Sunday, July 31, 2011

Critique of The Crossing's beliefs-The Bible: Part One

If you recall, the main point of my post tornadoes are destructive things... was that we can examine both physical clues and personal testimonies to verify that a particular church is in fact a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church.

My last blog post highlighted an interview of Jeremy Rogahn and his testimony of his experience at The Crossing. If you haven't listened to that interview, I highly recommend that you do! Jeremy Rogahn interview I have posted a couple other testimonies in the past, and there are probably others out there too; if anyone wants to share theirs, I would be happy to receive it and share it on my blog if you give me permission to do so. 

For the next couple of posts however, I want to focus on physical clues; that is, what information is available to the general public that can help verify that The Crossing is a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church?

To answer that question I will begin my point by point critique of all ten doctrinal points of The Crossing church as discussed in Preview on my critique on The Crossing's beliefs...

The first of the ten doctrinal points under scrutiny is this: and I quote this exactly as it was written on the "I love my church" video and stated by Tom, pastor of the Big Lake campus...
  • "The Bible is God's Word and totally accurate. It is our final authority."
 Wow! What could possibly be wrong with a doctrinal statement like that? After all, The Crossing explicitly states that the Bible is their final authority. Do they stick to the Bible and make all their decisions based on the Bible alone?

Tom, leader of the Big Lake campus and participant of the discussion group, comments on this particular doctrinal statement. He says, and I quote this word for word,

"The Bible, from cover to cover is absolute truth. And we believe everything in this book has either happened or is going to happen. We believe it is factual. It's where we end. We start here and we end here. It is our final authority. If there is a discussion taking place within the church and we need to know which direction to go, we go here. This is the beginning and the end of what we believe here, the Bible."

That sounds fantastic, doesn't it? After all, pastor Tom confirms all the more that The Crossing  uses the Bible as their final authority. He claims that when there is disagreement in their church, that it is the Bible alone that instructs them which direction to go. Judging from doctrinal point number one and pastor Tom's commentary of it, it would appear that The Crossing does everything according to God's Word and nothing else. What could possibly be wrong with that? Is that a true statement?

Because I like cliffhangers and I also like to be a little bit annoying, I'll let those questions nag and gnaw at you for awhile and answer those question on my next post! Meanwhile, see if you can come up with the answer yourself. I'll give you a hint. The answer lies in the "I Love My Church" video when the leaders discuss the values of The Crossing. 

Disturbing radio interview of Ex-Crossing insider describes how abusive The Crossing really is!

A Christian radio program called "Fighting For The Faith" recently interviewed Jeremy Rogahn, an Ex-Crossing insider who was involved in leadership and ministry there. He and his family started attending The Crossing in January of 2009 and after a year and a half of spiritual abuse he finally resigned and left The Crossing in August of 2010.

This  radio interview is probably 45 minutes or longer in length. If you are at all interested in what Eric Dykstra and The Crossing are really up to, then I would  encourage you to take the time and listen to it.  Jeremy also recently started his own blog where he details his personal experience of The Crossing. There is also a public Facebook page appropriately called "Back Door Ministries Support Group" for those who are struggling with spiritual abuse at the hands of The Crossing and Eric Dykstra. Check out his blog for details Our Crossing Story

Being that I live only about 30 minutes away from Elk River, I found this interview very disturbing. I knew The Crossing was a dangerous place, I just didn't know how dangerous until I listened to this interview. This is not what the Bible teaches, this is not Christianity, this is not the Gospel.

Eric Dykstra and all the corrupt manifestations of The Crossing...the preaching of a false gospel, the legalism, the spiritual abuse, (For example: If anyone leaves The Crossing after serving there for some time they are shunned; those who attend The Crossing are not allowed to speak to that person), the vulgarity and obscenities spewing from the foul mouth of Eric Dykstra and his irreverent and sacrilegious references to God, the call by Dykstra for his followers be radical and fanatical.  These all bear false witness (lie) as to the true character of the Christian God.

No wonder people who attend there and eventually leave never want to go back to church. In other words, as a result of being involved in The Crossing community for some time, they have been indoctrinated (either explicitly or implicitly) into believing lies about the character of the True God, the Christian God.; that is, they have the wrong ideas of God in their head.

If you want to learn about the true nature of the Christian God, then check out the list of resources at the bottom of my prior blog post "Critique of the ten doctrinal points of The Crossing church: part one..." You will discover that the god they profess to follow  at The Crossing is a false god, an idol made in the image of Eric Dykstra, and that the True God, the Christian God revealed in Scripture is not the lying, abusive and legalistic god they make Him out to be.  

If the testimony of Crossing witnesses are true, then I can boldly say that The Crossing is a cult; (I will explain what a cult is in an upcoming post) a malignant and aggressive cancer that Eric Dykstra wants to spread swiftly into surrounding communities and devour people's lives with unquestioned submission and devotion to Eric Dykstra alone; I'll remind you of the goal: 200 campuses in 20 years! That covers a lot of ground.

It is stated in the interview that they don't study the Bible in small groups, they are only allowed to talk about  Dykstra's sermons.  According to Jeremy, it is documented in a sermon preached by Dykstra that those who study the Bible are "Bible nerds", that term is used in a derogatory sense. Jeremy also states that Dykstra intends to indoctrinate faithful followers of The Crossing into becoming "mini-Dykstra's". 

Do you want this religious radical and his dangerous cult invading your community? Then please, warn people about Eric Dykstra and The Crossing. Share this blog and others like it on Facebook or other social networks. He may want to set up camp in the communities of your friends and relatives and shamelessly indoctrinate, radicalize, and negatively impact the lives of those you love and care for. And of course, pray to the One who is sovereign over all things. Remember that no matter what happens, it is the Christian God who always wins!                    

