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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

I’m often accused of being “judgmental” with this blog; that I should “judge not, that ye be not judged.”  For those who like to throw that out, or for those on the receiving end of such a charge, here is an excellent article to help you refute such nonsense.

Cults come in many “shapes, sizes and flavors.”  When they claim to be Christian, invariably they are very, very controlling, legalistic, and cause great harm to their followers.  Last week I was directed to this article from The Hollywood Reporter because of the experience actress Glenn Close testified about.  The account begins about half-way through the article, and is worth reviewing.

People who claim to be Christians, while at the same time teaching that God approves of homosexual behavior, are infiltrating the true Church to a very damaging effect.  Now these false teachers are having a conference in November for those of likemindedness, as well as for teaching such lies.  Look at the names and remember that these men are instruments of Satan rather than fellow Christians.

Chuck Swindoll has been going farther and farther away from sound doctrine, and this has been quite disappointing.  My first disappointment in him was his avid support for — and promotion of — Promise Keepers.  Over the years he has become more and more involved with mysticism and this becomes quite apparent his new book, “So You Want to Ne Like Christ?”  Lighthouse Trails Research Ministry addresses this book and more.

Four years ago I wrote an article about some problems with the teachings of the “Local Church” and Living Stream Ministries.  This past week I was directed to a post examining serious problems with their handling of the original Greek language of the New Testament.  It’s lengthy and deep, but it you have dealings with the group, then this article might be helpful.

Heretics who are staunch promoters of the social gospel and the liberal reinterpretation of the Bible are the ones who tend to get media attention.  Jim Wallis, of Sojourners, is one of these wolves who is actually a counselor to President Obama.  (Of course there are others of his ilk, such as the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, both claiming to be “pastors.”)  These men are a blight on the name of Christian, and blaspheme God every time they claim the name.

The modern “evangelical” theme seems to be “relevance.”  Everywhere you look, there are Christian leaders who say we need to be “relevant” to the culture in order to bring people to the Lord.  (I wonder why Paul never had that problem?)  Of course “relevance” tends to be “contemporary” “worship music” and other “market-driven” entertainment and programs.  The whole idea of “relevance” has become a curse to the Church.

The fact that the Roman Catholic Church believes in the lie of evolution is nothing new, but it has become BIG news recently because the Pope himself has said evolution and creation are compatible beliefs.  Even worse, as this article reports, a Vatican official said that biblical creationism is “nearly tantamount to blasphemy.”  Of course the REAL blasphemy is ascribing evolution to God, and claiming that Genesis is all myth or allegory.

The recent RCC “Synod on the Family” has also received a lot of attention because of the apparent leaning of Rome towards approving homosexuality.  The problem here is that too many of the RCC’s clergy are already friendly to homosexuality, and yet no one is bringing discipline against them.  The excuses given for Catholics to participate in a “gay pride” parade don’t hold water.  Participating in such activities does nothing but give tacit approval to them.

Not only is the RCC a corrupt, heretical, and apostate organization claiming to be Christian, they have now really become the “religion of ME.”

Meanwhile, Rome continues to seek unification with the rest of Christianity, and many wolves in the REAL Christian church also seek unification with Rome.  The Cripplegate tells how we can know when it is okay to “join hands with Rome.

Continue to stand steady and strong in the faith, and be on watch for wolves and their poison.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Native American Church

Recent developments among some American Indian tribes have blended ancient traditions with modern “Christianized” forms of worship.  One such movement that is spreading rapidly is that of the Native American Church, which is not a Christian sect.

The Native American Church is a phenomenon of the twentieth century.  The remote origins of this movement lay in pre-Columbian Mexico, where many tribes used a hallucinogenic mushroom to facilitate visions and intense experiences.  Known as peyote, this mushroom, or similar plants, became a sacrament — a way of communing with ultimate reality.  The Native American Church is a pan-tribal organization dedicated to celebrating the powers of peyote to reconnect native Americans with their religious traditions.  Most of the members come from the southern plains, but scatterings liver elsewhere.

