Ashes To Fire: Baby Step To Apostasy And Spiritual Damage

Ashes To Fire is another baby step to apostasy.  If Christians are waiting for Satan to get right in their face and say, “here is the false teaching I am spreading, here are the evil doctrines that I want you to believe” – they don’t understand Scripture.  What Satan does is mix 99% good with 1% evil, and so he appears as an angel of light to the unsuspecting, undiscerning Christian who has not been grounded in the word of God, or has lost his grounding.  He hooks you in with something that looks good. It’s no wonder that even some of the most well known and once solid, doctrinally sound preachers and teachers that we know, have now themselves been corrupted by doctrines of demons.

The infiltration of heresy is so much clearer to me now, looking back.  I was taken in by it.  I became highly aware of it after leading a small group study of the Purpose Driven Life book.  After the group ended, some things just did not sit right with me about Rick Warren’s book.  Soon I discovered the book was full of scripture twisting gymnastics, quoting of New Agers, and convenient use of verses from The Message, a paraphrase (not a translation) of the Bible with its own occultic references.  I remember apologizing later to a fellow employee to whom who I had given the book.

Darkness and Gloom

But it had already started a few years back.  Now I can see what was happening.  Have you ever been to a Maundy Thursday service?  Well, the one I attended at my church was held almost in total darkness, with a few candles, and loud banging noises to simulate the crucifixion, to get you in the right “mood”.  And you were told that as soon as the service ended, you were to walk out solemnly in total silence.  I remember some folks scolding others for whispering; they took it quite seriously, as if it was a biblical mandate.  That was Maundy Thursday.  Never saw it before in my many years as a Nazarene, certainly never experiences such a dark, somber event, and I hope I never do.  But I went along with it, even though it seemed a bit strange.  I remember my father-in-law was not at all comfortable with it, describing it as Roman Catholic-like.  His discernment antennae were already up a long time ago, as I found out later.

“In the emerging culture, darkness represents spirituality. We see this in Buddhist temples, as well as Catholic and Orthodox churches. Darkness communicates that something serious is happening.”  Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church, p. 127

Rituals and “Experiencing God”

Then came the rest over the next several years, a little at a time; the new emphasis on Advent services, Lent, Ash Wednesday, the lighting of candles again.  I guess it seemed okay to me at first.  Then there were the books given out to church leaders.  For example,  “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby.  Turned out he is a mystic who promotes contemplative prayer. Then I spotted the Henri Nouwen books, and many of his sayings were written in several Advent booklets.  Nouwen was a universalistic Roman Catholic monk who in his final book wrote that his desire was to help everyone find their own way to God.  So why is his book being given away by pastors?  Then the Rob Bell and Richard Foster material and videos that were used for Wednesday night “Bible” study.  Whatever happened to real Bible study?

“This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true.”  Rob Bell

A Full Stomach, A Clean Planet, But Empty Souls

Then there is the increased involvement in community service such as food banks, with little focus on feeding the gospel to the people.  Then there is the new terminology being used, like the “Eucharist” instead of communion.  And then there are the ecumenical services with Roman Catholic or Episcopal churches that still continue with my old church.  I attended one of them initially, but it did not feel right, not for me or my wife.  She said how could she sit there in the service and be praying to Jesus, while the woman next to her is perhaps praying to “Mother Mary?”   Why do we do this now in even more Nazarene churches, where we fellowship with folks who are in darkness, and then just simply walk away after the service, leaving them still in darkness?  Are we not to be a light to them?  What is wrong with us?  Is this how we show our love for people who are in serious error?

“My sense is that “what is trying to be born” in the pregnant Christian faith will involve a convergence of Roman Catholic, Evangelical/Charismatic, and Mainline Protestant Christians (along with, I hope, some Eastern Orthodox as well).” Brian McLaren, from his website

And how can I forget the worst District Assembly service (in 2009) my brother and I ever attended, when we heard two songs that were more fit for a Wiccan service, or perhaps an environmental conference, than for a worship service; we saw video advertisements for cleaning up the environment; packets called “I’m A Naz-a-Green” passed out to the youth; and the District Superintendent recommended a heretical novel, The Shack, as a great missional book for pastors.

