Self-Appointed Guardians Of The Truth (Independent Baptist Truth Revolution #5)

self appointed guardians

Have you met one of them yet? Or read one of their articles? You know, a self-appointed guardian of the truth for the Independent Baptist world? Surely you have as we have so very many of them. I am not referring to those who write about issues or trends (like this very blog!), but those who review individuals, churches, and organizations. Nor am I referring to those who address scandals that reflect on the entire movement (as I have done–see link below), but those who with the keenest eyes and most intense scrutiny keep a watch like Big Brother on us all.

Over the years I have seen articles, or heard even as a rabbit trail in a sermon, how this preacher is bad, or how this school has gone liberal. What was the issue? Did the preacher start denying the Virgin Birth of Christ? Did the school start criticizing the Blood Atonement? No, likely it was that he hobnobbed with a blacklisted preacher, or the school sang a song that could be traced to an unacceptable songwriter. These are presented as dangerous trends that are going to destroy us. With all the real dangers to our faith in this world, my first thought is that these guys need to get out more!

Some, sadly, have made a so-called ministry out of it. I have seen several and they claim it is a “discernment ministry”. That is instantly offensive to any thinking person because it presupposes that we are incapable of having discernment ourselves. Even worse, if they must do our discerning for us, it also means that they think we have no access to the Holy Spirit ourselves.

If you want to write what you think about issues, go for it. It is wonderful to jump in the arena of ideas and in this day of blogging you never will have a better opportunity. On the other hand, the rest of us don’t need you to label every preacher, school, or organization good or bad for us.

I read some in preparation for this post and came across an article that analyzed several songs sang at a well-known church and found them wanting. (One of the songs lambasted was “In Christ Alone”. Am I allowed one little rant on my blog where I am trying to be gracious? You are a nut if you find evil in that song! Sorry, I will get back under control now). The article tried to make a connection that this was, more or less, a step straight to the Antichrist and a one-world government!

Also recently I learned of a situation where a church had someone in for some special music and a well-known organization that feels it has a mandate to project its discernment on everyone else actually called the church and scolded them! My first reaction there was, who do they think they are! Where are the apostolic credentials to act this way?

This is done under the guise of “earnestly contending for the faith”. I am all for that as our faith is under vicious assault, but don’t confuse peripheral issues for the majestic pillars of our faith. If I have to be in a big fight, I want it to be for the name of Christ or the truth of the foundational elements of Christianity. Substitute “traditions” for “faith” and you will be more accurate for where we are today.

This behavior continues because we let them get away it. I think it thrives because if we speak up, they will likely turn their guns on us and blast away. We will be labeled a liberal compromiser for the crime of disagreeing with them. Perhaps if we worried only about the opinion of the God we love instead of that of overreaching colleagues, this issue would waft away on the next gust of wind. It is time we tell them to go find real work in the cause of Christ as we will take over discernment ourselves going forward.

Related Posts:

Mentioned above — The Tsunami of Jack Schaap

Find all articles in the Truth Revolution Series Here

67 thoughts on “Self-Appointed Guardians Of The Truth (Independent Baptist Truth Revolution #5)

  1. What I find *completely _ironic_* is how they *ignore* one of the tenants of the doctrine, that each body is self governing and the priesthood of the believer. They don’t realize they are the ones casting stones.

  2. I’m so glad you addressed this issue. It is one of my huge annoyances in the blogger world. I follow and read many blogs, websites, books, etc. This does not mean I agree with every sermon, point, article. I certainly do not “throw away” the person because I disagree. There are a handful of well-known Bible teachers and

    pastors that are on the “no-no” list for some of these discernment websites. I wonder: what if the discernment people spent as much time reading and studying the Bible, and further taking the “plank out of their own eye” rather than hunting and pecking at other people?

  3. I have witnessed this very thing so many times and it is sad. Many of these guys that do this should go back and read Matthew 7.

  4. As someone who has enjoyed reading some of your posts, I have to say I am very disappointed in this one. I think you could have entitled it “A Self-appointed Guardian of Truth WARNS AGAINST Self-Appointed Guardians of Truth.”
    It is thoroughly ironic that the last poster mentioned Matthew 7. The “judge not” mantra that they always project upon the text is just not there. Jesus was not talking about never discerning truth and error, but against the very particular judging of another hypocritically. That is, judging another’s behavior to be wrong while practicing the same behavior. BTW, which does not release the other party from their sin either, but I digress…It’s a very specific condemnation from the Lord…judging hypocritically. Matthew 7 hypocritical judging is exactly what you’ve done here.

    And the fact that you even try to throw in some caveats to deflect such obvious hypocrisy, like…BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M DOING RIGHT NOW IN THIS ARTICLE OR ON THIS BLOG, or MY TRUTH REVOLUTION SERIES IS COMPLETELY NOT WHAT I’M JUDGING HERE, or I’M NOT ONE OF THESE GUYS EVEN THOUGH I’M PREACHING AGAINST SOMETHING WHILE PRACTICING IT AT THIS MOMENT, tells me that the HS prompted you about the danger of what you were about to post. You posted it anyway, and I predict you will get accolades for weeks from every Christian who loves the “judge not” card to excuse their sin. But, to another pastor, and to any discerning Christian, the hypocrisy is literally running down my laptop screen.

    1. Hypocritical Judgment #1 – “Some, sadly, have made a so-called ministry out of it…I read some in preparation for this post I have seen several and they claim it is a “discernment ministry”… It is time we tell them to go find real work in the cause of Christ as we will take over discernment ourselves going forward.”
    You judge them not to be in the “real work in the cause of Christ,” even though the author of the article on music that you referenced does not just have a “discernment ministry.” You conveniently left out the fact that he is a veteran missionary pastor and church planter of over 25 years, having planted 4 churches in a 3rd world country, and is currently doing so. I know, I just preached 8x at a missions conference for him and the churches God has used him to plant. You, however, resigned your pastorate to go into what you call, the “disability ministry”,(BTW, I appreciate some of your posts about your wife’s condition and have even shared them on FB, so refrain from attacking me for that please) and yet plastered all over your blog is “Pastor” Jimmy Reagan. You still have “Pastor of so an so Baptist church” all over your blog and twitter account, even though you resigned that pastorate. Now, WHO is being hypocritical and dishonest about the Biblical nature of and authenticity of their “ministry” brother? You misrepresent another man’s church planting ministry as NOT REAL, while misrepresenting your own self as a pastor. That’s Matthew 7 on two fronts, brother.

    2. Hypocritical Judgment #2 – “I read some in preparation for this post and came across an article that analyzed several songs sang at a well-known church and found them wanting. (One of the songs lambasted was “In Christ Alone”. Am I allowed one little rant on my blog where I am trying to be gracious? You are a nut if you find evil in that song! Sorry, I will get back under control now). The article tried to make a connection that this was, more or less, a step straight to the Antichrist and a one-world government!”
    Did you actually deal with the ecumenical nature of the songwriter/performers? No. Did you deal with the fornication and immorality and adultery being practiced by those at the very times they were writing and performing this song and others? No. Did you mention that the ecumenical, yeah, the completely wicked Hollywood/Nashville crowd that loves to bestow awards on those that write and sing these songs? No. Did you recognize that the main uniting feature of the ecumenical movement with evangelicalism and charismaticism and the emerging church is worship music? No. Did you mention that the authors and performers of this and other songs have openly said it is their goal to bridge the doctrinal gaps that exist in churches? No. Did you mention that the authors and performers of such music regularly show disdain for Biblical separation of ANY kind? No. Did you mention that these authors/performers openly associate with the catholic church, which IS Biblically identified as the foundation for the one-world religion and Anti-Christ worship? No. Did you deal with a theology of music from the Bible? No.
    You just said…you’re a nut. AD HOMINEM attack, which of course, you judge these same men are guilty of. After lecturing and misrepresenting the author of these articles that are SATURATED with scripture and documentation, you deem this music completely Biblical because YOU LIKE IT, and if anyone else should challenge it’s spirituality…They are a nut! Wow!? That is exactly the response I’ve gotten as a pastor over the years from teens and adults who love their Christian rock music. Right now, evangelicals are embracing Christian rap. They say, if you think this is wrong…YOU’RE A NUT! Like you, they give no Biblical basis for their judgment of a challenge based on scripture, just…You’re a nut, pastor. BEEP, BEEP…Attention. Matthew 7 hypocritical judging.

