Month: December 2016

Wise Decisions about the Race

While many Racers have had a good experience on the World Race, as are evidenced by the hundreds of blogs they are encouraged to write, there are very few that show us how the saving Gospel has transformed the lives of those they are ministering to.   Much is written about their own personal “experience” with God.  Unfortunately, this should never be the focus of a missionary. Through reading many of these blogs we find the definition of the Gospel to be shallow and weak for the most part, emphasizing the character of God as “love” to the exclusion of His character being equally “just”. Without the law, there can be no recognition of our guilt, and if there is no guilt what would anyone need to be saved from?  A weak Gospel cannot save anyone.

“The LORD passed by and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…” Ex 34:6-7 

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb 10:32

It is not a coincidence that so many young people have had a hard time during and after the Race struggling with what they have been taught and have seen.  It makes sense why their stories are so similar.  The lack of a clear Gospel colors everything else and is a familiar concern raised not just by this blog.  When a ministry is solidly grounded in the Word of God scrutiny is welcome.  Truth will ALWAYS stand up to any test. That being said, we continue to hear that in response to their questions these young racers are  told to “just trust your leaders”.   If any of them try to confirm that what they are being taught has a Biblical foundation they seem to be shamed.

A lack of Biblical knowledge and spiritual maturity may be the reason most are happy with the race,  but as we grow in our knowledge of God’s Word, discernment also increases, there are not just a few that have tested this organization against solid, Biblical teaching and found it sorely wanting. 

We pray that our Lord Jesus would use His Word to confirm truth to anyone questioning whether they should go on the Race or processing what they have experienced at training camp or while on the Race.  

If that is you, we pray He would clearly expose the areas of deception, granting you wisdom as you ask Him to help you understand His Word.  We do encourage you to look to the inerrant, authoritative, Holy Spirit-inspired, written Word of God to know the truth.  Experiences and thoughts are NOT a valid test for truth as they can be mimicked by our very cunning enemy.  ** Please note that the commentary and the testimonies shared on this site should lead you to the Bible as the only source to discern their truth.

“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed…” Acts 17:10-12

Below is  a link to another testimony that we recently found. 

“Why I left the World Race”

Racer Testimony-Part 2-Redefining Grace

A Biblical definition of GRACE needs to be clarified before we look at what Seth and AIM teach.

“The word ‘grace’ thus comes to express the thought of God acting in spontaneous goodness to save sinners: God loving the unlovely, making covenant with them, pardoning their sins, accepting their persons, revealing Himself to them, moving them to response, leading them ultimately into full knowledge and enjoyment of Himself, and overcoming all obstacles to the fulfillment of this purpose that at each stage arise. Grace is election-love plus covenant-love, a free choice issuing in a sovereign work. Grace saves from sin and all evil; grace brings ungodly men to true happiness in the knowledge of their Maker. This is the concept of grace with which the New Testament writers work.” J.I. Packer

Romans 5 is all about God’s grace toward repentant sinners, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God….”

The Racer’s testimony from Training Camp continues… grace is part of the culture at AIM, however, based on other faulty theology taught we must ask is it a Biblical definition? and what are the repercussions of an unbiblical teaching?
“Beginning at training camp, World Race participants are repeatedly told that AIM is grounded in a culture of grace and honor, and that in order to succeed in the WR environment, one must pursue these things at all costs. In the context of the World Race, one is to “show grace” by recognizing differences in the perspectives, personalities and beliefs of other team members and then accepting and validating these differences in a number of ways, such as:
 
       Offering positive and constructive feedback to other team members
 
       Seeking “words of knowledge” from God and then sharing those impressions with other team members
 
       Addressing and resolving conflicts between team members to prevent greater division within the team
 
       Giving up individual rights and desires for the good of the team
 
       Agreeing to disagree on theological or doxological matters for the purpose of maintaining unity among team members
 
       Overlooking petty issues and dissimilarities among team members
 
       Minimizing the real dangers of sin by accepting the fact that “life is messy”
 
       Affirming other team members by “speaking life” over one another
 
Not wanting to cause division or be labeled as someone who is unwilling to show grace to others, the overwhelming majority of Racers will begin adopting and practicing this “culture of grace.” However, if a Racer does chose to vocalize certain concerns about the beliefs and practices of other participants or the leadership of AIM, their team members and superiors will likely view him or her as one who lacks grace. Even if there is not a direct reprimand for raising questions or concerns, the individual will likely be shamed in subtle ways for not completely “buying into” the World Race culture.
 
