I have been writing about the great and final apostasy for many years. There are many examples of nominal Christian (think, Episcopalian) churches succumbing to it. Additionally, we can see the dark orb of apostasy rising in evangelical denominations and certain megachurches. No need to look further than Oprah Winfrey’s list of “awakened leaders” to find a collection of apostate pastors.
However, some people react negatively when I tag one of their favorite leaders as a heretic. But do they really know those individuals? They know only what they see on TV and what they read. I concede that some of them at times preach truth. However, as I have pointed out before, Satan will give you a boatload of truth if you will accept a spoonful of deadly poison. Even the proverbial wolf knows that he must use the skin of a sheep if his deception is going to be successful. And the tare appears as the wheat.
The question arises, “Then how can we know when someone is not of God?” Christ declared that the only way is by their fruit. However, they dispense their bad fruit cleverly, by small increments, and disguised as the “bread, meat, and milk” of God’s truth. Thus, Believers need to develop discernment. When the bad fruit manifests, they should loudly cry, “Wolf!” At the very least they should avoid that individual’s influence.
Tragically, this is not the case. Instead, professing Christians are mesmerized by personalities, by the fame, the charisma, the enticing words, and the music. Let’s not forget the music. It is one of the most powerful tools of the heretic. Music is perhaps the greatest disarmer of discernment. After the music has caressed and manipulated their emotional systems, the people—like star-struck groupies—hang on every word of their beloved heretic.
Once they have bought in, there is no buying them out. They will not come out for freedom because they think they are free. They refuse to come out for truth because they think they already have it. They think like a 16-year-old in conflict with a parent over a bad date choice. They think the ones that are trying to help them actually hate them and are attempting to deprive them. Thus, millions of professing Christians are predisposed to the wares of heretics and hirelings. Consequently, one hard fact about the final apostasy is that once the snowball of deception starts rolling it eventually will become unstoppable.
That does not mean their plight is hopeless, but that trying to warn them is like shoving a wet string through a long straw. After much time and effort you may manage to get the string through only to have them blow it back at you with vengeance.
Let’s face it. Christianity consists of generations of professing Christians who know more about almost everyone and everything else but God and His truth. I recently had a discussion with a friend who had fallen into dangerous heresy. His responses to my questions were from his heretic’s interpretation of the Bible. In fact, he had bought his heretics claim that the Bible is flawed and that God had appointed him to correct it.
Without knowledge of God’s word, we are unarmed in the battle of deception and truth. We do not possess the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) simply because we carry a leather-bound Bible or an iPad with a Bible app. David wrote, “Your word have I hidden in my heart”(Psalm 119:11). The word of God must not simply be in our possession, but in our minds. And deeper yet, it must be in the core of our beings so that we can instantly recognize anything that conflicts with it.
Lack of knowing God’s truth explains why thousands of professing Christians who own Bibles can assemble in a building and participate in an orgy of apostasy. In my opinion, a case in point would be Seattle First Baptist Church.
I became aware of SFBC when watching a video a friend posted on FB of the church janitor singing John Lennon’s blasphemous song, “Imagine” during Mass. Conducting Mass is not all that is strange about the church. 25 homosexual couples were married in the church December 9, 2012 as the choir sang Handel’s “Messiah”. The church recently had Thomas Moore as a speaker. Moore is a Jungian, among other things. His “Book of Matthew: a New Translation” is a ghoulish distortion of the Gospel. Additionally, homosexual poet, Richard Blanco, recently spoke during the 11am church service.
Dr. Rodney Romney (now deceased) led the church from 1980 to 2000. I read a portion of his book, “I Heard a Crow call my Name”. It convinced me that Romney was not a Christian, but a New Age mystic. In the book Romney includes a poem entitled, “There Is a Crow Inside Me”. In the poem, he declares that the crow is inside of his mind, heart, spirit, and soul. He declares that it is a “prankster, imp, clown, upstart—that it is “wild, untrammelled, wanting the whole, pushing against all the boundaries of knowing”. Rodney confesses that the wind and God gave him the inner crow and that he would not let go of it. In my opinion, the crow was a demon spirit.
