David Reagan - Smith and Gendron on America's Spiritual Crisis
We have two special guests on our program today. One is Warren Smith who is one of Christendom’s greatest experts on the New Age Movement and its impact on the Church. The other is Mike Gendron who is a highly respected expert on Christian doctrine. They will both be talking about why the Church has become so inept in responding to the increasing secularization and paganization of our culture. Stay tuned.
David Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Each year this ministry hosts a Bible conference in the Dallas, Texas area. Sometimes it focuses on Bible prophecy and other times our concern is apologetics. In 2014 the theme of the conference was “America’s Spiritual Crisis.” Last week we presented excerpts from the presentations of two of our conference speakers, Jan Markell and Eric Barger. If you missed that program, you can find it on our website at lamblion.com. Again, that website address is lamblion.com.
This week our guest speakers will be Warren Smith and Mike Gendron. We are going to begin with Warren Smith who was a former teacher within the New Age Movement. Since his conversion to Jesus as his Lord and Savior, Warren has devoted his time to teaching about the deceptive nature of the New Age Movement and its impact on the Church. Here now is Warren Smith.
Warren Smith: You know Dave talked about at least 26 states being represented here. I was at a conference in Ableton, Wisconsin a couple years ago and they had a contest to see who had come the furthest to the conference. And there was actually a lady from China, so she got all the applause and everything. And I was the first speaker and I stepped up and I said, “You know, I hate to take away the thunder from this gal from China but I said I came from the furthest place, I came from the New Age.” Talk about far out.
When I was a kid and someone got real bossy we would say, “Who do you think you are anyway, God?” And we would quickly say, “Oh, no, no.” Now today it is almost like the opposite, if you don’t believe that there is a divine aspect to your inherent personality and being you are out of step with the mainstream spirituality that is starting to take over this nation.
I have a friend in New Orleans and his sister is deeply involved in the New Age. And I said, “Ty,” I said, “you know your sister is really involved with some really deceptive teachings.” And he said, “Like what?” And I said, “Well, she thinks she’s god.” He says, “No, way, there is no way she thinks that.” I said, “Ask her.” Next time I saw him he said, “You know what, you’re right she actually thought she was god.”
The New Age worldview is mainstream now. It used to be called New Age now it’s the New World View, the New Age the New Spirituality, New World View. New World Religions is still a little too threatening, but if you have a new world view that’s in vogue and that’s the answer to all these crisis that Dave outlines so well last night. That with everybody up against the wall–it’s like the old cowboy westerns where the bad guys shooting at the good guys feet and he says, “Dance.” And while he’s dancing he says, “Now, here’s what I want you to do so I’ll stop shooting at your feet.” And that’s kind of what we got going on here.
We’ve got a lot of crisis that are driving everybody one way or another, social, economic, spiritual, political, up against the wall and we are being given answers. We are being given answers supposedly, answers and quotes from the world on how we can work our way out of this. One of the ways that we can work our way out of this is that they are saying that there is an alternative to Armageddon, we don’t have to have Armageddon. Now, as I’m sure most of you know in Revelation Armageddon is part of prophecy. Jesus didn’t tell us that to make us feel bad or to put fear in our hearts. He told us that the world is going to get so bad that it’s going to have to be called on the count of darkness. And Armageddon is part of what happens in the future. He said, “Behold I tell you these things ahead of time so you won’t be offended when they come.” We really shouldn’t be that offended by what’s happening. We should praise God for His Holy Bible and the fact that it describes everything that’s going on today.
My testimony which is a whole other session, the net result of my testimony is that the Word of God described everything that I was involved in. It describes everything that’s going on today. And it describes what is going to keep going on into the future. When I was in the New Age I would step in front of a group like you guys, although I didn’t have that kind of platform when I was in the New Age and I would say, “Every day and every way things are getting better and better.” Now as a Christian I stand before you and say, “Every day and every way things are getting worse and worse.” What do you think is a more popular thing to say? I mean people want to hear good news. The good news is Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. And when I learned that it was an incredible, incredible journey that I took.
We were flying high in the New Age, I had been involved with psychics, gurus, a guru from India by the name of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I worked with a channeler, everything was going great, my wife and I, girlfriend at the time were evangelist in our hometown, we were spreading, A Course in Miracles. Which we are going to talk a little more about that, new revelations supposedly from Jesus Christ. It’s what Oprah Winfrey has been pushing for probably 22 years now on her program, and we’ll go into that. Jesus is supposedly giving new revelation to help us in this time of crisis; a false Christ. Exactly what Jesus warned about in Matthew 24:3-5 He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” I bought it, I just didn’t know the Scriptures. I was brought up in a very liberal church.
