We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

If You Go Wrong In Your Doctrine…

One of the first things you are to learn in this Christian life and warfare is that, if you go wrong in your doctrine, you will go wrong in all aspects of your life.  You will probably go wrong in your practice and behaviour; and you will certainly go wrong in your experience.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13,” pg.113

Monday, May 23, 2016

Culture of Deception in Counterfeit Religions

On 14 May, while at the EMNR apologetics conference in Palatine, IL, we attended this workshop class with teacher Joel B. Groat, who is Director of Ministries for EMNR.  The following are taken from the powerpoint presentation.

A.  Counterfeits want to be accepted as “Christian,” yet they deny or reject the following:

> Christian view of the Bible as the Unique, Final and Infallible Word of God.
> Christian/biblical concept of God
> Christian/biblical teaching on Jesus
> Christian/biblical teaching on salvation

This is what makes them “counterfeit.”

B.  Culture of Counterfeits

> Friendly
> Family oriented
> Church focused
> Doubt intolerant
> Persecution sensitive
> Deception tolerant

C.  Unique Components of Counterfeit Religions

> Culture of Novel Exclusivism: One and only true church.

> Culture of Organizational Truth:  Group as only source of truth or correct interpretation.

> Culture of Membership:  Only members “get it.”

> Culture of Authority:  Only leaders provide truth.

> Culture of Insider Language:  You think you know what I mean.

> Culture of Deception:  Protect the group at any cost.

D.  Why a Culture of Deception?

> Tied closely to the other cultural elements

> If the religion is “the one and only true” then it occupies a special place on the religious landscape.

> If you only get all the unique benefits by being a member, then getting people to join is essential.

> If the leaders (authority) are the only reliable source of truth then they are always right and their reputations must be defended.

> If you are using insider language and familiar terms that are redefined by leaders to gain acceptance and trust you must keep outsiders from discerning the differences.

> The only way to successfully accomplish all this is through extensive deception and manipulation.

> Deception is justified because it is for the good of both the deceiver (the organization) and the deceived (members and potential converts).

E.  How Should We View Counterfeits?

>  People first, religion second

> Fellow image bearers of God

> Part of a culture of deception and therefore capable of deceit and dishonesty

> Deceived and in need of truth

> Lost and in need of compassionate boldness

F. Responding to a Culture of Deception

>  Beam before speck — make sure we are modeling honesty first

> Clarify carefully:  “So you are saying that …”

>  Question rather than accuse:  “So do you believe your church teaches …?”

>  If what you are saying is not true, would you want to know it?

> Express hurt rather than anger in response to lies and deception

> Express concern for the state of their relationship with God

> Kneel for them, don’t Nail them

>  Be prepared to create spiritual need for repentance and faith.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Don’t Let Evil Depress or Discourage You

Turn now to another category — depression and discouragement.  This is one of the most remarkable manifestations of the activity of the devil.  He does it with non-Christians as well as with Christians.  He depresses the mind.  He does it generally by making us concentrate overmuch on ourselves.  He keeps us looking at ourselves and examining ourselves, always looking at the past, at something we did in the past which we should not have done.  He will keep us looking back until we are utterly depressed.  We doubt whether we are forgiven, we doubt whether we are children of God, we feel unworthy, we feel unclean, we feel out lives are a failure.  That we become miserable and unhappy, causes the devil to rejoin, for he is able to say, “There is a typical Christian! that is your Christianity!”  Cannot you see that this is an aspect of the wiles of the devil?  How wrong it all is!  And how we ought to detect it!  You have no right to remain in such a depression, because you are assured by God’s own word that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  He is a God who heals the backslider; He is a God who receives back the prodigal son.  “The past shall be forgotten, a present joy be given.”  You have no right to look back; you have no right to be perpetually looking within; you have no right to be depressed.  If you are depressed, you are merely succumbing to the influence of the evil.  Depression, discouragement, a sense of failure, a sense of utter and complete hopelessness, are generally the result of the devil’s activities.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13,” pg.90-91

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Devil Is Real

What I cannot understand is a man who does believe in God but who does not believe in the devil.  What I cannot understand is a man who gets up in his church and says, “I believe in the Holy Ghost” and then regards the devil as a joke!  “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” but he does not believe in evil spirits.  Such a man is utterly inconsistent.  He says he believes in a spiritual realm, but he only believes in one half of it; he does not believe in the other half.  What is involved here is our whole attitude towards the spiritual realm that is above us and outside us.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13,” pg. 49

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

Lots of stuff today, for another rocky ride; hold on to your hats!

