AN OPEN LETTER TO HEALING PLACE CHURCH

A "Seeker Sensitive" And Apostate Ministry In Baton Rouge, Louisiana  

 

 

Dear Pastor & Staff,                                                                                                                  

On April 16th, 2006 , at your morning Easter service at the River Center, our ministry, Consuming Fire Fellowship, publicly challenged the gospel of Healing Place Church.  This challenge was not impulsive, but rather, prayerfully deliberated and then executed (1 Tim 5:20 ; Rev 2:2).  Though ungodly motives are generally attributed to our actions, we assert the Spirit of God is leading us.  Many accuse us of hatred but we insist that we are constrained by love:  love for Jesus, love for the purity of His gospel, and love for you, His creation (Lev 19:17 -18).  Others have suggested we are angry, to this accusation we unashamedly agree.  Like the Psalmist of old, we confess, “I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word” (Ps 119:158).   Therefore, in the spirit of love and with the “zeal of our Father’s house” burning in our bosom, we urge you to consider your ways.

The public confrontation of HPC was meant to hopefully accomplish several things, namely:

·        Warn the general public of the suspect gospel dissimulated through the HPC ministries.

·        Warn the membership of HPC of the apostate nature of its message and methods.

·        To encourage Biblical examination of faith, practice, and doctrine.

·        To awaken the HPC leadership to the unscriptural direction of HPC.

·        To alert the HPC leadership of the spiritual consequences of promoting the spirit of anti-christ.

·        And finally, to either promote repentance/reformation or encourage those with discernment, to separate from HPC.

Below, you will find seven fundamental areas of spiritual compromise at HPC catalogued.  Each observation is briefly expressed in outline form.  I have purposely postponed detailed theological elaboration for future dialogue.  My purpose in this correspondence is to offer an opportunity for you to answer these accusations Biblically.  If HPC ministries, message, and methods are modeled after the example of the Lord Jesus Christ and founded on New Testament doctrine, as you propose, it should be simple to Biblically verify.  Thus, I respectfully implore you to give us a Biblical answer to the question, “How can you justify these things in light of God’s Word?”   Again, I have refrained from offering details and/or lengthy Biblical exegesis; however, if discussion is in order, I am fully prepared to cite specifics and offer Scriptural arguments.

 

I.  WORLDLINESS.

a.      On official HPC ministry websites/blogs, as well as associated ministries of HPC (ARC) websites/blogs, secular music is utilized, promoted, and apparently excused as morally neutral (rock-n-roll, rap, etc.). To enjoy or otherwise be entertained by worldly music is sin (2 Cor 6:14 -18; Eph 4:22 ; 5:11 ; 1 Pet 2:11 ; 1 Jn 2:15 ). 

b.      On official HPC ministry websites/blogs, as well as associated ministries of HPC (ARC) websites/blogs, secular movies as well as television programming are promoted and apparently excused as morally neutral (no doubt, much of this “entertainment” contains gratuitous sex and violence).  Be warned, to be entertained by Hollywood , one of the Lord Jesus’ greatest enemies, is sin (2 Cor 6:14 -18; Eph 4:22 ; 5:11 ; 1 Pet 2:11 ; 1 Jn 2:15 ).  If you unashamedly partake of these shameful things in the light, what are you doing under the cover of secrecy?

c.       Biblical modesty at HPC is utterly lacking.  Apparently, current fashion, regardless of the moral implications, appears to dictate.  We were utterly appalled at the disregard for N.T. modesty displayed Sunday morning, April 16th.  On many occasions it was necessary for us to refrain from looking at the females entering and exiting the River Center as they were inappropriately dressed (1 Tim 2:9).

d.      Due to the unbiblical concept of “cultural relevance,” HPC and its leadership has embraced worldliness, rather than sought to purge it (1 Cor 5:6-7; Rom 12:2).

e.       Thus, not only is there an obvious absence of overall Biblical separation preached or practiced at HPC, there is an appalling tolerance and attraction for the world as well.

 II. ECUMENICISM.  

a.      A general posture of acceptance or inclusiveness with other professing Christian groups regardless of their doctrine.

b.      An obvious reluctance to denounce false Christianity, even if it was discerned.

c.       Amazingly, on Pastor Rizzo’s blog, under recommended books, he highly esteems Mother Teresa’s book, “In The Heart Of The World” in spite of the fact that Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who preached another gospel (2 Jn 1:10-11). This is absolutely inexcusable.

d.      Likewise, on Pastor Rizzo’s blog, in the same category, he extols the spiritual virtues of perhaps the most notorious false prophet in the history of Western culture, Billy Graham.

e.       This reveals a complete absence of discernment on Pastor Rizzo’s part and reveals he is ill-equipped to be in spiritual leadership (Acts 20:31 ; Rom 16:17 ).

 III.  ANTINOMIANISM.  

a.      The propagating of the following heretical thoughts:  1. Everybody sins, even Christians.         2.  Christians will continue to sin as long as they live in the body.  3.  Christians cannot “sin away their salvation.”  All three of these concepts are utterly foreign to Scripture.

b.      The beliefs that obedience to God’s commandments constitutes legalism and a zeal for Biblical accuracy equates to Phariseeism. These erroneous beliefs are consistent with rank Antinomianism.

c.       Failure on the behalf of the HPC pulpit to accurately communicate Biblical repentance, namely, that God commands all men to stop sinning.  And furthermore, that repentance is a condition for regeneration.

d.      Hence, there is an apparent failure by the HPC pulpit in recognizing that the aim of the gospel is to redeem sinful men from not only the penalty of sin, but likewise the power thereof (Matt 1:21; Rom 6:14).  The normal Christian life is free from sin (Rom 6; 1 Jn 3:6-10; 5:18 ). 