    If you like, I could go on Brother Reagan. There are many more Matthew 7 violations here. I just can’t believe that you can’t “discern” the nature of what you are writing against. It is my hope that the directness of this comment will cause you to reconsider or at least pull the post until you can evaluate it in the light of another brother’s perspective. As a former pastor, you should know that discernment is available to every Spirit-indwelt believer, but not accessed. Paul said on more than one occasion, you which are spiritual and not carnal, discern this truth. I fear, in a sincere attempt to share your heart, you have inoculated yet even more carnal Christians against their pastor or any other Christians helping them see what true HS discernment is. Now let’s see if the guns get turned on me.

    • Pastor Rogers

      I submit that you need to re-read the post. The author did not call out individuals or label groups that we should all avoid. He addressed the issue of lording over the conscience of another!

      It seems in your third paragraph that you are trying to defend a friend and that is commendable, but your friend was not mentioned. In light of this it is unfair to say the author left something out and assume that all the comments on the subject where directed to an unnamed person. The issue of lording over another’s conscience is what is being addressed. I would encourage you address why you believe anyone has the right to tell another what to do outside the clear teachings of scripture! Or more specifically, who has the right to tell you who you can and cannot associate with.

      As to your personal attack on the author I pray you are better than this, and that this was a momentary lapse in judgment.

      As to the diatribe on music I have little to say because it makes little sense. Music must be judged on it’s doctrinal content! If our lives must be perfect to minister then you and I should both resign. I do not believe that any of us have examined every song in our hymn book to extent that you suggest. If you sing from any hymn book you too sing interdenominational songs. Are we to assume that you are ecumenical?

      This article did well to point people to the Holy Spirit and away from man! God’s people must rely on the Holy Spirit in all areas not the pastor’s discernment. The Church is His bride not ours!

      Pastor Mike Montgomery

    • Pastor Rogers,
      I am glad you wrote. When I say I welcome comments I mean it.

      A few comments:
      1. I purposely did not mention names because I am not going after individuals. As I said, I speak to a trend.

      2. You are right about the twitter and Facebook thing, but I can only say that I just never thought of it. Somehow you misunderstood my situation–I did not resign to go into disability ministry. I resigned because I felt The Lord was leading me to. I am first and foremost called to pastor and have been talking to some churches. That was my intention all along. Disability ministry is something we do in addition to, not instead of. I have two blogposts on here that clearly state that. I can see how it could be misunderstood, but it was not intended as such.

      3. As for the song I mentioned, and you commented on. I am trying to say that the logic you are using is flawed. I don’t say that against your character, just that I disagree with you, and others who wrote that it was evil. David wrote many great songs and was an adulterer and murderer, with a few other glitches in his life, so are you ready to discount every song he wrote? There was controversy about some songs in our hymn book in earlier times. Must they go too? I don’t have to agree with every detail of a songwriter’s life to enjoy their songs and I don’t believe there is Scripture to say I should.

      4. I am sorry you missed my main point. Perhaps I did not make it clear enough, but the point is that it is not anyone’s job to have my discernment for me. I don’t want to have yours for you. Think whatever you like about that song or any issue, but I will speak against those who feel they have a mandate to decide such small issues for the rest of us. Mike Montegomery and Dan R. below did see what I was trying to say.

      5. Whether you want to admit it or not, beyond these folks having their opinion they criticize BY NAME those who disagree with them.

      • Bro. Reagan,

        I’ll respond since you invited me to. Thanks for your graciousness.

        # 1/5. – Naming names is Biblical, Paul did. That is, unless you do not have a scriptural basis for your expose of compromise. I have no problem with naming names. You name names in your articles on this blog, like Jack Schaap. Just not this time.

        I think because you don’t want to actually deal with the specific issues, like music. It’s easier to keep things in the general and theoretical areas. That gives you cover. Uncertainty is spiritual after all. You know, everything but the Gospel is Romans 14 and therefore liberty. Well, maybe the fundamentals too? Now how many were there again? Let’s see we started off with all scripture back with the Apostles, and then 16 back in the early 1900s, and we are now down to 5 or so, but even they have wiggle room. Anyway…the Gospel and the essentials,… which I guess are relative to each individual believer to determine. Man, this CAN get confusing can’t it?

        (BTW the Bible teaches limiting our liberty for the spiritual sake of others, even limiting it for our entire earthly lives if necessary) This theoretical stuff means that we don’t have to actually look at the song’s author, testimony, influence, let alone the music and words and technique by which it is delivered. Anyone can throw out a strawman and knock it down with…You’re a Nut!

        The man you mentioned but did not mention, would have no problem with you naming his name. Naming his name was not what I took exception to. It was judging his ministry as “not real” and only a “discernment ministry”, you called him a “NUT”, when in fact he is a ordained, local church authorized and commissioned church planter. You said, he did not have a real ministry. You misrepresented him. BTW, did he deny the virgin birth or one of your few “pillars” to deserve such scorn? You even admitted, it was a rant. Was it a work of the flesh, not the Spirit?

        And the Matthew 7 hypocrisy is that at the very same time you misrepresented yourself as currently the pastor of XYZ Baptist Church. Hopefully in this time of your life, you and your family are under the pastoral ministry of a NT Independent Baptist Church, but as you acknowledged God took you out of that office. I’d say that is clearly a Matt 7 violation.

        #3. – The logic that I used regarding the evaluation of the song, which is the BIBLICAL logic of “can a person living openly in sinful disobedience to the Word of God and contrary to the Spirit (ie the flesh) write music that is Spiritual?”

        Are these “In Christ Alone type hymn writers” living contrary to what the Spirit authored in the Word of God when they live and openly claim the “list” I mentioned in my earlier comment.

        Could they be church members in your soon to be pastoral ministry? And I’m not just talking about the fornication and immorality and worldliness.

        What Jesus do they believe in, what Gospel, what Spirit? It’s not the Jesus, Gospel, and Spirit of the Bible. My Bible says the flesh and Spirit are contrary one to another.

        Can the flesh produce that which is Spiritual and pleasing to God?

        Your logic about David is flawed and out of context as well. David did write a “Psalm/Song” AFTER being confronted with and repenting of his adultery. It’s called Psalm 51. And I don’t see him crooning with a sensual breathy raspy voice to God, …For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. I see him in sackcloth and ashes.

        #4. – I’m sure that Pastor Mike and Dan did get your point. They agree with you. They like that music. They’re not nuts. They, like you, find men like the aforementioned “discerner” as NUTS.

        I got it. You have the right to discern and promote the virtue and spirituality of uncertainty, but those that promote certainty based on scriptural truth are to be rejected. It’s like political toleration. We tolerate everyone, except those that don’t believe in toleration.

        Legalism, has in the past always made reference to those who believed in “works salvation”, but now it has gotten to the point that “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” are nothing more than doubtful disputations! Every man does that which is right in his own eyes! I wonder how all these Christians are going to handle the Millennial Theocracy Rule of Jesus Christ? Perhaps that’s what the rod of iron is all about.

      • Pastor Rogers,

        I will address a few things here.

        Paul named names on a few occasions. What were the issues? I assure you music was not one of them, nor were many of the issues getting print today by those who feel the need to discern for others.

        Where the Bible says little I recommend saying little. This is, in my judgment, the wrong emphasis. All issues are not the same. There are differences in the great fundamentals and these secondary things. If you say that this others issues need equal time I think you should take the Bible and show us. I would recommend study of Colossians 2 where we have clear guidelines about these issues and how Christians disagree on them.

