Month: October 2016

Testimony of Former Racer

This testimony was written, to the author of The Watchman’s Bagpipes, in response to our guest post on Oct 11, 2016.

“I read your blog about AIM and The World Race. I went on TWR [The World Race] back around 2010 and I couldn’t agree with you more. 
I was raised in a fundamentally nondenominational Christian home and numerous times when interacting with AIM leadership I would feel uncomfortable, the hairs on my neck would stand up, and I’d get a desire to flee because of some of your aforementioned concerns.
Emphasis was placed on works, miracles, and “having the same power as Christ because he resides inside us.” The Holy Spirit was treated as an entity that gave us the “feel goods,” and “free-thinking” prayer was utilized – think: autowriting, signs and wonders, coincidences being God’s signals that only we can decipher, etc.
The other thing that bothered me is that we are exposed to a lot in the World and they didn’t offer any post-trip counseling. I had issues from TWR that I had to decompress from and seek counseling in years later.
Leadership never discouraged wilder approaches to Racers’ beliefs and it quickly turned into a “blind leading the blind” scenario. 
I had people in my group that only wanted to go to a funeral [because] they believed they could raise them from the dead. Another group claimed they DID raise a boy from the dead after he was hit by a car (reality: the boy passed out due to shock and reawakened quickly due to his body naturally rebooting).   Another guy would get drunk on the Holy Spirit and look for gold dust and feathers because those were signs of God’s Presence. Another girl claimed she was raped by her boyfriend because he wanted to have sex and she felt pressured to do so and eventually gave in. That’s NOT rape! She wanted justification for giving in to Sin and wanted to take the blame off herself. 
Leadership encouraged this false mindset and it was actually one of the first times when I really noticed something was off theologically about this group. After all my expenses were paid for by donors, AIM tried to retroactively charge me more because of a new credit card and auto-withdrawal policy, ie a vendor charge for each card transaction that [went] into place after I had signed the paperwork. I refused to pay out of principle.
The only “possessed people” we encountered were from within our own group and I was always raised to believe that I was protected from possession by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the acceptance of Christ and atonement for Sin. Two different girls, who admittedly were the most dramatic and attention seeking in our group, got “possessed” on more than one occasion.
There were times I would ask leadership where I could find some of what they were teaching in the Bible and they scoffed at me. I never could find Biblical support.
We did visualization exercises.
I got chills when you mentioned the difference between bringing Christ’s Kingdom to Earth and the return of Christ. Because they want the former.
Seth Barnes was not an approachable person and once ridiculed me in front of a large group because he asked me what my “kingdom dream” was and I told him it’s between two different ones, but he cut me short and said I can only have one. He did this mostly because he didn’t care what my dreams were, he was trying to make a point and move on to the next point he wanted to make.
So, context… I currently do shift work at nights and was thinking about AIM and TWR recently … While I made the choice, I definitely believe this group had a huge impact on me walking away from Christianity.  I found that interesting, but what better way for Evil to triumph than to pose as something good and do more long-lasting, subtle damage, with attacks that come in unforeseen forms? Maybe AIM leadership and Barnes have good intentions, but they are definitely paving the path to Hell.
I was taught that in warfare a corrupt opponent will fight dirty. They won’t come at you directly, but they will attack at the chink in your armor. I think that Barnes’ chink is his desire to leave a lasting impact on Earth for the greater good. He believes he is destined for great things and he found a way to market an antithesis to traditional Church upbringings, youth’s desire to be different and change the world, and a fun trip you can sucker other people into paying for.
I was on the trip when leadership had a meeting with us, livid that rumors were spreading that they were a cult and we were advised that it comes from controlling parents that were upset because we were put on a mandatory “technology fast.”  We were then told we need to tell our parents we are adults and that this was the best thing for us. Reality? There were a few people 5 months in that were still spending hours every day Skyping or communicating with family/friends back home. It became an issue but we got lumped into a “let’s punish them all so as to not single anyone out and we’ll tell them it will make them spiritually stronger.”
However, as much as I don’t like AIM, what they stand for, or what they are doing, I experienced it firsthand and I didn’t drink the Kool-aid.”
We are sure there are many more testimonies to be heard that confirm our concerns.  We would be grateful to hear from you, these stories need to be shared (anonymously if you prefer), the enemy loves the darkness. For the Glory of Christ our Savior and in gratefulness to His sacrifice on our behalf.


