Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Enablers of a False Gospel and Bad Church

Consider the following criminal law:

At law, an accomplice is a person who actively participates in the commission of a crime, even if they take no part in the actual criminal offense.

Even further,

A person charged with aiding and abetting or accessory is usually not present when the crime itself is committed, but he or she has knowledge of the crime before or after the fact, and may assist in its commission through advice, actions, or financial support.

To be an accomplice or to aid and abet, you don't have to commit the actual criminal act itself, and yet you are still criminally liable under the law.  Most people know this.  A similar act occurs on a regular basis, I believe, all over evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  Here's what got my attention on this.

I know of a certain itinerant speaker (called an evangelist) who speaks at Lancaster Baptist Church (LBC) or West Coast Baptist College.  I was looking at the website of a church that would be close to what our church is and does. I see this itinerant speaker is there speaking.

We don't fellowship with Lancaster or West Coast, but I wanted to find the church doctrinal statement to see what they said the gospel was.  When I did, up came the opening meeting of their college school year with Renee Oullette speaking.  I listened to him for about fifteen minutes and he was very entertaining and funny, comedic really.  I have more of a take on his preaching, but I'll come back to that.  After being derailed from that original task, I went to the church site and looked at the doctrinal statement.  Here's what it says on salvation:

We believe all men were born with an inherited sin nature received from our common ancestor, Adam. We believe that because of his nature, man is a sinner by choice, and he is totally incapable of reforming himself or ceasing from his sin by his own power. We believe the only hope of deliverance for man is a total change of mind concerning his sinful condition and inability to change it, and a turning to Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. We believe that only through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross can a man be delivered from his sin. We believe that all those who reject Jesus Christ as their Saviour are already condemned to an eternity in the lake of fire. (Genesis 5:1-5; Acts 4:19; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:10-23; Romans 5:6-12; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6; Revelation 20:11-14)

I'm happy their doctrinal statement was even included -- it's nice that they don't try to hide it. Perhaps when you read that, you think it is a pretty good statement.  I'm telling you it isn't, and especially when you know what they believe, preach, and practice.  What's wrong?

This paragraph is not where I'm going with this post, but the LBC statement is weak, especially for as many words.  How could someone leave out, "believe in Jesus Christ"?  I'm pretty sure LBC thinks "faith in Christ" is required for salvation, at least their version or understanding of what faith is and who Christ is.  I think LBC would say it, even though they didn't include it. Neither the word "repent" or the word "believe" occur.  Nowhere does the statement say that if you you believe in Jesus Christ, you'll be saved, something as simple as that.  It says your "only hope of deliverance is" and "a man can be delivered."  "Hope" and "can be" are not how salvation reads in scripture.  It just isn't written very well, and perhaps that occurred to leave out what I'm writing next.

First, the statement says nothing about Jesus as Lord.  Nothing.  Certain points read like "Lord" would fit, and it is isn't there.  One would be, "turning to Jesus Christ as the only Savior."  The idea of "turning" hardly has anything to do with Jesus as Savior.  "Turning" has to do with Jesus being "Lord," but that is left out, purposefully.   People are condemned "who reject Jesus Christ as their Saviour," and that's it -- nothing about Jesus as Lord.

Second, the statement uses a very specific language, "total change of mind," reducing the response to Jesus to the merely intellectual.  It doesn't use the word, "repent," but it dumbs down repentance to something less than biblical.

LBC and West Coast preach a false gospel that excludes Lordship and true repentance.  Ouellette, the man at the opening of the the WCBC school year, preaches the same message.  These men commit the crime.  They're not just accomplices.  They don't just aid and abet.  But what I'm writing in this post is about those aiding and abetting, and the accomplices, the enablers in fundamentalism and evangelicalism.  Even in the world, you are guilty if you are an accomplice, if you aid and abet.  What I'm saying is that you the reader understand this.  It's just a matter if you think what LBC and West Coast believe and do are that serious.

After watching the fifteen minutes of Oullette and looking at the LBC doctrinal statement, I went for a walk with my wife.  She asked if Oullette was preaching a passage.  He used a passage, but he wasn't preaching a passage.  I'm not even saying he's the worst at it, but what he was doing was more like what some have termed, performance art.  The authority of the message was the rhetoric, the use of language and a style of speaking, the stories, the shouting, the rhythmic pattern, his pronunciation of words, rising and lowering, the loudness and the softness, the use of his voice to sway an audience. People feel something that they think is the Holy Spirit.

Preaching should be the furthest thing from manipulation.  Preaching should not be the use of the voice or stories or human excitement to stir people.  You see that all over the Charismatic movement. It is revivalism.  It isn't biblical.  It is against the Bible.  People should be preaching what the Bible says.  They should expose it.  They should apply it.  Preaching is not an act, an event, a speech that depends on stirring techniques to change people.  When men who do that are praised and admired and used and elevated, that hurts everyone.  I'm not saying someone goes for boring or isn't interesting, so don't turn this into that.  You know that isn't what I mean.  I'm talking about preaching as a performance that is staged to produce an effect.  People should be ashamed for doing that, but they are promoted.