 IV. A DE-EMPHASIS OF THE BIBLE AND SOUND DOCTRINE.

a.      A perversion of the function of the church.  The church of Jesus Christ exists primarily for the glory of God, not to meet the “felt needs” of society.  The often quoted mantra of the seeker sensitive movement, “God is into people,” is a shameful misappropriation of God’s revealed truth.  Though God’s love for sinful man is unquestionable and the redemption of lost sinners is His will, the Bible teaches that the exaltation of Jesus is foremost in the plan of God. The Scriptures do not teach that we are to do anything and everything to win souls.  Our primary motivation must be love, namely, love for God.  The first and the greatest commandment is to love God supremely (Matt 22:37 -38).  There are no rival commandments to the great commandment.  Moreover, we certainly cannot expect to truly love men if we refuse to submit to Jesus as Lord.  Thus, the Body of Christ exists solely as a habitation of God and primarily to accurately represent the Lord Jesus Christ on earth.  HPC has perverted the purpose of the church by exalting charitable service above the glory of God.  This, though perhaps done unconsciously, has misrepresented the Lord Jesus Christ and consequently brought a reproach upon the gospel.

b.      A lack of solid Bible teaching.  Few will agree, however, I respectfully argue that there is such a dearth of true, solid Bible teaching at HPC that people don't even realize what they are missing.  Most of what is preached at HPC, no matter how wonderful the delivery, or how inspiring the message, is little more than ear-tickling or  dumbed-down pseudo-teaching with a few assorted Scriptures flung in for good measure (2 Tim 4:3).

c.       An emphasis on appealing to the audience rather than proclaiming the Word of God.  In fact, the gospel is often re-packaged and redefined as pop-psychology.  Rather than seekers being perceived as sinners in need of salvation, they are perceived as lonely singles, bored executives, victims of dysfunctional families, etc.  Rather than presenting a bold, truly Biblical message, too often the message is calculated to appeal to the seekers and meet their "felt needs."

d.      Sin is rarely, if ever, preached against.  As is the case with most false ministries today, it’s not so much what is said, but what refuses to be said at HPC.

e.       Perverse translations of the Bible abound:  NIV, NAS, and the abominable Message Bible, etc.  To use, promote, or endorse these “Bibles” is to propagate error.  Go back to God’s inerrant Word in English, the KJV.

f.        On the rare occasions we have dialogued with HPC leadership, namely, Mr. Johnny Green and Mr. Mike Haman, neither man, even when appealed to, would reason with us out of the Scriptures.  In fact, neither man would converse with us longer than a few moments.  Both were surprisingly disrespectful, unreasonable, and above all, Biblically illiterate.

g.      In contrast, Sunday, April 16th, I spoke with Timmy Straight, the St. Francisville campus pastor. He was both respectful and gracious.  He seemed to exhibit patience as I expressed my concerns, though I don’t recall him citing Scripture.  I am not so naďve as to believe Timmy agrees with me, nor did he give me any such impression.  But for his willingness to simply listen and dialogue, he is to be commended.  Though I disagree with Timmy, he seems to represent the principles expressed in, “a healing church for a hurting world,” as you say (however false I may deem this idiom).  Though I disagree with HPC’s ministry philosophy, Timmy was consistent in his approach, he was relevant to me.  He reached out to me, even though I would be considered unlovable or perhaps, a lost cause.  Gentlemen, it is easier to believe men when they practice what they preach.   

h.      Likewise, we have encountered and engaged many HPC members over the years as we have evangelized at LSU, on the streets, or in and around Baton Rouge .  There are exceptions, but typically they have been hostile, irrational, and amazingly unfamiliar with the Word of God.  Rarely, if ever, have I talked to an HPC member who appealed to the Scriptures in support of their ideas or arguments.  Pitifully, an alarming number of these professed HPC members are coming out of barrooms, rock concerts, etc. as we evangelize.  Usually, they justify their sin.

V.  EVANGELISM.  

a.      Servant evangelism/friendship evangelism has replaced a bold, clear, declaration of the gospel.

b.      Rejection of the role of law in presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Though the law cannot save, justify, or sanctify, it does have a crucial function under the gospel dispensation: to give the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20 ).  The Bible teaches the law is a schoolmaster that brings sinners to Christ (Gal 3:24 ) and that it is good if properly incorporated and applied while preaching the gospel (1 Tim 1:8-10).  However, HPC, lacking love for God and man alike, has chosen to avoid citing, applying, and declaring the law of God. Without the law, men cannot see their need for the blessed Savior.  Thus, the omission of law from your gospel presentation has been the demise of your hearers.  You have gained their ear with your acts of charity and then you’ve killed them with your so-called kindness (Prov 27:6).  Biblical love gives men what they need; HPC gives men what they want.  The world refers to this as love, God calls it hate (Lev 19:17 -18).   