Jesus wants to liberate spiritually oppressed people like those at The Crossing, and have them live under His kind and gentle authority. The Crossing preaches a false god. Please, if you attend The Crossing and want out. I will help you in any way I can. If you have a personal story you would like to share with me, I would like to hear from you and post it on my blog if you grant permission to do so.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Preview on my critique of The Crossing's beliefs....

In a prior post titled, The ABC's of "Doctrine" I explained the word "Doctrine" as it applies to Christianity. I talked about church "doctrinal statements", and gave as examples some actual church doctrinal statements for you to examine yourself; both biblical and deceptive. If you haven't read that post yet, then it might be a good idea to read it and review the examples given before you follow my critique of the ten doctrinal points of The Crossing church.  

First some background information. I found their doctrinal statement, not in print form, but in the sermon archives available on The Crossing church website. Crossing leadership refer to their doctrinal statement as, "Our Beliefs" in the I Love My Church video that was filmed on 8/15/2010 in front of the congregation. It entails a discussion of  The Crossing church, touching on five themes,
It is a "What The Crossing Church is all about" kind of discussion. There are four people involved in the discussion; pastor Eric Dykstra, his wife and pastor Kelly Dykstra, Jason-pastor of the Zimmerman campus, and Tom-pastor of the Big Lake campus. What I want to focus my attention on now, relevant to the discussion of Christian doctrine, is the theme of,  "OUR BELIEFS".

They had posted a list of The Crossing's beliefs on the video, ten bullet points in all, and they briefly explained each point, one by one. I have looked for this particular statement of beliefs on The Crossing website and I didn't find any kind of doctrinal statement whatsoever (that should alert you right away that something isn't right). The closest they come to any kind of doctrinal statement (and this is a stretch that would make any pair of pantie hose blush!) is "The Code of the Samurai", which is unbiblical, sacrilegious garbage about "Our master Samurai Jesus". "The Code" is a list of The Crossing's values. There are eighteen Crossing Church values in all, and after I critique the The Crossing's ten doctrinal points, I will then eviscerate all eighteen points of "The Code".

And to be honest, I have never attended The Crossing church, so I don't know if they have any  literature available to visitors that explain their doctrinal positions, maybe they do? I also have to consider the fact that this video was filmed about a year ago; perhaps there is now a more comprehensive doctrinal statement available, I don't know. (if anyone could help  answer these questions, that would be much appreciated!).

I have watched the video and have written down what The Crossing believes, word for word, in the ten point list below. As I go through each point (it will take weeks to cover all ten points) I will write the doctrinal point under scrutiny, I will then add their  word for word commentary  given by the participants of the discussion group ("commentary" meaning their explanation of that belief).

Then I will give my critique of each particular doctrinal point combined with The Crossing leadership's commentary on each point. I will use Scripture and the The Law of Non-Contradiction as necessary to verify or challenge The Crossing's beliefs.

But first, before I tackle all ten doctrinal points one by one, I want to give my impression on the entirety of their doctrinal statement as a whole, what they affirm as, "Our beliefs". Take a sedative and wait for it to take effect before you start reading....

We believe...        
  1. The Bible is God's word and totally accurate. It is our final authority. 
  2. The Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
  3. People are made in God's image, but we sinned and messed our lives and our life with God. 
  4. Jesus is God, virgin born, perfect and our leader. He died for our sins as our substitute and physically rose from the dead and is presently alive someplace. 
  5. Anyone who asks Jesus to forgive their sins and lead their life is freely given eternal life. 
  6. Jesus is physically coming back to earth soon. 
  7. A real heaven and a real hell. Jesus followers go to heaven forever, everyone else goes to hell forever.
  8. Baptism is not optional. Every Jesus follower needs to be dunked because Jesus was dunked and told us to get dunked. 
  9. Our church is free from all outside interference and is responsible to God alone.
  10. We believe in all the flavors of God's church, not just certain denominations. We will partner with any church regardless of brand name to depopulate Hell.  
Compared to a real Bible believing, Gospel preaching church's doctrinal statement, this thing is a spiritual catastrophe from beginning to end (as I will explain later)! It looks like it was written on the back of a napkin at McDonald's the day before the video shoot!

It does contain a few important nuggets of Truth, but there is absolutely nothing to indicate that a seminary educated, Gospel preaching Bible scholar wrote it. There is not a single Bible verse referenced to support their beliefs. It is sloppy, incoherent, confusing, incomplete, misleading, and inaccurate. On the basis of this doctrinal statement alone I would stay far, far away from this church! 

But, if you don't know anything of genuine Christian doctrine, that is, you are biblically illiterate, then how would you ever know my critique of The Crossing's beliefs is even accurate?  I would like to offer you some suggestions and some reliable resources that will inform you of biblical Truth.
  • Read the Bible! Both old and New testaments. It will be up to you to decide what to read, how much to read, and when to read it: just read your Bible! And use a good bible translation. I use the ESV, the NASB, the NKJV, and the NIV. Beware, as there are some very poor translations out there.

