Is There a Worldwide Revival Just Ahead? with Mike Warren (Part 1)
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune in! In today’s program, Tom begins a two-part series with guest Mike Warren as they address the question: Is There a Worldwide Revival Just Ahead? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Today and next week I’ll be discussing a number of false teachings and practices that are adversely affecting the body of Christ. And joining me in that discussion is my friend Mike Warren. Mike is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Gold Country, and he is a featured contributor to the DVD Wide Is the Gate: The Emerging New Christianity. Mike, welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mike: It’s good to be here with you, Tom.
Tom: Mike, what I’d like to discuss with you today and next week, the Lord willing, is the state of the church in general and then the effect of what’s going on among local fellowships. And just in general, Mike, what’s your impression? What’s your take on what you see going on?
Mike: Well, Tom, I think that as we look at the church today we have to understand that there are two things that exist today that are being called “the church.” One’s an organization and the other one is an organism. And I think that the true church – the one that serves the Lord Jesus Christ, that is walking in the Spirit, that honors His Word, is alive and well. But I do think that there’s a counterfeit church out there that really doesn’t follow the Lord. I think the Lord gave us some warnings in Matthew 7 that the road that we’re to follow is narrow, and it’s difficult and few there be that find it. I believe that there’s a remnant church out there that just loves the Lord and is serving Him, and is walking in the Spirit and honoring His Word, is alive and well in their relationship with the Lord. But there’s a counterfeit church, and we’re told that there would be, that really aren’t following the Lord. Thus they’re allowing false teaching to come into the church, and practices that, really, shouldn’t be.
Tom: Right. And Scripture’s really clear on this. I think our audience, those who have been following what we do here on Search the Scriptures Daily, recognize that we’re just trying to point out what the Scriptures say – what they say is coming; call it prophecy, call it eschatology – but what the Word of God says is going to take place prior to the return of Jesus.
And, Mike, you know how Jesus started – how He responded to His disciples when His disciples asked, “What will be the sign of His coming?” And His first words were: “Take heed that no man deceive you.” When I ask your impression, I know it’s based on your understanding of the Word of God, but what do you see is out there? It’s right in our faces!
Mike: You know, it is, and, again, following it in Matthew 7, Jesus went on to say that “not everyone that says, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven but they that do the will of the Father.” Because, “Many,” He says, “Many will say, Lord, Lord, haven’t I prophesied in your name? Haven’t I cast out devils in your name? Haven’t I done wonderful works in your name.” And then, Jesus is going to say, as He professes, “I never knew you, you worker of iniquity.” And so we understand that there are those in the church today, and in leadership, that are speaking as though they are speaking for the Lord that simply are not.
Tom: Mike, you know, one of the reasons I like talking to you, because of your calling, you know, as a pastor, as a shepherd of the sheep, and it’s not like I have a completely different perspective, but I haven’t been called as a shepherd of the sheep, okay? I have my own “flock” – that’s my family! My wife, and my kids, and grandchildren now. But here’s what I’m getting at: Do you see confusion, as a shepherd of the sheep, whether it be your local fellowship, or whether it be fellowships that you’re aware of? Do you see confusion among your body?
Mike: Well, fortunately, I’ve been here for 22 years, and we’re on our third time through the Old Testament, and I think about our 6th or 7th time through the New Testament. And so, the people here at Gold Country Calvary Chapel are well fed the Word of God. And so, I don’t see, so much, confusion in our fellowship, but as I interact with other pastors and what’s going on in their fellowships, there is a lot of confusion. I just talked to a pastor yesterday in Canada, a friend of mine, Pastor Graham, who is being heavily influenced – his area – by this new, apostolic reformation, and it’s infiltrating his church, and the people are confused. And so, my encouragement to him was just continue to expositionallly teach through the Bible, educate your people in theology and Christology, continue to educate them on soteriology, how they’re saved, and just continue to lay out the truths that we know to be solid, and feed the sheep. But there is confusion, and we know where it comes from: 1 Corinthians:14:33 says that God is not the author of confusion. In fact, James 3 tells us who it is, and it’s “earthly, sensual, and demonic.” What do you see? Envy and strife – it’s confusion. It’s every evil work.
