Classic Friday: Harry Deligiannides and Arminians


[] Mike talks with Pastor Harry Deligiannides on today's show. They discuss the SBC and an article Harry wrote called How to smoke out an Arminian pastor.


Welcome to No Compromise Radio, a ministry coming to you from Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston.
No Compromise Radio is a program dedicated to the ongoing proclamation of Jesus Christ based on the theme in Galatians 2, verse 5, where the apostle
Paul said, "'But we did not yield in subjection to them "'for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel "'would remain with you.'"
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By purpose, we are first biblical, but we can also be controversial. Stay tuned for the next 25 minutes as we're called by the divine trumpet to summon the troops for the honor and glory of her king.
Here's our host, Pastor Mike Abendroth. Welcome to No Compromise Radio ministry. My name is Mike Abendroth, and as promised, cost me a lot of money, but as promised,
Harry Delegianides here is in the studio. If you didn't listen to him last week, last
Wednesday, you should have. Welcome back into the studio, Harry. Thank you, it costs a lot more to have false teachers on.
It cost me a lot. I think we're gonna start working this out in such a way where people could pay me to be on because this is an internationally known show now.
I think we have 42 Facebook friends. 42? Yeah. Likes or dislikes?
Actually, this week I read someone saying to their kids, listen, 18 to 35 -year -old kids on Facebook have an average of 237 friends.
And so then the father said to the kid, how many of those friends could you count on in emergency?
And usually it was two or less. So friends are people I think that you should be able to count on in an emergency, but of course,
Facebook friends are just Facebook friends. Tell me, why are you hooked on Facebook?
Me, hooked on Facebook? Everyone in the church is like, why aren't you on Facebook? Not at this church, of course.
That's right. So Harry, tell us what you do here at Bethlehem Bible Church in case people weren't here for last week's show.
I'm one of the elders here. I lead the college and career group. I also do the new members class, teach at the
IBS theology classes, and also fill in for teaching and preaching. Now, why at the college and career group do you find it necessary to get new people in by painting faces with peanut butter and then throwing cheese balls to get them to stick on there and stuff?
Tell me, what's the breakdown of your theology there, your methodology? Actually, we did that methodology and then less people started coming.
So I said, we won't use peanut butter anymore. Would you use creamy or chunky for such a game?
Chunky, definitely chunky. Chunky, okay, all right. Well, you sent me quite a while ago, a little article called, well, it's not an article, but you wrote it up,
How to Smoke Out an Arminian Pastor. Now, why did you send me this? Because there was an
Inoko episode I heard, I forget, you probably remember who had put it together, some article about how to smoke out a
Calvinistic pastor. And that got me a little bit heated with my Mediterranean blood. So I said,
I have to respond to that. Now, I think what it was is some Arminian Southern Baptist.
It was Southern Baptist, yes. And it was a blog. Yes. And of course, they forgot about the founders of the
Southern Baptist Convention. I didn't know this until several years ago, the publishing wing of the
Southern Baptist Convention, Broadman Holman. Broadman comes from John Broadus.
He was a professor of homiletics at Southern Seminary. And then the Broadus is for the broad.
And then the Broadman, the man is from Manly. And Manly, Basil Manly was the other guy.
And so they weren't all five point Calvinists, but they were four plus Calvinists. And the founders movement was more
Calvinistic than Arminian. And so now we've got a lot of people in the Southern Baptist Convention that really hate
Calvinism. And so they wrote this blog, How to Smoke Out a Calvinistic Pastor. So if you're a congregant and you hear a guy talk a certain way,
Jesus died for all those who would ever believe, that's kind of code for Jesus died for the elect, but we just don't want to make people stumble for no reason.
Yes. Well, it got me fired up too, because the church I pastor was with the Southern Baptist Convention.
So it was kind of my home turf and I didn't like that. So you put this together, because I said, oh, you've got to come on No Compromise Radio, but with your two, three jobs, it's been difficult to get you in,
How to Smoke Out an Arminian Pastor. Now, tell us first, what's an Arminian, what's
Arminian Greek Orthodox? I mean, what are all these words? Well, my great grandmother was
Arminian, but I don't know if she was Arminian. What is an
Arminian? Arminian is a theological grid that believes certain points.
