– Forum for Discussion: Information for interested Christian Visitors

Christians defend the Gospel against the "Friends of Israel" / Hannelore Weitzel, i-n-d-v 00, 2010-05-02

Opening address by Chief Rabbi M. A. Friedmann / International Conference of Rabbis 2004, Vienna

Rabbi Rabinovich’s speech on the Jewish rule over the world. / Budapest 1952-01-12

My Jewish "Bloodlines" / Christian Orthodox Brother Nathanael Kapner, USA 2014-10-01

Report on the Charismatic Camp. / Information Service TOPIC 00, 2004-07-28

The Purpose Driven Church? - God is not Pragmatic Rick Warren and the "Saddleback Church" / Book Wilfried Plock, 2005-05-13

A Shocking "Confession" from Willow Creek Community Church. / Article Bob Burney, 2007-10-30

The Americans Do Not Want Wars / Interview with Vidal Gore, the cousin of Al Gore, former vice-president of the USA.

The Berlin Declaration.

Mass grave in nunnery-The little victims of the merciless / By Peter Nonnenmacher 2014-06-05

Criteria and information for the assessment of the "Toronto Blessing". / Lecture Andrea Strübing, 2001-06-15

The American DeMoss Foundation’s "Power to Live" Campaign. / Analysis Thomas Gandow, 2002-03-04

The Spread of the Pentecostal Spirit. / Lecture Helmut Haasis, 2004-03-13

Visitor nformationn

Christians defend the Gospel against the "Friends of Israel" / Hannelore Weitzel, i-n-d-v 00

The following letter to Dr. Jürgen Bühler, Chairman of the German branch of ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem) and of "Christen an der Seite Israels e.V." ["Christians in Support of Israel, Regd. Assn."] was composed by the responsible head of "Internationales Netzwerk der Versöhnung e.V." ["International Network of Reconciliation"], Hannelore Weitzel. Ms. Weitzel was herself involved with the Israel movement years ago, and has now realized that that Israel’s Zionistic politics is furthering immigration of Jews from all over the world – an immigration paid for by Christians – in order to increase its own population, and so counter the rapid population growth of the Palestinians in Israel. She writes as follows:

"I was deeply convinced myself at the time that Israel was the only place where God wanted to have the Jews so that HE could save them. That the land of Israel was the only place for them to live, because Israel has a claim to it (a biblical claim, be it said), and that Jes us could ONLY save them there and that Israel was the only place where HE would do it. This, after all, was what we had been told, this was what we had been taught based on Old Testament scriptures from Isaiah and other books of holy scripture. Only as a result of a drastic loss in my own life and thanks to the grace of GOD did I finally understand – as a result of my own research over the years into the Word of God, with a great deal of effort and ONLY through the help of various wonderful brethren and biblical teachers – the nature of this deception of the Last Days that has taken place in the congregation. Unless we understand this and convert, there will be a disaster which we will never be able to recover from! GOD be gracious to us.  --   H."

(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)

(Christians defend the Gospel against the "Friends of Israel" / Hannelore Weitzel, i-n-d-v [International Network of Reconciliation], 2013-08-08)

Dear Mr. Bühler1),

Today I again received your journal with all the information you are always issuing about the things that are happening in the work you do.

The thing motivating me to write to you today is the following:

"The Jewish Agency2) has requested ICEJ to support the repatriation of the last Ethiopian Jews."

For some years this aliyah3) from the Christian side has been a considerable burden on my heart, on my conscience. In the years 1997 to 2002 it was our task to start a work of reconciliation in Poland, in order to bring before God the complicit guilt of Christians in remaining silent about the holocaust in the Third Reich. We were able to hold penitential conferences on this theme in Poland and in Germany. We promised to God that we would never again keep silent if we were to see that something like this could recur.

We are still committed to this promise. We also thought at the time that Jews should be brought to Israel. We "believed" in the "vision" of Steve Lightle4)! We thought we were only permitted to "conduct a dialog" with the Jews – that was what people told us. But then all at once GOD spoke! What we did not know at that time, in the years from 1997 to 2001, was that Operation Exodus, Exodus, and many others including your own organization had been obliged to sign a contractual agreement with the state of Israel, or with the Jewish Agency, involving the promise NOT to say anything about JESUS CHRIST!

So they were only able to do this work, and are able to continue it today, because they have been obliged to leave the SON OF GOD out of the picture. With this "contractual alliance", an accommodation with the state of Israel which involves meeting its demands, you and they have clearly invalidated the great commission given to the congregation by JESUS CHRIST himself (see Matth. 28, 18-20).

An alliance has been entered into which lies outside the gospel. An alliance, a contract signed with "death". Through this action the door has been closed on the gospel by the Christian organizations and GOD spoke to us about it, saying that these people are now sitting in a "religious trap"! These Jews have been brought by Christians to a country, without having heard from them about their MESSIAH.

In the year 2001, after I and others had been privileged to work for more than four years in Poland and Germany, on my last trip the Spirit of GOD showed me how the work of Operation Exodus looks – and it looks as if Jews being brought to Israel by this Christian organization, and so equally by the other organizations mentioned above, are in fact being brought into the judgment of GOD! This was what I said at the time to the directors of Operation Exodus in Germany, and I am saying it again now to you and your organization. I cannot any longer reconcile it with my conscience before GOD if I do not let you know as well.

I am writing for one reason: if the above organizations have been obliged to sign these agreements, then your organization has done so as well, otherwise you would not have permitted to carry on any activities whatever in this direction! No Christian organization would have been able to bring Jews to Israel from all over the world if they had said, "No, we will not deny OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!" They had the choice! Israel is a state that aims to be Jewish, that asserts its right that people there shall not be allowed to evangelize, but it is willing to receive help from us as Christians for bringing Jewish people to the country.

We have done penance for the fact that the church kept silent when the Jews were deported, for the fact that the church did NOT preach the gospel, for the forgiveness of sins. We have done penance because Hitler was able to do such mischief to people of the Jewish faith. We have given warning of the consequences of the present aliyah under the above circumstances. Now we no longer wish to remain silent, because GOD still wants to give us time for penance and conversion and is still able to do so, even with these mistaken courses to do with the aliyah.

You all know the Word of God and what it tells us, that as we sow, so shall we reap! If now the Son of God has been rejected by Christian leaders, just for the sake of bringing Jews to Israel in the past and in the present, we need to think seriously about the consequences. May the LORD preserve us from a judgment for the rejection of his Son! – whatever the future may hold in store.

One thing is certain: unless we convert from this error and do penance, if we do not understand what has been perpetrated here and what it is likely to bring for people in Israel and the entire Middle East, if we do not recognize what has really happened here on the spiritual plane, we will still have to reckon with the spiritual consequences.

I am writing all this out of love for the Jews and for those who are organizing this aliyah! May GOD yet give them grace to hear and to convert.


Hannelore Weitzel,

Internationales Netzwerk der Versöhnung e.V. [International Network of Reconciliation, Regd. Assn.]

The pseudo-Christian betrayal of the Israelites      -   Part 1  Discourse 111

God’s covenants, by Jacob Damkani.   Discourse 1111

Is Jesus at work to fulfill his promises in Israel?     -   Part 2  Discourse 1112

The teaching of the Messianic Jews – the Analysis.       -   Part 4  Discourse 1114

Dr. Jürgen Bühler is International Director of ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem). In this capacity he is responsible for the coordination of more than 50 branches of the organization worldwide. At the same time he also functions as director of the German branch of ICEJ and is a member of the management board of the "King of Kings" congregation in Jerusalem. Alongside these activities he is a Christian preacher, gives lectures and writes books on the interpretation of the Old Testament. He and his wife Vesna have been living in Israel since 1994. They have three young sons. Before taking up his position at ICEJ, the physicist from Heidenheim, Germany, had acquired his doctorate in chemistry at the Weizmann Institute in Rechovot, Israel.

Jewish Agency – the official immigration organization of the state of Israel.

Aliyah (the Hebrew word means "repatriation") – In many Christian congregations in Germany the "Israel Movement" (Evangelical Christian Zionism) has succeeded in establishing itself. This is an organization which has set itself the aim, under the auspices of a campaign known as the "aliyah", of bringing Jews to Israel from Russia and other nations, with the help and financial support of members of Christian congregations. In so doing they are responding to the call of Steve Lightle (see here below).

Steve Lightle – an American from Seattle, Washington, who announced that he had received a vision from the Lord in 1974 about the repatriation of Jews from the USSR.

Opening address by Chief Rabbi M. A. Friedmann / International Conference of Rabbis 2004 Vienna

Ladies and Gentlemen,
esteemed guests of honor, dear friends!

I am privileged to welcome you warmly to this event, and am delighted to see so many prominent personalities, high ranking politicians and university professors, lawyers, doctors, ambassadors, chief rabbis and rabbis assembled here today.

