Grace To You weighs in regarding Hillsong’s “Worship”

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Cameron Buettel and Jeremiah Johnson from Grace to You write:

“This is no performance
Lord, I pray it’s worship
Empty words I can’t afford
I’m not chasing feelings
That’s not why I’m singing
You’re the reason for my song

And I only wanna sing
If I sing with everything
If I sing for you, my King

I can’t imagine why
I would do this all for hype
Cause it’s all to lift You high

At this point in the song—titled “Only Wanna Sing”—the music soars, the strobe lights fire up, and everyone on stage and in the crowd begins to dance with reckless abandon.

The irony is hard to miss.

That song—by the band Hillsong Young and Free—epitomizes many of the issues with much of Hillsong’s worship music: vague lyrical content, confused doctrinal perspectives, and an emphasis on style over substance.

Appeal Through Ambiguity

Hillsong’s philosophy fits well with the zeitgeist of our day. The social scientists now tell us that morality is subjective, gender is fluid, and truth is an illusion. Clearly, the precise theology espoused in ancient hymns won’t get the job done anymore.

Hillsong has probably done a better job than anyone else in filling the musical void that many modern churches have experienced. Their songs are catchy, their musicians are excellent, and their songwriters know how to “sound Christian” enough to salve the consciences of all in attendance. Consequently, their music permeates the Christian world, and their album sales are huge—even by secular standards.

Lest you anticipate some fundamentalist rant at this point, we need to be clear: This is not a screed against modern music infiltrating the church.

But we should be wary when our ancient and exclusive faith is overrun with modern songs featuring a fluid and indistinct message. In many instances, Hillsong lyrics are so vague they could be embraced by most religions.

At break of day, in hope we rise
We speak Your Name, we lift our eyes
Tune our hearts into Your beat
Where we walk, there You’ll be

With fire in our eyes, our lives a-light
Your love untamed, it’s blazing out
The streets will glow forever bright
Your glory’s breaking through the night

You will never fade away, Your love is here to stay
By my side, in my life, shining through me everyday

You wake within me, wake within me
You’re in my heart forever

Those lyrics come from “Wake,” a song with no distinctive Christian element. In fact, there’s little to distinguish it from the forlorn ramblings of a junior high love letter.

Hillsong pastors readily point out that all their songs are reviewed for theological accuracy. But when it comes to songs like “Wake” and “Only Wanna Sing,” what is there to review?

Doctrinal Gaps and Malpractice

Not all Hillsong worship songs suffer from ambiguity; some evidence attempts to be more theologically concrete. “What a Beautiful Name” is one example where the biblical themes are at least discernible.

The first verse references Christ’s eternality and deity: “You were the Word at the beginning / One with God the Lord Most High” (cf. John 1:1). Later, the song’s bridge refers to His resurrection: “Death could not hold You / The veil tore before You . . . For You are raised to life again.” And throughout the song, Christ is referred to as King.

However, the second verse is a great example of the doctrinal maladies that plague most of the Hillsong catalogue—malpractice, man-centeredness, and missing information

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now . . .

The writer of “What a Beautiful Name” would have us believe that the reason for Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was because He “didn’t want heaven without us.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not remotely biblical. In fact, it’s doctrinal malpractice by people who should know better.

Nowhere does the Bible state that an unsatisfying solitude in heaven was God’s reason for redeeming people. Rather, the theme that resounds throughout Scripture is God’s desire to glorify Himself by redeeming sinners. Romans 3:21–26 explicitly describes Christ’s atonement as the display of God’s righteousness. Undoubtedly, the cross was also the demonstration of God’s great love for sinners (John 3:16), but that doesn’t mean He was lonely without us.

Furthermore, that unbiblical statement flows out of the man-centered worldview that permeates almost everything Hillsong does. Rather than seeing ourselves as the undeserving beneficiaries of God’s redemptive plan, we become the central characters in a story that’s meant to glorify God.

The other major problem that plagues even the best songs in the Hillsong library is also evident in “What a Beautiful Name.” Even when they get it theologically right, the missing information robs the lyrical content of any useful meaning. “My sin was great, Your love was greater” begs more questions than they’re willing to answer. It’s exceedingly rare for Hillsong worship to even mention sin, but even if they do it’s left completely undefined.

Similar subjects like God’s wrath, repentance, judgment, depravity, and personal holiness are virtually absent from the entire Hillsong catalog. But those biblical realities form the necessary background to explain most things Hillsong does talk about: grace, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation. If grace is unmerited favor, we need to know why we don’t merit it. Mercy is meaningless without understanding the wrath that we deserve. Forgiveness is incomprehensible without grasping our personal guilt before God. And salvation rings hollow when we’re never told what we’re saved from.

