Someone recently asked me if I had any information on a church known as The Belonging Co in Nashville, Tennessee. After taking a brief look at this particular church, I noticed one of its lead pastors is a gentleman by the name of Henry Seeley. I don’t normally do posts on pastors/teachers. I have two reasons for this:
A) there are plenty of them out there, and
B) not every one of them needs a public post.
However, I do take requests and I evaluate them carefully.
After running a search on Henry Seeley, I determined that a post on him is appropriate. He has nowhere near as big a following as other teachers I have critiqued (such as Joseph Prince and Max Lucado). He also does not have quite the following as the most recent teacher I have critiqued, Todd Smith. By now, you might be asking, “Then why do a post?”
Let me explain.
Actually, I’ll let the church website do that for me:
Born and raised in Australia, Henry and Alex Seeley spent many years on the pastoral team at a church in Melbourne (Aus) pioneering a worship movement that grew to become a church of over 10,000 people.
After relocating to Nashville, TN in April 2012, they began opening their home on Tuesday nights for people to worship, encounter God and build genuine community in a city where people’s personal and spiritual lives often succumb to the transient nature of ‘life on the road.’ Within a few months, their basement was at capacity and subsequently The Belonging Co was born.
As for Mr. Seeley himself, his website gives some information:
Originally hailing from Adelaide, Australia, Henry Seeley has been leading people in worship for over 20 years. Helping pioneer a worship movement in Australia that grew to a church of nearly 10,000 people, Henry and his wife Alex have been in “full-time ministry” for over 2 decades.
In 2012, Henry & Alex relocated to Nashville TN. After a few months of living in Nashville, they started a Tuesday night small group in their home to reach out to the music community – many of whom who were displaced from a “Sunday” church congregation due to their touring schedule. Within 12 months, their basement was filled to capacity and their church The Belonging Co was birthed.
The Belonging Co now meets Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night and is a place filled with passionate worship and teaching, reaching over 3000 each week through services and online streaming.
Henry is passionate about all things creative… Songwriting, producing, mixing, film, visual arts… He is also a self professed “gear nerd”, and won a GRAMMY® award in 2016 for mixing.
Henry Seeley has over 25.6 thousand followers on Instagram (25.9 thousand at time of article of publication; my research began in October), just over 8,000 followers on Twitter, and over 7.5 thousand followers on his Facebook page (7.6 thousand at time of publication). The Belonging Co on Youtube has over 114,000 subscribers (118,000 at the time of publication). While its church page has significantly less subscribers (1.55 K per Youtube at the time I started researching; 2.04 at the time of this article’s publication), consider what has happened in a little over eight years of existence for The Belonging Co. This church has gone from a small group meeting in a basement to, in 12 months time (per Seeley’s website), birthing The Belonging Co, a church that has a conference for gathering, a college for students, and a worship team that produces widely disseminated content. Perhaps it is a matter of time before this church (and who pastors it) is mentioned in the same breath alongside other huge movements like Bethel, Hillsong, Jesus Culture and Elevation “Worship” (quotes inserted by me). Moreover, since those four movements represent what I call the heretical quartet, perhaps it is also a matter of time before this particular movement joins the party (although this article could reject that possibility). After all, it is clear it is growing decently in short time.
While Henry Seeley does not have the big following as prior teachers I have critiqued, this is not a Matthew 18 issue because Seeley is obviously in the public eye. Public teachings warrant public critiques. After all, winning a Grammy award, being a lead pastor of a fast-growing church (with obvious side growth with the conference, college and worship team), and having a decent amount of followers on various social media platforms (said followers growing by the month) is rather public. Christians are commanded to test all teachings against the Word of God (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; see also Jude 3 and Revelation 2:2-3). This post offers a biblical critique on Pastor Henry Seeley.
WHO IS HENRY SEELEY?
As mentioned earlier, Henry Seeley is one of the two pastors at The Belonging Co in Nashville, Tennessee. The other pastor is his wife, Alex. I will comment on his wife’s being a pastor later in this article.
Because Henry is a pastor, I show some biblical texts about the qualifications of a pastor. As a pastor, Henry is subject to stricter judgment (James 3:1). Furthermore, certain things are expected of a pastor. In 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (said book being written to young Pastor Timothy), the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:16-21), gives this exhortation to Timothy (NASB):
4 I solemnly 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, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
This charge Paul gives to Timothy is a serious one (verse 1). Paul is giving this charge in the presence of Jesus Christ, the only way by which mankind may be saved (Acts 4:12; Isaiah 43:11; John 14:6). That charge is to preach the Word always, reprove, rebuke and exhort with great patience and teaching (verse 2). The job of a pastor is to preach the Word.
This pastor must also exhort in sound doctrine and rebuke those that contradict. In the pastoral epistle of Titus, Paul writes the following in Titus 1:5-16 (NASB):
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
The same themes of exhortation and reproof shown in the 2 Timothy passage also manifest themselves in the above Titus passage. A pastor is to preach the Word, exhort in sound doctrine, refute that which contradicts sound doctrine, and silence the false teachers via a sharp rebuke. Since Henry is a pastor, one would expect him to do that.
In my next section, I look at a Christmas sermon by Henry Seeley. Since this will not be an exhaustive review of all his sermons, I want to look at his most recent Christmas message. I have heard it said that if time does not allow one to listen to about 7-12 regular sermons by a particular preacher, then it suffices to look at the holiday sermons. Therefore, I choose the route of the holiday sermons.
Unfortunately, in my research, I could only find one overall holiday sermon. Because of that, this sermon review is very lengthy. However, the length is warranted given my unfortunate inability to find more than one holiday sermon.
On December 22, 2019, Seeley gave a Christmas sermon titled Good News And Great Joy. It is 34:30 in length on the video (35:30 on the Google Podcasts app). I cannot tell how many people have viewed it. Nevertheless, it is in the public domain in various ways. When reviewing this sermon, I had an issue playing the video multiple times. Thankfully, this sermon is on both the Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts app for the podcast name The Belonging Co. The minute/second marks I list are somewhat in alignment. What I mean is that if I state Seeley says something at the 2:14 mark of the podcast (whether Apple or Google), it is roughly around that same mark in the video as well.
Seeley begins reading from a biblical text around the one minute mark. Sappy music plays in the background. He reads from Luke 2. He starts at verse 4. On the video, Luke 2:1-20 from the NIV is displayed. Seeley reads through verse 11. The fact he reads from a biblical text to start his sermon is good. I’d like to display that text in full because I believe it will help in this sermon review. Here is Luke 2:4-11 (NIV). Pay attention to the words I bold. Moreover, pay attention to the word I highlighted in red, for that word does not appear in the NIV; Seeley added that word:
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
After Seeley reads the text, he says the following (2:12 mark):
Do you realize today what we’re reading about this this Christmas time, it’s good news, it’s great joy because the Savior of the world showed up when you and I didn’t even know that we needed Him. See there’s good news, there’s great joy this morning here in this place friends. There’s good news and great joy wherever you find yourself this morning. The story is good news and great joy. Could we take a moment and pray, cuz, man, He’s here, His presence is here. But you know what, He wants to come and meet with you this morning. He wants to come and speak to your heart this morning. Here in this room. Watching online. Wherever you’re streaming with us from today. God wants to come and meet with you. So let’s pray and just welcome Him right now.
Before I get to the prayer, I wanna point out two things. First, look at the repetition of the words “good news” and “great joy.” Each pair of words appears four times in that paragraph. This type of repetition (spoiler alert) happens throughout the sermon. I’ll get to the significance of that later on in this sermon review. Second, notice the audience he is addressing. His audience consists of those “here in this room, watching online, wherever you’re streaming with us today.” As a result, reviewing this sermon is fair game for those meeting that criteria (is listening via podcast technically streaming?).
