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DECEIVERS EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW: CH. 1 (Part 3) – Jan Markell: Religionist Deceivers Rampant

The following is part three of Jan Markell’s Chapter “Religionist Deceivers Rampant,” an exclusive preview of Terry James’ book “Deceivers: Exposing Evil Seducers & Their Last Days Deception.”

Jan Markell

New Ways of Doing Church 

New ways of doing church were going to stoke the fires inside the evangelical church. These new ways would go by various terms, such as “seeker-sensitive,” “purpose-driven,” “gospel-lite,” “church-growth movement,” and many more. None of these movements were very healthy, and they would weaken the Church—and strengthen the apostasy—even more. 

Somebody came up with a slick phrase that today’s evangelical church is all about “nickels and noses”—in other words, how to fill offering plates and pews. Certainly all churches do not operate like this, but too many do. 

It would quickly become apparent to me that Satan was making a last-days move to weaken the Church so that end-time Christians would be more vulnerable. 

Hipster Church 

Why would any church want to abandon senior citizens? Don’t they represent stability, and aren’t they reliable tithers? But today’s church has chosen to target the under-45 age group while abandoning the seniors who will never accept the hipper sermons, gospel rock music, casual dress, and what they might perceive as majoring in minors from the pulpit. 

Older folks want to talk current events, Bible prophecy, and even politics. The younger crowd wants to “feel good,” have “experiences,” and sway to the beat of a drum and bass guitar. In today’s church world, the two are having a hard time mixing, and the current Church is consequently taking a pounding. 

In some churches, there is watered-down preaching, making the younger sheep ripe for the slaughter; false teaching; gospel-lite messages; and little being taught that will make a difference for eternity. 

When I started in ministry, all ages blended and did just fine. By the late 1990s, it seemed that the younger generation called all the shots, and that church leadership caved to them. Senior citizens sat in the church foyer during what amounted to a rock concert during the worship time. They then wandered into the sanctuary just for the weekly message. 

How tragic. 

A more recent movement that has tapped into this is called Postmodernism, also referred to as the Emergent Church. This movement emphasizes experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, and feelings over truth. These are the reactions to modernism and are thought to be necessary in order to actively engage contemporary culture. This movement is still quite new, so there is not yet a standard method of “doing church” among the groups choosing to take the Postmodern/ Emergent mindset. 

This movement is also all about ecumenism. It stresses unity among many different religions and seems to celebrate Catholicism. 

Some 15 years ago, once-solid churches began to target young adults by having a special Emergent service. Windows were darkened, candles were lit, sofas were brought in, and informal “services,” very unstructured, were conducted. A Bible likely wouldn’t be a part of the worship agenda, but sharing feelings, thoughts, and ideas were. Some of the participants even brought arts and crafts projects to work on during these sessions. 

In 2004, Christianity Today dedicated an entire issue to “The Emergent Mystique.” These churches are a new generation unique in style, leadership, worship, prayer, and more. They are progressive and unbiblical, and almost all are flirting with heresy. Even in my youth, I cannot imagine being attracted to such waywardness. 

During an Emergent church service, congregants are more likely to pontificate with peers and would flee from having to sit through a verse-by-verse sermon. If a sermon focused on hell, they would be out the door. Emergent Rob Bell suggests there likely is no hell. These young adults would rather learn that all faiths uniting is just fine, and aligning with Rome might be the best idea they’ve heard in a long time. Other Emergent/ Postmodern fathers include Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and Tony Jones. There are many other leaders in the movement, but these are the most prominent. If one could sum up their belief system in a sentence, it would be that we cannot know absolute truth. 

The reliable website says this about this movement: 

The dangers of postmodernism can be viewed as a downward spiral that begins with the rejection of absolute truth, which then leads to a loss of distinctions in matters of religion and faith, and culminates in a philosophy of religious pluralism that says no faith or religion is objectively true and therefore no one can claim his or her religion is true and another is false. 

More apostasy running amok. 

The Laughing Revival that Wasn’t So Funny

Sometime during the 1990s came the “Toronto Blessing” and “Pensacola Outpouring.” Good Christian friends of mine considered these streams to be solid and a move of God. What was I missing? I watched clips from the various venues and saw no order, only confusion—and God is a God of order. How could rolling on the floor and barking like a dog be “in the spirit”? What verse in the Bible suggests we act in such insane ways? My Bible tells me to do all things decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). 

Others who believed in a similar manner were stressing that we were to get “drunk in the spirit” and laugh uncontrollably. I saw more film clips of people growling, dancing, shaking, and weeping uncontrollably. I realized that another atom bomb had struck the Church, and for better or for worse—likely for worse—it was going to leave its mark. It wouldn’t be a healthy one. 

I wondered why some “new way of doing church” couldn’t come along that was stable and sound. People seemed to be pursuing experiential highs, signs and wonders, and an overdose of emotionalism. None of this was built on the foundation of sound teaching and preaching. It was all experience. Talk about “tickling the ears”! 

When You Criticize “America’s Pastor” 

I was both praised and pounded for suggesting that “America’s Pastor,” Rick Warren, might be causing damage to the Church. He seriously put down eschatology, saying it would distract people from their purpose. As an author myself, I was intrigued with any book that would sell over 25 million copies, as his Purpose Driven Life did. It was clearly a publishing phenomenon. But I’m not sure anybody was prepared for how Rick Warren would introduce a new way of doing church, and it wasn’t very healthy. There would eventually be two dozen new ways of doing church, but Warren’s seemed to be the first option in the evangelical community. 

Warren believes the Purpose-Driven principles are so important and so unique that he asks pastors to lead their congregants with his church programs, messages, worship, and even private devotions for 40 days. Rick Warren gives pastors his 40-day challenge: follow his principles in the purpose-driven formula and your church will get bigger, better, stronger, richer, and more. How did churches grow before his formula came out 15 years ago? Somehow they grew and thrived and never resorted to his new way of doing church. Imagine that! 

Suddenly, churches with 100 members have imagined that they would become mega-churches if they followed the Warren formula. 

Warren also quoted a number of well-known Roman Catholics, but did not note how they believe and even promote concepts against clear teachings of the Scripture. These quotes include those from Brother Lawrence, Madame Guyon, St. John of the Cross, Henri Nouwen, Mother Teresa, and John Main. 

In 2011, he tapped into three men who were not only unsound, but they had some ties to the New Age Movement. Warren went on a weight-loss kick for his entire church by embarking on “The Daniel Plan.” To accomplish his personal goal of weight loss and that of thousands of church members, he enlisted the likes of Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Daniel Amen. Their books and websites blatantly promote the dark side, including yoga and reiki. Yet Pastor Warren proudly featured them in his pulpit for many weekends of rah-rah cheerleading with healthy weight-loss goals. 

One attendee said the event was a “pagan palooza.” Apparently, during these sessions on improving health, the leaders conveniently avoided spiritual health! I concluded that end-time apostasy was just going to keep on rolling along like old man river. Or was I just getting hyper-critical? I was beginning to doubt myself! Yet sticking only to the truth of Scripture was getting hard to find. The gimmicks just kept galloping along. 

Many smaller churches that went the “Purpose-Driven” route now have closed their doors. Church isn’t a formula. It’s people meeting together to encourage one another and learn from solid Bible preaching and teaching.

Click Here to Read More — Part One, Two, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight


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