Matthew 7:20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
The late Jack Weaver, the founder of the Expreacherman ministry, used to say regarding people who corrupt the gospel: The woods is full of ‘em.
We have a mega-church in our community whose senior pastor is the “go to guy” for all matters of faith. He is a frequent guest on our biggest AM radio station, and he has been called upon for everything from commenting on tragedies that befall us, to providing testimonials for the quality of the ribs at a local restaurant.
I participated in a Bible study a few years back with some men from work. Several of the people in the group seemed to have some confusion about grace, and a couple of them were actively involved with this same mega-church.
In doing some research into their church, I found a startling disconnect between the church’s stated beliefs and what the senior pastor was actually teaching (please note that both the statement of faith and the senior pastor’s blog are on the church’s website, so his inconsistencies are in plain sight).
From “Core Beliefs:
Those who put their faith alone in Christ for Salvation are children of God and heirs of eternal life.
From the Senior Pastor’s blog:
Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.
The senior pastor of this mega-church contradicts the gospel by insisting that works are necessary to prove that one has eternal life. The Bible does not teach this! In fact, the Bible is clear that one can have assurance of eternal life without waiting around to see if good works manifest themselves.
John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Further, from the church’s website:
Forest Hill Church has transitioned from its Presbyterian roots, off of Woodlawn Road in the 1950’s, to a non-denominational, multi-campus church emphasizing spiritual transformation and service to the least and lost in our neighborhoods and around the world.
If they mean that the church has transitioned from its Calvinist (Presbyterian) roots, it appears to me that they really haven’t. No one can be spiritually transformed unless and until they have received eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Moreover, the Bible does not teach that spiritual transformation is inevitable for believers (see Romans 12:1-2).
Last, teaching a false gospel and getting people plugged into a doctrinally aberrant church, led by a doctrinally aberrant pastor is not doing them a service.
Ron Shea had this to say regarding doctrine that churches teach:
If you want to know the doctrine that a church teaches, don’t ask to read the doctrinal statement. It may be gathering dust! Meet several members of the congregation who have been there for at least three years. Ask them what they believe about certain topics of theology. These men and women are the real fruit of the pastor’s labors!
Following are excerpts from some reviews of this mega-church that I found online. Please notice that NONE OF THEM provides the gospel message, nor includes any critical evaluation of what this church really teaches:
David is an engaging speaker and preaches the word without pulling any punches. If you want to see him preach live in person, visit the South Park location. This church and all of its locations believe and preach God’s word 100% of the time.
My comment: Without pulling any punches is a phrase that is common in the world of professing Christendom for someone who insinuates works into the gospel, thus corrupting it and creating a false gospel.
A church that teaches the true gospel of Christ, not for pretenders. So glad I found this place. Most churches today cater to the people with a feel good message of what people want to here and water the gospel down. Not here
My comment: What Lordship “salvationists” often mean by water the gospel down is to teach the gospel in its purity. In other words, water down falsely implies that the real gospel inherently includes works for eternal life. Likewise, pretenders is often used to deride those who correctly believe that works are not necessary to receive, keep, or provide evidence of eternal life.
Great job with the kids, just watched a very entertaining play from the 3 & 4 year olds!
My comment: These children are being indoctrinated into a church that corrupts the gospel.
If you are a true Believer in Christ or really want to know your purpose in life, this is the place you need to be.
My comment: The phrase true believer cannot by found in the Bible. There are believers in the gospel and believers in false gospels. And, there are people who falsely profess belief in the gospel, often parroting the false views of their pastors. I am pretty sure that God’s purpose for my life does not include participating in the evil deeds of a doctrinally aberrant church.
I am afraid that the members and attendees of Forest Hill church can’t see the forest for the trees.
Eternal life is not received from Life Groups, service projects, pastor-authored study materials, children’s programs, music ministers, discipleship training, or other missions. Eternal life is not received by believing false gospels of works.
Eternal life is received by believing in the Lord Jesus as Savior.
If you would like to know how to have eternal life, please click here: John 3:16