World Race Short Term Mission trips with Adventures in Missions

“Desire without knowledge in the business of

missions is dangerous, even spiritually deadly”

We want to help families and churches make wise decisions about the value of short term mission trips with Adventures in Missions on the World Race.

A few thoughts from a well written article…

Stop Sending Missionaries: Why More Isn’t Always Better

“The Great Commission is immense, and just like any immense task it requires vision, dedication, and a lot of manpower. That being said, there are many times when I want to stop and say to the Western church:

“Stop sending them! Stop sending under-qualified missionaries!”

To be sure, the workers are few, and the harvest is great. But that does not mean that more workers are necessarily better. It seems that the impatience that so marks the current generation has infiltrated the missionary movement under the guise of “urgency.” This impatience, rather than being curbed by church leaders, is often fostered and even encouraged.

And the result?

A lot of people are going to the nations who, frankly, shouldn’t be going—at least not yet.

Here’s the question I wish more churches would consider: Why would you send someone to plant churches abroad who you would never hire as a pastor or nominate as a lay elder?

Why does it seem that “passion” rather than proven faithfulness is the main criterion for sending men and women to support those church planters? Why on earth is the bar set lower for the frontlines than it is for the local church?…

The challenges of frontier ministry, its stresses and temptations, are very real, and time and again people are sent to face those challenges who have much zeal but lack understanding. So the wise man rightly said by the Holy Spirit,

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Prov. 19:2 ESV).

This proverb sums up the state of missions among some missions enterprises very well: desire without knowledge. And desire without knowledge in the business of missions is dangerous, even spiritually deadly.

This field that is white for harvest is being filled with laborers who destroy the crop, those who misuse or disuse the tools God has given them. Imagine a field full of people swinging a scythe in the wrong direction and sometimes from the wrong end. And too often—if I dare drag out the metaphor a bit further—they are not using the scythe at all. Their hands are empty—not a pretty picture…

If you speak to an older generation of missionaries, you’ll find that in by-gone days Bible college was a requirement. If you read the biographies of guys like Adoniram Judson, you’ll find that ordination was required. But these days, once a church gives approval, folks can pass a few evaluations and attend a two-week boot-camp (AIM has a one week training camp) and be rather quickly approved for the field…(Racers apply and are often approved within 2 weeks)

Heresy proliferates because they don’t really know their message. Worldly living prevails because so many missionaries are spiritually immature and practically unaccountable. Church, stop sending people who don’t know their God, don’t know their message, and don’t know what it is like to submit to authority.

Please, for the sake of God’s glory, stop.

Desire is commendable, but desire comes and goes. It is calling that should be required and celebrated. Not just any “calling,” mind you, but a calling rooted in truth and affirmed by others, particularly those who know you well and have for a long time, one that has accompanied years’ worth of fruitfulness, that has as its chief aims the glory of God and the sure promises of the gospel as revealed in Scripture….

We have pointed out in other posts that Adventures in Missions has no Gospel message, a lack of Biblical understanding and the aim of this organization seems to be the glory of themselves not God. The exact opposite of a Biblical reason for missions.

A few suggestions from this article we thought wise advice for churches and families that are considering supporting a member on the World Race:

1) Teach them well so that they will be able to teach others well; don’t send them until they have shown they can do the same. (2 Tim. 2:2)

2) Make sure that they are able to articulate sound doctrine and refute false doctrine. An inability to answer objections and correct falsehood is a recipe for disaster when encountering other religions or worse—other errant missionaries. (Titus 1:9, Eph. 4:14)

3) Make sure they are able to submit to biblical authority. (not Seth’s abusive authority… church authority as laid out by Christ, the head of the church) … they need to spend some time gladly submitting to accountability before they can be sent with confidence. (Heb. 13:17-18)

