Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I have a collection of aphorisms, quips, and humorous thought-provokers about discernment issues. I've collected these over a period of many years and I can't remember where I got most of them. I know many were picked up at the various discernment conferences I've attended. One of my favorite teachers with some of this wit is G. Richard Fisher, who has been a pastor at Laurelton Park Baptist Church in Bricktown, NJ since 1968, and is also with Personal Freedom Outreach apologetics ministry. I hope you enjoy these thoughts as much as I, and that you can find use for them sometime!
"Discernment is the immune system of the church; apologetics is the handmaiden of the gospel."
"Wisdom is knowledge applied; the knowledge being from study or experience."
"Tolerance is the virtue of those who don't believe in anything." G.K. Chesterson
"Greeks looked for wisdom, Americans look for compromise."
"True love must discriminate between good and evil."
"The Bible is like a gun; don’t defend it, use it!"
Christians who don’t understand their faith, and who are not discerning, are suffering from some (or all) of the following maladies: "Spiritual AIDS - Acquired Ignorance of Doctrine Syndrome," "Doctrinally impaired," "Biblically challenged," or "Doctrinal anorexia."
"They have been sewing spiritual clothes but they’ve missed several stitches."
"We need to equip our people for living in the world, rather than protect them from living in the world."
"Shepherds are letting the sheep determine their diet." (I believe this came from R.C. Sproul)
"Many Christians are eating junk food theology; some of which can give food poisoning."
"With some teachers there is so much chaff that the wheat is hard to find."
If someone says “you can’t throw out the baby with the bath water,” tell them to save the baby but drain the water.
"Seduction of the mind will result in corruption of the soul."
"When people are starving they will eat anything."
"To get a bone away from a dog, give him a bone with more meat on it." (Helping people leave cults)
"Ear candy gives brain cavities."
Some of Dick Fisher’s quips discussing scripture-twisting: “Hazardous hermeneutics.” “Rorschach Hermeneutics” (you see what you want to see). “Harmeneutics” “Flexodoxy”
Some claim people just need “milk” because they are not ready for the meat of Scripture. The question becomes, what sort of milk are we giving them: skim? 1%? 2%? or sour?
Daffynitions: Cult cocktail - Scripture with a twist. Therapist: Rent a Friend.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
1. Mormons and their Joseph Smith Translation (also called the "Inspired Version").
2. Jehovah's Witnesses and their New World Translation.
3. Seventh-day Aventists and their The Clear Word.
4. The Local Church and their Recovery Version.
So now the Emergent Church has joined the ranks and are now publishing their own “translation” of the Bible called The Voice. If the Emergent Church hasn’t raised red flags with all their aberrations, heresy and apostasy already, then their new “Bible” should do so.
Extreme Theology has done some excellent work showing problems with this new version of the Bible. So far they have posted two parts of their investigation:
(Extreme Theology is a site I recommend for general reading, as there are a lot of good, thought-provoking articles.)
As I read these articles I couldn’t help but shake my head in wonderment that these men would do such twisting of the Word of God.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
My point is this: the Bible says we are to avoid and expose the deeds of darkness, and that we are to avoid sexual immorality. Yet this movie’s theme was sexual tension between the vampire - a demonic being - and the 17-year-old girl, and no one seems to have a problem with the fact that this girl aggressively initiated sexual relations with the vampire and only remained chaste because he pulled away out of fear of hurting her. Somehow this has gotten to be a great teaching for abstinence!
Of course there’s the other problems, such as the girl saying she doesn’t care that he is a killer and dangerous, that she is willing to be eternally damned as a vampire with him, that it’s okay for a man to be stalking you and showing up in your bedroom while you sleep. There were so many bad messages that there is no way I can see any value in this film, regardless of the Christian reviewers who make a big deal of the family unity of the vampires.
Another blogger brought to my attention about how the Christian Stay at Home Moms blog removed all comments that spoke against Twilight because they thought it was a great movie. My suggestion for these CSAHMs is to spend their time delving more into the Scripture rather than promoting the “fruitless deeds of darkness.”
Making "blanket decisions for everyone” is not what we do when we warn against things that are spiritually harmful to the flock. We don’t say you “can’t” see this movie, we just tell you the harmful messages it presents and then say that is why you “shouldn’t” see this movie. My authority would be passages such as Proverbs 4:23, Psalm 101:3 and Ephesians 5:11-12.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The Emergent Church leadership are continuing rapidly in their run to apostasy. A case in point is their acceptance of homosexual behavior.
The latest of the “emerging” leaders to whitewash the sin of homosexual behavior is the former national coordinator of Emergent Village, Tony Jones. Tony Jones has decided that “gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am…I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.” (For an excellent article about this, see http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/mwest/081201)
We previously had Brian McLaren saying, "Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. We've heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say 'it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.' That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think."
I don’t know what Bible these people are reading, but my Bible says homosexual behavior is a sin before God, so I don’t understand McLaren’s confusion over the issue. Furthermore, to say that people practicing sexual perversions can live “in accord with biblical Christianity” is certainly a far cry from Jesus’ charge to the adulteress to “go and sin no more.”
I have read many articles in which members of the various “Emergent Church” branches go soft on the issue of homosexuality. It seems they want to be politically-correct rather than biblically-correct.