First up, Is the Bible Full of Contradictions?  It’s a 53 minute video.

Gary E. Gilley did a three-part examination of the emerging church back in 2006.  You can read this series here, here, and here.

Discernment diagnostics — some good tests!

Anna McCarthy — another blogger pretending to be a Christian with good advice.  She’s certainly one to avoid!

I can certainly empathize!

More proof that the Pope is a false teacher and a disgrace to the Christian faith.

Thousands of conversions”?!?!  Conversions to what? These charismaniacs keep regurgitating the same false revivals with the same false “signs and wonders.”  People are so gullible — which is very sad.

This should be a no-brainer.  A pastor who commits adultery should never be in the pulpit — or any leadership position — again.

So why does Tim Keller allow this man to remain on staff?

The false apostles of the NAR — another good episode from Doug Evans

The greed of the top false prophet of the NAR is putrid.

I never cared for Oswald Chambers’ devotionals/teachings because I found them to be mostly fluff.  Yes, he had some good worldview things to say, and I would have no problem sharing some citations from him, but I could never recommend him as a teacher.  Now I can explain why.  (Steve Bricker also has an example of problems with Chambers.)

Are you guilty of “confirmation bias”?

SBC president Ronnie Floyd is at it again.  Why does the SBC not throw him out?

The Proclamation Magazine now has an on-line pdf version (for those unaware, this magazine is by ex-SDA members and has some really good articles about the SDA, as well as some articles of general interest for Christians).  Some good information about Ellen White and changes the Seventh-day Adventists are making to more-or-less hide how they see her teachings and “prophecies,” as well as an examination of the Hebrew Roots Movement’s cultic false teachings. (SDA members literally HATE this magazine and viciously attack it — they hate the truth.)

I don’t think I’ve posted this before, but it is a perfect example of the false teachings of Beth Moore.  And now she’s promoting “binding prayers”!

More apostasy from the Church by the Glades.

If the leadership of the United Methodist Church had done their jobs, and if they WOULD do their jobs, the invasion of that denomination by sexual perverts would never have taken place.  But the UMC has chosen the way of the social gospel and has even put women in the pulpits, both in violation of Scripture.  They deserve what they get for their apostasy.

Steve Chalke long ago was swayed to the “dark side,” and will now perform same-sex fake marriages.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Bugle Call for War

Surely nothing has done so much harm to the true doctrine of sanctification as what are generally described as “devotional talks.”  It is a part of this same “nice teaching” — quiet devotional talks, with simple affecting illustrations!  But that is not what the Apostle is talking about.  What we have here is the exact opposite.  We have a martial atmosphere, we have a rousing, stimulating call.  It is a trumpet call — “BE STRONG IN THE LORD, AND IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT.  PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD.”  Do you not hear the bugle, and the trumpet?  It is a call to battle; we are being roused, we are being stimulated we are being set upon our feet; we are told to be men.  The whole tone is martial, it is manly, it is strong.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13,” pg. 21-22

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

God’s Communication to Us Is In Scripture

When God did speak in Scripture, whether directly or through His prophets, He did so with audible words.  You will search in vain for some inner voice from God speaking to the heart of His people.  Nor will you find God communicating through prompting hunches.  No one said, “I feel the Lord leading me to do such and such.”  No one said, “I have the peace of God in this decision.”  In other words, God’s people have created a means of communication from God not found in the Bible.  God never spoke in this fashion in Scripture, but we now are to believe that this is the norm for today.

Gary E. Gilley, Pastor, Southern View Chapel, Springfield, IL, in “Thing on These Things” teaching letter, September 2005, pg.5 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Where I’ve Been

At 0720 Friday morning my wife and I headed out on a 5-hr drive to Palatine, IL, for an apologetics conference put on by Evangelical Ministries to New Religions.  The conference began at 1400 and lasted until 2100, then resumed at 0800 Saturday, ending at 1830.

