I was checking out a friend’s dramatic interpretation of a woman from scripture which lead me to my former church web site and former pastor’s sermon. I still obviously check things out there though we’ve been gone for over six months. The pastor spent time discussing demons and Satan’s tactics both on the world and on the church. At one point, in the online sermon he began speaking about how Satan uses division against the church. If we hadn’t gone through what we did at this church, the comments would not have caught my attention. I transcribed the following;
We also know that division is one of his key strategies. Get the Christians fighting against themselves.
“I am here to tell you as your pastor I am tired of people changing churches over trivial issues (uses music as the example). And don’t expect me to come knocking on your door and begging you to stay…If you’ve got a trivial issue that isn’t relevant to the kingdom of darkness conflicting with the kingdom of light and you want to change churches over it have at it…people are going to hell and the church is spending all of it’s time battling over trivial stuff…reads(2 tim 2:23-26) If you’ve got a legitimate concern and you’re hurting I’m there with you but if you’re just mad that you don’t think the church is just living up to your expectations why did God charge you not to be a part of the solution??? Why is it that when everybody looks at something that’s going on in the body they say well I need to change churches? Why not say I see a need I see an area that’s what this Steven ministers are doing (as if this wasn’t already a plan in the church to get going…)…that’s a solution, amen? I want to encourage you if you see something that’s not right with the church roll up your sleeves ask Jesus how you can make it right and be in the battle don’t just transfer clubs.”
To be fair, his example had nothing to do with us. We did not complain about music, or anything trivial. Our fears were that our church was focused off Christ and on man’s methods, and that emergent was creeping. This is not a trivial thing, a small disagreement. Though it’s tempting to believe he could be speaking about us, it’s been a long time. It’s more likely there are others commenting about issues now and maybe some have left without comment. Still, he may be intending to speak to people just like us who are very alarmed and are thinking of leaving because they perceive the fight is going to be of no effect on the direction the church is taking. Considering the issues I’ve heard a few have left for besides us, his comments are interesting. He is “tired of people leaving” and “switching clubs.” If he does have folks like us (or even us) in mind, we did not leave without some sort of fight. We did not leave for trivial reasons. We did try to be a part of the solution. We are still working to be part of the solution by praying for our former church. We also cannot watch our children be taught dangerous things while we try to rescue the church that will not listen. We had to move on and find, not a club (as that is what small group can become) but a church and a place to hear scripture preached properly and where we can fellowship and worship. Not a social club, not a small decision. I can only guess whoever he is talking about and to (and this pastor has a habit of talking directly to a few people or about a few people) that they are not as petty as he makes this all sound.
On another note, he did not mention this outloud in his sermon but instead directed people to his notes…and the online notes contained a high recommendation for two books both by Neil Anderson. He told his congregation to read them because they are the “best books” he knows of on the subject of spiritual warfare. They are Victory over Darkness and The Bondage Breaker. Just from reading a few book reviews, it’s possible this author teaches that demons can posses Christians (they cannot) and he promotes the idea of demons over kingdoms and that people can be oppressed by “the spirit of bitterness” meaning a demon is bitterness and hangs out with a person which makes them bitter. This is an odd ology to be sure. What else can this pastor be into? He already approves of seeker friendly stuff, has defended Lectio Divina and contemplative practices, claims to not be emergent as a church and yet sends his children to a camp run by emergence thinking people and allows people on that staff to be also on church staff, brushes off our concerns of New Age and emergent leaking into sermons, and now we’ve got this superstition. Earlier, when we still attended, this pastor also referenced the Nephalim stating they were angels who mated with humans and he cited the “book of Moses.” He’s certainly all over the place! No wonder we could not get a clear handle on the direction of our former church.