May 27, 2006

"Neo-Pharisees": The New "Heresy-Hunters"

Thereís a new term being brandished against those in the church called as watchmen. It used to be "heresy hunters" but now weíre being called "neo-Pharisees." The former label was made popular by TBNís Paul Crouch against those who exposed the false doctrines of TBN regulars who taught the Positive Confession/Word-Faith teachings that they utilized to get the viewers to pay them for Godís favors. The new term is courtesy of the Emerging Church using such demagogy against anyone who dares to point out the occult/mystical roots of "contemplative prayer" and iconology.

People resort to name-calling when they cannot defend their positions and must resort to the use of ad-hominems. Unfortunately, some will be deceived by such propaganda and brush off the voices of any discerning warnings and continue following those who are leading them off the narrow way.

But the term neo-Pharisee applies more to todayís leaders who put their own traditions above the word of God. If we are new Pharisees then we would have to have some common ground with the old Pharisees and there isnít any. In fact, Emerging Church leaders have more in common with the Pharisees of the New Testament than any discernment ministries do. Consider this:

NT Pharisees

Emerging Church Leaders

Discernment Ministries

  • Recognized as clerical authority by Godís people
  • In high positions in todayís popular churches
  • Mostly unknown men and women with little influence in the church
  • Did not recognize the Messiah when He came
  • Ridiculing those looking for the Lordís coming
  • Proclaiming the Lordís imminent return
  • Held in high esteem by the people and received recognition in the marketplace
  • Popular teachers on television and radio and in touch with the popular culture
  • Have websites and blogs with number of hits in the small and insignificant digits
  • Disrespected Jesus and taught others to ignore His words
  • Reinventing Jesus and watering down the Gospel
  • Upholding the Gospel of repentance unto salvation
  • Held onto the trappings of religion and outer observances of the Law
  • Turning people back to religious trappings as icons, hosts, & incense
  • Proclaiming the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Taught as doctrines the commandments of men & honored God with their lips
  • Honoring Catholic theologians who put tradition on an equal plane as the Bible
  • Exhorting Christians to test all things, hold fast to that which is good and biblical
  • Betrayed Jesus and turned Him over to the secular officials for crucifixion
  • Betraying Jesus by saying those who donít know Him can enter into His kingdom
  • Being faithful to Christ Jesus by proclaiming that He is the only way to salvation

The above chart shows how dishonest it is for the Emerging Church to vilify Christians who are testing the emerging conversations by Godís word. If there is any New Testament comparison for todayís voices crying out, it would be John the Baptist who directed seekers away from himself and pointed them to the Lord. His message was one of repentance and proclamation of the soon appearance of the Messiah, two aspects of discernment ministries that todayís emerging leaders criticize.

Creedal Apologetics

However, not everyone in some form of apologetics today are doing what they are doing as unto the Lord. There are many religious apologists who are on crusades to defend their own particular theology, and not defend the Word of God. Every church system has their own defenders who use their traditionís councils, creeds and catechisms as barometers of truth. I donít refer to these as "discernment ministries," they are "creedal apologists."

In fact, a couple of weeks ago, one such apologist was on the radio denouncing discernment ministries for the audacity of pointing to prophetic scriptures in their warnings against new age trends in the church today. A so-called authority on the new age movement, this apologetics magazine editor harped on discernment ministries that link false teaching with signs of the prophecies of the great apostasy. His position is that not all Christians accept that we're in the end times and so apologetics should never base any arguments on that.

He somehow concluded that discernment ministries who look to prophetic scriptures of the signs of the times are the ones that wrongly find fault with psychology and James Dobson and certain "valid types of pscho-analysis." "It is a flawed approach for discernment ministries to see movements fitting in with their end times thinking," he said on a nationally known radio program that supposedly gives Bible answers to people seeking the truth. He is currently working on an article for his Journal lending his "30 years experience" to how discernment ministry should be done.

And yet Jesus, on the other hand, exhorts His bride to be on the alert, looking for the coming of the Bridegroom. Today, those faithful "virgins" are being caricatured, ridiculed, and driven out of churches.

♥♥♥

Dear Jesus, help us to hold onto our crowns and not follow after the popular voices that are tickling the itching ears of so many today. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we can stand firm in the truth and not be shaken from our foundation when the pressure for compliance beats down upon us. Help us to discern the difference between doctrines of devils, traditions of men, and the Word of Truth so as not to be overcome by the strong delusions that are being popularized today. As we see the day approaching, bring your assembly together so we can minister one to another and strengthen the hands of the feeble. We love You Lord God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Come quickly, King Jesus. Amen!

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