To give you an idea of what was taught, here are the plenary sessions, with the first two being on Friday:

1. Testimony by Eric Pement

2. Norm Geisler: “Mission Impossible: Proclaiming the Unchanging Word to a Changing World.”

3.  Jay Hess: “Adam, Eve and the Trinity”

4.  Marcia Montenegro: “Is There a Mind in Mindfulness?”

5.  L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr:  “Burning Down the Embassy”

There were five “Workshop” sessions, where we could interact with the teachers; two on Friday and three on Saturday.  The topics were as follows (those we attended are in red):

Workshop 1: 
1.  Andre Traversa:  Hard Head, Soft Heart:  My Escape from the cult of Urantia.

2.  Steve Lagoon:  Jehovah’s Witnesses and the early Christian Church on War.

3.  Jim Valentine:  Some Casualties of Ellen White’s Sinless Perfection Teaching

4.  Collin Brendemuehl:  Ecclesiology, the Doctrine Taken for Granted, or What is the Church and Why Does That Make any Difference?

Workshop 2:
1.  Melissa Bramer:  Through the Eyes of a Child.

2.  Marcia Montenegro:  Astrology and the Age of Aquarius: New Age Spiritual (R)Evolution.

3.  Tim Martin:  Is Joyce Meyer a Word-Faith Teacher?

4.  Bill McKeever:  The Gospel Topics Essays: What are they and how are they affecting Mormons?

Workshop 3:
1.  Andrew Ferrier:  Crash Course in Jewish Evangelism.

2.  Joel Groat: The Culture of Deception in Counterfeit Religions.

3.  Pablo Herrera:  Youth Discipleship:  The Role of the Family and the Church.

Workshop 4:
1.  Jay Hess:  Identifying and Responding to Cultic Thinking.

2.  Janice Lyons:  The Daniel Plan: A Diet for the Mind, Body and Spirit . . . Or Maybe Not.

3.  Dave Clark:  The Seven Mountain Mandate and the New Apostolic Reformation, with the Rest of the Story.

4.  Bill McKeever:  A Christian Response to Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage.

Workshop 5:
1.  Tim Martin:  Andrew Wommack’s Worldwide Word-Faith Impact.

2.  Joel Groat:  Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses at Your Door?  Impact them with Five Simple Steps.

3.  Rafael Martinez:  Of Blue Cheese and Cultism:  Understanding and Ministering to Cult Victims in the Local Church.

4.  Eric Lundstrom:  Understanding and Ministering to Transgendered Persons.

The final plenary session really summed up the reason for apologetics, especially in regards to protecting the true faith.  The analogy was the Benghazi Embassy story:  The Church is the embassy and Christians are the Ambassadors.  As at Benghazi, there are enemies within the embassy seeking to open it to the enemy.  As at Benghazi, there are enemies seeking to burn down the embassy.  It is the job of the ambassadors to properly represent the Nation which the embassy represents, and to protect it as we are best able. 

Don made an important point which
I have previously made: The purpose/mission of the local assembly is NOT evangelism!  THAT is a mission of individual believers, after they have been equipped by the local assembly.

This was the 11th apologetics conference we’ve attended since 2002 (we’ve also attended three conferences for Biblical counselors).  We’ve learned great stuff at every one of them, and I recommend everyone try to find conferences like this to attend.

As time permits, I hope to be able to organize my notes and share some of the things which we learned.

One exciting incident took place:  one lady was in a couple of the same workshop sessions, and she had questions about the NAR; I had spoken to her a wee bit, telling her about Doug Evans’ series on that topic.  As we were leaving the conference Saturday evening, we crossed her path and she mentioned about not having time to talk, etc.  I thought about her interest in information about the NAR so I told her I have a blog, and some of my articles have links to some good articles on that topic, as I handed her my “business” card.  She said my name sounded familiar, and when I pointed out the blog address she said, “YOU’RE THE WATCHMAN’S BAGPIPES!?!?  I read your blog!”  So we ended up chatting a wee bit more.  It was quite a blessing to meet one of my readers in person!  (Oh, and she didn't realize that the bagpiper in the blog header photo was me -- yes readers, that is indeed me at an annual Iowa Firefighters' Memorial service, at which I've played since 2000.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Do Not Be United In Error

It is better to be divided by truth than to be united by error.  It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehoods that comforts and then kills.  It is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God.  It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie. . . .  It is better to stand alone with the truth, than to be wrong with a multitude.

Author unknown, cited in “Think on These Things” teaching letter, May 2006 (a ministry of Southern View Chapel, Springfield, IL.)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tune Your Instrument First

Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards.  Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.

Hudson Taylor