Friday, January 16, 2009

Should We Ignore the Fact that the Vast Majority of "Seeker Churches" Operate Like Cults?


(Click the Play button below)

"The church has been paralyzed in recent decades. At fault is a sugary, watered-down gospel that doesn't hold a candle to the one Jesus, Peter, Paul, and early church fathers preached.

Instead of presenting God's Pure Law, revealing sin, and then sharing Christ's death on the cross for our sins, and His being the ONLY Way, people are being told "you're life will be so much better if you just say this or pray this prayer!"

In church, instead of repenting and fleeing sin as Paul taught, we hear "pep talks" spattered with pop psychology. We hear smooth talks and friendly speeches that don't include adequate Biblical instruction. It's not PC to mention Hell.

Invitations are not about our dire need for Christ, but go more like, "God loves you and has a plan for your life." That is easy to read into, and doesn't even mention the gospel of Christ. When did that become our gospel presentation?

This is one reason we have more apostasy, more tares among the wheat, more Christians that don't act as they claim to be. This watered down gospel is very easy to vainly accept."


I was a member of a Charismatic church which one day had a few people stand up in front of the entire congregation while they loudly and aggressively tried to force them to speak in tongues. The Pastor had also once bragged that people who had left his congregation had died, but those who remained members of his congregation had not died. About a year later, some of the congregation confronted the Pastor about his continual and constant drinking from the Communion wine during the week. When the Pastor refused to listen, they brought it before the congregation. Eventually, they brought it before representatives of the leaders of that denomination. The church ended up splitting.

At the opposite end of the denominational spectrum, I have been a member of a Reformed Baptist church that started out very well, but when someone came in and took a position of leadership as an elder (who had been a member for only a few months, and a Christian for about a year), it apparently went to his head, and he seemed to get the idea that everyone in the congregation now must obey his every command, or else they were in sin. The church had never had an elder before. A spirit of control came over that church, to the point that it became cult-like. The church ended up splitting, and the Pastor quit the ministry. The elder became the Pastor of half of the church while the other half, which now met in the Town Hall, brought a lawsuit against them.

I have talked to a couple different people who said that they were members of non-denominational, Charismatic churches that they left for one reason or another, and the leadership at those churches commanded the entire congregation not to have any contact with them, since they had left the church. At the Baptist church that I mentioned previously, I learned that it was announced in front of the entire congregation that no one was to have any contact with me, and furthermore, that I had requested that no one contact me, which was a complete fabrication, because I had never said that.

Such things are most definitely a tragedy. In addition to such problems, there are televangelists and preachers in the Christian church who teach all sorts of false doctrines.

Why does this happen? Well, the root of it all, of course, is sin. People are sinful. When people spend enough time with each other, there will eventually be conflict. In addition, different people have different opinions and ideas about things. However, I think the most outstanding reason that tragedies like these occur in the Church is that Satan is out to destroy the Church. Not because he cares one single bit about human beings (as a powerful angel, he likely considers us little more than insects compared to him), but because he hates God, and he knows that Christians make up God's church, and that to attack and defame and corrupt God's church, is to bring dishonor and shame to God. So, in essence, Satan is attacking God through His church. And make no mistake about it: Satan has been around since the beginning of history (whenever it was that angels were created), and he has thousands of years of experience and gained knowledge. He knows the Bible better than you or I. And he and his fallen angels (demons) are constantly at work, trying to destroy Christians, and trying to destroy God's church. He does not need to sleep, and he is far more committed to his task and goal than are most, if not all, Christians. Therefore, because of our enemies, which are the world [system], the flesh[ly desires], and the devil, this is a [spiritual] war, and in this war, there are real casualties.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)

Because this is a war, we should not be surprised when we see churches that split, or people that fall away, or Pastors who teach false doctrines. In fact, because this is a war, we should be all the more committed to fighting this spiritual battle. "No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer." (2 Timothy 2:4) Yet, we are to take heart, because our Lord Christ has already won the victory for us, and we know that our God will show Himself triumphant in the end. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57) He is only allowing this sinful world to continue because of His grace, to give time for sinners to repent. And, though we cannot fully understand why some things happen as they do, He orchestrates everything in a manner where He will be glorified in and through all of it. Our job is merely to serve Him: through obeying His commands, telling others about Him, and loving Him first and our fellow man second. Doing these things successfully requires dying to self and living for Him alone.

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