Here is the prayer he prays:
Father, we thank you for Your presence here in this room. God, we sense that you’re near. LORD wherever it is that we’re experiencing this moment right now. God, we know that you’re near so we, we just wanna lean into that, God. We wanna allow you space in our lives to come and speak to us. The Holy Spirit, you would come and still our hearts in the midst of the busyness of this season. God, we would take just a few moments today, right now, to allow you to come and speak to us. We thank you that because of what you’ve done for us Jesus we have good news and great joy. We have good news and great joy. Good news and great joy. If you believe it, say “Amen.” Amen, come on one more time say “Amen.” Turn to your neighbor, look them in the eye and say “Merry Christmas.”
I want to point out three things from the prayer. First, we see again the repetition of the words “good news” and “great joy.” Second, my friend Steven Kozar wrote an article called “Stupid Pastor Tricks.” The practice of having someone turn to his/her neighbor and say something represents one of those stupid pastor tricks. While this technically happened after the prayer, this is still a psychological manipulation technique. The same can be said of the sappy music. Finally, the words “presence”, “experience” and “sense” remind me of a book I reviewed called Christianity & Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen. Here are several sections from that book worth noting (all bolding done by me):
The Christian gospel consists in an account of how God saved man, and before that gospel can be understood, something must be known (1) about God and (2) about man. The doctrine of God and the doctrine of man are the two great presuppositions of the gospel. With regard to these presuppositions, as with regard to the gospel itself, modern liberalism is diametrically opposed to Christianity.
It is opposed to Christianity, in the first place, in its conception of God. But at this point we are met with a particularly insistent form of that objection to doctrinal matters which has already been considered. It is unnecessary, we are told, to have a “conception” of God; theology, or the knowledge of God, it is said, is the death of religion; we should not seek to know God, but should merely feel His presence.
With regard to this objection, it ought to be observed that if religion consists merely in feeling the presence of God, it is devoid of any moral quality whatever. Pure feeling, if there be such a thing, is non-moral.p. 55
It is not true at all, then, that modern liberalism is based upon the authority of Jesus. It is obliged to reject a vast deal that is absolutely essential in Jesus’ example and teaching —notably His consciousness of being the heavenly Messiah. The real authority, for liberalism, can only be “the Christian consciousness” or “Christian experience.” But how shall the findings of the Christian consciousness be established? Surely not by a majority vote of the organized Church. Such a method would obviously do away with all liberty of conscience. The only authority, then, can be individual experience; truth can only be that which “helps” the individual man. Such an authority is obviously no authority at all; for individual experience is endlessly diverse, and when once truth is regarded only as that which works at any particular time, it ceases to be truth. The result is an abysmal skepticism.
The Christian man, on the other hand, finds in the Bible the very Word of God. Let it not be said that dependence upon a book is a dead or an artificial thing. The Reformation of the sixteenth century was founded upon the authority of the Bible, yet it set the world aflame. Dependence upon a word of man would be slavish, but dependence upon God’s Word is life. Dark and gloomy would be the world, if we were left to our own devices, and had no blessed Word of God. The Bible, to the Christian is not a burdensome law, but the very Magna Charta of Christian liberty.
It is no wonder, then, that liberalism is totally different from Christianity, for the foundation is different. Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life. Liberalism on the other hand is founded upon the shifting emotions of sinful men.pp. 80-81
As I review this sermon, pay attention to how much time Seeley spends talking about himself or his own experiences compared to how much time he talks about Jesus Christ. It will help determine if this sermon is founded on the Bible or “upon the shifting emotions of sinful men.” Finally, notice that Seeley’s prayer puts emphasis on God’s presence and a sensing that God is near. In light of the paragraphs from Machen, this language is right in the alley of liberalism.
After the prayer, the sappy music stops. Seeley then begins preaching about himself and his wife around the 4:28 mark. At the 6:03 mark, the video seems to cut to a different point in the sermon. Seeley goes to Romans 5. He reads verse 1-5 from the NASB, a good translation. However, notice that Seeley spent really no significant time on the Luke passage. Thus far, he has keyed in on the words “good news” and “great joy.” This reminds me of a practice Bryan Wolfmueller calls the “Heresy Two-step.” I’ll let Wolfmueller explain:
The Heresy Two-step starts with two feet on the text. The allusion must be given that the text is going to be taught on. Then a sliding step backwards is taken into an abstraction. You move from the text to an idea about the text or to a word in the text. Once the text is abstracted and a general principle or something along these lines is made. You can now wiggle around and go in any direction you want. You can make the text say whatever you want. Instead of teaching the text you are pontificating on this abstraction which was drawn from the text.
Seeley puts his two feet on the words “good news” and “great joy.” He then steps backwards and, as I will show, preaches mainly himself for the rest of the service while, at the same time, giving the impression that he is teaching on the text via the repetition of the words “good news” and “great joy.”
As for Romans 5:1-5, I want to show what those verses say. I will highlight in red words/letters he added to the text. Anything in brackets represents a word that was said in substitution for the struck-through word(s) next to the bracket. Any word not said is struck through:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we now stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we
alsoexult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, results in hope; 5 and it’s not our hope does not[that] disappoints, a hope that does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us[you].
I researched other translations to see if anything matched what Seeley said verbatim. I could not find a non-NASB translation that matched everything Seeley stated. Seeley definitely did not say everything exactly as the NASB states. While pointing this out may come across as nitpicky, the reality is that words matter. Paul wrote this letter to “all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). Seeley immediately jumps from reading the text to trying to apply it. That is not a good way to do sound hermeneutics. One needs to find out what the text means first and foremost. One should look at how the text applies to the person (if the text is even applicable in the first place) last in the hermeneutical process. Moreover, Seeley’s adding and subtracting words to/from the NASB makes him out to be a liar (Proverbs 30:6). Seeley is playing fast and loose with the Scriptures and that is not a good thing. The only other thing I can think of as it pertains to his adding/subtracting words from the text is he needs a new pair of glasses (or he needs to pull a Peter Parker [from the Tobey Maguire first Spiderman days] and ditch them).
To demonstrate how Seeley moves from the text straight to application, here is what Seeley says immediately after reading the text:
You realize you have access to a hope that comes even in the midst of your trials this morning, even in the midst of the situations that you’re in right now. You might be in the midst of it, but God is creating in you. He’s bringing you into perseverance because you know what, perseverance produces character and the result of character is hope. Not hope in your situation, not hope in yourself, but hope that is supernaturally founded in your life because of what we get to celebrate at Christmas because of what came to us in Christmas. Good news and great joy. There’s good news and great joy in the midst of your situation this morning. There is hope for you.
Notice that in that paragraph there are fifteen references to you and zero references to Jesus Christ. Moreover, these concepts of hope, good news and great joy are basically vague at this point. What is this good news? What is this great joy? What is this hope that is supposedly supernaturally founded in my life? I thought hope was found in Jesus Christ. After all, how is hope supernaturally founded in my life since I was born dead in trespasses and sins?
Ephesians 2:1-10 explains:
2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
The Bible is clear that people are born dead in trespasses and sins (2:1-3). God’s being rich in mercy makes one alive in Christ (2:4). Furthermore, it is by grace through faith that one is saved (2:5-9). It is not based on works (2:9).
If you do not believe what Ephesians 2:1-10 states, I would ask you please look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something, even if it was small? Have you ever used God’s name in vain? Jesus said that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus also said that if you ever get angry at someone, you’ve committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:21-26). Just the mere thoughts of adultery and murder make you guilty of the very acts themselves.