We “ought to read Revelation through environmental eyes.”  Dan Boone, M7 Conference.

Looking back, I see how it all was coming together.  It’s all part of the road to Rome.  Come back to the Mother Church, and many Nazarenes are tripping over themselves falling for this.  And I did for a while, but I am thankful for the grace of God and His mercy in opening my eyes.  And He did not speak to me directly in an audible voice while I practiced the silence.  He simply told me in His word, guiding me to the truth through the Holy Spirit.

Ashes To Fire: The Latest Tool Of  The “Angel of Light”
Ashes to Fire is in its second year, and fits in nicely with the big plan to join with Rome. Most will fall for its allure and not see the big picture.  It is just a matter of time when at your local Nazarene church (unless it is led by a pastor who does not bow the knee to Baal) you may have to decide whether to go up and get ashes put on your forehead, or to flee, or worst yet- sit there and say nothing.

This year’s Ashes To Fire YouTube video, from Beacon Press, omits any reference to ashes on the forehead, which is seen on last year’s video promo that was created by Nazarene Publishing House.  From their website, you can download instructions (Planning Resources) on how to set up a prayer walk at your church.  Perhaps your church will do that this year.  Will you follow along with it, just to get along with what your pastor wants?  Will you be drawn in to seek that EXPERIENCE?

Ashes to Fire is just another of the many feel-good EXPERIENCES you now can have, courtesy of the compromisers who have invaded the church.  And so, with all the other “new ways”, you now may have the opportunity as a Nazarene to:

- Do a prayer walk (labyrinth),

- Walk a prayer labyrinth (same as prayer walk)

- Do a prayer station (Stations of the Cross),

- Use prayer beads (rosary),

- Light a lot of candles,

- Sit in darkness more often,

- Proclaim the bread and wine as the ACTUAL body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation),

- Repeat scripture over and over without gaining understanding (mantra),

- Join with priests and nuns in a retreat to practice the silence,

- Put ashes on your forehead,

- Replace the Bible with Love Wins by Rob Bell,

- Sit in silence while waiting for the voice of God,

- Pray alongside someone who trusts in works for their salvation,

- Feel like you did something good after you prayed alongside someone who trusts in works for their salvation,

- Work at the community food bank and not once give the gospel to the poor empty soul with the full stomach who is heading straight to hell.  But you will feel good.

The Apostates Among Us

THIS IS WHAT IS CALLED APOSTASY.  This is a small portion of what has been ushered into the church.  Some of these people were not compromisers before, but they have been seduced by “deceiving spirits”. Some of them are leaders in our universities and in our pulpits who have facilitated this deception to our youth.  And they wonder why we are so “divisive?”   The answer is simple: they are the real dividers who are damaging the body of Christ, and they need to repent, or to be expelled from our fellowship.  The other thing we need to do is pray that even now, those being introduced to these things for the first time, will have the discernment, and will heed the warnings we are sending out.

Additional resources:

Prayer Stations, Dark Sanctuaries, and Multi-Sensory “Worship” (Lighthouse Trails Research)

The Emerging Church: Another Road To Rome  (Roger Oakland)

NPH Endorses Catholic Practice Of Ashes On Forehead

 

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13 responses to “Ashes To Fire: Baby Step To Apostasy And Spiritual Damage

  1. 2Timothy [4:3] “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (NKJV)

    I believe Adam Clarke said it best and describes what is happening in our churches today. “For the time will come] There is a time coming to the Church when men will not hear the practical truths of the Gospel, when they will prefer speculative opinions, which either do no good to the soul, or corrupt and destroy it, to that wholesome doctrine of “deny thyself, take up thy cross and follow me,” which Jesus Christ has left in his Church.”