The Emergent Church movement is one that is apostate in many ways, and often heretical. We need to be alert for its intrusions into our local assemblies and identify it for the evil it is.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Campolo spoke at the Baptist General Association of Virginia during their November 11-12 meeting. It seems he was not happy about California’s Proposition 8 passing and stated his opposition to it. Although Campolo DID say homosexual behavior was “contrary to the teaching of God,” he has previously stated that we need to be supporting homosexuals in their “struggle for dignity,” whatever that is supposed to mean. As noted in my previous article (6/4/08), Campolo’s wife is a leader of a group urging Baptists to be supportive of homosexuals and Campolo himself preaches in homosexual-affirming churches.
I see nothing in Scripture that says we should “affirm” those practicing immoral sexual behavior or that we should be supporting such people in their “struggle for dignity.” Our mission is to take the gospel to them and once they realize they are sinners in need of repentance they will leave that sin behind. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more.” He didn’t affirm her in her sin, nor was he supportive of her lifestyle.
Perhaps Tony Campolo should read his Bible for more than taking passages out of context to support his socialistic agenda. Meanwhile, Christians should avoid his teachings like the plague.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I was in a train station sending my mother back to Alabama when I found a “gospel tract” collection planted by “Gospel Tract and Bible Society,” published by the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. Much of the stuff was good, but much of it was also very legalistic and often aberrational. But I want to mention just one of them because the subject is something the Church of Christ also teaches.
I am referring to the idea that musical instruments should not be used in the assembly because there is no mention of them being used during worship in the New Testament. Now, if you happen to think that is arguing from silence, I whole-heartedly agree with you! I don’t remember reading about pews being mentioned in the N.T either but I suspect these churches all have pews. There are many things these churches use for their worship service that aren’t mentioned in the N.T., such as collection baskets/plates, air conditioning, furnaces and even hymn books! I guess when one argues from silence he can come up with all sorts of things not allowed in the church because they aren’t mentioned in the New Testament.
The Church of Christ (often referred to as “Campbellites”) has no problem with singing hymns as long as they don’t have any musical instruments. Of course a pitch pipe is okay (isn‘t that a musical instrument?).
I was unaware that Mennonites also were against instrumental music; or is it just this particular sect?
Anyway, the tract I picked up was titled, “Worship Without Musical Instruments.” The reasons given in this tract again include an argument from silence: “There is no evidence in the New Testament that the apostolic Church used musical instruments. There is little mention of them in the New Testament other than as examples for comparison (1 Corinthians 13:1; 14:7), and in Revelation referring to music in heaven (Revelation 14:2; 15:2).” The tract then discusses many passages of Scripture that speak of singing but not of musical instruments.
From what I have read, the Greek in the N.T. passages that mention singing (Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; James 5:13) carry the idea of singing with instruments. The word “psalm” in Ephesians and Colossians especially includes the meaning of instrumental accompaniment. So I guess musical instruments are indeed mentioned in the New Testament!
My first thought when encountering this teaching for the first time through a member of the Church of Christ was Psalm 150’s mention of playing musical instruments. But this Mennonite sect tract says, “Before the time of Christ…worship included the use of musical instruments… The sacrifices and rituals so important to the Old Testament-era worshipers were abolished, and worship from the heart became the only acceptable worship…. Salvation is of the heart. God is worshiped and praised from the heart.” So what they are claiming is that all use of musical instruments in worship was done away with in Christ. I’d say that was some very convoluted reasoning!
Dr. Hugh F. Pyle, in his book, The Truth About the “Church of Christ,” makes a very good point: “Do we really believe that God has changed? If musical instruments were used by godly men in the Old Testament ([cites several passages]), is it wrong to suppose that God would still bless the use of musical instruments by godly men today?” I have to agree with Pyle, and I personally worship the Lord and praise Him in my music while playing my bagpipes. (A funny side note - I have had Catholic priests tell me I couldn’t play at weddings because the bagpipes are a secular instrument - as if there was such thing.)
If you are a member of a Christian assembly where this legalistic silliness is taught, I would suggest you find another place of worship. I have observed that when an assembly has this sort of legalistic teaching it is only one of many legalistic ideas that keep its members in spiritual bondage. Christ has set us free from this sort of Pharisaical bondage.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I admit I haven’t read this book myself; I can’t read everything. However, a good personal pastor friend has read it and has given me first-hand information about the contents. Additionally, I have found many, many reviews by top-notch Bible teachers that demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that this is a book full of blasphemy and heretical teachings. BUT, it sure makes people FEEL good!
Plain Truth Ministries, which has some good stuff yet is aberrational in many of their teachings (including the denial of the existence of Hell), is headed up by a guy named Greg Albrecht. Greg’s PTM promotes The Shack, and when I wrote him suggesting they should rethink their position Greg responded that he was involved in the editing of this book as well as endorsing it. He stated that the book is “theologically accurate.” Since PTM is theologically off-center with other issues, I guess it doesn’t surprise me that their leadership would find no problem with this book.
Anyway, rather than write my own review of this book, here are some links to many excellent reviews describing the false teachings and danger of The Shack.
If anyone reads these reviews and still agrees with Greg Albrecht that the book is “theologically accurate,” I’d appreciate it if you could demonstrate this from Scripture. I think it would be wonderful if pastors spoke against this book from the pulpit.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Let me start by making a clarification between homosexual “orientation” and homosexual “behavior.” Whether one is “oriented” towards a particular behavior is irrelevant; what is relevant is how one responds to his or her orientation. 97-98% of the population is oriented towards heterosexual sexual relations, but that doesn’t mean they should act on those feelings outside of marriage. Some people are oriented to desire sexual relations with children, animals or even corpses, but having these orientations does not therefore force the people into acting on those feelings. So then, if a person truly is oriented towards homosexual behavior, that doesn’t thereby give them the need or right to practice such behavior.
