Pray for the Bennetts in Australia as they with God's help and for His glory are seeking to establish: Western Plains Baptist Fellowship, and Gilgandra Baptist Fellowship as New Testament Baptist churches.
HOW FAR WILL THEY GO?
Missionary David C. Bennett, D. Min.
Ecclesiastical history is strewn with church associations, fellowships, conventions, mission organizations and schools eventually going soft on the very issue or issues they were formed. One such issue many independent Baptists have departed from is Biblical separation. For example the present president of the independent Baptist College this writer attended sadly wrote in 2003 that many "have gone to seed on the Biblical doctrine of separation." This is why most pastors and missionaries coming out of some so called "fundamental" independent Baptist schools lean toward what may be considered a new-evangelical stand on Biblical separation. What is surprising and sad is that so many pastors and missionaries continue to ignore or do not have the ability to discern all that is taking place. We need men such as "the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times." (1Chronicles 12:32). Tozer well said "The constantly recurring question must be: What shall we unite with and from what shall we separate? The question of coexistence does not enter here, but the question of union and fellowship does. The wheat grows in the same field as the tares, but shall the two cross-pollinate? The sheep graze near the goats, but shall they seek to interbreed? The unjust and the just enjoy the same rain and sunshine, but shall they forget their deep moral differences and intermarry? ... The Spirit-illuminated church will have none of this" (The Best of A.W. Tozer, p. 72). The internet carries an abundant amount of information with reference to the compromise of the various Baptist groups, churches and mission agencies. These churches and mission agencies were once separatists but now according to their own web sites it may be seen they are new-evangelical. It has been the practice of most Baptist organizations too adopt resolutions at their annual meetings. These resolutions once meant something but they are now often times only a smokescreen as to what is actually occurring in the individual churches.
RESOLUTIONS AND PRACTICE:
At the 2003 GARBC 72nd Annual Conference in Riverside, California, June 23–27, 2003 the following resolution was adopted. Portions have been highlighted and underlined for emphasis.
RESOLUTION ON CORPORATE WORSHIP
"Whereas we live in a time of confusing winds of doctrine in which even fundamental and evangelical Christianity is changing;
And whereas the Scriptures warn of these days when the ingredients of Biblical Christianity would be altered by various worldly substitutes (2 Timothy 3:4);
And whereas there is increased pressure upon fundamental, Bible-believing pastors and churches to integrate man-centered philosophy and pragmatic methodology into corporate worship, catering to felt needs and emphasizing people’s comfort rather than divine presence, leading to a consumer mentality in churches and creating an atmosphere of entertainment;
While recognizing the diversity and autonomy of individual churches, we encourage careful study of these issues with spiritual discernment in order to avoid the errors of entertainment, emotionalism, experientialism, and irreverence in corporate worship.
Be it therefore resolved that we, the messengers of the churches in fellowship with the GARBC, meeting for our 72nd Annual Conference in Riverside, California, June 23–27, 2003:
Strive to promote a Biblical model of worship that is:
God focused (not man-pleasing)
Christ centered (not experience-oriented)
Holy Spirit empowered (not emotionally driven)
That we further reaffirm our commitment to substantive worship that is "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24) and centered on the expositional preaching of the Word of God
(2 Timothy 4:2; 2 Corinthians 4:2) which is the Spirit’s Word of grace to build up local churches (Acts 20:32)." (Emphasis added by DCB)
The GARBC leadership is centered in the Council of Eighteen. It was interesting to note one of the men on the Council of Eighteen also carries the following on his church web site. There is a contradiction between what his web site publicizes and what the GARBC resolution said. Certain statements have been highlighted and underlined for emphasis.
"For many people, going to church doesn’t seem to be something they would enjoy. Part of the reason is because of what they hear about church. But at First Baptist Church, however, it is our vision to enjoy God.
We invite you each week to come and see for yourself. Our pastor ...is not like the image you may have a pastor. If your image is that of a pastor being mean, negative and judgmental, you will not find that at FBC. He believes that we need to be enjoying God as one of our chief ends to living." J. Gresham Machen said "Again, men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings." (What Is Christianity, as cited in Biblical Separation, by Ernest Pickering, p. 97).