What happened was all of a sudden my wife and I were having to deal with something that just seemed dark, but hey, there is no darkness, there is no evil in the New Age that’s part of our belief system. If you see something that looks evil or dark you are just looking at a metaphysical mirror. In other words you are looking at something that’s inside of yourself. So instead of dealing with an external darkness or evil you go inside yourself and you fix whatever fears you have. Pretty backward but we bought it, that’s how psychology comes into being, that is how a lot of the New Age teachings come into being.
Well when we suddenly had to deal with something that just was oppressive it was particularly bothering my wife we did all of our New Age affirmations. For instance, The Course of Miracles Jesus says to say, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” How do you like that? “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” That’s like the opposite of, “put on the full armor of God and stand fast against the wiles of the Devil.” We did all of our affirmations, we did all of our teachings. We consulted our New Age teachers our “Course in Miracle” group leader nothing worked. This presence just persisted it would come and go.
We were down in Southern California years ago, 1983 Christmas we figured we’d put some space between this and this oppression whatever it was we just couldn’t deal with it with our framework. When Joy, my wife, went to see a friend I went to a bookstore in Hermosa Beach called the Either or Bookstore. And I didn’t go to the Christian section, I doubt if they even had a Christian section but I went to the New Age healing section. And I saw a book that kind of jumped out at me it was called, “The Beautiful Side of Evil” by Johanna Michaelsen. How many of you are familiar with that book? Quite a few people. Well as you know this Christian book had no business being in the New Age section, but it was. And we thank God for that.
I pulled the book down and I started reading it. And this woman had been born again in college, but she didn’t have a firm Bible background; she was like the stony ground Christian whose roots just didn’t go very deep. I think some of the Word of God had been taken away like the wayside, the sower and the seed. And she got very involved in the New Age. She did just about everything that you could in Mexico City, including working with a psychic surgeon who did psychic healing. A spirit guide worked through a woman named Pachita and people were healed. However, they weren’t really healed, it was a physical healing but spiritually you’d pay a huge price when you are under the hands of somebody that’s involved with metaphysics and with the New Age.
Anyway I went through her story and I’m reading along because she’s traveling along you know much the same journey that we had. And then all of a sudden she had to deal with something that seemed a little oppressive. I went, Wow, that’s kind of interesting, that’s just like what we’re doing. So, I sat down on the floor of the bookstore and I started to write down notes, especially when she started to hit Scripture. I went, Wow, this is interesting. 1 Timothy 4:1, “You know the spirits speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits. Wow. So I’m writing this down and all of a sudden a homeless mentally ill guy that I’d seen on the streets the day before came into the bookstore back in the corner where I was and starting screaming at me. He said, “What are you doing with that book? Are you going to buy that book or what?” And I just held the book to my chest and I went, “This is unbelievable. Is evil real? Can evil orchestrate a man to come right off the street to keep me from reading about it?” And the answer was, yes, and yes. So it’s the most remarkable solution she had– I worked with the homeless for years so I was able to deal with this guy and get him out of the store and I continued reading the book. I wrote down the most amazing solution that she had and the next day when this presence, if you will, and I guess that is a good word to use because we are hearing the word presence a lot these days and every presence isn’t good.
And when this presence was around my wife I said, “Joy let’s go in the backyard I want to try something a little different. Don’t be scared.” And I read exactly what Johanna had written in her book, it was straight from based on Scripture. And I said, “Satan in the name of Jesus of Nazareth I command that you leave. I claim the blood of Jesus Christ upon us, go to where Jesus takes you.” And it was like whoosh, it was gone. My wife said, “What was that? It’s gone.” I said, “I’m not completely sure, but it had something to do with the victory that Jesus won on the cross of Calvary over Satan.” I could hardly get it out of my mouth. “It seems that Satan is real.”
We started reading the Bible. You’d think a couple of people would get that kind of information that we would just fall down on our knees and convert that night. It took a little while but we started reading the Bible with the “Course in Miracles” and we came to the Lord and we are so grateful.
I spoke with Johanna Michaelsen three and a half weeks ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. God’s amazing, she’s a really good friend, and here her book was responsible. There have not been that many books in the faith that really testify to the New Age, to the deception from a personal stand point. There have been some good testimonies but there are not a whole lot of them. So I am just so grateful because I know from writing, “The Light that Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace.” I know the warfare that comes in when you try to write a book like that it is just part of what happens. But God is faithful and we got our books out. And if you have friends in the New Age I’ve written my book somewhat like Johanna’s, in that I take the reader through the deception. In other words the books starts when I see a psychic, a ball of light manifests over my head. And by the way this is what’s happening everywhere today spiritual experience is taking precedent over God’s Word.