4) Connected to #3 is the need for proven godly character. This is something that can only be ascertained over an extended period of close interaction and persistent discipleship, not a session with a counselor and a personality profile. (AIM loves personality profiles!) Unchecked sins get worse on the front lines, not better. (Heb. 12:1)

5) If you would not make a man an elder in your church, then don’t send him to plant churches anywhere, much less overseas. If you are sending someone who isn’t elder material or isn’t quite there yet, then I would suggest sending them somewhere with an established church where you know their spiritual development and ministry will be seen by faithful shepherds. (Heb. 10:24-25)

6) The aim of every pioneer worker you send should be one of two things: joining an existing church or gathering believers to start a new church as soon as possible. (Acts 20:28, 16:13)

7) Finally, let there be consensus in the sending church that these people being sent are called and ready. This will safeguard the ones being sent and give them an amazing boost of encouragement that they are part of something bigger than their own ambition, which can easily fade or redirect quickly. (Acts 13:3)

So let’s feel the urgency, but not at the expense of wisdom.

The glory of God is at stake.

How does this compare…Seth writes, as a guest post on “Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, Inappropriate remarks, embarrassing antics and generally lame observations from an American Missionary”, …

“I’m almost 53 – an age where you’d think I’d be enjoying some respectability. But frankly, I’ve always thought respectability is overrated.after having destroyed years of missiological witness, still laughing, we beat the rest of the group to the truck, pausing along the way in a goat field to pick up chunks of goat dung and throw them at one another… This month, we’re celebrating our 90,000th missionary to go into the field. I like to think of it as 90,000 attempts at greatness. Some have failed, some have succeeded. Most have been messy.

One thing I’ve learned is that we’re all a mess….

We hope to send out as many messy people as possible in the next 20 years. They have no delusions about respectability, and those are the people Jesus seems to favor. And they’re the ones I want work with. Because I’m one of them.”

Is this the organization that God will bless because of the faithful, humble, Christlike example of it’s leader? Be discerning.

“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:7-9



Repentance-an unbiblical view

The Westminster Shorter Catechism has an excellent definition of repentance in Question 87:

“Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.”

What Do I Need to Repent For?

In this recent blog post by Seth Barnes, though the title would lend itself to the sharing of the Gospel, alas there is no Gospel message .  The very simple answer to the question posed in the title is of course “sin”.  As sinners separated from a Holy God we need to repent of our sin.  Unfortunately, sin is no where to be found amidst the verbiage.

“Some people are born bounding out of bed, but most of the rest of us have this daily struggle. I think God gives it to us in part as a reminder of what he is looking for in the spirit. We are asleep and we need to awaken.

Jesus writes the church, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore…and repent.””

Seth curiously left out this part of Rev 3:3 out and did not use the Scripture reference. “Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”

Cross reference: 2 Tim 1:13- “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

This verse is saying remember and obey the written Word!  The result of this dead faith is the destruction of all the unrepentant at His return.  Judgement.  We have yet to see AIM speak of the coming judgement which could be a reason this verse was cut short.

“I knew he wanted me to share this passage at the Awakening, but then, because I believe that leaders need to model what they want from their followers, his action plan made me squirm.”

As well it should, except that Seth’s action plan is not what Jesus actually said to the church at Sardis.  If Seth had been hearing from God the message he gave at Awakening would have been the Gospel. (see our post,The Awakening“)

“Many of us were slumbering in the spirit. Jesus wanted us to wake up, so he wanted us to repent. And if he wanted us to repent, then he specifically wanted me to repent. People do what they see. As babies, we learn to mimic the smiles of our parents. Our mirror neurons cause us to grow into our humanity in the reflection of example. Leaders need to model behavior.”


“If our deeds were not complete, then that was true for me too. If we had a reputation for being alive, but were in some way dead, then I could start the accountability with myself.”

Accountability?  Christ is telling them to repent and get saved as judgement is coming!! He is speaking of a dead, unrepentant, and unregenerate church that he is coming to destroy if they don’t submit to Him as Lord.

