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    A New Season: An update from the Harvest Elders

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    From the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel of Prescott,


    For the past six years we have counted it an immense privilege and blessing to be part of Harvest Bible Fellowship. As an independent local church we have enjoyed wonderful fellowship, gleaned many valuable resources and wisdom, and made many incredible long-lasting relationships.


    Over the last 11 months or so, Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago (HBC Chicago) has made statements and taken actions that we strongly believe reflect a change in the direction of critical parts of their ministry. We believe these actions and resulting changes can be categorized into three areas:


    ASSOCIATIONS vs. ENDORSEMENTS


    We believe that HBC Chicago has begun championing the idea that Christians can associate with those teaching heresy (such as those who engage in teaching the Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospels) without necessarily endorsing them or their ministries, implicitly or explicitly. 


    Scripture tells us... 

    2 John 1:9-11, "Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. [10] If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, [11] for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."


    We strongly believe that when church leaders associate with those teaching false and/or heretical doctrine, it confuses and misleads God's people into potentially dangerous areas of belief and acceptance. Scripture is clear, those who teach heresy are not to be received, much less embraced. We therefore must sharply disagree with HBC Chicago on this matter.


    THE SLIPPERY SLOPE


    We believe HBC Chicago has begun communicating the idea that in these last days, unnecessary divisiveness exists and at its root is overly restrictive adherence to Biblical doctrines, that it is more important, for the sake of unity, to extend grace and loosen strict adherence to Biblical doctrines.


    Scripture tells us...

    2 Timothy 4:1-4"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: [2] preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. [3] For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, [4] and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." 


    We strongly disagree that by making previously non-negotiable doctrines appear to be negotiable (or effectively deemphasizing them by ignoring them), greater unity can be attained by embracing those who would otherwise be excluded from orthodox Christianity. 


    The warning in Scripture is clear, the danger to the church in the last days is not a lack of unity, but a lack of standing firm on Biblical truth.  We as an elder team have a deep conviction that this drift is occurring.  We do not believe HBC Chicago is disavowing Biblical truth, but instead is leading down a path which leaves wide openings for the presentations of “other” gospels as legitimate, orthodox and main-stream. We therefore must sharply disagree with HBC Chicago on this matter.


    CLARITY vs. CONFUSION
     


    We believe that one of our roles as Elders in Christ's church is to be diligent in helping bring clarity to God's people in areas of truth and faith. Since the Elephant Room 1 Conference, we have experienced more and more confusion from Harvest-related events and we believe that the confusion has grown exponentially due to Elephant Room 2.


    Scripture tells us...

    Titus 2:7-8, "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, [8] and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us."


    God's Word instructs us to have clear communication with integrity. We therefore must sharply disagree with HBC Chicago on this matter.


    THE CONCLUSION


    Over this time period, we have repeatedly and privately expressed our concern with the leaders of Harvest Bible Fellowship. After many months of prayer and consideration, we have reached a point in time that we believe to continue our association with HBC Chicago would appear to be endorsing their decisions, which would cause confusion for the flock that is under our care. So it is with a heavy heart, out of what we see is our obedience to our responsibility to our Lord to care and shepherd His flock, that we must end our association with HBC Chicago.


    Scripture describes an incident where two faithful servants of the Lord had a sharp disagreement about a ministry decision. They then went their separate ways to pursue the ministry that the Lord had for them.

    Acts 15:35-41, "But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. [36] And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are." [37] Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. [38] But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. [39] And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, [40] but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. [41] And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches."


    ...and that is how we will part ways. We will continue on in the same direction that we have been going... sticking close to the Lord Jesus Christ, close to His word, and close to His people.  We will continue the lifelong task of making disciples of Jesus Christ.  We will not engage in debates nor engage in speculation as to HBC Chicago's motives for their apparent change in direction. Their actions are a matter of public record and speak for themselves.


    That said, we love them and want the best for them in every way. We are eternally thankful for the way God has used them and their teaching of the Word to enrich our lives.


    For the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and the good of His flock,


    The Elder Team -

    Pastor Skip Breyer
    Pastor Jon Gaus
    Brad Penner
    Tom Perconti


    We believe that the following articles provide a good summary of the events and issues involved. We hope that you find them useful.


    http://thecripplegate.com/herding-the-elephants/

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2012/02/06/11-things-im-thinking-in-the-wake-of-recent-events/


    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/02/01/the-elephant-room-what-really-happened-and-how-things-could-have-been-different/


    http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/blog/