Friday, August 3, 2007

Pastor, Who Is Leading You Astray?

Pastor, I used to go to your church; or maybe I still attend it. You may remember that I came to you with a concern about some program, resources, invited speaker, teaching that was being brought into our church. I told you it looked like a false teaching. I even gave you some research that was done with scripture to support my concerns.

You listened, but in the end you did not really hear. You told me that we can't put God in a box, that God told you there was nothing wrong, and that you were only interested in bringing more of God's Kingdom in, and was just giving people a way to experience God more. I acknowledged your good intentions, but asked you to consider and look into what I brought you.

I did not hear back from you until the following Sunday. You did not talk direct to me about what I brought to you, but you talked to the entire congregation about it, woven into your sermon. Although you did not say my name, it was obviously a put down of what I showed you. I was warned before going to talk to you that you probably wouldn't be receptive to what I was going to tell you, but this was a response I did not expect.

I was disappointed, hurt, and felt deceived. Your sermon did accomplish something. Now I am avoided and even shunned by others in the church. I guess that was your way of putting a stop to criticism of the things I spoke to you about. But it only confirmed to me that there is a problem with this new thing that has come in.

This new thing has changed you, and even the staff. I always thought, and the Bible says too, that the pastor was the Shepherd of his sheep. What came to mind as I listened to your sermon was Jesus speaking about the true Shepherd.

He said, "How think ye? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray." Matt 18:12-13

I know in your thinking I am wrong about what I shared with you. But instead of following the Word and example of Jesus in bringing me back to what you thought was truth, you actually accomplished separating me from the rest of the sheep. By this alone the indication of the deception I tried to share with you can be seen.

There was something else I told you about. And that was where these new things you brought in came from. They can't be found in God's word, but are concepts of the things of the World. This bothered me too because Jesus said,

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepard of the sheep.

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers"
John 10:1-5

Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheep" John 10:7.

Pastor, the problem is these things you and the staff have brought in are from some other door, some way other than Christ. That is why when I heard the teachings on these new things it was like the voice of a stranger and not like before when you just taught out of the Word.

So how can people enter into his fold by something that is not of him? Jesus said they can't and those who try are thieves and robbers.

Then why is it that the sociology, marketing, demographics, and the entertainment of Saddle Back and Willow Creek are considered great things? I wondered if you really looked into the things they follow and believe, and the sources of some of the books they wrote. I wondered what made you change from choosing these other doors rather than Christ. It bothered me that you did not see that the deceptive concepts of "Building a 21st century church" and having a "relevant church" came from something other than Christ.

I tried to show you that the books you accumulated and promoted that are written by Steven Covey, M. Scott Peck, Keirsey & Bates, were written by people who are not of the "sheep fold", but had gotten into it through those other "Shepard's" you got these things from. I tried to show you that they were associated with "New Age" thinking and sources of the occult. But your answer was that it was alright; they had a lot of good to things that could be used and that you just through out the bad things and kept the good. You further told me that the staff and the congregation had the discernment to see the difference.

But I really found that this was not the case because none of you did not see anything wrong with going to another voice, using another door. I tried to show you the same thing with the Personality Tests and the Spiritual Gifts Tests too. Now everyone thinks that these writers and their teachings are all right. I noticed you did not tell anyone of their New Age - occult associations. The fact you did not tell people of this bothered me. But your sermon sure made me out to be the problem; and that was confusing.

I ran across a passage in 2 John that cleared this confusion. John said,

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

If there come unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: For he that biddeth him Godspeed is a partaker in his evil deeds".
2 John 9-11

There were a couple of thoughts I had after reading this. First, are those writers bringing a doctrine of God? I had to say, "No". Second, are the well known pastors and organizations you got these things from abiding in the doctrine of Christ, or are they receiving these outside "teachers" and "shepherds" ? They receive them.

I was also concerned about you receiving them too. Why? Because they have pulled you away from abiding in the doctrine of Christ and made you a partaker in the deception of what they bring. I think they have blinded you and made you forget what Paul told Timothy and Titus: "Preach the Word" and "sound doctrine".

Many of us come to church to hear the word and sound doctrine. That's why I told you something that you were probably not aware of. It was that you spend about twenty minutes quoting other teachers and writers [some are not even Christians], but only about ten minutes actually teaching from the Bible. I wanted to bring this to your realization. We come to hear your words, not someone else's sermon. I know it offended you when I brought this up; especially when I told you that a few of the people you have been quoting are into teaching unbiblical things themselves or are associated with organizations that have gone outside the teachings of the Bible.

Then I wondered about all these "Revival" prophets and apostles and the guest speakers among them that have come in. I thought if you checked out what they say against the words of Christ you would have seen that they are false. But you just accepted what they said without question. When I talked to you, I hoped that you would have at least researched what I showed you.

And when it came to the gold dust, feathers, and people writhing on the floor, I had to come to you with my concerns. You couldn't even finish a sermon because you curled up and started babbling. Everything was out of control. I saw in the word that the Holy Spirit is not this way. I wondered why would interrupt His own words that you were supposed to be teaching, with chaos and things that came from the outside. I wondered too; how can these things be trusted when the "leaders" of these things, who call themselves prophets and apostles, are wrong in many of their prophecies? Pastor, I wish you would have looked into all this.

Last Sunday you showed that you try to control with fear. When you were talking about me, you told the congregation that this new program - teaching - association - philosophy, was all of God and that saying anything "negative" or critical about it was opposing God. You said that if anyone did not agree with the program or changes, they should leave. You even added to this by saying that anyone who did not agree with these things and left, would be outside of the Kingdom of God. I thought how much this sounded like our church was turning into a cult. This was just another sign that you have been affected by these things.

I thought I remembered something about a certain type of Shepard that scatters the sheep instead of doing what Jesus did. Someone brought it to my attention today. It was in Ezekiel 34. I hope you can take the time to read it.

By the way, I received a letter from the elders / board today telling me that I am no longer welcome to come into the church anymore. If I have been gone for awhile, I wanted to let you know that I am in another church now. There are many in it who have experienced what I have from the churches they went to. What is nice is that this pastor has a heart for those who have been told to leave their churches, or left anyway because of the false teachings that came in and your response to those who brought them to your attention.

I know I have not said a lot of the things that I told you about, such as some of the organizations and associations you have gotten us involved with; but there is just too much to tell you. You know about them though, because I told you about these things and you brought them up last Sunday.

I will continue to pray that somehow you will humbly take a look at what is really going on and come back to being that Shepard you were before getting caught up in the allure of these things. But right now I still have to ask; Pastor, who is leading you astray?

HAT TIP: Watcher's Lamp