“Ugh. So in the morning before the Awakening, walking on my driveway, I wrestled this out. “OK, God, you have my attention, what should I repent for?”  I needed to repent. And he began to unravel it for me. Not all at once. Not as though I were taking dictation. But in pieces the thoughts came to me. Sixteen years earlier, He’d told me that a fatherless generation was growing up and that I should minister out of a fathering spirit. But too often since then, I’ve defaulted to positional authority and stewardship.”

Basically, Seth is interested in influencing more kids and having them call him “Papa”.  Is this why he needs to repent?

“For 16 years I’ve felt awkward in the role. I’ve wanted to defer to those for whom fathering came more naturally. But what people wanted from me was the fathering hat more than the boss hat.  “OK, God, I get it.”

The conversation on my driveway continued as I listened for God’s still small voice. “And it’s not just one father – it’s a group of them. This tribe will never be born if the elders don’t step upif the fathers don’t become elders. Young people are jaded. All they’ve seen are leaders who act out of self-interest. Who will show them a better way?””

This is absolutely frightening.  Seth has just undermined fathers, grandfathers, pastors, etc.  He will show them a better way. While “seeming” humble he is saying God is telling him to be their spiritual father.  This is reminiscent of cult language…“the tribe will never be born”…

“”It’s true. I have looked for that too. We do have much to repent for.” I paused and reluctantly asked, “OK, while we’re on a roll, Lord, is there anything else on your heart?”I was confused.

I’m collapsing time here as I play the conversation back to you. I’m not sure when it came to me, but the thought occurred, “the very thing God asked me to do is the thing I need to repent for.””

Again, what exactly is he repenting for? 

“In 2007, while jogging on a Swazi road, the Lord had said, “Scale this for a movement.” I heard it, and knowing he was talking about the World Race, received it. And like Geppetto in the shoe shop, I’ve been diligently working on the assignment ever since. But now God was saying “repent.” Being a human being is confusing. You think you’re doing the right thing, and then you get a little perspective and you go, “whoops.””

Stay in the Word of God alone and you will never be confused.  It is clear, sufficient and authoritative.

 “Because so many people wanted to go on the World Race, I thought I had to scale at the speed of demand. We could only accept one in nine people showing interest in the Race. What was I to do? Obviously we needed people who thought more systemically than I did.

And so, we brought in people from outside. People who had skills and great intentions. Good people. Diligent people. People who slowly began to steer God’s dream off course. People I had to ask to leave. People who still may be nursing the wounds of our conversations.”

 He is “repenting” that he did not have full control and all the authority over these kids!

“The results hurt a lot of people. Who was responsible for their pain? Ultimately me. Growth hurts. We all make mistakes, but leaders have to own the consequences of their actions.”

 This certainly seems to be false humility. He has taken a position of authority, intentionally usurping the role of parents in the lives of these young people.  The endless praise of the kids that call him “Daddy” is very disturbing.

 “Last Thursday night, standing in front of the Awakening crowd, including my own board of directors, I shared all this. Because, much as I hated being up there, I only know one way to lead and ever since Adventures started in ’89, I’ve been messing up and repenting.”

 See our post on the Awakening for more info.

“It’s what God wants.  Then during Saturday’s session, God showed us he wasn’t finished. Jesse Green, a Racer alum, began to speak to the crowd about what else he wanted. And watching her, God was continuing to speak to me.

If you were there, you may have thought, “Well, this certainly isn’t on my schedule.” It wasn’t on mine, either. But it seemed that God wanted to do something with us to restore his body to health. We, the body of Christ, had been limping and hiding for a long time. It was time to get on the divine operating table.”

There is no mention of sin or of Christ’s sacrifice, no Gospel yet again.

“I knew that if anyone was exhausted by ten years of messy labor to birth the dream of God, it was Clint. I drug him up onstage. And before long, the crowd was laying hands on the two of us and we were weeping and snotting. If I could have crawled off the stage, I would have. Double ugh. Kneeling there in that heavy place, someone passed me a tissue and I don’t think I’ve ever needed one more.