"This attitude of enjoying God is reflected in our pastor’s messages each Sunday. Instead of emphasizing the negative, he sets the truths of Scripture in a positive tone as something we should aspire to and incorporate into our lives. Interestingly, it is the people who come on Sunday who determine which truths the pastor chooses to speak about! And this is what Scripture would desire of pastors for it says that we are to "’speak only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen’ (Ephesians 4:29).
In addition, pastor uses humor to relax people, always gives a picture after making a point by the use of stories, uses terms that people understand, makes points of the outline application points, uses a soft-sell rather than a hard-sell, is transparent before his people, uses translations of the Bible that people can understand and as said earlier speaks to our felt needs. This helps the people who attend to feel relaxed and start their journey of enjoying God.
To some people all of this sounds like a new wrinkle. But is it? The Westminster Confession of Faith written in the mid-1600s had this question, ‘What is the chief end of man?’ The answer? ‘Man’s chief end is to magnify God and to enjoy God forever.’ We need to get back to this way of viewing God and we are trying at FBC."
No doubt this pastor as a member of the GARBC Council of Eighteen would have participated in the formation of the 2003 resolution and yet he preaches to the "felt needs" of the people. He uses "soft-sell rather than hard sell." We are talking about a preacher of the gospel here not a used car salesman! The 2003 GARBC resolution was against "catering to felt needs and emphasizing people’s comfort." Well, so much for the resolution.
Another GARBC church web site has the following with emphasis added by highlighting and underlining certain parts. "Good News! Every Sunday Morning there is a CELEBRATION . . . and you’re invited. You will enjoy our positive, uplifting Celebration each Sunday morning. Pastor D........... is a dynamic speaker and teacher. His practical messages relate to your needs and concerns in today’s world."
Note this pastor develops his messages to "relate to your needs." What did the 2003 Resolution say? The resolution was against "catering to felt needs and emphasizing people’s comfort." What these two pastors are implementing is nothing but Saddleback and Willow Creek philosophy. One can only wonder how many other GARBC pastors are doing the same. Why the resolution?
Ronald Reagan said "The history of treaties throughout the centuries is such that one should not stake one's life on a treaty." Perhaps the same thing can be said of church association resolutions.
MISSION AGENCY AND NEW EVANGELICAL COMPROMISE:
The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) has been shifting from a separatist position for years. The following is taken from the ABWE web site and is another example of ABWE’s new-evangelicalism in practice. Portions have been highlighted and underlined for emphasis.
EDGE SEMINAR SERIES:
"The goal of these annual training events is to expose ABWE missionaries to the best evangelical missionary trainers and training of our generation, to the end that they will be nudged to the cutting edge of missionary ministry."
Note ABWE is not exposing their missionaries to the best fundamental missionary trainers and training but to evangelical trainers and training. Who are some of the "best evangelical missionary trainers and training of our generation" that the ABWE leadership desire for their missionaries to be "exposed" too? One such person is Lee Ross who directs the Center for FaithWalk Leadership. The ABWE web site says Ross "was a specialist for the Leadership Development Ministries office of the Georgia Baptist Convention, where he created an ongoing process of leadership development training for the local church and other faith-based organizations." He "has over 26 years of experience in the area of training and developing leaders in both faith-based and non-faith-based organizations." He "has a passion to see Christian leaders across the country use Jesus as their role model for leadership." His education is "a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Mercer University and a master of theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary."
Another individual the ABWE leadership is exposing their missionaries too is Evangelical Free David Hesselgrave. Hesselgrave teaches at new-evangelical Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He served as a missionary with the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) to Japan for twelve years and for 14 years as the chairman of the Mission and Evangelism Department at Trinity. He is also a member of the EFCA Ministerial Association, the American Society of Missiology and the Evangelical Missiological Society; and served as executive director of the Evangelical Missiological Society from 1991-1994. According to the ABWE blurb Hesselgrave will give the missionary "relevant sociological, anthropological, and historical insights." The ABWE publicity continues saying "Dr. Hesselgrave will lead you to understand and apply the ten phases of cross-cultural church planting gleaned from New Testament sources. You will be enriched by the teaching ministry of one of the leading evangelical missiologists of our generation." It seems ABWE is in quest to indoctrinate their missionaries with new-evangelicalism.
