Striving to emulate the late great Christian apologist Walter Martin, churchwatchcentral contrive to present their crazy conspiracy theories as discernment when, in fact, their approach is exposed by Martin’s definition as cultish behaviour.
Here’s a quote they use from Martin…
The average non-Christian cult owes its very existence to the fact that it has utilized the terminology of Christianity, has borrowed liberally from the Bible (almost always out of context), and sprinkled its format with evangelical cliches and terms wherever possible or advantageous. Up to now this has been a highly successful attempt to represent their respective systems of thought as “Christian.”
This brings to mind the terminology developed by churchwatchcentral and their cohorts to demonise bonā fide movements and ministries that the churchwatchcentral clan have considered to be part of their fictional version of the NAR.
Terms like ‘the NAR’, ‘NARpostles’, and the like have been utilised, and some invented by churchwatchcentral to emphasise their flawed narrative. In attempts to lend credibility to their contrived notions, they add scriptures that condemn the unrighteous as if there is some kind of connection between what the Bible says and their opinions of others.
It is this kind of spurious story-telling that Walter Martin was singling out as cultish, and there is no doubt that, in their counterfeit NAR, the polemicists have fashioned a false system by which to criticise genuine movements.
They have created a caricature of the real about which they write post after post, totally convinced, in their own minds, that their claims have substance.
Spread of falsehoods
In the same article they add a series of accusations that are not born out by fact. Here’s their list, in which, naming Hillsong as an example, they claim that movements under the polemicists’ fake NAR…
- do not believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Christianity
- they do not preach or believe in the 2000 yr old Christian gospel
- they do not believe in the bible as their final authority (sola scriptura)
- they do not believe in the atoning work of the cross
- they do not believe in the great commission
That is a list of five outright falsehoods. Others follow in the accompanying article, but we’ll stay with these five for now.
I could go through each point one by one, but the truth is plain to see, and it is obvious to any honest, godly believer that the churches and movements highlighted by C Peter Wagner as being part of the New Apostolic Reformation phenomenon all advocate every point listed above.
- They believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit of the Bible- check
- They preach and believe the 2000+ year old gospel of Christ – check
- They believe the Bible is their final authority – check
- They believe in the propitiation of Christ and the work of the cross – check
- They believe and are fully engaged in the great commission – check.
What churchwatchcentral are claiming here is such abject nonsense that they have surely consigned themselves to the basement of folly. Theirs is a mischievous nonsense that no level-headed, Bible-believing Christian would accept unless their head had been so thoroughly turned by the polemicists that there was no way back into rational faith.
The level of exaggeration presented by churchwatchcentral in this instance outscores every previous accusation, which is surely a sign of desperation or attention seeking. And that’s being spiritually generous, because the alternative to these two more gentle assumptions places the composers of this claptrap in the wrong side of eternal destiny.
It is one thing to spread a fantasy, quite another to level these spiritual accusations at a large portion of the Body of Christ.
Churchwatchcentral single out Hillsong, in this article, but only as a point of reference. Their intention is to include all movements that they associate with their contrived NAR. Neither Hillsong nor any other church that the churchwatchcentral crowd assign to their pretentious version of the NAR complies with this list.
Churchwatchcentral, of course, include a great number of movements, ministries and ministers under their fabricated umbrella of ‘the NAR’. The vast catalogue they have contrived includes any and all ministries that hold to continuationist theology – that is, that the gifts, manifestations, miracles, and ministry of the Holy Spirit is still viable and present today in and through the Body of Christ.
For instance, when churchwatchcentral claim, in item three, that these ministries do not hold to ‘sola scriptura’ they mean that these movements also believe in the present day miracles, gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, which, the cessationists assert, have ended.
New Testament believers maintain that we should operate in the Word and Spirit, not just in the written Word, but that the Word will always be confirmed by the Spirit, and that the Word of God is the boundary within which all Christian endeavour and ministry must take place. But it is still true that we are led into all truth by the Spirit of Truth. Word and Spirit.
On the other hand, cessationist doctrine negates the need for the continued work of the Holy Spirit through the Church, and relies on the Word alone, hence ‘sola’ and ‘scriptura’, Latin for ‘scripture only’, and this Word-only doctrine is the basis for criticising and lumping movements, ministries and ministers who hold to the Biblical truth of living by the Word and Spirit into their list of ‘cults’.
Hillsong is prominent, and, in this case, emphasised, used as an example of the ministries the polemicists criticise, but they are not the only movement that is accused by churchwatchcentral of omitting the five key beliefs listed above. All are lumped in, just as all continuationist movements are lumped in.
In Biblical terms, churchwatchcentral have surely perjured themselves, because they have no proof or evidence to substantiate their accusations, only reams of opinion pieces that have created their mythological narrative, yet they claim to be undertaking their discernment work in the name of the Lord.
They even justify their basis for judging the just in a series of articles, and set themselves up as prosecution lawyers against those they accuse. Therefore, any falsehood is perjury in the courts of righteousness.
The reality is that they made the whole thing up to create an article and sustain a narrative of their own creation. There is no truth to their claims. They are attempting to be hard-line polemicists that can match the edge of their more boorishly eloquent cohorts.
A polemic (/pəˈlɛmɪk/) is contentious rhetoric that is intended to support a specific position by aggressive claims and undermining of the opposing position. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about controversial topics. The practice of such argumentation is called polemics. A person who often writes polemics, or who speaks polemically, is called a polemicist. The word is derived from Greek πολεμικός (polemikos), meaning ‘warlike, hostile’, from πόλεμος (polemos), meaning ‘war’. (Wikipedia)
Warlike and hostile. There is nothing actually godly about polemics when this definition is taken on board.
Saying that Jesus was rough with a few Pharisees on occasion doesn’t justify the kind of rhetoric being displayed by the self-named polemicists. Being rude to people and telling untruths about them is not the same as rebuking Pharisees.
Posting a list that purports to be factual and yet shows evidence of being disingenuous at best is not the same as revealing truth and exposing a cult or a false teacher, or a theological error.
You can be strong with the truth without resorting to fabrication of facts, or faux artistic license, or rudeness for the sake of appearing bold, or levelling unsubstantiated false accusations at the feet of those who resent I any way.
For instance, it should be pointed out, as a point of reference in this report, that God doesn’t like liars. There is no place in the kingdom for them. They are set for the Lake of Fire, according to Revelation.
Revelation 21:7-8 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
I guess that’s a case where the Greek for ‘all’ means ‘all’.
False claims are not apologetics
Walter Martin was an evangelical who wrote about some of the more pernicious cults. He didn’t go out to get fellow Christians in another part of the vineyard. He understood variations in doctrine. He helped a great many people out of eternally dangerous situations.
The thing about Walter was that he was genuine in his stance. He was even-handed.
He didn’t resort to underhand tactics or exaggerated claims to get his point across. He was, above all, a Bible-based man. Even if you didn’t agree with everything he said, you knew he had a godly purpose and was teachable and accountable if any error was pointed out to him.
That would be a great lesson for the churchwatchcentral folk to learn, if nothing else. When you have to resort to producing fables as truth you know you have stepped over to the other side of justice and judgment.
1 Timothy 1:8-11 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.