So much heresy is entering the churches these days. As you would suspect, sometimes it is due to a pastor attending a conference or reading a book and becoming diapraxed with unbiblical ideas. He then starts to weave those ideas into his messages and begins to invite speakers to the church who expound on those ideas. Then when confronted by someone in the church who has reservations about the new stuff being taught, they are told to not talk about it and just go along with the program. If that person does not they are ostracized, slandered behind their back, and often told to leave (which is what they should do in any case).
But my observation is that it is not only the pastor who causes unbiblical changes to influence a church. Often the pastor is blissfully unaware of influences coming into his church. They often come in through (1) the worship team (2) women’s groups (3) bookstore (4) children’s programs (5) interdenominational prayer efforts and (6) relief and mission organizations. If unchecked this type of infiltration is much more subtle and can become deeply rooted.
THE WORSHIP TEAM
As I dealt with in my two articles, worship songs rating page and DVD on the subject of “Testing Music in the Church” …
… one of the gates through which a lot of heresy is introduced to the church is through music. Here is a quote from “Testing Music in the Church”:
Too many churches today are allowing music to be used in their services that is not glorifying to the Lord and can actually be a hindrance to the teaching of sound doctrine. Pastors and leaders should be using their leadership role to test what is being played and sung in their churches. Though some are quick to test preaching and teaching from their pulpits, many ignore the music being used in the same services. This is a tragic mistake. Music is a powerful medium. It is something that effects deeply the body, mind and emotions. It is a proven fact that music often stays with a person far longer than what is taught or preached. Songs roam around in our heads, especially if the melody appeals to us. What is often overlooked is the serious impression music makes on people, and the teaching they are getting over and over again as they allow the song to repeat in their minds and on their lips. Music teaches things much more subtly yet sometimes far more effectively.
That's why the lyrical content of music in the church, as well as its effect on the spiritual lives of those who perform and listen, should be vigorously examined by the leaders of the church. I am not suggesting that it should be done in a legalistic way. Church leaders do not want to discourage youth, for example, from leading singing in church. But discernment in the area of music must be done nonetheless.
Shepherds have an obligation from the Lord to protect their flocks. It should be established by the church leaders that any music done in the church will be held up to the same scrutiny as any other teaching or materials used in the church. If you donut allow just any book, any Sunday school material, any magazine to be on display in your church, then why would you allow music that has unsound doctrine and might cause people to sin?
STYLE VERSUS SUBSTANCE
Please understand that I am not one who puts down any particular instruments, style or form of music. Instruments are neither good nor evil in themselves. It is rather the motive and intent in using musical instruments that gives the interpretation or “spirit” to the music and lyrics. It is the musician that gives the instruments and vocals the words and music that create any particular mood, message or atmosphere
Musical instruments have been around since before the flood (Gen. 4:21). All musical instruments can be used to glorify the Lord, or glorify something else. I do not agree with the current teaching, in some circles, that drums and percussion instruments were not used in Biblical times for worship, therefore we should not use them now. Those who teach these things are ignorant of Scripture. The “timbrel” or tof was “a percussion instrument with a membrane. The drums varied in size and were played either with bare hands or with sticks.” (Ralph Gower, The Manners And Customs Of Bible Times, pg. 309.) The “timbrel” or tambourine can be found being used for worship in the following passages: Gen. 31:27, Ex. 15:20, Job 21:12, Ps. 81:2, 149:3, 150:4. Many noisy instruments such as cymbals and horns were used in worship: Ps. 81:1-3, 150:3-5, 2 Sam. 6:5, 1 Chr. 13:8, 15:16, 15:28, 2 Chr. 15:13. So apparently it is not the noise level but the motive and intent of the people playing the instruments that count.
MOTIVE AND INTENT
The motivation behind the use of music and lyrics are what Christians leaders should be looking at seriously today. It may surprise you but, lyrically, I know of old hymns that have bad theology. I also know of hard rock music that pictures very effectively scenes like the death of Jesus Christ and are doctrinally sound. So it is not always the style of music that is necessarily the problem. The problem comes in the way it is presented and the lyrical content.