    We are truly slipping, the question is….have we slipped to far to recover? When our leaders are denying their is a problem one can only speculate what will come next.

  2. Problem? What problem? Other than those pesky naysayers.

    The “leader” in my church believes all this is leading to the next great revival. Heady stuff that is.

    Let’s not quench the spirit. Never mind those verses about testing said spirit. The denomination and people he trusts say that all this stuff is good.

    Hard to reach those who fully believe they are following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    Meanwhile….back in the Sunday School Rooms…. we keep teaching the scriptures to the next generation in hopes that they will be able to stand. We’ll pass on that Ash Wednesday service though.

  3. We have been recently told by our senior pastor that we will be going thru the Ashes to Fire. I also recently got back from a youth winter retreat where the daily office was used 3 times daily. It seems initally to be just normal scripture reading and reciting a prayer, while remaining in silence. Then we went to modules that where offered under the guise of spiritual disciplines…service,simplicity,fasting and study(as recommended by Richard Foster). As the weekend went on, I become more and more uncomfortable. I thought and prayed that maybe my church and district might not partake in the return to Rome. As a seasoned youth worker of almost 30 years, my eyes having been opened these past several years of researching the emergent movement and now starting to see it first hand in the youth ministies first and now coming into the church as a whole. Why do we have to invent new ways to “get closer to God” when God clearly defines the means of grace in the scriptures. Up to this point I have tried to teach sound biblical doctrine to the youth and to warn adults of the false doctines that are coming into the church in a loving and graceful way. I am not sure at this point what I should do. I don’t want to cause strife within the church but I feel the time has come to address some of these concerns. Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.

  4. This is what happens when people get “bored” with the given means of revelation and worship (bible-reading, prayer, communion, etc) and want something “fresh and new.” Sometimes we look at other systems, even systems outside of Christianity, and we think the grass is greener, not realizing that oftentimes false doctrine underlies all of these systems.

    Again: until pastors in the pulpit get back to sound doctrinal Christ-centered preaching, there will be no change. I was a bit disheartened by the Nazarene pastor I heard last Sunday, who gave a sermon on love. Not that love in and of itself is a bad topic, but it became all about loving your neighbor. While loving your neighbor is a biblical command and something important to communicate, it’s VERY dangerous to preach works without first laying out the doctrinal foundations for that morality. The pastor put all of the focus on the vertical playout (mankind) of love, but spent almost no time at all establishing the doctrinal basis for that love (God being love, God loving us and expressing that love through the work of Christ on the cross).

    I’ve said it multiple times, but it needs to be said again: preaching good works without preaching doctrine (and the gospel in particular) leads to legalism and false doctrine. When people are so conditioned by the clergy to believe that “Works are more important than doctrine,” they will fail to see the errors of Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the like because all of these systems believe in “good works.”

    And it will only be a matter of time until that moralistic deism crosses into believing there’s nothing wrong with non-Christian faiths as well…

  5. Terry,

    I cannot see anything but strife and division happening in the church, if we decide to take a stand for truth. It is inevitable,it is essential, for division to occur. When one group is involved in preaching false doctrines, and the other group rejects false doctrine, eventually, they must separate from those teaching false doctrines. I don’t see any other outcome at all. They cannot fellowship together.

    In my situation three years ago, I was eventually called a liar and slanderer publicly by my pastor, because I kept exposing false teachers in the denomination. Never once did I even criticize my pastor. Those who support these movements do not like their “favorites” to be called out. The second time he did that, was when I exposed Tom Oord for his rejection of the truth of the Genesis account, including the actual existence of Adam and Eve. This whole thing cost my whole family, we had to leave the church that my dad built from the ground up, and it was not easy going. That was three years ago, when my wife spent three days in the ER soon after the day we officially notified the church board we were leaving. To make a long story short, God has blessed us since then with the right place to be at now, and the ministry I am involved in. Paul says in Gal. 1:10 says “for do I seek to please men, or do I seek to please God.”

