Posted in theology

Is it time to leave the Southern Baptist Convention? And, what’s a secondary issue?

By Elizabeth Prata

Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Does the bell toll for thee, SBC?

Introduction & Disclaimer

I am not a fan of the SBC. I’ve been member of churches who were part of the Convention. I’ve watched the denomination for some time now. I don’t like the direction they are going and I haven’t for a while. But I haven’t said much about it because ultimately it’s 1) for my pastors or elders to decide, and 2) it doesn’t affect me much in spiritual life, my ministry, or my daily routine.

This will be my only blog on the SBC Annual Meeting.

Continue reading “Is it time to leave the Southern Baptist Convention? And, what’s a secondary issue?”
Posted in theology

Rick Warren: Apostate; and here’s why

By Elizabeth Prata

Source: Facebook

Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church is full of superlatives. The ‘biggest’ church”? Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. The ‘best-selling’ Christian book in the world for years and years in a row? Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. ‘America’s pastor‘? Rick Warren.

Warren with his wife Kay, founded Saddleback Church in 1980 and held its first service on Easter Sunday with 200 in attendance. He has been its pastor ever since, but not for much longer. Warren announced his retirement, his successor, and his transition timing of stepping down in September of this year after a period of a few months’ transition in his megachurch.

Continue reading “Rick Warren: Apostate; and here’s why”
Posted in theology

Can you be an ‘ex-Christian’?

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

There’s no such thing as an ex-Christian. Look at 1 John-

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” (1 John 2:19)

John is saying here that people who ‘backslide’ and then fall away from the faith entirely, never really were saved to begin with. “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him,” (Titus 1:16).

For many professing “ex-Christians”, it starts with apostasy, something Paul said there would be plenty of in the last days.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (1 Tim 4:1-3)

And before the person started falling away, in came sneaky heresies they began listening to:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)

For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

So the apostate’s progression is: profess Christ by mouth… but since there was no visible fruit to show the state of grace they were claiming on the inside, they were never really saved; fail to walk closely with Jesus by procrastinating in discipleship, bible study, prayer, and/or worship, furthering the distance between themselves and Jesus; listen to or promote destructive heresies that either they knowingly or unknowingly begin to believe, start doubting Christ’s sufficiency; doubt more, and then slide to full blown renunciation and end up in a state of atheism.

Peter says “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.” (2 Peter 2:20)

Notice the words that both Jude and Peter use to describe the heresies what will infiltrate the church in the last days; “secretly” and “crept in”. The heresies don’t come into the church by way of aggressive men bellowing a ‘new doctrine’ to the delight of followers who joyfully jump their pews and run out the door to his new church. They come sneakily, secretly, subtly.

And no wonder, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made…” (Genesis 3:1) so satan isn’t going to capture hearts with bellicose attitudes or flagrantly detectable bad doctrine. Many of the preachers and teachers will not even openly pronounce their heresies, they will be secret within their heart and only after a while, introduced slyly, like Billy Graham. Jude’s words “crept in” also indicate something that also isn’t readily detectable and is subtle at the start.

These teachers will have a big, white smile, open their lecture with a warm joke, and tell you that Jesus was a good, moral teacher and that you deserve the best life now. They will never tell you that your best life is later and that Jesus didn’t come to be a moral leader but to seek and save the lost- And that you are lost. Others will tell you that we are all one universal consciousness, we are our own gods, and then, they will give you a car. They will tell you that if you believe in Jesus, He will make your life better, while you are seeking Him from comfy amphitheater watching a techno-sermon with a cappuccino in your hand. Seeker-sensitive churches are false on their premise because in Romans we learn that no one seeks God.

The end result of a Christian in name only – that is, one who claimed Jesus but never really believed – and is one who is at risk of being tempted by destructive heresies, and ultimately of apostasy. What comes next is atheism.

Atheism is a natural cul-de-sac in the road away from the cross. Gotquestions.org writes:

“At the same time, it takes just as much faith to believe in atheism. To make the absolute statement “God does not exist” is to make a claim of knowing absolutely everything there is to know about everything and of having been everywhere in the universe and having witnessed everything there is to be seen. [I]t cannot be proven that God does not exist. It takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a theist.”