FLESHLY WORSHIP MUSIC
I am sad to say that much of the modern “worship and praise” music tends to appeal to the flesh. Much of it has lost focus on Christ, tends to be humanistic and has little or no beneficial lyrical content. Modern “worship” music today is often way too repetitive and, in fact, tends to send a person into a trance-like state. We are called to worship God with our whole mind, body and spirit (1 Cor. 14:14-15). Trance induction is an occult technique, not a biblical one. The lyrics to much of the music used today in churches is shallow theologically, and some teach downright false doctrines. Much of it also tends to be so simplistic that it no longer contains even the basics of good musicality. Thankfully there is also good modern music out there to be found if churches make the effort to obtain it.
Please also check out the YouTube video that I did with Tim Wirth for more information:
I have noticed in many otherwise biblically solid churches the tendency for women’s groups to be using unbiblical materials. Sometimes it is due to a woman coming in from an unbiblical church and using the women’s groups as a way to bring unbiblical doctrines into the church, making an end-run around the pastor and elders. Sometime one or more of the women in these groups has been watching “Christian” TV and wants to bring in a study series from one of their favorites. I often see materials and books being used authored by false teachings like Joyce Meyer, Juanita Bynum, Marilyn Hickey, Paula White, Joy Dawson, Cindy Jacobs, Patricia King, Ruth Heflin, Gwen Shaw, Beth Moore and many others. The names I have mentioned have hyperlinks where you can get more information on their unbiblical teachings. The ones in bold are women who produce materials that are most often used in some women’s groups. My advice is for good pastors to become more involved in checking out materials of any kind being used in their churches, and not be afraid to ask the leadership of women’s groups not to use certain women’s materials. I have seen way too many women’s groups branch off into studying books rather than the Bible. There are many Bible study courses that are excellent that could be used. I have a number on my site under the “Bible Studies” page.
I have spent a lot of time trying to inform Christian Bookstores of heretical books on their shelves. In a few cases those efforts were met with success. But more often, since the motive for selling books seems to be more financial than spiritual, those efforts are met with disdain and rejection. I challenged one Christian Bookstore to take Benny Hinn books off their shelves by handing them a paper with a number of unrepentant false prophecies he had made. They thanked me but when I came in a few weeks later they had simply turned the books spine out rather then face out, reducing the physical bookshelf space of the books, but not getting rid of any he books. The motive was financial as many people were buying them. You would be shocked to see what many major Christian Bookstore change sell in their stores. The question occurs to me that they are not really “Christian” at all as the stock any book people want to buy just as secular bookstores do. I did a DVD and article on this subject that shocks a lot of people.
Books, along with music, are usually the initial way the enemy is able to attack the belief systems of people who call themselves “Christians”. I have had many people hand me books that turned out to be heretical. You need to carefully check any books people give you. You can find many of them reviewed on my site under the page “Book Reviews”. For our recommended reading list, go here for issues of deception in the Church and here for other book recommendations.
I also challenged another church bookstore on selling the “Prayer of Jabez” book. They initially got angry with me but about a month after I handed them Gary Gilley’s book called “I Just Wanted More Land” – Jabez and a month later the book was pulled from their shelves. I never got any thanks. More often I am met with anger and told that it is none of my business. There are some “Christian” bookstores out there that sell anywhere from 60-80% heretical books these days. Check out my bookstores DVD for information on which ones to avoid.
Unfortunately a number of children’s programs have been infiltrated by the New Apostolic as well as Emerging Church. Sad to say, one of them is AWANA. Here is a list of organizations now supporting the “spiritual formation” platform of Richard Foster and emergent church leadership:
Alpha Course, Bible.org, Focus on the Family, Awana Clubs, Tyndale Seminary (Canada), CMA (Christian Management Association), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Reformed Church in America, Biola University, Bethel Seminary, Salvation Army, Dallas Theological Seminary, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Dallas Willard, Renovare, Redeemer Presbyterian of New York City (Tim Keller), Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven, Vanguard Church, Presbyterian Church USA, Upper Room Ministries, Zondervan Publishers, Simpson University (Redding, CA), Kairos School of Spiritual Formation, Intervarsity Press, Willow Creek, Youth Specialties, Abilene Christian University, Mennonite USA, George Fox University, Tervecca Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminary ... (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/spiritualformationlist.htm)
What a church can do with AWANA is go through the materials and take out the teachings on contemplative spirituality. You can still use the program as the older vision is still there, but be careful that you don’t start influencing your young people away from sound doctrine.