My warmest thanks to you all for coming.

I am not used to giving speeches in German, so I must ask for your understanding. I also mean to keep my address as short and to the point as possible, after which it will be the turn of my highly esteemed colleagues and our guests of honor to take the floor.

The situation in which believing Judaism true to the Torah finds itself today is extremely difficult – indeed practically unbearable. Global political developments, especially in the Near East, give us grounds for anticipating serious threats to our future and that of our children. This is associated with the many lies about the true character of Judaism which have been propagated worldwide and believed by many. Above all in Germany and Austria many matters are regarded as taboo, so that anyone audacious enough to speak of them is exposing himself to considerable dangers. Notwithstanding, at this international conference we would like to put these matters in plain view and draw the necessary conclusions, because that is the only way the situation is going to change – which would be in the interest of us all..

At this very time, on the occasion of the Theodor Herzl centenary, we have to address certain fundamental points which concern the essential basis of the Jewish religion. The national celebrations here in Austria and in other countries do tend to give the impression that Zionism can be equated with Judaism, or at least can be seen as a legitimate political movement of Judaism. In fact the opposite is the case!

Before we go into this matter further, however, we must first make it clear that our critique is not a political critique – on the contrary, we are speaking purely and solely from the point of view of our religion, of our faith. We are advancing not political but religious reasons for our point of view – seeing that, based on moral and religious principles, we basically distance ourselves from politics.

The most important point which all Jews true to their faith share – and that includes all the rabbis and chief rabbis assembled here today – is that we have to bear the fate of the Diaspora which has been laid on us by God. This important conviction of faith often meets with incomprehension among non-Jews, so I will emphasize it again at this point: since we Jews accept in faith the fate of the Diaspora laid on us by God, we endeavor to live without problems or conflicts as loyal citizens of whatever state we find ourselves in. Whenever there have been difficulties and conflicts over the many past centuries, our chief rabbis have tried to come to a solution with the authorities on the basis of submission, argument and heartfelt appeals for clemency. And this kind of peaceful solution was in the great majority of cases actually brought about – without any kind of provocation or political power games.

The problems began to grow and to become more serious after the so-called "emancipation", when the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment made an impact on Judaism, and certain Jewish groups hoped they might be able to achieve political benefits. For millennia our community of faith in Germany has lived in peaceful coexistence with the German people, and has enjoyed the latter’s hospitality, with a large measure of freedom of religion. Even when the Zionist reformed congregation started to persecute Jews who remained loyal to their faith, the German people stood by our side. Consequently the German authorities authorized my predecessor, Chief Rabbi Samsan Raffael Hirsch, to set up his own Orthodox Jewish community of worship and allowed it all the necessary privileges.

At this time Theodor Herzl traveled frequently to Germany, in order to turn opinion against us in every way possible, even visiting the Kaiser, with the aim of stirring up hatred against Judaism true to the Torah. On occasion he came up against resistance. Nonetheless, Theodor Herzl deliberately encouraged antisemitism through his activities, because he hoped this would encourage European Jews to aspire to the establishment of a Jewish state. But in the last resort, in this way he brought about the catastrophe of Judaism. Because the Zionists wanted to bring the state of Israel into existence and encourage Jewish emigration to Palestine, they did not even shrink from inciting and provoking pogroms in Russia – however awful that sounds, ladies and gentlemen, there is the evidence to prove it! In the same way the Zionists tried to provoke Hitler and the German people by calling for boycotts and other political campaigns; they welcomed the Nuremberg Laws, and did everything they could to whip up antisemitism still further. So the Zionists must bear the essential blame for the Holocaust.

We Orthodox Jews true to our faith did not have anything whatever to do with these matters. We did not get involved with these provocations against Hitler and the Third Reich. We did not take part in calls for boycotts or international propaganda. Nonetheless it was we who became the real victims of the Holocaust. Based on our faith and conviction, the Holocaust was God’s punishment of the Jewish people, who had turned away from their faith to follow Zionism – even though the main victims of this same Holocaust were the Orthodox Jews. Unbelievable as it sounds, it is nonetheless incontestably true – our chief rabbis even declared in Auschwitz that although we had rejected Zionism and fought against it, we had done too little and with too few resources, for which reason it was not without justification that God’s punishment fell upon us as well. I know that such sentences can hardly any longer be understood in Europe today. I know that such sentences will give rise to incomprehension and head-shaking among many Europeans, because most Europeans do not in fact take their own Christian faith seriously any longer. All the same, this is our conviction in faith!

But the Zionists actually managed, after the war, to put themselves across as the sole legitimate representatives of Judaism. Above all the occupation of Germany and Austria made this possible. The results have been terrible! In the name of Judaism – and we Jews true to our faith have really had nothing to do with it – for decades now, massive pressure has been applied to the entire political and economic development of Germany. Germany continues to be an occupied country, the United Nations enemy state clause continues to apply to Germany, which means that Germany is not a member of the UNO with equal rights! It is an example of the inconceivable degradation of Germany that Mr. Michel Friedman – my namesake, I am sorry to say – who is a morally dubious user of cocaine and frequenter of prostitutes, has the opportunity of making moral reproaches to the German people and setting them moral conditions – and all this in the name of Judaism!

In Austria the situation is only slightly better. Here too Theodor Herzl is presented as a great personality, although in truth he did monstrous damage to Judaism, because he tried, against the will of God, to turn a purely spiritual religion into a political power system – a power system which, like all political power systems, has opponents and enemies and fights against them. The Palestinians, the population of Palestine, must logically become the enemy of a Zionist power system of this kind. The consequences of this – the war, the intifada, the anti-Jewish terrorist attacks and the equally terrorist attacks of the Israeli army on Palestinian leaders, with equal numbers of civilian deaths – are matters with which we are all familiar.

As Jews true to our religion, we can never accept the doctrine of Dr. Theodor Herzl. As Jews true to our religion, we are completely opposed to Zionism and reject it. As Jews true to our religion, we see Zionism as a betrayal of God and of the Jewish religion.

We Jews faithful to the Torah wish to continue living in peace with other peoples in future, among the Germans as among the Arabs – we do not want to blackmail any people or put any people under political pressure, but just to have the possibility, wherever we are living, of worshiping God in peace. Consequently we are starkly opposed to Zionist power politics. Thus we are also starkly opposed to all attempts on the part of international so-called Jewish organizations to put Germany and Austria under any political or financial pressures. For the same reason, we deliberately avoid getting involved in the internal affairs of the countries in which we are living.

When Dr. Martin Hohmann, a CDU member of the German parliament, saw people who had fallen away from their faith – whether Bolsheviks or Nazis – as the real criminals of the 20th century, we could only support his analysis. When boycotts were launched against Austria in view of the blue-black government of some federal states, we declared in public that we did not regard such interference with the internal affairs of a country as legitimate, and that in our view the Austrian people had every right to choose the government they wanted. On this occasion we even put a big advertisement in the New York Times, at our own expense, in which Jewish chief rabbis true to their faith from all over the world lent their support to this point of view.

I hope, in speaking to this esteemed audience, that I have been successful in making it clear to you that the Zionism of someone like Theodor Herzl has nothing to do with the convictions of Jews who are genuinely true to their religion. It is high time that the official representatives of the Republic of Austria should also recognize that Judaism true to the Torah is represented by us, and that they have someone else to talk to apart from the so-called Israelite cult community.

Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, in this introduction I have already touched on the main thorny issues which we hope to address at this international conference of rabbis. I would like to extend a particular welcome to the following speakers:

1) first of all Dr. Martin Hohmann, member of parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany
2) the constitutional lawyer Professor Hans Klesatzky from Innsbruck
3) former federal minister Professor Erwin Lanc
4) Public Ombudsman Ewald Stadler
5) Professor Matschner
6) Federal Councilor Dr. John Gudenus
7) the lawyer Dr. Johannes Hübner


Rabbi Rabinovich’s speech on the Jewish rule over the world. / Budapest 1952-01-12

The Canadian Intelligence Service – Excerpt from September 1952 issue – submitted by James Moorhouse:

The following speech was given by Rabbi Emanuel Rabinovich before a special meeting of the Emergency Council of European Rabbis in Budapest, Hungary, January 12, 1952:

"Greetings, my children;

You have been called here to recapitulate the principal steps of our new program. As you know, we had hoped to have twenty years between wars to consolidate the great gains which we made from World War II, but our increasing numbers in certain vital areas is arousing opposition to us, and we must now work with every means at our disposal to precipitate World War III.

The goal for which we have striven so concertedly for 3000 years is at last within our reach, and because its fulfillment is so apparent, it behooves us to increase our efforts and our caution tenfold. I can safely promise you that before ten years have passed, our race will take its rightful place in the world, with every Jew a king and every Gentile a slave (Applause from the gathering).