So what is the true biblical position about homosexual behavior, and what should be the Christian’s view of those who practice homosexual behavior? This can be ascertained by reading the relevant passages of Scripture in their context. I will be using NKJV.
First, read Genesis chapter 19 - I’m not going to quote the whole chapter here. It is the well-known story of the depravity exhibited by the men of Sodom against the angels who were visiting Lot. It is very obvious that the men wanted to have homosexual relations with them, since Lot offered his virgin daughters to sate their lusts and the men wanted nothing to do with the women. Jude, in discussing judgment God is reserving for wickedness, continues at verse 7 with, Sodom and Gomorrah…having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude describes the incident of the men in Sodom as sexual immorality that went after “strange flesh.” I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to understand that Jude was referring to the action which was named for that town - sodomy. So why is this important? Jude tells us what God’s attitude was about the homosexual behavior in the town of Sodom; it led to the destruction of that city.
Two other passages from the Old Testament also tell us what God’s attitude is towards homosexual behavior. Let’s look at them:
Leviticus 18:22: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
Leviticus 20:13: If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.
I’d say these passages are perspicuous in their descriptions of homosexual behavior being abominable to God. There is no qualification as to the men discussed being male prostitutes or anything else; the statements are about men in general. If a man has sexual relations with a man as he would with a woman, then God says it is an abomination.
Now, there are many who try to marginalize these passages by bringing up all the “holiness” and ceremonial laws of Leviticus, but none of those laws were meant for anyone but Israel and have nothing to do with the context of homosexual behavior being an abomination before God.
A passage that should be familiar to Christians is Romans 1:26-27. But to get the context of the passage we must go back to verse 16 where Paul starts talking about how he is not ashamed of the gospel and why, and that the righteous person is saved through faith. Then Paul says that the wrath of God is against men (mankind - means women are included) who suppress the truth about God because God has made the truth about Himself evident to everyone. But these people who want to reject God do not glorify Him or give Him thanks and become futile in their thinking. They then worship the creation rather than the Creator. Then at verse 26 Paul says, For this reason, God gave them over to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
This is the only passage in Scripture that mentions lesbian homosexual behavior. Paul says it is “against nature.” Paul calls male homosexual behavior “shameful” and “error.” Other English Bible translations say “perversion.” He calls both female and male homosexual behavior “vile passions.”
Some people have suggested that Paul is only talking about those whose sexual orientation is naturally heterosexual and yet are participating in homosexual behavior, thereby behaving “unnaturally.” This is nothing more than “word salad.” The meaning of the text is quite clear that homosexual behavior practiced by ANYONE is unnatural and shameful.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God.
Notice that Paul includes several types of sexual immorality: “fornicators” - those who are engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage; “adulterers” - those who are married but having sexual relations with someone other than their spouse; “homosexuals” - the Greek word here refers to the man who plays the passive or “effeminate” role to the: “sodomites” - the aggressive, dominant, masculine participant in a homosexual relationship.
Paul’s list is about those who have not put these sins behind them, for in the very next passage he says, And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (Of course this gives lie to the claim that homosexuals cannot change.)
One last passage to review is 1 Timothy 1:10. In this passage Paul is discussing various types of people who are ungodly, profane, and unholy. He includes “fornicators” and “sodomites” in this collection.
So it is very plain in Scripture that homosexual behavior is not approved of by God. Period. God didn’t give anyone homosexual orientation; that orientation came about by man’s fall into sin. And if it is ever demonstrated that such orientation has a genetic reason (it would be a genetic mutation), that still does not take away one’s personal responsibility for his behavior.
Since Scripture makes it plain that God abhors homosexual behavior, any Christian who sanctions such behavior is in conflict with God. We cannot condone homosexual behavior any more than we can condone any other sexual immorality; any sexual relation outside of a monogamous marriage of man and woman is contrary to God.
As Christians our duty is to treat those who practice homosexual behavior as we do any other unbeliever; we give them the gospel message and when they choose to “confess Jesus as Lord” they will come to see that such behavior is sin that needs to be repented. In this way they can leave such a life behind. But we do not welcome them “as they are” into our assemblies as if there is nothing wrong with their behavior. We wouldn’t do that for prostitutes or adulterers, so why do so many think it is different with homosexuals?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This should be a rather simple chore, to see what the Bible says about an unborn child. So let’s begin with Exodus 21:22-24 (all passages from NKJV):
If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
The woman was "with child" who could be harmed if she was caught up in a fight between men. The pre-born child had all the protection of the law. If the premature birth brought no further harm to the child, then the punishment exacted could be rather mild. However, if the child suffered any harm, punishment was severe. It is quite obvious here that what was inside the woman was a child.
Job had a couple interesting comments in chapter 3 that bear on our study (vv 3 &16 ):
May the day perish on which I was born, and the night in which it was said, “A male child is conceived”. Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child, like infants who never saw light?
Job was feeling sorry for himself and was essentially wishing he’d never been born or even conceived. Notice he said, “a male child is conceived” - he was a child from the moment of conception! Notice also he calls stillborn babies “children” and those who die before seeing birth are “infants” who never saw light.
In Psalm 51:5 David said he was sinful since conception. For brevity I will not quote Psalm 139:13-16 but the passage speaks of how wonderfully made the author was while still in the womb. Even Ecclesiastes 11:5 speaks of the “child” in the womb.