At the Strange Fire conference, John MacArthur had this to say about another popular Christian band, and what passes for worship music in many churches today:

Let me explain worship in a simple way. The deeper your understanding of the truth of God, the deeper your understanding of God Himself, the higher your worship goes. Worship is directly correlated to understanding. The richer your theology, the more full your grasp of biblical truth, the more elevated your worship becomes. You don’t have to turn the music on for me to worship.  Low understanding of God—superficial, shallow, understanding of God—leads to shallow, superficial, content-less hysteria. You can whip that up, you can create that kind of frenzy. It has nothing to do with worship; it isn’t worship; it’s not connected to worship; it is sheer hysteria in a mindless expression. You’ve been singing hymns this week. Why? Because there’s rich theology in hymns. We don’t have to go hysterical; we want your mind fully engaged. . . . I don’t need 7-11 choruses, seven words eleven times over. I need to advance the doctrine. I need to advance the richness. I need to deepen the truth and broaden the truth. And hymns have verses, not just five words repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated but never really with the nuances of theology. So, yeah . . . that’s not worship, that’s not even Christian. That’s no different than a rock concert. There’s a lot of ways to manipulate people’s minds, and they have figured out how do that.

Doctrine matters. At best, a steady diet of Hillsong music will leave you with an incomplete theology of salvation. At worst, it promotes unbiblical falsehoods about God, us, and how we can be reconciled to Him.

Style over Substance

It’s worth pointing out that we did not cherry-pick the lyrics referenced above. In a musical catalogue as vast as Hillsong’s, it wouldn’t be hard to find a few weak songs to critique.

Instead, the songs mentioned above come directly from our visits to Hillsong church services. For a few months now, we’ve been visiting Hillsong Los Angeles—one of the ministry’s most recent church plants. While the American audience is primarily familiar with Hillsong’s worship bands, CDs, and concerts, throughout most of the rest of the world, they are one of evangelicalism’s fastest-growing church networks. With franchises established all around the world, they’ve recently begun to expand into the US.

In our estimation, Hillsong represents the next wave of the kind of seeker sensitivity John MacArthur has warned about throughout his ministry. They are cut from the same cloth as Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels, and Rick Warren—they’re just aiming for a younger, hipper audience.

Hillsong LA’s church services are virtually indistinguishable from rock concerts. From the moment you walk in, your eyes and ears are assaulted by incoherent multimedia displays, with vague artistry passing for profundity.

While the familiar elements of a church service are there—prayer, worship, teaching, etc.—they’re usually designed and deployed as an appeal to your senses, not your soul. It makes you wonder what people think they’re committing to during the pseudo-alter call that ends every service.

In the end, Hillsong’s carelessness and ambiguity extend beyond their lyrics, touching every element of their global ministry. In the days ahead, we’re going to look at the practical theology they proclaim, and compare it to their own doctrinal statements and ultimately to Scripture.

What you’re going to see—as we have seen firsthand—is that the significant influence Hillsong wields is sowing confusion and corruption into the next generation of the church.”

Source: Cameron Buettel and Jeremiah Johnson, Grace to You, http://www.gty.org/Blog/B161128, Published 28/11/2016. (Accessed 28/11/2016.)

Michael Brown Displays More Gullibility and Lack of Discernment Defending Carl Lentz

Charlatans, charismatics, false teachers, NAR apostles–these people have an ally. His name is Michael Brown. As we’ve reported before, he’s the go-to apologist for modern-day Montanists. He’s defended Word of Faith huckster, Benny Hinn, false teacher Bill Johnson, and many others. We’ve also reported on the gullibility of Michael Brown and the charismatic movement in general. Michael Brown continues to display his gullibility.

We recently reported on Carl Lentz’ interview with Oprah on her Supersoul television show, in which the Hillsong, NY pastor was asked if someone had to be a Christian to have a relationship with God, to which he replied, “no.” In short, Lentz gave Oprah a version of Christianity that the new-age universalist found palatable. He was ambiguous, and very carefully worded his comments in such a way that Oprah could find herself in agreement with him. He did not, in any way, lead Oprah or her audience to believe that he believed in the exclusivity of Jesus Christ.

Enter Michael Brown.

Every time Hillsong says or does something stupid, you can count on Michael Brown to come and set the record straight. Michael Brown published an article asking Lentz to talk to him and clarify his comments. Lentz apparently took him up on the offer. He posed the following questions in his original article:

  • Do you believe people can have a relationship with God outside of Jesus or even while rejecting Jesus?
  • Do you believe that people are lost if they do not know Jesus as Lord?
  • Did you give Oprah and her audience any reason to be alarmed?
  • Did you clearly speak to her and to them about “righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment?”

These were good questions that needed to be asked, however, Michael Brown, as usual, is unable to see the bigger picture after his phone conversation with Lentz. (This tends to be an ongoing problem with people who have phone conversations with Lentz.) In a follow-up article, Brown walks away concluding that Carl Lentz clearly and unashamedly believes in the exclusivity of Christ and that his critics “have no business accusing him of universalism.”

First I want to say thank you. Thank you to Michael Brown for giving him the opportunity to clarify his position. However, what he really believes, or says he believes, isn’t the biggest issue at stake here. I have also been told by other pastors whom I trust and who have been in contact with him privately that he may be struggling with some theological issues and trying to find some solid ground. If this turns out to be true, that would be great. I would love nothing more than to see Carl Lentz turn from the typical seeker-friendly prosperity-type gospel that is commonly espoused by Hillsong. However, that has not yet happened.