You remember the success of our propaganda campaign during the 1930’s, which aroused anti-American passions in Germany at the same time we were arousing anti-German passions in America, a campaign which culminated in the Second World War. A similar propaganda campaign is now being waged intensively throughout the world. A war fever is being worked up in Russia by an incessant anti-American barrage while a nationwide anti-Communist scare is sweeping America. This campaign is forcing all the smaller nations to choose between the partnership of Russia or an alliance with the United States. 

Our most pressing problem at the moment is to inflame the lagging militaristic spirit of the Americans. The failure of the Universal Military Training Act was a great setback to our plans, but we are assured that a suitable measure will be rushed through Congress immediately after the 1952 elections. The Russians, as well as the Asiatic peoples, are well under control and offer no objections to war, but we must wait to secure the Americans. This program will achieve its objective, the Third World War, which will surpass in destruction all previous contests.

Israeli, of course, will remain neutral, and when both sides are devastated and exhausted, we will arbitrate, sending our Control Commissions into all wrecked countries. This war will end for all time our struggle against the Gentiles. We will openly reveal our identity with the races of Asia and Africa. I can state with assurance that the last generation of white children is now being born. Our Control Commissions will, in the interests of peace and wiping out interracial tensions. Forbid the whites to mate with whites. The White Women must cohabit with members of the dark races, the White Men with dark women. Thus the white race will disappear, for the mixing of the dark with then white means the end of the white man, and our most dangerous enemy will become only a memory. We shall embark upon an era of ten thousand years of peace and plenty, the Pax Judaica, and our race will rule undisputed over the world. Our superior intelligence will easily enable us to retain mastery over a world of dark peoples."

Question from the gathering: Rabbi Rabinovich, what about the various religions after the Third World War?

Rabinovich: "There will be no more religions. Not only would the existence of a priest class remain a constant danger to our rule, but belief in an afterlife would give spiritual strength to irreconcilable elements in many countries, and enable them to resist us. We will, however, retain the rituals and customs of Judaism as the mark of our hereditary ruling caste, strengthening our racial laws so that no Jew will be allowed to marry outside our race, nor will any stranger be accepted by us.

We may have to repeat the grim days of World War II, when we were forced to let the Hitlerite bandits sacrifice some of our people, in order that we may have adequate documentation and witnesses to legally justify our trial and execution of the leaders of America and Russia as war criminals, after we have dictated the peace. I am sure you will need little preparation for such a duty, for sacrifice has always been the watchword of our people, and the death of a few thousand Jews in exchange for world leadership is indeed a small price to pay. To convince you of the certainty of that leadership, let me point out to you how we have turned all of the inventions of the White Man into weapons against him. Hid printing presses and radios are the mouthpieces of our desires, and his heavy industry manufactures the instruments which he sends out to arm Asia and Africa against him.

Our interests in Washington are greatly extending the ‘Point-Four’-Program for developing industry in backward areas of the world, so that after the industrial plants and cities of Europe and America are destroyed by atomic warfare, the Whites can offer no resistance against the large masses of the dark races, who will maintain an unchallenged technological superiority. And so, with the vision of world victory before you, go back to your countries and intensify your good work, until that approaching day when Israeli will reveal herself in all her glorious destiny as the Light of the World."

My Jewish Bloodlines. / Orthodox Christian Brother Nathanael Kapner, USA 2014-10-01

I remember my mother showing me our Family Tree after months of research. 

Tracing our bloodlines over many generations, all my progenitors were Jews…Russian on my mother’s side, Austrian on my father’s.

We were Jews by blood and proud of it. 

Once after Sabbath services the news of a Gentile convert came up.

My uncle kept on calling her a "shiksa," a disparaging word for Gentile women which in Yiddish means an unclean animal derived from the Hebrew word "sheketz." 

She didn’t have the right blood…for Jews see themselves as a race not a religion.

If not, why do Jews write to me all the time saying I can always come back to Judaism since a ‘Jewish flame’ will always burn within me?

If not, why would Golda Meir, an atheist; Trotsky, a murderer; Einstein, a pantheist; and Bernstein, a homosexual, all be hailed as Jewish heroes?

The Torah, that is, the first five books of Moses in the Old Testament, condemns homosexuality, calling it an "abomination."

Yet ‘esteemed’ Jewish leaders like Ginsburg, Foxman, Kagan, and Cohen promote homosexuality.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re a Jew‒by blood.

Is it a matter of racial supremacy that Jews in the spotlight enjoy special celebrity?

Jewish-owned Time Magazine subliminally promotes that idea…and just where they want that "supremacy" to go: Global rule.

Militant Zionism preaches "racial superiority" over the Gentiles who worship them as the "chosen people"…but I call them a bunch of neurotics.

I grew up as a Jew with neurosis all around me.

If not, why does Woody Allen resonate so deeply with Jews?

Even Freud admitted to his own neurosis.

My Jewish grandmother from Austria used to play Strauss waltzes on the piano.

She imbibed German culture‒for Jewry has no culture of its own‒but has adopted European forms and ways.

The only way Jews could have their own culture is for all of them to become Hassids which is revolting to most Jews.

But I‒as a former Jew now an Orthodox Christian‒have a culture which is authentically and historically mine, the Eastern culture of the Orthodox Church, whose roots are Hebraic‒not Babylonian and rabbinic.

Our worship is derived from the Old Testament priesthood which Jews no longer possess. The Orthodox Church NOT the synagogue has the true, New Covenant priesthood.

Bloodlines won’t get you into heaven. But right worship will.

Report on the Charismatic Camp / Information Service TOPIC 00, 2004-07-28

Ex-Charismatics Report: How we were deceived in Charismatic circles.

They are willing to testify under oath before every court of this world as to what they personally experienced. And they were also ready to give their full identities for their statements in this article. TOPIC advised them against this, however, for their own personal protection. Therefore, we will simply call them Elisabeth and Joachim. This 58-year-old and 32-year-old wrote down what they experienced among the Charismatics on several pages of DIN-A4 paper, and TOPIC has requested permission to make a summary of what they wrote.

Elisabeth is the one who, after her conversion, experienced almost everything in eight years of being a Charismatic. She attended the famous "Airport Vineyard Fellowship" in Toronto three times. It was there that the "Toronto Blessing" began, in the early 1990s, which made people worldwide fall screaming, laughing or cackling like chickens to the ground – allegedly through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Elisabeth visited a Charismatically oriented Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem eight times and attended numerous happenings led by Walter Heidenreich, Christoph Häselbarth, Benny Hinn, Garry and Lilo Keller or Mahesh Chavda.

Books in particular had made Elisabeth curious about the Charismatic movement and she simply wanted to become acquainted with the "many glistening stars in the great wide Pentecostal sky": "Our congregation was simply too small for me."

For that reason Elisabeth began to attend large Charismatic happenings, such as the "Get ready Großtreffen (Get Ready Major Happening)" of the Freien Christlichen Jugend­gemeinschaft Lüdenscheid (Free Christian Youth Fellowship of Ludenscheid) (FCJG) under the leadership of the well-known Charismatic Walter Heidenreich. In the 1990s, Heidenreich organized Charismatic happenings in the Lüdenscheid shooting hall (the FCJG now has its own hall) for thousands of visitors, where voguish international prophets, healers and Charismatic stars always appeared.

Elisabeth recalls that, after a FCJG evening with deafening rock music, "The next night I had horrible dreams about Jesus, saw him as hideous and then as sexually perverse. I went down on my knees in my hotel room and repented in tears. I didn’t want that at all." Despite this experience, Elisabeth went to the small town in Sauerland several more times and describes the end of one of Heidenreich’s appearances as follows: "On the last evening we stood on the chairs and tables, completely drunk with the Holy Spirit, and sang as Walter Heidenreich instructed us, ‘Trink, trink, Brüderlein, trink’ and ‘Einer geht noch, einer geht noch rein.’ (Two popular German drinking songs. They can be translated as "Drink, drink, little brother, drink," and "Another one goes down, another one goes down smooth.") It was like a Munich beer festival."

"Spirit baptism" in Jerusalem.

Elisabeth met a woman in Lüdenscheid who raved to her about how terrific baptism in the Spirit was at the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles of the organization International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. It was there that the "umbilical cord of heaven and the complete fullness of the blessing" was to be found. Elisabeth traveled to Israel and actually did experience the Charismatic baptism of the Spirit in a healing service led by the Indian Mahesh Chavda: "Chavda shouted: ‘Who hasn’t been baptized by the Spirit yet?’ Someone gave me a shove from behind. Now or never! That was how I went forward, along with many others.