Isaiah 49:1 tells of how God called him while he was still in his mother’s womb, which means he was certainly a living human being at that time. And Christians are usually familiar with Jeremiah 1:5 where God speaks of knowing him before he was born.
In Matthew 1:18 we are told Mary was “found with child.” Luke 1:41-44 tells about how the child in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy upon hearing Mary’s greeting.
God’s word plainly calls an unborn baby a “child” or an “infant.” The pre-born child is a human being. When anyone kills a human being without justification (e.g., punishment for crime, self defense or defense of another) God’s word calls it “murder.” Since a child in the womb has not committed a crime nor has tried to cause harm to another person, then the killing of that child is nothing less than murder.
The Christian must see the pre-born child as God sees him; fully human. There is NEVER a justifiable reason to kill a child just because he isn’t born yet. Therefore, a Christian who supports abortion is guilty of supporting the murder of the unborn.
According to God’s Word, abortion is wrong, and Christians have no basis to claim otherwise.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
At the next church we attended we discovered that every Sunday morning before service this one man would walk around the church “binding” Satan. Again, I just shook my head at such silliness. This particular assembly ended up splitting over the bringing in of the Toronto/Pensacola “revival” and I took my family elsewhere.
I have met many Christians over the years who have these same ideas. They originate in charismatic churches where other aberrations usually often abound. It is sad that people get so tied up in bondage to these false teachings. This month’s Berean Call newsletter brought this to mind as I read the following from the Q&A section:
Question: What about the popular idea that we must "plead the blood" over a situation or one's home, room by room?
Response: The phrase "plead the blood" does not appear once in all of Scripture. The word "plead" is found 30 times but never in association with blood. Just before each meeting of the discredited "revival" at the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, teams would pray over each seat and "bind the demons" that might be lurking in them. This is an unbiblical practice. The Bible contains no record of its ever being used by any apostle, prophet, or any other believer. Paul and the other apostles preached in many demonic places without once reciting this mantra. It is a vain practice that opens the door to much error, fanaticism, and spiritual bondage, needlessly giving attention to Satan and demons. Do not engage in it.
This is an excellent response to this practice. You will find no place in Scripture where these practices are mentioned, so those who teach this sort of stuff are false teachers who should be avoided.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Item 1. On June 26, 2003 Tony spoke at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s general assembly, and during his talk he exhibited a number of problems. According to a report by David W. Cloud of the Fundamental Baptist Information Service, Tony “lambasted fundamentalists, conservative Southern Baptists, and dispensationalists. He said that anyone who resists women pastors is an ‘instrument of the devil’ and is committing sin. He said every Christian should support homosexuals as they ‘struggle for dignity.’ He said that the perpetual cycle of violence in the Middle East is not the result of the Palestinians. He spoke of the ‘terrorism of the Israeli army’ and criticized American military aid to Israel. He said Harry Potter, which is filled with witchcraft, is ‘good for kids to hear.’ He said preachers should warn about dispensational theology and the doctrine of an imminent rapture. He spoke against Christians who do not support the United Nations.”
I’m not going to address Campolo’s political statements, other than to say he is wrong, because that’s not the purpose of this blog, but I will say he needs to study his history!
There are many who will disagree, but I believe Scripture is clear that women should not be pastors. To say this belief is of the devil and committing sin is patently false teaching. As for supporting homosexuals in their “struggle for dignity,” would Campolo suggest we also support adulterers, fornicators and prostitutes in their struggles for “dignity”? Sexual sin should be exposed as such, not given support. Harry Potter is certainly a book that Christian children should not be reading, and if anyone wants reasons as to why, let me know. And, while I disagree with a lot of dispensationalist and rapture theories, those are not essential issues and are not reasons to warn against teachers who hold such positions.
Item 2. Tony’s wife, Peggy, is a national leader of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, which urges American Baptist congregations to be supportive of homosexuals. The fact that both Tony and his wife are very supportive of homosexuals rather than helping them to leave their sin behind, while they often preach in homosexual-affirming churches, makes him unqualified to be a pastor.
Item 3. In his book, Letters to a Young Evangelical, Campolo says he came to Christ - was born again - through “centering prayer,” a mystical prayer system also known as “contemplative prayer,” which has more in common with Eastern mysticism than Christianity. He even says that his relationship with Christ has grown through daily “centering prayer” where he uses the name of Jesus as a mantra. Can anyone show me the biblical basis for this? Yet throughout this book Campolo continues to confess how important this is to his relationship, and how he goes into altered states of consciousness to encounter a “oneness with God.” If this is how Campolo was “born again,” I have to question whether he is indeed a Christian. (This practice is also promoted by the apostate Emergent Church.)
Item 4. Campolo is part of a group who title themselves as “Red Letter Christians,” following only what Jesus taught in the Bible where the words are red. Supposedly, any teachings about doctrine, etc, that are found outside the red letters of the Gospels, aren't important. Campolo says Jesus was more concerned with “poverty, violence and intolerance” than about sin issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Gee, and all this time I thought Jesus was concerned with sin! The “Red Letter Christians” are more about the social gospel and Marxism than they are about the Gospel of salvation through Christ. They abhor doctrine.
Item 5. Campolo and co-author Mary Albert Darling have written a book titled, The God of Intimacy and Action, wherein they claim they - and we - can teach the Gospel through psychic evangelism or telepathic witnessing. This book is all about mystical Christianity, a lot of which Campolo and Darling bring from their love of the Jesuit order’s mystical practices. They call medieval mystics “super saints.”