SFBC hosts a monthly labyrinth walk, is associated with Contemplative Outreach, a network devoted to Centering Prayer. They recently held a daylong “Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness” event, continuing the Contemplative work of their former pastor, Romney. Contemplative Spirituality is of pagan origins. Thomas Merton, who was a priest and also a Buddhist, introduced it into Roman Catholicism. Contemplative Prayer is a quick path to demon possession—a “crow in the spirit”.
SFBC uses language that Believer responds to, such as, “We try to treat each other with compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience. We bear with each other and forgive each other. We make room for each other to make mistakes. And all of this is possible because of love” (from the church website). We want to shout a resounding “Yes!” However, what those words really mean is that they have the doctrine of toleration for evil that God hates (Revelation 2:15 & 20).
I am compelled to state that there is nothing Christian about SFBC but their “sheep’s clothing”. Even that appears to have been put on inside out. It may be too harsh for some people to accept, but it is my opinion that pagans would feel comfortable in their meetings. They no longer agree with the Way, Truth, and Life (John 14:6) and are trying to creep into heaven by another way.
Their spiritual degradation was possible because the congregants were unable to detect the wolf. There were plenty of signs, but they did not recognize them. Once fully engaged, they were systematically stripped of what little remained of their faith. It is a classic study on how one man can destroy the faith of an entire church. And it is being repeated across this nation.
Finally, there is a biblical fact that some people will find controversial. Leaders are replete in the Old Testament, but not in the New Testament. Christ denounced the leftover O.T. leaders. Something appears to have changed regarding leadership from the old to the new covenant. I have not discovered in the New Testament where God authorized “leaders” in the church.
The five offices listed in Ephesians are “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). It does not say anything about those ministers leading God’s people.
The Apostle Paul did appear to urge people to follow him. However, when you consult the Greek dictionary, it does not mean follow as one would follow a leader. The truth is that there is only one leader in the church, and it is not the Roman Pope.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” – John 16:13
Any pastor who says, “I am your leader—you must follow me”, does not have scriptural ground for that statement. It is equivalent to, “This is my church. Things will be done my way. If you do not like it there is the door” (Actual words of a famous megachurch leader). The moment he ascends as the leader, he attempts to circumvent the role of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is the head of His church. Certainly, there are individuals placed in authority. We should respect and heed that authority. However, that authority is not for the purpose of leading or controlling us. (Please read every verse pertaining to the ones place in authority.)
I certainly do not want to lead anyone. It can’t be done via Sunday meetings, and I’m not about to stalk them. I should not have to lead anyone filled with the Holy Spirit. If God has appointed me to a body of Believers, and they are led by the Holy Spirit, then we will all move in the same direction.
The Protestant version of the Popery has assisted the dumbing down of modern Christians and also to the error of one man having control of a church. The clear truth abounding in the New Testament is that we are all supposed to be following Christ Jesus the Lord and Savior—not an earthly man.
If we follow Christ, we will have fellowship with others who are also following. If we follow man, our fate depends on his faithfulness to hear and obey God. That is a great responsibility to place on a fallible man. More importantly, it is dangerous for the ones that submit to his leadership. That error is why there are “rock star” pastors with no accountability. It is why Christianity is rife with heresy. It is the reason there are so many people following blindly. I’m convinced that it is why the great apostasy exists.
It may be easier and simpler to follow an earthly leader, but it is not safer. Considering that Christian history is littered with failed leaders, it makes much more sense to follow the One who cannot fail.
If Christianity and the secular realm continue to deteriorate, we may be forced into following the Holy Spirit exclusively. While that may distress some, I do not find it a disturbing prospect. I certainly would not want to blindly follow a leader with a “crow” in his spirit.