Experience is reinterpreting the Bible. It’s becoming extra-biblical and as you’ll see with the Course in Miracles the Jesus of A Course in Miracles is not only giving new revelation but he is giving new revelation that flips the Bible completely upside down.
Years ago my wife and I were in San Francisco, and we went to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory and they are famous for their ice cream sundaes. And we’re sitting there with our friends and we had our number. And the next number was called and the number was 666, and we heard this ungodly voice go, “Yes.” And this guy did like a Frankenstein walk up to get his ice cream. But you know what? There was a nervousness in the room. There was a tension. It was like we were all laughing, but it’s like Antichrist we don’t talk much about this false Christ that looms in the future.
Pastor Chuck Smith from Calvary Chapel, the late Chuck Smith wrote a book in 1976 and it’s called, “Antichrist Revealed.” On the front cover it said, remember 1976 he said, “The stage is being set. The world and the minds of men are being conditioned for a leader; one who can establish peace and safety in these perplexing times. The Bible predicts these events and describes this man of solutions whose number is 666.”
I would suggest that the crisis, the spiritual crisis that we are in right now is basically this: when I was young there was a show called, “To Tell the Truth,” they would have three people who would claim to be the same person. For instance one would say, “My name is Jesus Christ.” The second one would say, “My name is Jesus Christ.” And the third one would say the same thing, “My name is Jesus Christ.” The real Jesus Christ had to answer questions, or the real contestant had to answer questions truthfully and the other two could say whatever they wanted. And at the end of the program the moderator would say, “Will the real Jesus Christ please stand up.” And those of you who have maybe been around long enough to that show they’d shift and one would look like they were getting up and then the real one would stand up. This is pretty much what’s going on today, we are having new definitions; Jesus Christ is being reinvented.
David Reagan: I wish we had the time to present more of Warren Smith’s presentation because I know you would be fascinated by it. He went on to talk about how Oprah Winfrey has emerged as one of the foremost New Age teachers in the world today. And he gave examples of deceptive New Age teachings contained in popular books like “Jesus Calling.” The next speaker I would like to share with you on this program is Mike Gendron. Mike is a highly recognized expert on Christian doctrine. His presentation at our 2014 Bible conference was focused on what we as Christians need to do about the spiritual crisis that exists in the Church today. Here now is Mike Gendron.
Mike Gendron: Because the bottom line is what hope does our nation have if its moral compass, the Church, refuses to be the Holy nation that God has called it out of the world to be. Peter called the Church a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. That we may proclaim the excellences of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We have a great God and Savior and our Lord Jesus Christ and we must be proclaiming His praises, His majesty, and His sufficiency to a lost and dying nation.
So with that important reminder let us look at the spiritual crisis in our nation. In Proverbs 14:34 we see, “righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” Despite our Christian heritage America is rapidly degenerating into a post-Christian, godless society. Our government sanctions the murder of unborn children and legalizes homosexual marriage. America has been the largest exporter of pornography throughout the world. I was once a proud Eagle Scout and we had to give an oath to be morally straight. The Boy Scouts of America now welcomes openly homosexual boys into the Scouts. Did you read about Burger King last week? It has come out of the closet in full support of the homosexual lifestyle and now sells hamburgers to prove how proud it is of the homosexual sin. It is called the Proud Whopper and it’s enclosed in a rainbow colored wrapper with the inscription “We’re all the same inside.” Have you heard about the new Bible translation called, “Good as New?” It describes itself as gay and center friendly. Pope Francis the leader of 70 million American Catholics was named person of the year by “The Advocate” America’s oldest homosexual magazine. These and other sins of our nation are indeed a reproach to its people.
David Wells probably described our churches as no longer the moral compass that we once were with this description, he said, “God rest too inconsequentially upon the Church. His truth is too distant. His grace is too ordinary. His Gospel is too easy. His judgments are too benign. And His Christ is too common.” And tragically our church has lost its divine purpose to equip the saints to go out into the world to be the salt and light to evangelize the lost. Instead the Church has invited the world into its sanctuary and Pastors spend more time entertaining the goats then feeing the sheep. The Church has been seduced by the wealth and pleasure of America and it’s now condoning its sinful behavior.
But before we look at the crisis within our church today we must recognize by God’s grace and providence there are still a few churches that are exalting the Lord Jesus Christ. That they are giving a high view of God. That they are faithfully preaching the whole council of God. That they are earnestly contending for the faith. And they are evangelizing the lost. And I tell you what if you belong to one of these churches consider yourself blessed because these churches are on the endangered species list.