But I think today that the church that is following the biblical pattern that was laid out in Acts 2 is not confused, and that’s what I would consider the true church, because there are five things that are mentioned there that the early church held as foundational. And let’s actually read there in verse 42: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, the teaching of the Word of God, and fellowship….” I think accountability and fellowship and encouragement and interaction as a family of God in a church is very important. Breaking of bread, realizing and remembering what Christ has done for them; prayer – we have a group of people that meet for an hour before our morning service on Sunday just to pray. Prayer is extremely important. But the fifth thing is that they fear the Lord. There was an awe of who God was. They were in awe of Him. And we know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
And I think of those five things – if we today, as they did in the early church, remain steadfast to teaching the Word, to fellowship, to prayer, to remembering what the Lord Jesus Christ and the shedding of His blood and the breaking of His body did for us, and we stand in awe of Him, we fear the Lord – then I think the church will be okay. It’s always going to be remnant. We’ve always been told it’s going to be a remnant. And there is some confusion in those churches today that aren’t following that pattern, because they’re not being fed. They’re not being taught. And so, when this false teaching comes in, they have no way to measure it or discern it.
Tom: Right. And, Mike, I think one of the things that you’re pointing out – and we’re going to deal with this next week as we close this two-part series about how important…we’re going to reiterate what you’ve talked about, but underscore some of these things in spades, basically. But I think about things like the gospel. I think about things that are so fundamentally simple but true and absolutely critical, that if, with all the extrabiblical stuff that we see coming into the church, with all of these teachers of high influence and so on, that are really drifting away from the Word of God – as Hebrews says, “Take heed lest ye drift away” – they’re bringing in speculations, they’re bringing in ideas, and so on, and for a believer, just to simply say, “Wait a minute. I understand what the gospel is. Here’s the gospel. How does it relate to this teaching or that teaching?” and so on. And it won’t, and it doesn’t. That’s a simple criterion for saying, “Whoa, I’m going to avoid this. I’m going to stay away from this,” because this is not the gospel. It is a deviation from the Word of God.
Mike: You know, I guess that’s why Paul warned Timothy, 2 Timothy 4, and my view of 2 Timothy is that it’s Paul’s “Last Will and Testament.” If you look at 2 Corinthians, it’s kind of his diary. We get a kind of a glimpse into the life of Paul and some of the struggles and difficulties that he went through, and how faithful God was to him. But when you come to 2 Timothy, he comes to 2 Timothy 4 there, and he gives a warning to Timothy. And it’s by the way of a command: “I charge you, before God…” and then he mentions three things: “He’s going to judge the living and the dead at His appearing.” There’s a day that we’re all going to stand before the Lord, especially as pastors, and give an account on how we fed His sheep. He is going to return. His appearing and His kingdom will be established. And what Paul told Timothy is that you “Preach the Word. You do it in season, you do it out of season. You exhort, you instruct, you correct, and you rebuke, with all longsuffering and doctrine, because the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine, but will heap to themselves…,” well, the word there is “mythos” – myths, fables, and they’ll turn away their ears from the truth and be turned unto these pastors who are willing to tell them any fanciful thing that they would believe.
So, I think we’re in that time, to be very honest with you, Tom. I think we’re in the time where Paul warned Timothy about that there is a departing from the biblical faith.
Tom: Right. And these are not nuances. These are not just slight subtleties and so on.
Mike: No, they’re not!
Tom: Some of them, they’re like billboard “in your face”! Now, I’ll give our listeners an example that you’re well aware of and have spoken about. Let’s take the idea that, “Well revival is just around the corner! So we’re going to turn things around. We’ve got some claiming that Christianity will actually take over the world before the return of Christ.”
Mike, do you see that anywhere in Scripture?
