A Church Divided

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Poster- If My People

Liberty Advocate




A Church Divided


Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.


False prophets with false visions 

of God’s "new thing" are dividing churches

 all across America.  


And a church divided cannot stand.


I want to share with you my correspondence with Terry Raburn, Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Peninsular Florida District Council.  Last month, I wrote Raburn about the current trend of Victory Church and other Assemblies of God churches: entertaining and worldly worship to please man, not sacred worship to please God. Unquestionably, the once conservative evangelical denomination has embraced a liberal theory of Scriptural evolution.



Here is the first e-mail I sent to Superintendent Raburn on January 21:

I was dumbfounded.  I couldn’t even sing or speak.  I sat silent and still on the church pew.

Last month, my husband and I went to Victory Church, an Assemblies of God church in Lakeland, Florida.  We were so upset by what we saw and heard that we refused to stay for the sermon.  Before the Sunday morning service started, large projection screens flashed information about upcoming Christmas church events to Bobby Helms singing “Jingle Bell Rock,” Michael Jackson singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and other secular songs.  Now, listen, my dear friend, this was in an evangelical church! Now I know how Ezra felt when he was told that the people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, had not separated themselves from the heathen:  “And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied”(Ezra 9:1 - 3).


Yes, my dear friend, I was grief-stricken.

There was no sanctity.

There was no reverence.

There was no difference between holy and unholy worship.

The worship was profane.

The worship was irreverent.

The worship was unholy.

The worship was rebellious. 


At the front of the “sanctuary” was a large golden idol - the Oscar statuette - awarded for Hollywood movies.  This idol symbolized the theme for the pastor’s Christmas message series:  Christmas at the Movies. In reality, this idol actually symbolizes the current trend of the church: entertaining and worldly worship to please man, not sacred worship to please God.  


Today religious leaders preach a false prophecy that God is dissatisfied with old-time religion and wants to do a “new thing.”  They preach that old-time religion is old-fashioned. This new thing makes Christianity more appealing to the general public. In other words, Christianity will be more popular if it’s worldly and entertaining. So, bring popular culture into the church and you will attract more people. These religious leaders pronounce that this new thing of popular Christianity is a vision from God.


My dear friend, this new thing is not a vision from God. This new thing is a false vision. It is a false vision from their own heart: “Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart” (Jeremiah 14:14). This new thing is a false vision conceived in their rebellious heart. Rebellious Christians have gone awhoring after the heathen. They have adopted heathen music and other carnal pleasures and have boldly brought them into the sanctuary.  This new thing, or popular Christianity, is another name for false Christianity.


Excerpt from the January Liberty Letter @ http://libertyadvocate.com/letter.htm


Karen Pansler Lam, J.D.




And here is Raburn’s response on January 22:


Good afternoon, Mrs. Pansler,  


I read your email with great interest and am grateful that you care about the quality and spirituality of our churches.  


The issue of background music for the presentation of announcements by PowerPoint is a matter of taste.  Victory Church invests much time and effort into reaching the unchurched and secularized of our community. The music was chosen, no doubt, to catch the ear and attention of those not familiar with church culture so they might be attracted to events that could connect them to the congregation.  As you noted, the music did not continue into the service, itself.  


I have worshipped at Victory Church many times and have never known the ministry to be profane, irreverent, unholy or rebellious.  I have always found it to be spiritual, relevant, righteous and uplifting.  Most of the worship is aimed at the rising generations of our culture which are not interested in hymns and spiritual anthems.  Though I enjoy hymns, I understand and affirm the intentional effort to reach those not yet grounded in their Faith or committed to the church.  I can sing along with any song that has spiritual and Scriptural lyrics and I have never heard anything different at Victory.  


The representation of the Academy Award was not an idol.  It was a prop, used as an illustration in a sermon, much the way our Lord once used wine as an illustration to make a point.  I did not hear the sermon but did have opportunity to discuss the points with Pastor Blackburn while he was planning and writing it.  As I recall, his intent was to show the emptiness of the growing materialism and selfishness of Christmas in our country, using the cultures own statements in film to make that truth clear.  A meaningless award cannot begin to match the unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ.  Then, he turned the sermon toward the eternal truth that Christ is Christmas and used Scripture to make that truth clear. Both a veteran Christian and an unchurched visitor would have been able to understand, and hopefully grasp, the message.  