What are the causes for the current crisis in the American Church? It is mainly because God’s blueprint for building His church has been replaced. We have many Pastors today saying, Lord we tried your blueprint but we just weren’t getting the numbers we’ve got a better idea. So they’ve come up with a different blueprint that’s drawing the world inside the sanctuary. We also are in an emerging Post-Modern culture and it’s uprooting the Church from her doctrinal heritage. Church leaders are mostly unaware, unconcerned, or unresponsive to Satan’s attempts to destroy God’s church.
We look at God’s blueprint for building His Church in the book of Acts 2:42 we read that they were continually devoting themselves to the Apostles teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And because of that the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. God’s Church was never ordained to be a social club to follow the methods and schemes of men. In fact God’s Church is unlike any other organization man has ever devised because man didn’t devise it. God did. But wherever God’s Church is doing an effective work for our Lord the attacks of the Devil are present. And I think the New Testament says it well as we look at all the warnings that will be coming against the Church, the fiery darts of the Devil. We see that worldly fables will invade the Church; speculations, empty philosophy, false knowledge, doctrines of demons, the exhalation of men, lying spirits, vain deceits, heresies, and traditions of men. Churches that do not seek the divine protection over them will ultimately fall victim to the schemes and the methods of the devil.
Church leaders need to be reminded that they have been given a divine mandate to protect the Church of God which He obtained with His own blood. That’s how precious the Church of Jesus Christ is; He died for the Church and pastors have been ordained to protect it. But what we have seen it appears that the sheep are more concerned than many of the pastors. Many sheep that go to their pastors and ask them why are you allowing such heresy into the Church they are actually dismissed because they don’t want discernment in the Church.
Well we need to identify several others of the crisis going on in the Church. I think it really all begins with a lack of reverence for God and His Word. And we want to look at each one of these in more detail. We also see a man centered evangelism going on in our churches today. The Church is rejecting God’s call to repentance. It is now proclaiming compromised Gospels. And we are now tolerant and we’re seeking unity with many false religions. As we look at each one of these causes we all need to make sure that we’re part of a solution and not part of the problem. Peter said it this way, “It’s time for the judgment to begin at the household of God and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome of those who do not obey the Gospel of God?” 1 Peter chapter 4:17. So let’s look at each one of these causes through the lens of Scripture.
I believe a lack of reverence for God and His Word is the beginning of any spiritual crisis. It always begins when people bring God down to our level and they turn away from the Word of God and start following religious traditions. As God’s Word is knowingly put aside people become more vulnerable to Satan’s schemes and attacks. And God is looking for those who tremble at His Word and defend its supreme authority, its infallibility, its inspiration, its sufficiency, and its inerrancy.
And I don’t know about you but I think you would agree that we all need to be trembling at God’s Word because God magnifies His Word above His name. We see that in Psalm 138:2, it is His Word that will judge all people on the last day. Yet the latest Gallup Poll revealed Americans have a low opinion of the Bible. Of the 80% of Americans who identify themselves as Christians only 40% of them attend church regularly. Only 58% believe the Bible is the actual Word of God but they don’t necessarily believe what it means. They say it is only authoritative as long as the reader has the final say on what it actual means. Thus the majority of professing Christians in America have rejected the objective truth of the Bible and instead they have replaced it with a truth of their own. So as a result God’s Word is explained away to allow for the sins of homosexuality and adultery and also any sins of self-indulgence. They just explain it away because ultimately they are the ones that get to decide what is truth. That’s the Post-Modern era that we are in today.
Well when you look at the lack of reverence for God and His Church I think we can categorize all the preachers in our churches in three different ways. There is the first category; those who preach the whole council of God exhorting and sound doctrine and refuting those who contradict. That’s what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:2. In the second category we have those who avoid sound doctrine and they cater to man’s desires with ear tickling words as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. And then we have those who secretly introduce destructive heresies and malign the way of truth. In the first category you have those who preach the Word. In the second category you have those who avoid the Word. And in the third category those who pervert the Word.
David Reagan: Well, once again, I wish we had the time to share with you the rest of Mike Gendron’s great presentation. He proceeded to discuss four major problems that exist in the church today, namely: presenting man-centered evangelism, rejecting God’s call to repentance, preaching compromised gospels, and showing tolerance toward and seeking unity with false religions. You can get Warren Smith and Mike Gendron’s complete presentations on our conference video album titled, “America’s Spiritual Crisis.”
Well, that’s our program for this week. Next week, the Lord willing, we will present excerpts from the powerful presentation that was made at our 2014 Bible conference by Carl Gallups, a pastor from Florida who is a best-selling author. Carl will be speaking on “America’s Deliberate Forgetfulness.” Until then, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”