"Chavda laid his hands on everyone personally, and if the individual did not collapse, Chavda blew on him. What I then experienced, while lying on the floor, surpassed everything that I knew until then. Feelings of love without end. I did not want to stand up any more and could not either. I was another person. Now I knew Jesus as a lover. From then on, I could also speak in tongues [glossolalia, ecstatic speech], lay hands on others or breathe on them and they fell on their backs. Healing was not rare any more either. I was now ‘someone’ high up on this hierarchical ladder."

Such baptisms of the Spirit or encounters with people who have been gifted by the occult do not, apparently, always go as "mildly" as Elisabeth’s baptism of the Spirit in Jerusalem did. After a healing service with the Charismatic leader Christoph Häselbarth in Friedrichschafen am Bodensee, Elisabeth experienced something that filled her with fear and terror. After Häselbarth and his healing team had attempted to lengthen the leg of one of Elisabeth’s coworkers through spiritual healing, this woman returned completely changed: "My coworker was gone a long time. She spoke confusedly and chaotically; she banged her head on the table top, cried, laughed, and did this after one of Häselbarth’s healing services. She didn’t even know where she was. In the end she wanted to walk on the Bodensee, like Peter."

During a stay with Walter Heidenreich’s youth fellowship in Lüdenscheid, Joachim also learned that such contacts with a supernatural world could have serious consequences for non-Christians as well as for Christians. Before Joachim became a Christian in 2001, he had been active for seven years in esotericism. As a practitioner of Reiki, he had been initiated into the basic mysteries of this Japanese supernatural healing therapy. In principle, in Reiki, a Reiki master transfers an occult power to people.

Joachim stayed for one week in Lüdenscheid, because he first wanted to become thoroughly acquainted with the work of the youth fellowship among drug addicts. An engrossing book on the subject had awakened his curiosity. He attended other FCJG events as well and was impressed by the healing miracles that occurred there. Joachim said: "I have seen with my own eyes how people can be healed of physical afflictions through prayer."

Although members of his Baptist home church had warned him not to let anyone lay hands on him in Lüdenscheid on any account, all barriers to that gradually fell away: "Because of what I experienced and saw in Lüdenscheid, I could no longer accept the warnings from home."

Thus, at one FCJG event with the Charismatic leader Olli (Reiner) Ewers Joachim was prepared to receive the baptism of the Spirit. Ewers went through the rows of listeners and, by laying his hands on the people, transferred supersensory effects that threw people to the floor: "The closer Olli came to me, the greater my tension. When he laid his hands on people, I heard how he prayed briefly again and again in tongues and frequently also said: "Reason must go!" He also snapped his fingers regularly as a matter of course .... With me, Olli also prayed something in tongues. He laid his hand on my upper forehead and told me too that the mind had to go .... Suddenly, in a kind of weightless state, I noticed that I was toppling over backwards. I saw everything that happened in my mind. I realized that I was falling and that I was caught and laid down on the floor. To be sure, during those moments I lost the sense of physicality completely. It felt like I was floating."

Two days after this experience Joachim visited another FCJG event, where those present were requested to sing a song "in tongues." "When the singing began, I experienced a stirring in the area of my larynx that I had never before experienced. I felt completely forced to raise my voice also. I opened my mouth, formed a sound and then it went automatically. Without thinking about it any longer, I experienced how the Spirit used my vocal chords to form arbitrary sounds that were completely strange to me .... And although I had no knowledge of what I said, I understood at that moment what had just happened: the gift of speaking in tongues had been awakened in me. Thus, I was now certain I had received the baptism of the Spirit as taught in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles."

But these experiences were not the end of it. When he was home again, Joachim experienced, to his horror, that phenomena appeared during his prayer time that he recognized from his esoteric period: "On one morning, during my quiet time, the easy seesawing of my body that I experienced regularly when speaking in tongues suddenly turned into a strong shaking. My arms, which I had stretched above me in prayer, also began to move back and forth very vehemently and my whole upper body was suddenly shaken violently .... I experienced such shaking for the first time at an initiation ceremony into the first Reiki degree. When my female master told me to open myself to this energy, I sensed completely that a strange power entered my body and shook my whole body violently." This Reiki shaking, which returned constantly, stopped only when Joachim renounced Reiki in a prayer after his conversion. Now it was back and the young Christian asked himself "if the Holy Spirit would manifest itself precisely like this Reiki spirit."

Joachim gradually realized what he had let himself in for through his baptism in the Holy Spirit. Prayers for clarity and studies of Bible passages like Isaiah 28, verse 13, in which those who have fallen backwards are presented in a negative way, brought Joachim to utter a prayer of renunciation again – this time in reference to his baptism in the Spirit. "Already on that same day I noticed that these supernatural phenomena, which regularly occurred precisely during my prayer time could no longer manifest themselves. The seesawing did not return and I was also no longer compelled to speak in tongues. To my joy, I could see that the false spirit has again lost its influence on my life ...."

Elisabeth was able to escape from the Charismatic labyrinth as well. Some well-known evangelists and literature critical of the Charismatic movement helped her in this. Today Elisabeth views her time as a member of the Charismatic movement as follows: "I am ashamed of myself before Jesus Christ for all those blasphemies. God opens our eyes step by step. I knelt again and again, also with my coworker. We cried and begged God and our Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness. Thanks be to him that he pulled us out of this mire of madness."

There is much in the stories of these ex-members of the Charismatic movement that is identical. Particularly striking here is the almost feverish attempt in the Pentecostal/Charismatic circles to inoculate the believers as quickly as possible with a new spirit. This spirit appears to be transferred like a virus through the laying on of hands or even merely through participation in such events. That this Pentecostal/Charismatic spirit is not the Holy Spirit is shown not only by reports from church history as a whole but again and again from testimonies such as those from Elisabeth and Joachim.

Jesus himself warns in his discourse on the end times (Mt 24) against those who falsely claim to bring salvation, who attempt to deceive the "elect" with signs and wonders. These false Christs and prophets have been among us for a long time and are up to mischief.

Information Service TOPIC / Publisher: Ulrich Skambraks (Kreuztal bei Siegen). P.O. Box 1544.0-57206 Kreuztal Tel. 02732/791859. Fax 02732/74677

The Purpose Driven Church? – God is not Pragmatic! / Book by Wilfried Plock, 2005-05-13

Rick Warren and the "Saddleback Church"

Rick Warren did not, to be sure, study at Fuller Seminary like Schwarz, but he writes in his book, The Purpose-Driven Church (in German: Leben mit Vision [life with vision]; note) that he came across the name McGavran for the first time in 1974: "As I sat there and read this article on Donald McGavran, I had no idea that it would dramatically impact the direction of my ministry …" Together with his wife Kay, Rick Warren started his church work in Saddleback Valley, south of Los Angeles. Today it is one of the largest Christian churches in the Western hemisphere. The founder of this church is a visionary. On March 30, 1980 Rick Warren dreamed of a church of 20,000 members, hundreds of missionaries being sent out and a large piece of land with many beautiful facilities. He and his coworkers labored for two decades to realize these goals. Part of their dream was already reality. The weekend church services are the center of the church activities. There are two on Saturday night and three on Sunday. These services are attended by many people each week. Non-Christians are the target audience of these services. The music is modern and loud and the clothing is casual. Rick Warren’s addresses are thematic and relevant. That means: they have something to do with the practical everyday life of the listeners (which, of course, is not bad in principle). One sermon series, for example, is called: "From Burnout to Balance." The church offers more than 150 different activities. There are hundreds of small groups and an extensive youth program. Saddleback functions as a model and sees itself as a trend setter. The model of the "purpose-driven church" became known primarily through Rick Warren’s book of the same name. In the meantime, more than one million copies have been sold in more than 20 languages.

