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Apostasy, Catholicism, Emergent Church

Scattered Sheep and Little Lambs: The Case for a Separate Evangelical Identity 

shepherd

The shepherd leads the  flock to safety. Notice the little lamb.

I am a nobody. I don’t have a large ministry or platform. I am merely one of many nameless, faceless, little sheep who have been wandering in the evangelical wilderness for a long time.  I don’t have much money, or even the strength and enthusiasm of my youth anymore. I’m not worth much to the typical pastor. Even so, I have something to say. And I hope that my obscurity won’t be a cause for dismissing my concerns.

Just in case those who are in positions of leadership haven’t noticed–the sheep are scattered. Many in the flock have given up on shepherds completely, forming home churches, or even quitting church altogether. Many are fed via the internet. They long for fellowship and love, but for them, the churches have become battlegrounds, rather than sanctuaries.

We are living in a time when many shepherds have gone astray from the truth of the Bible, yet they still carry the name of Jesus. It’s very difficult to know which shepherd is trustworthy. (It’s gotten so confusing that at this point in time, what one part of the church is calling apostasy, another part of the church is calling revival!)

This has caused some of the mature sheep to bleat loudly because they want to warn the flock, but it’s very bewildering to the little lambs who don’t understand why they can’t trust their shepherd. They don’t believe that the food or water they’re being fed is unhealthy or even poisonous. They feel love coming from the shepherd. Unfortunately, like a young, teenage girl, they aren’t able to discern between the language of true love and the language of seduction.

Because of this inability to discern, I believe that the pathway of truth needs to be made more clear . . . and I’m begging the good and faithful shepherds to provide well-lit trails of safety and refuge that the little flock can easily follow.

One day the hirelings will have to give an account to the Great Shepherd–whose heart’s desire was to gather his flock like a mother hen gathers her little chicks under her wings. Some of his last, precious words were those of a shepherd: “Feed my lambs . . . feed my sheep . . . feed my sheep.” He spoke this to Peter, who would later write to those who were to become elders:

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Peter 5:2-4)

Are there no shepherds who take these words to heart? Are there no shepherds who desire to watch over the flock and long to gather those who are scattered? Are there no shepherds who have the courage to fight off the “grievous wolves” who will not spare the flock? (Acts 20:29) Are there no shepherds who have the heart of Jesus?

If these pastors exist, I cannot seem to find them in my corner of the world. My husband and I often spend a year in a church before we discover the heart of the shepherds and leaders. Often times the doctrinal statements and sermons are sound, but the further we venture into the congregation, the more book studies, prayer methods, and false doctrines we uncover. We feel like Ezekiel who discovered “greater abominations” as he was led further into the temple (Ezekiel 8).

The evangelical church is more like a minefield than a green pasture. There are dangers everywhere. The church has been decimated by prosperity preachers who use the flock for “dishonest gain” (and actually worship mammon), false revivalists who bring in lying signs and wonders, and postmodern preachers who lead the flock away from trusting in the Word.

The latest trend is toward “Cathangelicalism,” a blend of Catholicism and evangelicalism. The worst part of this Cathangelical movement is that it is rooted in the writings of the “ancient” Catholic mystics . . . those who knew nothing about repenting from dead works and putting their faith in the finished work of the Cross.

pope-and-evangelicals

Consider this gallery of horrors:

  1.  Kenneth Copeland (of the Charismatic/Word Faith stream) has led his flock toward union with the Catholics and Pope Francis.
  2. James Robison (a Southern Baptist)  has met with Pope Francis and co-wrote a book with Catholic Jay Richards.
  3. John and Carol Arnott (of the Toronto movement) have met with Pope Francis and are now hosting ecumenical “Fire and Fusion” conferences with the Catholics.
  4. Brian Stiller, the Global Ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, has met with Pope Francis.
  5. Thomas Schirrmacher, “the Pope’s most beloved Protestant,” and chairman of the theological commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, has met with Pope Francis.
  6. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, former Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the World Evangelical Alliance, met with Pope Francis.
  7. Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer has met with Pope Francis. He has also promoted the works of Ignatious of Loyola and Teresa of Avila, Catholic mystics who opposed the Reformation.
  8. Rick Warren (a Southern Baptist) has met “our Pope” Francis and admits that he is a fan of  EWTN, the Catholic cable channel.
  9. The line-up at “Together 2016” (which included a message from Pope Francis) included Francis Chan, Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd, Ravi Zacharias, and many other popular evangelicals.
  10. At “Azusa Now” Lou Engle and Catholic Matteo Calisi kissed each other’s feet in a demonstration of unity.
  11. Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen has met with Pope Francis.
  12. Pope Francis even met with Stacy Campbell, the “hissing prophetess” who prayed and prophesied that he would be the next Pope.
  13. The Pope has met with Che Ahn.
  14. The pope has met with Kris Valloton of Bethel Redding Church.
  15. Luis Palau believes Pope Francis is a Christian.
  16. Many seminaries and universities are required to provide spiritual formation to be a part of their program in order to receive accreditation.
  17. Lutherans have taken communion with Pope Francis.
  18. The evangelical move towards Catholic, contemplative, mystical prayer has been well-documented by Lighthouse Trails and Ray Yungen.
  19. Catholics and evangelicals have joined together under two declarations: “The Manhattan Declaration” and “Catholics and Evangelicals Together.”
  20. Christian publishers such as Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, InterVarsity Press, and Multnomah have each published multiple books on contemplative prayer.

