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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

My first two items today are with a hat tip to Erin Benziger for alerting us to them on her blog.

Andy Stanley is becoming more and more dangerous in his teachings.  He’s taking a road which should not be taken.

Then we have more information about Rob Bell’s interview with Oprah and his promotion of homosexuality.  For all his claims, there is nothing about Bell’s ideology or teaching which can be called “Christian.”  He’s a heretic, plain and simple.

In regards to homosexuality, the PCUSA denomination is continuing its downward spiral into total apostasy.

Elizabeth Prata has a good blog which I follow.  I know, she’s hard-core when it comes to Calvinism, but I just tiptoe around her TULIPs and read for the good stuff.  However, she has twice within the past week made proclamations which I think are mighty presumptuous.  First, she said “Copts are not Christians.”  Then she said, “Catholics are not Christians.”  I argue that while these organizations are corrupt versions of the Christian faith and are not Christian as organizations, we cannot know the individuals’ stance before God.  There is enough of the truth among the teachings of these organizations (and Eastern Orthodoxy) that people have come to be true Christians in spite of their teachings.  I’ve known many Catholics who are true Christians, and I’m suggesting the same would be the case for Copts.  Call the organization non-Christian, but don’t judge the individuals.  These organizations are not like cults who have no true teachings about Christ, such as the LDS and JW, whose members can never be Christians as long as they remain with those beliefs.

Now that I’ve broached the subject of Catholicism, it seems they have some real problems among their ranks.   Many Catholic schools and institutions are accepting the legitimacy of same-sex unions!!!!  As long as the Church leadership does not excommunicate or somehow exercise discipline and rebuke them, these actions will continue to spread.

Then we have an assembly, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which has a female “lay minister” which performed a same-sex fake “marriage,” and the SBC “may” expel them.  Why “may”?  The deed was done and needs discipline.  The very fact that they had a woman lay minister should be warrant enough for their expulsion.  I’m going to assume that the “may” will end up being “did.”

I agree with those who think that homosexuality will be a great falling away from God for the Church in general.  The denominations are falling like dominoes, and individual assemblies even more so.  (HT to Lindsay)

Watch out for the “IF” gathering.  It is a hotbed of false teachers.

Hip and Thigh has a good article refuting the claims of liberals, and KJV Onlyists about the inerrancy of Scripture.  He follows up with a response to their challenges.

And yet another article about Beth Moore, except this one is more about the un-discerning church which propagates Moore’s teachings.

As if Roma Downey has mainstreamed enough false teachings with her series, “The Bible,” and “Son of God,” she is now about to release a new series titled, “A.D.”, which “reenacts key events in the New Testament.”  We can certainly expect revisionist, liberalized telling of such “key events.”

An interesting way of approaching Jehovah’s Witnesses is provided by Don Veinot of Midwest Christian Outreach apologetics ministry.

Lastly, watch out for Peter Enns.  He tends to get a lot of press time from liberal Christians.  He’s a former Senior Fellow with the BioLogos group which denounces Creationism in favor of evolutionism.  As this article demonstrates, for being an acclaimed theologian, he is nothing less than heretical in his teachings.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Revelation 3:20 Is NOT About Evangelism

The risen Lord says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me."  I sometimes think that there is no single statement of Scripture which is more frequently misunderstood, and more misused and abused, than that particular statement.  It is taken almost invariably in an evangelistic sense.  Christ is depicted as standing outside the shut door of the sinner's heart, and as entreating the sinner to give Him admittance and to receive Him into his heart.  But that is a completely false interpretation of Revelation 3:20.  The letter to the Laodiceans is, of course, a letter to a church; it is "what the Spirit saith to the churches."  Its words are not addressed to unbelievers, but to those who are already Christians and within the Christian Church.  The whole of chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation, we must always remember, are addressed to Christian people, to believing people, to people who have already believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and who are joined to Him, who are in Him and He in them.  And yet the message of the knocking at a closed door is addressed to them, in particular to the Church of the Laodiceans.  They were Christian people; but they were in a bad condition, "neither hot nor cold"; they thought that they were rich and had everything, whereas in reality they were poor, and naked, and blind, and empty.  It is to such Christians that our Lord says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ: An Exposition of Ephesians 3, p.144-145