“Although the Native American Church seeks to preserve and revitalize native traditions, in fact many Christian notions have entered into its beliefs and rituals.  So, for example, one branch of the Native American Church, the Cross Fire, uses the Bible in ceremonies.  Still, native symbols, such as feathers and drums, adorn the rituals, and prayers ascend to such deities as the Morning Star.  In some branches, worshipers wear blankets of red and blue, red standing for day and blue for night.  Singing and dancing, the participants revere ‘Chief Peyote,’ who brings their spirits to life and quickens their dreams.  Members may also pray to Christ, and their consumption of the peyote buttons is likened to a communion ceremony.” [Native American Religions, by Denise Lardner Carmody & John Tully, p.16]

The influence of the Native American Church is gaining inroads into American Indian Christian communities with an appeal to return to the cultural roots of the people as a means to offset the effects of the white man’s influences.  A form of tribal pride induces many to attempt to blend their faith in Christ with American Indian religious practices, either unaware or unconcerned that there can be no compatibility between the two.

Albert James Dager, “Religious Diversity on the Rise — American Indian Religion: Making a Comeback,” Media Spotlight, Vol. 21, No.1, February 1998.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Did They Really Say That?!?

"Mary is co-redemptrix of the human race...because with Christ she ransomed mankind from the power of Satan.  Jesus redeemed us with the blood of His body, Mary with the agonies of her heart.... The church and the saints greet her thus: 'You, O Mary, together with Jesus Christ, redeemed us.'...

God has ordained that no grace will be granted to us except through Mary. ....No one will be saved or obtain mercy except through you, O Heavenly Lady. ...No one will enter heaven without passing through Mary as one would pass through a door.... O Mary, our salvation is in your hands."

Keith A. Fournier, "Evangelical Catholics"

"Sustain us, O Virgin Mary, on our journey of faith and obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation."

John Paul II, "The Holy Father's Prayer for the Marian Year," 1988

These examples of the Roman Catholic worship -- yes, WORSHIP -- of Mary show just how blasphemous and unbiblical are such teachings.  Nowhere in the Bible will you find Mary being a redeemer of mankind; that office is held ONLY by Jesus.  Nowhere does Scripture say that Mary "ransomed" mankind in any way.  Nowhere in Scripture does it even intimate that Mary is God's channel of grace to mankind, or that salvation is through her.

Salvation is ONLY through Christ, the redemption of our sins is ONLY through Christ, the ransom paid for our sins was ONLY by Christ.

Roman Catholicism has made Mary into a part of the Godhead, and this is pure blasphemy and idolatry.  Mary was no more than a humble woman who was blessed to be chosen to give birth to our Savior.  She was not born sinless, nor was she bodily assumed into heaven.  These are stories the Roman Catholic Church made up.  And these teachings are examples of why Romanism is a false belief system.

Monday, October 27, 2014

False Gospels

Paul cursed those who taught that one must believe the gospel and keep the law in order to be saved (Gal. 1:6-12).  Such a slight addition destroyed the gospel.  No one believing that message could be saved!  Nor is anyone a Christian who believes one of today's popular diluted gospels.

Oswald Chambers warned lest, in our zeal to get people to accept the gospel, we manufacture a gospel acceptable to people and produce "converts" who are not saved.  Today's most popular perversion is the "positive" gospel which is designed to offend no one with the truth.  Robert Schuller, for example, has said that it is demeaning to call anyone a sinner and that Christ died to restore human dignity and self-esteem.  He "wins many to Christ" with that seductive message -- but such a gospel does not save sinners.

Dave Hunt, "God's Nonnegotiable Gospel - Part 1," The Berean Call, April 1993

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spurious Revivalism

American Protestantism is characterized by a peculiar evil which I may describe by the term "spurious revivalism."  The common mischief resulting from all its forms is the over-hasty reception into the communion of the churches of multitudes of persons whom time proves to have experienced no spiritual change.  In most cases, these mischievous accessions are brought by sensational human expedients.  It is an unpopular thing for a minister of the gospel to bear this witness.  But it is true.  And my regard for that account which I must soon render at a more awful bar than that of arrogant public opinion demands its utterance.