        You speak of liberty as if it is a bad thing. Actually, it is a Bible thing and precious. I do not feel that only the Gospels and Romans 14 are needed to be followed. It is the speaking of issues as if they had great Bible support when it simply isn’t there. I say the Bible, what it says, no more and no less are what is needed.

        I want to specify that in regards to your friend and others like him I find only his “discernment ministry” to the extent he wants to specifically discern for others, and even ask that we separate, is not real ministry. The other things done that you started are probably great.

        I will give the benefit of the doubt and try to explain again the twitter and blog saying “pastor”. It just never crossed my mind as I set both of them up while I was still a pastor in Ohio. I edited twitter today and added a note on the “about me” page of the blog today. If you choose to believe that I purposely was trying to mislead, that is up to you, and I will let the Lord defend there. Not that I really owe an explanation, but I will say being a pastor is my calling and I really will not run from that label for you or anyone. It is not a big deal to me that you said that, but I thought I should explain it for those confused by it.

        As for your #3, you would be surprised what God can use! Ever heard of a preacher caught in sin and no one knew it for a while. By your logic, is every one who got saved while he preached not really saved?

        I really don’t agree with your uncertainty comment. I think it more problematic to be so certain when the Bible has not spoken with that same certainty.

        God bless!

    • Steve, I’ve got to wonder how far you take your isolationism. Do you shop at grocery stores that sell beer? Do you buy gas from a gas station that sells beer or cigarettes? Do you discount the psalms written by an adulterer and murderer (David)? Do you throw out the writings of Peter who denied the Lord then later argued that God was wrong to say eat that which was unclean? Do you eat at restaurants that promote gluttony? Do you buy clothes from a store that encourages materialism? Do you let a doctor save your life if he’s a Muslim but the only one who can perform an operation? I think you get the point here. Your harsh and angry spirit is truly heart breaking to me. This is not the way Christ dealt with people. The only harsh words he ever had was towards the self righteous religious hypocrites. I don’t find that to be the spirit of the post. Please don’t take this as a personal attack. It isn’t meant to be. I just want to see all of God’s children becoming more like Him.

  5. This is so good. So are your other posts. Your insights are so refreshing, as they are putting words into what I am seeing( yes I grew up in all this stuff). Keep this stuff coming. We need to change the toxic culture and mindset in our Baptist churches. God bless you ,brother

  6. Wow! Had this article had any REAL Scriptural insight the arrogant tone and hypocritical posture would have totally destroyed it. Steve Rogers is right on.

      • Brother Reagan,

        I do, but Pastor Rogers hit the nail on the head with his assessment of the subject. I couldn’t have said it better. Since you asked, I am personally thankful for discerning people who warn others of things to be careful of. I think its a great example of what walking circumspectly (to look around) looks like. Discerners naturally are careful in this way. They notice things. And, since carelessness, and apathy/indifference have become the order of the day as of late I think this watchman-like ministry is a good one. You say your offended by this kind of ministry. Respectfully, you may be getting offended a bit too easy. We live in a country of the professionally offended and that attitude has bled into the church too often.

        Your article is all about THE SONG. Music is really the only issue you brought up. I see it as a compromise but I want to address more the attitude of your post than the music debate. I think the post has less to do with discernment or men who call stuff out but rather its a knee-jerk response to someone calling out music you like and saying its compromise.

        In defense of men who speak out about what they see as error, men who compromise, no matter the issue, often gather big followings and lead many undiscerning people with them, more often than not right out of good, wholesome churches. Then they want to hold conferences and influence other preachers to be like them. Hey, if I were the devil that’s how I’d arrange it! Someone NEEDS to say something because bad influences by nature love company and prey upon the undiscerning and socially needy. Respectfully, if you don’t need help discerning good music, schools, churches, or preachers than let others who do get helped or help them yourself. I get the sense you really don’t have a problem with “discernment ministries” or people who call our error, but rather the things they are discerning and calling out. You referred to disagreeing with these men in a tongue in cheek way as a “crime” but, respectfully, you’ve done the same thing! Poor discerning guy, he’s now “nuts” because he picked on a song you like.

        Maybe you don’t need someone to help you discern a false way. Thats great, but some certainly do. Though, respectfully, in this case I think some further discerning may be necessary if you don’t see the music issue here. Frankly, I think the tone at the heart of the article says, “I hate it when people hit a nerve with me, so I’m going to decry them.”

        Some men discern the direction such music (like the song mentioned) takes people one small step at a time while others stroll pleasantly along not discerning the problem until it’s far bigger, and took them somewhere they never intended to go. Do I see it as a “step toward the antichrist and one world government”? Hard telling, but it is a step toward something, and not in the right direction. Men who repudiate certain things publicly are often simply being extra careful stewards of men’s souls and have proper motives. They don’t ALL have bad intentions or a bad spirit. Be fair.

        Have you ever warned anyone of a troublesome trend only to hear something like, “Keep quiet! I have the Holy Spirit!”? After all that’s clearly the most humble response. Pardon the sarcasm.

        As for these “peripherals” as you call them. Respectfully, who decides what is “peripheral”, you?

        And I hope you won’t fear being called a liberal compromiser for liking the aforementioned song any more than I fear being called nuts for rejecting it. I’m content to say we disagree without needing all the name calling. Honest discourse dies when “I disagree with you” is translated as “I hate you and I’m gonna call you names”.

        And I hope that should something ever come that, in good conscience, you must speak up about I hope it isn’t viewed by many as a “peripheral” by then. They might turn their guns on you and start saying you’re nuts.

        That’s all for me. I must go. Blessings!

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will leave them here unedited because I have no fear of all sides being discussed.

        You have a right to your opinion and I fully respect it. I do take exception in your saying that the article is all about music. It was no more than an illustration of what I was trying to say.

        I respectfully disagree that more of these discernment ministries are needed. The Holy Spirit is real and it is not a cop out to say every Christian can seek Him for themselves about individuals, churches, etc.

        I define peripheral issues as those that the Lord did not bother to specifically address in His Word.

        Please return and comment anytime.

  7. Bro. Reagan,

    I do not like getting involved in blog comments, seeing it provides feeding fodder for those in the ministry who spend their time doing nothing but blogging. However, your comments are indicative of many men in my generation. Their attitudes are vexing, their signals are mixed, and their position is precarious.

    If you feel it necessary to write such an article, go the distance by naming the names/organizations you feel have violated Scriptural principles. If such men or movements have been so unbiblical as to warrant your weekly chastisement, call them out. If a newspaper columnist wrote an article on the front page of the newspaper along the same lines as yours and refused to provide real examples, he would not have a job. To pick a fight without being specific as to who your problem is against, nullifies your contention to those unfamiliar with Independent Baptist and causes confusion to those of us familiar with men/movements/circles.

    If you have such a problem with this ubiquitous crowd, have you alerted them? Have your personally written to these men/organizations for clarification on their decisions? It seems weak to plaister your feelings about unnamed organizations on the internet, seemingly without having done your due diligence to question their position. The strongest resistance one can provide concerning doctrines or practical Christianity is one that is face-to-face. Paul’s controversy with Pete, as we know, found itself on printed page after it occurred face-to-face.

    To set oneself up as the voice of the movement or the voice of the opposition flies in the face of all that is humble. It is my belief that younger men of God ought to be careful as not to characterize the entire movement.

    As I travel in ministry, I truly do not see from where all the angst comes. I happen to have a relationship with many older men in the ministry, and my dealings with them are quite amiable. None tell me what I cannot do, where I cannot go or what I cannot say. I was taught that the great, historical leaders of Fundamentalism were extremely independent in a healthy way. They allowed you to be yourself, while being thoroughly Scriptural and godly. Why do young preachers feel it necessary to build a trojan horse of anger against older men? The disrespect is repulsive.

    Your article makes an earnest defense of the faith look petty and frivolous. Does the picture at the top serve to illustrate your true feelings of such necessary expose? When it comes time to give examples of what battlefields upon which you are willing to fight, you name two great examples, which are worthy, but caricature every other issue as petty. Bro. Reagan, would you not fight for more than these alone?