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Christ in the Heart

As we approach this staggering statement ["That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith"] -- and we must walk...warily, carefully, and circumspectly -- it is essential that we remind ourselves yet once more that this prayer is offered for believers.  I emphasize the matter because a phrase has gained currency in connection with evangelism which has often caused confusion with respect to this particular verse [Eph. 3:17].  In giving their experience and talking about their conversion people often say, "it is now many years since I first received Christ into my heart."  Evangelists often put this message in that way, and ask people whether they will receive Christ into their hearts.  But this is not a scriptural expression and it can be most misleading, particularly when we meet with a phrase such as the one which we are now studying.  It is for this reason that I remind you that the Apostle is offering this prayer for people who are already believers.  They were people who once were afar off but who have now been made nigh, brought nigh, by the blood of Christ.  They are already believers, they are already united to Christ as their Head, they are already members of His body which is the Church.  They are "in Him" and He is in them.

In other words, the Apostle is not praying that these people may become Christians, He is praying that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, although He is already present.  Paul is not praying for their conversion, or their salvation, or their justification.  All that is taken for granted; it has already taken place.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ: An Exposition of Ephesians 3, p.143-144

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Sin of Intellectual Lethargy

Intellectual lethargy is undoubtedly the greatest sin of many Christians today.  They never grow in knowledge, they end where they began.  They are always talking about their first experiences, but they have never entered into these riches to which Paul refers; they have never climbed the mountain tops and breathed the pure air of God's holy truth.  They are content with the ordinary level; they are ignorant of the more advanced teaching because it demands an intellectual effort.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ: An Exposition of Ephesians 3, p.138

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

The big news this week was about Rob Bell on Oprah Winfrey’s show, and how he denigrated the Bible and proved himself to be a bonafide heretic.  Matt Walsh has an excellent commentary on megachurch false teachers in general, and also on Rob Bell in particular!

“Speaking” of false teachers, A Lutheran Layman reminds us that the Bible warns us to exercise discernment while being on guard against them.  He has some good “billboard” examples exposing a variety of false teachers.

A new booklet is available from Lighthouse Trails Research Project, all about Roma Downey.  Roma has deceived many people with her character on the television program, “Touched By An Angel,” with it’s New Age theology.  More deception came from her with last year with her miniseries, “The Bible” — which was quite unbiblical!  From that series came the movie, “Son of God,” which gave a false teaching about who Jesus is.  Roma has become quite popular, but her teachings are dangerous.   Read the booklet on-line.

More news from last weekend told us that 21 Coptic Christians were executed by barbaric Muslims.  I find it sad that some Christian bloggers say these people were not Christians; it’s like saying Roman Catholics aren’t Christians.  While both organizations have brought in heresy and various apostate teachings, there are indeed individuals within those organizations who have come to saving faith in spite of the organizations’ teachings, because among all the weeds there are the basics of the Christian doctrine.  I wouldn’t claim to know whether these 21 Copts were indeed saved, but the possibility is there.  Here’s a summary look at their teachings, so you can see the problem areas.

Now that I mentioned Roman Catholicism, it seems their leadership needs to clean out those who don’t adhere to their faith.  First, a Catholic University in California is promoting homosexual dating!  Then we have a Cardinal in New York has decided that homosexual activists can march in the Catholic St. Patrick’s Day parade!

Last week I linked to an article at the Cripplegate about the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  This week they gave the same treatment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m sure you will see from this article why Mormons are not Christians.  For more information on the Mormon church, feel free to skim through my new blog about them.

I stumbled across a blog new to me this week, but it looks like a good one to use for examining the false teachings of the Word of Faith cult.  This article demonstrates how many top faith fake healers all died of some disease.  If their faith was true, why did this happen?

The Mennonites in Canada are becoming more and more apostate.