  • Get a good study Bible. The John MacArthur Study Bible is a fantastic learning tool. It provides full commentary on particular verses and passages, explains Bible passages that are difficult to understand, and does so in a way that is is clear and concise. I don't agree on everything John MacArthur teaches; specifically his dispensationalist theology and his young earth interpretation of the Bible. But all his other theology is rock solid.   
  • Learn the principles of biblical interpretation called hermeneutics.  
  • Pray to the Christian God and ask Him to reveal Truth as you read His Word. Ask him too, to grant you discernment in evaluating and critiquing the teachings and beliefs of Christian leaders and your Christian friends.
  • If you must leave the church you are in, then find a good Bible believing church home that preaches the Gospel. If they are truly a Christ centered, Gospel centered church, you will be under gentle, loving  leadership approved by God that will keep you from straying into the dangerous waters of false teachings. If you need help in this area, contact me!   
  • Listen to, read, and watch  material from reputable Christian theologians, scholars, preachers, and thinkers. This will really help to give you a broader understanding of God's Word. After I became a Christian, I was so hungry for biblical Truth I was constantly reading piles of books and listening to sermons in my car. I was fortunate in that, as a baby Christian, my brother Mark helped guided me to solid Christian teachings. 
  •  Be careful about what you read and listen to. Don't just go into a Christian bookstore and buy a book you know nothing about unless you have the tools of discernment already in place. Christianity is largely trivialized in America; just visit any well known Christian bookstore and you will find all kinds of Christian junk for sale. It is very sickening. 
     What follows are a list resources I know are reputable. If you trust me, and I understand "trust" is hard to come by, start out here. Listen, read. and watch the suggested materials, and you will be well on your way to a more discerning and biblical state of mind. You can also check out my blog roll, as there will be blog posts there available from reputable Christian pastors and thinkers.   

    Solid Food Media is the the teaching ministry of Redeemer Bible Church. Expository and topical preaching at it's best by RW Glenn.

    Drive By Theology is a collection of CD's that you can buy and listen to on your way to and from work, or wherever. RW Glenn and Todd Friel get into some serious Christian theology (doctrine) and have a good time doing it! Great teaching AND great fun!
    I have listened to many sermons and read many books by theologian and teacher  R.C. Sproul. He is a very intriguing character with great personal anecdotes, will make you laugh, and is a true Christian thinker and intellectual with a philosophical bent.     

    John Piper of Desiring God ministries. This man is a master at God's Word. A great mind who cranks out great books and preaches great sermons. [I am at a loss as to why Piper is reaching out to Rick Warren though] He shepherds Jesus' flock at Bethlehem Baptist church in downtown Minneapolis.

    John MacArthur of  Grace To You is a preacher and teacher of a large congregation in California. He is brutally honest, crystal clear, and unapologetic in his delivery of God's Word. He is a prolific writer and preacher. As stated before, I disagree with him on Eschatology (he's a dispensationalist) and the age of the earth (he's a young earth creationist), but on everything else, he is right on the money!
    Know What You Believe is a Christian classic written by Paul Little. It is a concise, easy to read book that covers all the basics of Christian doctrine. 

    The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul is a book that is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the holiness of God. This book will make you think twice about a cavalier, irreverent attitude toward God, as demonstrated by the leadership at The Crossing church.

    The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers. While not God's Word itself, it is utterly saturated with Gospel Truth. Very creative and beautiful writings. Awesome devotional material.

    I truly believe that these resources will help you in your understanding of the Gospel, grant you more discernment, and most importantly, strengthen your relationship with the Lord. 


    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    The ABC's of " Doctrine"...

    Please take the time and effort to get the Gospel right: Your eternal destination depends on it

    In my prior post I talked about Christian "doctrine"; doctrinal statements and specific points of doctrine. Churches, good and bad, usually have some kind of doctrinal statement on their website or in the literature they offer to visitors under the heading , "Statement of Faith", or "What We Believe". Christian doctrine is one of those terms that can intimidate you if you don't understand it's meaning. 

    Doctrine, in the Christian sense, are the teachings that have been  revealed by God in the Holy Scriptures as Truth. Doctrinal statements summarize what a particular church believes. Some church doctrinal statements are better written than others. There are some church doctrinal statements that are incoherent, misleading, confusing, inconclusive, and patently unbiblical; these are churches you want to avoid.  

    And just to be clear, many Bible believing, Gospel preaching churches disagree on minor points of doctrine, or those points of doctrine that are not essential to the salvation of one's soul. For example, on the doctrine of "Creation" some Christians believe  that the universe is only thousands of years old, while others, like myself, believe it is billions of years old. Bible believing, Gospel preaching Churches also commonly disagree on the doctrines of eschatology, the extent of man's sinful corruption, and man's free-will versus God's sovereignty; these doctrines are not essential to salvation, and there is greater latitude allowed for disagreement. 

    On the other hand, it is of utmost importance to be correct on certain Christian doctrines. A good doctrinal statement should make every attempt to communicate Truth; it should be clear, concise, and constructed with carefully measured words in order to communicate the essence of a particular doctrine with precision. A good doctrinal statement also ought to have Scripture references that support that what the church believes is in accordance with Scripture.

    Now you might be thinking, "I don't care about all this doctrine stuff, it sounds boring and it's not my thing. I just want to follow Jesus and live the way He wants me to live". Look, if you go to a church or profess to be a Christian, then it is impossible to escape doctrine, because the moment you  mention the name "Jesus", you must think in terms of what is true and what is false about Jesus; that's doctrine, and Scripture explains what is True about Jesus. 

    Who is Jesus? Was Jesus just a human teacher with brilliant spiritual insight? Or was Jesus God in human flesh?  What did Jesus teach about how you are to live your life? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? It is apparent that doctrine is inescapable. 

    Another example. The word "God" means many different things to many different people. Some people think of god as nothing more than some kind of cosmic life energy. Others think god is akin to a kindly old grandfather who just ignores the naughtiness of his children and welcomes everyone into Heaven. And others view god as a cruel and abusive deity, a cosmic killjoy with oppressive rules and regulations. Hindu's believe there are many gods and Muslims believe in a god unlike the Christian God named Allah. Pantheists believe god is all and all is god. And then there are some people who don't even believe in God at all. According to Scripture, these are all false doctrines of god. In biblical language these false gods are idols. 