It's very man -centered gospel rather than the God -centered gospel. Man has the ability in and of himself to make a spiritual response, can respond to stimuli from the outside spiritually towards God.
Whereas as a Calvinist, we believe the Bible teaches that man is spiritually dead in trespasses, and as a dead person cannot respond to outside stimuli, therefore he needs a divine work from God, a sovereign work of God.
So there are five -point Calvinists, there are three -point Calvinists, there are five -point
Arminians, right? There's a variety of, there's continuity, discontinuity there.
And so Arminian pastors, you've written seven ways that you, if you're in a congregation, can, oh, there are more.
Oh, there are 10 ways. Wow, okay, top 10. This is David Letterman. Remember when David Letterman was good?
I think before he was a spokesperson for the Democratic Party or something.
So I think what I'll do is I'm gonna read the red flag and then you can give the comment.
Because you'll be better commenting than I will be because you wrote this, one, and two, they always hear my voice.
Yes. Right, so Arminian red flag. So if you're at a church and you don't know if your pastor's
Arminian or not, or Calvinistic, what must he be? These are red flags to help you understand if he's an
Arminian or not. The term seeker -sensitive is part of the lexicon. That's every evangelical church today, just about.
What's wrong with seeker -sensitive terminology and thought process? Well, first of all, it's not in the
Bible's lexicon. We know from Romans 3, classic passage on total depravity, that no one seeks
God, no, not even one. And that is why Jesus said to Zacchaeus, for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
I did not find Jesus, He found me. I wasn't seeking Him, He was seeking me. So seeker -sensitive also, besides not being part of the
Bible's lexicon, it focuses on felt needs, man -centered gospel. And therefore the church many times is made up to reflect not what the
Bible teaches the church should be, but what does a seeker, somebody who's supposedly seeking for God, what do they want in a church?
When I was growing up, Harry, my mother had a bumper sticker on the back of her car, and it was a very popular bumper sticker at the time.
We would be in the car, dad wouldn't allow it, but when I was in the car with mom alone and my sister and or brother, we would listen to Christian radio, which is only
AM at the time. And we would listen to Chuck Swindoll, Jimmy Swaggart, all kinds of folks,
Billy Graham sometimes would be on. And she had a bumper sticker call and it said, I found it. And so what's wrong with that bumper sticker?
You're supposed to ask people, well, what'd you find? But why is I found it a bad bumper sticker? Because it puts the work of salvation in man's lap.
It's a synergistic, that man cooperates somehow with God. God has done, I used to say this myself too, before I saw the light, but I used to say this, that, you know,
God did everything He could do, now it's all up to you. Well, that puts it all in man's lap and man in and of himself would never seek after God.
God does the whole work. Harry, when churches don't use seeker sensitive as a terminology, but they do little surveys with unbelievers in the neighborhood, what would you like to see in church?
Is that still seeker sensitive? Didn't a guy by the name, can I mention names here? Absolutely. Didn't a guy by the name of Rick Warren do that?
Or even Bill Heibel, recently we were at a church that you did a wedding, right? And he's got a new book called The Power of a
Whisper, but we won't get into that, I guess, but. Well, and make sure, I guess
I could say it this way. This will keep myself without getting into too much trouble.
When people go to neighborhoods and then go door to door and say, what would you like in a church?
What don't you like about traditional churches? Now, maybe it happens, but so far
I haven't heard of it. Why do they always go to rich neighborhoods? Because those are the people they want in their churches.
They want to see the money coming in. It's almost like McGuire, show me the money.
Did you say MacGyver? No, MacGyver. But you know what? Let's start calling them
MacGyver driven churches because they will do anything they can to get people into the church.
Do we do anything at Bethlehem Bible Church theologically with the unbeliever in mind?
Well, we preach the gospel. Okay. And we have Saturday, there's a group of guys, one of the guys who I'm discipling to, plus a number of people from our church.
They go out and do some evangelism, yes. What about ecclesiology in seeker sensitive churches?
Ecclesiology, the study of the church informs us that unbelievers don't worship, they blaspheme.
So we want to have our services set up on Sunday for the Christian, right?