Please understand that it only takes one murder to be a murderer, one lie to be a liar and so forth. David said in Psalm 51:5 that he was conceived in sin. Genesis 6:5 states that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually. Clearly, man has a sin problem. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Man is in big trouble with God because of his sin. This is more amplified by the fact that perfection is the standard (Matthew 5:48).
Now, some people try to justify their sin by trying to balance it out with the good deeds that they have done. However, if you were to try that in a court of law, the judge would throw the book at you. A good judge would not accept a bribe. He would cast you off into jail. God likewise will not accept a bribe, for there is no partiality with Him (Deuteronomy 10:17; Ephesians 6:9). Revelation 21:1-8 states the following (NASB):
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be anymourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life, without cost. 7 The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The Bible is clear that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. No adulterer, no murderer, no idolater, no unbeliever (among others) will inherit the kingdom of God (see also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Sin has a very serious consequence.
Thankfully, Jesus Christ came to solve the sin problem over 2000 years ago (Isaiah 53:1-12). You and I broke the law. Jesus paid the fine (Matthew 26:14-28:20). This means that the judge can do what’s legally right in dismissing your case. He can say, “This person has broken the law, but someone has paid his fine. He’s out of here.” This is good news.
There are two things a person must do. He must repent. This means to turn from his sin (Mark 1:16; Luke 24:36-49; 2 Timothy 2:19-26; Acts 17:30-31). He must also put his trust in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, 17:30-31; Romans 4:1-25, 10:1-17; Galatians 3:1-14; John 6:26-29). These gifts of repentance and faith are granted by God (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:22-26). If you repent and put your trust in the Savior Jesus Christ, He will forgive you of your sins and grant you everlasting life (John 6:47). Oh may you know His mercy and grace today if you have never repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. If you get anything out of this long-winded article, please know how you can be saved through Jesus Christ alone.
Seeley begins preaching himself and his wife from about the 7:26 mark through about the 7:52 mark of the sermon. He then goes rambling on the difference between hoping and being in hope. He does make a short mention of Jesus as follows (8:34-8:43 mark):
Knowing that God, who was faithful to send His Son to us, to show us, that there was good news and great joy. You can be in hope.
Hope for what? Again, what is this good news and great joy? Sadly, he does not explain it because he continues to preach himself and his wife Alex again at about the 8:45 mark through the 9:25 mark. He boasts of the foundation he and his wife had. He says the following (8:57-9:17):
That God sent His Son for us, not only to save us, but to heal us to redeem us so that we have access to a hope.
Save us from what? Redeem us from what? Access to a hope in what? Notice the vaguery here. Also, it should be noted that healing on this side of eternity is not promised. 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10 explains (NASB):
16 Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, so that I also may boast a little. 17 What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also. 19 For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly. 20 For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face. 21 To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison.
But in whatever respect anyone else is bold—I speak in foolishness—I am just as bold myself. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from suchexternal things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, 33 and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.
12 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 5 On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 6 For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.
7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Sounds like the apostle Paul had it rough. Moreover, Paul pleaded for the thorn in the flesh to leave him. However, God kept the thorn there. If Jesus was sent to heal us, did He fail by not healing the apostle Paul of his thorn in the flesh? Seeley is stating something about God that is not true. This is blasphemy because it takes the LORD’s name in vain.
Another text to consider is the great “Hall Of Faith” chapter; that would be Hebrews 11:1-40 (NASB):
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac yourdescendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts ofrighteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
Seeley states that God sent His Son to heal us. How does he explain those put to death by the sword in Hebrews 11:37? How about those sawn in two in the same verse? What about those stoned in the same verse? If God sent His Son to heal us, why weren’t the people in those verses spared from being stoned to death, getting put to death by the sword or being sawn in two? As this text and also the 2 Corinthians text show, physical healing on this side of the atonement is not guaranteed. Being a Christian could lead to one’s going from breathing to non-breathing rather quickly. Either the authors of Scripture are out of their minds or Henry Seeley is lying. Who are you going to believe?
From roughly the 9:17 mark to roughly the 13:30 mark, Seeley basically speaks in the abstract without exegeting either of the two passages he has read. It is clear he is engaging in the Heresy Two-step at this point. Seeley then talks about himself for about 90 seconds. During this time, he both engages in psychological manipulation with the aforementioned “turn to your neighbor” nonsense and laughs rather ridiculously when trying to make a point.
I should also note that by this point in the sermon, you should have heard a lot of affirmation from the crowd in various forms. People are cheering. People are vocal. People are raising their hands. I think it is safe to say that Seeley has what is known as a bullpen. This is a form of manipulation. In a 12/5/2017 episode of the Christian program Fighting For the Faith (see the hyperlink), Pastor Chris Rosebrough (henceforth referred to as Rosebrough) played some audio from an episode of the Bad Christian podcast. In this interview, the hosts of the Bad Christian podcast interview a gentleman named Chris, a former super-involved volunteer at Elevation “Church”, a place pastored by cult-leading heretic Steven Furtick (quotes around the word “church” inserted by me). At the 26:43 mark of the episode (in a segment that begins at the 10:14 mark of the episode), Chris mentions the bullpen. Transitioning out of a discussion regarding standing up when Steven Furtick enters a room (yes you read that right), Chris begins talking about the bullpen. Here is my transcript of that episode includes what Chris said, what the podcast hosts said, and Rosebrough’s commentary. This information is rather revealing (bolding done by me):
Chris: That reminds me of one thing I definitely didn’t feel cool about at all at the beginning is one of the volunteer teams they were trying to get together was called the bullpen, where you were gonna go in the front row and you were supposed to be the most vocal of everyone. They said…
Rosebrough: Did you catch that? Yeah. Volunteers are supposed to go in the front row and they’re gonna be the most vocal. It’s called the bullpen!
Chris: if you’re a super like cheerer, hand raiser, like, your volunteer role was to be in the front row. Whether it was a live, you know, studio, or not…
Chris: whether he is on the screen or not, like, you need to be down there. And they, they tried to come like get me and a couple other, and I’m like, “Nah, that’s just not, I’m not gonna do that. That’s ok.” So I do remember that was probably one of the early things I was like, “Nah, I don’t feel comfortable about doing something like that.” But…
Host: That’s the same as implanted baptisms and things like that. So they’re trying to engineer situations that that show demonstrate things to the public, but it’s a little manipulative in the way that you’re you’re encouraging behavior that’s a little less then genuine from people like, you know what I mean, the people that are gonna wanna gravitate towards wanting to being in that bullpen…
Rosebrough: It’s totally fake. It’s staged. It’s manipulation.
Host: …toward the front, they’re gonna be rewarded for essentially fake behavior. Like, exaggerated and then how are you gonna stop that from just being fake and, you know it gets into all that stuff where, you’ve just, you’ve encouraged people to do something that’s almost dishonest at some point…
Both the podcast host, Rosebrough and perhaps even Chris agree that the bullpen is completely manipulative. Anytime you hear or watch a sermon with a lot of front-row cheerers, hand-raisers and enthusiastic folk who will just absolutely “ooh” and “ahh” everything the pastor says (even if what the pastor is spewing is unbiblical, narcissistic nonsense), you may be dealing with a bullpen the pastor has employed. This is not something a pastor should be employing. It is completely manipulative and dishonest.