    But what does the Bible specifically teach about the one True God, the Christian God? A good doctrinal statement will clarify what Scripture reveals to be true about the Christian God. 

    Other doctrinal points that are commonly addressed in a church's Statement Of Faith besides God, Jesus, and justification, include Scripture (what does the Bible teach about the Bible),  creation, the Trinity, man, sin, redemption, sanctification, The Great Commission, the Church, the ordinances of the Baptism and Holy Communion, Satan and demons, the Last Judgment, Heaven and Hell, and Eschatology, which is a theological term pertaining to "end times". 

    So you see, when I mention  the word "doctrine"  there is nothing to fear. Christian doctrines are simply teachings that are True about ultimate reality as revealed in the Scriptures. Doctrinal statements posted on church websites and in handout literature explain what that particular church believes in, usually in brief, bullet point sentences that are easy to understand. 
    Tullian Tchividjian does a great job in this link describing theology and doctrine, and explaining the importance of good docrtine.


    Now for some examples of doctrinal statements so you know what I am getting at.

    • This first example I found on the Internet. It is First Calvary Baptist Church in Eagan, Minnesota. Notice that each doctrinal point is clear and concise, with relevant Scripture references available to look up in your Bible. I disagree on a few minor points of doctrine related to creation and eschatology, but overall, this looks like a pretty solid church, on paper anyway. I would give this church a "test drive" per my previous post.

      • The next example is from Redeemer Bible Church which is my church home. Now at first glance, it doesn't seem to measure up to the doctrinal statement of First Calvary Baptist Church. It is not as comprehensive in regard to the number of doctrines covered. That, and there are no Scriptures on the website to support their particular doctrinal points. But notice right under the banner, "What We Believe". it says,

      "This is just a brief overview of our beliefs. If you want a full statement of our beliefs, please contact us."

      • The full doctrinal statement of Redeemer Bible Church is a document titled, "Creeds and Confessions". When my wife and I applied for membership, we reviewed the entire document in our membership class. It is forty one pages long, and it will absolutely blow your mind as to how detailed this document is! Check out the link here: Creeds and Confessions of Redeemer Bible Church. This page includes all the footnotes and Scripture references at the bottom of the document. . 

      • Here is a link to a cult church called "A True Church" whose leader is a man called Darwin Fish.  Check out their beliefs here: A True Church: Statement of Faith Look it over and then look at the other goodies they have on their website. He sounds very religious, he exposes "false teachers,", he quotes a lot of Scripture. Does this sound like a true church to you? Darwin Fish is false teacher. 
      •  Now let's try a link to the Mormon Church: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, official website and their  Articles of Faith. Do they preach a false gospel? After all, their website does offer a doctrinal statement that affirms things that sound very orthodox...or do they? Discernment is key in answering that question. 
      •  Now read this link, challenging the beliefs of the Mormon Church. Does their doctrinal statement accord with what Scripture teaches? I would say "no".
       Now that you know something about doctrine, I will apply the principle of doctrine to The Crossing  Church in particular. On my next post I will list all ten doctrinal points of The Crossing Church; "What we Believe" as they say. Then I will critique all ten points beginning with point number one. Please come back; join me in examining the truth claims of The Crossing Church. 

      Monday, July 25, 2011

      A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

      Please take the time and effort to get the Gospel right: your eternal destination depends on it.  

      Imagine, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, on a bright Saturday afternoon on the planet Zexbu, you are taking a nice, relaxing drive around Methane lake. You are so absorbed in the beauty of the Qavunka trees and the sparkling, olive-green waters of Methane lake that you don't notice the fast approaching car on your right side; it blows a stop sign and T-bone's your car!  Fortunately, you and the guy who hit you are not injured, but your car? Well, it's a complete wreck! And according to the insurance company it is totaled. You will need to buy another car.

      You can't afford a new car, so you start looking for a dependable used car. You try Methane Motors, a used car dealership that just opened about a month ago in the town of Ix. It's a good thing you  know something about buying used cars; ask a lot of questions, examine the condition of the car, and then take it out for a test drive. 

      As you stroll down the rows of cars, a striking orange 673 Xizanpf catches your eye. It is a beautiful car! And at .503000 vaxokla, it's a steal! You notice that the car dealer is aggressively approaching, with his large, black,  bulging eyes, and his articulated antenna twitching like mad (he has a head that looks something like a praying mantis!). 

      "I just got this one in last week, are you interested?". You reply, "Yes I am". Zarfax (that's the car dealer's name!) confidently tells you that his trustworthy mechanic thoroughly examined the car and then took it out for a test drive. He goes on to tell you how mechanically sound and dependable this particular 673 Xizanpf is.

      But you don't want to just take his word for it, after all, you met him only ten minutes ago. So you  start asking lot's of questions. "How many owners has this car had?", "How many Kilometers are on it?", "Has it been well maintained?", "Do you have complete service records on the car?", "Does it get good fuel mileage?" "Has it ever been involved in an accident?", "When your mechanic test drove the car, did he notice anything wrong with it?" 

      He confidently answers your questions one by one, but you notice he is a slick talker whose answers lack clarity, and when you ask him some tough questions, his overall demeanor is defensive and evasive. I mean really, the only service records available are just a couple of hastily scribbled pages? You suspect that Xarfax is not telling you the whole story and is withholding details of the car on purpose. Maybe this car isn't such a good buy after all. But you still want to check things out, just in case your instincts are wrong.  

      Now you examine the condition of the car yourself. You crack open the hood and check out all the components of the engine compartment. it all looks clean and mechanically sound. Then you peer at the underbelly of the car; everything appears to be in place, and there are no signs of leaking fluids. 