Mike: No. Listen, my desire would be that all mankind would come to know Christ, as yours is, Tom, and accept Him as the Savior and as the Lord. But with that said, because we know that’s the heart of our Father, simply, that’s not going to happen. In fact, 2 Timothy 3 (again, we’re talking about Paul’s Last Will and Testament) verse 13 says that “evil men and seducers are going to grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” His exhortation for us who I believe the remnant church is: “Continue in the things that you have learned, knowing where you have learned them from the Holy Scriptures.” But I don’t see that there’s going to be this great revival, like… You know, it’s not far up the road from us – Bethel – and it’s coming right down the I-5 corridor, and a lot of my friends that I went to Bible college with are getting involved in that NAR [New Apostolic Reformation] movement, and the corruption of it! The absolute base theology in it, where they’re trying to revive the office of a Prophet, and the office of an Apostle. Again, Ephesians:4:11 talks about these ministries, but I think they talk about them in a historical context, that God did raise up apostles to begin to go out and do what Jesus commanded them to do: to preach this gospel. They were a special group of people, because they had a special anointing that when they wrote, when they spoke, they spoke as though one who was inspired of God, and what they wrote became the Word of God. Their scriptures that they recorded for us are inerrant. Now, there’s only twelve of those guys, and the reason why we know that is when the New Jerusalem comes, their names are recorded in the foundation. There are no new apostles. And the ministry of the prophet is ended as far as speaking something new, and that’s what they think, that now…in fact, my friend Graham just had an encounter with one of the people from NAR in his community there in Canada, where the guy threw the Bible on the ground in front of him, and jumped up and down on it, and said that what he is saying, because he now is an apostle and prophet, supersedes the Scriptures. Isn’t that ridiculous?
Tom: Well, it’s ridiculous, but it’s very seductive. For example, if you asked any Christian, “Hey, wouldn’t you like to see revival come?” I mean, who’s going to say no?
Mike: No, we’d love to see that!
Tom: Yeah, we would, but the question is “Does the Word of God teach it?” Now, going back to the New Apostolic Reformation, these new so-called apostles and prophets, and so on, they have to have revival. They have to preach and teach this false teaching. Why? Because they’re preaching that they’re taking over the world, that they have to square the world away, turn it into paradise, get everything squared away in order for Jesus to return. Now, that’s an egotism beyond belief. And it’s…well, it’s not only that; it’s absolutely false! Absolutely dead false.
Mike: To think and to preach and to teach that the Lord’s return is based on how we perform, that we have to get it ready for Him. That this seven-mountain dominionist theology that we have to be in control of religion, and family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment and business – that the church has to dominate that and set up an atmosphere and an environment to really bring the kingdom now to the earth before Jesus returns is ridiculous. Jesus is coming to a world that’s in rebellion. And when He comes, He’s going to set up His kingdom, and He’s going to rule with a rod of iron. He doesn’t need us to prepare that.
Now, the true believer has prepared that in his heart, and the true shepherd is warning his sheep that Jesus is coming, that this is the gospel message, that you need to surrender your life to Christ.
Some of the things that are being propagated today – I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been a senior pastor for over 30 years. I’ve never seen the like of it!
Tom: Well, Mike, things are happening at such an incredibly exponential rate. I think it was 30 years ago that I had the privilege of helping Dave with The Seduction of Christianity, and I remember three years after, Dave would look at me and say, “Tom, I don’t see how things could get any worse.” Well, they are beyond what the mind can even imagine, in terms of the development, the growth, of the religion of the Antichrist, of the effect that it’s having upon professing Christianity at least, and even to the point of seducing true believers.
Now, Mike, you mentioned earlier, and I just want to go back to this. There were 12 apostles. We have the Word of God. I mean, it’s there, and so on. And we have prophecy fulfilled and many to be fulfilled. But my take is – and you can throw in your perspective – a missionary that goes out ministering, to me, that’s an apostle. And I see we have an issue today between cessationist (those who believe that all the gifts have ceased) and those who believe, who are non-cessationists, that they haven’t. Well, we know that signs and wonders follow the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, and I know personally, and I have experienced this within missionary groups around the world where I get to travel, God is still ministering in signs and wonders. But there’s nothing new to be added. All of this other stuff is false signs and wonders, lying signs and wonders, and antithetical to what the Word of God teaches. Would you agree with that?