Another Trinity professor to which the ABWE missionary will be exposed is D. A. Carson. The ABWE web site says "Dr. Carson is one of the truly eminent evangelical scholars and teachers of our day." Of course those who hold to the King James Bible as God’s Word in the English language know D. A. Carson for his books such as THE KING JAMES VERSION DEBATE. Carson as Dr. Hesselgrave is a new evangelical!
Larry Gaither is a speaker and trainer for these ABWE Edge Seminars. Gaither is a graduate of Western Bible College and attended Denver Seminary. He and his wife served with Overseas Christian Servicemen’s Centers, now named Cadence International, for ten years. Gaither has also held the position as Southern California Representative for Trans World Radio. Trans World Radio is out and out new-evangelical. Mr. Gaither has been on "the staff of the Center for Leadership Studies in Escondido, CA, the home of Situational Leadership" the past seven years. The founder of the Center for Leadership Studies is Dr. Paul Hersey. Hersey is a behavioral scientist. His Situational Leadership Model was first published in articles in the early 1960s. The Center for Leadership Studies has trained managers in organizations such as "Mobil, IBM, Caterpillar, Harris, and Illinois Bell."
Another Edge Seminar speaker is Dr. Norm Geisler. From Dr. Geisler ABWE says the missionary will "Learn basic principles of Christian apologetics, as they relate to world evangelism. Dr. Geisler will apply them to a variety of culture-Christianity conflicting issues, such as atheism, pluralism, pantheism, relativism, anti-supernaturalism, and biblical criticism." (Emphasis added). Geisler as with the other speakers and trainers is a new-evangelical.
Another trainer for ABWE is a "licensed psychologist." ABWE seems to be enamored with what is sometimes termed as "psycho-babble" thinking and methodology. Psychiatrist Dr. Gary Almy was asked if he would "recommend a Christian medical student to specialize in psychiatry?" His answer was "Probably not, because I do not think psychiatry really has much to do offer for a Christian." Yet it is the psychological behavioral science approach which ABWE is exposing their missionaries too!
Where is the Biblical discernment of pastors and missionaries today? Perhaps a statement from Lenin is applicable here. Change Marxism to psychology as you read what Lenis said. "We will find our most fertile ground for infiltration of Marxism (psychology) within the field of religion, because religious people are the most gullible and will accept almost anything if it is couched in religious terminology."
John E. Ashbrooke wrote in New Neutralism II page 75 "If health authorities are to battle the outbreak of any new disease, they must determine how that disease spreads. I would submit that the men whom I have called ‘the popularizers’ are an effective network for the spreading the virus of new evangelicalism. They speak with and for those who are more liberal than they are – the National Council of Churches, Southern Baptist Convention, National Religious Broadcasters or some Billy Graham program. Then, they speak with and for those who are more conservative than they are. The latter group would not associate with the former group. However, the popularizer speaks for them both and forms a bridge between them. In so doing, he softens the attitudes of the more liberal and more conservative to each other. Both sides decide that the other can’t be that bad, because the popularizer speaks there. So, the virus spreads." (Emphasis added).
The new-evangelical virus is spreading and it is spreading far and fast. Winston Churchill could have been speaking to independent Baptist preachers and missionaries when he said "There is no working middle course in wartime." George Washington said to his men "slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like
men." 1Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the
faith, quit you like men, be strong." BRETHREN, WE ARE AT WAR TILL JESUS
Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett
The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.
E-Mail: email@example.comBlog: www.bennettsnews.blogspot.com.au/
Address: Dr. and Mrs. Bennett, PO Box 1241 Dubbo NSW 2830, AUSTRALIA
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