The real issue is this. Carl Lentz had an opportunity to proclaim Jesus to Oprah and her audience. Now, let’s be absolutely clear, any Bible-believing Christian that knows anything about Oprah knows that if you proclaim the full counsel of God, the wickedness of man, and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Oprah Winfrey is going to take issue with that. Oprah Winfrey is a universalist who has made it clear that she hates the doctrine of the exclusivity of Christ. She believes in a false Jesus, a new age cosmic Jesus who is merely away, not the way. In fact, if Lentz had been true to what he claims he believed to Michael Brown, Oprah may not have even aired the interview.

Carl Lentz was ambiguous in his claims regarding Jesus. He clearly gave an equivocal and palatable answer to Oprah’s question–one that he knew, and let’s understand this, he knewthat Oprah would not take issue with. Even if he truly believes that Jesus is the only way, he didn’t say that. Further, what Lentz may or may not believe is irrelevant. It’s what he said that’s the problem. Lentz may very well believe in the exclusivity of Christ. Even the demons believe that and they shudder (James 2:19). It was Lentz’ unwillingness to clearly proclaim that truth that is troublesome. Essentially, he denied Christ before man and that is a big problem (Matt 10:33). He spoke of Jesus as merely a way.

Michael Brown reports:

When I asked him the question, “Are people lost without Jesus?” he said, “Without a doubt! He’s the only hope of salvation. One hundred percent.” And he added, “Without Jesus, you can have everything but have nothing. That’s why I’ve given my life for Jesus and for souls.”

Can you be any more plain than that? And while Pastor Lentz made clear to me that he was glad to answer my questions (because he recognized me as a brother with a redemptive heart) and that he had no desire to please his critics, I would say to his critics: You have no business accusing him of universalism in any shape, size or form. He could not have been more clear.

Here’s where Michael Brown’s gullibility sticks out like a sore thumb. Michael Brown doesn’t consider that Lentz is speaking to a different audience here. Who is his audience? Well, Michael Brown, and those around him. While we have our significant disagreements with Brown, and we do consider much of what he teaches and defends to be a danger to the Church, we can say that Michael Brown has at least been consistent on these issues raised here–the exclusivity of Christ and the gospel. So Lentz, knowing that Michael Brown believes these things, has no problem coming out with a bold proclamation of Christ as the only way. Oprah and her followers don’t follow Michael Brown. He has nothing to lose by making this claim to Brown and his audience. So he does.

But Brown thinks he should be let off the hook, and that Lentz’ critics (Pulpit & Pen) have no business accusing him of universalism. The question then becomes, why not? He went on Oprah’s show, a show in which the majority of the audience is lost, and told Oprah that you don’t have to be a Christian to have a relationship with God. Again, had he done so, Oprah would have clearly taken issue with him, rather than nod her head in agreement.

Still, Brown reports:

Pastor Lentz told me with passion that while people might differ with some things at Hillsong, there was no possible way anyone could accuse them (or him) of believing in universalism.

He said that he believes in John 14:6 with every fiber of his being, with his entire life, and so he doesn’t know why he didn’t quote the rest of the verse to Oprah (namely, that no one comes to the Father apart from Jesus) because that is absolutely what he believes.

It becomes quite obviously apparent why he didn’t quote the rest of John 14:6 to Oprah in light of who Lentz is. He is the pastor of a large, seeker-friendly non-confrontational church that has compromised on many, many issues, from knowingly allowing an openly gay choir director, to allowing one of his associate pastors to pose as an obscene character, the Naked Cowboy, at a women’s conference (both of which Michael Brown attempted to minimize and defend, see here and here). The list of tasteless shenanigans goes on and on. Carl Lentz has never been the one to offend anyone–of course, except for those who call him out on his gospel weakness.

Michael Brown’s relentless defense of the biblically defenseless needs to be exposed. He exhorts people to watch the interview of Lentz and Oprah in its entirety. He believes that by watching the video, the entire interview, that it may change your perspective on the things Lentz said. Brown said in his first article,

I appreciated that you proclaimed Jesus as everything, as God, as the answer, as the sacrifice, as the atonement, as the way in. And you stated clearly that you don’t see Jesus as an option or as a good guy or as moralist. Well said!

But he really didn’t. After telling Oprah that you don’t have to be a Christian to have a relationship with Christ, he went on to say, “for me,” this or “for me,” that. “I believe,” these things about Jesus … but, for you, you don’t have to be a Christian… that’s just what I believe. Obviously, I paraphrased, but Lentz telling Oprah essentially that she could believe what she wants, and then giving her a carefully worded unoffensive version of what he believes, is exactly the kind of double-minded instability a minister of God’s word is not supposed to have. See, Oprah is perfectly fine if you believe that Jesus is the sacrifice, the atonement, that He is God, as long as you don’t believe that he is the ONLY sacrifice, the ONLY atonement, and the ONLY God. See, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers–they all believe that their gods are the right way for them too, and as long as you don’t become exclusive, you’re in good company.

Clearly, Lentz was in good company, or at least Oprah thought so. And that is grounds for criticism.

Finally, Michael Brown says,

I would also say to his critics: I am not here as an apologist for Hillsong, since I have never attended a Hillsong service in my life or read a book or listened to a full sermon by Brian Houston. I can only address my conversation with Pastor Lentz.

