Pastor Randy White
Rev. White has been the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Katy, Texas since August, 2003. He and his wife, Shelley, have been married 25 years and have two grown children. Rev. White hosts an excellent Thursday evening Bible Study online that you can do here.
There are still some solid, Bible teaching churches out there preaching the whole counsel of God and making disciples. Sadly, these may now be in the minority with seeker-sensitive (meaning ‘gospel lite’) churches increasing under the structure of the church growth movement as emergent theology creeps into more churches and denominations.
The inerrancy of Scripture should be foundational while some non-essential doctrines can be debated. Leaving a church should be a matter of prayerful, deep consideration and should only done for biblical reasons. But what should a Christian do if he believes the doctrines of the church he attends are being compromised by Humanist thought?
Pastor Randy White joins us this morning to discuss this and also take a look at the growing number of books being written about dying, going to heaven, and coming back. (or are these “near death experiences”?)
The Entertainment of Application-Based Sermons
Have you been in a church that failed to preach sound doctrine or sought to entertain more than edify? How did you handle the situation (and please refrain from naming names or calling out churches)? What would you have done differently? Or how would you counsel someone else entertaining the idea of leaving their church for biblical reasons?
Pastor Randy writes:
On my weekly broadcast, “Ask the Theologian,” a listener asked, “How should we respond to the de-emphasis of sound doctrine and the continued movement towards entertainment and unbiblical teachings which are taking place in so many churches?”
I certainly agree that many churches are de-emphasizing doctrine in favor of entertainment. Application-based sermons are often no more than spiritualized self-help teachings tailor-made for ADD-riddled audiences looking for just enough pop spirituality to feel better about themselves. They’re entertaining messages preceded by entertaining music.
You have a Bible-bound duty to lovingly confront someone who’s not preaching the truth of the Word. Practically speaking, this means you need to schedule a meeting with your pastor. White also offers a few points on how to handle a tough conversation with your pastor and elaborates on these four: be upfront, don’t threaten, don’t ensnare, and state your position.
Reasons for Skepticism About “Visits” to Heaven
Do people really die, go to heaven, and return to share these experiences? In our second segment to day, we tackle the fascination with books and movies about bright, warm, fuzzy trips to Heaven and back.
The movie, Heaven is for Real generated more than $91 million at the box office and millions more in DVD sales, with the book selling more than 10 million copies. The multi-million-selling 90 Minutes in Heaven actually preceded it, even though the movie version didn’t release until after Heaven is for Real.
There are many others, but ironically, in January of 2015 young co-author Alex Malarkey recanted the story he shared in The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven. In a statement admitting it was a hoax, Malarkey said, “When I made the claims I did, I had never read the Bible. . . . the Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by a man cannot be infallible.”
If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. John 3:12-15
If you consider the Lord’s statement, you have to ask the question, “Well, if no one had gone up into heaven in Jesus’s day, has it happened since that day?”
Research on this subject seems to prove Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, pagans and even atheists describe alleged near death experiences with many similar details. This should raise some red flags.
Pastor Randy White writes:
I don’t doubt that the authors writing these accounts have had a very real experience. I just don’t believe they went to heaven and came back to tell about it. One scientist described these experiences as the body’s neurochemical response to trauma.
Christians and Hindus have had the same experience of a loved one in Heaven telling the person who supposedly died that their time on earth isn’t finished yet or they need to go back. Pastor White says he is not against good books or movies, but is concerned they can take away from the study of Scripture which should be a priority to believers.
But I reject 100 percent of extra-biblical revelations. I don’t care how wonderful, beautiful, inspiring, or comforting, or how many millions of people buy into them. I still believe the Bible is sufficient…
Another problem stems from these experiences’ limited vision. The authors report experiencing things like warmth and light and a conversation or two, and then produce a whole book and movie out of that. That is problematic.
With nothing about near-death experiences in the Bible, and with the sufficiency of the Scripture being a foundational theological necessity, we need to retain a strong and healthy skepticism—even rejection—of these supposed trips to heaven.
Other SCRIPTURES shared today:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 2 Timothy 4:2-3
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12