The Purpose-Driven Church

Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Church, appeared in 1995, and underwent 36 printings within a very short time in the USA. The book became a mega-seller. It was published in Germany in 1998 by Projection J Verlag and here as well it has already sold over ten thousand copies. Moreover, since the appearance of the original, 500,000 church leaders worldwide have become acquainted with "the principles ... that produce healthy, growing churches." Why is The Purpose-Driven Church so attractive? Why do people use such superlatives when complimenting the book? Here are some examples (all taken from the first few pages of the book): "This book is a rare treasure of godly wisdom, totally scriptural, inspired by the Spirit .... Every pastor must read this book!" (Bill Bright, who has since died); "Rick Warren is the architect for the church of the 21st century, and this is his blueprint!" (Bruce Larson); "Nobody does healthy church growth better than Rick Warren" (Jim Reeves); "The Purpose-Driven Church is perhaps the crown jewel of church growth literature" (Randy Pope); "Rick Warren is the one all of us should listen to and learn from" (Robert Schuller). "This book could have as significant an impact on the future of Christianity as any book released in recent years" (Ronnie Floyd); "I consider Rick Warren to be one of the greatest thinkers in the church today" (Dwight Reighard); "Rick Warren is a genius ..." (Ed Young, Jr.); These assessments come from highly respected Christian leaders in the USA. Indeed, The Purpose-Driven Church is worth reading. Those readers who have knowledge of the Bible and are capable of discernment will find an abundance of valuable insights and stimulae. When asked about the secret of its success, the author himself answered that the secret of his book was that it was, so to say, the "intel chip" of building up the church! You cannot help but characterize this statement as presumptuous. We always find the "intel chip" (the most frequently installed PC processor worldwide) in the New Testament. With similar "self-confidence," Dr. Warren speaks of his most recent book, The Purpose-Driven Life, stating that he is confident – in faith – that the book could be an instrument for change sideways through American and then the world. However, what the recommendations cited above conceal or do not recognize is the fact that this book also contains very controversial, questionable and also misleading passages. Our examination is intended both to appreciate the positive aspects as well as to indicate the negative by name. Here, my remarks will be based not on a thorough reading of Warren’s book but on my own observation. I spent some time in Los Angeles in the spring of 2000, at which time I was able to visit Saddleback several times and form an impression of the work.

Rick Warren’s High Regard for the Church

The book as a whole expresses the author’s high regard for the church. Without a doubt, Warren is devoted to church growth. He does not view the local church as an organization but as a family. In an era of "frustrations about the church" and "traumas about the church," this way of looking at things is welcome. At the end of the book we read these splendid sentences: "I love the church with all of my heart. It is the most brilliant concept ever created. If we intend to be like Jesus, we must love the church as he does, and we must teach others to love the church as well ...." I approved fully and completely of this passion for the church of Christ. It is exemplary.

The Emphasis on Church Health

Although Warren himself is strongly influenced by the "church growth movement," in his book he emphasizes time and again the significance of "church health." At Saddleback this is taken to mean a balance between the elements of small groups, discipleship, worship, Sunday School – and in particular between evangelization on the one hand and the continued development of Christians on the other. Warren says literally regarding this: "The secret of a healthy church is balance." The goal to which they aspire here is not only to convert people but to lead them to spiritual maturity. Another core section reads "Churches grow warmer through fellowship; churches grow deeper through discipleship; churches grow stronger through worship; churches grow broader through service; churches grow larger through evangelism." To see things this way is excellent. I wish that many churches would learn from Saddleback in these areas and would work more systematically. According to my observations, only a few churches in German-speaking areas have simultaneous activities and programs for evangelism and for the continued growth of members. Either churches evangelize and neglect the growth of Christians – or vice versa. Here, indeed, many founders of churches could learn from Saddleback’s example. What Rick Warren writes in chapter 4, "The Foundation for a Healthy Church," is among the best in his book. And one can also agree with him that it would do many churches good to have a clear view of their proper task.

Good Quotes and All Kinds of Practical Tips

Warren has a feel for how to insert sharp quotes at appropriate places. When talking about habits, he cites Fyodor Dostoyevski: "The second half of a man’s life is made up of the habits he acquired during the first half." When he speaks of convictions, he quotes Howard Hendriks: "A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for." Throughout the entire book, the reader can find an abundance of useful ideas, stimulae and practical tips. A true treasure house! extends from, e.g. page 241-61 (in the German version). On the basis of my visit in 2000, I can confirm that these principles are practiced in Saddleback.

Attention for Evangelism, Daughter Churches and World Mission

The Saddleback church could send out 200 professional missionaries in the next 20 years. In the Los Angeles area more than 30 daughter churches have been established. Its missionary passion and the concern to win people for Christ are real, even exemplary. It is an enormous step forward when there is a permanent missionary concern in the church rather than a case of evangelism being done only occasionally (however fruitful it may be). Evangelism and consistent induction into discipleship, the attempts at teaching, etc. are fixed elements of church life in Saddleback.

The Emphasis on Willingness to Serve

Saddleback does not tolerate any consumer Christianity. Warren and his coworkers strive to turn as many believers as possible into active ministers in the church. The explanations for that on pages 365-67 (in the German version) are worth reading. Beyond that, the church organizes pastors’ conferences. More than 180,000 pastors and leaders from (other) denominations have already visited the "purpose-driven training" courses. The many offers via the internet do the rest. Saddleback understands itself as the church of the future. Rick Warren is – the magazine founded by Billy Graham, Christianity Today, states - the pastor with by now probably the greatest influence on Christians in America. Not only does he speak about church growth; he also emphasizes church health. By that Warren understands a balance between evangelism directed outward and the growth of believers. First, people are won for Christ in the guest worship services. Then they attempt to steer these converts into four different courses so that they will grow. Warren sees this process as the core of a "purpose-driven church." It is in this attempt at balance, no doubt, that the strength of the Saddleback church lies. This list, which does not claim to be complete, shows why I absolutely recommend reading The Purpose-Driven Church, if the reader tackles it with a discernment trained by the Word of God.

The Negative is not Concealed in the Bible

"Do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thess 5, 20-22). After I had once publicly expressed a critical remark on another concept of church in public, a young theologian wrote to me. He held that Paul had requested that the Thessalonians merely examine everything and to hold to whatever was good. Paul did not demand that the evil be cited as well. This view seems to me to be symptomatic of our age. The philosophy of tolerance would like to leave everything as it is and avoid fundamental critique as much as possible. Above all, limits are renounced. However, whoever reads the New Testament attentively will see that both Jesus Christ and the apostles often engaged in criticism and setting limits (Mt 16,11-12; Mt 23; 1 Cor 15,12; 2 Cor 11,1-4; 3 Jn 9-10; etc.). Paul even reprimanded Peter publicly when it concerned "the truth of the gospel" (Gal 2,14).

No Pleasure in Exposing Errors

Yet something else is to be emphasized at this point. I take no pleasure in exposing the errors and failings of another. I would prefer to conclude now. But precisely because Saddleback exercises such an influence on so many churches in the world – as perhaps hardly any single congregation has done before in history - Rick Warren must allow himself and his concept to be measured against Holy Scripture. In the end, it concerns the truth of the gospel and the building up of the church as taught in the New Testament. If one were to examine closely the church to which I belong, for example, one could, of course, find just as many errors and defects in the church. My church, indeed, does not have any formative influence worldwide; nevertheless, I am pleased when someone with a sincere attitude alerts us to things that are not right in our church. In the end, sincere admonition helps more than flattery. Our responsibility lies in speaking the truth in humility and with the intention to help. Suppressing the truth helps no one in the end. Truth must remain truth, even if it speaks against us or if we leave ourselves open to attack when speaking the truth. I will believe Warren when he says he wants to please God and am also prepared to learn from him. I have marked many passages in his book as positive. But I cannot be silent when his model is extolled as the new remedy for churches worldwide. His "medication" has "side effects" that are too strong.

The Obvious Disregard of Biblical Teachings

Rick Warren is a master of pragmatism. Pragmatism is – as we saw in the first part – the view that things are to be judged not according to higher principles but primarily according to their functionality. Pragmatism is goal-oriented thinking. This is precisely my main criticism of Warren’s concept. At Saddleback, pragmatism is the dominating factor. We Europeans have the inclination to theorize, but Rick Warren succumbs to the other extreme, which is occasionally (and often rightly) said of Americans. He thinks and works pragmatically with no restrictions. Pragmatism is goal-oriented thinking. Even when Warren states repeatedly that he considers Bible study important, he then weakens this statement by saying that study without praxis remains fruitless. In a section on the "myths" about spiritual maturity, which Warren considers incorrect, he also criticizes the view that Bible study alone is sufficient for growth ("maturity myth No. 6"). He writes literally: "The last thing many believers need is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice." According to this philosophy, one must abandon Bible study almost completely because almost all Christians already know more than they can convert in to practical everyday life. In addition, Warren forgets that there is also "informative teaching," that serves to help one understand and explain why, for example, the main teaching of the Roman Catholic doctrine is wrong. I see it as an error to hold that Bible study alone will produce maturity. In my view, Warren is shooting here at a "straw man." I have never come across a Christian – not in America either – who claimed that. Rather, such statements in The Purpose-Driven Church unintentionally reveal the philosophy of pragmatism lying behind it.

The Much too Weakly Developed "Doctrine of the Church" (Ecclesiology)

In the end, Warren builds his "ecclesiology" on two biblical passages "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart ..."(Mt 22,37-40) and "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations ..." (Mt 28,19-20). From these passages the author derives five purposes for a purpose-driven church. To be sure, these five purposes are in no way wrong as such, but they are defined partially wrongly and merely constitute a small excerpt from the entire New Testament teaching on the church. This is an inadmissible reduction. Unfortunately, The Purpose-Driven Church lacks a biblically grounded definition of the concept and task of the church. For a book like this, that is an unforgivable omission.