I would beg to differ. You ARE an apologist for Hillsong. You’ve stepped in to “set the record straight” nearly every time Hillsong comes under fire. You are gullible and you believe everything someone tells you if you like them enough. Lentz captivated you like he has done to others, with a personal phone call. You need to stop being so moved by these interactions. One phone conversation doesn’t undo the historical record of Lentz’ dealings. You need to look at the entirety of his ministry to judge if he’s theologically sound. If you were to do so and compare his ministry to biblical teachings you would see that Lentz is clearly theologically inept and unqualified to represent the Word of God in the capacity he’s currently in.

I do pray that Lentz would seek the guidance of orthodox, biblically qualified, and theologically sound teachers to guide him to point where he is able to rightly handle the Word of God, and uncompromisingly and unambiguously proclaim Jesus as the only Savior, to which without coming to Him in faith and repentance, you are lost, and will spend eternity in Hell. I also pray that unless this happens, Michael Brown would stop defending those who compromise the gospel while attacking those who stand solely on the authority of God’s Word.

Michael Brown, you cannot hold hands with God and the devil.

Source: Author, Jeff Maples; Pulpit & Pen Blog; http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/11/03/michael-brown-displays-more-gullibility-and-lack-of-discernment/ (Published 3/11/2016; Accessed 4/11/2016)

Lead Artist of Hillsong UNITED Finds Jen Hatmaker’s Affirmation of Gay Marriage “Refreshing”

Recently we reported that the popular HGTV star and self-proclaimed Christian evangelist, Jen Hatmaker, came out and affirmed homosexuality. You can see the original post here. In summary, Jen Hatmaker believes that sodomites can come together in a union found to be holy and honoring to God, and should be accepted in the church.

When asked if she’d attend a “wedding” of her gay friends, she goes on to say,

I would attend that wedding with gladness, and I would drink champagne. I want the very best for my gay friends. I want love and happiness and faithfulness and commitment and community. Yes. That’s an easy answer.

Lifeway Christian Stores, a Southern Baptist Entity, subsequently pulled all of her books and materials from their inventory as a result.

However, if you follow the downgrade of Hillsong at all, you may be delighted to know that Hillsong UNITED’s lead pastor, and co-pastor of Hillsong NY, finds Jen Hatmaker’s newly affirmed beliefs “refreshing.” Joel Houston, son of Brian Houston, the current CEO of Hillsong Australia, tweeted the following:

joel_hatmaker

This coming out with the recent revelation that Houston’s co-pastor, Carl Lentz, has been severely compromising the gospel in public, among other things, it should be more than abundantly clear to everyone that Hillsong is a compromised imitation of the true Bride of Christ, and is led by people who know not the Scriptures, or what God has to say about His church.

In response to an inquiry of his first tweet regarding the “refreshing” nature of the article, he tweets the following:

joel_hatmaker2

I would encourage any who listen to Hillsong music to stop. These men purport to be Christians yet habitually pervert His grace for profit. If your church plays their music, complain. You have the right to do so. Your tithes and offerings are lining the pockets of men like this.

Source: Author, Jeff Maples; Pulpit & Pen Blog; http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/11/03/lead-artist-of-hillsong-united-finds-jen-hatmakers-affirmation-of-gay-marriage-refreshing/ (Published 3/11/2016; Accessed 4/11/2016)

 

The Empire’s Mom Strikes Back.

Yesterday, Cathy Lentz took a shot at Pastor Chris Rosebrough via Twitter. He was alerted to it from his Facebook wall.

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Cathy Lentz wrote: “@piratechristian God help you all. Leading no one to Jesus… Being Pharisees in an out of the way state / Making no difference in lives. SAD”

Cathy Lentz deleted this tweet before we could grab a screenshot, but thankfully it was preserved in the above screenshot.

Below is Chris Rosebrough’s response:

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Here’s the Pharisee Card Explanation  link.

Cathy Lentz’ views are not in line with sound Biblical teaching. If she rightly understood the proper distinction between Law and Gospel, Sin and Grace, Repentance and the Forgiveness of Sins then she would be scolding her son, Carl Lentz, for leading people away from Christ.

We’d like to add that it’s hypocritical of Cathy Lentz to call faithful Pastors “Pharisees.” Pharisees added man made laws to God’s Holy Laws.

“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others… But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.’” (Matthew 23:1-5, 13-15)

Take a look at Cathy’s Pharisaical Law below.

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Cathy Lentz, what about the churches Chris Rosebrough and J.D. Hall pastor? The sheep placed lovingly in their care by the Lord Himself? You said yourself that they don’t lead anyone to Jesus so why would you attack them, if you think it’s “unconstitutional” to do so? What if a pastor is a proven pedophile, like Hillsong’s former patriarch Frank Houston was?

If this was Biblical, it could be proven using Scripture. Please provide chapter and verse?

If you need further proof that Cathy Lentz subscribes to a different Jesus, look at the tweet below where she endorses Oprah Winfrey. And anyone taking the time to scroll though her Twitter history will find she endorses Pastor Mark Batterson, author of the heretical book “The Circle Maker” and Anne Voskamp, author of another heretical book “One Thousand Gifts”. The list continues with endorsements of Beth Moore, Judah Smith and John Gray, pastor at Joel Osteen’s “church” at Lakewood. We only needed to scroll back four months to find those proven false teachers/false prophets listed often listed as speakers at Hillsong.