The mission of the Church is to reach the lost.  Pastor Blackburn is doing his best to lead Victory Church in that assignment, even at Christmas.  He has my full support.  


God bless you today.  Thank you for your email.  



Terry Raburn
PFDC Superintendent 


Now here is my reply on January 24:  


Dear Reverend Raburn,  


Apparently you did not read my entire message @ http://libertyadvocate.com/letter.htm.  


Yes, the mission of the Church is to reach the lost.  However, the great commission is evangelism: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Evangelism is the zealous preaching of the Gospel. Evangelism is not polluting the sanctuary with worldly entertainment to reach the lost.


Jesus said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer” (Matt 21; 13; Isaiah 56:7).  So, how can worldly music and irreverent worship be acceptable in the Lord’s house - the house of prayer?  


Have ye not read, “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:30)?  


And have ye not read, “Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my Sabbaths” (Ezekiel 22:8)?  


And have ye not read, “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26)?  


And have ye not read, “ Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:12-14)?  


And have ye not read, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils”(1 Cor 10:21)?  


And have ye not read, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Cor 6:17)?  


Rev. Raburn, nowhere in the Bible does it exhort us to use worldly music and props and other gimmicks “to catch the ear and attention of those not familiar with church culture so they might be attracted to events that could connect them to the congregation.”  Don’t sinners who come to church expect to hear and see church culture?   


Jesus and his disciples never used gimmicks or props to lure people to Christ.  We are admonished to teach and preach “in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom” (2 Cor 1:12; 2:17).  We must renounce the “hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Cor 4:2).  Using worldly music and entertainment as bait to lure men and women to Christ is deceitful. It smacks of trickery.  


As for the music, you stated: “most of the music is aimed at the rising generation of our culture which are not interested in hymns and spiritual anthems.”  This is clear evidence that the false vision of God’s new thing is aimed at pleasing man, not God. In other words, instead of instructing and exhorting ignorant and self-willed youth to understand and appreciate the greatness and beauty and holiness of sacred music, we give in to their primitive and low standards of music and lure them to church with Christian rock bands that destroy the sanctity of the sanctuary.  If worship is aimed at pleasing man, then we worship man.  We are to seek to please God.  


It is written, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men?  for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10).  


And it is written, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (I Thes 2:4).  


And it is written, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Cor 2:4, 5).  


Sinners are saved by the power of the Holy Spirit, not man’s strategies and gimmicks.  


And, finally, Rev. Raburn, as you know, the Bible teaches us that if a brother is overtaken in a fault we should go to him in the spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1).  Or, if a brother commits an offense against us, we should go to him in private (Matthew 18:15). But these are for private offenses. They address private misconduct, not heresy.  


And, in the case of Victory Church, this is not a private matter.  Publicly preaching a false gospel is not a private matter.  Publicly preaching a false gospel is a public matter demanding public condemnation. Jesus publicly denounced the scribes and the Pharisees:  “Woe unto you!” Jesus did not go to each of them privately. By His example, Jesus teaches that those who are false teachers and false preachers must be publicly rebuked.  


Irrefutably, scripture after scripture after scripture condemns the false prophecy of God’s new thing - popular Christianity.  


He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  


Faithfully serving our Lord Jesus Christ,  



Karen Pansler Lam, J.D.

Liberty Advocate




And here is Raburn’s reply on January 25:  



Good afternoon, Sister Pansler Lam,  


Again, thank you for your emails.


I have read the Bible and continue to read it regularly.  Pastor Blackburn has not committed a fault and cannot, therefore, be overtaken in one.  


I appreciate your opinion and view, as I encounter it constantly in my service to the Lord.  I will continue to support those Pastors, including Pastor Blackburn, who reach out to the rising generation.  You may not agree with me but your complaints are mostly cultural interpretations of Scripture and  tradition.  You are free to hold those opinions and interpretations.  You are not free to impose them upon others.  


God bless you.  I trust you will have a good weekend.


Terry Raburn    



My dear friend, did you notice that Raburn never cites the Bible? Let me repeat, Raburn never cites the Bible.  He does not quote one scripture to support his liberal statements in either e-mail. Unquestionably, Raburn’s words lack Scriptural authority.