    What you need to do will depend on the circumstances, the people that are there, how well you know them. Pray on it; if there are like minded folks, get together with them for prayer also and discussion. I believe the Lord will lead you in the right way and the right time to speak to different people, whether it is the leaders, or the church members. But the false prophets at some point need to be confronted, and the people need to be warned by the watchman. Perhaps you are the one to be the watchman for your church at this time.

    Should you need to talk a bit more about this, feel free to email me or even a phone call.
    MannyRSilva@hotmail.com

    Blessings,
    Manny

  6. Terry I hope this will help in the decision that you make confronting the situation in your church.

    Ezekiel [13:3-4] “Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.” (KJV) False prophets are by Ezekiel compared to foxes, and in many particulars false teachers and heretics resemble this artful creature. As Ezekiel warns it is both dangerous and ill-considered to pretend to receive Divine instructions, and yet have none from God. Ezekiel’s warning should cause any pastor to check his or her resources alongside the word of God before imitating destructive acts of worship.

    In the Song of Solomon, Solomon said; [2:15] “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” (KJV) Solomon warns against those who would infiltrate the church and begin to show their malice, and destroy the vine of the Lord. They are portrayed for their fox-like qualities and actions, and are seen as being very crafty and deceitful. When Scripture is wrongly applied with intent to deceive, and to create error, is no longer Scripture. It changes its authority and ceases to be Divine truth therefore it becomes a lie. God’s word in the mouth of a false teacher is not the word of God.

  7. Thank you for the Godly advice. Fortunately the local church up to this point has stayed mostly on the right track with the exception of some of the materials being used in the youth group(Nooma Videos) which I have already had discussions with the youth pastor about and are no longer used. But the seeds are bring layed now for the upcoming apostasy and they will contimue to spread unless those of us that are scattered in the visible church do not stand up for the truth of the sufficency of the scriptures. I prayer and hope is that I find others like me that we can battle together. God bless all!

  8. Addendum: I just found out that this “Ashes to Fire” devotional is being promoted in the Nazarene Church I attend on Sundays. I intend to say something to the church leadership about this.

  9. I agree with a lot of the statements about the current conditions of our church. I teach and preach the Bible and Jesus… Not what I think or feel, but God’s word. I used the A/F last year and plan to use it this year. We do not use candles, chants and a lot of what you all talk about. I see nothing wrong with people repeating a prayer in the AM and PM, lots of people do the same thing with the Lord’s Prayer. In between the prayer are scripture reading from the Bible. I can’t see the problem with prayer and scripture readings. We also do the 14 messages using the passages in the devotional book. There is a guide but we have to construct the message with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is nice to have the group praying and reading God’s word. Again no props etc. but an emphasis on praying, reading God’s word and preaching from the Bible.

  10. Anonymous,
    A question for you then is this: Does your church plan to apply the ashes to the forehead as part of this program? If so, is that okay, and would you participate in that ritual? If okay with that, why not go even further and also do acts of penance and self inflicted pain? What would be the difference, and where does a Christian draw the line?

    You see what I mean? Even if you don’t agree with placingashes to the forehead, do you see that this is being embedded in ATF as a suggestion that it is okay? (A little leaven…). At best, this program is a Trojan Horse that is helping to bring in the big ticket item: an influx of Roman Catholicism and mysticism and the practices of the Desert Fathers of old. If you want to risk that, fine, but not for me and many other Nazarenes. Try to take a look at the big picture. These things were never around in the Nazarene denomination of old. Ask yourself, why now?

  11. I am a pastor in the nazarene church and a year ago i recieved material on the ashes to fire study. i threw it away as i do with much of what i recieve from the publishing house these days. sad. :(
    Love God, love people. dave.

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