The Christian worships by listening, by giving, by singing. But on Thanksgiving, maybe, or Easter, or I don't know,
Christmas, do we maybe preach a gospel centered message to the unbeliever? Yes, because we know during that time, our folk, our people who are members here at BBC will have family in town.
They'll be bringing some unbelieving friends and family. Harry, I'll never forget it when it was Christmas time and S.
Lewis Johnson was preaching. He just gave a quick introduction. If you're a visitor, welcome to our church.
We're in the middle of a study of Hebrews. We're just going to continue verse by verse in Hebrews where we left off last week.
We look forward to seeing you on Easter. That's classic. So seeker sensitive, these days, maybe they don't use the language anymore, but if you ignore the primary audience of God alone as a primary audience, then
I think you fall into an Arminian seeker sensitive camp. Yes, no doubt. The classic passage I like is from the book of Acts.
We see the early church, Acts 2 .42. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
The question is, who is the they referring to? It's those who repented, those who, it says earlier, who received the word, were baptized, and they were added that day about 3 ,000 souls.
It's those people whom God saved who are able to do that. We're talking to Harry Deligenides today.
How to Smoke Out an Arminian Pastor. The second one we're going to do is actually number four on your list, but we're just gonna jump around here because you know what?
It's my show. There you go. Plus, I'm a false teacher. No, I said that last week.
I think you've repented. I have, okay, good. Yes, no, that was just to get people to listen. Revival tent meetings with altar calls and finny quotes.
We're not going to wait much longer, but play this stanza one more time. If that's what happens in your church, lots of altar calls and stanzas that go on forever, you're in an
Arminian church. Yes, my response here when I wrote this was, is one even necessary for this?
I mean, this is so clear cut. It's just to, I've told people before, especially in youth meetings or youth rallies, with my fiery personality, you put me in a room with 100 young people, maybe college and career age, and I can guarantee you that within an hour,
I can get them to pray the sinner's prayer after an altar call. Now, see, what does that tell us? If it's personality driven, then how can it be
Holy Spirit driven? And we have other people that are probably, you know, let's say they're Norwegian and they're quiet and they're shy.
And, you know, I'm not saying they're all shy and quiet, but there has to be at least one quiet, shy
Norwegian. Don't you think? Yeah, yeah, I think so. And they don't dominate with their personality.
They're not outgoing. If you can convince people with your personality, then it's a false conversion.
But I do wanna ask you a very serious question, Harry, because I struggle with the same thing. When we have a dominant personality, how do you guard yourself from making that the overriding principle while you're ministering?
You mean if one of the leaders is a dominant personality or a guest? No, for like you, when you say, okay, I'm gonna meet with some high school kids or some college folks, and I could be persuasive,
I could be loud, I could have a personality. And so how does a person with a big personality not use that personality in conversion?
You make the focus the content of the gospel. You make the focus the word of God. It's what the content and the gospel that you're actually preaching or teaching them that's important, that diminishes the vehicle, the vessel.
Now, when you were pastoring in Boston, did you do altar calls? Did people want you to do altar calls?
Well, coming from a Southern Baptist Convention Associated Church, of course, they wanted me to do altar calls. And I was asked, why don't you do altar calls?
So yes, but I didn't do them. When I first got here 16 years ago, people would come up to me and they'd say, we didn't know you were against evangelism.
Because you didn't. And I said, really? If I'm against evangelism or come across that way,
I don't want to, because I want to be like God. God is an evangelist. He's the greatest evangelist.
And when you see Christ on earth and the rich young ruler, like you said, Zacchaeus, I want to evangelize.
Yes. And they said, well, you don't do altar calls. Mm -hmm, mm -hmm. I said, well, I didn't think we had any altars here to call people up to.
Yeah, well, I thought Jesus did altar calls too, didn't he, in the Gospels, maybe? Well, maybe there was.
Maybe that was the Gospel according to St. Thomas. My name is Mike Avendroth, this is No Compromise Radio.
You can write us at info at nocompromiseradio .com. You can go to the YouTube No Compromise 90 site.
We're talking to Harry Deligenese today, how to smoke out Armenian pastors. Let's see, what's another one that we want?
How about number eight, getting rid of the old hymns that are theologically meaty and only using choruses?