Now read Raburn’s last e-mail and statement “your complaints are mostly cultural interpretations of Scripture and tradition.” Doesn’t Raburn’s babbling about “cultural interpretations of Scripture and tradition” sound like the vain babbling of a secular liberal? Secular liberals are always decrying the evils of culture and tradition because they want to destroy them, especially Christian culture and tradition.


Continuing on, Raburn says, “You are free to hold those opinions and interpretations.  You are not free to impose them upon others.”  Now, isn’t Raburn imposing his opinions and interpretations upon others?  He has cited no Scriptural authority to support his statements, so they are merely his opinion.  And, as you know, liberals are always spouting off that true Christians are not free to impose their culture and tradition on others. 


But, the truth is, my dear friend, Raburn and other false prophets of God’s new thing impose their false vision of pop Christianity on churchgoers all across our nation and around the world.  Denominational leaders, including the Assemblies of God, force this false vision on pastors who in turn force it on church members.  It is Raburn and other denominational leaders who impose their false prophecies and false visions on us.  And these religious leaders belittle and intimidate true Christians who denounce their false vision.  When we denounce their false vision, religious leaders accuse us of not truly caring about the lost, or our views are based on cultural interpretations of Scripture and tradition, or other foolish babbling.


The truth is, my dear friend, denominational leaders such as Raburn impose their opinions and views on us by mandating pastors to compel churchgoers into a submission to their authority in spite of the lack of Scriptural authority for their false vision.  And, if pastors don’t embrace this false vision, they will not be favored or promoted by denominational leaders.  On the other hand, if you follow their false vision, they will support you wholeheartedly as evidenced by Raburn’s statement: “The mission of the Church is to reach the lost.  Pastor Blackburn is doing his best to lead Victory Church in that assignment, even at Christmas. He has my full support.”  An assignment means anything assigned or allotted, as a lesson, task, and so forth.  It is a task delegated by a human hand. Who assigned Blackburn to use entertaining and worldly worship to please man, not sacred worship to please God?  Apparently Raburn and other Assemblies of God leaders.


Let’s go back and discuss Raburn’s comment “your complaints are mostly cultural interpretations of Scripture and tradition.” Essentially, Raburn claims that interpretations of the Bible are not fixed; Scriptural interpretations change because they are based on culture. Raburn claims that interpretations of the Bible are subject to cultural interpretations and are not objective.  This is liberal nonsense.  This is Scriptural or Biblical relativism.


Scriptural or Biblical relativism is the false teaching that interpretations of Scripture are culturally based and subject to a person’s individual choice. Scriptural relativism essentially claims there are no Scriptural absolutes. Scriptural relativists assert there are no Scriptural absolutes because Scriptural interpretation is based on cultural and traditional interpretations.


Consequently, Biblical relativists, like Raburn, treat questions of true worship and false worship as relative to individual values and cultural diversity. As a person in a specific cultural group we decide what is right (true) worship or wrong (false) worship.  There are no fixed Biblical principles. True worship and false worship is merely the result of individuals in a particular Christian culture attempting to develop a set of Scriptural principles.  And these principles evolve or change over time to adapt to circumstances of the present culture. So, as society evolves, Christianity evolves. What may be true worship for a person in one Christian culture will be false worship for another person in another Christian culture, and vice versa. Basically, Scriptural relativists advocate Scriptural adaptation.  Interpretations of Scripture adapt to the culture.


Thus there are no universal principles.


Thus there are no universal truths.


Thus the Bible is ever-changing and evolving.


Thus there are no Scriptural absolutes.








Scriptural or Biblical relativism is a lie.


Biblical relativism is related to moral relativism.  Moral relativism is the view that ethical standards, morality, and positions of right or wrong are culturally based and subject to a person’s individual choice.  Whatever I approve is right for me; whatever I condemn as wrong is wrong for me. We all decide what is right and wrong for ourselves. You decide what’s right for you, and I’ll decide what’s right for me. What is right or wrong depends on the individual: it’s all relative. 


And Biblical relativism is related to cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is the view that all ethical truth is relative to a specific culture.  Whatever a cultural group approves is considered right within that culture; whatever a cultural group condemns is wrong.  Cultural relativism is that right and wrong can only be judged relative to a specified society.  There is no ultimate standard of right and wrong by which to judge culture.  What is right or wrong depends on the cultural group: it’s all relative.


