6/5/2015 3:43:11 PM
A Humble Call to Baptists
June 5, 2015
A humble request from a concerned pastor
Dear Baptist Pastors, and Convention Leaders:
Since childhood I was privileged to grow up in a Southern Baptist church in Texas. But now I lament to see what is happening within the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas (Convención) and the Texas Baptist (BGCT). History has recorded that a generation preaches the gospel, the next generation assumes the gospel, and the third generation loses the gospel. May God in his mercy save us from this error.
The Convención will hold its annual meeting in Austin, June 28-30, 2015. They have invited two controversial leaders, who do not share valued Baptist doctrines. Maybe you will not agree with my concern, but I’m sure we can agree that the statewide annual meeting is not the appropriate venue to invite speakers who do not share our core beliefs.
One of the invited guests is Marcos Witt. He is scheduled to lead a worship service, and/or a concert. Even though the event poster promotes Marcos Witt as a five-time Grammy Award winner, he is best known for being someone who preaches a prosperity gospel. He also has close ties with Cash Luna, Guillermo Maldonado and other false teachers. Marcos Witt was the pastor of the Hispanic congregation of Lakewood Church and was under the leadership of Joel Osteen. How can it be that almost every Baptist denounced the teachings of Joel Osteen, but yet embrace Marcos Witt? The two share the same theology: Prosperity theology and the Word of Faith theology.
The Convención will also host for a second time, Samuel Rodriguez, a pastor of the Assemblies of God denomination. He is the senior pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, CA. His wife Eva Rodríguez is the Executive Pastor and was recently ordained by the Assemblies of God denomination.
Samuel Rodriguez states in his book "Path of Miracles" that he founded an organization called the Third Day Believers Network (3DBN), a global elite network of apostles, prophets, bishops and others. According to 3DBN, they state, "Our vision will bring together the 12 most anointed apostles in every nation of the Western Hemisphere by the year 2010 and every nation of the world by the year 2020."
Samuel Rodriguez has many ties with the apostolic and prophetic movement that was founded by the false teacher, Peter Wagner. Wagner calls this movement the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). This movement is causing much damage to churches around the world. The Apostle Steve Perea is the Apostle of "Bishop" Samuel Rodriguez. The Apostle or Bishop Samuel Rodriguez has also participated in several events with Bishop T.D. Jakes (who is also known as a prosperity preacher like Joel Osteen); However, Mr. Rodriguez is very inteligent and knows how to adapt to his audience (I.e. White House events, MLK events, etc.).
The Baptist University of the Americas (BUA) in San Antonio, Texas, recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Bishop Samuel Rodriguez. There are some interesting partnerships here. The BUA is part of the Texas Baptist Convention (BGCT). And, the BGCT’s senior staff members, Dr. Gus Reyes (Director of Christian Life Commission) and Rolando Rodriguez (Director of the Hispanic Ministries), belong to Bishop Samuel Rodriguez’s organization the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). The two BGCT staff members form a part of the board members and the executive committee of the NHCLC. Most of the NHCLC leadership team is Pentecostal, and the organization seems to be something of an ecumenical movement with a social and political approach; hence, ties to the NAR movement.
It is important that the Baptist churches express their concerns about Marcos Witt and Samuel Rodriguez to the Convención, the BGCT, and SBC. There is much at stake. If Convención allows these men to participate, it will be as if the conventions are endorsing those who propagate a prosperity gospel. A question for the Baptist leaders within the BGCT and SBC: Would you allow Joel Osteen or T.D. Jakes to speak at your annual convention? If not, then please do not allow someone with similar ideologies to influence and address the Hispanic churches at the state convention. The Hispanic churches do not need someone who can identify with our needs or culture. We need leaders who are blameless and who can clearly expound the word of Christ.
Local pastors and congregations, inevitably, you will show your approval of the Convención’s decision by either attending the annual meeting, or by remaining silent. If you do not share your concerns with the Convención, the BGCT, or the SBC, the Convención will continue to move in this direction. The opposite is also true, if the Convención, the BGCT, and the SBC decide to remain silent, they are demonstrating their approval.
I encourage you to make your concerns known by email/phone, and to make the following inquiries. The Convención belongs to the local churches, so you are entitled to the following information.
1. Who is the leadership that decided to invite Marcos Witt and Samuel Rodriguez? The Convención is associated with the BGCT, so it is likely that the BGCT gave their approval and is helping fund the event. The BGCT’s theme in November will be to “examine Baptist Distinctives and share the reasons we choose to be Baptist.” However, they support the Convención in inviting two preachers who are neither Baptist, nor share the same core convictions. Perhaps this shows that at the convention levels each ministry has its own mission and agenda, and that doctrine is not a priority.
2. Why were these two men invited? Is it because of their celebrity status? Or is it a strategy to attract more people to the annual meeting? Is there an official policy or requirements to screen potential conference speakers? I.e. belong to the SBC denomination, or affiliated with the BGCT, or demonstrate clear evidence that we have essential doctrines in common?
3. How much will Convención and the BGCT pay these two speakers? Some of these speakers are known for charging anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. The event will be paid with the tithes and offerings that the local churches send to the BGCT and Convención to advance the gospel. Is it wise to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars this way? Remember Baptist, you have a voice. The convention exists to support the local churches; churches do not exist to support the agenda of the conventions. Local churches determine the mission of the conventions. (Keep a close eye on the Convention’s Bylaws and constitution, and be careful not to give up your rights.)
4. Why is it that the Baptist Convention will give the statewide platform to two Pentecostal pastors? The annual meeting has always had the goal of preaching and inspiring historic Baptist distinctives and the Great Commission. The annual meeting is not an appropriate venue to host preachers and concerts with those that do not share our fundamental beliefs. To give these men this important platform, is to allow them to influence our church leaders and confuse our congregations. Many pastors face this problem more and more. People with extreme, charismatic backgrounds are constantly joining our churches and challenging our Baptist doctrines.
5. A very important question would be to find out if the Convención leadership and the BGCT leadership agree with Marcos Witt's and Samuel Rodriguez’s theology? (I.e. the Baptist distinctives, Historical ecclesiology: Pastors and Deacons and the Ministry of the Word and Ordinances; or an ecclesiastical government made up of Apostles, Prophets, Patriarchs and a Ministry of Miracles and Prosperity). Are these doctrines essential or are they secondary?
If we do not take this issue seriously, we are affirming false teachings within our conventions and confusing our churches by saying its ok if we have differences on the gospel. Brothers, if we are not willing to take a stand for the gospel, then what are we are willing to stand and divide on? Many churches have already embraced homosexuality. We are living in a culture were the church needs to stand firm on biblical convictions and historical orthodoxy. We have to trust that the power of the gospel is enough to save and sustain the beautiful bride of Christ (1Corinthians 1:18). The apostle Paul warned of the temptation to compromise the gospel and the Church of Christ.
Galatians 1:6-8. "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed."
Titus 1:9 "He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it."
Titus 2:1 "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:1-3 "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: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 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,"
Acts 20:30-32 “and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert,… And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Jude 3 “..I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
I hope you prayerfully consider my humble plea and concern.
Sincerely, your brother in Christ,
Pastor Ignacio Herrera Jr.