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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Hope Church- Prosperity Gospel Deception


There is a church in Abilene that we've posted on before. It's called New Hope Church and you can find their website at http://www.newhope-ag.com/. This is not a really small church and it's definitely on the interesting side.

They are always sponsoring a new conference or series on their signs. The latest one is called "The Great Awakening Tour" which is sponsored by Dr Rodney Howard-Brown. The specific speakers at this one were Evangelists Eric and Jennifer Gonyon. This "Great Awakening" supposedly has resulted in over 1,000,000 "decisions" for Christ...in Abilene alone they are claiming over 14,000 decisions in the last week or so. Wow! Abilene only has about 125,000 people...that means that over 10% of all Abilene has been saved in the last week! Can't wait to see all the full churches...or can I?

I coudn't stand it...I had to see Acts 2 in action and see that many people "added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47) I went with a couple guys from our church and a chaplain from the base...we were sadly disappointed.

When we got there the people were friendly and ushered us to the front...we really had no choice and they said they wanted to fill the front first. OK. For the first hour or so of the "service" the auditorium was only 1/4 to 1/3 full. Wow...where are the 14K new believers? When the service was over it was pushing it to say they were 1/2 full.

First we listened to the band from Beltway Baptist Church for 15 min...then Evangelist Jennifer Gonyon gave sales pitches and promotions for things to buy for the next 15 min. Then more songs...and a few clips to promote "the Great Awakening." Finally after an hour Evangelist Eric Gonyon got up to speak. For the next 1/2 hour they had workers who had been out on evangelism give their testimonies...to include one young man who claimed to heal a deaf woman's hearing...of course, no doctor's reports will be forthcoming I can assure you.

Here is what's sad...and telling; some of these young people were truly excited to be out witnessing and doing the Lord's work...for that I highly commend them! I wish more kids in Reformed churches were out doing the Lord's work instead of watching video games and being smug that they go to a church that has good theology. Ok...but what's sadder is that these folks have been taught a completely man-centered, unbiblical evangelistic "script" (and that's what they regularly call it!) to get 'easy decisions' for Christ. This type of evangelism would even make Charles Finney cringe! (look him up if you don't know what I mean)

I never heard them talk about thatGod is angry, that He is wrathful and just and that He will pour out His judgment on lost mankind. The word "repent" was never heard in 2 hours...sin was not mentioned during these testimonies. The script (and I've read it) is basically poor Joel Osteen "Do you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life? Just pray this prayer with me and ask Jesus into your heart." Nobody is confronted with their sin and spiritual deadness...their total inability to be saved apart from God's grace...that Jesus is saving us from the Father's wrath!

ARGH! Folks, what I heard was not the gospel! Is that what the Apostles did in the book of Acts, just tell folks to flippantly pray a script to ask Jesus into their hearsts?! What was the message of Matt 3:1-12, Matt 4:17, Mark 6:12, Luke 13:3-9, Acts 2:36-40, 3:12-19, 17:22-32 and 26:20? REPENT and BELIEVE the gospel or perish!

Here are some statements that boiled my blood...these are quotes:

  • Evangelist to his young son "bad people need to just ask Jesus into their heart to be good people"
  • "people are dying to be saved"
  • we were "shoppin' for souls at Walmart"
  • "Jesus doesn't smack us over the head with a big bible"
  • And about 1000 times "ask Jesus into your heart"

Find that sinner's prayer in the bible...please someone show me! It's not a magical formula...people need to be confronted with their sins, repent and believe or perish. They need to come to Christ with an empty hand of faith for salvation...not just say the magic formula!

This is enough for now...here's your homework. The Evangelist then preached a short message from Luke 5:1-11. You read it...tell me what you think he preached. I'll post probably tomorrow night and tell you what he preached...and what he probably should have preached.

Theology matters folks...the Great Awakening is sure not what it was when Jonathan Edwards preached...wow!