I guess it was what God had in mind, because the fruit afterwards was good. A number of those who I had hurt came to me over the next few days and said things like, “I’m sorry too. I was hurt. I didn’t even know that I was bitter, but I want to walk in freedom. Will you forgive me?””

Interesting…others needed to repent to Seth.

“Those exchanges are sweet. We are all flawed humans and we do better when we own our status. I don’t know if we’ll ever birth the dream of God. But if we do, we’ll do it together.”

 Sin? Christ? Salvation? Grace? Faith?

There was one scripture verse in this post, that was not even referenced so that it could be easily seen that important words were intentionally left out.  This is not biblical repentance, nor accurate handling of God’s Word.

Of Prophecy and Healing at Project Searchlight

Please read this in light of all the other concerns we have written about. While there are always going to be differing views on the continuation of the miraculous spiritual gifts that is not the intent of this post.  Adventures in Missions admits to being charismatic. However, the fact that there is not a clear Gospel message (see our post Missing the Gospel) as the focus of this organization, this leads us to believe that the professed miracles, healings, and prophecies cannot be works of God. 

There are many published stories and testimonies from Racers who attend Project Searchlight (PSL), a debrief AIM hosts for them one month after they finish the World Race. The majority of these testimonies are self-centered accounts that lack a focus on our Savior.  Often, the Racers write of the romantic Jesus.

The preoccupation on signs and wonders is exactly the warning we are given by Christ and His appointed apostles. No matter what you believe about the miraculous gifts, this warning is a reality.

Matt 7:22  ‘On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matt 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

2 Thess 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The following quotes are taken from the blog posts of Racers after attending Project Searchlight.  It is eyeopening and curiously missing from any description you will find on the websiteAn innocuous, “we will help you debrief” does not accurately describe what transpires at this conference.

“Desiring knowledge and revelation is the driving factor for many racers to attend PSL. Project Searchlight offers prophetic rooms, amazing speakers and many avenues that the Lord works in and through. I am no different when it comes to this. I prayed for The Lord to reveal a calling or a passion that He has yet to reveal to me. But The Lord didn’t do that. He did better. God revealed more of himself to me. During my 10 minute prophetic session, I got the words “romance” and “pursuit” in three visions straight. All visions about Jesus wanting to romanticize me and show me the depths of his relentless pursuit and love for me. This came as a shock to me…When coming to PSL, I suspected to be spiritually refilled, but not spiritually swept off my feet. I knew I was married to The Lord but I have never felt romanticized and desired.” Racer

“Now fast forward to Project Searchlight, where, sitting in the exact same seat I frequented at Training Camp, I had another facet of God to get to know: Jesus as the bridegroom…I read Song of Songs with one eye…  “Come away” we say he says.  We sing, we dance, some guy named Phil called it a “divine romance,” Racer

“That night, we saw the deaf hear, the blind see, and many people with back pains, headaches, stomach pains, and all sorts of afflictions healed right in front of us!  That sort of thing because regular, or as regular as miracles can become.  Racer

“Project Searchlight, a re-entry conference of sorts for returning World Racers...Clint (Bokelman), the guy running the session, invited anyone who needed -you guessed it – physical healing to raise their hand. The rest of us in the room were to then go and pray over those people… “I’m done being cynical. Let’s roll.”…I will admit, I was a little disappointed to have not received complete and total healing in that moment. After all, for the first time in my life, I had believed that God not only could, but would heal.” Racer

“I spent the last five days at Project Searchlight, a re-entry conference type of thing for Racers who recently returned from the field. A hundred or so of us showed up to see just what God had planned for us through worship, sessions, conversations, prophecy and very silly talents…Guitars began strumming and I turned my attention to the stage. Logan began sharing a testimony of healing as the smell of incense filled the room…Ten minutes into it, Clint called up anyone who had just been healed. Two shared about the healing they received in their backs, one shared about being set free of shame, another shared about healing of her past wounds…If you’re not planning to go to Project Searchlight, change your mind. Stop making up excuses, go and see what Papa wants to show you.” Racer

