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, November 27, 2010

John Dominic Crossan - Arch-Heretic

Today the Cedar Rapids Gazette published an article by Mitchell Landsberg from the Los Angeles Times about heretic John Dominic Crossan and his teaching on the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer.  Let me cite the article with my commentary:

John Dominic Crossan, a renowned, if controversial, scholar of Christianity, says the essence of the Lord's Prayer can be found in those first two words, in fact, in the single word 'father,' which, he believes, encapsulates an entire first century worldview lost to modern churchgoers. 'After that,' he says, 'everything would follow.' Crossan, a former Catholic priest who teaches at DePaul University, is an old hand at challenging contemporary Christian assumptions.

Read that as, “Crossan is a heretic who doesn’t like what Scripture says.”

He is one of the founders of the Jesus Seminar, a liberal Christian organization that is devoted to the study of the history of Jesus and early Christianity.

This is a mischaracterization of the Jesus Seminar. They exist only to debunk the divinity of Christ and the authenticity of the Word of God. If they truly studied the “history of Jesus and early Christianity,” then they wouldn’t come to the conclusions they come to!

The group is respected in some circles for its scholarship, and in others, viewed as heretical for its skepticism.

Those who respect this group for scholarship have no respect for the truth!

Among its more controversial declarations are that many of the miracles attributed to Jesus did not occur, at least not as described in Scripture, and that Jesus did not physically rise from the dead.

Gee, I wonder why it’s “controversial”? Isn’t it interesting that a bunch of men who were not there can totally ignore eye-witness testimony?

Crossan has written several books about the historical Jesus. In a sense, he said in an interview, each one has helped lead to his latest book, 'The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer' (Harper-One 2010).

No, Crossan has written several books about a Jesus of his own making, not the one of history. He’s much like cult members in this regard. As far as leading to his latest, well false teaching does build on other false teaching.

In it, he dissects the Lord's Prayer (also known as the Our Father), line by line, word by word. There is nothing new about this: Most faiths do the same with their important liturgies, and there is a long tradition in Christianity of parsing the Lord's Prayer for its deeper meaning. But Crossan's interpretation is not exactly conventional.

Read that as, “Crossan’s interpretation is heretical, as are all his teachings.”

'Let's say it's a fresh and defensible reading of the prayer text, though definitely not the traditional interpretation,' said Clay Schmit, a professor of theology at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and academic director of its Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts.

So now the article cites someone from a theologically liberal and aberrant Seminary as an authority on what is true Christianity!

'The traditional interpretation focuses on the relationship between the Father ... and the individual,' Schmit said. 'It seeks an alignment between the will of the person making the prayer with the will of the Father.'

And this is a problem because?

Crossan calls the Lord's Prayer 'a prayer from the heart of Judaism on the lips of Christianity for the conscience of the world.' To understand it, he said, it is necessary to comprehend the culture in which it was written, that of first century Judaism. …it is delivered by Jesus, which helps explain the revered status it holds.

When Jesus' disciples heard the prayer, Crossan said, they would have responded differently than a modern churchgoer. To begin with, he said, the term 'Father' - 'Abba' in the original Greek or Aramaic - connoted a 'householder,' one who oversaw the affairs of a family. A householder, he added, would have been judged by how well he provided for everyone. When the prayer continues with 'hallowed be thy name,' he said, what it means by 'hallowed' is 'a fair distribution for all, the justice of an equitable household.' In other words, Crossan said, the prayer is about 'distributive justice,' about making sure that all are cared for. 'It is revolutionary,' he writes, 'because it presumes and proclaims the radical vision of justice that is the core of Israel's biblical tradition ... It dreams of an Earth where the Holy One of justice and righteousness actually gets to establish - as we might say - the annual budget for the global economy.' Not everyone agrees.

AHA! Now we get to Crossan’s agenda - to promote the social gospel, which is one of those other gospels Paul warned about in Galatians 1:8-9. Whoa, I wonder why “not everyone agrees”? Could it be because he is lying about what it means?