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> posted by Jim Leavenworth at

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just must say how much I agree with your very critical essay on New Hope Church. I mean how DARE they usher you to the front with hospitality with the expectation that God was going to bring in the harvest that night. I am so glad that instead actively engaging in worship lead by the Beltway band that you simply “listened to them for 15 min.” Because it isn’t at all about bringing an offering of praise unto the Lord. And I am just flabbergasted to hear that they allowed the people who had been doing street ministries to give testimonies because we all know that we overcome “by the blood of the lamb and by a doctor’s report.” I sure wouldn’t want to “live by faith and not by sight” when it came to healings provided by God. And I am pleased to hear that you completely look past the God centered worship and message, and the biblically encouraged outreach to see that New Hope teaches their young people “man-centered” theology. Finally, it just baffles me to think that people are getting off their highly critical websites and going out “into all the world to make disciples of all men”. It’s just crazy to think that SOME Christians are determined to win souls for the kingdom, even if it means stepping out of the “box” of evangelism that should obviously never be breached.

July 27, 2009 at 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Jim Leavenworth said...

And yet another drive-by anonymous post that doesn't really address anything that I pointed out that's disturbing about what happened that night.

OK...let's try to actually stay on target here "anonymous." Was the focus of my article on how good or bad the praise band...or how upset I was at being forced to sit up front? No.


As to 'street ministries'- please! THis is just ABC, repeat after me unscriptural evangelism. Even the evangelist's wife was bragging how she got the guy smoking the cigarrete to say a pray even though he didn't want to.

Is this evangelism as the apostles did it? No. Living by faith does not mean making false claims that can never be substantiated. Wasn't that the point of the miracles in the NT...they were to prove that the one performing the miracle was an apostle and was true. Your supposed miracles are NEVER substantiated and proven...cause they're false. Prove us wrong...provide proof that this woman was healed of her hearing loss.

You seem to miss that I actually praised some of the young people that gave testimonies...they were honest and want the Lord to do His work...they've just been taught that if you get someone to say yes to a script that the person is saved. I'm sorry if you think I'm critical...that is NOT the gospel.

This is not winning souls...it's damning many to hell since they think they got their ticket punched by repeating a prayer according to a script.

Please do two things for me. #1- read my 2nd post that showed what the true meaning of the Luke passage that the guy preached. DO you really think the purpose and meaning of the Luke 5 passage was about becoming rich and getting material things from God as he preached? If you do then I'm wasting my time. That's NOT what the passage is about at all and it was a horrible twist of scripture to say so. It's shameful.

#2- Read all the passages that I quoted that talk about evangelism in the NT and tell me if they are encouraging people to repeat a script even though they don't believe it or are convinced they are lost and in need of a Saviour. I don't think you'll find the New Hope experience there.

I noticed also that you didn't tell me where any of the 15-16000 people were that got saved. Who baptized them? Who is grounding them in the Word now...why aren't they filling the church doors as in the book of Acts and the passage I quoted? could it be that they didn't get saved because they just repeated a prayer? Maybe a few did...and for that I praise God. But for the rest who live the rest of their lives thinking they're saved because New Hope led them in a simple script and are lost...is sickening and shameful.

Please don't just rant and rave because you are a friend or member of the church...answer the questions that are posed here. If you can't they you need to think about why you are not concerned that the pattern of "evangelism" that night was NOT the NT pattern. Why wasn't the text preached as it was given in the Word? Why are people encouraged to give up all their expensive jewelry? Why are people encouraged to buy "anointed" iPods...didn't know they could be annointed.

Show me anywhere in scripture that the apostles evangelized by saying "just ask Jesus into your heart" without first encouraging the person to see themselves as the dirty, rotten, spiritually dead enemy of God that the Word tells us we are...a person can't get saved until they realize they're lost...and there is no way a person will realize they're lost by just saying "yes" to someone asking "Just pray this prayer"...or "I'm here, you're here, why not?"

Jim

July 28, 2009 at 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Rodney Howard Browne said...

John 4:35 " Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."

October 17, 2009 at 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Jim Leavenworth said...

Mr. Browne...I can quote Scripture too...

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)

October 23, 2009 at 8:57 PM  

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