“Project Searchlight offered everything from practical re-entry advice, to deep life-altering words straight from the ThroneroomRacer

“Our second night (of PSL) was the most powerful many people. It was a night of healing and worship. People were getting prayed over and being physically healed!! Arms mended, back and foot injuries with no more pain. The Holy spirit was moving. As the night progressed, it moved from physical into deep soul.” Racer

“I showed up the first day feeling a little weird but excited to see my squad mates. I started listening to the speakers with my guard up, thinking they were just going to shove a bunch of AIM propaganda in my face and try to create an atmosphere of emotions without any long term effect. First slowly, and then all at once, my walls began to crumble. All I have experienced this week are encounters with the Lord, encouragement about following His will for my life, prophecies about my future, physical healing in my lower back, freedom in worship.” Racer

“(At PSL) One of the guys in the room prophesied that I was hearing lies of the enemy. (I hadn’t said a word about what I had been struggling through today.) And he said The Lord was wanting me to close my ears to all the lies the enemy was trying to speak over me to tear me down. So I needed to close my ears but then I also needed to open my ears to His Voice. I needed to listen closely for His Voice to keep speaking trust deep down into my heart about WHO I AM.” Racer

“I didn’t want to come to PSL and go to prophetic rooms and do all of this other weird stuff around 300 people that literally don’t care anything at all about me. I sat in the back with my arms folded, quite typical for me. But then I felt a familiar prod at my heavily burdened heart, and I panicked. God, whatever you’re doing, stop it right now, I don’t want it. I don’t want you right now. I know you always want me, but right now I am angry at you for taking me back home into a space I didn’t want to step back into and now what? I’m surrounded by a bunch of hollering, spiritual psychos….I met SANTA, heard Gods voice in a new way, went to a prophetic room, laughed my face off at a comedy show, and has wisdom poured over me from start to finish.” Racer

“I anticipate that I’ll only have incredible, supernatural things to write home about over the next few months, as I move to Gainesville and partner with AIM to develop me spiritually and professionally. Y’all, I can tell you right now that outside of the context of PSL, I probably would not have seen my way clear to arrive at the conclusion I did. I believe that God would have blessed my decision either way, but I also believe that He is more glorified by this one—something He’s confirmed through my Prophetic Room session, through my own quiet moments with Him.” Racer

“(At PSL) We’ve had worship twice a day. And that has entailed sweating, jumping, screaming, and praying… As well as people getting healed! Prophecy being spoken! And lives being changed! And of course… CHAINS BEING BROKEN!” Racer

“It started with a prophetic room. Two wonderful women prophesied over me about EVERYTHING I have been praying about since the World Race. They confirmed things that were prophesied over me by others months before. That’s when it started. The Holy Spirit started showing up everywhere…And then Clint and Logan start telling us healings were gonna break out in the room…Sarah needs healing for TMJ. Great. God used me to heal a back, why not a jaw. God sent me over here so he’s gonna move. And He did. Another girl Susan and I prayed for Sarah for probably an hour and a half. Each moment seemed to bring a small amount of improvement. God’s kept saying, “I’m not done yet. Don’t you dare give up. And why do you doubt me.” All that was scattered between visions, and words, and prayers. God was moving.” Racer

The general theme in these blogs seems to be the big let down after the World Race. Real life of faithful walking with the Lord this side of heaven is often more ordinary than extraordinary.  The Racers head to Project Searchlight and  get whipped up into a frenzy of undocumented healings, as well as random prophecies and visions that feed their emotions and egos.  The focus of signs, wonders, false prophecies, etc. is clearly a ploy of the enemy to leave these young people discontented with seeking God through His Word and longing for “more”.  We have yet to see a Racer’s blog that pointed to a love of Scripture, fear or reverence for God, or awe and amazement that Christ would suffer and die for us.  How very sad.

Seth as Papa and Daddy

One of the signs of a cult is “Substitution”…Food for thought, an interesting consideration…

“The Cult and cult leaders often take the place of mother, father, priest, teacher, and healer.Often the members takes on the characteristics of a dependent child seeking to win the approval of the leader and or group.”