Which, I suspect, could be one of the reasons Peter said it makes a person worse off from what they were before. After apostasy settles in and atheism rears its head, a person is well and truly now in the dangerous pits of despair, misplacing their burgeoning faith in something for a faith in nothing that will last forever.

Be careful you do not drift, make your calling and election sure.

RESOURCES

Is it Real? 11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation

Can I know that I am Saved?

What is Sanctification?

Posted in theology

Beth Moore is Anglican now

By Elizabeth Prata

The News

Beth Moore and her husband Keith have become members of a local Anglican Church.

Background

False teachers exist. They damage the faithful and they blemish the spotless name of Jesus. They are a scourge.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1).

Beth Moore: False Teacher

One of these false teachers is Beth Moore. The Lord for His own reasons, has allowed her to operate publicly as a teacher for a very long time, since at least 1985. Her charm, her good looks, her expressive dynamism, and her talent for telling a story propelled her over the years to the top of the heap in ‘Bible Study’ authors and itinerant teachers.

Further Resources:
Has Beth Moore only recently drifted, or has she always been false?
Beth Moore’s Spiritual Biography

She has stayed there all this time. Before Moore parted with Lifeway, her publisher, earlier this year, I was told by a Lifeway worker in 2018 that “No one’s products provide as much revenue as Beth Moore’s”. She is popular, and the money proves it.

Further Resources: All Beth Moore Critiques here in One Place.

Continue reading “Beth Moore is Anglican now”
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Why I am grateful for apostasy

By Elizabeth Prata

If you listen to old time radio pastors from the 1930s through 1950s and later, each one at some point, has said that this generation of church-going Christians or this era of Christianity is going downhill. Charles Spurgeon famously published an anonymous article actually written by his friend Robert Shindler (with input from Spurgeon himself) addressing a visible downgrade in an 1887 issue of his magazine, Sword and Trowel. That article, and its follow up, famously brought the “Down-grade controversy” to the public’s attention.

A hundred and fifty years before Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards wrote about the devil’s triumph in squelching a religious revival in New England and a lack of religious affections that had become evident in the people.

We can trace the genealogy of apostasy back to Genesis 6, or to Genesis 3. So is it anything new to say that this generation of church-going Christians are weak or falling away, that visible Christianity itself is downgrading itself in a compounding manner, faster and faster as we go? No.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1)

Continue reading “Why I am grateful for apostasy”
Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Kay Cude Poetry: Desertion

Kay Cude is a poet whose sensitivity to the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ is uniquely expressed through poetry and picture. Here is her latest offering, in which she explains her thought process. Enjoy.

—————————–Kay Cude—————————–

If you look closely at the tower, you’ll see a tiny figure of someone, which refers to the statement, “As gazed I o’er the valley fair, to there below from tower high.”

That little figure caught my eye, as well as the city lighted up and the storm approaching from the left (approaching spiritual death). So I began to write. The city represents the safety of true salvation in Christ and understanding His Gospel.

The people represent those captured by a “different gospel” suggested as the “real” place of safety. Even though they “know” God’s truth — they are persuaded to run to false teaching and reject Christ.

Christ’s refuge is known to them and still stands in its truth, but when extreme peril approaches, they are convinced by someone’s whim (spiritual deception), to flee to eternal death and separation. Even the donkey digs in his heels against the “unknown” way,” and the dog barks at their sudden rejection.

Their end is eternal separation and eternal living death because they quickly deserted Christ’s truth for a distorted gospel.

Kay Cude is a Texas poet. Used with permission

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Kay Cude Poetry: Desertion

Kay Cude is a poet whose sensitivity to the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ is uniquely expressed through poetry and picture. Here is her latest offering, in which she explains her thought process. Enjoy.

—————————–Kay Cude—————————–

If you look closely at the tower, you’ll see a tiny figure of someone, which refers to the statement, “As gazed I o’er the valley fair, to there below from tower high.”

That little figure caught my eye, as well as the city lighted up and the storm approaching from the left (approaching spiritual death). So I began to write. The city represents the safety of true salvation in Christ and understanding His Gospel.

The people represent those captured by a “different gospel” suggested as the “real” place of safety. Even though they “know” God’s truth — they are persuaded to run to false teaching and reject Christ.