The Lack of an Overview of Salvation History

This point touches on a hermeneutical problem. "Hermeneutics" is the theory of understanding and interpreting Holy Scripture. Personally, I am convinced that the Bible is to be understood from the perspective of salvation history. Rick Warren appears to be unacquainted with this principle of interpretation. In chapter 12 – about which I am definitely unhappy – he explains how Christ attracted crowds. He does not say a word here about the fact that Jesus’ ministry was characterized by two entirely different phases. In the first, the Savior proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mt 4-11). Then he was definitely rejected by the leaders of Israel as the Messiah (Mt 12). From that point on, the second phase of his service began, with emphasis on instructing the disciples (from Mt 13 on). Why does Warren not mention that Christ drew crowds mainly in the "Kingdom of God phase"? Few remained of the large crowds when the Son of God preached the cross and the price of discipleship (Jn 6:66-69). Is there any instance where Paul, our special example in church growth, attracted the masses? And can we find any instance where the other apostles were very popular after the initial phase (Acts 2-6)? Paul had to write to the Corinthians: "For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men" (I Cor 4,9). In human terms, it is not particularly difficult in North America for a gifted evangelist to attract a hall full of people; particularly when the program is so tailored for the target groups as in Saddleback or Willow Creek. But when Warren holds out the prospect to the reader in the aforementioned chapter 12 that all those founding churches could, nevertheless, actually preach to large crowds if only they would tackle it properly, then he has left biblical ground.

Seeker Sensitive "Worship Services"

Warren recommends seeker-sensitive "worship services" as a brilliant plan for evangelism. As a pragmatist, he has no problem with this style. He justifies his approach by Jesus’ statements "Come and you will see ..." (Jn 1,39) and "Come to me, all ..." (Mt 11,28). To be sure, here he overlooks the fact that Christ invited the unbelievers to himself and not to the meetings of the New Testament church! That is a major difference. However, whoever wants to keep strictly to the instructions of the New Testament will be more restrained. Where does it say in the epistles of the New Testament that we should invite non-believers to our "worship services"? The opposite is the case: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (Mk 16,15). The goal of the coming together of the local church is, according to Scripture, to worship God, to build up believers as well as equipping them for service. Nevertheless, if non-Christians want to listen to our sermons, they are, obviously, very welcome – and many have already been touched by God in this way. We are, however, nowhere called upon to change the function of the "worship service" into an evangelical event. In 1 Corinthians 14,23 and James 2,2ff. it is explained in an exemplary fashion what could happen if, by way of exception, an unbeliever is nonetheless present. In exactly the same way we are not urged by the passages to orient the program and the proclamation to seekers. There are countless good opportunities for evangelism outside the worship services. Why should we, contrary to the New Testament principle, do that in "worship services"? If we do this, however, it is not Holy Scripture that drives us but pragmatism. We then turn the "shrine" into a "forecourt." We exchange, so to speak, our silver cutlery for plastic. For whoever says "A" must also say "B." Whoever orients the church services in accordance with the taste of non-Christians must inevitably introduce rock music, plays, thematic sermons, etc. Then the motto does read: "Main concern: I get visitors from my target group at my event." The well-known Bible exegete John MacArthur points out that, after the death of Ananias and Sapphira great fear overcame all who heard about it (Acts 5,11). He continues: After verse 13, the unbelievers did not dare associate with them. That stands in diametrical opposition to the currently so popular philosophy of user-friendliness. Instead of enticing the people by giving them the feeling that they are welcome and safe, God used fear to keep them out. Likewise, Erwin Lutzer, the pastor-teacher of the Moody Bible Church in Chicago, describes the tension between the love and holiness of the church: the love in the church attracts the world; the holiness within the church condemns it. At the time of the early church, those outside the church experienced great fear when they saw how the church devoted itself to discipline and a holy life. Now the proponents of this model argue that the seeker worship services are merely evangelistic events under different names. The worship service for the church would take place at midweek. The believers in Saddleback do meet on Wednesday evening. Nevertheless, I cannot agree with this view. On the one hand, it would still undermine the biblical "concept of the worship service." The New Testament describes the coming together of Christians as a meeting of believers. In such a meeting God is worshiped, Christians are built up and equipped. On the other hand, I fear that most churches in our country that offer "visitor-friendly services" evangelize only on Sunday, without equal intensity for the complete, required provisions for teaching, building up and equipping. Again, pragmatism contributes to a trivialization of the biblical view of church life. A church needs "sound teaching" to strengthen faith and becoming deeply rooted in the Lord (Acts 2,42; 11, 26; etc.). That Rick Warren has little understanding of such questions is shown by the fact that he describes the critics of the visitor-friendly approach on pages 237-38 sweepingly as "Pharisees" and as those who shoot arrows. In that way he immunizes himself against any biblically grounded correction.

The Anthropocentric Approach

In the Bible God is at the center (theocentric) and not the human being (anthropocentric). This was how it was to be in the New Testament church (Eph 3,21). This view was undisputed for hundreds of years. Only in the 20th century, in the age of "existentialism," did Christian leaders dare to place the human being with his needs as such at the center of the event. Where this happens, the church of Christ is in danger of losing sight of God’s glory and deteriorating into a psychologized "need satisfaction institution."

Warren makes no secret of his "market strategy"

In The Purpose-Driven Church, Warren reveals his foundational philosophy to the reader: "A good salesman knows you always start with the customer’s needs, not the product." Two pages further, he writes: "Simply thinking through the needs of the audience will help determine God’s will for the message." These sentences could come just as easily from the pen of the marketing specialist George Barna. Along with my companions, I could see at his Easter service in 2000 that Warren really acts in accordance with this motto. He even managed to explain one of the "great acts of God" in an entirely anthropocentric way (in line with the theme: "What does the Resurrection mean for our everyday lives?"). But such sermon content fits the fundamental attitude of the preacher precisely. In a section concerned with the needs of human beings, he writes: "It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart .... The most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs." I am interested in how Pastor Warren brings this statement into harmony with the biblical teaching of the elect (Jn 6,44; Rom 8,29-30; Eph 1,4-6; etc.). In my estimation, Rick Warren, along with many other preachers, is in danger of proclaiming a message that would, in the first instance, respond to the longing for happiness. After more than 20 years experience in evangelism, I know about the difficult wrestling of how many truths of discipleship one can ask of a non-believer. One thing is, however, clear. Whoever always preaches a message of "Come to Jesus and you’ll be happy" proclaims a reduced version of the gospel. If a listener hears only a proclamation of this kind, he will find it difficult to arrive at true life from God.

A Shocking Confession" from Willow Creek Community Church / Article Bob Burney, 2007-10-30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -If you are older than 40 the name Benjamin Spock is more than familiar. It was Spock that told an entire generation of parents to take it easy, don’t discipline your children and allow them to express themselves. Discipline, he told us, would warp a child’s fragile ego. Millions followed this guru of child development and he remained unchallenged among child rearing professionals. However, before his death Dr. Spock made an amazing discovery: He was wrong. In fact, he said:

"We have reared a generation of brats. Parents aren’t firm enough with their children for fear of losing their love or incurring their resentment. This is a cruel deprivation that we professionals have imposed on mothers and fathers. Of course, we did it with the best of intentions. We didn’t realize until it was too late how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self assurance of parents."


Something just as momentous, in my opinion, just happened in the evangelical community. For most of a generation evangelicals have been romanced by the "seeker-sensitive" movement spawned by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. The guru of this movement is Bill Hybels. He and others have been telling us for decades to throw out everything we have previously thought and been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry.

Perhaps inadvertently, with this "new wave" of ministry came a de-emphasis on taking personal responsibility for Bible study combined with an emphasis on felt-needs based "programs" and slick marketing.

The size of the crowd rather than the depth of the heart determined success. If the crowd was large then they though surely God was blessing the ministry. Churches were built by demographic studies, professional strategists, marketing research, meeting "felt needs" and sermons consistent with these techniques. We were told that preaching was out, relevance was in. Doctrine didn’t matter nearly as much as innovation. If it wasn’t "cutting edge" and consumer friendly it was doomed. The mention of sin, salvation and sanctification were taboo and replaced by Starbucks, strategy and sensitivity.

Thousands of pastors hung on every word that emanated from the lips of the church growth experts. Satellite seminars were packed with hungry church leaders learning the latest way to "do church." The promise was clear: Thousands of people and millions of dollars couldn’t be wrong. Forget what people need, give them what they want. How can you argue with the numbers? If you dared to challenge the "experts" you were immediately labeled as a "traditionalist," a throwback to the 50s, a stubborn dinosaur unwilling to change with the times.