Moral relativism is a lie.


Cultural relativism is a lie.


Scriptural or Biblical relativism is a lie.


“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”  (Colossians 2:8).


Moral relativism and cultural relativism and Scriptural relativism go hand in hand because they are all the offspring of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Basically, what Raburn advocates is Scriptural evolution. As you know, Darwin’s theory of evolution teaches that life is accidental, without meaning or purpose.  Therefore, anything you do is OK, because it ultimately doesn’t matter. 


Scriptural evolution alleges that interpretations of the Bible evolve or undergo transformation due to the changes in man’s environment.  Scriptural evolution is the progressive development of Biblical interpretation. In other words, Biblical interpretation evolves with man’s evolving culture: Christianity adapts to man; man does not adapt to Christianity. 


Essentially, the theory of Scriptural evolution suggests that Christianity is evolving or in the process of working out or developing a more advanced Christianity in light of technological, sociological, political, and psychological factors. It implies a move from a primitive early Christianity to a more advanced modern Christianity. In other words, living in a modern progressive era demands a modern progressive Christianity. It smacks of the arrogant theory that the process is a continuous change from a lower and simpler Christianity to a higher and better Christianity.


However, just as true Christians don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution; true Christians don’t believe in the theory of Scriptural evolution and its evil offspring - Scriptural or Biblical relativism. Again, Biblical relativists claim that we cannot correctly interpret God’s Law because it is subject to tradition and cultural diversity. 


So, my dear friend, what about the gift of discernment? 


And what about the teaching and power of the Holy Spirit?


“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31, 32). 


Biblical relativists deny the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the truth of the Gospel as spoken in God’s Holy Word.


Listen, my dear friend, all across America and around the world, vain false prophets are dividing churches with this false prophecy of God’s new thing.  They babble about cultural diversity and tradition.  Alas, they are destroying the unity of churches. 


They intentionally provoke youth against elderly. 


They intentionally provoke sinner against saint. 


They intentionally provoke brother against brother. 


They intentionally divide churches. 


We know that to divide and destroy churches with this false vision is the strategy of the devil.


But, as any true Christian knows, the Bible preaches unity, not diversity.  A church – the house of prayer - divided against itself shall not stand.  “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25).   A church divided cannot stand. We are to be of one heart and one mind.


And that is why there must a must be a sacred unifying Christian culture in the church.  Holy and reverent worship must be rooted in sacred hymns and psalms to unify saints of all ages – from youth to the elderly.  And youth must be taught to put away their desire for carnal entertainment, and be taught to reverence the house of prayer with sacred and beautiful worship pleasing to God. 


Unfortunately, today in evangelical churches, true Christians are oppressed in their home church. 


True Christians are bullied, chastised, intimidated, and persecuted for holding fast to reverent and sacred worship. 


True Christians are bullied, chastised, intimidated, and persecuted for holding fast to preaching the Gospel to men and women and children of all ages, not just youth.


But, my dear friend, “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).  Scriptural evolution is a lie. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works”  (II Timothy 3:16, 17).  Again, Jesus promises us that if we are His disciples and read His word, we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free (John 8:31, 32). 


On the contrary, false prophets of the false vision of God’s new thing teach that we cannot know for sure the true meaning of Scripture because it’s all relative.  False prophets teach that living in a modern progressive era demands a modern progressive Christianity.








This new thing is a false vision. It is a false vision from their own heart: “Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart” (Jeremiah 14:14).


Those who preach this false gospel of God’s new thing are rebellious children.  And the Bible warns us: “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin" (Isaiah 30:1). 


These false prophets preach diversity, which is contrary to the Word of God. Diversity creates disharmony and conflict; unity creates harmony and peace.  The Bible clearly teaches that we are to be one.


Jesus Christ, the Head of the Christian Church, said, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee.  Holy Father, keep through mine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11).


And on the day of Pentecost they were united in once accord: “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord . . . And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Acts 4:24, 32).


And Paul exhorts us, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may be with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:6,7).


Diversity divides and destroys.


Paul warns us: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).


False prophets with false visions of God’s new thing are dividing churches all across America.  And a church divided cannot stand.


Liberty Advocate


February 2008