As Pastor G. Richard Fisher says, “The book is largely an infomercial for Roman Catholic hagiography. It is replete with all the mystical mechanics and mystic rituals, such as the Prayer of Examen, lectio divina, meditation, centering prayer, and Renovare.” In the book Campolo also tells of his and Darling’s involvement in spiritism and necromancy by their devotion to, and contact with, Francis of Assisi, as well as many other mystical experiences. In this book there is much misrepresentation of Moses and Paul as being mystics.
Tony Campolo is a modern mystic who wants to be like those of medieval Roman Catholicism. He denigrates sound doctrine and gives active support to people living in sin. His claim of being born again must be suspect because of the way it supposedly took place, and because one who is truly a Christian would not denigrate sound biblical doctrine. Campolo has more in common with New Age beliefs than with those of the Biblical Christian. His teachings are dangerous and should be avoided.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Due to the nature of this post, it will be the longest one I’ve done, so hang in there until the end if you truly are interested in why I say Beth is in error. I will be referring to Beth Moore’s DVD series, “Believing God,” because I personally viewed all 10 hours. However, many other apologetics ministries have reviewed more of her stuff and the problems I found in this series are repeated and enlarged upon in her other materials.
Firstly, Beth Moore makes many claims of direct revelation from God. There is no evidence that God has given anyone direct revelation since the New Testament. In fact, Hebrews 1 says that God now has spoken to us through His Son. Here are some examples from Beth where she claims direct revelation:
1. “One of the things God wants to do throughout this nine weeks we’re going to spend together is empower our prayer life.” How does she know that God wants to do this? (Session 1)
2. “What God began to say to me about five years ago, and I’m telling you it sent me on such a trek with Him, that my head is still whirling over it. He began to say to me, ‘I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth, and boy you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it: My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief.’ And He said, ‘Startin’ with you.’” God says, “and boy you write this one down”????? I find it interesting that God talks so “down to earth.” Is the Church really paralyzed by unbelief? Maybe I’m just a cynic, but I can’t believe this conversation took place. (Session 1)
3. “And this came as a direct revelation of the Spirit because this would never have come to me. I know God spoke this over me as He began turning through a concordance in my mind and I started thinking about one Scripture after another.” Notice she even says, “direct revelation.” (Session 3)
4. A de facto revelation of God is this claim: “God is desiring for His church to have a revival of true faith in who He is and what He can do and what He desires to do in our generation.” How does she know this? (Session 3)
5. Moore has another special revelation: “Don’t buy the press that they [those in leadership positions] have it all together. If they did, God wouldn’t even be using them. Because I’m going to tell you, He wants people in process. They’ve got a fresh word going on in their lives. When they’ve got it all together, He’ll take them home.” Now, from where does she get this idea? Where is the Scriptural justification for this claim? (Session 5)
6. Another de facto revelation: “God is doing something huge in the church today, and I don’t want us to miss it.” If God is really doing something in the church, are Christians going to miss it? (Session 5)
7. Moore has a conversation with God which sets her up as an authority when she teaches: “You know what He told me not too long ago? I told you when I first began this whole concept, He first started teaching it to me about five years ago, and He said these words to me: ‘Baby, you have not even begun to believe Me. You haven’t even begun!’ You know what He said just a few days ago? ‘Honey, I just want you to know we’re just beginning.’ Oh, glory! That meant I had begun. Hallelujah! But He was telling me, ‘When this ends, we ain’t done with this. Honey, this is what we do for the rest of your life.’ And He said those words to me over and over again: ‘Believe Me. Believe Me. And I hope it’s starting to ring in your ears, over and over again, Believe Me.’” (Session 6)
8. “I don’t know how I even learned this except that God just taught it to me Himself.” So now God has been personally teaching her! (Session 7)
9. Moore made the claim that “God directed” her to do the “Believing God” study. (Session 9)
So there you have the direct revelations from God to Beth on the DVD series I watched. What about her use of Scripture? In my February 16th article I gave two blatant examples of error and I will not repeat them here. So let’s look at a few more from this series:
1. In session two, Moore’s understanding of Matthew 16:18 is somewhat different than that of any other commentator I have read. She states that when Jesus is saying this, he is pointing first to Peter and then to Himself. He calls Peter a stone as he points to him, then He points to Himself when he says, “On this rock I will build my church.” So this makes Jesus the rock of the conversation (whereas I was always under the impression that the rock was Peter’s confession - which Moore does say it may also be), and then Peter is “a chip off the block.” Yes, that’s how she says it: Peter is “a chip off the block,” the block he’s chipped off of being Jesus. And that is why Jesus gives Peter special authority. However, in session four she says that in Matt. 16:18 the “rock” is indeed the testimony of Peter. My thought was, “Huh?” Remember, in session two she said that may be a part of it.