This is just  the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on. And all of this compromise, idolatry, and corruption in the temple of the Lord has trickled down to the local church. It’s rampant!  How are the sheep (or the little lambs!) supposed to make their way through this mess?

Is it necessary for me to remind the church of those who gave their lives in the flames of the Inquisition in order to preserve the truth? Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, and Tyndale were courageous and stood fast against the false teachings of Catholicism. As Protestants they separated from the Roman Catholic Church and lit the way of truth for their generation. And now, are we just willing to forget their efforts and become a generation that allows Christianity to be plunged into another thousand years of darkness?

Greg Laurie, who has himself embraced Cathangelicalism, had his Harvest Crusade not long ago. He expected to reach over 100,000 people with the Gospel. I can’t help but ask: WHERE WILL THEY GO? Who will disciple them? Jesus confronted this exact problem when he cried out to the Pharisees:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”  (Matthew 23:15)

How many of those fresh little baby lambs will go out into the evangelical community and become meat for a false shepherd? AND HOW LONG WILL FAITHFUL SHEPHERDS TOLERATE THIS?

“As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LordThus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand.” (Ezekiel 34:7-8)

It’s time for the faithful church to prepare places where the scattered sheep can find refuge from their battles, places where the little lambs can be gathered and given clean, clear water and be led to green pastures. We need sanctuaries with lamps in the windows, so that the scattered and wandering sheep are able to see the light from afar.

Perhaps the Great Shepherd is calling His flock out of the defiled, unholy, and lukewarm blend that is developing right before our eyes. Perhaps this is what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church in this hour. Perhaps this is the true revival the Lord wants to bring.

 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 Corinthians 6:17)

This isn’t the first time it’s been necessary for the Lord to call out a remnant, but  Jesus won’t leave His remnant untended. He wants the gates to be opened, the roads to be cleared of all impediments, and built up to withstand the floods, with large signs put up to lead the way. It’s time for the church (especially the shepherds) to lead the flock safely home.

“Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples.” (Isaiah 62:10) 

If you are interested in helping to clearly light the way for the the little flock, won’t you sign the “Call to Come Out and Be Found Faithful” and encourage your church to become a part of the Faithful Church Network?

www.thefaithfulchurch.com

 

 

 

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About Diana Lesperance

I'm passionate about Jesus and I love to defend the gospel of grace and truth. I have a large and active family that keeps me busy and overwhelmed on a daily basis.

Discussion

17 thoughts on “Scattered Sheep and Little Lambs: The Case for a Separate Evangelical Identity 

  1. Amen and thank you. There is a remnant, and I join you in this plea; also a nameless, faceless little sheep. My husband and I have found a faithful pastor and elder board, and we now join in that work here in Alaska. I also volunteer in a radio ministry reaching into the darkness of the Alaskan bush villages where no churches exist, but we also broadcast into the more populated area of Alaska to compete for the hearts and minds of those exposed to heresy in music and heretical radio teaching. Do not get discouraged sister, The Lord will bring His people out…..stay faithful, continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness. Thank you for your article and I praise God for your faithful heart.

    Posted by DeeJay Debra | October 10, 2016, 4:43 pm
    • Thank you for your encouragement Debra. I also thank God for your faithfulness. You are lighting the way of truth for the little flock. May the Lord bless you as you abide in His Word!

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | October 10, 2016, 7:58 pm
    • Speaking of heretical radio teaching, most Christian radio stations (Not All), only care “if the check clears the bank”) I know of at least 14 anti-Trinitarian radio programs airing over many Christian stations. Many of these programs/organizations, have mislead many. Many of these Christian stations will have programs, warning Christians to beware of false teachers, doctrine, and so forth, and at the same time air false teachers. Speaking of music, Joel Hemphill of the well known Southern Gospel group, The Hemphill’s, continues to attack and deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Trinity. He has received 8 Dove awards, and has written many well known Gospel songs. His well known Sunday school song is “He’s Still Working On Me” I thought the cults were bad in their attacks on the deity of Christ, “HEMPHILL TRUMPS THEM!” Yes, you can listen to a teacher on Christian radio, mentioned Jesus, and you can listen to a Christian musician mention Jesus in his music, but is it the Jesus of the Bible, the early Christian faith, and the Christian faith today?

      Posted by James | October 11, 2016, 1:25 am
  2. Oh, how these are so many symptoms to the problem that started in the beginning centuries of the Christian Church. We have lost the “priesthood of all believers” and become dependent on the hierarchy that has developed. We have become pew sitters who are not really concerned with studying the Bible and using discernment in checking out truth. If the so-called little lambs would have grown in the word and discernment, we would not have to worry about them being so unprotected!