Finally, the Museum of Idolatry posted a video which you have to see to believe.  Some churches are totally unrecognizable from the world.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Church Has Taken In A Trojan Horse

Evangelicalism has opened its gates to a Trojan horse.  This horse is not a literal wooden horse filled with enemy soldiers, but is the teachings of modern psychology.  The integration of modern psychology with the Bible is indeed one of the most challenging issues facing the Church today.  Some Christian psychologists have become so beloved that to criticize them would be almost like criticizing the Bible itself.  While their intentions may be good, intentions are not the issue.  The issue is whether today's Christians are mixing men's ideas with the Bible.  Amazingly, most Christian leaders today who rightly cry so fervently against false teachings are saying little if anything about the subtle shifts in biblical interpretation that undermine the faith of millions.  In many cases it reflects a lack of awareness and understanding of the teachings of psychology.

David Tyler & Kurt Grady, Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin is Called Sickness, p.50

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Church Personality Disorder?

It there were such a thing as "corporate" multiple personality disorder, it would seem the Church has one.  Out of one side of the Church's mouth, the Church says man is a sinner.  Out of the other side of the Church's mouth, man is said to be sick.  Is it possible to deny the doctrine of sin by calling sin sickness and still be preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Sermons, Bible study literature, and books by beloved Christian authors are filled with euphemisms for sin.  A fornicator may be called to repentance, but if he is sick then he is no sinner.  Instead, he is an addict.

David Tyler & Kurt Grady, Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin is Called Sickness, p.13

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Songs of Pablum Rather Than Meat

Last week, Friday evening the 6th and Saturday morning the 7th, we attended an “Intelligent Faith” apologetics conference held in the local “Willow Creek Wannabe” church in Cedar Rapids.  Both sessions were opened by a young woman leading the audience singing “Jesus Culture” songs.  For those who aren’t aware, Jesus Culture is a group of musicians subscribing to some really bizarre theology, including claiming that God spoke to them and gave them their mission.  They spawned out of Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church In Redding, CA, an assembly rife with false teachings and charismania.

The fact that any Christian church would allow people to bring in Jesus Culture songs shows just how non-discerning they are.  Assuming they don’t know who Jesus Culture is, all one has to do is look at the lyrics to determine they are nothing but spiritual junk food.  Having these songs performed at an apologetics conference was quite surprising.  Of course, I’m sure that the men putting on the conference (Frank Turek, John Stewart, and J. Warner Wallace) had no idea what this particular assembly was like, so I can’t fault them.

With all this introduction, let’s now look at the two songs.  The first one is “Your Love Never Fails.”

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make, all things, work together for my good

Can anyone tell who is the subject of this song?  One has to assume that, because of the supposed Christian context, they are talking to either God the Father or Jesus Christ.  However, this song could be sung by anyone of any faith about their own god, or it could be a girl speaking of her boyfriend.  In fact, it is one of those “Jesus is my boyfriend” genre.   If someone wants to use this song for personal devotion, fine and dandy; but to use it for corporate worship is wrong-headed.  I think the music was intended to drive the emotions.

A commenter also pointed out that the lyrics say "I still make mistakes," while they should be saying "I still sin."  So many Christians today are afraid of that word, "sin."

The next song is “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful,” lyrics originally by Keith Green.  Now, I did just a bit of color-coding to demonstrate the mindless repetition.  Notice the light blue lyrics are sung four times, the purple twice, and the pink once. 

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

I wanna to take Your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clear
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear

I want to take Your word and shine it all around
But first help me just to live Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
your grace abounds to me

These seven “verses” could be reduced to just three for the same message, but then there wouldn’t be time to work up the emotions.  Notice the focus is all about “me"; overall the lyrics are quite vacuous.  And, like the first song, it could be used by any religious person directed at their own “Lord,” such as “Lord Krishna.”

Realize first and foremost that songs sung in our church assemblies are teaching the congregations just as much as are the sermons.  Most people don’t seem to understand that.  This fact makes it important that we have “meat” in our songs rather than “pablum.”

In my opinion, if this is the fare your assembly brings in, walk out the door and find a church assembly where they feed meat.  Otherwise you will never mature in the faith.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What Bold Prayer Is Not

Boldness at the throne of grace is not presumption.  Confidence is not cheek.  I emphasize this because there are those who seem to think that it is the hallmark of spirituality, and of assurance of salvation, that one should pray to God with an easy, glib familiarity, which is an utter denial of what is taught here [Eph. 3:14-15] and throughout Scripture.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ: An Exposition of Ephesians 3, p.113