In listening to/viewing Seeley’s sermon, has there been a noticeable amount of vocal people cheering for Seeley? I would say there has been, but what has Seeley said nearly halfway through his sermon? Aside from reading a couple biblical texts and preaching himself, not a whole lot. And yet, people are still vocal. People are cheering a lot. People are raising their hands. Seeley himself has added to the manipulation with his “turn to your neighbor” nonsense. Keep in mind that all this manipulation is happening during a Christmas sermon.
After 25 seconds of speaking more nonsense, Seeley preaches about his wife at about the 15:25 mark. He does this through about the 16 minute mark. He continues to both speak in the abstract and whip up the crowd/bullpen into a frenzy. At about the 17 minute mark, Seeley drops a “The Bible says” line that I think is worth analyzing alongside some other things he says before he begins preaching himself (again) at the 17:28 mark. I put something the bullpen audibly says in the background in red brackets in the following quote:
Joy actually gets unleashed when we begin to be generous. The Bible says it’s better to give than it is to receive. 2 Corinthians talks about when we bring our offerings to do so joyfully. Some of us in this room, we think, “Oh my God! It’s my money! Ahhh!” But when you change your posture [Come on!], and you realize, “Man I get to give from a place where I’ve received something that’s created joy, that’s made me joyful. So therefore I can give from a place of joy.”
Several things are worth observing in the above paragraph. First, observe the plethora of references to we, I, me, my, you and your (etc.). This is a narcissistic sermon. Second, it sounds like Seeley does drop an “Oh my God” bomb in that segment. In light of the irreverence and manipulation this sermon has had so far, it would not be a shocker if he indeed dropped that bomb. If he did, then this is outright blasphemy. Keep in mind again that this is happening in a Christmas sermon. Third, Seeley continues to not exegete from a biblical text. It is safe to say that the Heresy Two-step is in full swing in this sermon. Finally, where is the Gospel? There’s much law in that segment (giving, changing posture, etc.).
As Seeley begins preaching himself again, he makes mention of a “Pastor Alex” at the 17:37 mark and the 18:55 mark. That “Pastor Alex” would be Henry’s wife, Alex Seeley. God’s Word forbids women pastors (1 Timothy 2:9-3:13 and 1 Corinthians 14; Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio also offers insight from his review on Jory Micah, someone who doesn’t believe women are to be kept silent in the church). When consulting the text of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, pay attention to the fact that the very next chapter goes right into the qualifications of a pastor. How can a woman be a husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2)? Finally, consider the following two paragraphs from GotQuestions.org’s article on women pastors (said article being the first hyperlink in this paragraph):
Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, evangelism, and helping/serving. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).
God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3–5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them.
Women definitely play a vital role in ministry. However, being pastors goes beyond the role given to them in Scripture. By not calling his wife to repent of her being flagrantly disobedient to God’s Word via her being a pastor, Henry Seeley is demonstrating that he is not qualified to be a pastor himself.
At the 18:47 mark, Henry Seeley says something that is important to note. Keep in mind that by this time, he has engaged in psychological manipulation in various ways (the “turn to your neighbor” thing in addition to the bullpen), done the Heresy Two-step (twice at least), engaged in false doctrine, blasphemed God’s name via dropping an “OMG” bomb, and affirmed his wife’s being a pastor. This has been a narcissistic sermon on this Christmas day. Here is the quote:
All week I’ve been getting texts from people. Emails from people. Messages from people. After Pastor Alex’s message last week about us giving and being part of this miracle that God is doing here in our church with this building and people that are so excited. I mean, that’s a joy that doesn’t make sense to the world. You’re excited to give away? You’re excited to be gen, you’re excited to give your money? What kind of craziness is this? It’s because we realized we’ve received. We’ve joyfully received. And so we can joyfully give. We can joyfully be generous. Because guess what? It actually opens the door for more joy. More generosity. More joy. More generosity. More joy. More generosity. You see there is good news, there is great joy available to you today.
At this point, it would be craziness to give even a cent to Henry Seeley. To slap God’s name on what’s happening in their church with their building is absolutely blasphemous. There’s no way God’s fingerprint is on Seeley’s church; Seeley’s sermon is not even a biblical sermon. This Christmas sermon has been full of narcissism, Heresy Two-stepping, blasphemy, irreverence, psychological manipulation, preaching of self and affirmation of his wife’s flagrant rebellion to God’s Word. This all shows that Henry Seeley, again, is not qualified to be a pastor.
Seeley begins to preach himself again at about the 22:46 mark. He continues to do this through the 27:30 mark. Shortly before the 25 minute mark (roughly 24:55), Seeley says something interesting about something his wife did. Here is a noteworthy segment (bolding done by me):
And then one day, the Holy Spirit spoke to my wife, cuz I was off here having a pity party about things. He said, “Alex, you need to go and buy the most expensive flowers that you can. Take a basket, go and bless your neighbor.” And she began to tell me that. There’s a little war on the inside of me. Because my flesh is saying, things that I can’t say. In my flesh, I’m saying “No way! They don’t deserve us to love on them right now. They don’t deserve for us to be kind. They don’t deserve for us to do anything but cut them off, or cuss them out,” which I wouldn’t do. But, that’s in my flesh what I believed they deserved. And yet in my spirit I know I know that my wife’s got the revelation from heaven, but there’s a, there’s a wrestle in the flesh. But you know, she went and acted in obedience. It was crazy because it wasn’t like she was received in that moment. In fact, our neighbor took them and just put them down and didn’t really give us the time of day after that moment. And in my flesh, it made me even madder! And I was like, “See God! That was a waste of money! That was bad soil to invest in. We should’ve given that to the church! We should’ve give”, I mean, you know, you go through all these ridiculous things that seem so religious and pious in the moment, and God’s just saying, “Hey, I’m not done with this situation.”
Apparently Henry’s wife, Alex, gets direct revelation from God. Moreover, Henry is confident she has “the revelation from heaven.” Henry himself also talks back to God. He even yells at Him. This is purely irreverent arrogance. Moreover, claiming direct revelation from God (which is what his wife does here via claiming direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity) is a tacit denial of Sola Scriptura. Also, if God spoke “very clearly” to Alex, Alex and Henry should be able to discern what the voice of the Holy Spirit sounds like.
It is important to understand that God’s Word is all true, all powerful and without error (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; Psalm 12:6; John 17:17; Titus 1:2). Furthermore, God’s Word equips the believer for every good work, for it is sufficient for all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-9). Scripture is sufficient. Scripture alone is one’s authority for the faith and practice of a Christian. Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB) states:
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB)
Who is “His Son”? That would be Jesus Christ, God in human flesh (John 1:1-14). Jesus is the Word incarnate. Moreover, He has already revealed all the Christian needs to know as it pertains to life and godliness. As a result, we do not need this nonsense from the Seeley’s. It is irreverent, unbiblical, arrogant and blasphemous.
After wrapping up the story of self and his neighbor, Seeley turns his attention to the concept of supernatural love at about 27:30 mark. I start here in order to get good context because there is something I want to show in light of what I have already shown:
Do you realize that your generosity in love can change the atmosphere of the situation that you’re in? It can dictate. You see, so often, we allow ourselves to be dictated to by the situation, but do you realize that you have access to supernatural hope, supernatural joy, and supernatural love that can change the atmosphere of the situation that you’re in. Some of you are about to go and have family encounters over these next few days. Some of you are about to go visit family out of town or even have family come and stay with you in town, and you’re already dreading that because you know, based on track record, the outcome of some of the situations that are gonna unfold, the conversations that are gonna unfold, but can I encourage you, here in this place today, you have access to something that maybe they don’t. You have access to supernatural hope. You have access to supernatural joy. Even when you don’t feel like it, you can just make a decision ho ho, huh huh ho, ho huh huh ho, ohhhh I’m not enjoying this but huh huh. You have access to supernatural love. What if you could show up and begin to love on them when they least expect it.
