What I Did On My Christmas Vacation|
A disappointing visit to a local congregation in Utah.
My wife and I spent Christmas this year near Salt Lake City, visiting her sister who moved there several years ago after getting tired of being repeatedly mugged in her front yard in Lakeview, New Orleans. I had been wishing for an actual white Christmas ever since I was a kid, but the day we arrived a heat wave struck the region and we saw exactly zero snow, except for the one afternoon that we drove up the mountain to play for a few hours. Other than the lack of snow, a good time was had by most.
At my wife's insistance, we visited a local church in Sandy on Christmas eve. I normally do not enjoy visiting random churches, but they were having only a 30-minute service, so I went along with her, actually driving her there. They sang Christmas carols mostly, and the pastor gave a 5-minute sermonette. He preached on reincarnation, which certainly alarmed me. He made a joke about locking the church doors in case anyone had a mind to leave due to the presentation of false doctrine. He then explained that he was borrowing the term and didn't actually believe in that devilish doctrine, but his next remarks didn't calm my fears all that much. He claimed that Jesus was incarnated, or became flesh and tabernacled with men --- so far, so good. However, he then mumbled something about His disciples through the ages, when sharing the gospel, were supposedly a reincarnation of Christ. If he had left off the bit about reincarnation and stuck to the premise that we as believers were mandated to carry on the work of the ministry, thus perpetuating the kingdom of God here on Earth, I would have given him a hearty amen. Sadly, he did not.
The next morning, after everyone had finished opening presents, Cindy decided to attend the morning service at the church. When she returned, she said that the pastor had lifted the conversion event from the Grinch story as a way of describing the change that occurs when a sinner turns to Christ. Apparently this pastor cannot explain the bible without resorting to false religions and Dr. Seuss. Presumably he also leans on other devices such as psychology, knitting and baseball statistics. Thankfully my trip did not extend long enough to attend his church a sufficient length of time in order to ascertain the exhaustive list of his comparisons.
The prophets and apostles warned of those that would preach other messages in our pulpits. While I am not ready to label Sieg Krueger a false teacher, I have great difficulty accepting as a fellow minister someone who cannot explain the scriptures from the scriptures. Martin Luther's exhortation was sola scriptura (only the bible), and while every preacher uses analogies and other methods to make the gospel plain, Krueger seems to demonstrate a lack of separation from the world and an irreverence for the Lord and His word. How can the Spirit of God work in an atmosphere where the bible is not held up as the absolute authority and guide for every man? I feel sorry for that pastor's parishoners, for they are certainly being robbed of an opportunity to hear the gospel preached in sincerity, purity and power.
Mountain View Christian Assembly is not alone in watering down the gospel. We are in the last days, and the bible gives us sufficient warning about the great apostasy that will deceive many before the Lord's return. What saddens me is that Mountain View Christian Assembly belongs to a denomination that was born out of that great outpouring of the Spirit of God known as the Asuza Street Revival, an event which sparked a great missionary effort that saw millions of souls saved worldwide.
I am greatly concerned for the pentecostal movement. They've lost their way of late, their power is gone, and they've even resorted to leaning on Benny Hinn, that bulwark of sound doctrine, in an effort to somehow remain relevant in the postmodern age. Other full-gospel denominations and fellowships are little better, by and large.
All is not lost, for God has "reserved unto Himself 7,000 (preachers) that have not bowed their knee to the image of Baal". The true gospel will be preached in faith, and the lost gathered in, "before that great and notable day of the Lord shall come". It is my prayer that I am counted worthy to labor in the Lord's vineyard and to drink with Him when He returns.