INTERDENOMINATIONAL PRAYER EFFORTS
Be very careful of getting your church or allowing members of your church to become involved in cross-denominational prayer meetings. These days these kinds of prayer initiatives are often backed by the New Apostolic Reformation who has taken over the National Prayer Day through its World Prayer Center. Often big prayer meetings are backed by the NAR and their “Transformations” agenda, a Dominionist pipe dream. The “Transformations” video series was passed around to many churches, but it was full of inaccuracies and outright fabrications. See the article on the first “Transformations” video here. Groups like YWAM often use the technique of starting prayer and fasting meetings in churches, getting people to view them as ultra-holy, then when they have enough people they begin to take over, bringing in all the garbage they are taught at their University of the Nations, DTS, etc. coming from the Emerging Church, New Apostolic, and many other heretical sources.
RELIEF AND MISSION ORGANIZATIONS
There are many agencies, organizations and missions that are under the leadership of the New Apostolic Reformation and false apostles C. Peter Wagner and Chuck Pierce.
The list of people involved in the New Apostolic Reformation is far too long to list. But there are key players and we would like you to know who they are. Some of these people are listed as apostles, some prophets, some pastors, and some claim to hold all the offices or new hybrid designations. Of course the list has to start with Apostle C. Peter Wagner of Wagner Leadership Institute who calls himself a "super apostle". There are dozens of other organizations he is the "apostle" of such as Global Harvest Ministries, Mission America, Lighthouse Movement, International Coalition Of Apostles, Wagner Publications, and the National Prayer Committee. Some of the key people featured on the video clips we will be showing you who are involved in C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation and his International Coalition Of Apostles and who have taught at the Wagner Leadership Institute are as follows (show pictures): Apostle and Overseer John Eckhardt of Impact Network, Crusaders Ministries in Chicago, Illinois; Apostle Chuck Pierce of Glory Of Zion Ministries International and Global Harvest Ministries; Apostle, Prophet & Bishop Bill Hamon of Christian International Ministries Network; Apostle Jim Laffoon of the International Apostolic Team of Morning Star International; Prophetess Cindy Jacobs of Generals Of Intercession and Women's Aglow Fellwoship; Senior Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church Colorado Springs (where the Wagners attend) and Global Harvest Ministries; Prophet Mike Bickle formerly of the Kansas City Prophets and now of Friends Of The Bridegroom and International House Of Prayer; Prophetess Mary Crum of Life Center Ministries and Christian International Ministries Network; Senior Pastor Jack Deere of Evangelical Foundation Ministries and Trinity Fellowship Church of Amarillo, TX; Prophetess & Senior Pastor Barbara Yoder of Skekinah Christian Church of Ann Arbor, MI; Apostle & Senior Pastor Dutch Sheets of Springs Harvest Fellowship of Colorado Springs, CO, Fuller Seminary and Dutch Sheets Ministries. Some other prominent names from the Wagner Leadership Institute and the International Coalition Of Apostles are the following: Intercessor Alice Smith of the US Prayer Center, America's National Prayer Committee, International Reconciliation Coalition and International Spiritual Warfare Network; Intercessor Doris Wagner, wife of C. Peter Wagner, co-founder of Global Harvest Ministries; Apostle George Otis, Jr. of The Sentinel Group, producer of the Transformations video series; Pastor Bob Beckett of The Dwelling Place Family Church; Professor Charles Kraft of Fuller Seminary and Deep Healing Ministries; Senior Pastor David Cannistraci of Evangel Christian Fellowship; Mr. Eddie Smith founder of the US Prayer Center, America's National Prayer Committee, the U.S. Lausanne Committee, Mission America, the International Spiritual Warfare Network, the World Prayer Advisory Council, and the International Reconciliation Coalition; Teacher Ed Silvoso founder of Harvest Evangelism, Inc. and the Lighthouse Movement; Apostle Dr. Belcher member of the CFNI Executive Management Committee, Director of the Institute Emeritus, President of the CFN Alumni Ministers' Fellowship, instructor for The School of Pastoral Ministry; Senior Pastor Ernest Gentile founding pastor of Christian Community Church in San Jose, California; Intercessor Frank Hammond of Children's Bread; Mr. George Barna of Barna Research Group, Ltd; Pastor & Intercessor Jill Griffith of Wagner Publications; Writer Jim Rutz of Open Church Ministries and a freelance writer for groups such as, World Vision, Wycliffe, Youth for Christ, Prison Fellowship, the Lausanne Committee, Jews for Jesus, and