Paul's Passing Thoughts

Betrayed: Notable Evangelicals are Indifferent to the Laity’s Love for the Truth

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 26, 2011

It was 1983 and I was basking in the joy of my new-found faith in Jesus Christ. Wide-eyed, zealous, and naive. My thirst to learn truth was insatiable, but in my quest, I could have never imagined what I would endure. I went to seminary in less than one year from the time I was saved, and as one pastor told me, “’Seminary’ can end-up being ‘cemetery.’” True, but I survived it. However, the biggest roadblock was the Charismatic movement which was experiencing huge growth during that same year. In my zeal I thought, “Wow, if there is a deeper way to experience God, I certainly don’t want to miss it!” So, can I now tell you about the knowledgeable Berean / brother who took me aside and taught me the real role of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant, and thereby reducing this challenge to a mere bump in the road? Not.

Their arguments seemed impressive and the isolated verses they used seemed to be pretty clear, and I have never been one to disregard an argument out-of-hand because it bears a different label. I researched, visited Charismatic churches, and read several books. By the time I drove an unequivocal stake three years later, I was not amused to find the doctrine wanting. Besides, we had lost several members to Robert Tilton’s 8,000 member “Word of Faith Family Church,” and at least one young couple who left our church lost everything they owned as a result of giving it all to Tilton’s ministry. When they appealed to Word of Faith for help, they were turned away. Eventually, “Primetime Live” did an expose on Tilton when a homeless shelter noticed an unusually high percentage of their recipients were former members at Word of Faith.

Then it happened. During an evening service at Word of Faith, two well known evangelicals arrived and spoke to the congregation about unity and gave the church their blessings. The two men were my contemporary heroes in the faith, WA Criswell (longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas) and Bill Webber (former pastor of mega-church Prestonwood Baptist). I was devastated. How could this be? But there was still hope. I was a student at WA Criswell for Biblical Studies. Surely, I would arrive at school Monday morning and the outcry would be heard as I drove into the parking lot! Not.

I found myself thinking, “What does this all mean?” And, “Is God’s truth really that important?” “If the particulars of the faith aren’t that important, why did God write the whole Bible?” By the grace of God I got past it. I guess that’s one good thing about it all; if I was looking for an excuse not to persevere, there it was.

Apart from that, the beat goes on. Notable evangelicals continue to build years of trust among the laity, seemingly, if you didn’t know better, for the purpose of a grand disillusionment. However, with each one that contradicts their own supposed convictions they sold you in book form, the pain gives way to the sweetness of knowing that Christ will never let us down in that way. Still, it’s annoying, but I think I have been completely cured of taking this phenomenon too hard with the latest evangelical rock star to follow suit, John MacArthur Jr. First, he writes a book entitled “Charismatic Chaos,” then he invites CJ Mahaney to speak at a Shepard’s Conference at Grace Community Church. One blogger who couldn’t make it to the conference commented as follows: “To see Mahaney and the author of the book Charismatic Chaos sharing the same stage would have been interesting.” Interesting? What about, “sickening.” Moreover, this occurred in the same year that “The Truth War” was published, a book also written by MacArthur. In that book, he mercilessly berates postmodernism, but Mahaney was a stand-in for John Piper at the same conference who holds to beliefs eerily similar to postmodernism, and is a quintessential Christian mystic.

I wonder if many Christians are starting to think like I am. Enough already concerning the who’s who of evangelicalism, it’s becoming a sideshow anyway. All they do is write books, speak at conferences, and create a bunch of confusion. Certainly, they have lost touch with how doctrine effects real life in the trenches. This is difficult to comprehend because, in just this one example, the human misery caused by Charismatic Theology over the past forty years  is well documented. Don’t they care? Apparently not. Doesn’t the finer points of God’s truth matter to them? Apparently not.


5 Responses

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  1. Jess said, on February 26, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Yep. That’s one reason I left my church. When someone preaches that there are several ways of interpreting the Genesis account of creation and that it DOESN’T MATTER which interpretation you choose, where does truth stand? When faith is reduced to a feeling, a voice in your head or a vision in your mind, where is the standard? And who are you to question them if you have no seminary training and haven’t heard any voices?

    Thank you for blogging, Paul.
    God bless you! Jess


  2. paulspassingthoughts said, on February 27, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    Thanks, this input is very critical as I try to piece together a big picture of the GS movement. A very interesting book is “Good News for Anxious Christians” by Phillip Cary. Cary calls out what he refers to as “the new evangelical theology” that is causing anxiety among Christians. I think the NET he is referring to is GS. HOWEVER, he is also a GS guy, BUT is calling out other forms or elements of the doctrine that he disagrees with. His arguments against those elements are brilliant.

    What you state above sounds like GS with the element he contends against in chapter 1. It is a movement started by Dallas Willard that is a “conversational interpretation” of the Bible (ie., the whole voices in our head thing).

    But you are right, because “Jesus is a person (no kidding?) and not a ‘cognitive concept we apply to life'” (a cheap way of describing practical application of objective biblical instruction / truth [Matthew 7:24-27]), we supposedly get to interpret the Scriptures through God’s “personhood” rather than what He SAYS. What he says is objective, what WE THINK He is–is subjective. By the way, that is a postmodern concept. So other than the basics of Sonship Theology, things can get pretty hairy. It is much like trying to unravel first century Gnosticism.

    However, one must persevere if he wants to put a label on what Christians are being fed unawares; and trust me, I do.


  3. Jess said, on February 27, 2011 at 11:30 PM

    Wow, it does get hairy! It all boils down to denial of God’s sovereignty, doesn’t it? GS is a tool people use to sanctify themselves. No matter how totally depraved they claim they are, they have a tool to combat that with (self-sermonizing the gospel) which, in itself, denies total depravity. More power to MAN. Charismatics use the Holy Spirit as a tool in spiritual warfare. By their definition, the power of the Holy Spirit is experienced in hearing voices, speaking in tongues, having visions or feeling led. These “tools” can only be interpreted by the person experiencing them and, because they are not experienced another person, leave the subject the interpreter of their meaning. Thus, the subject is wielding his own sword in war. More power to MAN.
    I’ll be getting the Phillip Cary book. It does sound interesting and informative although it seems unfortunate that he can be so good at treating the symptoms, but hasn’t identified the disease.
    I am grateful for your work and perseverance for the truth. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me, as well.
    God be with you and your family,


  4. paulspassingthoughts said, on February 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM


    That is an interesting challenge that I had not thought of: the totally depraved preaching the gospel to themselves! You wouldn’t think it to be a very good presentation! I like it-I might even post on that idea.

    This “total depravity of the saints” thing seems to be a consistent tenet throughout most GS circles.


  5. Alex Guggenheim said, on July 10, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    WOW. This post is proving to be very insightful in light of current events with Mahaney and the T4G and Gospel Coalition members who have given him sanction and promotion.


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