Christ’s refuge is known to them and still stands in its truth, but when extreme peril approaches, they are convinced by someone’s whim (spiritual deception), to flee to eternal death and separation. Even the donkey digs in his heels against the “unknown” way,” and the dog barks at their sudden rejection.

Their end is eternal separation and eternal living death because they quickly deserted Christ’s truth for a distorted gospel.

 

Poetry by Kay Cude. Used with permission
Posted in theology

Departing the faith: Why it’s shocking

By Elizabeth Prata

As a companion piece from yesterday’s blog essay, I also offer this further thought to you. It shocks us when someone leaves the faith becuase it is always hard to believe someone who professed faith never possessed it.

First, this is a helpful article on the alleged deconversion of Josh Harris. What to Do When Professing Christians Leave the Faith: Reflections on Joshua Harris and Perseverance

Perhaps you haven’t had much experience with Josh Harris. But maybe you’ve had people close to you fall away from the faith: a family member, a dear friend, a relative, a colleague, a college roommate, a pastor. But when these events occur, we can’t leave our questions hanging in mid-air. Unless we train our minds to go to the Bible when we hear of professing Christians denying the faith, we will be tossed to and fro by confusion, discouragement, and spiritual insecurity.

I can understand. If you have invested time and money and energy following a teacher and they fall or they ‘leave the faith’ it might send you reeling. ‘What now?’ you might ask. ‘What next?’ Worst of all are the doubts such an event leaves behind. ‘What does this mean for my faith, my discernment?’ Josh Harris, according to Wikipedia,

…is an American author and former pastor. Harris is widely known for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, in which he laid out his ideas concerning a Biblically-based Christian approach to dating and relationships. I Kissed Dating Goodbye “helped shape purity culture” for many Christian millennials. Wikipedia

I said ‘alleged’ because there is no such thing as a Christian deconversion. 1 John 2:19 says “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

If someone “leaves” Christianity, they never were Christians. It might seem impossible when you’ve been watching a long-term pastor suddenly go out from the faith, or someone who has such good works, or another who wrote books that spoke to your mind and spirit. But external works are not the only evidence of faith. It’s perseverance too. If God has you, He HAS you. He will not allow the evil one to snatch you from His hand, nor can you leave Him (and why would you want to? If His Spirit is in you, you are part of His body).

Let’s say you are a person who has an interest in education, and you silently attended all the classes in a university without having been enrolled, and then after 4 years of participating in study groups, and being seen in the library, and taking all the tests, decided to ‘quit college’. CAN you quit something you never were an official part of? No.

Your fellow study buddies might be shocked, but then when they hear you had never taken SATs, never applied, never were accepted by the Dean, and never actually enrolled, never accumulated any credits, would never be an Alumni, then they’d understand. “Oh!” They would probably say. “He never was part of the College.”

There are many pretenders in the faith. Many. (Matthew 7:22)

If something like the Joshua Harris issue leaves you questioning, that’s good. It’s good to question our own faith once in a while. Examine our motives. (2 Corinthians 13:5). Whether we are truly saved or not saved, we are always moving. The falsely saved/ sadly deluded, as Josh was, move downward and away from the cross. The truly saved in increasing sanctification always move toward the cross.

Almost 40 years ago, writer Eugene Peterson coned the phrase that sanctification is a “Long obedience in the same direction.” Despite his latter difficulties with the faith, that was a terrific coinage. You can turn it around and say the opposite is also true.

The deluded or pretenders display the same thing- a long obedience in the same direction…just movement toward and obedience to satan and not Jesus. Eventually the split becomes obvious to others or unbearable to the false Christian pretender, and they “leave” the faith. The sad punctuation point for Harris is that once you have tasted the Gospel and reject it, you can never be brought to repentance again:

Hebrews 6:4–6, It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.

Because Harris has tasted and spit Jesus from his mouth, so, Jesus will do the same to Harris. (Revelation 3:15-16).

For the truly saved, nothing on heaven or earth can tear us from the Father’s hand. and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30).

Posted in theology

Can we depart the faith?

By Elizabeth Prata

depart

Hillsong writer reveals he’s no longer a Christian: ‘I’m genuinely losing my faith’

Marty Sampson, a prolific worship music writer known for his work with Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Delirious and Young & Free, revealed he is losing his faith and believes Christianity is “just another religion.”