Intervarsity; Writer Ken Gire of Wagner Publications; Apostle & Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church in Singapore; Pastor Linda Rios Brook of Lakeland Foundation, Inc. and Linda Rios Brook Ministries; Teacher Lora Allison founder and President of Celebration Ministries; Senior Pastor Naomi Dowdy Founder/President of Global Leadership Network and the Theological Centre for Asia in Singapore; Author Quin Sherrer author of Pray For Your Children and Good Night Lord; Apostle Rich Marshall founding pastor of Springs of Life Fellowship, Sunnyvale, CA; Senior Pastor Robert Heidler of Glory of Zion Outreach Center, Shekinah Messianic Ministries, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, and Glory of Zion International Ministries; Senior Pastor Stephen Mansfield of Belmont Church in Nashville, Tennessee.; Pastor Terry Teykl of Aldersgate United Methodist, Houston, TX; Author Rebecca Wagner Sytsema, Associate Publisher for Wagner Publications; Pastor David DeBord, Executive Director of The Christian Pastoral Counseling Center of Pasadena and of Deep Healing Ministries; Pastor & Author Barbara Wentroble of Wagner Publications; Senior Pastor Ché Ahn of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, and the founder and president of Harvest International Ministries; Author Stan DeKoven of Wagner Publications and over 20 books and numerous study guides; Author Hector Torres founder and president of Hispanic International Ministries and Coordinator to the Hispanic world for the World Prayer Center based in Colorado Springs; Senior Pastor Michael Fletcher of Manna Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina and founder of A.R.C. Ministries (Assisting Romanian Churches); Senior Pastor Larry Jackson of Bethel Outreach International Church in Charlotte, NC. At the last REPORT FROM THE APOSTOLIC COUNCIL OF PROPHETIC ELDERS --WITH FOCUS ON CUBA of January 10-11, 2002 written by Chuck Pierce, those "apostles" attending were Wesley and Stacey Campbell, Jim Goll, Bill and Evelyn Hamon, Mike and Cindy Jacobs, Jim Laffoon, Bart Pierce, Chuck D. Pierce, Rick Ridings, John and Paula Sandford, Michael and Andrea Schiffmann, Gwen Shaw, Dutch Sheets, Sharon Stone, Tommy Tenney, Hector Torres, Peter and Doris Wagner, and Barbara Wentroble. (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/arise.html#agencies)
Here is also a partial list of supporting organizations of NAR programs and who teach NAR materials.
Other organizations that directly support the New Apostolic Reformation and its goals are: Impact Network, Crusaders Ministries, Glory Of Zion Ministries International, Christian International Ministries
Network; International Apostolic Team of Morning Star International, Generals Of Intercession, Women's Aglow Fellwoship, US Prayer Center, America's National Prayer Committee, International Reconciliation
Coalition, International Spiritual Warfare Network, The Sentinel Group, Deep Healing Ministries; World Prayer Advisory Council, Harvest Evangelism, Inc., Children's Bread; Barna Research Group, Ltd; Open Church Ministries, World Vision. Of special note is Youth With A Mission - YWAM. C. Peter Wagner served on YWAM prayer boards and YWAM Publishing publishes C. Peter Wagner and George Otis, Jr. books,
and sells books by many of the other NAR leadership. Continuing with the list: Youth for Christ, Prison Fellowship, Intervarsity, Lakeland Foundation, Inc, Celebration Ministries, Global Leadership, Glory of Zion Outreach Center, Shekinah Messianic Ministries, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, The Christian Pastoral Counseling Center of Pasadena, Harvest International Ministries, Hispanic International, Cell Church, Benny Hinn Ministries, Renovare, many charismatic Catholic organizations, Promise Keepers, March for Jesus. The source for this information is the Wagner Leadership Institute and the International Coalition Of Apostles web sites. It's clear that some of the alleged 8,000 churches and organizations and 1 million Lighthouses who signed on in support of the Lighthouse Movement were possibly unaware that they are now included in Mission America. I'm sure some organizations and churches still don't know that they have signed on to the NAR agenda, but after you read the list of Mission America signatories on their website, you will understand the scope of the Wagner global church movement. We cannot list them all here as it would take up too many pages of this book. You can find this information on the Lighthouse Movement website or in our video series.(The New Apostolic Reformation by Sandy Simpson)
So as you can see there are a wide variety of organizations involved and many more who signed on with Wagner and his Lighthouse and Mission America organizations. You have to be really careful these days who you get involved with because they may or may not be your brothers in the Lord. You need to test everything, hold on to the good.