2. Matthew 17:19-20. “For some reason, ordained by God alone, He tells us that when we want something to move, we are to tell it to. We are to open our mouths and say to the mountain, ‘Move it! You are in my way!’” However, this passage is about what faith can do. It is not about the need to speak to mountains or anything else. Moore’s claims in this area are much the same as the Word of Faith teaching when she says that because God spoke creation into existence with “omnipotent words,” we can speak things into happening with our “potent words.” (Session 6)
3. 2 Corinthians 4:2. “Renouncing requires speaking.” We must “verbally renounce all attachments to it [sin].” Again, this passage is about renouncing things no matter what method is used; it is not about speaking audibly. (Session 6)
4. 2 Corinthians 4:13ff is also used to prove that we must speak the words because the author says, “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” But the context is about why he spoke what he did, not that speaking was required to prove anything. (Session 6)
5. 2 Corinthians 4:8. Moore says the word “crushed” here (NIV) means “unable to express yourself, unable to speak out.” She then says Satan was preventing Paul from speaking out, and in the same way he will prevent us from speaking out. KJV says “distressed.” While a possible meaning of the word may be “restrained from talking” (not being a Greek scholar I don’t know, and Strong’s gives a meaning of the word as “distressed”), I’d say the context in this passage does not mean Paul was prevented from speaking. To continue with her unbiblical claims, Moore says, “Thinking is not exercising biblical authority. Satan can’t read minds. He is only intimidated if it comes from the mouth.” (I agree that Satan can’t read minds, but, again, do we intimidate him?) She goes on to say, “Perhaps more than anything else, Satan wants to hinder us from ever learning how to use our mouths. Because he knows once we draw the sword of the Spirit, and it starts coming out of our mouths, he has had it.” Again I must ask, is the mute then powerless against Satan?
6. Beth discusses Joshua 4, and then she makes comparisons to Genesis 15 because there are Hebrew words that are used in both places, which to her was a very big deal. With Genesis 15 the pieces of animals were parted, while in Joshua 4 the Jordan was parted. In Genesis 15 God passed between the pieces making a covenant, while in Joshua 4 the ark of the covenant passed through the Jordan. Moore continues to build this whole idea into her belief that in Joshua God was “having a memorial moment” reconfirming to Israel and to Himself the covenant He made with Abram; that the crossing of the Jordan was intentionally symbolic of the covenant with Abram, and this is proven by the use of the same Hebrew words in both places. Then she makes the application: “Through the concepts in Joshua 4, God seems to say, ‘Because I have cut covenant with you, I will also cut a path through any obstacle that stands between you and the fulfillment of My covenant promises.’” She then finishes by saying, “Oh I believe that’s what He’s saying.” Hmmmmmmm. (Session 7)
7. Beth discusses Joshua 5, and she says “circumcision was reinstated.” This would mean it had been temporarily set aside, but the Scripture doesn’t say that. It only tells us the ritual was not performed, that they had failed to do it. When they were circumcised, Moore says, “God cut away the sign of their unbelief, and they wore the mark of their new beginning.” The text doesn’t say the lack of circumcision was a sign of unbelief, it just says it wasn’t done in the wilderness wanderings. Beth adds her own ideas to Scripture. (Session 8)
Now I will demonstrate some areas in this DVD series where Beth was aberrational in what she taught:
1. Moore says God’s use of her is “scandalous.” “He has risked His reputation and His name over a pit dweller like me.” If this is her attempt at humility, I think she has done more to denigrate God. Does God ever risk His reputation? Does God ever “risk” anything? (Session 3)
2. One concern I have that others tend to dismiss is the idea that we pray to God and thank Him as if it has already happened the way we pray, and it will then be certain of happening. This sort of binds God to our prayers; He is obligated to respond in the manner in which we ask. Moore says, “And you just start thanking Him over and over again when you’re asking, thanking Him in advance, ‘God, thank you, you’re going to work a miracle here, you’re going to work a miracle.” What if God doesn’t want to work a miracle? What if God has other ideas and the answer to your prayer is “no” because He knows what would be best? (Session 3)
3. “This is the real thing, about living the rest of our lives intimidating the kingdom of darkness and making the devil finally tuck his tail and run. It is time for the body of Christ to stand up and become his worst nightmare. When are you going to start making him sorry that he messed with you? That’s what I want to know. When? When do we decide we’re going to make him sorry that he ever messed with us? That he ever messed with somebody you love? When does that happen? Tonight’s lesson is about becoming armed and dangerous to the kingdom of darkness.” Okay, so where in Scripture does it say we are to “become [Satan’s] worst nightmare”? This is certainly shades of a Frank Perretti novel and Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare. Where does Scripture say we ever intimidate the kingdom of darkness? What about Colossians 1:13 where it says Christ delivered us from the “power of darkness” (KJV) or the “dominion of darkness” (NIV)? (Session 6)
4. “We have a need to pray and we’re struck dumb - that is the enemy not wanting words spoken. Just open your mouth and say ‘Jesus’ - one word - ‘Jesus,’ … and it sends Satan away. He’s just a bluff.” Well, what if we pray silently? What about a mute praying? And where in the Bible does it tell us if we say “Jesus” Satan will suddenly leave us alone? (Session 6)
5. Moore opens the 7th session with: “The Holy Spirit is just all over us in this place… And we are praying for a miracle of God, because I am praying that same portion of the Spirit [referring to an earlier “worship and praise” session] is pouring out on your sweet little head right where you are. Because sometimes there is just nothing like that.” Again I have to ask, how does she know the Holy Spirit is “all over us” in that auditorium? Do we not have the Spirit indwelling us anyway? She then tells the audience, “God delights in your company.” Has she received a revelation from God that this is so?
How about her flippant and arrogant attitude towards God? After getting emotionally worked up over what she is saying, Moore then says, “I tell you what, Lord, if you don’t calm me down, I’m coming home!” Isn’t it rather presumptuous to be talking to God this way? (Session 6)
Beth Moore’s teachings in this series brings to mind what the Scripture says about people gathering around themselves a great number of teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear rather than those who teach sound doctrine. (I also think her self-acknowledged obnoxiousness and theatrical demeanor, and apparent lack of humility are totally inappropriate for one in this teaching position.)