Parents, after reading our other posts is this what you want for your kids? Why are these kids even prone to calling him by this title? These are a sampling of the comments young racers are writing in response to Seth’s blogs.

“Oh daddy, you’re so great. I just love you. you set such a great example and make it so much easier for everyone else (me) to do the same. I love you!” Commentator

I call you Dad, we do so on account of your proven authenticity over the years. We count ourselves blessed to be fathered by you…I love you Daddy Seth Barnes Commentator

“Dear Daddy Seth,
Greetings! I love this and love you too much because you are my spiritual father

“great blog dad and i really love that picture of you and papa shearman.” Commentators

(see our post, What is the 42nd Generation?, for more about who Andrew Shearman is)

“…very few people will leave you feeling as encouraged as Papa Shearman will!” Commentator

“Dear Daddy Seth,
Thanks for the email.May God bless You.” Commentator

daddy, I just love your blogs/teachings/thoughts/sermons.” Commentator

This is what Seth says about “Fathering”.

“Fathers don’t give themselves the designation of “father,” sons or daughters do. Men who talk about themselves as fathers a lot probably do so out of their own need for affirmation. Be careful of them...”Don’t confuse authority figures, especially your pastor, with your spiritual father. Pastors may qualify as a spiritual father if they show up in your life over time in a deeply invested and personal way.”    Seth

how ironic…

“…And after considering, I chose the role of being a father…So now we’re focusing our attention on becoming a spiritual mom and dad to many of their peers.” Seth

how contradictory…

“He’d (Jesus) told me that a fatherless generation was growing up and that I should minister out of a fathering spirit.”  Seth

Jesus told him to father your kids…whose going to argue with that?  

“what people wanted from me was the fathering hat more than the boss hat.” Seth

It’s what the kids want?…as Seth so aptly (and ironically) said…

“Be careful” of those giving themselves the title of father.


Review from former employee of Adventures in Missions

“Missionary for AIM”-A review from a former employee

Pros None! To unorganized and unprofessional.

Cons: I don’t recommend working with this organization, Very unorganized, unprofessional, and not Christ centered! This organization has potential, if they would focus on preparing leaders, finding more people who actually know something about the bible to go on these mission trips, and spend less time and money advertising a year of travel and “Adventure” This is coming from a 34 year old mature man, not a 21 year old. Make sure you know what your getting into with this organization before agreeing to sign up. Its not what they make it out to be

Advice to Management stop trying to send out 300-400missionaries, and send out 30-40! focus on God and not how many people you shove out into the world to annoy your contacts. Most of our contacts were inconvenienced and seemingly irritated with AIM’s disorganization.

While this is clearly a disgruntled employee, the comments are telling and related to other concerns we have written about.

Adventures in Missions and the Emergent Church

We have found that AIM has characteristics of the New Apostolic Reformation Movement and also the Emergent Church, neither of which are Biblical. As a reminder, it is the subtly of the error that the Enemy is so crafty at.  There is some truth written on Seth’s blogs, but the error found there is an attack on the Lord Jesus, His Church, and His Word.  Therefore we must be discerning. Seth tends to contradict himself often.

Ephesians 4:14 “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

“The Emergent Church movement is a progressive Christian movement that attempts to elevate experience and feelings on a par with Christian doctrine.  Many do not believe man can know absolute truth, and believe God must be experienced outside of traditional biblical doctrines. Emergent church leaders usually adopt the principles of social justice, liberation theology, and collective salvation. Some leaders also incorporate elements of Universalism, the Seeker-Friendly Movement, and even New Age Spirituality.”

“Regarding doctrine, these folks generally reject systematic Christian theology, the integrity of Scripture, and gospel exclusivity. They don’t believe Christianity is the one true religion and many associated with the emergent church promote homosexuality. Some deny the deity of Jesus Christ; they call for diversity, “unity,” and camaraderie among all religions, and they modify and expand their teachings. It is quite clearly and simply a war against the Truth… What those involved mostly agree on is their disdain for fundamental Christianity and disillusionment with the organized, traditional, and institutional church.”source

This site, provides a few characteristics to use in comparing AIM to this movement. They are frightening in their similarity to Adventures in Missions and Seth Barnes. While AIM may not agree with every characteristic, they are similar to enough to warrant concern.