      Now you take the car out for a test drive. Right away you notice an unusual noise coming from the engine.  "That's not good." Then you notice that at high speeds the car shakes, and has a tendency to veer to the right. "Alignment issues, and maybe chassis problems." You also notice that the dashboard lights don't work, and now, you detect an acrid, burning odor on the inside of the car; as you become more and more irritated you cry out, "Now what!". 

      You finally get back to Methane Motors, park the car and once again peer underneath; sure enough, there is a steady "drip, drip" of a brown, viscous fluid coming from the engine area, puddling on the pavement. 

      You conclude that Zarfax is a cheap, smooth talking, good for nothing used car salesman trying to sell you a lemon. You will never go back to Methane Motors again, and if anybody ever asks you if Methane Motors is reputable, you will tell them to stay away because Zarfax can't be trusted.

      You tell Zarfax what you think, but he interupts and says he can explain everything. But before he can say another word, you jump into your loaner car and start looking for a car elsewhere. So much for Methane Motors!

      And such the way it is if you ever go shopping for a used car. If you can tell the difference between a dependable car and a worthless piece of junk like you did in the story, then you will be much less likely to end up with a lemon for a car. 

      However, if you go used car shopping and you are totally clueless on what questions to ask the car dealer and how to inspect that car for mechanical problems, then you run a far greater risk of getting fooled into buying a lemon; after all, you only have the car dealers word that what he is telling you is the truth.

      The same principle applies to anyone who is looking for a new church home, that is, "church shopping" to keep the metaphor intact. Remember the Bible is Truth. Psalm 119:160). It is objective reality. In other words, it says things that are True about God, creation, man, sin, redemption, heaven and Hell, and so on, whether you believe those things or not.  

      When it comes to finding a new church home, Truth is of utmost importance, after all, who really enjoys being lied to? We feel betrayed when someone lies to us, don't we? Christians are people who defend the Truth and point out error because God opposes error, and people can get hurt by believing errors.

      The problem with heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching churches like The Crossing is, they don't just come right out and say that they teach a pack of lies. (Matthew 7:18-20). They want to seductively lure people in, not scare them away. Heretics are often confident, charismatic leaders, experts at sounding very Christian-like, and are very articulate at peddling a gospel lemon to undiscerning, church-shopping victims.  

      That's why it is so important to study the fundamentals of the Christian faith, that is, doctrine (2Timothy 3:16-17). Use that knowledge as the foundation to examine a church's doctrinal statement; is it in line with what the Bible teaches? Does it have Scriptural references to back up each statement of faith? Does it lack clarity and definition? Is the language fuzzy and confusing? Are there doctrinal points that should be included in their doctrinal statement but are suspiciously absent? 

      If you are church shopping, or belong to a church and you don't really know what they believe, then ask for a doctrinal statement that describes what that church believes about the Christian faith. Ask lot's of questions. Scrutinize their doctrinal statement, and ask church leadership some tough questions; see how skillfully and biblically they answer you. Arm yourself with the Truth of God's Word and you won't be sold a gospel lemon.

      When you start attending a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church, it really appeals to you. The people there are helpful and friendly, the building is warm and inviting, and the preacher has lot's of character and charisma, his message is always interesting; he certainly seems to know what he's talking about. Things feel right and you believe that you have found a church home that is perfect for you. 

      But once you take the church out for a two month "test drive", things don't feel right anymore and you begin to ask, "Is that what the Bible really teaches?", "Are they conducting their ministry and mission in unbiblical ways that are abusive and controlling?" Sadly, people who  become devoted followers of their church leader and live for his mission, don't understand how far from the Truth they are. 

      They adopt the unbiblical idea that they are to trust and obey their leader and not ask questions that would challenge the leaders theology or methodology. They live under the false assumption that what they believe is true, and tragically, their entire faulty worldview affects the particulars of how they live their life: a life in bondage to a non-gospel preaching church and it's influential leader.

      Soon I will make an undetermined number of future blog posts and begin to critique what  The Crossing believes as professed and explained by Crossing Church leadership in the “ I love my church" video posted over a year ago. I will post all ten bullet points, and one by one I will scrutinize every point using the Bible as the authoritative standard to which both I and The Crossing Church profess to live by.

      After I complete my biblical critique of the ten doctrinal points, then I will go on to challenge the unbiblical proclamations of "The Code". I will expose it for the fraud that it really is! S

      o please, if you are a member of The Crossing Church and are curious to find out if what I say is true, I encourage you to follow my blog. Check in every few days and I will provide biblical reasons why The Crossing is a dangerous church to attend. Christ will release you from your bondage to legalistic rules and beckon you to to rest find perfect rest in Him.

      Saturday, July 23, 2011

      tornadoes are destructive things...

      Please take the time and effort to get the Gospel right: your eternal destination depends on it!

      Tornadoes are destructive things. Some tornadoes are puny, snake-like funnels capable of uprooting small trees, damaging homes, and could certainly cause injury or even death to animals and people. Other tornadoes are massive, wedge-shaped monsters a mile wide; these tornadoes are people killers and obliterate absolutely everything in it's path. 

      Just like tornadoes, heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching churches are destructive entities too. They hurt people spiritually, emotionally, and physically. They bind people with moral rules and endless to-do lists. They guilt people into giving more money than they can afford. They divide families and destroy relationships, and yes, sometimes they even kill people in the name of Christ. By far the worst calamity to befall naive and unsuspecting people who are taught a false gospel is the everlasting torment of Hell! What you believe matters.  

      When a tornado hits a house, a town, or a city, it leaves behind unmistakable clues that it was there. Of course there is the physical clues; toppled trees, leveled buildings,  overturned cars, downed power wires, injured and dead people.