    I know a great host of young preachers content to serve in their calling who are building great churches for God’s glory. In many of these cases, a seasoned veteran pastor stands in the shadows of any ever-increasing steeple cheering them on and providing advice as it is requested.

    Can we as younger preachers all agree to please stop with the generational-warfare non-sense and the cry-baby politics and apply ourselves to doing something for God? If I were not an Independent Baptist, I feign would desire to become one by your 20-20-style assault upon New Testament Christianity.

    You can say what you will, but you do fall in the direction you lean. For such reasons, I write.

    • dcox2013

      I think you have missed the point!

      This is not picking a fight but stating a common problem that is seen in the arena of IFB churches. The greatest friend is the one who will tell you when something is wrong. This was not a pointed attack on an individual but a general observation of a sad reality. The author did not tell us who to fellowship with, as many do, but stated the truth that no one should lord over another’s conscience.

      This article is not generational-warfare! It is an observation that too many are trying to lord over the conscience of others by their list of petty disagreements. My experience is that many of men of the generation beyond me are less than willing to answer questions and quick to incriminate and attempt to intimidate others into silence. This is not all but the attitude is pervasive enough to be addressed to a wide audience that it is wrong. We should all be ready to give an answer. We cannot exalt the traditional to the same plain as the essential.

      This article does not make contending for the faith look frivolous but does point out that when we substitute tradition for the Faith we make contending for the faith look pointless. We are good at making mountains out of mole hills and then separating from anyone that does like our mole hill.

      Mike Montgomery

    • Bro. Cox,
      I don’t see your point as an older/younger man issue at all. That never crossed my mind. The feedback I have received disproves that as pro and con feedback has been all across the age spectrum.

      I do believe in contending for the faith as I know you do too. I just don’t feel those issues I mentioned are what the verse in Jude has in mind. I think the burden of proof is on those who say it does. No one has made a good case for it in my opinion.

      I too greatly value the advise of seasoned pastors. It is unsolicited and forced advise, especially from those who have not earned it in my life, I do take issue with.

      Please comment any time you like. Your comments are appreciated.

  8. I like that you stayed true to the essence of your topic. You never mentioned any names. This means you were not seeking to “police” this individual/ ministry; but you still addressed the issue at hand. But God help the rest of us if we (even inadvertently) do the same thing to them.

  9. Thank-you, I have begun to look forward to reading your blogs every Tuesday because you honestly point out what things need to be worked on inside a movement that is not perfect- else, why would it need Christ?
    I find interesting that this is the first blog post that you have received the most critical feedback on, some although I know nothing of you makes me cringe to think that a person would blatantly attempt to murder your character. (Which a single google search of your name would tell us if we wanted to know).
    Perhaps the reason is that your post touches on the worst vice know to humanity, the sin that is the root in all other sins: Pride. Isn’t that why a person gossips (or as I like to call it attempted murder on a person’s character). I appreciate your post because you chose not to name the people or organizations, you chose instead to be gracious to them and instead point out your opinion on the whole instead of the individuals.
    I would also write that I hope you choose to remain silent to those who have criticized you and your family because ultimately Christ is the one who fights for you. The truth of who you are is know to Him so there is no need for you to reply just be calm in the Lord and let him fight for you.
    Thank-you again and I look forward to next Tuesday.

  10. This article did well to point people to the Holy Spirit and away from man! God’s people must rely on the Holy Spirit in all areas not the pastor’s discernment. The Church is His bride not ours!

  11. Brother Reagan,

    You say in the opening paragraph that this is a wide spread epidemic and there are MANY discernment ministries plaguing IBs. I believe that is a misrepresentation and exaggeration at best, and an untruth at worst. Please email me a list (you have it with my posts) of the “MANY” discernment ministries that you researched for this tremendously important blog post. This epidemic wave of men calling for discernment in the IBs movement…

    If this is a TRUTH REVOLUTION,then let’s actually put forth those in error, and as you suggest, let the Holy Spirit give discernment on the spirit of truth or the spirit of error. I would like to be warned of them myself. I currently know only of 1, (the veteran church planter that I mentioned) or maybe 2 that actually warn about compromise within the IB movement, especially about CCM. I think the IB movement is plagued with idolatry and go along to get along, man-centeredness. I see some of it in this post.

    Nonetheless, seems to me again, despite what Pastor Montgomery says, you ARE telling us who we should and shouldn’t listen to. Let me quote you, so I’m not accused again of personally attacking you. You said…

    “It is time we tell them to go find real work in the cause of Christ as we will take over discernment ourselves going forward.”

    Telling your readers NOT to listen to them. Telling your readers they are “nuts.”

    Is that NOT inserting yourself into the discernment place of the HS in their lives. Can they not recognize that as ungodly counsel without your discernment on the discerners? Again, Matt. 7 violation in practice.

    I think it is telling and weakens your proposition in this post, by the fact that you only address comments that heap praise upon you. And quickly as well. High fives all around!

    Despite what your cheerleading section here would have the readers to believe, I did not attack you personally whatsoever. That’s an old debate tactic, but quite frankly, one of the flesh, not the Spirit. It’s like calling someone a racist. Easy to accuse, hard to prove. But objective Biblical truth is rarely the authority in these matters. You should put an end to it, it’s your blog. You’re responsible for it.

    I simply and rather kindly pointed out that you referenced that the author (this was a real person, unless you just made all this up) of a specific “discernment ministry” you read, did what you said was acceptable, that is, addressing a danger that affects and reflects on the independent baptist movement. The acceptance of ecumenical charismatic music in independent baptist churches, as you noted, a WELL KNOWN IB church, IOW, a church that has great influence on other churches within the movement.

    As Pastor Montgomery said, all one has to do is google something like, “discernment ministry warns independent baptists about In Christ Alone song.” ( I actually did google it, and guessed who popped up?) Tell me that you don’t think people know who you are talking about.

    You characterized him and anyone else who has the same indwelling HS as you, including this pastor, as “A NUT” and not part of a “real ministry.” Did you not?

    Now, Pastor Montgomery, tell me, who is attacking a man personally?

    Brother Reagan, I simply pointed out the Matthew 7 violation, when you are currently misrepresenting his ministry (whether you did this intentionally or out of ignorance, and whether you named him or not, you still misrepresented him as not a “real ministry”) while at the same time you identify yourself a pastor.

    And you even name a church you pastor on your blogs and twitter feed. And yet, that same church says you resigned that ministry. You say you are a pastor and work in the disability ministry. Are you the/a pastor of the church listed on your blogs and or/twitter feed, or are you not?

    Perhaps you resigned for great reasons. I remember you posted about it, so it’s not like I’m revealing anything that you publicly have not posted. I know men who have resigned and went to a mission field or men who resigned to take care of their family. Perhaps that is the case. Perhaps you resigned out of a biblical conviction that you were no longer qualified, something that I’d actually commend you for. I do not know. However, I’ve never questioned your qualifications. I simply ask you to see if you are not actually doing what you say you despise in another man’s ministry.

    Did you judge another man’s ministry as “not real” and only “discernment” ministry, when he is in fact a veteran church planting missionary or not? Whether you name him or not is not relevant. Many people know who he is because of the great waves it has made in the IB papal hierarchy. They are hot with scorn that one of their own was manifested to have used ecumenical charismatic contemporary worship music in his church for the last 10 years. They are defending him as their pope, just like the Hyles-ites defended Jack and Jack, no matter how Biblically and clearly the compromise was documented. I refuse to believe that you think that no one will know who you are talking about and that no one will now associate him with “just a discernment ministry” that is “not a real ministry.”

    What I think you and Pastor Montgomery and many other commentators are actually arguing for, is the virtue of uncertainty. Basically, we can’t really apply the Bible in any demonstrable way, we can only preach and teach it on a theoretical plane. In fact, the more generic and accepting and gray you are, the more spiritual you are. Only the Gospel matters. It’s really just a re-packaged evangelicalism.

