Apologetics Index

The Way of Cain - Page 38

New teachings in the Christian Church- Where are They Leading Us?


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Difficulty in Discerning the Core Doctrines

There is a reason why so many following this movement are not aware of these doctrines that are guiding it. Christian teachers are usually thrilled to explain what they believe and why, but this movement is different; one has to really dig to get information, and spend a lot of time reading, comparing, and examining. When questioned directly, these leaders may just say what they know the questioner wants to hear, even if it isn't what they are teaching.

The movement is hard to label. It is not so much a structured, organized thing with an official leadership and but more a loose network of those with similar persuasions and goals working in diverse but complementary ways to make inroads into all churches. There is resistence to identifying it as one cohesive whole. Each time one of its leaders comes out with a name for it- like ''The Third Wave'' or ''Post-denominationalism,'' it is quickly rejected by others who resist being defined into another's label. Prophets and leaders are quick to point out the areas where they personally disagree with other prophets and leaders.

Yet, the movement itself continues gaining momentum in its growth, all the pieces fitting together like a puzzle to form one unified picture. Compatible doctrines are being received by diverse people- but if these doctrines are coming directly from the spirit realm, should we be surprised that they all fit together to form one whole?

You have to look hard at the reality. You can no longer decide if a teacher or leader is trustworthy based upon his denomination or seminary. There is no shortcut; you have to listen and weigh what is being taught. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I encourage you to face the fact that it is a duck. Don't be tempted to rationalize or compromise with unbiblical teachings no matter who is teaching them. Remember that Jesus said ''many who are first shall be last'' (Mt 19:30).

There are separate aspects of the movement- the ''prophetic move,'' for example, ''the revival,'' the ''intercessory movement'' - but they are all interconnected and driven by the same theology. The doctrines that have come into being in each different area draw from and build upon one another. To be drawn into one aspect is to eventually find oneself drawn further into the whole.

Pragamatism and expedience are two qualities that seem to be consistently valued throughout the movement. One way leaders practice this is regarding their new doctrines; they do not openly denounce your doctrine, they simply aim to add their practices to your Christian life. In this way, they lay their doctrine down next to yours. As you take part in the practices, you absorb the doctrine involved. With greater involvement and time, you proceed to the next level, until you have absorbed a whole new theology without even being aware of it or ever being confronted openly.

The majority of followers who do not do some research of their own remain at least partially unaware of the deeper theology and are operating out of their own personal impressions of what the movement represents. They, in turn, misrepresent the movement to others. Meanwhile, all of these genuine believers are lending their numerical strength and material support, as well as credibility, to the movement.

Some popular, well known pastors, large churches, and Christian authors, performers, and musicians have gotten involved in the movement and are drawing many in. The teachings are being dispersed in certain Christian T.V. and radio shows, books (including novels; fiction is especially a Trojan Horse for the movement's 'spiritual warfare' doctrines), magazines, concerts and other events, and the internet. Unfortunately, many believers just do not know the scriptures well enough to recognize error under nice-sounding words, and they trust that anything being sold at their local Christian bookstore must be okay.

There is a strategy aimed at drawing pastors (and thereby, their churches) into the movement, described here by a former member of the original Toronto Vineyard:

In A Vision of the Twelve Cities, [Rick] Joyner laid out tactics which The Vineyard, and its present spin-off groups, are using to infiltrate and gain control over the entire Christian community in the U.S. and Canada.

''Conferences are a basic part of the Lord's end-time strategy,'' Joyner wrote. ''They are comparable to the Lord's command for Israel to go up to Jerusalem three times a year for His feasts.''

The organizers take Vineyard Conferences very seriously! But please note, many of these meetings are never advertised as ''Vineyard Conferences''.

In Joyner's words, ''annual, general conferences'' are to be held in each of 12 major U.S. cities, strategically located for geographic and demographic impact.

These conferences, he wrote, ''would ultimately attract multitudes of believers...from every present stream [denomination] in the body of Christ, as well as independents.''

Then each general conference ''will spawn'' local conferences for pastors, prophets, intercessors, etc., to be held throughout the year in each region.

At the local level, ''city-wide weekly prayer and leadership meetings would also begin...'' Referring to the vision of this divine strategy, which he claims to have received on February 6, 1989, Joyner states: ''Though I was given no timing, I felt that the conferences would begin in the early nineties but that it would take several years before all twelve would be functioning.'' He states that ''such meetings will usually (not always) need to be sponsored by an entity outside of the local spiritual politics.''

Here is where the Vineyard groups step in. They present themselves as helpers and facilitators for inter-denominational dialogue. At the same time, they are careful to groom their own public relations image in the Christian community, steadily gathering new members from many other churches. They also are given a platform for their own leaders, and the teachings of their leaders, which over time are accorded greater and greater respect.  (36) 

Many people are drawn in when they unknowingly join local groups that have been organized for a particular purpose, such as intercession, by those involved in the movement and which are based upon their way of belief.

Pastors involved in the movement start local groups for pastors, ostensibly for the purpose of coming together for mutual encouragement and to pray for their geographic area, but the pastors who become involved are slowly and deliberately initiated into the practices, worldview, and teachings of the movement.

As a friend commented, ''they do not talk theology in these groups- they simply practice it.'' And those who join absorb it: You cannot call on Jesus to cast the ''strongman'' (the ''territorial demon'') out of a city, for instance, without absorbing the idea that there are such things as territorial demons that rule over cities, that can be, and need to be, 'cast out' by certain types of prayer and actions, in order for Jesus to ''take the territory'' of the city.

Also, many materials presented as resources for pastors, on 'church growth,' for instance, are in reality entry points for the new teachings.

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