For World Racers, the concept of grace is widely viewed and understood within the bounds of community. Essentially, grace is something that Racers ought to extend to those around them and to themselves, for the purposes of maintaining harmony and dissolving personal feelings of guilt or shame.
Unfortunately, what is not emphasized on the World Race is God’s saving grace that leads to faith in Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross, grace that is received and experienced only through God’s direct intervention in one’s life.”

A few comments, it is notable that it doesn’t seem that anyone pulls out a Bible to test concerns instead, supposed impressions and “words from God” are used.  They are expected to affirm and validate, even when their God given conscience may be warning them to test. Scripture is the only valid and objective means we are to use, it is why God gave us His “external Word”. This is not encouraged.

Let’s see what AIM’s leader, Seth Barnes, has to say about grace, in Searching for a place of grace, he says,

“God himself gave us ten rules upon which to organize our lives and multiple books of the Bible to show us the specific ways in which we should live. But Jesus, knowing we’re terrible rule-keepers, has a better idea. He wants to help us make a paradigm shift away from the old covenant and toward a new way of living…”

10 rules to organize our lives by??  Scripture says,

“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) 

The law condemns us, it doesn’t organize our life.  Grace is the only way we are justified (Eph 2:8-9), however, we are proven genuinely saved by our obedience.

I John 2:5-6 says, “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Rom 6:16

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

Seth continues,

“As I reflect on my upbringing in the church and in missions and I think about all the complicated situations I was in that needed grace, it’s amazing how graceless many of the communities I was in were. When people messed up, they were kicked out.”

Seth’s idea of grace is overlooking sin. This is reiterated in the Racer’s testimony above… “Minimizing the real dangers of sin by accepting the fact that “life is messy”.

A church is mandated by Christ in Matt 18 to punish unrepentant sinners, Matt 18:17, “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Christ wants His church pure, “…so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Phil 1:10-11

“You have to appreciate the role of rules and then you have to be willing to break them when grace is more right than the rules…I want to live in a place where rules are respected, but grace is normal. For 25 years I’ve been fighting to create a place like that at Adventures…It’s the glistening white surface on the pearl of great price that Jesus described. “

Grace has been defined here as love and acceptance with no holy standards.  Sin is minimized and the “pearl of great price” is undefined.  Here is what Jesus actually said about His laws and the pearl in Matthew 13:41-46,

“…The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. …Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

The pearl is a picture of salvation, hidden, but once revealed by God’s grace, it is worth giving up everything for. Law breakers, unjustified by Christ’s atoning death through faith and repentance, will be thrown into hell.  Seth says the opposite, his definition of the priceless pearl is a life free from rules.  Seth is not sowing good seed…in the preceding verses 37-39 we read,

“He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil.”

In this world of Adventures that Seth is “fighting to create”, “grace” trumps obedience, sin with no repentance is just fine and it is more loving and gracious to overlook sin.  Contrast this with King David who was very aware of the  unmerited favor given to him, an unworthy sinner.

“Be gracious to me, O God,
according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.” (Psalm 51:1-4)

Note how sins are marginalized and called “flaws”,

“So, it’s about identity and insecurity. I see so many insecure people living under the weight of their all-too obvious flaws and I know that there is an answer. People make peace with their flaws all the time – why not be one?…When the spotlight is on your flaws, you can’t. So to get to where you can breathe again, you have to somehow escape that place of condemnation.

Unfortunately, no Biblical answer to how to escape the condemnation of sin is given by Seth.  Rom 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” 

He goes on…“To be able to breathe again, you need to find a community where you can be affirmed and even celebrated.”
Sin, the Cross, the sacrifice, the mercy, and the grace of a Holy God are all missing.  The Gospel that speaks of our ultimate forgiveness and the reason why Christians can  overlook personal offenses and forgive each other 70 times 7 is missing. 
Seth’s idea of grace is not grounded in any Biblical definition and so proves worthless and eternally fatal.

 

World Race Training Camp-Testimony

This testimony was given to us by a former Adventures in Missions World Racer.  This young person has been struggling to process the things experienced during their time with Adventures in Missions, which causes us to wonder how many others are  struggling in the same way.

