Bob DeWaay is the former pastor of Twin City Fellowship, a church that he pastored for over 20 years. Last fall, it was found out that Bob had been diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, which had come about as a result of years of secret alcoholic drinking. When this secret sin came to light, the elders of Bob's church did the right thing - and the hard thing - and disciplined Bob by removing him from the pulpit and placing him under church discipline. And Bob, as I thought he would, submitted to this discipline.
As Bob's friend and sister in Christ, I have written these two articles (Sin, Church Discipline and Thoughts About Bob DeWaay) under the guidance of my husband and my own pastor for several reasons:
(1) To put the spotlight on both sin - and how we must biblically respond to it - and church discipline - and what our biblical model is for this. God disciplines those He loves.....and ALL of us will be in need of discipline/rebuke/correction at some point in our Christian walks. I thank God that He has provided a biblical model for us to follow;
(2) So that those in the Christian community might have a clearer picture of what happened in this situation. I think there's a lot of "I heard something bad about him, but I'm not sure what the story is" kind of thinking out there;
(3) So that when this issue arises, and I am questioned (as I have been) about why I still publish Bob DeWaay's CIC articles or CIC radio shows from time to time, I can simply point to these articles I have written as an explanation that I'm aware of the sin, I've observed the situation, and I've reached my conclusion. This is not to say that I think that Bob will never be in sin again, only that biblically, this is the model I must follow. Bob's teachings have never been in dispute, and for 20 years, he has been the foremost expert on false teachings and how they have crept into the church. As far as I am concerned, his work still stands.
Part 1 of these 2 articles is below, and Part 2 can be read here.
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My friendship with Bob DeWaay, former pastor of Twin City Fellowship, began several years ago when I was a new Christian. I had been saved out of the New Age movement, in which I had been discipled very deeply in mysticism, mantra meditation, yoga and a panentheistic worldview for more than a decade. To my dismay, as a new Christian, I began to recognize that many of the same teachings I had once embraced, but now rejected as a born again Christian, were coming into the church, of all places. The church.....the beloved Bride of Christ. And even though many of these practices were being cloaked in Christian terminology, they were nonetheless identical in nature to what I had practiced as a New Age mystic.
|Wheel of Life|
I knew that the roots of yoga were occultic, and that yoga was formulated to help its practitioners prepare themselves for death, so that they could be released from the karmic wheel of life, and it infuriated me that this practice was being marketed as a stress-relieving technique.
I knew that the so-called desert fathers, who are today heralded as early Christians who had a secret understanding of how to get to the "deeper life," were really Roman Catholic mystics who were deeply influenced by the pagan cultures of the east which surrounded them. Thus, they crafted for themselves a kind of prayer that used biblical terminology, but also incorporated mantra meditation from pagan cultures...a type of "prayer" which is found nowhere in Scripture.
It was during these many months of research that I found a voice in the wilderness warning about these things. That "voice" was Bob DeWaay. I also found other voices and blogs and articles - many of them extremely helpful - but I kept returning again and again to Bob DeWaay's articles and radio program. I think that both his training as a pastor, and perhaps his engineering background as well, helped him to methodically work through these issues in a way that was uniquely very clear, very easy to understand and very biblical, all at the same time.
At one point during my many months of intensive researching, I called the church office where Bob DeWaay was pastor (Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis) to order one of his books, and instead of getting an answering service or the church secretary, I heard Bob DeWaay's voice on the other end of the phone. I went ahead and placed my order, and then I said, somewhat hesitantly: "This is Pastor Bob DeWaay, isn't it?" I knew that it was; I had heard his voice many, many times on the very excellent Critical Issues Commentary radio program that he co-produced with one of the elders from Twin City Fellowship, Dick Kuffel. Bob confirmed that he was, indeed, Bob DeWaay, and then in a tumbling rush, I began to pour out my story about having been in the New Age, but that God had intervened in my life and saved me out of my depravity, but I was now seeing these New Age practices flowing into the church, and how very thankful I was that he was writing and talking about these things. Thus began our friendship, which was quite sporadic, but every 6 months or so, I would call or email Bob with a question or concern, and he would very kindly give me his thoughts, links to articles, etc. I was amazed that a pastor hundreds of miles away would have genuine pastoral concern about the spiritual well-being of someone so far away. And yet I have heard this same story from others who have gotten to know Bob in the same way: that they got in touch with him seeking help, answers, counsel, etc., and that, if he had any familiarity with the topic, he would always give generously of his time and knowledge.
In the summer of 2010, Bob, knowing of my background in the New Age, asked me if I would consider writing an article for his Critical Issues Commentary newsletter. Would I consider it? What an honor: I had read every CIC issue ever written. The CIC's date back to the early 1990s, and they had been a tremendous source of both information and biblical encouragement to me. It seemed to me that God had uniquely given Bob insight into false teachings and false teachers; he was sounding the alarm on many issues long before many others even had any awareness that anything was wrong. In both his articles and radio program, Bob DeWaay put the spotlight on many issues facing today's church. Here are just a few of the topics covered:
- the Seeker Sensitive Movement
- the Church Growth Movement
- the man-centered teachings of The Purpose Driven Life movement (Rick Warren)
- the Emergent Church Movement
- the Spiritual Formation/Spiritual Disciplines movement ("Christianized" mysticism)
- Oprah Winfrey's New Age underpinnings
- the false teachings of the hyper-Charismatic movement (the New Apostolic Reformation movement, Latter Day Rain, IHOP-International House of Prayer, Kansas City "prophets," Mike Bickle, etc.)
- the false teachings of the Word of Faith movement (also known as "Name It and Claim It" and "Prosperity Gospel")
- the assault against Sola Scriptura in today's postmodern churchOn his radio show, in his calm, measured way, Bob took on all these false teachings and movements, and meticulously examined their claims against the truth of the Bible. A voice like his was very much needed in the church, and I was so thankful for God to have raised him up.
In the fall of 2010, my husband and I made plans to attend a conference in Minneapolis, and to also attend Sunday morning service at Bob's church, Twin City Fellowship. I was looking forward to finally meeting Bob in person, and being able to thank him for his hard work and faithfulness to God's word. As I expected, Bob DeWaay was gracious and kind in person, and I was so thankful to be able to meet him and speak with him. However, he commented to a friend of mine that he was not feeling well, and asked her for prayer. She conveyed this to me later, as he had mentioned this to her as an aside.
Several days later, after my husband and I had returned home from the conference, I called Bob's wife, who had also become a friend, just to say "hello." She reported shocking news to me: that Bob had been hospitalized, only a few days after my husband and I had been there, that the doctors didn't know what the problem was, but that they had indicated that Bob was pretty seriously ill. I asked her if I could post what she had told me on Facebook, and ask for prayer. She said yes, and so I did. Over the next several days, there was a tremendous outpouring of concern from those who heard this news about Bob.
But a few days later, I spoke again with Bob's wife and was told something that was even more shocking that my last conversation with her had been. The doctors had finally figured out what the problem was: Bob was suffering from alcoholic hepatitis, brought on by a number of years of alcoholic drinking. Bob's wife had never known a thing. And to say the least, I was floored.
(Continue reading Part 2 here)
photo credit: kleer001 via photopin cc
Sin, Church Discipline and Thoughts About Bob DeWaay - Part 2
The "Gospel" In Relationships?
Critical Issues Commentary - Articles
Critical Issues Commentary - Radio