All that changed recently.

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled "Reveal: Where Are You?," co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings "ground breaking," "earth shaking" and "mind blowing." And no wonder: It seems that the "experts" were wrong.

The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments:

"Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for."

If you simply want a crowd, the "seeker-sensitive" model produces results. If you want solid, sincere, mature followers of Christ, it’s a bust. In a shocking confession, Hybels states:

"We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ’self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their Bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own."

Incredibly, the guru of church growth now tells us that people need to be reading their Bibles and taking responsibility for their spiritual growth.

Just as Spock’s "mistake" was no minor error, so the error of the seeker-sensitive movement is monumental in its scope. The foundation of thousands of American churches is now discovered to be mere sand. The one individual who has had perhaps the greatest influence on the American church in our generation has now admitted his philosophy of ministry, in large part, was a "mistake." The extent of this error defies measurement.

Perhaps the most shocking thing of all in this revelation coming out of Willow Creek is in a summary statement by Greg Hawkins:

"Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet."

Isn’t that what we were told when this whole seeker-sensitive thing started? The church growth gurus again want to throw away their old assumptions and "take out a clean sheet of paper" and, presumably, come up with a new paradigm for ministry.

Should this be encouraging?

Please note that "rooted in Scripture" still follows "rethink," "new insights" and "informed research." Someone, it appears, still might not get it. Unless there is a return to simple biblical (and relevant) principles, a new faulty scheme will replace the existing one and another generation will follow along as the latest piper plays.

What we should find encouraging, at least, in this "confession" coming from the highest ranks of the Willow Creek Association is that they are coming to realize that their existing "model" does not help people grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ. Given the massive influence this organization has on the American church today, let us pray that God would be pleased to put structures in place at Willow Creek that foster not mere numeric growth, but growth in grace.

Bob Burney is Salem Communications’ award-winning host of "Bob Burney Live," heard weekday afternoons on WRFD-AM 880 in Columbus, Ohio. This column originally appeared at

The Americans Do Not Want Wars.

Interview with Vidal Gore, the cousin of Al Gore, former vice-president of the USA

"The American people do not want war. The leaders of the United States, the owners of this country, must, however, conduct wars. Otherwise, they do not receive the necessary money for the Pentagon, sums that are then passed on to Boeing and Lockheed. It is also very important that we have enemies. That is why we always create new ones.

In comparison, the American people do not even know where the countries in question are located on the map. We do not have any public school system; the average American has almost no education in general. In America we have a quarter billion people of whom more than half are functionally illiterate. Only one per cent of Americans read books at all.

The United States has a tendency to demonize foreign individuals. They are allegedly drug addicts, they cheat on their wives, wear women’s clothes, etc. Since Pearl Harbor, no country has invaded us. We have always attacked other countries first. And we always have an excuse ready. These countries shelter terrorists or they are on the point of abandoning the free world and becoming communist.

We have a one-party system with two right wings; one calls itself Republican, the other Democrat. But both are financed by big business. The Republicans are much further right, are richer, and probably defend the war interests somewhat more strongly than the Democrats. But this is the only fine distinction one can find."

(From: Interview with Vidal Gore, the cousin of the former US vice-president Al Gore "Amerika braucht Feinde" (America Needs Enemies) FAZ, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

The Berlin Declaration.

The Berlin Declaration, a document signed by over 50 representatives of German churches, declared that the Pentecostal movement was from "below." The clear warnings were ignored, however, by the leading Pentecostals. Unfortunately, no writings can be found, among the many works by Pentecostal and Charismatic figures against the Berlin Declaration, that take up the statements made in the Declaration, let alone those that take a biblically grounded position. It is also very difficult to find a print of the Berlin Declaration in Pentecostal and Charismatic literature. We do not believe that this document has lost any of its actuality either.

(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)


The undersigned brothers raise their voices in warning against the so-called Pentecostal Movement.

1. After serious joint examination of the comprehensive and reliable material before the Lord, we have come to the following conclusion:

a) The movement is inseparably connected with the movement of Los Angeles, Christiana, Hamburg, Kassel, Grossalmerode. The attempts to deny this connection fail because of the actual facts.

b) The so-called Pentecostal movement is not from above but from below; it has many phenomena in common with Spiritism. Demons are at work in it that, led by Satan’s cunning, mix lies and truth in order to deceive the children of God. In many cases, those who have been said to have "received gifts from the Spirit" later prove to have been possessed.

c) Regarding this conviction, that this movement is from below, we cannot be misled by the personal faithfulness and devotion of individual leading brothers and sisters nor by the healings, tongues, prophecies, etc. by which the movement is accompanied. Such signs have often been connected with similar movements, e.g. Irvingianism, even, indeed, with Christian Science and Spiritism.

d) The spirit in this movement produces spiritual and bodily effects of power. Nevertheless, this is a false spirit. It has been exposed as such. The ugly phenomena like falling down, facial twitches, trembling, crying out, revolting loud laughter, etc. also appear in meetings at this time. We leave it open as to how much of this is demonic, how much hysterical or psychological; such phenomena are not brought about by God.

e) The spirit of this movement introduces itself via the Word of God, but the Word is pushed into the background by so-called "prophecies." Cf. 2 Chronicles 18,18-22. In general, these prophecies contain a great danger: not only do they turn out to have clear contradictions within themselves, but they now and then bring brothers and their entire work into slavish dependence on these "messages." The latter resemble the messages of spiritual mediums in the way they are sent. The senders are mostly women. At certain points of the movement this has led, contrary to the clear prophecies of Scripture, to women, even young girls, being at the center in leadership positions.

2. It is impossible for us to acknowledge such a movement as sent by God. It is, of course, not excluded that the proclamation of the Word of God in the meetings will produce fruit by the same internal power. Inexperienced brothers and sisters let themselves be deceived by such blessings of the Word of God. But this does not change at all the fact that this movement as a whole has the character of a lie. Cf. 2 Cor. 11,3.4.14.

3. The church of God in Germany has reason to reflect deeply on the fact that this movement could start. We are all guilty because of our lacks and omissions, particularly with respect to intercession. The lack of biblical knowledge and grounding, of holy seriousness and vigilance, a superficial view of sin and grace, of conversion and rebirth, an arbitrary exegesis of the Bible, the desire for new, exciting phenomena, the inclination to exaggerate, but above all also arrogance – all this paved the way for this movement.

4. But in particular, the non-biblical teaching of so-called "pure heart" has become disastrous for many circles and beneficial for the so-called Pentecostal movement. This concerns the fallacy that "internal sin" is eradicated in a pardoned and sanctified Christian. We hold to the truth that the Lord can and will preserve his own from all stumbling and falling (1 Thess 5,23; Jude 24,25; Hebr 13,21) and that they have power to reign over sin through the Holy Spirit. But no one receives, while yet on earth, a pure heart – with all God-given and lasting preservation – that goes beyond Paul’s humble confession: "I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted." Even the most advanced Christian has to bow before God who alone judges the true state of the heart, cf. 1 Cor. 4:4. "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 Jn 1:8).

The believer in Christ does receive a spotless, purified heart, it is true, but the fallacy that the heart can reach a state of sinlessness has already brought many children of God under the curse of insincerity with respect to sin, has deceived them about sins that are still present in their thoughts, in their omissions or in their falling short of the high commandments of God in their lives. One cannot be admonished enough to keep an eye open for those sins, an eye that is not blinded by a humanly produced sanctification or by an imagined teaching that the sinful nature is removed.

Inadequate attention to one’s own sin bars the way to new blessings and brings one under the influence of the devil. Unhappy experiences at present show that where one claims to have reached a state of sinlessness, the believer can come to such a point that he is no longer capable of admitting an error, let alone confessing it. A further unhappy consequence of a false doctrine of sanctification is its associated disparagement of the biblical divinely ordained married life, by presenting marital intercourse between man and woman as incompatible with true sanctification. Cf. Gen. 1,28 and Eph. 5,31.

5. P. Paul appears in public as the leader in the so-called "Pentecostal Movement." At the same time he is the chief representative of the unbiblical teachings rejected above. We love him as a brother and wish to serve him and the flock of his followers in truth. It pains us to have to take a position against him. There has been no lack of discussions with him and admonitions in narrower and wider brotherly circles. Since everything was in vain, we must now for his sake and for that of God’s affairs state herewith: We, the undersigned brothers, can no longer recognize him as a leader and teacher in the church of Jesus. We command him in love, faith and hope to the grace of the Lord that restores all things.

6. We believe that there was only one Pentecost, Acts 2. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who will remain in the church of Jesus Christ for eternity; cf. Jn 14:16. We are aware that the church of God has always received and needed renewed visitations of grace by the Holy Spirit. The admonition of the apostle applies to everyone: "Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph 5:18). The way to that is and remains complete fellowship with the crucified, resurrected and exalted Lord. In him the fullness of the Spirit dwells in person, from whom we take grace upon grace. We do not expect a new Pentecost; we wait for the Lord’s return.