Mike: Well, yes, I would. We’ve sent out missionaries, and we still send out missionaries. My son-in-law, we sent him to Uganda thirteen years ago. We planted a church there. We planted churches up on the border of the Sudan. And we see God constantly working miracles to attest to His work. But it’s never out of the context of Scripture. Jesus worked miracles that men would glorify God and understand that what He was saying was the absolute truth. The lying signs and wonders, when you read Paul’s warning as he writes to the church at Thessalonica, he said, “You’re going to be deceived by these lying signs and wonders because you have not a love for the truth.” Everything has to be in the context of truth. Otherwise we could be deceived, because Satan is plenty capable of transforming himself into an angel of light, and he can work miraculous things as well. We know that that’s going to be part of the deception in the last days.
Mike: But does God still work? Absolutely! Is the Holy Spirit still alive and well in the true church? Absolutely! Are the gifts of the Spirit still manifesting themselves? We still need that! When Jesus said to the early church there in Acts 1, “Hey, listen. Don’t go do anything until first you receive that power from on high, and when it overshadows you, listen, it’s going to give you the ability to be a witness to the uttermost parts of the world.” And I’m one of those believers that believe that I need the Holy Spirit every day. I wouldn’t stand in the pulpit with out the power of the Holy Spirit. And to represent the absolute truth of God’s Word! That’s still alive and remains. But the counterfeit of that is that you can have the manifestation of that power through apostles and prophets that doesn’t line up with Scripture. That’s my concern.
And, again, one of my concerns as we look around today – you’re probably well aware of it, as most Christians are today – is the book The Shack. Now it’s coming out as a movie. And there was a great following of that even in the Calvary Chapel movement – people reading The Shack and giving it raving reviews. I was sent a copy by a pastor. I read it three times. I earmarked all the way through it. It’s poor literature. It’s offensive in the analogies that it uses of the Trinity. And then, it teaches Universalism. And I warned my Calvary Chapel pastors, “Listen, this is bad theology. Because all paths don’t lead to God. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the life.” And one of my friends, one of my pastor friends, had William Young come and speak at his church. And he was interviewed by Kendall Adams on her radio station where he denounced the atoning work of Christ on the Cross. That he believes that Jesus died, but His blood and the shedding of His blood had no effect on our salvation.
Now, see how that is creeping into the church? The foundation of the church is the shed blood of Christ.
Mike: We are blood washed, Spirit filled, and we stand on the truth of God’s Word. That’s the true church.
Tom: You mentioned earlier, and we talk about it continually, about the errors of the Bethel School of the Supernatural – this is Bill Johnson at Bethel in Redding, California, and so on. Their influence certainly through Jesus Culture promoting their eschatology, which is to take over the world – it’s in the lyrics of their music, folks, if you’re wondering about that. We also have IHOP [International House of Prayer], Mike Bickle – again, appealing to youth, and so on. These are Kingdom Now. This is the idea that we will bring in the Kingdom.
Now, Mike, I want to spread the wealth a little bit, okay? (In the wrong sense of that word, but…) It’s not just the charismatics or the hyper-charismatics who have fallen into this error. What about the Calvinists? The Calvinists have a concept of setting up the Kingdom. They are amillennialists. And I want you to add to this as I just spell some things out here. So they’re amillennialists. They believe we’re in the Millennium right now, and that Satan is bound, that things are getting better and better. Boy! Wake up to that on reality! But the point being is that they, too, are setting up, or trying to set up the Kingdom. It’s the same error, but we don’t have it in a charismatic or Pentecostal/hyper-Pentecostal perspective. But here’s another thrust of this false teaching about the Kingdom of God.