    Posted by peterhorvatin3gmailcom | October 11, 2016, 11:57 am
    • But there is a role for the shepherd…and we were told to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together…even more so as the day draws near. The priesthood of the believer is a wonderful doctrine–we no longer need a priest (other than Jesus, our High Priest) to gain access to God, but Jesus has given pastors, prophets, apostles, teachers, and evangelists to the church for a reason .. . to appeal to, love, and care for the little flock. I pray these leaders will return to the heart of Jesus and be faithful to His will and Word, leading souls to the love of the truth.

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | October 11, 2016, 12:24 pm
  3. Yes, I agree that we need shepherds. However, something to ponder. Ask yourself how many sermons you remember and have grown by. Being a teacher, I know that most of learning does not happen in a lecture type format, but when people are in groups and sharing with each other. This was the original intent when believers met in the homes during the early days of Christianity.
    To me, it is obvious that they were not forsaking the assembling of each other. Everyone had a psalm, a hymn, a word of instruction, maybe a tongue and interpretation, etc..They were all meant to edify and build up one another for the common good.
    Another thought to ponder is that when you are in an institutional church, where are believers able share and build up one another when the whole service is scripted? It happens this way in a majority of institutional churches not only in the United States but in many areas around the world.
    I find it interesting that you possess a lot of formal education, yet it seems, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you are caught up in an institutional mindset. It is my hope that I have not offended you and brought you some food for thought. I have a blog at thenewtestamentjourney.blogspot.com if you’d like to check it out and make some comments.

    Posted by peterhorvatin3gmailcom | October 11, 2016, 1:52 pm
  4. I think you may misunderstand me. My husband and I might even have to start a home fellowship soon! All I am asking is for good shepherds to make it clear that they oppose the apostasy so that the little flock can identify them…Jesus said, “wherever 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” He isn’t opposed to small fellowships! And most of the apostasy is in the institutionalized church, but I have to believe there are some faithful shepherds who can actually be found by the sheep.

    Thank you for your thoughts–and allowing me to clarify.

    Posted by Diana Lesperance | October 11, 2016, 3:34 pm
  5. I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I truly appreciate that you took the time to respond. One of the problems that I see is the hierarchy that began with the early church fathers. I took a little license with a quote from the matrix. Tell me what you think.
    Morpheus says to Neo:
    “The traditional Bible-Based churches/Denominations, whether large, medium, or small, are a system, Neo. “The system is our problem”, not the believers. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Pastors, Businessmen, Teachers, Lawyers, Carpenters, etc. They are the minds that you are trying to set free from the deception of “other believers” and the “Early Church Fathers”. But until we do, these people are still part of that system, and that continues to make the traditional system our problem. You have to understand, most of these people have been fed “the error of human tradition” over their lifetimes and are not ready to leave. They are “hopelessly dependent” on the “current system.” They are “ignorant” of the facts” from the Bible and church history, so they will go to the “extreme” to “fight to protect” the “very system” that deceives them.”

    Posted by peterhorvatin3gmailcom | October 12, 2016, 9:12 am
    • When I saw “The Matrix” a number of years ago, I remember thinking how the church often used people like human batteries. The “system” just uses them up for their own gain…and it takes a willingness to take the “red pill” to get us out of the “current system.” Thank God that he doesn’t leave us in confusion! He gave us His Word and sent Jesus to confirm it. We just have to discover how important it is to keep that Word pure and remain faithful to it . . . we need messengers who will convey this truth!

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | October 26, 2016, 5:36 pm
  6. My own local conservative baptist church Began a 40 Church “let’s pray for the world” CathVanGeliszm. Collective prayer group. It was hidden at First. Then so many people at church asked “who are these people and what churches were Invited” ?? The leadership (most all fled) Put out a BookMark with a long list of 40 “churches BUT DELETING the Word Catholic! From that Churches Title! To fool the sheeple once again. I find this so disturbing and a herald-err. Of what the Church of Tares will eventually become. Beginning now….

    Posted by memama | October 17, 2016, 10:25 pm
    • It is sooooo…easy to be seduced into the blend because joining evangelicalism and Catholicism together will give the “church” more political power, but our true power lies in our faithfulness to the truth, not in numbers. God blesses the faithful.

      Stay faithful!

      Diana

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | October 26, 2016, 5:29 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Scattered Sheep and Little Lambs: The Case for a Separate Evangelical Identity  | The Narrow Way - October 3, 2016

  2. Pingback: Hillary Clinton’s Youth Group Leader | The Narrow Way - October 28, 2016

  3. Pingback: Why Evangelicalism Needs to Separate from Cathangelicalism | The Narrow Way - November 29, 2016

  4. Pingback: A Safe Space for Scattered Sheep? | Aspreeman's Archives - March 3, 2017

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Books

Why am I WAITING for “Shalom?”

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)

The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.

Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.

The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.

I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.

Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.

I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.

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