c.       Pragmatism has replaced fidelity to Scripture as the ultimate authority for methodology.  Apparently, pragmatism is so ingrained that few, if any in HPC leadership seem to recognize its presence or understand its gross spiritual ramifications.  Pragmatism can be defined as an approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application (C.O.E. Dictionary).  In other words, a “the end justifies the means” or “if it works, it must be right” or “if it’s big and popular” mentality.  This, obvious to the spiritual mind, is a formula for spiritual disaster.  The shift in philosophy is subtle, but nevertheless, crippling:  for example, HPC makes sure it hands someone a bottle of cold water and if the opportunity arises, may mention Jesus (which of course, is not, in and of itself, truly gospel preaching).  The Biblical approach is somewhat inverted: we would make sure we confront sinners in their sin, preach the gospel to them and if the need arises, give them a bottle of cold water.  HPC is riddled and leavened with the worldly principle of pragmatism at the root.  Thus, your evangelism is calculated to be relevant, rather than bring repentance.  This is gross compromise (Gal 1:8-9).  

c.       The Bible teaches that the Holy Ghost comes to “reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment” (Jn 16:8).   Accordingly, ministries who are anointed by the Holy Ghost, when evangelizing, will readily denounce sin, exalt obedience to God’s commandments, and warn of eternal judgment.  These are the doctrinal essentials that HPC rarely, if ever, communicates but demonstrably avoids. Apparently, due to the erroneous doctrine of “cultural relevance” there is an unconscious obsession to avoid what is perceived as “negative and critical” resulting in a failure to yield to God’s Spirit in evangelism.    

VI.  DISORDER.  

a.        At HPC women are promoted as “preachers, pastors, and teachers.”  Women are seen as god-called leaders in direct violation of N.T. commands.  This is disorder (1 Tim 2:11 -12).

b.        Women, in general, are not warned as they reject their god-called place to be keepers at home.  Rather, they are encouraged when pursuing careers outside the home.  Again, this is disorder (Tit 2:5).  

 VII.  ASSOCIATIONS.  

a.      HPC is associated, according to the HPC website, with various ministries that are renowned for their heresy (Mother Teresa, ARC, Promise Keepers, Willow Creek, Lakewood , Hillsong, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, etc.).

b.      From Catholicism to Word of Faith, from Seeker-sensitive to CCM, and from the false prosperity gospel to JDS (Jesus died spiritually), doctrinal heresy abounds.  This is sin (2 Jn 1:10 -11).

We request a written response.  Do you deny these accusations?  Can you present a logical, rational, and Scriptural argument to answer these charges (1 Pet 3:15 ; Jude 1:3)?  We are more than willing to dialogue and reason with you.  I realize you label us as negative, critical, and perhaps beyond reach and not worth the trouble to address.  I ask you, is this consistent with your mission statement? 

          “HPC reaches out to people who are…traditionally overlooked.”    HPC Website                                                                                                                                                                                                      

On his blog, Mr. Haman even likened us to the Pharisees inspired by demonic spirits  

“Opposition like this is nothing new to Jesus. He didn't even bat an eye at the small gathering of sign-wearers and screamers outside the arena. He came up against religious spirits in His day all the time--they were called the Pharisees.”                                                                                                                           Mike Haman’s blog, “Easter 2006” April 18, 2006  

Mike conveniently overlooked one, small detail of his Biblical parallel:  Jesus didn’t write about the Pharisees after-the-fact from the comfort and safety of his computer screen.  No, He boldly and publicly confronted them face to face confounding and silencing them with the Word of God.  This, HPC leadership did not do.  On Sunday, April 16th, while we challenged your ministry in public and freely talked to the membership of HPC, you, the leadership, were conspicuously absent.  This is not like Jesus, but very much like someone He warned about…

 “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.”                                              John 10:12-13   

We are not wolves, but apparently you believe we are.  Therefore, you should answer our Biblical concerns with Biblical answers; if not for us, for the sake of the sheep.  To mark and avoid trouble-makers is Biblical, but the pattern calls for first, confrontation, then separation (Titus 3:10 -11).  Even Jesus dialogued with the Pharisees; He certainly died for them once.  Can you please love us?  Healing Place Church is renowned for its charitable contributions to the needy.  You have clothed the naked, fed the hungry, given a cup of cold water to the thirsty.  Certainly, these things are to be commended.  However, we are not asking for money, or food, or water.  No, for our healing, we are simply asking for the Word of God.

  He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”                                                                                                                                      Psalm 107:20     

Would Jesus deny anyone the Word of God?  Can you please give us the Bible (2 Tim 2:24 -25; Tit 1:9-11)?   We eagerly await your response.

 

For the cause of Jesus,

Pastor Britt Williams

Consuming Fire Fellowship

www.consumingfirefellowship.org

pastor@consumingfirefellowship.org

601.888.3469 

 

 

HEALING PLACE RESPONSES

Though an open-letter was sent via post and e-mail, an official response was never issued by Healing Place Church.  Over twenty hard-copies of the letter was sent directly to the Healing Place Church office but they were returned in one bulk envelope, unopened.  The official board members of HPC as well as specific key leaders within the ARC organization were also sent copies of the letter.  No one attempted to offer a Biblical reply to the open letter.  Only one ARC pastor contacted me and, more than likely, this was only a gesture of kindness due to a previous acquaintance.  Attempts, as noted below, pleading for a Biblical response were completely ignored.  In fact, only one official leader from Healing Place Church , Wayne Austin, ever attempted to meet with us, and this only after weeks of pleading.  Sadly, the precious few who I corresponded/spoke with refused to offer any Scripture for their views.  Actually, most of the individuals who offered any correspondence/dialogue were old acquaintances, including Pastor Austin (my old high school football coach).  Otherwise, I am unsure if they would have taken the time to respond.