Tell me what you're thinking there. Well, everything is so geared towards, again, secret sense of Feltonese, what the people who are coming want, and because our culture is the way it is, we want to conform to the world and not according to the
Bible. And so we just, what I wrote here initially, it stunts the spiritual maturity of the
Church, and thus departs from the main purpose of the Church, which is to bring the Church to spiritual maturity.
We proclaim Christ to present everyone, Colossians 1, Paul says, perfect and mature in Christ. So the focus there is not on the choruses.
Sometimes it's not on the content of the songs, but it's on having a loud band, a concert.
I mean, if you want to do that, you can even go see Stryper if you want. Hey, I thought the bass drum, the bass guitar rather,
I thought that was the Holy Spirit. Did you really? Yeah, because I like to feel the presence of God.
We feel the Holy Spirit, yes. How can you be a Christian pastor without feeling the presence of God? Yeah, I don't know. I don't know.
They didn't teach you that at DTS? I don't know, masters might tell you that, but DTS doesn't do that, so. Very funny.
Now, of course, not every hymn is great. Not every hymn is biblical. There are some new choruses that you like, of course, right?
Yes, I mean, we use them some here. What's the one in my... Kumbaya?
No, how deep the Father's love for us, you know. Yeah, excellent. And you know, here's one of the things that I know you agree with me on,
Harry, is there are times and seasons of a Christian's life where everything's not peppy and happy and up, and you have to bury people, and there are sad things.
And when you look at the Psalms, some are very joyful and some are laments.
So when we sing songs like Sacred Head Now Wounded, there's a time and place for that.
But here's my question for you, Harry. Why don't the charismatic hands go up for the lament songs?
Why do they only go up, at least in my anecdotal observations, they only go up for the songs that are peppy and up and happy?
Yes, they don't go up for any time of lament or... And why don't the hands go up, if putting a hand up is a sign of worship, why don't they go up during Scripture reading and preaching?
Because they're not worshiping then. And then why especially don't those hands go up during the offering?
Because they're in their pocket withholding their money. Though I was accused recently, even at our church when we were singing a hymn,
I kind of do like the choir conductor, I just move my hand up and down, and somebody next to me saw me and said, oh, you're getting a little charismatic.
So there you go. How about another red flag for an Arminian church, number three on your list there,
Harry, invitations to rededication. And so tell us what rededication is.
I'm sure people at BBC who've gotten saved and that are here don't even know what a rededication service is. It's basically for those people who somehow in some point in their life prayed the sinner's prayer, prayed a prayer to receive
Jesus Christ into their heart as a personal savior, but haven't been walking with the Lord, quote unquote, or haven't borne any fruit in their lives of a new creation.
So they might go to a conference or a rally or something like that, or a weekend retreat, and there's an invitation to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ.
Now you got saved, he was your savior, now you have to make him your Lord. So it's just, you took one piece of the pie, we kind of split
Jesus however we want him, so to speak. And it's a cycle because then after a while you've done rededication a second or third or fourth time, and that's what had happened to me.
And so when I used to tell people my testimony that I rededicated my life, that's really when God really saved me.
Harry, when churches have altar calls, and let's say it's a smaller church, nobody comes up, and so they sing
Just As I Am another couple dozen times. And then still no one comes up. So then what's the pastor do?
Because you wanna see, if you're an Arminian, the visible work of God in your presence, but since nobody's gonna come up to get saved and you gotta get going because after all the game's on.
I'm just, gosh. But seriously, then the next thing is, they say, does anybody wanna come up to rededicate?
Does anybody wanna come up for membership? Does anybody wanna come up, I don't know why. Why do we have to see this external validation of the working of the invisible spirit of God who's like the wind and we don't know which way he blows or goes?
Sounds like John 3, Jesus is worse than Nicodemus. I think the reason is, and the answer I have for that is because then you could say, as I have been coming back from a
Southern Baptist background in terms of the church I pastored, they wanna be able to write back to the convention and say, okay, these many people walked forward, these many people rededicated, these many people wanted to become members or commit to missions or whatever, and then you send out the massive newsletter and that brings in the funds even more.