1) Does not like to spend money on church buildings. Prefer meeting as “house churches

Seth“The institution of the church is just like every other institution – it is slow to respond to the realities of a world that is racing by it…The original disciples resisted structure, only giving in to a division of labor with deacons doing some work after a lot of time had passed. The Bible does not tell us much about how to structure ourselves..Unity and love cannot be organized; they happen as a function of covenantal relationships..”…(Comments section) “And in my personal life, I’m passionately committed to regular worship with a home church

Seth has spoken negatively about the church in many blog posts.  While there is much to lament about the compromising church today, Christ did in fact set up a structure, the disciples did not resist it.  They taught, as instruments of the Holy Spirit, exactly how Christ wants His church structured.  They ensured the teaching of sound doctrine and refutation of error.  See Acts, Timothy, Titus, etc, . Predictably, false teachers want to minimize the church that has the responsibility to refute their error. We have not seen Seth show any desire to be taught sound doctrine, instead there seems to be only a desire for unity and love (though believers can only have genuine unity if it is centered around TRUTH).   Neither have we seen him lament that the lack of strong exegetical teaching in the church today.

 “…put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:5, 9

2) A reading list that “consists primarily of (and leaders to follow) …(to name a few) 

Henri NouwenDallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Frederick Buechner , Donald Miller, Richard RohrSeth references these men often, a search of his blog will reveal more references than these, see also our previous posts.

3) Support women in all levels of ministry including women pastors.

Seth“when it came time for our team to do spiritual warfare, it was the women who were best equipped to do it” Seth“God is calling out a whole generation of radicals, but it’s the women are responding first and most boldly.” Seth“Women the world over are better servant leaders than many men”and he also sees no problem with women today being labeled apostles.

4) Following Jesus is living the right way, not believing in the right things

Seth-“He (Jesus)  often seems to be more concerned with our healing than he is with our theology.” Seth“Following him is hard enough without requiring disciples to study theology.” and ironicly he also says contradicting himself, “At AIM, we have a high view of Scripture”.

5) Eschatology: Building the kingdom of God on earth.

The AwakeningIt all started with a dream. A dream that a generation would stand up and walk like Jesus walked. Healing the sick, raising the dead, and bringing the Kingdom to the darkest places on earth…expect Kingdom come.”

6) Familiar words-story, mosaic, matrix

Seth“Jesus clued us in to life behind the matrix.” Seth“To climb out of the Matrix, they need to walk in brokenness for a while. And then they need to walk in freedom” SethHow will they ever get out of the Matrix-like life they’re living?” Seth“To live the life God designed us for, we need to live better stories and we need to relearn the art of telling them.”Seth“God loves stories…Storytelling connects in the spirit like laughter or tears or smells. It connects viscerally so that the story stays lodged in our spirit and may even change us. God infuses stories with the kind of deep magic that Tolkien and Lewis understood.” WHAT??

7) Practice Lectio divina a.k.a. spiritual formation…the silence…centering, breath…but is best known as contemplative (listening) prayer. –

Seth has written an entire book on this, “The Art of Listening Prayer” and these are Seth’s posts on Listening Prayer,

“A practice of Catholic monks and gnostics, gaining acceptance as an integral part of the Emerging Church…The dangers inherent in this kind of practice, and its astonishing similarity to transcendental meditation and other dangerous rituals, should be carefully considered. It has the potential to become a pursuit of mystical experience where the goal is to free the mind and empower oneself. The Christian should use the Scriptures to pursue the knowledge of God, wisdom, and holiness through the objective meaning of the text with the aim of transforming the mind according to truth. God said His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), not for lack of mystical, personal encounters with Him…Finally, the attack on the sufficiency of Scripture is a clear distinctive of lectio divina.”