 

 

Jimmy, 

I enjoyed speaking with you Sunday, April 16th, albeit, a less than optimum occasion for old acquaintances to catch up.  Even though I am in Baton Rouge fairly often, I rarely see old high school friends.  It was genuinely good to see you, even though our conversation was confrontational.  In all honesty, I would enjoy sitting down with you, meeting your family, and sincerely speaking to you on a wide variety of topics.  Perhaps in the future, we will have such an opportunity. After all, Woodville is only 30 minutes north of St. Francisville. 

The purpose of my correspondence is to inform you of an open-letter I am sending to HPC leadership and alert you that I am forwarding you a copy (see attachment, as well as another sent via post).  It outlines the spiritual reasons (as we deem them) for our bold, public action on April 16th at the River Center.  I would appreciate your time in carefully considering our concerns. 

Your old friend,

Britt Williams

 

Pastor ~ Consuming Fire Fellowship

601.888.3469

pastor@consumingfirefellowship.org

www.consumingfirefellowship.org

 

Brit, 

I did receive your letter, and I have read it.  As convinced that you are with regards to being where God wants you to be, I too am as confident that I am right where He wants me to be. 

I have enjoyed this walk and journey for almost 24 years.  The older I have become, the more convinced I am that I don't have everything figured out.  I am thankful that He works through me and others, in spite of our limited understanding of His infinite ways. It is a spooky thing, when a man thinks he has this all figured out, as you do.  

It was good seeing you, as I am one who appreciates seeing folks from the past.   

You ever wonder if you are so right, that you are wrong? 

I just can't sense the spirit of God in your efforts, and I know that I know Him and His ways. 

I do believe that most Christians will be surprised when we are judged for our works, and I also believe you may be surprised.  Jesus not only knew what He stood for and what His purpose was, but he also knew HOW to accomplish the work (glorifying the Father).   

For the life of me, I can't understand a man building a ministry on studying other ministries and then calling them out?  I do know that those that have the gift of prophecy often struggle to operate in the church, cause they can readily see the shortfalls of the church, but it is essential that these individuals effectively bring about edification to the church, and do so properly, and in order.  I just can't see how your ministry is bringing about edification to the existing churches.  I can't recall one scripture that supports a church bringing about accusations against the brethern or church members of another church.  Perhaps an individual, but not a church.  It is the responsibility of the church leaders to bring about correction to their own church, not another church.  Paul had role in doing this, but not a church.  Do you have any scripture that I am not recalling, that would support this?  John the Baptist railed against the government leadership, and it cost him his head.   

This action you are taking, indicates to me that you have no respect for the authority of another church leader.  Just as you have no authority to enter my house and correct my children.  While these sheep do not "belong" to the pastor, they are under his authority.  I find myself having to operate in businesses and government, in which I don't agree with what they are doing, but I must also honor the head of these bodies, in order to operate in His order.   

Jimmy

 

Jimmy, 

I appreciate your response.  I realize you are a busy man and I am grateful that you are taking the time to correspond with me.  I will briefly attempt to respond to your comments and answer your questions: 

 "It is a spooky thing, when a man thinks he has this all figured out, as you do." 

Jimmy, is it sound reasoning to charge me with spiritual arrogance and conceit simply because I am expressing valid Biblical concerns and questions?  Does citing specific, provable, unbiblical practices and doctrines constitute pride?  Is HPC and its leadership above being questioned via Scripture?  I never said, nor implied that "I have this all figured out."  Quite the contrary, I am afraid of my own reasoning and my own faulty conclusions.  I simply try to approach my relationship with God on the ground of His Word and His Word alone.  I trust what He said.  When men clearly violate the Bible, I must humbly question their spiritual validity.   This, as best as I can see from Scripture, is faith.  On the other hand, those who follow what seems best, or prudent, or practical or what seems popular, etc. are, in reality, guilty of unbelief.  In actuality, it is these who think they have it "all figured out" and assume they are wiser than God Himself (Prov 16:25 ). 

"You ever wonder if you are so right, that you are wrong?" 

Allow me to pose a question, Jimmy.  Do you ever wonder if you should convert to Islam, that perhaps Christianity is a lie and Jesus was an imposter?  I assume your answer would be a resounding no. Then why do you pose such a question to me simply because I believe the Bible and attempt to apply it to HPC?  Again, I assume by resting in the absolute authority of John 14:6 you would be willing to boldly declare Jesus to be the only way.  No reasonable man, much less a Christian, would charge you with arrogance or pride if you were to proclaim that all men must be born-again.  No real Christian would pull you to the side and reprove you while chiding, "brother, you are acting as if you know everything, that you have it all figured out, and that you are the only person right!"  Remember, I am not approaching HPC with my own contrived ideas, but with the Word of God.  If by chance, I am utterly deceived and simply voicing my deluded perversions of Scripture, then a sound, reasonable and Scriptural response would silence me.  Why then the feeble attempt to level empty accusations of pride against my person?  Why not just correct me with the Bible?   For example, when I see that HPC leadership/ARC boldly admits to listening to and using secular rock music and I say, "wait a minute, the Bible says, 'if you are a friend of the world you are an enemy of God.'" Instead of saying, "Britt, you are proud, arrogant and unteachable, I pity you as you think you have this all figured out."  You should rather show me my mistake, according to Scripture, and explain to me how secular rock-n-roll is not worldly, but rather blessed of God.  Is this too much to ask? 