“But you don’t know what they did to me. You don’t know how much they’ve hurt me. You don’t know the words they’ve said about me. You don’t know how my family’s ganged up against me. You don’t know they’ve pushed me out because of my.”
You know what friend, you have access to something that they don’t, and that is hope. That is joy. And that is love. And if you’ll operate in those things, I believe that you can change the very atmosphere that you’re walking into. What if this could be the Christmas that you look back and remember, “Man, Christmas 2019 was when everything changed because I showed up with supernatural joy, supernatural hope and supernatural love!”
I’ve already highlighted the fact that this is a very narcissistic sermon. The above paragraphs offer further proof of that. Observe also that of all the quotes I’ve transcribed up to this point, how many biblical texts has he engaged with outside of the readings I mentioned? He has not engaged with any. He has basically been Heresy Two-stepping his opinions during this entire narcissistic sermon. Third, observe the quid-pro-quo in the last paragraph. Seeley basically states that if one operates in supernatural love, joy and hope (whatever that means), he believes (notice that this is his opinion and not something exegeted from a biblical text) one can change the atmosphere one is “walking into.” That is law and not Gospel. Moreover, it eerily sounds of the unbiblical Word-Faith/Positive Confession nonsense.
Seeley continues to speak at and through the 30:11 mark. He does bring up Jesus’ name in this portion of the sermon. I also include one audible bullpen quote in red.
See Jesus didn’t just come in a manger so we could get a few presents. He came to change the world [that’s right]. And just like the childen of Israel who were looking for a Savior in a particular way, we so often are looking for Jesus to do the changing and He said, “You know what? I’m gonna come in seed form because I wanna leave you with seed and that seed is gonna come to fruition as you operate supernaturally to change the world around you.” You see, it’s gotta start with a decision on the inside. This Christmas is gonna be different than any other Christmas. This Christmas is gonna be different than any other Christmas. See Jesus, He came with good news and great joy. Great hope. Great love. And He came to save you and I. He came to redeem you and I. Even when we were nor worthy to be redeemed, He still came and redeemed us.
What biblical text states Jesus came to change the world? Last time I checked, Jesus Christ came to save sinners (Matthew 1:21; 1 Timothy 1:15; John 1:29). Moreover, salvation is a gift (a present, if you will; see Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23). Why does Seeley seemingly take a swipe at these “few presents”? Also, this talk of “it’s gotta start with a decision on the inside” smells of the Pelagian heresy/decision-theology. Finally, observe again the vaguery to conclude the above paragraph. What do we need saving from? What are we being redeemed from?
Where also does it state that Jesus said, “You know what? I’m gonna come in seed form because I wanna leave you with seed and that seed is gonna come to fruition as you operate supernaturally to change the world around you”? Seeley’s inability (or perhaps willful negligence) to engage with a biblical text during this Christmas sermon makes this sermon deplorable. I also am not a fan at all of this “seed form” language. It makes me wonder if he is a modalist. Consider the following paragraphs from this article on Modalism by Gotquestions.org:
Modalism and Monarchianism are two false views of the nature of God and of Jesus Christ that appeared in the second and third centuries AD. A modalist views God as one Person instead of three Persons and believes that the Father, Son, and Spirit are simply different modes or forms of the same divine Person. According to modalism, God can switch among three different manifestations. A Monarchian believes in the unity of God (the Latin word monarchiameant “single rule”) to the point that he denies God’s triune nature. Both modalism and Monarchianism inevitably hold to the doctrine of Patripassianism, the teaching that God the Father suffered on the cross with (or as) the Son, and are closely related to Sabellianism.
Monarchianism took two primary forms, Dynamic (or Adoptionist) Monarchianism and Modalistic Monarchianism. Dynamic Monarchianism started with an errant view of the nature of Jesus, specifically, that He was not God but was, at His baptism, empowered by God to do the wonders He did. Modalistic Monarchianism, on the other hand, took the modalistic view that Jesus was God, but only by virtue of the fact that Jesus was one of God’s “manifestations.” According to Monarchianism, the Logos of God has no separate, personal existence of its own. The biblical terms Father, Son, and Spirit are only different names for the same Person, according to the Monarchian…..
A form of Monarchianism still exists today in Oneness Pentecostalism. In oneness theology, which is anti-Trinitarian, there are no distinctions among the Persons of the Godhead. Jesus is God, but He is also the Father and the Spirit. In a slight deviation from ancient modalism, Oneness Pentecostals teach that God is able to manifest Himself in all three “modes” simultaneously, such as at Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3:22.
The Bible presents God as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), but then speaks of three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). How these two truths harmonize is inconceivable to the human mind. When we attempt to understand the inscrutable, we will always fail to varying degrees. But Scripture is plain: God exists in three co-eternal, co-equal Persons. Jesus prayed to His Father (Luke 22:42) and now sits on the right hand of the Father in heaven (Hebrews 1:3). The Father and the Son sent the Spirit into the world (John 14:26; 15:26). Modalism and the more specific Modalistic Monarchianism are theologically dangerous because they attack the very nature of God. Any teaching that does not acknowledge God as three distinct Persons is unbiblical.
While I do not believe there is enough information to convict Seeley of being a modalist, his not engaging with a biblical text during this sermon clearly leaves him susceptible to saying such questionable language as “seed form” as it pertains to Jesus Christ and perhaps even the Holy Spirit.
Seeley continues at the 30:38 mark:
It’s in the Old Testament, the Father gave His children, the guidelines the instructions on how to live their lives in a way that would honor Him that, in a way that would result in their lives being blessed. But it became apparent that mankind in and of ourselves were not able to fulfill the law so, God stepped in when we were unable to fulfill that Law. He sent His Son not to eradicate the law but to fulfill the law on our behalf. See, the Law still stood but now it was not on us. It was on Jesus, and because of what Jesus did, He died upon the cross, but He didn’t just stay dead. He rose again 3 days later and, you know, that might be the message that you’re used to hearing at Easter and, you know, “Can’t we just keep it to the bit about the manger and the shepherds and all the nice stuff,” but you know what friends, you cannot have the birth of Jesus without the death and the resurrection of Jesus. See, He came for a purpose. He came for a reason. He came and died for you and I so that we can receive salvation.
While Seeley begins to say some stuff that is correct, he continues to not engage with the biblical texts in his theologizing. Moreover, he is still vague. Why do we need salvation? What is the significance of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection within the context of this overly narcissistic sermon?
Seeley continues at the 31:52 mark:
Maybe you’re here in this place today and you don’t know, you don’t even understand what that means. You realize that you and I, left to our own devices, we will lose ourselves in sin. You might be here in this place and you just can’t help but do some of the bad things that are going on in your life. You just can’t get out of that cycle. You just find yourself being drawn to it over and over and over again I wanna give you hope this morning friends because Jesus came to give you hope, that because of what He did for you upon that cross. You don’t have to stay bound to sin any longer. You don’t have to stay bound to that darkness and that depravity any longer. There is freedom available for you today through what Jesus has done. But you know what? It wasn’t just about salvation. It wasn’t just about redeeming you man. If I can receive salvation I could just hang on ’til I, you know, until I die and go to heaven because then at least there will be an eternity. No. He didn’t just come to give you a quick access to eternity. He came to give you life and life to the full! John 15 says that we have life and life to the full. We have access to it at least.