So, this tells us that Marty Sampson was never saved in the first place. Jesus said that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. Once you’re saved, you’re always saved. The Holy Spirit is sealed in us as a guarantee of this. (2 Corinthians 1:22). No man can UNseal what God has sealed.

1 John 2:19 also makes this promise of security of salvation. When someone leaves it’s the evidence they were not ever saved to begin with:

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Thus, you can’t lose your faith.

So how does this happen? How is it that someone who is vigorous for the faith, working inside a church for the church, departs?

It’s a visible demonstration of this verse,

Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. (Matthew 13:5-6)

The pagan who is trying to keep up appearances finds that it’s all very tiring. Look how hard the Pharisees had to work to keep up the pretence of care for their flock and submission to God- fussing with lengthening tassels, praying long prayers in public, vying for best seats, outdoing each other in fasting, giving, and memorizing…it’s hard work to pretend.

Eventually the unrelenting spiritual anguish, resulting depression, religious confusion, and physical exhaustion gets to be too much. It’s easier to leave. And that is what Sampson and Joshua Harris and so many others did. Like Demas did, whom Paul said was in love with this present world, left the faith. Judas spent three years with Christ day in and day out, and still was revelaed to be an apostate when he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and left him behind in Gethsemane.

Imagine how hard it was to pretend to care for an unseen world that in your heart of hearts you’re never sure exists, or that you even want to be a part of in the first place.

Here is a sound podcast about the issue of apostatizing.

How to Deal with Joshua Harris with Justin Peters and Jim Osman

Pastor Jim Osman and Justin Peters join Andrew Rappaport to discuss Joshua Harris’s claim that he left the faith and how we should respond to it.

And here is a good essay on how very normal and expected apostatizing is:

The Tragedy of Apostasy – Refresher

But there is one thing that never gets easier: when an individual who has professed Christ, immersed in the local church, and served in ministries, departs from the faith. AKA, “apostasy.” John Owen defined apostasy as “continued persistent rebellion and disobedience to God and his word,” or “total and final and public renunciation of all the chief principles and doctrines of Christianity.”

David Murray’s Practical Christianity essay on Apostasy is very helpful. I liked his re-statement of Owens’ principles in layman’s language.

Posted in theology

What do Josh Harris and Beth Moore have in common?

By Elizabeth Prata

Wanted: SBC Church desires a substitute Sunday School Teacher for women. Term: 1-year. Prefer untrained young candidate, motivational speaking a plus. Responsibilities: Teach the word of God eisegetically to women older than yourself. It’s OK if you just think up things to speak about on Saturday night and then match some scriptures to your thoughts. Note: We will let you flounder for 9 months of the 1-year term before stepping in to help. And even then, we will only expect you to take 1 doctrine class. Bonus: Afterward, consider yourself equipped for a 35-year Bible teaching career!!

Don’t you love genesis stories? How things began? I watched the original episode that got Paladin started on his “Have Gun – Will Travel” career. That popular TV show from the 1950s and 1960s where the main character goes around fixing wrongs, featured Richard Boone, the good man in a black hat. Or the pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island (that went missing until 1992?) Did you know John MacArthur started as a youth pastor? Or that Phil Johnson started as a proofreader? Or how the universe began? Fortunately, we can read that genesis story in Genesis, starting with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …”

How did Beth Moore get started? The Southern Baptist Convention’s darling and biggest moneymaker Beth Moore started as a motivational speaker completely untrained for handling the word of God and in fact floundered in eisegesis for 9 months and even afterward only took 1 class in doctrine. The job description above is accurate, not a spoof or made up. It’s taken directly from Beth Moore’s own mouth as she related her genesis story to Transformation Church in a sermon to that congregation in May 2019.

Beth Moore began in her early 20s as a Christian motivational speaker. Beth herself stated in May 2019 at Transformation Church during her famous Mother’s Day sermon to the congregation that “I was already what you’d call a Christian motivational speaker.” When she was 27 years old, her church asked her to substitute teach a women’s Sunday School class of 28-31 year olds. The regular teacher was pregnant, and they needed a teacher to teach the class for one year. The youngest person in the Sunday School class was older than she was, Beth noted.