The preaching of Oullette, the philosophy of ministry of LBC, the whole package there, gives people a wrong understanding of church, how churches should function or operate.  They are talking people into something, using methods to do it.  The key is the method.  A point of a dumbed down doctrinal statement is to help do that.  The part they leave out is crucial, repentance and lordship.  You get to be saved.  They seduce people, using many different mediums to do it.  This is not what you read in the Bible.  It isn't what Jesus or the Apostles did.  You would think that would be good enough for people who talk about relying on the power of God.  It isn't the power of God.  It is a feeling that is produced by manipulation through many various means and it is called the power of God.

Some men preach at LBC and WCBC, who are just like them.  They also preach at the Sword of the Lord with the men there.  Some churches with almost identical doctrinal statements as ours, as mine, the men at the national Sword of the Lord conference also preach for them.  Then you have those who preach at LBC and WCBC, who preach at churches that would probably say they are like our church.  I understand those men preaching at LBC and WCBC and at those churches.  They are with LBC and WCBC.  That's how they think.  They are fine with it.  They aren't there attempting to change LBC and WCBC.  They are cooperating with them.  Perhaps they are the accomplices.  But the churches and their pastors that have those men, the accomplices -- they are aiding and abetting. They are enabling.

Stop enabling!  Make yourself clear.  You don't need these men.  Leave them to the Sword.  Leave them to LBC and WCBC.  Leave them alone.  You don't need them.  They don't help you and you don't help them.  Please stop!

I want to be very clear.  If you are an enabler, I don't want to enable you.  It's not good for you and it's not good for our church.  Get out of the enabling practice.  Let's all do that.

5 comments:

d4v34x said...

Very, very good. Especially this:

The authority of [Oullette's] message was the rhetoric, the use of language and a style of speaking, the stories, the shouting, the rhythmic pattern, his pronunciation of words, rising and lowering, the loudness and the softness, the use of his voice to sway an audience. People feel something that they think is the Holy Spirit.

Preaching should be the furthest thing from manipulation. Preaching should not be the use of the voice or stories or human excitement to stir people. You see that all over the Charismatic movement. It is revivalism. It isn't biblical. It is against the Bible. People should be preaching what the Bible says. They should expose it. They should apply it. Preaching is not an act, an event, a speech that depends on stirring techniques to change people. When men who do that are praised and admired and used and elevated, that hurts everyone.

James Bronsveld said...

Several thoughts have been continually recurring in my mind over the issue of repentance and Lordship in salvation. The first is that the effort to eliminate repentance and Lordship in the presentation of the Gospel (by either redefining "repentance," or by erecting strawman arguments to attack those who hold the historical and Biblical understanding of it) comes from a philosophical mindset that seeks to make the offence of the cross to cease.

Secondly, the modern redefinition of faith as being nothing more than an intellectual assent is refuted in many places in Scripture. For example, Proverbs 3:5 gives a short, clear description of faith as not leaning unto thine own understanding. The stumbling block for men like Ouellette (and most of the Sword crowd) is that such a description implies submission, which is glaringly absent in a huge percentage of their achieved professions. Οne of the two most glorious passages on God's grace in Titus (2:12) makes it clear that God's grace educates/raises/disciplines us (Paul uses a form of παιδεύω rather than διδάσκω) in order that (ἵνα) we become sanctified in our lives. II Peter makes it clear that mark of the unregenerate false teachers is their denial or disavowing of the Lordship (Peter uses δεσπότης there, not κύριος) of Jesus Christ. How can one become sanctified without Biblical repentance, and how can one repent without submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

I have had conversations with men who claim to preach Biblical repentance, but have justified a continued partnership with those who have done away with Biblical repentance in the way described above. Their defence has been "it's not a false gospel, it's just not a full presentation of it," and that is then followed by a glib out-of-context quote of the Gospel being only what is described in I Cor. 15 (See? No repentance. Repentance is not included in the Gospel!). The New Testament writer Mark would disagree with that. He opens with "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ..." and then launches straight into the baptism of repentance preached by John. Let the Protestants make the argument that John's preaching and baptism were either Old Testament or Inter-Testamental, but let it not be said of a Bible-believing Baptist! Despite that, I doubt that bothers either the "criminals" or the "enablers," since, having heard many of these men preach in the past, I believe most have shaken off the burdensome shackles of Scriptural context when dealing with their proof texts.

For some reason, the continual dependence on these big names comes from the unbiblical notion that success=bigness (which requires a certain amount of compromise and enabling), rather than the Biblical teaching that success=faithfulness.

Kent Brandenburg said...

James,

I'm sorry it took me so long to comment here on this. Excellent. Nothing to add unless you wanted to hear something to add. I have nothing.

George Calvas said...

"For some reason, the continual dependence on these big names comes from the unbiblical notion that success=bigness (which requires a certain amount of compromise and enabling), rather than the Biblical teaching that success=faithfulness."

Very good.

KJB1611 said...

Good comments. I think part of the problem is not recognizing that Paul did not tolerate compromise on the gospel even for an hour, and even when Peter was the one doing it. That would be the end of fellowshipping with the Sword and its false gospel. It would also not have allowed Bro John R. Rice to turn his organization over to Shelton Smith, unless he had not adopted his false gospel yet.