As mentioned earlier, people are born dead in trespasses and sins. They don’t just “lose” themselves “in sin”; they’re born in it. And what is it with Seeley’s seemingly taking subtle swipes at “just about salvation”? Did Jesus Christ chastise the thief on the cross because he basically only got salvation (Luke 23:16-49)? Finally, Seeley gets the text about “life to the full” wrong; the text more relevant to his mediocre exposition (if you can even call it exposition) is John 10:10. However, he has ripped the verse out of context. Moreover, he did not even quote the verse in full. John 9:1-10:21 (NASB) helps explain what John 10:10 means:
9 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9 Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” He *said, “I do not know.”
13 They *brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they *said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”
18 The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19 and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.”25 He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28 They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
19 A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”
Here, Seeley has done what I have seen various pastors do to John 10:10; they twist the passage to promote the abundant life (or in this case, life to the full, which is basically the same thing). The reality is the thief in John 10:10 (whom Seeley did not even bother to mention) is the false teacher. It is not Satan. This is why I started at John 9:1 for context. Jesus Christ is the good shepherd who cares for the sheep. The hireling sees the wolf and flees, for he cares nothing about the sheep. I’ll come back to this concept later.
Seeley concludes his sermon at the 33 minute mark through about the 35 minute mark:
And yet, how often do we, we have life in one area but it feels like death in another area. We have life over here in this part of my spiritual, you know, part of my, my life but then I, you know, it’s like my, you know my business is falling apart or my finances are falling apart or my children are falling apart or my marriage or whatever it is. Friend, life is not just limited to the spiritual side of things. There is a life that results in every area of your life having access to real life. Life to the full. Life that is abundant. If there’s areas in your life this morning that you say, “You know what? That’s not my reality.” It doesn’t need to stay that way. You know why? Cause there’s good news. There’s great joy. There’s great hope. There’s great love and there is life in Jesus. There is life for you in Jesus. See, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” We all know that verse, but so often we don’t read on into verse 17 which says this, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” See Jesus didn’t come to condemn you. Maybe you’ve grown up your whole life feeling like the church has condemned you. Or feeling like your viewpoint of God is that He is one that would condemn you and shut you down one to, to be looking out for your faults and all the things that you’ve done wrong, but friend that’s the lie of the enemy. See, God didn’t send His Son to condemn you; He sent Jesus to die on your behalf so that you could be free. He sent Jesus so that you could be liberated and redeemed from the curse of sin.
I appreciate the fact Seeley read John 3:16-17. He did not twist John 3:16 like I have seen some “pastors” do. What he should have done was continue to read and expound upon this outstanding passage. Moreover, if he spent his time in John 3:1-21 (the fuller context of Jesus’ teaching Nicodemus), this could have made for a good Christmas sermon. I’d like to show John 3:1-21 (NASB), for that passage will refute some of Seeley’s nonsense from this sermon.
3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Seeley’s sermon was a wrath-less message. Why didn’t he read onward to verse 21? Perhaps it does not fit his wrath-less, non-confrontational, unbiblical views of sin, repentance and even faith. Moreover, earlier in the message, he made mention of something starting with a “decision on the inside.” What he seemingly does not understand is that one must be born again (John 3;3; see also John 1:9-12). Seeley seems to put a lot of weight on the free will of man.
Seeley concludes his sermon as follows. The ending does appear a bit abrupt, but that is how it happened on both the video and the podcast.
What if the world could understand that God is not about condemning but setting free? What if we could be a people that could operate in joy and hope and love? So generously that the world would realize that God’s not sending His Son to condemn them, but to set them free. To liberate us. To set us free of the curse of sin.
It is true that God does not wish for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). Having stated that, not everybody is saved (see Matthew 25:31-46 for an example). Moreover, Seeley’s explanation of sin is simply mediocre and in the abstract. There is no sense of urgency here. It’s basically a dispensing of information.
Overall, this Christmas sermon was an irreverent and narcissistic abomination. Some of the reasons this is so is because Seeley:
- Spent more time talking about himself and his wife instead of Jesus Christ
- Heresy Two-stepped away from the two biblical texts he read early in the message
- used liberal language
- blasphemed the name of God with both his “OMG” bomb and false doctrine
- affirmed his wife’s being a pastor
- affirmed his wife’s claiming direct revelation from God (going so far as to state she gets the revelation from heaven)
- engaged in stupid pastor tricks
- enlisted the help of a bullpen (a form of psychological manipulation and dishonesty)
- omitted the key concepts of repentance and faith
- omitted God’s wrath and holiness
- twisted John 10:10
- took subtle swipes at the “few presents” that Jesus Christ gives
There was no sense of urgency in this sermon. There was a lot of law (things to do) and not a whole lot of Gospel (things that are done). While he did read John 3:16-17, what sense does that passage make in the context of this irreverent and narcissistic sermon? Moreover, how did all that narcissistic nonsense happen on a Christmas sermon?
Think of it this way; imagine you are a person who has been going through a bunch of medical tests. The latest test is not a good one. In fact, you are told to get your affairs in order and you have a week to live. You are not a Christian. In fact, you’ve lived the life of an unrepentant sinner. You need some Good News, for you will be dead in a week.
Say you come to Seeley’s church on this Christmas of 2019. You’re in need of hope. Did you really get it from this message? Does the Gospel passage he read make sense in light of such an irreverent, blasphemous, narcissistic, me-centered “sermon”? Did anyone come to repentance and faith as a result of either coming to that service in-person or viewing online? This is something to think about.
A SHEPHERD OR SOMETHING ELSE
While this article reviewed only one sermon by Henry Seeley, so much narcissistic, blasphemous, irreverent, unbiblical nonsense was packed into that Christmas “sermon” that it should be reasonable to conclude that Henry Seeley is a bit of a false teacher and a blasphemer. What I want to do in this section is look at another area that shows he is not biblically qualified to be a pastor. What I have shown in my sermon review should be enough information to warrant his getting defrocked from a pulpit. Sadly, him and his flagrantly disobedient wife hold court at the church they lead, so I don’t expect him to be defrocked anytime soon. This won’t be quite the “at-length” review that my sermon review was. Instead, the analysis attempts to take somewhat of a midpoint between a birds-eye view and an at-length review.
This section is two-pronged. First, I look at some of the teachers/pastors that Henry Seeley has had speak at The Belonging Co.. I then look at one instance in which he spoke at a church that is in flagrant disobedience to God’s Word.
A. SPEAKERS AT THE BELONGING CO.
Earlier in this article, I showed the text of John 9:1-10:21. In that text, it shows that the hireling shepherd is one who both cares nothing for the sheep & leaves the sheep and flees when he sees the wolf coming. Another text to consider in this matter is Acts 20:17-38 (NASB):
17 From Miletus he sent word to Ephesus and called to himself the elders of the church. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them,
“You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was beneficial, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that chains and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of God’s grace.
25 “And now behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.26 Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all people. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore, be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I entrust 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. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes.34 You yourselves know that these hands served my own needs and the men who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And they all began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.
Shepherds (pastors) are to be on guard for all the flock. While the context shows that wolves will come in from amongst the congregation, the shepherd still needs to protect the sheep from wolves and other false teachers, for Christ purchased the church with His own blood. He should not run when the wolf comes. He should not abandon his post when the wolf comes. Given that, it should be reasonable for Henry Seeley, a person with the title of pastor, to guard the pulpit at his church, right?