    The truth is that anyone who is not uncertain like you, well then, they are a danger. They need to be exposed and rebuked and rejected. Only those with the spiritual maturity to be uncertain about anything except well,.. the few things that you are still certain about, yeah, those guys are the real danger to the faith. Try the spirits you say,…just not my spirit and my prophecy. The only thing you can be dogmatic about, is uncertainty. That, you are quite convinced of!

    No more comments from me. I apologize for the verbosity. Love you brother.

    • Pastor Rogers,

      I simply disagree with your take on this matter. My comments and yours are here for others to consider. What they think is not up to you or I. What the Lord thinks is not up to you or I either.

      I did not mention your friend by name and despite how it struck you I was writing to an issue, not an individual. You mentioned in a way that is obvious other well known people and all know exactly who you are talking about. I could have mentioned your friend had I chosen to because when you put yourself out there, you open yourself to public criticism. I face the same thing for writing this blog. Still, I chose not to name names on my blog. To deal with one person is an insufficient approach to a problem more widespread. BTW, I do feel it is widespread covering some well known and others doing it on a local level. I chose to deal with it in the big picture.

      God bless and come comment anytime.

  12. Having served in the ministry of IB churches since 1975 alongside my pastor husband, I have observed the “church” in all it’s glory and failings. We are saddened to see the gradual Bible ignorance of it’s members, and how easily Christians fall for any easy opinion. As I read these comments, I can understand both points of view. I happen to think the song mentions above is a lovely song. However, I do agree the writer is sad as a Christian. Many beautiful songs of today are being written by folks who have no real relationship with Christ and are in the industry to make money. It is very sad. We have to draw the line somewhere, and teach our people to be good discerners themselves. That takes a strong, wise pastor. As I read the comments, I know in my heart (through Holy Spirit influence) that no matter what the song says or sounds like, I must judge the totality of it, including the writer. We are slowly loosing our moral compass in Christendom through Satan’s subtle influences. We must be vigil. This is just another baby step in the wrong direction.

  13. Bro. Reagan, I appreciate your article. Anyone that denies the reality of the issue you addressed is self deceived. I remember well eating lunch with a “big name” pastor while he laughed and gloated about two great Christian leaders that he had just “wrote up” in his magazine. The issue is real.

    However, I appreciate even more the way you handled yourself with commenters. In a movement where objections are not tolerated, you have welcomed them. Instead of hiding from them in insecurity, you have addressed them. Instead of lashing out in wounded pride, I believe you spoke in humility. Instead of shouting with empty rhetoric and redneck platitudes you brought substance to the discussion. I believed your example in handling your objectors is as needful as the substance of your blog.
    Thank you.

  14. I think this is so interesting! I love these kind of discussions. Since I am the wife of this blogger, I know his heart so I do not get too concerned about the critics.

    I did read an article about the song “In Christ Alone”, and I find it fascinating that it was not allowed to be included in a certain denominations hymn book because it was too doctrinal! They asked to change the line “the wrath of God was satisfied” to “the love of God was magnified”. The hymn writers, Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend would not allow it. If you took away the wrath of God, you took away the Gospel.

    It’s a matter of perspective I guess of who sees a song as too liberal and who would see it as too conservative.

    Here is the link to the article I read:
    http://www.dennyburk.com/presbyterian-church-u-s-a-rejects-popular-hymn-in-christ-alone-because-of-wrath/

  15. I must admit that I read and appreciated all the comments:) Nothing like a good discussion to stir the mind, I enjoyed the article and I would agree that this a problem. I would like to address a few little tidbits from Pastor Steve…

    (1) Steve Rogers : “Jesus was not talking about never discerning truth and error, but against the very particular judging of another hypocritically. That is, judging another’s behavior to be wrong while practicing the same behavior. BTW, which does not release the other party from their sin either, but I digress…It’s a very specific condemnation from the Lord…judging hypocritically. Matthew 7 hypocritical judging is exactly what you’ve done here.”

    Yes, it talks about judging people in a hypocritical nature but if that is all you glean from that then you are missing some major points. It talks of trying to solve others small issues and ignoring the larger problem right smack on your personal doorstep. It also points towards “personal judgement” which is something we are in dire need of today. Now is there things that the Bible already condemns and observations we can make from a persons actions (fruit)? Sure, but again you are missing the point…that is not what anybody is talking about. The issue is these “ministries” are overstepping their bounds and interfering with the job of the Holy Spirit. We have all heard the sermons, read the articles and they totally miss the big picture. They want to deal with issues that make them feel better, dress this way, eat this and for goodness sake don’t ever touch a cigarette or put a bottle to your lip! This makes me chuckle a little because just like the pharisees, they focus on the outward and when that happens they are worse off then the people they are judging. All the sudden they are worried about who you are hanging out with (gasp!) (does that sound familiar?)….what music they are listening to, which brings me to the next subject.

    Steve Rogers: “Did you actually deal with the ecumenical nature of the songwriter/performers? No. Did you deal with the fornication and immorality and adultery being practiced by those at the very times they were writing and performing this song and others? No. Did you mention that the ecumenical, yeah, the completely wicked Hollywood/Nashville crowd that loves to bestow awards on those that write and sing these songs? No. Did you recognize that the main uniting feature of the ecumenical movement with evangelicalism and charismaticism and the emerging church is worship music? No. Did you mention that the authors and performers of this and other songs have openly said it is their goal to bridge the doctrinal gaps that exist in churches? No. Did you mention that the authors and performers of such music regularly show disdain for Biblical separation of ANY kind? No. Did you mention that these authors/performers openly associate with the catholic church, which IS Biblical identified as the foundation for the one-world religion and Anti-Christ worship? No. Did you deal with a theology of music from the Bible? No.”

    So you can totally discount what Paul said in Philippians 1 because every message you have ever preached has been entirely of a perfect motive? You have put God in a box my friend, many people have been blessed by this song… but how can that be? I mean it’s impossible because the songwriter was utterly wrong in his motives! Again, why do you limit God’s power to turn something negative into a positive, we can judge the singer because God has already condemned his actions but we judge the song by the Word of God! Otherwise and I want pure honesty in this answer, has your motive been totally pure in every moment that you have studied for your message? If not, then we should discount your message. We must also burn a bundle of some of our older hymns….even Paul said when I do good evil is ever present.

    In reply to the latter part of your post, I must mention that I would love for you to expound on some other things that was mentioned because It’s always good to hear some opinions…and don’t worry I won’t judge you for them:)

    Steve Rogers: “You posted it anyway, and I predict you will get accolades for weeks from every Christian who loves the “judge not” card to excuse their sin. But, to another pastor, and to any discerning Christian, the hypocrisy is literally running down my laptop screen.”

    This right here stung a little because I must admit this strawman approach got to me a little…are you saying that anybody who does not believe as you is not a discerning christian and is just trying to excuse their sin? Are you saying that? I pray that I just misinterpreted this diatribe because the pharisee and publican springs to mind in this instance.

    The truth is that much of the Independent Baptist Doctrine is not Bible Doctrine and this “uncertainty” that you talk about scares you because you would have to admit that the bible does leave liberty to Christians to have different principles (not doctrines) than each other. We each are an independent priesthood and must answer to God for the choices we make and this makes me very aware of what is actually “Bible Doctrine” (word is thrown around way to much) and what is just the manacles of religion. I pray that I don’t come off as harsh or even that I am picking sides but I do want to be direct and truthful. God bless!

    • Josh,
      I so appreciate your thoughtful comments. We needed your point about motives. None of us have always had perfect motives 100% of the time. So it logically follows that God does use things where motives are questionable! Perhaps we don’t know them either.

      The priesthood of the believer is key to this for sure! We do individually answer to God, so we had better work at discernment individually too.

      Please come back and comment anytime!

  16. I’ve pastored long enough to see that investing much more time to this discussion with this group of believers would no longer be a stewardship that I would be confident giving of at the Bema judgment. I say that honestly and without ill will toward any of you. So I wish only to address one more time, the pastors here, who the Bible says are to watch for the souls of their flock.