Folks! Simply: the Kingdom will not take place until the King returns and sets up the Kingdom himself! It’s the only way it’s going to happen, no matter how…”Oh, you know, we want revival.” “We want this…we want to see things get better,” and so on and so forth. It’s contrary to Scripture, I’m afraid.
Mike: In the first two centuries of the church, we didn’t know anything about amillennialism. And in case the listeners don’t understand, the “a” in front of millennial means “no millennial.” No millennial reign. No thousand-year reign of Christ. And, as you just pointed out, Tom, some believe that we’re in that time, and I’ll tell you, if we’re in that time, the chain that God has on Satan is way too long for me.
Tom: Oh, brother!
Mike: Because I don’t see him bound. And I don’t see the lion lying down with the lamb, and the ox grazing in the field with the predator. Listen, this is what the Bible teaches very clearly in eschatology. And I know that you agree with this, because this has been the position of the church for the first three centuries, and it wasn’t until Catholicism kind of took over under Constantine that things began to change. I think people…and it’s not, just like you said, it’s not just the Pentecostals, it’s the Catholics, and there’s other movements: Calvinists or amillennialists too. But clearly the Bible teaches that we’re in the church age. Chapter 2 and chapter 3 of Revelation talk about those seven churches. Jesus wrote seven letters to the seven churches, and I think it represents in its entirety the Church Age. But when the church has fulfilled its mission, Jesus is returning for the church, and we’re going to be taken out of here. Now, they will argue with you [that] there’s no word in the English Bible for “rapture.” They’ll say the Rapture’s not in the Bible, but the word “caught up” is: harpazo. And we’re going to be taken out, and then seven years of tribulation. Then we return with Christ at the Second Coming, and we establish there His rule and His reign. That’s when the Kingdom comes. And then there’s the thousand-year reign where Christ will be seated on the throne of David, and He’ll rule with a rod of iron. And when we go to Revelation:20:2-7, six times it mentions the Millennial reign and the coming of Christ and His establishing His reign with a rod of iron. We’re not going to usher that in. It’s not happening now. We’re the church and we have a mission and that’s to preach the gospel, to warn people that Jesus is coming back. First of all for the church, and then He’s coming back after the seven-year Tribulation with the church to set up His reign. And how confusing it is to the young people that don’t know or have a proper view of eschatology when this New Apostolic Reformation comes and says “No, no, no! We’re the ones…” And it appeals to a lower sense of the flesh. You’re a Christian warrior, and it’s your job to bring in the Kingdom now and taking dominion of these seven mountains. You, you, you are going to be the one that ushers in the kingdom.
Tom: Mike, there’s no doubt about the seductive aspect of it, but it’s stupid! Why would I say that? Because you simply read eschatology, the way things play out in the last days – Mike, what is the next kingdom to come? It’s the kingdom of the Antichrist!
Tom: If I don’t recognize that, unwittingly, whether it be through Rick Warren’s Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan, or this process, or, you know, the New Apostolic Reformation – whatever it might be, I can unwittingly be working toward the building of the kingdom of the Antichrist. That’s tragic. Absolutely tragic.
Mike: Those seven mountains that the Seven-Mountain Dominionists speak about are all going to be under the control of the Antichrist.
Tom: Right. Right.
Mike: There is a one-world government coming. There is a dominion that’s going to happen. But it’s not the dominion that they think. We know that the next step is that the church should be removed and the Antichrist should be revealed, who will usher in a one-world government, and he will rule in the religious system, he’s going to rule in the political system, he’s going to rule in the economic system, he’s going to rule in the military system. You’re not going to be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast. We know that’s coming.
Tom: Yeah! Mike, we’re out of time for this series, but, folks, next week we’re going to pick up on much of this, and we’re going to talk about not just what the problems are, but how we as believers protect ourselves – how Mike, as a shepherd of the sheep, how we who pastor out there, or pastoring, or even for the head of the household, spiritual head of the household – how we protect our families. So that’s going to be the issues that we talk about next week.
So, Mike, thank you for being with us on this part one of Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mike: Thanks for having me, Tom.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638. Or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael; thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.