If you go to the “videos” section of the Youtube Channel of The Belonging Co., you find presumably the church’s sermons for about the last seven months (the channel debuted in January 2020, hence presumably the small selection). Obviously, this section has sermons by both Henry and Alex Seeley. However, it also has sermons done at the church (or perhaps affiliated with the church due to COVID-19) by other people. These other people include Chris Durso, Paul Bergin, David McCracken, Christine Caine and Robert Madu. I don’t have any information on Durso or Bergin. Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith has done some work on both McCracken and Madu. In my notes I took of three sermon reviews that Rosebrough did of McCracken, I noted that McCracken does the following things amongst the three:
- whips the crowd up into a frenzy (a form of psychological manipulation)
- narcigetes biblical texts (more on that later)
- rips Bible verses out of context
- spews vain imaginations from his mind (rather than good exegesis of a biblical text)
- claims direct revelation from God (a tacit denial of Sola Scriptura)
- employs a bullpen (a form of psychological manipulation)
- twists and misapplies God’s Word
Those obviously are not good things. Moreover, there is a bit of overlap between the stuff McCracken does (per my notes) and the stuff Henry Seeley does (per my sermon review). Seeley, as a pastor, is supposed to be protecting his church from wolves, not exposing the church to them. By not exposing the deeds of darkness these wolves perform (Ephesians 5:11), Seeley is not doing his job as a pastor.
For those not familiar with the term “narcigete”, that term is derived from the word “narcigesis.” The term “narcigesis”, to my knowledge, was coined by a listener of Pastor Chris Rosebrough’s program Fighting For The Faith in early 2012 when Rosebrough’s program was strictly a podcast. The term “narcigesis” combines the words “narcissism” and “eisegesis.” Narcissism involves a love of self. Eisegesis means reading into the biblical text stuff that is not there. Therefore, “narcigesis” involves the reading of self into the biblical text. This is not something a pastor should be doing at all. Moreover, a pastor should not let narcigetes preach at his pulpit. Seeley’s doing this in the example with David McCracken is not a good thing.
There is one person amongst the five aforementioned guest speakers that I have yet to comment on; that would be Christine Caine. Earlier this summer, I reviewed a book by Caine called Unshakeable. In my review, I noted that that book was a mess of “dishonestly/inaccurately cited passages, blasphemies, false teachings, irreverence, narcissism (something I didn’t cover due to the extensive coverage of the other issues), victimhood (another issue not covered) and a denial of Sola Scriptura.” One of those blasphemies was an egregious and inexcusable misapplication of Isaiah 49:1. Here is an excerpt from that book review explaining the significance of the misapplication:
The final weakness I briefly analyze is Caine’s blasphemies in this book. Perhaps the worst of them all takes place on the “April 19” entry. In the last half of the second paragraph through part of the start of the third paragraph, Caine states the following:
…When I think about my own story, especially about learning in my early thirties that I was adopted, I honestly believed that I avoided years of grief, anger, resentment, confusion, and even therapy because I knew the Word: when I saw my birth certificate for the first time, and it said I was unnamed, I knew God’s Word says He called me before I was born and from my mother’s womb He spoke my name (Isaiah 49:1).
When your sense of identity is challenged, you’ll find sure defense by fully grasping who you are in Christ — who you are in His Word.
I do want to acknowledge Caine’s being candid about her finding out in her thirties that she was adopted. Her being candid in this book is the only thing she has going for her in this book. Having stated that, I cannot ignore the utter blaspheming she does when she claims Isaiah 49:1 for herself. If she knew the Word as she claims in that paragraph, she would not have engaged in such an egregious blasphemy. It is important to understand Isaiah 49:1 in its context. For context’s sake, I look at Isaiah 49:1-13 (NASB):
Listen to Me, O islands,
And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.
2 He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me;
And He has also made Me a select arrow,
He has hidden Me in His quiver.
3 He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”
4 But I said, “I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord,
And My reward with My God.”
5 And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be HisServant,
To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him
(For I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
And My God is My strength),
6 He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
7 Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One,
To the despised One,
To the One abhorred by the nation,
To the Servant of rulers,
“Kings will see and arise,
Princes will also bow down,
Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”
8 Thus says the Lord,
“In a favorable time I have answered You,
And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
9 Saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
Along the roads they will feed,
And their pasture will be on all bare heights.
10 “They will not hunger or thirst,
Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion on them will lead them
And will guide them to springs of water.
11 “I will make all My mountains a road,
And My highways will be raised up.
12 “Behold, these will come from afar;
And lo, these will come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”
13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth!
Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people
And will have compassion on His afflicted.
You will notice the words “My” and “Me” are capitalized throughout that passage. In the NASB version (as well as other versions like the NKJV), you find instances in which words like “Me”, “My” or “Word” are capitalized. Those instances indicate titles for Jesus. In the Isaiah passage (going as far as Isaiah 57:21), the frequent capitalizations are in regards to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Caine, however, takes this beautiful passage and applies it to herself. This is utter blasphemy. Furthermore, it is obvious in light of this blasphemy and her other problems with this book that she has no idea about who is the central figure of the Bible. The Bible is not about her. The Bible is not about me. The Bible is about Jesus Christ (John 5:39-45; John 20:31).
Christine Caine is an obvious blasphemer. Despite that fact, Henry Seeley let her give the 2020 Mother’s Day sermon for his congregation. That is an egregious and inexcusable error for a pastor.
Now, you may be wondering, “But what if Christine Caine has repented? Maybe she is no longer a blasphemer.” That is a fair question to ask. Having stated that, here is something to consider: by preaching a sermon, Caine (as well as Henry’s wife Alex) are both in flagrant disobedience of God’s Word. As I mentioned earlier in this article, women are not supposed to be pastors. They are not to usurp authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:11-3:7; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35). Moreover, this type of restriction is not limited to the first century. In a book I reviewed by David W. Cloud, I noted how Cloud refuted the false doctrine of women preachers in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement. He gave eight reasons for why this is so. Here is an excerpt from that review (pp. 316-318 of the first edition of the book The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements: The History and Error) :
First, Paul’s letter to Corinth, in which he spoke of women being in subjection to men, was for all Christians, not just those in Corinth (“with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours,” 1 Cor. 1:2). It is clear that Paul’s instructions were not intended merely for some peculiar situation at Corinth.
Second, Paul said that his instructions in 1 Corinthians 14 are the commandments of the Lord (v. 37). As such, they must be obeyed by all Christians and by every church. These were not Paul’s own opinions and prejudices. And one of these commandments was this: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (1 Cor. 14:34).
Third, the apostle said that the instructions of 1 Corinthians 14 are a test of spirituality. (1 Cor. 14:37). Those who reject the teaching of 1 Corinthians 14 concerning a woman’s role in the church prove that they are unspiritual.
Fourth, 1 Timothy, which contains the rule that the woman cannot teach nor usurp authority over the man, was written to teach the proper order for churches in general. “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).
Fifth, the things contained in 1 Timothy are to be kept until Jesus returns (1 Tim. 6:13-14).
Sixth, in giving the instructions about women in the church, the Holy Spirit referred to the original order of creation — Adam was created first, then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13-14). The man was created to lead and the woman was created as his helper. Since the order of creation has not changed and since it does not change in any culture or century, we know that the instructions about the woman’s role in the church still apply to us today.
Seventh, Paul referred to the fall to support his teaching on the Christian woman’s subjection to the man (1 Tim. 2:14). Again, this shows that the apostle’s teaching about the woman transcends any one culture or time.
Eighth, Paul referred to human nature to support his teaching regarding women (“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression,” 1 Tim. 2:14). The woman has a different makeup than the man. She was designed for a different role in life — that of a wife and mother. Her emotional, psychological, and rational makeup is geared perfectly for this, but she was not designed for leadership. In the Garden of Eden, the devil deceived her. Adam also sinned, but he was not deceived. Eve allowed herself to be thrust into a position of decision-making she was not supposed to occupy. It is no coincidence that women have been responsible for starting many of the false Christian movements and have played key roles in Spiritism, new age, mind science Colts, Seventh-day Adventism, and such. Human nature has not changed and neither has God’s restrictions against women preachers.
