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Posts Tagged ‘wolves’

Despite our family’s circumstances and decision to leave our former church, it is not that we believe all are lost.  We cannot know the hearts of men or what God knows about their individual faith or salvation.  For this reason, I am sure many in our former church are brothers and sisters in Christ.  Leadership may be as well…pastors, staff.  I would say it’s not likely that any church has 100% who are chosen believers, there will always be tares.  I would also say that a pastor can still be saved and yet mistaken in his preaching in some areas.  

I believe God opens the eyes of His sheep in His time so they can see the teaching of wolves, whether it’s sheep unaware who are teaching or it’s wolves who will push the agenda forward.  I personally struggle because one particular pastor has fruits that indicate possible wolf status.  It’s hard for me not to write him off completely.  I do think some of the elders may also be in this category, though I don’t know enough of their personal fruits to see it.  Sadly, there are also likely some in the church we know who believe they are saved but aren’t due to improper teaching.  I don’t know if it’s our role to do more than point out error in teaching, confront sin directly as it’s seen.  It is for God to judge the hearts, we can only judge the fruits.    

I do believe though assuming a pastor or leader is actually a Christian saved by grace through faith in Christ is not wise either.  Just because one says they are a Christian doesn’t make it so.  Where to draw the line in my own head?  I don’t know that I need to know so much as I need to just listen and see where a teacher/pastor is coming from based on their teaching and their fruits.  If I point out the fruits, the error, and pray, what more to do?

I have so much to learn!

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I’m just a Christain woman with no leadership really in my family. I’ve really had to dig and learn for myself, and have trusted pastors and leaders to teach me truth. I spent time in high school being a girl who was basically a “goody two shoes.” I cussed, rarely went to parties but did go to a few. I was worldly, I knew nothing much else. I couldn’t really figure out how to grow until I got out on my own. I did study the Bible at times, prayed every day, and just learned as I went. When I got to college I found other Christians, and could attend church where I wanted to. I was in Navigators, and we were encouraged to study the Bible and memorize scripture. I wasn’t so great at the memorization, but I did attempt to do it. I really have always had a relationship with Christ as far as I could remember, and have had knowledge that I am a siner in need of my savior. Once married, my husband and I sought a church we could raise a family in. In the “Great Northwest” we found a non-denominational church we enjoyed. We continued Bible study weekly as we had from the first days of our marriage. We learned, we grew. We moved back to the Midwest. We found another non-denominational church. I recalled that Hank Hanergraff spoke there once and so I thought it would be good to try. I believe we had actually visited before we moved to the Northwest, and we knew we’d go there when we came back. We interviewed the church leadership as much as they interviewed us. We didn’t know enough to ask better questions. We joined small group, which I always called “Bible study” because that’s what I wanted it to be. We did study the Bible, we also used many little books and I know we always tried to get back to the Bible. We thirsted to know the scriptures and not something else. Not that we didn’t enjoy learning our spiritual gifts (which changed over time by the way) and learning how to handle our money or marriage tips. We did learn things, but did the things we learned have much to really do with the scriptures, with Christian living in the way Christ intended for us? We eventually figured out there were problems, partly because we became leaders of small group and were being trained about transformation/spiritual formation. The church changed the sign out front and the word “transformation” took a large part. A Christian in the wild wood saw danger. This Christian took to studying and figuring it out. My relationship with God has remained, Christ has not ever let me down. People and leadership has let me down. They have hidden their true agenda, (I have to say this…the weasles), and yet I have not been alone. My husband has been my support, noting that discernment is one of those spiritual gifts he believes I do have based on experience. When it comes to my fears when someone is teaching me, if I am bold enough to speak out I have often been right that something is wrong. I may not know enough to figure out WHAT but I can just say, “this doesn’t seem right.” I am generally good this way with men too, sometimes I just know this man is ego oriented…is up to something shady. (of course, not always, but many times I can do this). Now, I often push those feelings down, try not to judge. However, when it’s horrible and I feel I’m being warned by the Holy Spirit over and over again, I cannot ignore. I am not adrift with no hope, with nothing to guide me. I have God’s word written in scriptures. I can study. I have others I trust, and I can still ask their advice. I have prayer, I have the Holy Spirit. I have my husband who has a better memory than I do and can say “yes, he DID say what you think you heard.” There are many snares out here in the wild wood, many wolves to eat a lost little lamb. I am not a lost little lamb. I have a shepherd that will come looking for me if I go astray. Thank God for His Shepherd.