So it's just numbers, basically. How would that work with Isaiah chapter six? He's seen the holiness of God, he's experienced the sovereign initiative of the grace of God, he said,
I'll do whatever, and then God says, I want you to go harden people's hearts. Yes. Is there a line item on the
Excel spreadsheet for the SBC for that? There isn't. There isn't one for the weeping prophet either.
Go and preach what I tell you to preach, and by the way, people are not gonna listen to you. Harry, what would you say if I were to tell you, in my mind, when we have the
Lord's Supper here, we celebrate it monthly, in my mind, I think to myself, I'm going to, this is an act of rededication where I'm remembering
Jesus again, not just intellectually, not just the data, but he's the one that died for me.
It was a one -time sacrifice, but I'm remembering it now, and I just want to respond with an increased dedication by the
Spirit's power as I'm thinking about Jesus. Is that a valid, quote -unquote, rededication?
Yes, I think that's kosher. I remember I heard you say that once, and of course, my rededication hairs came up initially, but I said, no, you used the word rededication,
I said to my wife, but I understand what you mean by that because I know you have been here now for a few years, but I think it's the idea of the verse that comes to mind that I have here is, you know, 1
Peter 1, 3, Peter says that God has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness, and that God's saving grace, according to Paul in Titus 2, is it brings us through justification, through sanctification, all the way to glory.
So there's not something I have to do, it's almost like a second blessing, a charismatic second blessing or a holiness moment that I have to now do something second to respond.
Today we're talking to Harry about smoking out Armenian pastors. This can be quickly or it can take a little bit of time.
The message Bible in the pew is for seekers, and in my hand now I have the message
Bible. What's your favorite verse? When you sign your books and stuff, what do you sign? What's your favorite verse?
What's your life verse? Colossians 1, 20 to 29, it just happens to be on our bulletin every...
Yeah, okay, so you know what, I'm gonna look this up, tell our people why you don't like or like the message
Bible, and why is that Armenian? Well, it's funny that you should ask, it's the publishing company,
I think is from the organization I used to be a part of, right, you're laughing. Is that Nav -Depressed?
We used to call it Nav -Depressed because they did so much psychology stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so tell me about that one.
But though actually part of my good handle on scripture came from my background with them because I just memorized a zillion verses, but...
Which was good, here it says in Colossians chapter one, we preach
Christ, warning people not to add to the message, and that says message with a capital M, like it's the message
Bible. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity.
To be mature is to be basic. Christ, no more, no less. That's what
I'm working so hard on day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.
Well, if we had a paraphrase, which is that's a paraphrase, it's not a translation. If we have a paraphrase like that, then we don't need to focus on expository preaching and digging into the word of God as pastors are called to do in order to proclaim
Christ as the, and in the Greek, of course, as you know, him we proclaim, Christ is what comes first is to make it very operative and primary.
All right, lastly for today, Armenian red flags, how to smoke out an Armenian pastor. Congregational rule.
Why are most Armenian churches congregational rule? Now, they're not all, but most are.
No, most of them are. Yeah, because I grew up in a congregational rule church. Even with, when there are elders,
I have a friend who's an elder at a church that's congregational rule, but the congregation rules or votes for the elders.
And it again goes back to the idea of being seeker sensitive, being man focused, being felt need, this is what we want.
It's almost becomes like a political campaign rather than, you know, there's a couple descriptive and prescriptive passages in scripture.
And of course, you mentioned Crete earlier, Paul left Titus in Crete so that he, the leader, the pastor can appoint elders.
It's not a toss up vote from the congregation. It seems like the Armenian part comes into play,
Harry, when the church says, well, absolute power corrupts absolutely. And so we've got to have some checks and balances.
And my response to that is, well, absolute power doesn't always corrupt absolutely because Jesus Christ has absolute power and he's not corrupt.
Yes, amen. And so we don't have to say, well, the congregation needs to check and balance the elder board because that would be man -centered.
Now we've been talking to Harry Delagenetes today, part two, Harry, thank you for your ministry. Thank you for being on No Compromise Radio.
My pleasure. And if you want to get ahold of Harry, you can write me at info at nocompromiseradio .com.
No Compromise Radio with Pastor Mike Abendroth is a production of Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston.
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