If this hasn’t been enough evidence of the problem with Beth Moore’s teachings, I can only recommend that you contact Personal Freedom Outreach at www.pfo.org and ask for their articles on Moore.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
This week I read the latest issue of Think On These Things, the monthly apologetics letter from Southern View Chapel, Springfield, IL. Featured this month was Robert Schuller, a first-class heretic who has one of the largest congregations (of course) and sells lots of his books in every so-called "Christian" book store in the nation. I've read lots about, and by, Robert Schuller over the years and he gets his followers only because he makes them feel good.
Rather than do a real thorough expose on Schuller, which could be quite time-consuming, I'm just going to give you a taste of his teachings from the TOTT article. If you need more evidence as to Schuller's heresy, feel free to e-mail me with that request. That said, here's Mr. Schuller's words:
"Sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem." Gee, and I thought sin was rebellion against God and violating His commands.
"A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem." Seriously -this is Schuller's definition of hell! Has he read the New Testament at all?
"As we focus on Jesus Christ, we shall discover a new theology, one that offers salvation from shame to self-esteem." Oh, and the gospel we are to proclaim is to "tell people everywhere that God wants all of us to feel good about ourselves!" Can someone show me any of this from Scripture?
To be born again "means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image - from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust." Hmmmmmm.
We must have a "new reformation" according to Schuller: "It is precisely at this point that classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be 'God-centered,' not 'man-centered.'" And here I thought theology, by definition, was the study of God! I always thought our Christian - and even Jewish - faith was centered on God, but I guess I've been wrong all this time. So do we worship man now?
Schuller has called a Muslim Grand Mufti "truly one of the great Christ-honoring leaders of faith." This leads me to wonder if Schuller knows anything at all about Islam, let alone Christianity.
Finally, according to Schuller those in the kingdom of God are "Everyone who does some act that builds self-esteem and self-respect in other persons."
I could go on and on from my many reference sources, but I think you get the point: Robert Schuller has no clue what the Christian faith is really about. If he truly believes what he teaches, then I can't see where he is a true Christian either. But hundreds of thousands, if not millions, follow him ardently because he makes them feel good.
Schuller's mentor was Norman Vincent Peale, who taught a lot of the same self-esteem gospel. Schuller is also the root of the whole market-driven, seeker-sensitive philosophies, and is a mentor of Rick Warren and many others in those churches. So why do we not hear him warned against by our local church leaders? I've gone into too many homes of friends and have seen Schuller's books on their coffee tables and book shelves. I usually do not fail to give them a gentle warning about him, but what about all those we share the pews with who have no such warnings?
Robert Schuller - another of those who will be told by Christ, "I never knew you."
Saturday, February 16, 2008
First, in order to slander someone a falsehood must be told. Since everything I wrote in the commentary is true, I cannot be charged with slander. If anything I write on this blog is found to be in error, I welcome correction because I certainly don't claim to be flawless. You can write me at the e-mail address on my profile or you can post a comment on the site by selecting "comments" at the bottom of the article.
Secondly, I will only attack false teachings or bad behaviors and never the person. I do not judge whether someone is or is not godly.
Thirdly, I believe whether someone is called of God can be determined by their fruit. If they consistently teach falsely or if their behavior is not consistent with a calling of God (e.g., they behave arrogantly and obnoxiously as does Beth on her DVDs), then I have to doubt God has called them to that ministry.
Fourthly, any false teaching is the enemy of the Church. While some false teaching isn't as harmful as others, all should be exposed and corrected. False teaching is like cyanide - a little can do great harm. We need to objectively determine the severity of the error in order to know how strongly to address it. Errors come in a few "sizes":
1. Heresy. This is a violation of fundamental Christian doctrines which determine whether one is truly Christian.
2. Aberrations. While not as harmful as heresy, aberrational teaching can cause great harm, either spiritually or by placing people in bondage to the bad teachings. This type of teaching can very often lead to heresy and, at least, distorts the teaching of the Christian faith.
3. Bad teachings. While not as bad as the previous, this type of teaching can lead to the others, depending on the subject matter. A person with consistent bad teachings will have a skewed view of the faith.
Apologists will "go to the mat" to fight heresy. Aberrations will be fought strongly against. Bad teachings may or may not need strong countering. Most of Beth Moore's teachings fall into the last type, but many are aberrational. I have not come across anything heretical by Beth, so in that regard she is a better teacher to listen to than women such as Joyce Meyer or Gloria Copeland.
Now, a very basic problem behind all error is bad hermeneutics; that is, the method of Scriptural interpretation. Rather than practicing exegesis (reading the meaning out of the text), bad teachers practice eisegesis (reading into the text their own ideas). Eisegesis has been humorously described as "hazardous hermeneutics" or even "Rorshak hermeneutics" (one sees what they want to see). I will use a couple of examples from Beth Moore to make my point (these are taken from the DVD series Believing God):
1. The passage in question is Mark 9:14-24. Moore claims that when Jesus came down from the Transfiguration with the three disciples He had taken with Him, He found the other nine arguing about why they weren’t taken with Him: Why had Jesus picked just Peter, James and John? Why weren’t the others good enough? This arguing supposedly gave them “a failure of faith.” Moore said that they had argued with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law “until they talked them out of their faith.” And this is why she says we are not to argue with “Pharisees” who want to destroy our faith in what God can do. The problem is that if she had continued the context to verse 29 her theory would have been dismantled. Jesus told them the reason they couldn’t cast out the demon was because “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (NKJV). Jesus didn’t say it was because they were arguing about why they weren’t chosen or because they were arguing with the Pharisees about anything. Since the text doesn’t say this, it is not proper for Moore to make this story up out of whole cloth.