R. L. Dabney, 1892, cited in The Berean Call, "Quotable," September 1992

Friday, October 24, 2014

Some Good Quotes Coming

I have been quite busy lately, not only with normal yard work, house maintenance, etc, but also with travels for a conference, for visiting a family member out of state in hospice, and performances.  On top of that, I'm trying to get more work done on my New Age Bible Versions review, setting up my new blog on Mormonism, dealing with church issues, and doing all sorts of research for others.  All this is leaving me with little time to do much in the way of writing articles for this blog!  

One of the things I'm trying to accomplish this fall/winter is cleaning out my files and library of references and books no longer needed for research.  By doing so, I am coming across many citations which I highlighted when I read the material the first time.  Some of these citations are thought-provoking and some just speak to the problems in the church at large.  Since it doesn't take but five minutes or so to type up a citation, I'm going to be doing that as I work in my files, etc, so as to share them with my readers.  I hope you will find such citations to be edifying.

The Anvil — God’s Word

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then, with twinkling eye,

“The anvil wears the hammers our, you know.”

And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed — the hammers gone.

Unknown, from "The Best Loved Poems of the American People"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Christian Sentimentalism

...[A] work of art may be solidly biblical in content, yet have little or no artistic merit.  Christians should not allow themselves to develop sloppy aesthetic judgment by accepting low-quality religious kitsch just because they agree with the message.  When I was growing up, the typical religious art exhibited a saccharine Victorian sentimentalism.
What makes this sentimentalized art and music so insipid? It equates Christianity with sugar and spice and everything nice.  The poet Paul Claudel pilloried the sweet-and-light style by asking, "If the salt hath lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?  With sugar!"

When generations of children are nourished on these sugary images, they lose a sense of Jesus' true character.  In the words of Dorothy Sayers, "We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah," turning Jesus "into a household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies."  Yet in the first century, this so-called "gentle Jesus, meek and mild" was so adamant and inflammatory "that He was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and public danger."  How will the church portray that Jesus in its art?

Today's parallel to Victorianism would include praise music that mirrors the vapid emotionalism and egocentrism of pop culture.  I once visited a church where I was startled to hear the congregation sing lines like "You are my all desire," and "I want to feel the warmth of your embrace."  The lyrics made no mention of God or Jesus.  No reference to salvation or justification or any other theological theme.  Nothing to suggest that the song was anything but a love song to someone's girlfriend.  The lyrics were such an extreme example of the Jesus-is-my-girlfriend genre that I wondered how any man could sing it with a straight face -- though as I looked around the room, I saw several men with their eyes closed, arms raised.

Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, & Meaning, p.270-271.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

I’m a wee bit behind the times again; I had to take an unexpected trip for a couple days.  So let’s see what I have caught up on!

I thought I’d start out with this excellent article about discernment.  We all need to learn this.

Along the same thought, know the difference between the wolves and the sheep!

What you don’t want to do is listen to Rick Warren teaching about how to hear God’s voice!

Rachel Held Evans — why she is someone to fear.

Is Your Church Worship More Pagan than Christian?”  I think more and more churches are certainly getting this way.

Well, it looks like Bill Gothard has no intention of ever truly repenting.  The man is a real wolf!

Mark Driscoll has resigned from Mars Hill, and yet he thinks he’s qualified for future ministry.  Sola Sisters comment on Driscoll’s idea of being qualified.  Lighthouse Trails gives a good overview of the whole problem with Driscoll.

I’ve been reading several articles about the new “Christmas” movie by Kirk Cameron.  This article demonstrates grave problems with the reconstructionist history and theology of this movie.

Well, that’s all for now; not a big collection, but what I felt was the most important recent news.  Meanwhile, I’m busy transferring all my article about Mormonism to my new blog.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Blog

Today I am starting a new blog about the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).  I decided that it would be a better to have all my articles about Mormons in one place, so I will be slowly moving all my article about the LDS to my new blog, "The Anti-Mormon Blog."

This new blog will by a one-stop reference if you are interested in understanding and/or meeting with Mormons and need as much information as possible.  As I get the chance, I will also include links to good apologetics sites who deal specifically with Mormonism, and I will even have a listing of some of the best books I can recommend on the subject.

You may link directly to my new blog via the link in the box on the right of this blog, which gives the links to my wife's blog and my "The Thought Provoker" blog, as well as my e-mail contact.