latest trend in the church today is the "emerging church" movement. One facet of the "emerging church" is a frontal attack on the Bible. The leaders and theologians of this movement promote a new way to speak theologically without using biblical terms such as fall, redemption, salvation, or gospel. These "church" leaders say that those terms are a turn-off to people who are interested in spiritual enlightenment. We should somehow adapt our speech to accommodate unbelievers.
Of course, the Seeker-Friendly, church growth movement paved the way for this to gain admission into the church. It is based on the same principle popularized by Crystal Cathedral's Robert Schuller decades ago when he polled the neighborhood to find out what the public wanted in a church and then found ways to supply it. It is a consumer-based "christianity" that sees church as a commodity.
Ecumenically minded church leaders have latched onto the popularity of the "Purpose Driven – Rick Warren" desire for church growth and have taken it even further away from the solid foundation of the Bible as our basis for faith and life. The emerging church celebrates modern society and commercialism as ideas the church needs to adopt and utilize for the growth and influence of the church. After all, they argue, since people are looking for a spiritual experience the church should supply them with one by packaging Christianity in a way that is palatable to them.
Anyone with any true spiritual eyes can see where this will take the church. History is repeating itself. The Roman Catholic Church of the Dark Ages used the same strategy by blending Christian and pagan outer ritual and art to attract the multitudes into her fold. It seemed to work on the surface, but the church was left with people who did not enter into the straight gate, but came in the back door. The born-again experience was no longer the prerequisite for church membership and therefore the church was taken over by charlatans and apostates.
The "emerging church" glamorizes Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox idolatry by repackaging medieval practices of iconolatry, ritualistic liturgy, use of "sacramentals," and mysticism. Gregorian chants are being merged with modern hip-hop to create atmospheres that appeal to today’s experience seekers.
The Emerging church refuses to allow the Bible to set the parameters of acceptable worship or theology. Philosophers and Post-Modern thinkers are their new prophets and they are not limited by "thus sayeth the Lord."
One of their leaders, Brian McLaren, spoke at a recent conference. His topic was called "Emergence and Convergence." He makes a straw-man fallacy that all these post-modern emerging theologians do – he characterizes Christendom of the past 100 years as if it were one giant conglomeration. Everyone who names the name of Christ gets painted with the same brush. Whatever mistakes are made in one denomination are attributed to them all. So every professing believer of the last 100 years – until they arrived on the scene, of course – were legalistic, colonial, and rigid. Once a person sees that stereotype, they are left with no choice but to distance themselves from any church that isn’t on the "emerging" bandwagon.
McLaren demonizes the good with the bad in the so-called "old guard" and says Christianity needs to be reimagined. "When they emerge," he says, "they find a natural convergence occurring across race and culture, politics and denominations. That convergence requires us to rethink the way we tell the story of our past. It invites us to imagine a new kind of story for the future."
So in other words, the gospel must converge with our culture’s ways of thinking in order to be relevant today. Jesus has to be reinvented to suit the modern man who rejects absolutes. This convergence is reminiscent of the new age movement’s attempt of unifying the world as one in its failed "Harmonic Convergence" gatherings in the late 1980s. No doubt this is where these new emerging "prophets" get their inspiration. They didn’t invent these ideas themselves
Barry Taylor’s mirror as the new Jesus – Peter Ward’s "we are god" and the new age’s Shirley MacLaine "I am god" – all joining together for the new view of the divinity of man and god is the whole – panentheism.
THE SECULAR WORLD
The general consensus regarding spiritual truth in the secular world is that there’s a little truth in every religion and not one faith embodies the whole truth -- at least to those people who are deists or agnostics that think we just can’t know. Atheists think all religion is utter nonsense, but they’re the minority in America anyway.
The advancement of the new age movement in the secular realm, especially in the area of medicine and philosophy, has permeated secular collective thinking. People by the droves are hungering after anything supernatural or mystical – not in a quest for truth – but a quest for titillation.
The Bible, once held in high esteem in the world, is now seen as just one of many ancient books with no relevance for today. The Gideon Bible is becoming a scarcity in hotel rooms across America. When I asked one innkeeper why there was no Bible in the room he told me it was not politically correct to advance one religious book over others.
The Bible used to be a mainstay in the courts in America, but in many courtrooms it is no longer used for swearing to tell the whole truth. A mere affirmation without a hand on the Bible is now sufficient.
I heard a song on the radio recently that spelled out the secular opinion of Christianity. The male voice sang, "The world is too large for just one religion." America, and the world, has no tolerance for anyone to claim certainty about anything.
ECUMENICAL UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Those who believe what the Bible teaches and defend the faith that was once and for all given to the church 2,000 years ago, have been marginalized. They are given labels, depending upon which group is speaking, as heresy hunters, Pharisees, and legalists. This keeps most Christians silent because they don't want to be disliked.
The call today in all streams of Christendom is to allow the secular culture to dictate how we interpret and live out Scripture as those calling ourselves Christian. They say we have to change in order to be relevant and they denounce any who allow the Bible to dictate belief and behavior as dogmatic and backward. The Post-modern theology has no absolutes and the enemy are those who take the Bible literally.
These kinds of ideas could never invade a Bible-believing church with a frontal attack. No, they come in the back door and introduce these ideas in steps so the leaven is incremental. The Bible warns us of this strategy: "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" Jude 1:4.
So the question is, Where are they taking us?
This ecumenical attack on the Word of God is filling a void in the Body of Christ in a time in which a pandemic of lukewarmness has set in. This is due in part to a post-holy-laughter apathy in churches who followed after titillating spiritual experiences that left them empty and unsatisfied when it did not live up to its hype. All the talk of the coming greatest end-times revivals has not happened and so those banking on these coming "moves of God" are left disappointed. They are ready for something new. They like hearing that "God is doing a new thing." What He did in the times of the Old and New Testaments aren’t relevant to people today. They want something they can see, hear, taste, smell and touch now. They want something new and now.
Paul ran into this in Athens in Acts 17:16, 21 – "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols… For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing."
But there is nothing new under the sun. These carnal desires have led God’s people into error for thousands of years. These carnal urges caused the Israelites to build a golden calf. These carnal urges motivated the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day to seek after a sign, to which Jesus responded, "It is an evil and perverse generation that seeks after a sign." He directed them back to the writing of the prophets and to the sign of Jonah. New Testament believers are to "walk by faith, and not by sight." But the carnal man can only worship what he can see.
What is emerging is slimy and evil and, for the present time, undefeatable. God has blinded the minds of those who do not love His Word of Truth. The most we can do is rescue a few who stumbled in accidentally and point the way out to them before they are swallowed up and assimilated into the Mother Harlot. She is being formed before our very eyes – "Look up for our redemption draweth nigh!"
To see how far off Evangelicalism has gotten from the truth of Scripture, just peruse the pages of the latest CT or "Charisma"