      Then there are the testimonies of people whose lives are personally and tragically affected by the destructive power of the tornado itself. "My house was smashed to bits". "A tree fell on my car". "I got a cut on my face by a piece of flying glass". "My mom and dad both died in that tornado".  It would not be difficult to conclude then, by the presence of physical clues combined with personal testimonials that real suffering and loss has happened due to a tornado.

      Now let's apply these principles to false churches in general, and The Crossing Church in particular. What physical clues can be collected and studied that  validate my claim that The Crossing is a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church?

      Well, we would first have to agree that we all use the same authoritative standard, otherwise there is no use having any discussion at all. Fortunately, the one authoritative standard The Crossing and I can agree on is the Bible; In the first of ten doctrinal statements, confessed on behalf of Crossing leadership it says, and I quote this exactly as it was written out on the "I Love My Church". video, "The Bible is God's Word and totally accurate. It is our final authority".

      That is true. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) says this of the whole Bible, "All Scripture (the Bible) is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."  

       So The Crossing claims that the Bible is authoritative, it's totally accurate, and that the Bible is their final authority on all they preach, teach, and how to conduct their lives. So, if they believe that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is God's Word, then they should have no problem being reproved and corrected by God's Word. Which is what I aim to do. 

      To summarize, I have established an authoritative standard in the Bible. The Crossing profess that the Bible is their final authority. And, I assume that most of us who think that The Crossing is a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church, also profess the Bible as their final authority. Christians use Scripture to instruct in righteousness, teach us Truth, correct and reprove error. We believe Scripture is complete in that it contains everything we need to know without any further revelation from God. True Gospel-getting people understand and embody 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

      Now that we have an objective standard of discernment established that we all agree on called "the Bible", let's return to the question: What physical clues can be collected  and studied that  validate my claim that The Crossing is a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church?

      This is not too difficult a question to answer. Collect information available to the public and  then compare it all with what the Bible teaches.  Take your time and do it right. You can examine their beliefs and activities as documented in print, audio, and video media. You can go  to The Crossing website and read everything available. You can  also watch and listen to their sermon archives. You can examine both Kelly and Eric Dykstra's blog entries or utilize social networking avenues like Facebook. You can look into what kind of theological training each have, (Kelly Dykstra is also a "lead pastor" at The Crossing along with her husband Eric).

      And don't just examine the available evidence, but also take note of essential Christian beliefs that should be present, but are altogether missing. For example, In the New Testament the Gospel is absolutely central to everything. Yet I have never observed any mention of the Gospel in any of The Crossing's teachings. It is suspiciously absent. My observation too is that much of their teachings are not clearly and explicitly explained, so beware of confusing language, fuzzy logic, and any proclamation's of truth that make a red flag go up telling you that something isn't right.

      Use your Bible to scrutinize anything you can get your hands on. That's the principle of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in action. Do things match up with God's Word or do they not? Do they preach the Gospel as explained and commanded in Scripture? Or are they just a pack of hungry wolves in sheep's clothing who preach a false gospel ready to devour vulnerable and biblically illiterate victims?

      These are the things I will help you sort out, using the Bible as my final authority too. Just to make it fair, I invite all Crossing leadership and "partners" (apparently they don't have members, they have partners) to defend their church beliefs and activities, and also critique my assertion that  The Crossing is a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church, as long as they use Scripture to support their arguments, after all, it is The Crossing's final authority too.  Please use the comments link provided. 

      Now for personal testimonies. Just like the tornado that has caused intense pain and suffering to the lives of real people, heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching churches like The Crossing also leave a path of personal destruction, making ruin of people's lives and destroying precious relationships.

      I want to share with you  one mother's journey-losing Curtis. It is a Christian mother's personal testimony on how her son Curtis, a once respectful, responsible, and loving  family member, got involved in The Crossing Church. She testifies that under the influence of Eric Dykstra, Curtis's overall demeanor had changed in a bad way, has made some very poor choices affecting his future, and is presently causing division, pain, and sorrow in their once connected family.

      In the course of seeking answers, the mother and father had met with both Kelly and Eric Dykstra relating to her son's involvement in The Crossing. The particular details of this mother's testimony are chilling. It's a long read, but worth it.

      Just like the tornado victim's eyewitness account of being personally affected by the tornado,  it's Curtis's mother who declares in truth, "My son  in under the influence of a cult-like leader and an involved in an abusive church. My son is not what he used to be. My son  has been manipulated and lied to. My son has been advised by Kelly Dykstra to marry his girlfriend of two weeks. [My son refuses to listen to the wise and loving council  of his mother and father.

      What if Eric Dykstra and his twisted theology influence someone you love and care for? If you live northwest  of the twin cities in a small town or in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis, then you have reason to be concerned. The Crossing wants to invade your city! Remember the goal of  The Crossing: two hundred campuses in twenty years. That is a lot of negative influence, and it's too close to my city to be unconcerned.    

      I invite others to contact me if they have a personal testimony involving The Crossing Church, whether good or bad, I would like to hear from you. If you still attend The Crossing and want to get out of there, then I would like to help you in any way possible including helping you find a Bible teaching, Gospel preaching church.

      I will be rolling out a lot more material in the future, and address everything the Crossing believes and does using God's Word as the authoritative standard. In the end, I believe they won't have a biblical leg to stand on! So please come back and visit again.           

      Thursday, July 21, 2011

      A glimpse inside the radical nature of Eric Dykstra

      If you have read some of the other material on my blog you will notice that I have leveled some bold criticism at The Crossing's pastor Eric Dykstra. After all, "false teacher" is not a description I would apply to any teacher who is wrong on minor doctrinal points not essential to the salvation of one's soul. Anybody can say anything they want about anybody else, but are those things true?