"I just can't sense the spirit of God in your efforts, and I know that I know Him and His ways" 

How do you discern the Spirit, Jimmy?  If you leave the Bible, no matter what it looks like, no matter what it feels like, you have abandoned the Spirit of God.  Your confession, though noble, is universal to those who live in error.  From Mormons to Jehovah Witnesses, the majority of those who live in spiritual deception claim to be led by the "Spirit."  However, though we are to be led by the Spirit, the Spirit will never violate the Scriptures (1 John 5:7).  Our highest authority as Christians, is God's Word (Ps 138:2; 2 Tim 3:16 ).  Therefore, can you prove to me that the message and methods of HPC is Scriptural?  If so, I will believe you are led by the Spirit, but until then, I must question such an assertion. 

"For the life of me, I can't understand a man building a ministry on studying other ministries and then calling them out?"  

Is this an assumption on your part?  Do you really know how much time we dedicate to these endeavors?  Sadly, I fear this is an attempt to evade the issues by leveling an empty accusation.  If I sent you/HPC a page full of concerns and points void of documentation, you/HPC would accuse me of acting without proof, but when I send you/HPC a contemplative, thorough, and well-documented outline of concerns you/HPC then accuse us of being preoccupied with the negative.  We cannot win for losing (Lk 7:31 -32).  Yes, it requires time to undertake such actions but we invest this time because we are genuinely concerned.  Is this hard to believe? I have not built a ministry on critiquing other ministries.  It is a small fraction of what any pastor must do, however, it is a part of any spiritual ministry (Acts  20:31 ; Rom 16:17 ; Col 1:28 ; Jude 1:3).  Of course, this is not really the issue, what about answering the concerns I expressed with chapter and verse?   

"I do know that those that have the gift of prophecy often struggle to operate in the church, cause they can readily see the shortfalls of the church, but it is essential that these individuals effectively bring about edification to the church, and do so properly, and in order.  I just can't see how your ministry is bringing about edification to the existing churches." 

I do not claim to be a prophet nor am I citing any authority other than God's Word for these actions.  In regards to edification allow me to pose another question.  Jimmy, suppose you began to experience an unusual but persistent pain in your body.  After patiently waiting for the pain to subside, you decided to visit your local physician for an examination.  In the doctor’s office he performed a series of test on you and administered several x-rays and cat-scans.  Unfortunately, the doctor irrefutably finds a large, cancerous, tumor growing inside your brain.  He determines that unless action is taken immediately you will surely die.  Would it be edifying to give you an accurate diagnosis and then offer the remedy, or to send you home to die with a pat on the back not wanting to cause you any emotional discomfort?  I believe my point is clear.  Jimmy, do you believe that I believe what I wrote to HPC?  If I am convinced and say nothing, do you dare suggest that this would be loving (Lev. 19:17 )? No, Jimmy, even if I am mistaken, I am acting in love and as of yet, no one is either willing or able to show me, by Scripture, that I am mistaken. 

"I can't recall one scripture that supports a church bringing about accusations against the brethern or church members of another church." 

First, Jimmy, the open-letter I sent to you (teaching at HPC, Chairman of LFF) is directed primarily to HPC leadership.  Nevertheless, perhaps you are unaware, but we have attempted, in times past, to dialogue with HPC leadership to no avail.  In fact, men like Mike Haman are the ones who are violating the above principles, not me.  It was Mr. Haman who posted on the world-wide-web that we were Pharisees (Christ murderers) and demon-inspired (religious spirits), and yet, he refuses to discuss any of this with me, the pastor of CFF.  We have attempted to reason with him in person and via e-mail/post but he refuses to even talk to us.  I, at one time, had close relationships with other ARC pastors/leaders. For example, Stovall Weems served on my spiritual advisory board at one time but was dismissed after he completely changed his theology.  I have attempted to reason with him on more than one occasion, he refuses to listen.  I wrote and appealed to Gene Mills, as director of Heartbeat, with concerns of Ecumenicism in October 1997 but again, he refused the common courtesy of a response.  Would you like to see the correspondence that I've had with several of these men?  Furthermore, over the years, literally dozens and dozens of times we have been the ones confronted by HPC members as we attempted to fulfill the Great Commission at LSU and other public venues. In every case, we patiently attempted to reason with them out of the Scriptures but they generally denounced us, and even before the sinners.  So, my friend, don't assume our actions on April 16th were spontaneous and ill-conceived.  As I mentioned in the letter, "this challenge was not impulsive, but rather, prayerfully deliberated and then executed."  This no understatement.  In fact, the letter I have sent out is essentially in the last stages of what is expressed in Matthew 18:15-17, though this does not really apply to addressing false teachers and false prophets.  In other words, April 16th was the first time I spoke to you, but not to HPC in general.  In regards to the difference between churches and individuals:  once the leadership of a local church is confronted and unwilling to dialogue, much less repent, warning the sheep is certainly in order (read the major and minor prophets as examples abound).  This is and continues to be an accurate assessment of the situation.   