She said “It was a treacherous year”. Why? This inexperienced young motivational speaker, charged with teaching people older than herself, was thrown into the deep end with no support and no training. Further, she was a young woman teaching older ones, instead of as Paul advises in Titus, the other way around. The mistakes are multiple and overwhelming. Mistakes like this have conseqences for the entire Church, not just a local church, as we will see.

‘The church’ as Moore identified, had asked her to do something for which she was biblically unqualified on several levels. We don’t know who asked her to teach, she only says ‘the church’ asked her. ‘The church’ should know better. In the first place, a wise elder board or pastoral staff should be raising up men and women for these positions. It’s their literal job to keep an eye out for teachable anointed ones and train them up for the edification of the body so that when opportunities come, they are ready to install a trained, if hopefully experienced, man or women. Throwing a young, inexperienced woman into a class where the total job is to handle the Word rightly, is against so many scriptures. (Titus 2:3-4; Hebrews 5:12; Proverbs 1:5, Acts 8:30-31; 1 Peter 5:5-7…).

If Moore was humble, she would have declined. If she was wise, she would have asked for help early on, instead of allowing her “treacherous year” to continue so long to the NON-edification of herself and the other women.

Sadly, the floundering method Moore employed for herself, “thinking up stuff to say and then matching verses to it the night before” as she stated, never stopped. When I attended a Living Proof Live event in 2011, she related to us this exact scenario as to how she arrived at her two-day lessons she’d be delivering at the conference. She was still doing it, years later. Her early mistake became cemented-in.

Even more sadly, this widespread penchant for installing untrained and unready people into leadership positions continues, despite what the Bible says about qualifications of leaders. Rachel Held Evans, Jen Hatmaker, Beth Moore, Joshua Harris, Mark Driscoll, Jennie Allen, all examples taking advantage of the millennium’s global platforms to launch themselves untrained in positions of authority and teaching. With book deals. As conference speakers. With web pages or Instagram accounts intent on ‘building a brand’ and gaining followers rather than training up in the word.

It is a recipe for apostasy. Indeed, those I just mentioned are either gone or in the process of it. In fact, Moore just this week singled out Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) celibacy as a “tremendous sacrifice“. “Let’s not be scandalized by what I’m about to say” she began, saying that SSA people who have dignity have “chosen to fellowship with Him [Christ]” by “choosing celibacy”. And that she has recently read about “my culture” and “gotten to know my culture” and that “it’s not our parents’ world”, and “we need to have good conversations and dialog.” Anyone with a finger on the evangelical pulse knows those are code words for soon claiming homosexual acceptance.

 

It’s the very reason we don’t put untrained, unguided, uneducated, youths into positions of care or teaching. Would you seek a doctor answering to the job description I’d posted above? A lawyer with pedigree of Beth Moore? A motivational speaker with one law class? Of course not. So why do so many churches install the young and untrained? Souls are at stake. The spotless name of Jesus is at stake.

Put into position of leadership early, we were all both horrified and grieved at Josh Harris’s departure-from-the-faith announcement, an utter rejection of Christ and all His holiness and righteousness. At age 23 he ran a Christian magazine. Three years later he was tapped to be a pastoral intern. A couple of years after that, he authored a book that sold a million copies. Phil Johnson recently said that he had been worried about Harris from the beginning, because his first book, on dating, no less, (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) was first published when Harris was in his early twenties and not yet a pastoral leader. It wasn’t written from a pastor’s view, but from a layman’s.

Anyway, Harris was off and running. Sadly, at age 44, he repudiated the faith and ran away from it. His goodbye to the faith was both nightmarish and crushing.

See the Josh Harris story here.

I’m not saying that someone young can’t ever be a pastor or a leader. Some can, in certain circumstances. Paul was mentoring young pastor Timothy. (1 Timothy 4:12), after all. The Bible does suggest, though, that it’s often best when candidate elders or teachers have had a time of seasoning before they lead. What I am saying is that unmindful appointment of untrained or unready youngsters can and does do damage to the worldwide faith. Joshua Harris and Beth Moore are prime examples. My plea is for sober-mindedness, adherence to scripture, and a carefulness when installing men and women to various positions. May God always be glorified.

pews