      Should you just take my word for it that Dykstra is a false teacher whose beliefs and practices are unbiblical? How about if we examine the very words and thoughts of Eric Dykstra himself. Here are a couple of posts from SUCH WAS I. These two posts ought to demonstrate that there is something not quite right about Dykstra (understatement of the year!). The blogger marusha provides commentary in [brackets] throughout the text.   

       In his own words, Dykstra want his followers to be insanely radical. Is that really what Jesus wants?  Dykstra will be preaching on this subject in late July .

      This account from Dykstra's blog describes how he and others from The Crossing kidnapped his own son and put him through a manhood ceremony. This strikes me as bizarre, unbiblical, and bordering on child abuse. Will Dykstra suggest to other Crossing "partners" to put their kiddies through a similar test? 

      If you live in the Twin Cities metro area and surrounding communities, let me ask, do you want this religious crackpot and his faithful followers invading your neighborhood and influencing those you love? Remember the goal of The Crossing, two hundred campuses in twenty years! An Anoka/Ramsey campus will open this fall, and I'll bet they are planning a lot more. Can you understand why I am so concerned?

      Monday, July 18, 2011

      Contrast between the genuine Gospel and a counterfeit: it doesen't get any clearer than this!

      If I were to walk into a convenience store, grab a doughnut and cup of coffee, and then attempt to pay for my goodies with a fifty dollar bill from my kid's Monopoly game, what do you think would happen? It's obvious that the checkout clerk would laugh in my face and ask, "Is this a joke or what?" That's because the clerk would  immediately recognize that what I am offering as money is not real money.

      But what if I tried to pay for the goods with a counterfeit fifty dollar bill that was printed by a professional in the art of making counterfeit money? At first glance, it looks like the real deal, but unless the clerk were paying close attention to what was being passed off as real money, he would probably just accept it without a second glance. He would be fooled into thinking that I was paying for my goods with real, legal tender. And, he might not ever know he was fooled.

      That's why it is important for bank tellers to know what real money looks like; so if they ever come across counterfeit money, a red flag should go up that alerts them that something isn't right about that money. It looks so real, so authentic, at least at first glance. But when that money is carefully examined by someone who knows what real money looks like, and is familiar with recognizing counterfeit money, it is discovered to be counterfeit.

      That's the problem with a false gospel being peddled by a false teacher. Just like the clerk who accepted the counterfeit fifty dollar bill without questioning it's authenticity, there are church buildings everywhere filled with people who are fooled into thinking that what they are being taught is true, when in actuality, they are being taught a damning lie.

      False teachers talk about Jesus dying on the cross for sinners. They profess to preach from the Bible and that what they preach and teach is true. They have a mission and vision for their church. They quote the Bible and pray, and say God is at work and changing people in big ways at their church. They seem very religious and convincing, don't they?

      And it's not like they teach lies 100% of the time either. Some of their theology is biblical. But they also twist the Truth into lies in subtle and deceptive ways. False teachers don't try to pass a Monoploy money gospel as the real thing. The gospel they peddle is more like the counterfeit money printed by expert counterfeiters.         

      Well, the Bible is God's Word, it is Truth with a capital T. It says particular things that are True about God, creation, man, sin, redemption, heaven, hell, and on and on. If you don't know what real Christianity is, then how would you ever recognize false Christianity? That is why it is so, so important to get to know God's Word, and get the Gospel right.

      If you are taught something that contradicts the Bible, or, if you believe something is true that is not supported by the Bible, then there is reason to be concerned. That's why I would encourage you to get aquainted with Truth as it is revealed in the Bible. I would also encourage you to watch, read, and listen to Christian pastors and thinkers who carefully and skillfully teach the Bible and the Gospel.

      I will occasionally post a sermon that preaches the Gospel and contrast that with another sermon that is a false, deceptive non-gospel. Now I don't know Eric Dykstra's heart. I don't know if he is decieving people on purpose, or if he actually believes what he preaches is true, after all Satan is a great deciever! It doesn't matter. If he is preaching a false gospel and others are believing him, then both false teacher and churchgoers are in grave danger of eternal damnation.

      Pastor R.W. Glenn of Redeemer Bible Church in Minnetonka is doing a short series on the book of Titus. This Sunday he preached a sermon that is the perfect contrast between what the Gospel really is, and the radical, legalistic, performance driven, cult-like garbage coming out of The Crossing Church.

      Bob Glenn touches on so many areas pertinent to the Gospel; what a real church is, the mission of the Church, the character of church pastors, the message of the Gospel, and the signs of false teachers. He explains Imputation, Antinomianism, and Legalism.

      And notice that throughout his entire sermon, he keeps the Gospel central. Gospel, gospel, gospel, gospel, gospel, gospel, gospel, gospel, and more gospel! He had reminded us Christians at Redeemer of the Gospel countless times! And, he backs up his theology of the Gospel with the Bible. They don't have videos of Pastor Bob's sermons, yet. But you can listen to the sermon on the link provided here.

      Listen to that sermon if you want to. You don't have to do it all in one day, but listen to all of it, and then compare that with the video clip, "I love my church" . From The Crossing.  It is basically a discussion with four participants, including pastor Eric Dykstra, on the beliefs and values of The Crossing. This themes in this video parallel the themes in R.W. Glenn's sermon. Yet, it is like night and day in terms of Gospel content.

      I have watched this entire video twice and they never, ever mentioned the Gospel, not even once! Their ten points on what The Crossing believes-their doctrinal statement- is fuzzy and confusing at best. Then you get to The Crossing's values, as expressed in "The Code"; let's just say that the material that they describe in The Code is patently unbiblical and appalling. Pay special attention to Kelly Dykstra's explanation of the Code point that states, "We are a generation of honor". The Code is junk. It's just one more legalistic burden that Crossing "partners" are commanded to obey as they work their way to Hell.