"It is the responsibility of the church leaders to bring about correction to their own church, not another church." 

As a general rule, this may be true.  However, when a ministry is proven unbiblical (not mere differences of opinion but heresy and gross sin is overlooked) then they must be addressed.  Any Christian has a right to do this, albeit, with respect until the accusation be proven...  

1 Tim. 5:19-20 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear 

When those leaders refuse to offer a Biblical defense for either their doctrine or behavior then they are to be reproved and the church is to be warned.  Perhaps you forgot of Jesus cleansing the temple (Jn 2) or the Apostles preaching in the temple against the charges of the Jewish leadership (Acts 5:28 ).  The Apostle Paul warned the church of many false teachers and sent letters abroad even calling their name (Hymenaeus, Philetus, Alexander, Diotrephes, etc.).  Remember, Paul's letters have been distributed throughout  the church of every age.  Conceivably, they have been read by the majority of local churches in the dispensation of grace.  Thus, nearly every Christian, of every generation, had been warned of these men by name.  Jimmy, this is the bottom line:  if HPC is of God, then indeed, I am in much trouble, but if HPC is apostate, as we propose, we are justified in our actions.  Hence, the first order of business must be to prove my accusations of unbiblical doctrine and practices as unjustifiable.  If you can do this, then your accusation of disorder and rebellion will be valid, otherwise, we can only surmise.  Can you answer my charges expressed in the open-letter with the Bible? 

"This action you are taking, indicates to me that you have no respect for the authority of another church leader.  Just as you have no authority to enter my house and correct my children.  While these sheep do not "belong" to the pastor, they are under his authority.  I find myself having to operate in businesses and government, in which I don't agree with what they are doing, but I must also honor the head of these bodies, in order to operate in His order."   

You are mistaken Jimmy.  The Biblical principle of honoring authority teaches us to avoid undermining and to deal forthrightly and honestly addressing individuals in their respective order.  No where does the Bible teach we should withhold the truth due to delegated, divine authority.  It is true, if I were to smile in your face, pat you on the back, give you the impression that all was well, and then took your children aside and undermined your authority under the cloak of pretense, I would be in sin.  Indeed, this would be a violation of Biblical authority.  However, if I came to you man to man, told you that I believed you were a poor father, that you were a bad influence in your children's life, and then warned your children, my opinions could be wrong, but I would not be out of order.   

Remember, Jesus was just as critical of the Pharisee as they were of Him.  Jesus is characterized in the gospels as being very forthright, often reproving the Pharisees (authority) publicly (*In Matthew 23 alone, one ten minute sermon, Jesus referred to the Pharisees as hypocrites 7 times.  Furthermore, he called them 12 other derogatory names ranging from "blind guides" to "serpents."  And finally, he told them they were hell bound).  On the other hand, the Pharisees projected a very peaceful public image.  They often met Him with proper titles and approached him with feigned respect.  They often flattered Jesus but their heart was filled with hatred, all the while secretly plotting to do away with Him. Jesus' disagreement with the Pharisees was well known, documented, and easily understood.  While the Pharisee's disagreement with Jesus was more clandestine. They gave the appearance of peace, love, and tranquility, yet they plotted His murder.  The principle you cite is basic:  if at all possible, honor authority before you address those subject to authority.  Order has been honored here.  We have tried to reason, what we've done we've done in public.  I've gone behind no one's back.  I am operating in broad daylight.  Remember Jimmy, when John the Baptist publicly rebuked Herod he did so in public, before those who were subject to his leadership.  As you well know, authority is authority.  The Baptist was in order because Herod was in sin and it was done publicly.  This is another reason why we did what we did on April 16th, to actually be in order.  It was discussed and addressed, that a public course of action would be appropriate so as to be forthright, frank, and "out in the open," so to speak.  After one HPC leader refused to dialogue with us, we even sent a written statement to HPC leadership warning them that we would alert HPC membership of the spiritual dangers of HPC. What more can we do to attempt to remain ethical and orderly?  If the leadership of HPC/ARC had first, [1] dialogued with us, and [2] Biblically proven that our concerns were unfounded we would never be having this conversation.  Again, we are not merely speaking of incidentals; there are many preachers I disagree with that I would never publicly speak against.  HPC is anti-christ and therefore must be challenged and challenged immediately.  You may disagree, but why don't you address the issues at hand? 

Again, thank you, Jimmy, for at least responding.  Few have done so in the past.  By the way, I've sent the open-letter to over 25 leaders.  Thus far, you are the only man to respond.  I pray you will prayerfully consider what I've written and beg of you a Scriptural response. 

Still your old friend,

Bro. Britt

 

Britt,

As biblically based as you appear to be, I still feel as though you did not adequately respond to my concern-  No where in scripture can I recall whereby a church is rebuking another church.  Jesus rebuked the religious, Paul and the apostles challenged some of the leaders in the churches on theological and sin issues (this would be equivalent to ARC or our Presbyters).   

It is obvious I need to make myself clear, that I disagree with your thought process and I think it is useless to discuss this matter any further.   

I will always consider you a friend, but I can't accept your approach on these issues.   

