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.
is the first e-mail I sent to Superintendent Raburn on January 21:
was dumbfounded. I couldn’t
even sing or speak. I sat
silent and still on the church pew.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
from the January Liberty Letter @ http://libertyadvocate.com/letter.htm
Pansler Lam, J.D.
here is Raburn’s response on January 22:
afternoon, Mrs. Pansler,
read your email with great interest and am grateful that you care about
the quality and spirituality of our churches.
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.
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.
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.
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.
bless you today. Thank you
for your email.
here is my reply on January 24:
you did not read my entire message @ http://libertyadvocate.com/letter.htm.
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.
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?
ye not read, “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I
am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:30)?
have ye not read, “Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast
profaned my Sabbaths” (Ezekiel 22:8)?
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)?
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
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)?
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)?
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
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.
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.
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).
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).
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).
are saved by the power of the Holy Spirit, not man’s strategies 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.
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
scripture after scripture after scripture condemns the false prophecy of
God’s new thing - popular Christianity.
that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
serving our Lord Jesus Christ,
Pansler Lam, J.D.
here is Raburn’s reply on January 25:
afternoon, Sister Pansler Lam,
Again, thank you for your emails.
have read the Bible and continue to read it regularly.
has not committed a fault and cannot, therefore, be overtaken
appreciate your opinion and view, as I encounter it constantly in my
to the Lord.
I will continue to support those Pastors,
Pastor Blackburn, who reach out to the rising generation.
You may not agree with me but your complaints are mostly cultural
of Scripture and tradition. You
are free to hold those
and interpretations. You are
not free to impose them upon
bless you. I trust you will
have a good weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
there are no universal principles.
there are no universal truths.
the Bible is ever-changing and evolving.
there are no Scriptural absolutes.
or Biblical relativism is a lie.
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.
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
relativism is a lie.
relativism is a lie.
or Biblical relativism is a lie.
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).
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.
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
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
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.
my dear friend, what about the gift of discernment?
what about the teaching and power of the Holy Spirit?
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,
relativists deny the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the truth of
the Gospel as spoken in God’s Holy Word.
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.
intentionally provoke youth against elderly.
intentionally provoke sinner against saint.
intentionally provoke brother against brother.
intentionally divide churches.
know that to divide and destroy churches with this false vision is the
strategy of the devil.
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
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.
today in evangelical churches, true Christians are oppressed in their home
Christians are bullied, chastised, intimidated, and persecuted for holding
fast to reverent and sacred worship.
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.
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).
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
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).
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
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.
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).
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).
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).
divides and destroys.
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”
prophets with false visions of God’s new thing are dividing
churches all across America. And a church divided cannot stand.