      If you go to The Crossing or any other church, and you have questions concerning what they believe or the way they do things, I would encourage you to kindly ask them to explain their doctrinal position or church activity biblically, like, with specific Bible verses in mind. In the "I Love My Church" clip, Dykstra says that there are people who think that The Crossing is a cult (imagine that!). Then he declares, "We are not a cult" without any biblical support to defend his view.

      Maybe someone ought to ask Eric Dykstra what the Bible has to say about cults, abusive churches, legalism, and false teachers? Or what what does the Bible say are the marks of a true Church and how that is manifested at The Crossing? Are there specific Bible verses that demonstrate that The Crossing is not a true church and that they preach a false gospel? Maybe someone ought to challenge Dykstra's views with the Bible. Does the Bible support "The Code"? What Bible verses, exactly, support each and every one of the eighteen points in The Code? And which Bible verses could you use to refute The Code?

      Maybe someone ought to start asking Eric Dykstra some hard questions and see what kind of answers they get. Ask Dykstra to crack open a Bible and defend his views. You have every right to ask your pastor questions and they ought to provide verse by verse Bible answers. But be careful, because false teachers twist Scripture to fit their twisted theology, and they can be very convincing. Get to know your Bible so you can refute false teachings.          

      Saturday, July 16, 2011

      The Sweet Exchange

      Please, take the time and effort to get the Gospel right: your eternal destination depends on it! 

      This post from pastor Bob Glenn is so awesome, liberating, and filled with truth it bears reading. Does this teaching sound alien to you? Maybe your church doesn't preach the gospel: just saying!   

      What is "The Sweet Exchange"? It's Martin Luther's "Great Exchange" 1,300 years before he was born!
      Consider this quotation from the second century anonymous Epistle to Diognetus:
      For what else could cover our sins but his righteousness? In whom was it possible for us, in our wickedness and impiety, to be made just, except the Son of God alone? O the sweet exchange, O the inscrutable creation, O the unexpected benefits, that the wickedness of many should be concealed in the one righteous, and the righteousness of the one should make righteous many wicked.

      Luther put it like this:
      Learn Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him and, despairing of yourself, say, "Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, just as I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and have given me what is yours. You have taken upon yourself what you were not and have given me what I was not."
      Theologically speaking, the Epistle to Diognetus and the quotation of Martin Luther are referring to the doctrine of imputation, which teaches that, by grace alone, we are justified (declared not guilty) in God's sight because, while we were still sinners, God attributed (= imputed) our sins to Jesus, inflicting on him the just punishment we deserved and at the same time attributed Christ's righteousness to us, bestowing on us every spiritual blessing he deserved. This is the very heart of the gospel - the great and sweet exchange of our sins for Christ's righteousness sheerly as a gift of God's grace.

      It is often suggested that the notion of imputation is a theological innovation originating in the Reformation. The Epistle to Diognetus is proof positive that Christian thinkers from the earliest days of the church recognized the significance of this doctrine. But the reason for this continuity is that the notion of the imputed righteousness of Christ is a thoroughly biblical idea. The most succinct expression of it comes from 2 Cor 5:21: "He made him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in him."
      This is the sweet exchange! This is the great exchange! Our sin for Christ's righteousness freely as a gift by God's grace (see also Rom 5:17). 

      And what this means on a practical level is life-changing. It means that we never walk around with a deficit in our righteousness. Our record is the record Jesus amassed for us through his sinless life. When the Father sees us, he sees children robed in the perfectly comprehensive righteousness of his beloved Son. You don't have to feel like you didn't do enough to day. You don't have to feel like God is somehow withdrawing his love from you because your labors for his kingdom were lacking. You don't have to feel as if you need to make up for your daily waywardness. The Father sees you as perfectly righteous in Christ.

      Now you might think that this would lead Christians toward a lackadaisical or lackluster obedience. Or toward a cavalier attitude toward sin. Not at all! The reality is that the more and more we understand what it means for us to have the righteousness of Christ through the great and sweet exchange, the more genuine Christian want to obey. Only instead of our obedience functioning as a kind of currency to keep God close to us, our obedience functions as a joyous and wondrous expression of gratitude for what is already ours through the gospel.

      Can you taste the sweetness? Can you see the greatness of this exchange? Celebrate it - it's all yours in Christ.

      Heaven and Hell

      What better way to start up my blog than by announcing that my home church Redeemer Bible Church is doing a five part series on Heaven and Hell beginning August 7th. What does the Bible teach on Heaven and Hell? Pastor R.W. Glenn (Bob) has prepared a sneak preview on the link provided. Keep checking back because there will be more sneak previews coming soon. What follows is the promo text for the series...

      [The afterlife. Heaven and hell. Mortality. Eternity. Few topics provoke questions so deep and emotions so strong, yet we often avoid thinking about the answers. We might draw images from medieval drawings of fiery torment, or political cartoons set by pearly gates - but can we ever really know the truth?

      Join us starting August 7th at Redeemer Bible Church as Pastor R.W. Glenn unpacks what the Bible teaches about Heaven and Hell. Whatever your assumptions, misconceptions, experiences, or fears, come expecting answers. Come hear the Bible's response to the most important questions you will ever ask.]

      I will get to The Crossing church stuff eventually. I am still working on the layout of this blog and will be adding more material in the future. I will make every attempt to support my arguments with Scripture. In the meantime, if you attend the Crossing or a church you suspect is abusive and preaches a false gospel, then read and listen to what I have available now, and contrast that with the teachings of your church.