Sincerely, 

Jimmy Kaiser

 

Jimmy,  

In all honesty, I don't quite understand why you are making an issue of "a church rebuking a church."  In essence, I, as a pastor, have addressed the leadership of HPC via the letter you receivedIn times past, either myself, or Charlie Kennon, my associate, confronted HPC leadership.  On April 16th, we publicly preached, like we do at LSU and other venues, as a church, at the River Center to HPC (simply because we deemed there would be folks there in need of truth and in spiritual danger).  There is absolutely nothing unscriptural about this.   Reproof, whether individual or corporate, is well established in Scripture.  Certainly, "a church rebuking a church" is not condemned in Scripture, particularly when it is needed.  Ultimately, this is the root question that must be addressed and answered:  "Is HPC's message and methods unscriptural, are we justified in our extreme action?"  On April 16th, Johnny Green asked the question, "why?"  As members exited the River Center , many asked "why?"  Hence, we sent you a detailed and Scriptural response outlining the compelling reasons for our actions.  So, now we ask the same of you. I've given you a Biblical foundation whereby we declare HPC apostate.  Can you give me a Biblical response to the contrary?  Why is it so difficult to simply answer my questions with a sound, logical and Biblical reply?  Let's suppose that I am as you suggest:  a rebellious, arrogant, disorderly, Pharisaical, holier-than-thou, spiritual renegade.  Does this make it permissible for HPC to propagate and endorse false doctrine?  Because I'm a Pharisee does this license  HPC and ARC pastors and leaders to listen to secular music?  If I am legal, does this somehow cause God to smile on HPC and ARC leaders being entertained by the sex, violence, and vice of Hollywood ?    If I am a raging lunatic does this now reverse the reformation, silence the blood of the martyrs, and negate 400 years of Protestants protesting Roman Catholicism as the diabolical false Christianity that it is?  Jimmy,  if I'm wrong, even utterly deluded and deranged, why not systematically address the issues I cited with the Word of God.  Please, I beg you, show me how I've misinterpreted or misapplied the Scriptures.  

Jimmy, stop, think, and be reasonable.  YOU HAVE NOT QUOTED ONE BIBLE VERSE, NOT ONE. True, you have alluded to the Scriptures, but only vaguely.  If I am an enemy of Jesus, or grossly deceived as you suggest, it should be elementary to expose this fact by God's Word.  What a tragedy: and you wonder why I am warning you to awake and separate yourself from a spirit of anti-christ?

John 3:34   For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God...

I still hope you will continue this dialogue, giving me the precious Word of God.  However, if you elect to discontinue our correspondence, do know that I love you, Jimmy.  I will continue to pray for you, your family, and your church.  By the way, you have an open invitation to visit.  In all honesty, I would genuinely love to meet your family.  I live on Hwy. 24 E, eight miles out of Woodville, traveling east towards Centreville.  My wife Bridget and I have nine children, 7 boys, two girls.   

Because of Jesus,

Britt

 

Jimmy never responded again.

Britt,  

I received your email and letter.  I remember working with you at Formosa .  I actually wrecked a track-mobile and had to find a new job!  

It was a difficult season.  I appreciate your desire to be a watchman to body of Christ and understand that you feel you need to warn other ministries.  

We could debate endlessly over scriptures and of what you disapprove. I have always admired your zeal, desire for holiness, and love for the word of God.  I worked with Stovall since 1998 and through God’s grace, litterally thousands of souls have been saved and transformed.  Drug addicts, marriages, homosexuals—lives readically changed and baptized with the Holy Spirit and Fire.  Dino is one of the most Godly and generous peole I have ever met.  Really sorry you feel that this not God.  I think I will let Jesus decide.  

I have great memories of praying and studying with Charlie.  Please tell him and Jill I said hello.  

God Bless,

Chris Brooks ~ ARC Pastor

 

Dear Chris, 

I am so glad to hear from you.  Of course, you and I have never been well acquainted, but I do remember you as a sincere and fervent young man.  Unfortunately, you are the only ARC pastor to offer any response, at least thus far.  However, Chris, I am disappointed that you fail to offer a Scriptural rebuttal for my concerns.  If we, as Christians, cannot appeal to the Scriptures as our ultimate authority, confusion will abound (Ps 11:3). You stated... 

"We could debate endlessly over scriptures..." 

...as if we'd be better served if we avoided God's eternal Word.  Is this a sound and proper mind-set for Christians?  Chris, God's Word is all-powerful, supernatural, divine truth; indeed, as Christians, it should be the first thing we entreat, and the ONLY thing we trust.  It is the standard whereby we are to make every decision and arrive at any conclusion (2 Tim 3:16 ).   I am somewhat baffled as to why "preachers of the gospel" are so slow to appeal to Scripture (Jn 3:34 ).  You also said... 

"...of what you disapprove." 

Chris, either you misunderstood the basic premise expressed in the open letter to HPC/ARC or you have come to believe the things that I assert are merely my opinion/conviction.  Indeed, my brother, I have a clear, Scriptural foundation established for each point.  I am a Bible-believer and I look to its authority to measure everything.  This, and this alone, is why I can boldly declare that God disapproves of the compromises and errors outlined in my letter.   I am curious, Chris, do you really believe that God approves of those things I cited in my letter?   For example, if a young convert were to visit your office tomorrow with eyes brimming with tears, taking your hand in his and gladly proclaiming, "Pastor Chris, I was a slave to rock-n-roll.  It has been a source of great temptation to me for many years.  But, praise God pastor, last night the Spirit of God convicted me of my sin and worldliness and I was set free from my rock-n-roll!  I threw my Rod Stewart, U2, George Thoroughgood, and CS&N CD's and tapes in the trash!  I am so thrilled to be delivered!"  How would you respond, pastor?  Would you correct the young man by saying, "Oh, no young man, you mustn't be deceived, secular music is neither worldly or sinful.  You shouldn't waste money well-spent.  I urge you to retrieve your CDs and tapes before you foolishly lose your investment and forfeit many years of edification and pleasure"?  I am curious, Chris, would you be willing to forego condemning such music?  Are you suggesting God is indifferent about rock-n-roll?  By the above comments are you implying that it is only people like me who "disapprove" of rock music, not Jesus?   