If you are struggling, please share your story with us.   You can help each other by exposing the errors of this organization.  Be assured that there is much comfort to be found in the TRUTH of God’s word.

This racer’s story begins at Training Camp…

“Recalling specific teachings from AIM leaders is one of the most difficult things for me, likely because there wasn’t much emphasis on biblical theology and sound doctrine. I vaguely remember a couple of teaching sessions from our training camp but I couldn’t tell you what was taught. I do remember one leader sharing a testimony about her WR experience, which had a tremendous emotional effect on everyone listening. Also, we were introduced to the basics of listening prayer at training camp and we were taught how to “prophecy” over other people. 

 At training camp, most of the indoctrination occurred in more subtle ways during our times of corporate worship, which would take place every evening for several hours. Worship was led by the now-popular Christian artist, Jonathan David Helser. (At the time, Helser had close ties with Rick Joyner and MorningStar Ministries and he is now affiliated with Bethel Church in Redding, CA.)  During these meetings I saw a number of “manifestations of the Spirit” including, speaking in tongues, bodily spasms, uncontrollable laughter, and people being slain in the spirit. This was all new to me, and quite overwhelming, but I didn’t want to simply dismiss it on the grounds that I had never experienced it before.”

We must note that this is manifestation of a different spirit.  These are not evidences of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible. It is also necessary to mention that Scripture NEVER speaks of anyone being TAUGHT any gift of the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual gifts are a gracious gift from our Heavenly Father at the time of our salvation. “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Cor 12:7

How easily WE ALL can be led astray.  This is why Paul wrote these verses as a warning to all believers.  “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” 2 Cor 11:3-4

We have written about Bethel here, and this is another good source of information about them (and even organizations such as AIM). “If a church proclaims a message not substantiated by Scripture, then what is the source of that message? Right. Bethel is not of God, but, as Christ admonished the Pharisees, “you are of your father, the devil.” (John 8:44)  This is the seriousness of false teaching. If it is not Scriptural, it is not of God. If it is not of God, it can only be one thing … evil .  Thus a false message, enamoring and embraceable though it may be, is yet damning to adherents. The job of the believer in spiritual warfare is to expose the error and contend for the truth.” (Ephesians 5:11, Jude 3)

The testimony continues with evidence proving this organization is not of God, but rather what we would call demonic manipulation…

“One of the most vivid memories I have from training camp was a simple visualization exercise that we did. This also happened during one of our extended worship times, so there was continuous music going on in the background and most of us were already in an emotionally heightened state.

For this exercise, we were told to imagine that we were holding a box. Inside this box were all of our ideas and beliefs about God; everything that we had been taught growing up or had learned on our own. We were then commanded to throw this imaginary box on the ground and stomp on it, showing that we were not going to be constrained by our theological upbringings and that we were no longer going to put God in a box.

At this point the music picked up and everyone began jumping up and down, stomping and smashing these “boxes” to pieces. I remember this being one of the first moments where I decided to overlook the unusual, and unbiblical, nature of what was being taught and practiced, and I simply joined in without question.

To be completely honest, it was a liberating experience in a sense. I fully believed that I was overcoming my skeptical and critical nature, and that I was experiencing true freedom.

In reality, I was simply opening up my mind to the lies of the enemy, lies that I began entertaining and eventually believing.”

Praise God, this story doesn’t end here.  This Racer has been graciously freed from the deception promoted at AIM. The story will continue when it is the right time…

Isn’t it ironic that they want the kids to “stomp” on any doctrine they ever learned, and then taught them none??

After reading this, we were reminded of the many similarities here with the New Apostolic Reformation.

Regarding the use of music, there are many studies, easily found with a quick Google search, related to emotional manipulation using music, here is one,

“Skilled composers manipulate the emotion within a song by knowing what their audience’s expectations are, and controlling when those expectations will (and will not) be met. This successful manipulation is what elicits the chills that are part of any moving song.”

This is why the Bible exhorts us to use our MIND.  There are many Scriptures that say this, here are a few.

 Rom 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”

Emotions can deceive.

Col 2:8, 18 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ…Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind.”

(This is a similar testimony to the one we shared here taken from the forum discussion)