The second time Jerusalem fell, its fall was strictly military. While away on a military campaign in Egypt, it was reported that Antiochus had fallen in battle and so the ruling Hellenist party pronounced themselves rulers in his place. Hearing this news the returning despot hit the Jewish people hard. Many thousands were murdered and Judaism was outlawed, punishable by death. The Temple and the Holy of Holies were desecrated and the abomination of desolation was erected in the form of a statue to Zeus baring the face of Antiochus himself. Thus the persecution of the Jews and the annihilation of Judaism by the sword had begun.
What does this have to do with the Ebyown community living on the outskirts of the city of Springs? Plenty, I think, because the pattern that devastated a city so long ago is evident here in South Africa and may even be in your city. You can recognize a commonality between our situation and the situation Jerusalem found itself in two centuries before the Messiah came. Let me explain.
In 1991 when I first visited South Africa, the nation was at a crossroads. HIV/AIDS was just coming into its own. HIV was a challenge to the church which to this day it has never fully accepted apart from a few exceptions. While the only real answer to HIV is a change of heart through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a challenge that should have been met with true biblical evangelism, what is it we instead observed? Traditional churches expounding a social gospel which sends HIV infected Zionists unconverted to Hell (that is, the Zionist Christian Church (ZCC) that is neither Christian or Zionist) or the new hyper-charismania gospel which is no gospel at all but is in fact a "Dr. Feel Good Cult" that panders to the West’s anonymous so-called brethren, whose destination is no more and no less than the HIV infected Zionist.
Through its lack of unbiblical leadership South Africa and Springs itself has pandered to every wind of doctrine its hireling leaders have allowed into their sheep pens. Rhema was the first big player. Ray McCauley, a charismatic leader, at the beginning did some notable things such as the integration of black and white believers during an apartheid regime. This however, went hand in hand with teachings borrowed by Kenneth Hagin and more recently Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn which ensured that the black brethren who were set free from the black N’songomas (Witch Doctors) were now bound and shackled by the mainly white N’songomas' teachings of "God wants you rich". While some black brethren walk 20 kms to Rhema placing all they have in the offering buckets so God will bless them, the white N’songomas fly around in private jets, drive their MercedesÃ‚Â® and live in palaces. As with the black N’songomas, the only ones getting rich are those proliferating this unbiblical occultist trash.
Although I cannot be too accurate chronologically, the second thing I observed was the Alpha Course. Alpha for kids, Alpha in prisons, alpha everywhere. And once again the merry-go-round of un-regenerated so-called brethren hit the nation's and the cities' churches as congregations swapped membership lists to experience the latest fad.
Third was the spiritual warfare movement. (You may have noticed that all these fads are still around and have amalgamated into pseudo-Christian cults.) To my shame this is something I promoted myself till I woke up and smelled the coffee so to speak. Things that do not work and are unbiblical are promoted as true and factual when in reality they are delusional lies.
Transformations was round four of our church merry-go-round. Even though it has been blown out of the water by factual objective journalism and the exposure of its proponent as a Universalist, the masses decided to believe the lie. What Paul said in 2Thessalonians 2:10-12 is presently being fulfilled, "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (KJV)
Round five was a mixture of different personalities ranging from the "oneness" teacher Tommy Tenney whose derogatory remarks concerning Scripture paved the way for T. D. Jakes and others, to Bruce Wilkerson who at best was a mixture of pop psychology and American schmaltz.
Next was what I believe to be the most dangerous manifestation to hit South Africa and perhaps Christendom as a whole, Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church, Purpose Driven Life and now Purpose Driven Community. Purpose Driven is the latest in a long list of man-made philosophies which are akin to the Hellenism of the Second Temple Period and has hit the body of Christ hard.
Bit by bit, biblical literacy has been undermined; little by little, one step at a time Christian integrity has been shattered. Gradually and irreversibly discernment has been eroded, preparing us for "oneness" teachings and now the nice respectable face of Rick Warren who unashamingly declares his desire for a one world church and one billion foot soldiers which can only be achieved through unity with Rome, certain cults and other faiths.
Finally and more recently we have been exposed to what is known as the Emergent Church. The Emergent Church did not appear overnight but has primarily been an evolution of the Ecumenicism we have been observing and warning about for years. But now it has been manifest with insidious teachings that denigrate the cross such as substitutionary atonement along with the introduction of mystical Roman Catholic teachings and New age meditation techniques that are thoroughly alien to biblical Christianity.
The result on a city beleaguered by every wind of doctrine and led by spineless shepherds is an amalgamation of every man-made philosophy that has gone before, and who dare speak against it? Jeremiah was right when he said, "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer. 5:30-31, KJV)
They prophesy falsely! The bemused twittering that entails prophecy nowadays is evident in almost every church. With no discernment through the Word, how can a believer understand the implications of someone speaking for the Lord things that do not come true?
The priests bear rule! Anyone who opposes is marginalized and treated as a pariah. The Purpose Driven philosophy has been steam rolled upon congregations by sacerdotal leaders. Those who question are treated as troublemakers.
The people love its so! O yes, to feel the Spirit provide your goose bump fix for another week while in between go unaddressed issues of sin such as adultery, theft and murder. Where is sanctification? Where is integrity? Where is Truth? All gone with the discernment that has been sucked out of the mind and heart of every true believer.
But what will you do in the end? Well, the city of Springs has fallen. Like Jerusalem it has first of all been conquered by philosophy and culture. Every church and Sunday School is either Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, or Alpha and everything is underpinned by TBN. The saddest fact is that like Jerusalem, the people of God have been divided brother against brother, sister against sister, parents against children. Sadly even discernment ministry is divided against discernment ministry as one by one they fall to fleshly compromise that pits the new ways against the old ways. The remnant who once represented everything that is orthodox is now marginalized as a fringe group.
I am not a prophet, nor would want to be, but common sense and observation of the way God has dealt with His people must teach us that after being conquered through philosophy and assimilation into a culture, there must come oppression through one form of violence or another. But as Jeremiah says, "What will you do at the end of it?" (Jer. 5:31)
Israel at its most desperate always had a remnant. During this abominable time Israel had a few who revolted and stood their ground against the overbearing forces that persecuted them. In a small village some kilometers from Jerusalem, people stood their ground and heralded a rallying cry that saw Israel, for a few years, gain independence again.
As a worshipping community now marginalized through modern pop culture and grievous heresy, as a worshipping community that has seen violence with the destruction of property in Bloemfontein and the slanderous insults of sacerdotal despots here in Springs, we too must heed the call to stand firm for the faith once and for all handed down to the saints and oppose the so-called faith propagated by the Bill Hybels and Rick Warrens of this world (which they have handed down to an apostate church) until He comes again.
Moriel Ministries - South Africa
[Editor's Note: How I wish that this were something unique to Dave's observations about the situation in South Africa. As I read this I realized that this is exactly the same pattern in my own hometown in Southern California and the USA in general. "” Danny.]