My name is Jonathan Cousar and I started GospelMasquerade.com after spending many years in one of Manhattan’s largest “evangelical” mega-churches. This church promotes itself as a conservative, evangelical congregation that believes in the inerrancy of scripture.
The pastor of this church often talks about the importance of churches being located in big cities because that’s where, he said, they can best influence the culture. Unfortunately though, it took me many years to see that influencing the culture was his top priority. In other words, he was more interested in changing the culture of New York City by working for things like “social justice” than by preaching the full Gospel and seeing men and women come to true saving faith in Jesus Christ.
A few years ago I had registered the name CityofDeception.com several years before I began using it as a blog about deceptive teachings in city churches. I had originally intended to use it to expose deceptive and fraudulent business practices that some of Manhattan’s local businesses engage in. But after finally realizing what my own church was teaching, I realized that the most dangerous deceptions in our cities today are the deceptions taught from the pulpits of our largest churches.
I have been a Christian for 44 years (as of 2013), and for most of my working life I have owned small businesses. My current business, LazyLizard Internet, is a web hosting and online marketing company that I started in 1996. Although I’ve never worked professionally in any full-time Christian position, I have always studied the Bible and its teachings. I have also done a lot of studying of the evidence that the Bible contains the actual Words of God to humanity.
I love to engage with non-Christians to try and help them see the truth of Biblical Christianity. And I am forever grateful to them for prompting me to constantly seek and study to find answers to their most serious questions about Christianity. The more I study, the more I am convinced that God is real, the Bible is his Word and that we are all truly lost until we come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
I believe the Bible is the holy, infallible, inerrant and literal Word of God. I believe that salvation comes only through faith in Christ and recognition of and repentance of our sins and a commitment to make Christ the Lord and Master of our lives. I believe that all people are damned to an eternity in hell if they don’t turn to Christ at some point in their lives. I also believe that God’s invitation to salvation is open equally to all – no matter their background, their religion, their race or even their sexual orientation!
I know the teachings of the Bible are very difficult doctrines for unbelievers to hear and I know the Bible’s teachings will turn many people off from Christianity altogether. But I don’t believe we are ever asked to soften the teachings of the Bible to make them more palatable and acceptable to unbelieving men and women.
It is for that reason that I have spent thousands of hours over the last several years studying the numerous heresies that have become an all too common part of the American church today. I hope this blog will in some small way help others learn how to distinguish between false Biblical teachings and true ones.
(You can read my personal story of how God brought me to faith in Christ here)
8 Replies to “About”
Hi Jonathan! I’v Been a Christian for many years and have studied the insidious creeping of cultural Marxism (social justice) in society. I started going to Redeemer a few weeks ago and was startled to see a program about racial justice. Christians have always been of different ethnicities and the Bible is clear that we are one in Christ. We don’t need constant oppression gymnastics to prove we care about the “other.”
That being said, are you still in the NYC area? Any suggestions on biblical churches? Thanks and God bless!
Hi Nicky, that’s so good to hear that you immediatley picked up on the social justice stuff going on at Redeemer. When I started going there it wasn’t as nearly in-your-face. So, you’ve saved a lot of time! I’ll send you an email about other churches in the area.
What do you think about a Christian’s habit of listening or reading things from a flawed Pastor or Theologian in an eclectic approach while trying to recognize the wheat from the chaff ? I remember once my mother told my father referring to someone else,”He doesn’t have any corner on the truth.” – I think that the canonized Scriptures we have today are also somewhat flawed but they are the best of what is available to us according to The Lord’s purposes for our lives in this world .
Neal, when your mother said about a man who had shown no signs of being appointed or inspired by God, that he didn’t have a corner on the truth, she may well have been right. But, to apply the same principle to Holy Scriptures that you apply to an individual man, doesn’t make any sense. The writers of the Bible showed more than enough signs and miracles that there can be no doubt that they were indeed led by God to write what they wrote. So, when we discount their writings by saying the Scriptures we have today could be flawed, we are actually lowering the Bible to the level of any other religious writing. And there are no other religious writings that I would stake my life on or be willing to die for. I’m willing to die for the Bible because I know it contains the whole message God wanted to transmit to humanity. And it contains it in a form, where even today, we cannot miss the clear meaning of it.
We met with our Pastor and he (as you said) can’t see our point. He was loving but dismissed our concerns as unfounded. A new email from our church library, informs the members we now have two Tim Keller books for all to read! Oh joy…I’m so happy about that. We are beyond shocked. I told our pastor we thought we were safe from this at our reformed church. He dismissed this as well and said we are safe. We disagree. The hard part of deciding what to do is, where will we go? It seems this is invading most churches in one form or another.
Thank you so much for your response.