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I try some times to step back from “discernment” ministries and from reformed theology, from emergent web sites, and the like to try to figure this out. What exactly is happening in the church? Is it like the New Testament people who were splintered segments of the Jewish population? You had Pharisees, Saducees, Samaritans, Nazarenes, and the many other factions and groups within the Jewish faith. They bickered over this part or that part of scripture. Is this the state of many who claim to be Christians today? I do not think this is completely true of the Church. I believe there are Christians who are sinners just like everyone, but who are saved and are part of the Body with Christ as the head. Now, there will still be some things unclear, some things unknown to this group. But, what of all this error that is so destructive? Are these people part of the Body too? I believe it’s possible some of them are, and yet are deceived. There are brothers and sisters in Christ who are tied down when they need not be. Am I sure about this? No. However, I was in a church I feel was off track and yet I believe I was saved then as now. Even when I didn’t see the error, I believe I was still saved. Kind of like a child, who cannot see the adult that is bad. The child is not necessarily responsible for their lack of insight although they will suffer from the adult who is doing bad things somewhere.

I am just still trying to figure out the truth of where the true Church, true Body is and where the lines are exactly. It’s hard because we are told there will be wolves among the sheep, weeds with the good plants. So, it’s quite possible that the false church sits inside the true Church…and it seems will later be seperated and judged. Obviously, there are churches that are not at all part of the Body.

Ah, if only I could always manage to see clearly. I like to know things. I guess I just have to be aware that I am saved only by the grace of God because I know on my own I would be deceived so easily. I am nothing, but thanks to Jesus I am saved.

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I have realized that the Rick Warrenites don’t necessarily identify themselves as emergent or emerging, they don’t like labels.  However, they are quick to point out labels of others.  I’ve read it, but not yet heard it openly in my church.  Those who oppose are called “wolves.”  I guess I am what Warrenites would call a wolf then.  I am not intending to be so.  But the truth is, whether they think I’m a wolf or goat matters not.  What matters is whether or not I’m doing the will of my Father in Heaven.  That is what I must focus on.

We have had a few events occur this week.  Our small group had the “group supervisors” (our church uses a different term) come to and lead a meeting.  We’re going through a touchy-feely marriage book, and so we spent an entire night discussing our selves and marriages in depth with each other.  One bible verse was mentioned by the wife of the supervisor…and I mentioned the model for marriage in that Christ is the head of the Body, and marriage is to be like this.  That’s it.  I think there is some value in looking at how your spouse needs to be loved, and we are to focus on our spouses, but I don’t find these exercises in small group to really do anything substantive in my marriage.  I just feel guilty for not doing the exercises well, enough, or for doing them quickly before the next small group meeting.  Sure, we might get a little for our marriage, but would we not do MUCH better in studying the bible and learning about Jesus?  Wouldn’t we benefit our marriages if we were close to God?

I learned, as the wife supervisor mentioned, our group is tracked by our weekly reports.  This is not just a report to the supervisor couple with our prayer requests (by the way, what is said in group is supposed to stay in group), but it’s a small report on the group topic and discussion as well as prayer requests that are put into some sort of church data base.  What is said in group goes into file if someone happens to write it down.  Yummy.  Big Brother Church?

My husband doesn’t have the time to study up on the Warrenite movement (as well as emergent church etc) and so relies on me for research and knowing.  He is however going by the most appropriate method and is the leader and head of the household.  So, he’s the one going to elders to discuss problems.  Unfortunely, his grasp of this all is a little patchy, so when he shares with an elder, he often is pulled a bit in their direciton.  He went to an elder mentor of his this week with a few concerns and questions.  The elder glossed over much of it, and then told my husband he would nominate him for elder.  What tactic is this?  I know this elder teddy bear giving man, but why on earth would a family as busy as mine, and who has not got their money in order (I mean it, we are poor budgeters) need to have an eldership thing?  We have small children, and I believe we’re too much in the season of raising our kids to go that direction.  At first it sounded great because the elder teddy bear giving man said, “you can best change things in this church as an elder.”  However, my husband is not ready to fight like that.  Not in there.  He’s not aware of the manipulative nuances.  I’m not a good one in face to face either.  I wilt, and shake, I either seem meek or downright crazy.  Besides, the elders are men, so I am not going to be one anyway.  However, I think this move is an attempt to boost an ego and to keep my husband in the church.  Telling him he’s a good enough leader to be considered an elder plays right into his fears and insecurities.  He’s afraid he’s not a good enough leader at work, and cares what this man thinks.  If this man, who seems to be such a wonderful leader, is saying my husband can lead it must be true.  I do believe my husband is a leader, a very calm and compassionate leader, he’s just not a fighter.  He’s also not yet got that foundation of biblical knowledge and doctrine down pat yet.  I think eldership for him is a few years off, and he has to commit to study first. 

At first, I said to go for it if it happens, thinking in my own plans that we could fight through that platform.  Now, after consideration, prayer, and listening to the promptings I believe God is actually giving, and asking a trusted friend in our church, I think the eldership would be a bad thing at this time for our family.  It would take valuable training time away from our kids.  It would push my husband right into the Warrenite philosophy as he’d have to read those books they read.  He’s not got my warning bells.  He relies on my discernement a lot, and I cannot be at elder meetings. 

Difficult times are ahead, I can tell. 

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