It is clear that Christine Caine (and even Alex Seeley, Henry’s wife) is in flagrant disobedience to God’s Word. Moreover, it is clear that Henry Seeley is not doing his job as a pastor in allowing blasphemers and women to preach at his pulpit. These are the actions of a hireling shepherd that has no problem letting wolves devour the congregation. These are not the actions of a biblically qualified pastor.
B. ABLE TO EXHORT IN SOUND DOCTRINE AND REFUTE WHAT CONTRADICTS IT
On December 11, 2019, Henry Seeley preached at a church called Fearless L.A. This place is pastored by both Jeremy Johnson and his wife, Christy Johnson. The “videos” section of the Youtube channel of Fearless L.A. shows that Christy has preached at the church on multiple occasions. Furthermore, even the graphics on one of her sermons labels her as a “lead pastor.” I have already explained at length multiple times why God’s Word forbids women pastors. This is a prime opportunity for Seeley to both preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins & call the Johnsons to repent and be forgiven of their flagrant disobedience of God’s Word.
The video is preceded by an introduction by David Turner, a youth pastor at that church. He claims the message Seeley gives will impact the viewer “in a powerful way.” He encourages the viewer (and I’m paraphrasing here a bit) to share the video and get the “word out about what God is doing through Fearless here in L.A.” (emphasis mine). Already I have a problem with this overall video because of the introduction. Recall that Fearless L.A. is pastored by both a man and a woman. Turner tacks God’s name on to what is happening at the church. That is blasphemy, for God (and I know I’m being repetitive here) forbids women pastors. This is not a good start. Having stated that, I’m not going to fully dismiss the video based on the blasphemous introduction. I have to analyze (albeit briefly) what Seeley does and does not do in this sermon.
Seeley begins the sermon, titled “This Is How I Fight My Battles”, at about the 58 second mark.
The screen shows that Seeley reads from Exodus 14:5-25. He reads from the NIV. In my sermon review of Seeley’s Christmas sermon, I noted how Seeley reads the texts in full while omitting/changing certain words (for whatever reason). In this instance, he does read the text. However, he goes on a tangent after reading verses 7, 9, 14 and 18. I’m not sure why he does that. He also does omit the words “against Egypt” in verse 25.
As for commonalities between this sermon and the Christmas sermon I reviewed, I observed that Seeley:
- spent more time talking about himself than Jesus Christ
- Heresy Two-stepped away from the passage he read (although he did not really noticeably key in on any words repetitively compared to the Christmas sermon)
- used liberal language (much more so in this message)
- blasphemed the name of God with both his “OMG” bomb (around the 37 minute mark) and his false, manmade, narcissistic doctrine throughout the message
- engaged in stupid pastor tricks (turn to your neighbor and say “the last watch of the night” – 7:45 mark)
- enlisted the help of a bullpen (a form of psychological manipulation and dishonesty)
- omitted the key concepts of repentance and faith (one brief mention of the word “repent” at the 11 minute mark does not count as calling people to repent and be forgiven)
- denies Sola Scriptura (this time via his own claims to direct revelation from God)
- talks back to God
At no point did Seeley mention anything about the forgiveness of sins. At no point did he call the Johnsons to repent and be forgiven of their flagrant disobedience of God’s Word. At no point did he even read a Gospel passage (like he did in the Christmas sermon). Worse, Seeley positively cited heretic Jentezen Franklin at about the 42:08 mark by calling him an “incredible preacher of the Word.” Pastor Chris Rosebrough has done no less than twenty-six biblical critiques on Franklin. I have taken notes on no less than seven of them. The reality is that Jentezen Franklin is not an “incredible preacher of the Word” as Seeley claims; instead, Franklin is a narcissistic, Word-Faith, Bible-twisting heretic who has no clue on who is the main character of the Bible. This is more evidence showing that Seeley is a hireling shepherd who cares nothing about the sheep. Moreover, any person dead in his/her trespasses and sins with a week to live found no hope in this abomination of a message.
In closing this section, Henry Seeley is a hireling shepherd: his letting wolves preach at his pulpit, his refusing to call erring pastors/people to repent and be forgiven, and his positive citation of heretics show that he has no problem letting wolves devour his congregation. These are not the behaviors of a biblically qualified pastor. These are the behaviors of a discern-less hireling shepherd who cares absolutely nothing about the sheep.
LIMITATIONS TO THIS POST
Earlier in this article, I mentioned how Seeley’s own website shows him as having been a worship leader for over 20 years. This article did not review any songs he wrote. Since Seeley is technically a pastor, I critiqued Seeley as a pastor, not as a worship leader. It is possible that Seeley’s songs could be orthodox and somewhat reverent despite the fact his sermons are both abominable and not the least bit reverent. Even if that was the case, it only proves that a broken clock is right twice a day. The information I have on both his sermons and his conduct as a pastor should be sufficient enough to label him as one to be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17).
If there is anything to appreciate from Henry Seeley, it is the fact he reads biblical texts to start his sermons (at least the two I reviewed). I have had the opportunity to review a wide variety of sermons. Some pastors (if you can even call them that) don’t even read the Word at all during sermon time. Seeley does (albeit briefly at the start), and I appreciate that. Unfortunately, both his preaching self and his not engaging at all with the biblical texts after reading them gets in the way of his potentially being a decent expositor. If he would simply both stick to the texts and get away from himself and all his stories, his sermons could be so much better. If he could preach Jesus Christ instead of himself, his sermons could be so much better (see 2 Corinthians 4). Then again, that might stop the growth of his church (but that’s for another day).
At this time, Henry Seeley needs to get out of the pulpit, for his sermons right now are an abomination and he is not biblically qualified to be pastor. Since he has success in the music industry (as advertised by winning a Grammy award), he should really consider both shutting down The Belonging Co. (for it is a cesspool of narcissism, irreverence and heresy) and focusing his attention solely in the music field (independent of Contemporary Christian Music) in an effort to both continue his success there and (if doable) provide for his family. At this rate as a pastor, he is going to continue to:
- preach heresy
- Heresy Two-step biblical texts
- blaspheme God’s name
- preach himself
- deny the sufficiency of Scripture
- use liberal language
- promote/endorse heretics
- omit critical concepts such as repentance and faith (among others)
- engage in irreverent, manipulative behavior
Seeley will have to give an account for all the above things he is doing, for pastors do come under stricter judgment (James 3:1; see also Hebrews 13:17). Pray he repents and receives forgiveness for his not fulfilling his pastoral duties, for Jesus Christ has even bled and died for those sins.
NOTE: I sent this post to Henry Seeley’s website https://www.henryseeley.com/contact. I also asked him some questions. The contact form asked for a phone number and an email. While I provided my email, I did not provide my real phone number (the contact form required a phone number). I did state in my message that I could provide my phone number if needed.
I also tweeted this post. I tagged Seeley in it even though it seems he has not been active on Twitter for about a couple months.
Again, this post was done at the request of another. I don’t do these posts regularly (otherwise these posts would be all I would do, for there are a PLETHORA of teachers/pastors out there). I do believe it is biblical to compare what people are saying in the Name of God to the Word of God (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). Above all, pray for those I critique. Pray for me as well. If you disagree with anything I have written, please make your case biblically. If I am wrong, I will repent and I will hope you forgive me.
Thank you again and God bless.