    The most recent comments demonstrate the dangerous destination that is reached after discounting discernment by anyone outside of “ME”. A destination reached by misinterpreting and wresting out of context proper pneumatology, bibliology, and sanctification.

    I mentioned it earlier and Pastor Mike echoed it in his “quotable” comment, we become God!

    And as Paul warned against, we pervert the liberty we have in Christ, and we use it as a cloak for the flesh and as stumblingblocks to the lost and other believers. We deceive ourselves into thinking that the indwelling HS and the priesthood of the believer doctrines somehow cancel out the rest of scripture which clearly teaches us that though we have an unction (HS) from the Father, we still have a need for safety and are accountable to other believers, who are spiritual when we are carnal. We abuse the term Pharisee and throw it at anyone that challenges us about holiness. WE alone are God and WE alone answer to ourselves. All the time using the HS and the priesthood of the believer for cover.

    Did you pastors read the comments? Ridiculous preaching that deals with dress, drinking, cigarettes, ungodly friendships, music. If you do preach and make application in these areas, you are an “Isolationist, Pharisee.” This is the fruit of your reasoning, fellow pastors. Bro. Reagan, this what you have inspired.

    This is where at least some of your church members will go, even if you yourself don’t eventually end up there. And there will be nothing you can do to stem it’s tide in the flock that God holds you accountable for as an undershepherd. You’ll either have to go along or you’ll have to leave.

    Drinking beer, it’s no problem. Bible never mentions Budweiser or Coors, but it does talk about wine, so drink up! I dare anyone “NUT” to challenge me on that. Show me chapter and verse where the Bible forbids me to drink a martini! I’ve got liberty and the indwelling HS and the priesthood of the believer. Chill out pastor, these things aren’t fundamental doctrines. Soon you’ll be the one getting the BACK OFF PHARISEE! That’s exactly where the evangelical and emerging churches are as we blog!

    Why the Bible never mentions playboy, or mini-skirts and it certainly does not mention rock or rap music. Especially if the Words are Biblical, after all that’s what music is, only words, as Pastor Mike proposed earlier. It’s only the words Bra. (I guess the music itself really is amoral, the author’s doctrine and testimony also are amoral, it’s just the WORDS that have morality.)

    How are you going to preach against Christian rap and rock after your comments and with your reasoning? After all, the words ARE scriptural in many of Christian rappers lyrics.

    Who knows, maybe you guys already think that, even if you haven’t publically come out for LeCrae. Perhaps you’re like Al Mohler…just thinking about thinking about accepting Christian Rap.

    If you don’t accept these things in the lives of your church members, then you’re inconsistent with your claim that every believer gets to decide what is truth and error and that no one else, not their parents, not their spouse, not their pastor, not an older believer, NO ONE but their own personal “HS” can take the Bible and make application!

    And even if the Bible does say something about dress or friendship or music. You can’t preach ANY application of that…only the HS can discern that for that man or woman.

    No pastor, not even you, should EVER make a judgment about their life or their testimony or EVER challenge them about anything that does not include a verse that names them personally and commands/forbids EXACTLY, and I mean EXACTLY that specific issue in their life.

    The result, brothers. Fertile ground for spiritual self-deception that will send generations to hell, thinking they prayed a prayer. Now they’re safe….Now…they are God! Now it’s time to party! Dude, this liberty is awesome!

    Like the HS warned, they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. They didn’t get their on their own. They were enabled by misguided believers, some even PASTORS, who scorned the need for discernment.

    God help us, I pray.

    • Pastor Rogers,

      I was thinking over a response your comment, but when I read Joshua’s comment below, I found he covered several of the points I wanted to say very well.

      Though you think some of us have run from the Bible and don’t preach some of these points, I would guarantee you that every one of us has preached Proverbs 20:1 for drinking, or that modesty is required, etc. and etc. What we haven’t done is preach the particular points some do, claiming that the Bible when it actually does not, because we will only preach what the Bible actually says to the best of our flawed ability.

      I also want to say that I have no problem to what conclusions you have reached for you. If you never want to sing “In Christ Alone”, that is no problem to me. For you to have a problem with something like that not clearly in the Bible in me is the issue I am addressing. To feel the need to label someone over it, or to ask others to separate, is what I find to be beyond anything our Lord asks of us in Scripture.

      As for pastors, I believe our job is to teach people how to discern by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading, not by turning to a discernment ministry to do that for us.

      Please, my friend, don’t knock the Holy Spirit’s leading and the priesthood of the believer. It will liberate you and bless you beyond description.

      God bless.

  17. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate not only the articles you have been writing in this series, but the spirit in which you write them. The tendency to name call and lash out when inconsistencies/injustices are ignored (especially in a ministry) is a strong one and I do understand the feeling.

    By God’s grace I’m learning that I don’t have to be upset or offended whenever someone disagrees with me. Name calling doesn’t change anyone’s mind, and it just makes me look bad. And ultimately, I’m called to love my enemy, do good to them, bless those who curse me, pray for them, turn the other cheek, and go the extra mile for them. It’s hard to respond that way especially when attacks come from people who I identify with as a Christian, but then I remember that they might need it just as much as people who don’t know Jesus. I sure did.

  18. Steve, please quote what I said…here it is

    Me: “We have all heard the sermons, read the articles and they totally miss the big picture. They want to deal with issues that make them feel better, dress this way, eat this and for goodness sake don’t ever touch a cigarette or put a bottle to your lip! This makes me chuckle a little because just like the pharisees, they focus on the outward and when that happens they are worse off then the people they are judging.”

    Now here is what you discerned from that?

    Steve: “Ridiculous preaching that deals with dress, drinking, cigarettes, ungodly friendships, music. If you do preach and make application in these areas, you are an “Isolationist, Pharisee.” This is the fruit of your reasoning, fellow pastors. Bro. Reagan, this what you have inspired.”

    First – don’t blame Jimmy for me, I have actually never heard him preach or talked with him about this subject. I think his blogs are insightful but i judge them the same way I judge everything else….by the Word of God.

    Second – I would appreciate you just quoting me because your commentary didn’t even broach the point or deal with anything I remotely said??? Just please read it again and tell me that was the point…I hope your “discernment” is better this time:)

    Third – Honestly, your whole post got a little disturbing from there and I don’t mean to offend you but it came off to me that you were (I could be wrong and hope I am). As far as Isolationism, John asked a valid question that you conveniently ignored and I think he just wanted a answer. I spoke to the character of the Pharisees and what I spoke about them was true, if I am wrong please show me.

    Steve: “If you don’t accept these things in the lives of your church members, then you’re inconsistent with your claim that every believer gets to decide what is truth and error and that no one else, not their parents, not their spouse, not their pastor, not an older believer, NO ONE but their own personal “HS” can take the Bible and make application!

    And even if the Bible does say something about dress or friendship or music. You can’t preach ANY application of that…only the HS can discern that for that man or woman. ”

    There is a simple answer to this…if you can’t back up the “application” with Bible then yes I will take it into consideration but you or no other pastor is my God. You try to predict the future by telling pastors what will happen and you say WE run the danger of believing we are God? I am sorry but that is the exact opposite of what anybody is saying, I don’t believe the HS will lead you anywhere contrary to what the Bible says, they go hand in hand. But many preachers/or denominations want to be your god by inflicting its own standards into the Bible when it is clearly not there. This strawman that you have tried to set up with throwing “playboy and mini-skirts” etc… in with this crowd is sad. Nobody is discounting Holiness but we are saying that let’s glean what is holy from the Bible.

    Last point….

    Steve: “The result, brothers. Fertile ground for spiritual self-deception that will send generations to hell, thinking they prayed a prayer. Now they’re safe….Now…they are God! Now it’s time to party! Dude, this liberty is awesome!

    Like the HS warned, they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. They didn’t get their on their own. They were enabled by misguided believers, some even PASTORS, who scorned the need for discernment.