Hereby we request all our brothers and sisters, for the sake of the Lord and his affairs, which Satan wants to ruin: Keep away from this movement! But whoever among you is caught by the power of this spirit, he should renounce it and ask God for forgiveness and liberation. Do not despair in the battles through which many, perhaps, will go. Satan will not surrender his dominion easily. But be assured: The Lord will support us throughout! He has freed many and wants to give them the true equipment of the Spirit.

Our sure confidence in this difficult time is this: God’s people will emerge blessed from these battles! You too may say that to yourselves, beloved brothers and sisters, who stand shaken by the facts before which our words place you. The Lord will give light to the simple and the humble and strengthen and preserve them.

We entrust ourselves to Jesus, the Chief Shepherd. If everyone makes room for the Lord and his Word, as is due to him, then he will carry out the work of his Spirit that he began so graciously in Germany, to his glorious, divinely ordained end. We entrust ourselves to him who said: "Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands" Isa 45:11

Berlin, September 15, 1909

The signees are: Bähren, Hannover; Bartsch, Charlottenburg; Blecher, Friedrichshagen; Broda, Gelsenkirchen; A. Dallmeyer, Leipzig; Dolmann, Wandsbek; Engel, Neurode; Evers, Rixdorf; Frank, Hamburg; Grote, Oberfischbach; Hermann, Berlin; Heydorn, Frankfurt a. Oder; Huhn, Freienwalde a. Oder; Ihloff, Neumünster; Jörn, Berlin; Kmitta, Preuss.-Bahnau; Knippel, Duisburg; Köhler, Berlin; Graf Korff, Hannover; Kühn, Gr. Lichterfelde; Lammert, Berlin; Lohe, Breslau; K. Mascher, Steglitz; Fr. Mascher, Lehe i. Hannover; Meister, Waldenburg i. Schlesien; Merten, Elberfeld; Michaelis, Bielefeld; Freiherr v. Patow, Zinnitz; Rohrbach, Charlottenburg; von Rot(h)kirch, Berlin; Rudersdorf, Düsseldorf; Ruprecht, Herischdorf; Sartorius, Sterbfritz; Scharwächter, Leipzig; Schiefer, Neukirchen; Schopf,Witten a. d. Ruhr; Schrenk, Barmen; Schütz, Berlin; Schütz, Rawitsch; Seitz, Teichwolframsdorf; Simoleit, Berlin; Stockmayer, Hauptweil; Freiherr von Thiele-Winckler, Rothenmoor; Thiemann, Marklissa; von Tres(c)kow, Camenz i. Schlesien; Freiherr von Thümmler, Selka; M. Urban, Kattowitz; Urbschat, Hela; Vasel, Königsberg; von Viebahn, Stettin; Wächter, Frankfurt a. Main; Wallraff, Berlin; Warns, Berlin; Wittekindt, Wernigerode a. Harz; Wüsten, Görlitz; von Zastrow, Gr. Breesen; Agreements were asked from Wittekindt in Wernigerode.

Mass grave in nunnery-The little victims of the merciless / By Peter Nonnenmacher 2014-06-05

Shock in Ireland: nearly 800 infants and children are said to have been buried in the disused septic tank of an Irish children’s home from 1921 to 1965: And by nuns for whom these little ones were "born in sin"-and not much was done to keep them alive.

How nuns in homes harassed unmarried mothers is the subject of the film.
unmarried mothers is the subject of the film
"The Unmerciful Sisters"
Photo: picture alliance

Tuam-With new church atrocities apparently covered up for decades, the people of Ireland are now being confronted. In the disused septic tank of a religious home for unwed mothers and their children, the remains of babies and children have been discovered who were allegedly secretly buried there between 1925 and 1961. There are said to be close to 800 skeletons.

The babies and children, aged up to nine years, are believed to have died as a result of malnutrition and neglect, measles, tuberculosis and pneumonia. They were in the care of the Sisters of the Order of Bon Secours at their children’s home in Tuam in County Galway, western Ireland. The nuns allegedly buried the perished children anonymously in the concrete container of the former septic tank instead of giving them a Christian burial in surrounding cemeteries.

Politicians call for investigation

News of the mass grave at Tuam follows a string of revelations about child abuse by priests and the mistreatment of children and defenseless young women by religious organizations since the founding of the Irish state. Once again, a "shocking reference to a dark past in Ireland" has been made, according to Charie Flanagan, the Irish Minister for Children.

Politicians of all parties are now calling for a "historical inquiry" into this and other religious sites. The senator for Galway, Hildegard Naughton, spoke of a mass "killing" that must be punished. Colm Keaveney, a Tuam MP, raised the question of whether the state had failed in its duty of oversight. Criticism was leveled at the government, church leadership and Irish media alike for all remaining ironclad in silence instead of investigating the matter, despite recent evidence of the mass grave. In May, the Irish Mail on Sunday had already reported on the affair. According to this report, the corpse-filled pit in Tuam had indeed been no secret to the Catholic Church of Ireland for a long time.

In the seventies the grave was sealed

Back in the seventies, two twelve-year-old boys playing in the grounds of the now-demolished children’s home are said to have lifted a stone slab and discovered the mass grave. The tank was "full to the top with skeletons," one of the two recalls today. A priest came, blessed the grave and had it resealed.

Those who knew about the grave remained silent in the decades that followed. It wasn’t until local historian Catherine Corless became aware of a mysterious "children’s cemetery" in Tuam and investigated the matter that the veil began to lift. Corless followed up on all the entries in Galway’s birth and death registers that listed "the children’s home at Tuam" as the place of death. She came across 797 names but only one child who had been buried in a normal grave at the time.

The church considered the children to be born in sin

The remaining 796 must be in the pit, which was right next to the Bon Secours Sisters’ home, Corless, the historian, concluded. Since these were children "born in sin," their families apparently did not expect to ever see these children again, either. Director Peter Mullan had tackled the subject in the 2002 film "The Unmerciful Sisters."

Some of the boys and girls were, as the recent movie "Philomena" (with Judi Dench in the title role) recalled, given up for adoption by the nuns without the knowledge of their mothers, often to the USA. Very many died in the homes, where they were poorly fed and lived in cramped quarters and in the greatest filth and misery. A 1944 report by health authorities describes the Tuam home as a hotbed of deadly disease, overcrowded with hundreds of emaciated children.

Several films focus on the dark history

Philomena Lee, whose search for her son is the subject of the award-winning Philomena film, said of the Tuam find, "Maybe the state believed these mass graves would never be found. They seem to want to sweep it under the rug, but this story needs to get out to the wider public."

Plaques and wordy regret alone won’t do the trick, according to other Irish government and church critics. Labour senator Lorraine Higgins said, "It’s high time the church authorities told us where all the other bodies and misdeeds lie buried."

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Criteria and information for the assessment of the "Toronto Blessing". / Lecture Andrea Strübind, 2001-06-15

Andrea Strübind Th.D., aged 33, is the pastor of a Free Evangelical (Baptist) congregation in Munich. Until 1995 she was section head with responsibility for the Free Churches in the Ökumenisch-Missionarisches Institut Berlin [Ecumenical Missionary Institute of Berlin], a part of the Ökumenischer Rat Berlin [Ecumenical Council of Berlin], the Berlin ACK. The present text is based on her lecture for the meeting of the Bundesleitung des Bundes Evangelisch-Freikirchlicher Gemeinden (Baptisten) BEFG [Governing Body of the Federation of Free Evangelical Congregations (Baptists)] in February 1995. This lecture is published with the kind permission of the author here at in Discourse 33

The American DeMoss Foundation’s "Power to Live" Campaign. / Analysis Thomas Gandow, 2002-03-04

The dispatch by Pastor Thomas Gandow, (Landeskirchliches Pfarramt für Sekten- und Weltanschauungsfragen, Evangelische Kirche in Berlin-Brandenburg, Heimat 27 D-14165 Berlin-Zehlendorf), previously available at this link, about the "Power to Live" campaign of the American DeMoss Foundation is now published in Discussion Forum – Discourse 43

The Spread of the Pentecostal Spirit / Lecture Helmut Haasis, 2004-3-13

The slightly edited version of a lecture given by Helmut Haasis, a Bremen educationalist, at the spring conference of the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bekennende Gemeinde" [Confessing Congregation Working Group] in association with the 85th Bünde Conference (12-14 March 2004) in Bünde-Hüffen. It has been taken from newssheet no. 35/7,2004 of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bekennende Gemeinde, and is published with kind permission of the author here at in Discourse 70

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