I’m so sorry to hear that. I was startled by how similar your pastor’s response was to the response I got from Redeemer and Tim himself. These Keller followers are almost always dismissive of our concerns and at the same time reassuring that we are wrong and that they are completely orthodox and Biblical. (Which kind of reminds me of the Catholic and Mormon response as well, now that I think about it).
But I have one more suggestion for you. Give this book to your pastor: Engaging with Keller.
It’s very solid – and if your pastor is solid – he’ll get it. If he doesn’t get it, it means he doesn’t get Christianity and he doesn’t get the Bible. And in that case, I wouldn’t just leave the church, I would flee it! I can totally relate to you on the problem of what to do next! I didn’t / couldn’t go to church for several months because every church I could think of was going off in one wrong direction or another. It was an eye opening experience for me – trying to find a solid church after Redeemer. It’s not easy at all. But the cool thing is – God led me to an awesome little church in Manhattan that I never would have known about, nor would I have ever even considered. So don’t worry about where to go next. God will take care of that. It is only your duty to have nothing to do with those who are teaching another Gospel.
God bless you – and let me know what happens next!
I so appreciate your site. We are members of a Reformed Baptist church. We were quite dismayed to see a Tim Keller book come into our library. Then even more disturbed when Keller was quoted from the pulpit. We thought we were safe at this church, from that type of heresy. We thought our pastors were more discerning. Now we have to decide what to do. Do you have any suggestions?
Wow! It’s so hard for me to see all this come even into the Baptist churches. I always felt they were the bulwark against it in decades pass. Now they’re falling like flies too.
As far as advice, I’ll tell you what I did and as you and I are/were in very similar situations, it might help.
My first thought when I began to see these errant teachings was that Tim Keller didn’t know about them. Many of them took place under the radar, like in Saturday afternoon classes. The wildest heretical teachings were not mentioned on Sundays from the pulpit (which is one reason it took me so long to see it). So my first thought was to talk to Tim and see if he even knew about it. Well, that was very naïve. I realized later that of course he knew! I own a small business and I know everything that goes on in it – even things people don’t think I know about. So of course Tim knows exactly what’s going on in his own church.
My first attempts to talk to him were not successful because as a celebrity pastor he didn’t have time for such matters – that’s what his assistant told me – in so many words. But she did refer me to an assistant pastor who oversaw the Redeemer classes. I wrote to him detailing my concerns – and was met back with an email from him basically saying that they knew exactly what they were doing and that nothing they were doing was heretical or heterodox.
That was the worst possible outcome in my view. I was hoping maybe they just weren’t aware of it. Eventually I did get to have an email conversation with Tim. He strongly defended what they were doing by saying they did not promote any of the errant teachings of the people whose books and materials they used in the classes. But I said to him it just didn’t make sense for a Christian church to use materials by people who were essentially Buddhists! He said, no they don’t promote those teachings of these people. I told him if they didn’t warn people that these teachers and authors weren’t Christians (even though they claim to be), that people would be misled to believe that Redeemer endorses all of their major teachings. Tim disagreed.
But the clincher for me was when Tim told me that if we couldn’t use the materials of people we disagree with – then we could never quote anybody or use the teachings of anybody – because he said, we never agree 100% with anybody!
That’s true, but when you invite teachers and authors into your church who disagree with you on the MAJOR doctrines of our faith – that’s different than disagreeing on minor doctrines that we shouldn’t divide over.
So, when Tim told me that – I knew then that he was aware of the heretical materials the church was teaching from, and I then knew that he endorsed that and defended it and wasn’t going to change his mind. And since I had no power or influence over him to convince him to change his mind – I knew then there was nothing I could do but leave the church.
So I would suggest something like that to you. Go to your pastor and/or other leaders of your church and talk to them about these things. Use some of the materials here on this site if they’ll help you show them more clearly what Keller is teaching. And just see how they respond. If they say, “Oh wow, we had no idea that Keller believed that the primary purpose of salvation is to renew the culture and make this world a better place”, then hang around a while longer and see if you can help them see the truth.
But if they respond by basically attacking or criticizing you for bringing this to their attention or daring to disagree with them… or, if they just can’t see your point, then I would say you have to leave the church. Because how can we remain? Paul tells us to separate ourselves from false teachers, not to even invite them into our meetings.
Anyway, those would be my suggestions. Depending on the organization of your church, maybe you can make some headway with other members and then go together to the leadership. My first goal was to see if I could bring about change in the church. And when I realized I couldn’t, I left.
And by the way, the process of trying to bring about change in my church lasted two years – so I didn’t make a decision to leave rashly or quickly, I really tried every way I could think of to effect change. I knew from the beginning that I would leave if they didn’t see the light, but I gave it a good long hard try. It’s a big church though and you have to talk to a lot of people – I could see the process happening a lot quicker in a small church.
Anyway, God bless you in your efforts, and let us know here how it goes!