2. Romans 10:8-10. Moore says, “He has ordained that part of the salvation process is we are going to confess ‘He is Lord’ with our mouths.” There are a few problems with this statement. First, since when is anything but faith required for salvation? Moore has added this as a requirement, yet the Bible doesn’t say that. Second, this passage doesn’t say that this is the only method of making the profession. Third, does this then prevent a mute from salvation?
Christians tend to be very objective when confronting cult teachings, or teachings that distort major doctrines, but when it comes to favorite teachers their objectivity gets lost. The personality of the teacher trumps examination of their teachings.
While maybe not noticed in her books, Beth Moore's arrogant and obnoxious behavior on her DVDs are something Christians should not emulate or even condone. Additionally, her teachings are rife with error and pop-psychology. Although Beth Moore indeed has some excellent teachings, her error is of the nature that she should be warned against and not given a pass because of her popularity. Women have much better role models in Kay Arthur, Joni Erickson Tada, Jill Briscoe, Martha Peace and others.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
It seems that the same bishop mentioned in the previous entry as apologizing to Hindus for evangelizing them is a member of the United Religions Initiative, which was started in 1995. In its charter, URI describes itself as “a growing global community dedicated to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, ending religiously motivated violence and creating cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings…” As SCP states it, “URI leaders…have been open in their scorn for traditional Christian faith and practice.”
According to SCP, URI’s founder, Episcopal Bishop William Swing said “that if the First Commandment leads ‘billions of people from exclusive religions’ (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) to ‘oppose the godly claims of other exclusive religions, what hope is there for peace among religions.’” The members of URI’s board include Christians (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Presbyterian), Baha’is, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus.
Also according to SCP, “Anglican support for the URI is widespread; public opposition is rare among clergy in the Anglican communion. Aside from Bishop Swing, 20 active and retired Anglican prelates have supported the URI.” Former presiding Bishop Frank Griswold is one of them.
As a clue as to what sort of a “bishop” William Swing is, he has boasted that he “ordained more gays and lesbians than the rest of the Anglican church put together.” He has also “ordained more women than any other bishop in the history of the Church…” It seems proper to boast of apostasy in the Episcopal Church!
The Episcopal Church has proven itself time and again to be apostate and heretical. Real Christians should want to leave that denomination.
Friday, February 1, 2008
The Episcopal Church (and it’s Anglican leadership) has been in apostasy, and even heresy, for a very, very long time and I am still at a loss as to why anyone who is truly a Christian would remain in that denomination. Previously we have had the following problems in this denomination:
1. Bishop John Shelby Spong. One of the worst heretics in the world and he was never defrocked or excommunicated. He is certainly not a Christian since what he teaches demonstrates he believes nothing of the fundamental Christian doctrines.
2. The ordaining of homosexuals as bishops and pastors.
3. The ordaining of women pastors and bishops (whether this is apostate can be debated; not everyone agrees that the Bible says women should not be in church leadership over men).
4. The support and promotion of homosexual activism and behavior and same-sex “marriage,” as well as attacking those who speak against homosexual behavior. The claim is that homosexuality is not a sin.
5. The continuance in office of Bishop Charles Bennison, who claims the Church wrote the Bible, denies the resurrection of Jesus, and teaches that Jesus sinned.
6. The continuance in office of homosexual bishop Gene Robinson who also teaches heresy.
7. The continuance in office of Bishop John Chane who claims God gave the Koran to Muhammad.
8. A 1967 resolution adopted by the Episcopal Church in America that “heresy is out of date.”
9. The promotion of Freemasonry in the church.
10. Archbishop Rowan Williams’ support of “As Good As New” version of the Bible, which teaches fornication as proper (by the way it “translates” 1 Cor. 7).
11. The continuance in office of Bishop J. Jon Bruno who says Jesus is not the only way to God, which is actually supported by Archbishop Rowan Williams’ claim that non-Christians can go to heaven.
12. A “Women’s Eucharist: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine” in Texas wherein the liturgy was a pagan celebration based on the Da Vince Code. Church leadership found nothing wrong with the service.
13. A Denver, CO church hired a Muslim cleric as part of their staff as a “bridge builder.”
14. Support of abortion.
15. No discipline for an Oklahoma pastor’s ecumenical service that included pagan American Indian ceremonies.
16. A study showing that 38% of Anglican clergy deny the virgin birth.
17. Archbishop Williams’ rejection of creation in favor of evolution, and actively denying the Genesis account. Other bishops have supported this teaching and even claim that creationists “harm religion.”
18. Church of England leaders claim that calling God “He” encourages men to beat wives.
Okay, is that enough to call the Episcopal church heretical and apostate? Well, if the following web page is still available, you can get the full story of what I will next discuss. http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=7535
An Episcopal Church in Los Angeles had a joint service with members of the Hare Krishna cult as they celebrated an “Indian Rite Mass.” What ever possessed this church to participate in the joining of Hinduism in a Christian service?!?!? The description of the service, which merged Hindu and Christian liturgy, left me in total wonderment and disgust. The Krishna group even partook of communion! In the sermon, the Rev. Karen MacQueen said that in both Hinduism and Christianity devotees believe that “the Divine Presence” illuminates the whole world. The local bishop even extended an apology for proselytizing Hindus in the past, and said that they will restrain from doing so in the future!
Well, the Bible does indeed warn us that as we near the time of Christ’s return the church will fall into apostasy. The Anglican/Episcopal Church is a prime example.