    God help us, I pray”

    I am glad that we can agree on one thing we do need Gods help…I don’t have all the answers and never will but I think if God wants to make something abundantly clear I am sure he has the power and wisdom to do so. As far as liberty…the Church of Christ has used this same argument for years to preach against eternal salvation and it sounds about as good coming from your post as it does from their mouth.Does liberty give us a license to sin, no of course not….but the Word of God is the authority on what is sin not you or me (and I am sure glad that it is not either of us). Bottom line, the grace of God can be abused but let’s both admit that if somebody prays a prayer and participates in religion their whole life then that same danger still applies (they may even feel safer). So please go ahead and preach against whatever you like just don’t pretend that everybody will blindly follow you, even Paul said “follow me as I follow Christ”. If you have Bible to back up what you say then I am wholeheartedly with you but if it is your opinion than I will use discernment just as I hope you would do with my opinions. Because we are human and can be prone to error….

  19. The “ministry of discernment” has been around since the earliest of times. Remember Job’s three friends? They analyzed what Job was going through and made their discerning conclusions and came to “help” their brother in The Lord so that he could get things right with The Lord and get through his trial. Only problem? They were dead wrong and God had to set them straight and in the end, they were the ones that had to go and make sacrifices to get right with God.

    Since it has been around since the earliest of times, it will be around till the end. It is not so much “the who” but “the what”. The names of Jobs 3 friends has changed over the centuries but the attitude remains.

    This post is a beautiful reminder that we are to be discerners as we exercise spiritual responsibility to be sensitive and listen the Holy Spirit in our lives. I have never been exhorted in the Scriptures to let another human do my spiritual homework for me. If I do, I will become lazy and limited in my own understanding.

  20. Bro. Reagan makes a MOST important point: Where the Scriptures say little, we should be wise enough to do the SAME.
    Anyone declaring themselves a “ministry of discernment” is declaring themselves wiser than ALL OTHERS.
    I cannot imagine a more egregious example of pride.
    Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
    11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
    12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    If fundamentalism is dead, then it has died a death it richly deserves.

  21. Pingback: It’s Time For An Independent Baptist Truth Revolution! | The Reagan Review

  22. I agree that discernment is for the individual. If you practicing Biblical discernment and are looking to please God with the decision, not some other person, the HS will point you in the right direction. (only you and God know whether your motives are pure, and out of the two, God knows better!)
    On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to listen to a few other seasoned Christian’s perspectives surrounding that decision. “…in the multitude of counselors, there is safety.”
    If someone wants to publicly “warn” Christians about a “movement” or ministry, let it be about a total disregard for clear Biblical Doctrine, not secondary issues.

    Thanks for the post Bro. Reagan. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

  23. Here is my take on this discussion:

    1st – I completely agree that any Pastor or Missionary should not be watching over others in a “Big Brother” fashion. This is simply not Biblical from a very simple stand point. The Bible says plainly: “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing” (I Thessalonians 4:11-12).

    2nd – I also agree with what Pastor Reagan says was his intent of the article is “that it is not anyone’s job to have my discernment for me.” This is a Biblical position to take. Again the Bible says: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).

    3rd – There is a Biblical and practical reality that what Pastor Rogers is warning against has also been coming to pass in IFB churches the world over. We have IFB Pastors (and their minions) who think they are above reproach and when someone dares reprove them, they react like, “Don’t touch God’s anointed!”

    Here is what I’m referencing in a nutshell (you can re-read his comments for further understanding): Pastor Rogers said, “And as Paul warned against, we pervert the liberty we have in Christ, and we use it as a cloak for the flesh and as stumblingblocks to the lost and other believers. We deceive ourselves into thinking that the indwelling HS and the priesthood of the believer doctrines somehow cancel out the rest of scripture which clearly teaches us that though we have an unction (HS) from the Father, we still have a need for safety and are accountable to other believers, who are spiritual when we are carnal.”

    4th – Pastors – elders in the church in general – have both Scriptural authority and responsibility to warn believers when others walk disorderly. Paul said that when preaching Christ we are “warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:28-29).

    5th – I agree that the individual and the ministry that God has given him was misrepresented in Pastor Reagan’s original blog post in your 5th paragraph.

    6th – Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. This is a sad commentary on what is happening in IFB churches and colleges, and the same cycle of a school “going liberal” continues to repeat itself. The church and college that the “In Christ Alone” article singles out is one of those colleges that sadly, is trying its footing on the top of this “going liberal” slope. So, let me give you some history. My wife attended a college 11 years ago that once was a beacon of truth and standard bearer in IFB circles. This church had a college, an academy, a mission board, a huge bus program, and beautiful property. “God was really blessing!” The Pastor of this ministries “hay-day” went to the mission field, but he later died in disgrace in a jail cell. The pastor when my wife went to this college is the same man who pastors that church today. That church began to “fall away” when certain popular songs were “cleaned up” and allowed to be played in church by the teen group and college groups. Like it or not, here is the problem with allowing that: The Pastor, who we are assuming has discernment, says, “Yes, we can play that song in church if we accompany it with the piano because it has good words.” Here is what the young people, whom many DO NOT have discernment, hear, “This band has good songs because they have good lyrics.” Now, 11 years later, those young people are the leaders in the church, and that which the Pastor used to preach against, he now allows. This is the path that many IFB churches have gone down, and it is the path that the church in the “In Christ Alone” article is trying its footing on.

    7th – There is another reality at play here which many IFB pastors may not want to recognize. That reality is this: We are NOT independent. Through our Bible College mentality, we have allowed our movement to be organized under Bible Colleges. Many of the presidents of their respective Bible college hold strong influence and sway over the students that have graduated from their schools. So, the writer of the “In Christ Alone” article was warning a generation of young people who have graduated from or are attending that school to exercise discernment with the music that they allow in the pulpit.

    8th – Allowing “In Christ Alone” to be sung in your church validates every other song that writers have made. You may not thinks, so but it does. Some young person is sitting in church struggling with giving up their secular music because the Holy Spirit has been dealing with them and we encourage them in their disobedience by playing a different song by the same artist. The young person than thinks, “I didn’t know they play this bands music in church, I don’t have to get rid of my music.”

    9th – Preaching, if it is Biblical preaching, is very logical and it renews our minds (Romans 12). Singing and music in general is emotional and it touches our hearts (Colossians 3:16). If the music / singing (all of it) is not Biblical, then the music works on the heart to draw us away from the meat of the Word of God. The strong affect that music has on people is a scientific reality and that affect often overrules our logic. Let me give you a quick example. When restaurants are busy, they play music with a more lively, upbeat sound, and they turn the music up. This is done because scientists have found that when people are listening to lively, upbeat music that is played slightly louder than normal, they eat faster. Faster eaters equals more eaters per hour which equals more money. So, if doctrinally shallow music is allowed in church, it turns people’s hearts away from the doctrinal truth of preaching. This is very plain to see because even Colossians 3:16 starts with allowing God’s Word to dwell richly in you in song. Now, before you reply with “In Christ Alone” is very Biblical, please re-read my 8th point. While “In Christ Alone” certainly has Biblical lyrics the musical composer and song writer both have many other songs that dampen or change Bible doctrine. “In Christ Alone” therefore is dangerous because it validates the other songs (as I mentioned in #8).

    10th – I think our movement would be better off if pastors kept each other accountable. The one thing we have gotten good at is hiding each others sins, but “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (I Thessalonians 4:17). Let me bring to life a Biblical reality that has long died (if it ever lived) among IFB pastors. The Bible says, “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (I Timothy 5:19-20). Don’t let that pass by you too quickly. The Bible makes it clear that a Pastor who sins (specifically if it can be vetted by witnesses) he should be rebuked before all. Bravo to the man who does that because even if he isn’t your pastor you know that he watches for your soul (Hebrews 13:7).

    ——-
    The reality of all warning, teaching, preaching, rebuking, reproving, and exhorting is this, I will decided whether or not I will obey God’s Word and live in a way that doesn’t grieve the spirit. This, however, doesn’t not negate the Scriptural authority or responsibility that pastor / elders have to warn and teach every man (Colossians 1:28).