If you believe the things which I cite in my letter to HPC/ARC are merely the expressions of my own, personal conviction, could you give me sound Scriptural arguments revealing how God approves of rock-n-rollCatholicism, women preachers, etc.?  Of course, I would love to dialogue with you, and other leaders within ARC, regarding these issues, however, if you don't desire to "debate" as you say, then please simply state your Scriptural foundation for these alarming actions.  I am curious as to your interpretation of Scripture in regards to these matters.  I sincerely beg you to lovingly expose my legalism and spiritual intolerance with the Bible. 

Again, thank you Chris for responding and I do hope you will offer me answers to the expressed questions above.

 

For the cause of Christ,

Bro. Britt 

 

PS:  I'd also love to talk with you directly, or over the phone.  Please give me a call if you prefer to communicate verbally.  601.888.3469.

 

Pastor Brooks did not respond.

 

Pastor Joel Dyke, of Life Church in West Monroe , simply wrote:  

Please do not contact me again.

 

After several weeks of silence I sent Pastor Rizzo and his father-in-law, Wayne Austin (a HPC board member and staff pastor), the following e-mails in an attempt to encourage a response. 

 

Dear Pastor Rizzo,

It has been almost three weeks since I sent an open letter to you, your staff, other ARC leaders, and selected individuals.  When the "hard copies" of the letter were returned in bulk, we realized that a response was unlikely.   Am I to assume there will be no reply forthcoming?  If you refuse to give me a Biblical defense for your message/method, could you give me the common courtesy of informing me of your intentions?  

For the cause of Jesus,

Pastor Britt Williams  

Consuming Fire Fellowship

www.consumingfirefellowship.org

pastor@consumingfirefellowship.org

601.888.3469

 

 

 

Pastor Rizzo never responded.

 

Dear Pastor/Coach Austin ,  

It has been almost three weeks since I sent an open letter to HPC staff, other ARC leaders, and selected individuals.  When the "hard copies" of the letter were returned in bulk, we realized that a response was unlikely.   Am I to assume there will be no reply forthcoming?  If HPC refuses to give a Biblical defense for its message/methods, could you, as a spiritual advisor/leader, give me the common courtesy of informing me of the HPC leadership's intentions in regards to a response? 

I must admit coach, of all the folks at HPC, I am most surprised at your involvement.  After reconnecting with you shortly after my conversion, I remember sitting in your office at Jimmy Swaggart's while you graciously ministered life and truth.  As I remember, you were a Biblical man;  a man who would have been uneasy with practices and methods unfounded on Biblical authority.  In the conversations we had, I could not imagine you condoning much of what you are involved with today.  Will you deny that the methods/practices of HPC, along with the "seeker-sensitive" movement as a whole, are a bold departure from orthodoxy?  As a former student/player and fellow brother in Christ, could you please correspond with me?  If I am wrong, if I am deceived, could you please show me, out of the Scriptures, my error?  If the message/methods of HPC are indeed Scriptural, it should be rather elementary to systematically respond to my Open Letter and the areas of compromise cited therein.  

2 Tim. 2:25   In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth... 

1 Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear...  

For the cause of Jesus,

Pastor Britt Williams

 

Consuming Fire Fellowship

www.consumingfirefellowship.org

pastor@consumingfirefellowship.org

601.888.3469 

 

Dear Britt, 

    This is your old coach who loves you very much:  Ephesians 4:29-32

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
KJV
 

    With Godly communication I believe there will be no need for Confrontation nor Confusion.  I pray we will not grieve the Holy Spirit, but submit to the Holy Spirit so we will manifest Christ to each other.

 Please call me and I will be glad to set up a time that you and I can meet so these Scriptures can be fulfilled.  I can be reached at 753-2273 xt. 238.

Your Old Coach in Christ,

Coach Austin

 

 I met with Wayne Austin at McDonalds in Zachary for three hours.  Little was accomplished.  Though Coach Austin must be commended for a good spirit and a willingness to discuss the issues, he failed to adequately answer my concerns with a sound, Biblical response.  However, HPC doctrines and methods were vigorously defended.

 

Mike Haman sent an e-mail message that simply read:

“NEHEMIAH 6:3”

What does Nehemiah 6:3 say?

Neh. 6:3  And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?  

This from a man whose blog is titled, “The Second Mile” and who piously says…  

This is the essence of second mile living. This is Christianity at its best: going beyond what is expected to demonstrate a radical love for God and an irrational love for people.  Our passionate pursuit of God will undoubtedly result in an unquenchable desire to care for people--all kinds of people. Black, white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, lovely, unlovely, religious, non-religious--all people matter to God. Loving people enough to risk your own safety and your own reputation is central to the Gospel message.”