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For more information on Oprah Winfrey’s false “Jesus” read Hillsong & Oprah: Same spirit, same gospel, same camp.

 

Too Dangerous To Debate.

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Over the weekend, I challenged Dr. Michael Brown to a debate. This isn’t the first time, as twice before I had reached tentative agreements to debate Brown on the tenets of Charismania. I have had numerous interactions with Brown, mostly emailing him to offer correction when he has repeatedly gone to the defense of Hillsong regarding such issues as their use of gay choir directors and their lascivious, “sexy Christmas” cabaret, which I wrote an open letter about in January.

This isn’t the first time that Dr. Brown has defended the indefensible and blasphemed the Holy Spirit by blaming the Third Person of the Trinity for the shenanigans of Charismania’s most notorious false prophets. Brown has defended and/or endorsed Benny Hinn, Rick Joyner, Mike Bickel, Brian Houston, Carl Lentz, Joseph Cahn, and many, many others.

When pushed to defend himself regarding his endorsements and associations with the most nefarious false teachers in the world, Brown sticks to the following game-plan.

  1. Claim that he isn’t aware of any controversies regarding the false teacher, and feign total ignorance regarding the substance of the false teacher’s doctrine, as he did with Benny Hinn. Never mind, of course, that a leading figure in Charismania claiming he wasn’t aware of who Benny Hinn was insults all of our intelligence; we are required to view the claim charitably as though it were made by a genuine brother in Christ.
  2. Claim that the false teacher has repented of his false teaching. Brown repeatedly does this regardless of whether or not there’s any evidence of the false teacher ever having repented for anything. Again, as he did with Benny Hinn.
  3. Claim the factual, but negative, reporting of his or another charismatic’s glaring doctrinal or integrity problems are “misrepresentations.” Brown hardly ever (that may be an understatement) goes on to explain what the misrepresentation is, but seems content to merely make the charge.
  4. When all else fails, claim the discerning Christian is a slanderer or gossip, or vaguely imply they don’t have the full story. Brown does this repeatedly, and I don’t know if he’s ever met a discerning Christian that he didn’t attack as a slanderer or gossip, in the same way I don’t know if he’s ever met a charismatic charlatan he hasn’t adamantly defended.

Brown has used these four strategies over and again to endorse or defend the world’s most infamous faux-miracle working, tongue-babbling, Spirit-blaspheming, Heaven-touring charismaniacs ever to suck a grave or bequeath a prophet’s mantle.

So then, how did Dr. Brown respond to me call for a debate?

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And although I think we all might suspect who that Cessationist colleague(s) might have been, maybe someone who has been on the wrong side of a discernment issue a time or two recently and might be a bit sore over it, one thing is for sure. Whoever can countenance Dr. Brown as a friend or colleague, in spite of the great harm he regularly perpetrates upon the church through his endorsement of Charismania’s most dangerous leaders, but considers me to “write and say dangerous things” is perhaps more discernment impaired than we once thought.

What true and actual cessationist would tell charismania’s chief apologist that JD Hall is dangerous? And further more, specifically, what would those “dangerous things” that have been written or said be? Would it be something like what was presented in Modern Day Montanism, or maybe something that got too personal? Who knows. If I followed Dr. Brown’s formula, I would accuse him of unfounded gossip and slander. The difference between the two is that I’ve been very specific with my accusations, and he’s lobbied accusations from thus far unnamed ambiguousbots.

Furthermore, and let the record show, at no point has Dr. Brown ever “corrected me” privately on any matter. I have, however, corrected him repeatedly (as the Open Letter to Dr. Brown last January demonstrates). Neither did Dr. Brown explain at what points he has been misrepresented (because he has not been) in my last post.

As I will continue to assert, Montanism is not Christianity, but a heresy to be anathematized from the modern church the same was it was in the early church. “Cessationist Colleagues” don’t need to mollycoddle their charismatic counterparts as brethren, but call them to repentance for endorsing and defending, well, pretty much anyone for whom Michael Brown has put his seal of approval.

Source: JD Hall, Polemics Report, P & P Blog, http://polemicsreport.com/2016/10/24/too-dangerous-to-debate/ Published: 24/10/2016, Accessed: 25/10/2016

It’s Time for Dr. Brown to Debate

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As an evangelical pastor, I have grown increasingly concerned with the influence of charismaticism on evangelicalism. From Kenyonism to Osteenism, from Oneness Pentecostalism to the New Apostolic Reformation, charismaticism and the doctrine of continuationism are responsible for the vast majority of false teaching today that regularly molests the church of her purity and soundness.

Modern day practitioners of charismaticism are the spiritual posterity of the ancient Montanists, who taught the nearly identical doctrines of new prophecy, apostolic gifting, and ecstatic utterance. The Montanists were anathematized by the early church as spiritual scoundrels and heretics, and for engaging in the very same practices and teaching the very same doctrines regularly espoused by America’s most prominent charismatics.

I do not hold that the majority of evangelical charismatics are errant brothers. I hold that many are not brothers at all, worship a god of their imagination, have replaced true religion with myths and fables and occultic practices, and that God despises their worship as being in neither Spirit nor Truth.

