“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6
“I would rather tell you the hurtful truth, than pretend that all is well and good.” A pastor friend recently responded to an article I posted by David Cloud, Being A Friend To Sinners: The Emergent Way. (Original source)
I wanted to share my response to him, as his thoughts reflect what many other pastors and laypeople believe. It is vital to keep providing facts and evidence to our Christian brothers and sisters, even as they continue to be shocked by what they see as uncaring and hateful words, improper judgmentalism, and “divisiveness.” we have been called haters by such as “pastor” Steve Furtick. My objective is to show them the truth even if it hurts, and to show that what we are doing is the most loving thing we can do in the face of apostasy today: expose and call out the false teachers, and warn the believers of the danger they are facing, dangers that threaten their very spiritual well-being. We do this as friends, and because it is a biblical mandate. As always, I am open to correction from the word of God.
From A Pastor Friend:
“Wasn’t Jesus accused of the same behavior: being a friend of sinners and publicans? He befriended multitudes, but most of them did not come to repentance. There is a time, a place, and a way for everything. We need to stop this war against the Church just because some choose to do things differently. Who are we to be judging others? Are we so full of ourselves that we cannot see that we are hurting the Church rather than heal her? What we need (all of us without exception) is an infilling of the Holy Spirit. Shorter than this is just nonsense.”
Dear Brother, thanks for the comments.
Yes, Jesus was indeed a friend to sinners. The stark difference is this: He befriended them, BUT He always pointed them to their only real need; their need for spiritual re-birth. Not so with the emergent crowd and the man-pleasers of today in our denomination and others. These people focus on becoming friends with unbelievers, and emphasize following “the way of Jesus” by doing good deeds, and practicing the “let’s all get along philosophy” of the emergents, ecumenists and New Evangelical crowd.
So here is the problem. For all their good intentions of living “in community”, of being a friend to the world, of being non-judgmental and accepting of everyone, they lose sight of the “main thing.” They ignore the most important thing that Jesus ALWAYS did: He showed the sinner his need of a Savior to pull him out of the miry clay of sin. That is what is so wrong with the church today, as David Cloud pointed out in the article. Too many in the church are focusing solely on being friends to sinners, to the detriment of their real need. I quote from the article again:
“Gurganus is saying we should befriend the unsaved, but he is not saying what the emerging church is saying. Gurganus is saying that the objective is not merely to befriend the unsaved but to win them to Christ!”
I hope you read that article again by brother Cloud. It is so right on and biblically solid, I don’t see what objection you have to it, but I am open to biblical correction, as I am sure brother Cloud is also. Many in the Nazarene church today and other denominations are failing to emphasize the Gospel. Not the social gospel; not the environmental gospel; not another Jesus; but the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches that nothing is more important in our lives than to repent, confess our sins, and turn to Jesus Christ, the only way to the Father. Anything that pushes aside this message, or waters it down to a works-based gospel, is not the true gospel; it is doctrines of demons. And I am sorry to say, but this is being disseminated in the Church of the Nazarene by our leaders and many university presidents, and by many district superintendents and pastors who are byproducts of Nazarene Theological Seminary, a school which is shamefully condoning the teaching of occultism and contemplative spirituality. (Please refer to Proverbs 27:6 again before you get offended at what I just said).
You said: “There is a time, a place, and a way for everything. We need to stop this war against the Church just because some choose to do things differently.”
It is not that some are doing things differently; it is that those different ways are contradictory to biblical principles. You must realize that we are fighting a war against Satan, and not against the Church. We are in the middle of what looks like the end times apostasy. The true Church is composed of obedient Nazarenes, Baptists, and Christians from many different denominations. The true Church is not composed of those who are attacking the Church and its biblical foundation; the true Church is composed of those who are standing up to defend the truth of God’s word. The war against the Church will only stop when Jesus Christ returns and puts Satan away for good; in the meantime, please do not mistake me and others for being those who wage war against the Church! We are defending the faith, we are defending the Church. We cannot continue to ignore the cancer that is spreading within the church, and much of it is being spread by the corrupt shepherds in many of our pulpits. As Roger Oakland said in his article on end times apostasy:
“No denomination or fellowship of churches is immune to this delusion. Even those who once stood on the simple Word of God, warning of deception and teaching the Bible verse by verse, have fallen in the trap. The pressure is too great not to go with the flow. Even when well-respected pastors and leaders see the signs of apostasy happening in their own circles and proclaim a warning, most refuse to listen. They go on their merry way for the sake of popularity and success.”
You asked, “Who are we to be judging others?”
Answer: In the same chapter in Matthew where Jesus CLEARLY shows to us that we are to judge, He later gives us another command that, if we do not judge- we cannot keep that very commandment! He said:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing. But inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matt. 7:15
How can we watch out for false prophets? We judge them by their fruits, and whether their teachings line up with the word of God. So we are expected by the Lord Jesus Christ to judge; but we are to judge righteously. It is biblical; it cannot be refuted; and it is an act of disobedience to refuse to judge, because if we do, then we are disobedient to a whole bunch of other scriptures which we cannot truly obey, unless we judge! I will point you again to a more thorough presentation on whether we should judge or not, as I have posted before, in Yomi Adegboye’s biblical answer to the question: Judge Not?
Finally, you said: “Are we so full of ourselves that we cannot see that we are hurting the Church rather than heal her? What we need (all of us without exception) is an infilling of the Holy Spirit. Shorter than this is just nonsense.”
First, what is hurting the church is not the biblical Christians who are faithful to God’s word; it is the purveyors of false doctrines, including many of our leaders, as I have documented many times. These are hurting the Church, not folks like me. We must put away this continuing habit of unity at the cost of compromising God’s word.
It is ironic that you mention the Holy Spirit. I was speaking to a new sister in the Lord the other night. She was expressing the heartbreak she and her husband are experiencing, as they see the slow infiltration of emergent ideology into their own church. She spoke of certain things she felt inside as she listened to sermons, and heard things that just did not sound right. I have felt the same things, as have many others. We believe that much of that “gut feeling” that something is wrong, comes from the prompting of the Holy Spirit in us. Much of that “feeling” has then been validated by the testimony of others, and ultimately, by the testimony of Holy Scripture.
Believe me, the Holy Spirit has led us to where we are now. We take ridicule from our very own friends and family, and from people we know for years, who have remained blind to the truth for the sake of preserving their “fellowship.” Worst still is the fact that many know the truth, but are deliberately compromising for their comfort, friendships, or even positions of power. At what cost, and who will they answer to someday?
I challenge you once again to look at the facts I report on every week, and come to a conclusion based on God’s word, and nothing else. I challenge you to come and join the many other pastors, laymen and leaders who have joined with us in the same biblical principle: that we are to please God first, and not men.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Gal 1:10