  24. I am a former independent baptist…please don’t waste time pointing this out. after years of that way, born in it, found salvation “In Christ Alone” in it, attended a fundamental college, always, always, questioning the extremes with which i was confronted weekly. and finding no scriptural basis for most of them…I left it.
    the sad and tragic/ comic truth is, IB’s have so little knowledge of the rest of Christendom, while most Christians, MOST, live their whole lives without any knowledge of these fights over clothing, hair length, translations, music, “standards” and focus on pleasing the Lord Christ and sharing his Gospel. I seldom ever heard a message on the unity of Scripture, the marvelous freedom in Christ, or grace beyond measure for all sinners.( that would be all of us, in this fallen world.) while IB.
    what I treasure still is the emphasis on the Word of God itself, that I found there. everything else, not so much.

    imagine my astonishment, once i left, to discover fellow believers in almost every denomination you can possibly name. and they were not “living in sin” but more godly, more earnest, more focused, more humble and more “real” about their faith than most i had ever encountered in IB. Not all. But most. of course, I am a woman. and that’s a whole other story among IB’s.
    IB’s, most of the Christian world does not know the people you know, or read the books you read, or discuss what you spend endless time discussing. but they do know love, serve, and worship Jesus Christ.. “He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in the darkness until now.” I John 1:2:9

      • Well, pastor Jimmy, you will note I did not leave Him. and since I have two brothers who remain independent Baptist pastors, have had some years to observe. I’m old and sometimes crotchity, but mostly, I’m sad. because too much time is spent on the unimportant and not the absolutely essential. I agree with nearly all you write, by the way, and weep for the fire you are about to have fall. (i note some of the caustic comments you have already generated.) I have a loving relationship with many independents, including my large family, but I can never go back. the venom i have seen over a pastor reading from an NIV, or his daughter wearing a pair of kneeknockers to rollerskate, or their son going to a movie… As you pointed out, the Pharisees were the best men their world ever saw. The very best. outwardly.

        Praise God for the Light. never seems to occur to some how truly astoundingly winsome a person sold out to Jesus really is, no mattter how they look. even some independents in that holy group!

  25. I know I am late to the comments, but I just recently found your blog after searching for Alexander MacClaren who I have found to be an excellent Biblical expositor. I apologize if you cover any of my comments in your further blogs, haven’t had time to get there yet. I feel compelled to comment even at this late date in the conversation. Having been in IB churches for literally the first 32 years of my life, listening to all the “right” music, outwardly conforming to all the “right” standards, dutifully reading my KJV Bible and praying all the while secretly indulging many “real” sins, I have finally opened the door to Christ’s knocking years later despite my earlier way of life. I unfortunately feel compelled to use the word despite. Man looks on the outward but God looks on the heart. The Lord has brought me so far in the last couple of years, both in healing from the brokenness caused my my secret sins and my legalism to the freedom from doing things because of the approval of anyone else but God. Christ is the vine, not our doctrine, no matter how careful our exposition (John 5:39). Ironically the KJV makes it more difficult to interpret that verse. Christ is saying there that the Pharisees were searching the scriptures (a noble task) to find eternal life but ignoring Him completely. How easily we forget that even our best is filthy rags. Yes we are to “rightly divide the Word of Truth” but God knows that in our humanity even with the Holy Spirit we will have different interpretation of things. Which is why there is such an emphasis on unity and not judging in the New Testament. As the parable of the tares and wheat emphasizes it is God who eventually judges who are the tares. Not us. I know there are some admonitions against false prophets but since they are clearly indicated to be spawns of Satan to corrupt the true basic doctrines of the Gospel the Bible also indicates extreme caution when attempting to judge whether someone is a false prophet. It has been my experience that the unshakeable “doctrines” of the Gospel are a much smaller list than many wish to admit. And so in our pride we often become desperate to find a “biblical” way to discredit those who disagree with us. I can certainly imagine Jesus Christ shaking his head. But I greatly digress…I just wanted to point out that I appreciate your blogs, with any faults or errors they may/may not have. I am sure you will fully admit to being human while writing them (case in point, your “nuts” comment). 🙂

    What I have found to be truth as I have begun to follow Christ in my heart NOT just my actions is that most of these “discerning” discussions quite frankly deal with sanctification issues, not justification issues. The cart so easily gets put before the horse. You are never sanctified until you are justified. And justification does not come until you “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead”. I recognize that I did not use the word shalt in my quote but hopefully the meaning is still clear! 🙂 Lots of people confess the name but how can we truly judge the “believe in your heart” part? Ironically I was a hateful, judging, selfish, prideful, etc, etc, person before I truly met Christ. But the funny thing is nobody knew. I had carefully crafted from childhood my “fundamentalist shell” and carefully followed the list of “sanctifying” actions. But none of it was from the heart…and my motives were almost exclusively wicked. It was pointless (though God can take the pointless and use it. He so often brings back the scripture I read and memorized in the past now to bless and instruct me.) I could easily fall into the same category I am faulting if I said every person or pastor in the IBM was like I was. Who am I to judge? That is the whole point. What I am faulting is a preaching or teaching (not the person doing them) with such an emphasis on the evidence of justification (sanctification) that the heart completely gets neglected or is spoken of in a token way. This is why I and others use the term Pharisee. This was one of their major faults and they were called out by Christ regularly. If the majority of our preaching and teaching is focused on what WE interpret to be the “fruit” of salvation rather than on the Gospel itself then the Pharisee term seems to be appropriate. The “true” doctrines of the Gospel are abundantly clear under almost any person’s interpretation and in many “versions” of the Bible unless the person is deliberately trying to subvert the Gospel itself. This is the main thing we are called upon to judge. And to be very cautious even in that. It is so easy to make idols of everything, including “our” doctrine. Fortunately God is not constrained by our interpretation or doctrine.

    The power and sufficiency of the Gospel message that the living Christ (who was raised from the dead and is here with us now) changes people’s hearts is paramount. Once Christ and the Holy Spirit take hold of a person sanctification will soon follow. The direction of their heart will change. Some slowly some quickly. Sometimes the outward evidence of the change is immediate, sometimes it is not. The Holy Spirit inside of you will begin to move your desires towards Him. You can of course help this along with your disciplines, but it is Christ who changed your direction. I no longer read and study out of duty, I hunger. I no longer pray out of duty, I am compelled by an internal need. It is ALL Christ who has done that; nothing of myself. 32 years of outward “sanctifying” actions did not do that, it was one experience of Christ.

    If one looks for the devil under every rock they will find him. Since truly meeting Christ and His regeneration of my heart and life I barely ever listen to secular music anymore. It is just not edifying. I have found some CCM to be edifying and help my walk with God but the longer I walk the more I revert to the great hymns of the faith. The Gospel doctrines presented in them are powerful. The point being that this change in my music focus is being pushed from my heart. All the years of exclusively listening to hymns did nothing to change my heart. Now that my heart is changed suddenly I want to listen to more hymns. Hmm. Catch the difference? And this is extremely personal between God and myself. I have begun to barely catch a dim glimpse of His sovereignty and creativity in how He has created us. Other than the regenerated heart my sanctification path will be completely different from anyone else. And that is an amazing thing. Where does that leave me room to judge them? It doesn’t. My responsibility is to preach the Gospel as accurately as I can interpret from the Bible and how Christ has worked in my life even to those in the church (the book of James). Because once He does that work in someone’s heart He is fully capable of managing their sanctification. I am just His humble slave to sow the seed and then assist as He leads.

    I recognize the futility of parsing the doctrines behind my writing in a single blog post. And I am humbly learning as I go just trying to keep my eyes fixed on Christ. I have a lot to learn. But I am completely certain of the sufficiency of the Gospel and the power of Christ to change a heart. He has done that to mine. And until He does that to a person, no amount of preaching or teaching on music or any other “good works” that are up to sincere differences of Biblical interpretation will accomplish anything.

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