Charismatics seem unwilling to engage on this proposition in the religious marketplace of ideas, being satisfied to provide as their only defense their subjective experiences and a religious fervor that shouts down Holy Scripture in babbling tongues and nonsense words. In America, perhaps their chiefest apologist is Dr. Michael Brown, a principal figure in the scandal-ridden faux awakening, the Brownsville Revival, a man who unfortunately retains a seat at the table of orthodoxy thanks to a few friends who model, in their toleration of his aberrant doctrine, Tertullian’s unwise toleration of the Montanists. Treating one who has supported nearly each and every kind of bizarre, plainly unscriptural, subchristian and mystic practice as a brother in good standing is toxic to authentic Christianity and does not conform with the historic church’s treatment of such false teachers.

Michael Brown has defended the lascivious and profane behavior of Hillsong Church. Michael Brown has defended Benny Hinn from charges of false prophecy. Michael Brown has attempted to whitewash the history of Bethel Church’s participation in grave-sucking necromancy. In fact, there is hardly a spiritual scoundrel, religious ne’er-do-well, or charismatic snake oil salesman that Michael Brown hasn’t defended. While Brown claims to be “on record” condemning the “excesses” of the charismatic movement, like “abuses” of seed-faith teaching, the fact is, these records simply do not exist except in tangible hypotheticals and generalities. If I produced for you a list of the ten most obviously occultic and spiritually sinister false teachers in charismaticism, you will not find Brown being on the record rebuking them, but you will find Brown on the record defending them from criticism.

Meanwhile, Brown has repeatedly attacked those calling for discernment and caution regarding the false teachers Brown promotes. He has accused polemicists of slander, gossip, hypocrisy, and sin, and when proven demonstrably wrong about a particular topic, digs in deeper in further defense of the indefensible. I wrote an open letter to Dr. Brown about this very thing in January, and like all other attempts to discuss the issues of charismaticism and polemics with him, it received no response.

Brown, when pressed to provide a defense for his support of the most ungodly and occultic teachers of the movement he is partially responsible for popularizing, feigns ignorance. He didn’t know who Benny Hinn was (he claimed) when he yoked himself to him for a video series. Each and almost every specific question to Dr. Brown regarding a specific charismatic leader and their specific charismatic error is met with a confused stammering of supposed unknowingness. It is time for Dr. Brown to stop playing the part of polemical teflon or doctrinal jello, and provide an actual defense for charismatic behavior and continuationist doctrine.

Twice I have asked Dr. Brown to debate, twice with some agreement, and yet didn’t materialize. I know that Dr. Brown does not feel that I respect highly enough charismatics, and questions the profitability of our interaction with that being the case. I believe that perhaps Dr. Brown has been coddled for too long by certain Reformed leaders, who have countenanced the charismatic error as a secondary matter. I view the sufficiency of Holy Scripture a primary matter, and cannot provide Brown the charitable assessment afforded him by others. Nonetheless, a debate is meant to provide a direct clash of principles and contentions that is provided for others as a witness to learn from and make up their own mind regarding the validity of one view versus another. I do not believe that Dr. Brown wants to compare charismatic teachings to either the ancient Montanist heresy or the Holy Bible. Nonetheless, I urge him to debate me at a venue and time of his choosing.

Dr. Brown can see my views regarding the charismatic movement in this video, as produced last month at NorCal Fire.

 

As I demonstrated in that message on Modern Day Montanism, I believe it can be substantiated that God the Holy Spirit is demonstrably not at work among charismatics, as seen in the lack of spiritual discernment (a spiritual gift) and lack of self control (a spiritual fruit). The suggested resolution for the debate is as follows:

Charismatic evangelicals practice the ancient heresy of Montanism, should be considered aberrant and dangerous to the church, and be cast out of fellowship until they repent and are forgiven. 

Source: JD Hall, Polemics Report, P &P Blog, http://polemicsreport.com/2016/10/22/its-time-for-dr-brown-to-debate/ Published: 22/10/2016 Accessed: 23/10/21016

Hillsong & Oprah: Same spirit, same gospel, same camp

Bobbie Houston claimed,

“Wow. Wow. Wow. So good. Well done Carl … & THANKYOU Miss Oprah for allowing such an honest, genuine, enquiring, God honoring, Spirit breathed and Jesus “front and center” interview. So proud of you@carllentz &@lauralentz (cos you baby are a beautiful strength within all this) … And sadly the God-haters and Hillsong-haters and Oprah-haters will be frothing and manifesting, but they just need to get used to the reality that Jesus ain’t going away and the Church arising on the earth with clear and beautiful stature, exemplified in love and grace, is here to stay. We love you but your unrelenting contempt and hatred is only going to make us love you more fiercely. I pray for you. Have a grace-filled day people! 💛Bobbie #thykingdomcome

Source: Bobbie Houston, Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/BLpWG5pg_JT/, Published 17/10/2016. (Accessed 19/10/2016.)

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For Bobbie Houston to call that interview between Oprah Winfrey and Carl Lentz “honest, genuine… God honoring, Spirit breathed and Jesus “front and center”” has even given reason for God Himself to hate everything that Hillsong stands for. Why?

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The Evangelical Industrial Complex promotes the Avante-Garde/Popularity Gospel where Jesus universally loves everybody equally, does not care about beliefs that divide and wants everyone to live… according to the latest fads and ideas.

Hillsong have CHOSEN where they have camped spiritually and it is with Oprah and her gospel of popularity – not Jesus. They can slap ‘Jesus’ on whatever they want, however, since their inception since 1977, CLC/Hillsong have continually shown disregard and disrepect towards Christ and His Word all in their attempts to be the popular Miss Universe.

Like Hillsong, Oprah has shown public hatred towards Christ, His gospel and His Church (the religious – the same label Hillsong uses on Christians who DARE preach the Christian gospel/faith). The intolerance both Hillsong and Oprah show towards Christianity is uncanny and has been on full public display for all to see.

“I can’t get into a religious argument with you.” – Oprah Winfrey
(Translation: “Shut up and accept my Rev 17 ministry you religious devil!”)

https://videopress.com/embed/amIoqm3B?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0DISCLAIMER: We are NOT being the divisive ones – it is JESUS who claimed “not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). It is Jesus who has condemned Oprah, Carl Lentz, Bobbie Houston and Hillsong for being false prophets and teachers that come in his name IN HIS WORD (Matthew 7). It is JESUS who has warned us of these lawless ones (Matthew 24). And it is Jesus who claims the “reason why they do not hear [the truth] is that [they] are not of God. Hillsong worships thegod is of this age, not the timeless God of Christianity (we have PROVEN this to be the case with factual evidence which cannot be refuted since the movement’s inception – see our archives).
This is WHY Hillsong is and will always be a dangerous cult and needs to be avoided at all cost:their beliefs will send people to hell and their nature is to steal, kill and destroy all under the guise of shepherds clothing. 
So don’t take issue with Christianity – take issue with Christ and His Word. He is the one that has already condemned Hillsong and Oprah.

If you want to believe this gospel of popularity that both Hillsong and Oprah espouse below, you’re believing Michael Jackson’s false gospel:

I think the premise of Christianity is looking in the mirror going, alright, I’m not going to make it, I can’t do enough, God I need you, and in that moment, I believe there’s a rescue of salvation that you can’t counterfeit any other way.” – Carl Lentz

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Jeff Maples from Pulpit & Pen does a good job analyzing the dangerous message Carl Lentz fed his followers and listeners in his Oprah interview.

From Pulpit & Pen,


Carl Lentz to Oprah Winfrey: You Don’t Have to be a Christian to Have a Relationship with God

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. – 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (ESV)

In a recent interview on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Carl Lentz explains that he hopes that churches like his will “transform the way people experience their relationship with God.” Oprah then asks Carl Lentz, “do you believe that only Christians can be in a relationship with God.” His reply,

No, I believe that when Jesus said that “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” the way I read that, Jesus said that he is the road marker, he is the map, so I think that God loves people so much, that whether they accept or reject him, he’s still gracious, and he’s still moving, and he’s still giving you massive red blinking lights, for chances to take a right turn when maybe you’d take a left, but I believe God loves people, and that’s what this whole gospel is based on, it’s love….

https://vid.me/e/CbF0?stats=1

This is nothing less than the Gospel of Oprah. It’s a universal, “God loves everybody,” version of the Gospel. Lentz tells Oprah that people spend way too much time “doing it in their own strength, … and that isn’t working,”

Our thing is to say, hey, if you allow God, if you bow your knee, admit your need of God, and if you do that, and Lord … there’s a moment where my repentance matters, and it’s right now, I am handing over the keys, if you do that…I think the premise of Christianity is looking in the mirror going, alright, I’m not going to make it, I can’t do enough, God I need you, and in that moment, I believe there’s a rescue of salvation that you can’t counterfeit any other way.

So this is his presentation of the Gospel to Oprah. Did you notice what his “premise of Christianity is?” It isn’t Jesus. In fact, there was no mention of Jesus in his “gospel” presentation. His premise is looking in the mirror, and telling God you can’t make it.

Carl Lentz is a false teacher preaching a false Gospel. His gospel appeals to the masses, and people like Oprah, because it’s inclusive, and does not place Jesus Christ as the premise of the Gospel. It places man and his “choices” at the center of this false Gospel.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. – 2 Peter 2:1

Source: By Jeff Maples, Carl Lentz to Oprah Winfrey: You Don’t Have to be a Christian to Have a Relationship with God, http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/10/18/carl-lentz-to-oprah-winfrey-you-dont-have-to-be-a-christian-to-have-a-relationship-with-god/, Published 18/10/2016. (Accessed 18/10/2016.)

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A “church” on the left side of eternity…

Jeff Maples from Pulpit & Pen shared this below article of Bud Alheim stating,

“I hate Hillsong. And I can assure you that I love God and the Church enough to proclaim it.”

Source: Jeff Maples, FaceBook, https://www.facebook.com/grapnell/posts/10155335065325752, Published 19/10/2016.

Bus Alheim writes,

Bobbie Houston: If You Hate Hillsong, You Hate God

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Bobbie Houston, the wife of famed prosperity gospel charlatan Brian Houston, has issued accolades to Carl Lentz for his “Wow. Wow.Wow.” performance on Oprah Winfrey’s  Supersoul.tv interview.  (You can read our take on it HERE.)

While calling it a “God honoring, Spirit breathed” interview, Houston also took occasion in her Instagram post to comment about Hillsong detractors, equating them to the same level as “God-haters.”  If you hate Hillsong – in cult lingo, that means “disagree in any way” – you must also, obviously, hate God.   It’s just the typical sort of thing any self-respecting cult would be expected to say.

“…sadly the God-haters and Hillsong-haters and Oprah-haters will be frothing and manifesting…”

(Editor’s Disclaimer: Yes, this article would apparently qualify as part of the “frothing” to which the charlatanette is speaking.)

In a “nana-nana-boo-boo” in yer’ face response to anti-Hillsong types (We at Pulpit and Pen, for the record, call those types … discerning … and, unlike the Houstons, we applaud and encourage YOU.) who correctly derided Lentz’s pathetic presentation that didn’t remotely resemble the Biblical gospel, Houston goes on in her “you can touch this” tirade.  One can imagine she had M.C. Hammer jamming as she Instagrammed with self-righteous Hillsong glee.

“…they just need to get used to the reality that Jesus ain’t going away and the Church arising on the earth with clear and beautiful stature, exemplified in love and grace, is here to stay.”

Really?  Well, the authentic Jesus of Scripture – which is decidedly NOT the one proclaimed by the heresy hurling Hillsong – definitely is not going away.  While worshipers of the false Jesus of Hillsong will incur the same judgment as followers of other diabolically-induced false gods and pagan idols, the real Jesus is, in fact, coming back … with an agenda.

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left. Matthew 25:31-33

(Yeah. What do they call goats in Aussie English? I’ll have to ask one of my outback friends.)

The apostle Paul gave the Galatians a bit clearer picture of what happens to those who preach a “contrary” gospel.

“… there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”  Galatians 1:7-8

Given the fact that Lentz’s presentation of the gospel to Oprah was noticeably void of “Jesus”and that Hillsong, though hip, tanned, and chic, sells merely a sexy theatricalized form of the prosperity gospel, we can be certain the key word from Paul’s comments for Hillsong is the word “accursed.”  That’s not a good word, either.  Not one you’d want a real apostle speaking in your direction.

“We love you but your unrelenting contempt and hatred is only going to make us love you more fiercely. I pray for you.”

Since a bonafide apostle, not a fake one like Houston’s “NARpostle” hubby, cursed those who proclaim a different gospel, we can be sure that Paul would also be counted by her as among those who exhibit “unrelenting contempt and hatred.” Paul, who seemed rather unconcerned about negative comments by others as he preached the actual Gospel, probably wouldn’t be too upset that the wife of a charlatan might consider him hateful. After all, the real Jesus didn’t come to bring peace (Matthew 10:34) but rather to divide with His singular, easily identified Good News.  Authentic repentant believers – His sheep – are divided to His right, for instance.

“I am put here for the defense of the Gospel.”  The Apostle Paul, Philippians 1:16

But the genuine contempt folks like Paul and discerning believers who raise their voices against the diabolical teaching of Hillsong have is against their deception that has taken captive the minds of those already condemned. The hatred exhibited by Paul’s apostolic curse on false, contrary, different gospels is divinely Gospel-driven and imminently Christ-exalting.  The safest – and most obedient – place to be found, then, is standing with him, not rocking with Bobbie, Carl, Oprah, and the heresy of Hillsong.

We pray for you too, Bobbie. We pray that you will embrace the true Gospel of the authentic Jesus and that you will repent and believe.

Otherwise … cursed goats to the left … and a different Jesus and contrary gospel can’t touch that.

Source: Bud Ahlheim, “Bobbie Houston:If You hate Hillsong, You Hate God”, Pulpit & Pen, http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/10/18/bobbie-houston-if-you-hate-hillsong-you-hate-god/, (Published 18/10/2016, Accessed 19/10/2016)

Bill and Brian come out with Bolz

Bethel Church of Redding, California and Hillsong of Sydney, Australia are not hiding their New Apostolic Reformation roots. The two leading NAR (self-appointed) narpostles have finally joined hands and have come out together as #kindredspirits.

Does this mean Hillsong will now embrace impartations, various powers and anointings from the dead as they now acknowledge having a kindred spirit with the #Bethelated spirit?

Expect glory clouds and fire tunnels at Hillsong and a rise of immorality and corruption at Bethel. No biblical accountability or governing authorities have held either men accountable to their sins and lawlessness. For more information on the third member of this #unholytrinity Shawn Bolz, can be found here:

http://www.piratechristian.com/museum-of-idolatry/2016/4/holy-spirit-uses-smart-phone-to-help-shawn-bolz-do-cold-readings

Brian Houston put the following out on Instagram,

What a great and refreshing time speaking at Bethel’s Open Heaven Conference alongside@brevivedand @shawnbolz #blessed#kindredspirits #billjohnson

Source: Brian Houston, Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/BLMeq3xDVpF/?hl=en, Published 06/10/2016. (Accessed 06/10/2016.)

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Joel Houston promotes social gospel with #blacklivesmatter.

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The Houston legacy is proving to be an utterly clueless legacy. Like father, like son – Joel Houston appears to be as clueless about the gospel, as his father Brian Houston.

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A few days ago, Joel Houston informed his followers on Instagram that he took time to gather the church to “have an open conversation about the realities of racism and injustice experienced by many across our nation today.” What Joel Houston doesn’t realize is that he’s promoting racism and injustice.

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