'That sounds to me like a very agenda-driven interpretation,' said Steven Porter, who teaches the Lord's Prayer to graduate students in his theology classes at Biola University, an evangelical Christian school in La Mirada, Calif. He said he would challenge any student who made that argument in class. 'While I might very much agree with a lot of the points there about distributive justice, and might think there are plenty of passages in Scripture that do seek justice for those who are oppressed and so forth, to find those in the Lord's Prayer seems like a stretch to me,' he said.

I’m glad to see they ended the article with this bit of truth.

John Dominic Crossan is an arch-heretic, and anyone who claims the name of Christ should avoid anything he writes as if it was the black plague!

International House of Prayer - Haven of False Teachings

This institution had its origins in the Kansas City Prophets, men who claim to be contemporary prophets of God.

“International House of Prayer, based in Kansas City, is rapidly growing and nationally known. The ministry owns an entire shopping mall, two apartment complexes and a ranch. It is being used as a model to begin houses of prayer around the world. There are over 500 people who currently serve on staff…. The movement has spawned a host of ministries including prophetic and apostolic training schools, 24 hour worship and prayer, healing schools and a small association of churches called Forerunner Fellowship of Churches. On the surface, things look good. And what could be more important than prayer? But once one gets beyond the veneer and ambiance, there are significant causes for concern.

“Problems first arise when one begins to examine the selection of teachings offered at IHOP. …conspicuous by their absence are such Christian staples as; salvation, the resurrection, blood atonement, virgin birth, fall of man, sin, grace, final judgment, trinity, nature of God, Christian morality and nearly any other subject one would commonly expect to find in a Christian ministry which functions as a church for most of its members…. I do not mean, by this, to insinuate that those associated with IHOP do not believe in these doctrines. I suspect that they do. I am only pointing out that these foundational doctrines are not emphasized in the teaching ministry. In the place of these “meat and potatoes” subjects, one finds series on such topics as; prophetic art, the breaker anointing, the Jezebel spirit, the Anna anointing, becoming the David generation, Our Prophetic History (not that of the church in general but prophecies given to IHOP in particular), the global bridegroom fast, dream interpretation, prophetic training and instructions and the list goes on…. In addition to these problems, nearly an entire section of the book store is dedicated to the works of Roman Catholic mystics such as Madame Guyone and Thomas Keating. The works of Watchman Nee figure largely as do a host of books touting new prophecies, third heaven visitations and instructions on interpreting your own dreams…. The nutritional content of the majority of the material found at IHOP is extremely low. IHOP claims to be training Joel’s Army, the generation of end-time apostles and prophets that will be completely glorified and exercise dominion over the world prior to the Second Coming. Yet for all the talk about apostolic lifestyle and apostolic power, virtually no attention is given to apostolic doctrine! Compare this with the attitude of the apostle Paul.” (Keith Gibson, Apologetics Resource Center director for Kansas City, talk given at the 2005 Kansas City Conference on Biblical Discernment)

As you can see from Keith Gibson’s description, this organization is very aberrational, and often heretical in most of its teachings. Some of the well-known names associated with this group are Bob Jones (not the Bob Jones of the Christian University), Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, Jack Deer, Jim Goll, John Paul Jackson and Jill Austin. These people and their followers have given many false prophecies, and teach dominion theology, part of which includes the false teaching of Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare.

For some good information about IHOP, there is a blog developed just to expose their false teachings. I highly recommend it: http://ihopisnewage.wordpress.com/

Friday, November 26, 2010

What is Discernment?

Discernment is the ability to understand, interpret, and apply Biblical truth rightly and skillfully to the situations of our lives.  Discernment involves knowing and acting on the truth.  Discernment involves recognizing, exposing, and confronting error.  Discernment is a cognitive act, an act of your mind.  No one who spurns right doctrine or sound reason can be truly discerning.  Any one who fails to be discerning has little basis for confidence in their Christian life and walk.  We desire great praise and worship to our God, but not at the expense of discernment, understanding and Biblical wisdom.

Glenn "Woody" Jeffrey, 1/3/98, Maranatha Bible Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Poison of the Serpent

They set forth, indeed, the name of Christ Jesus as a sort of lure, but in various ways they introduce the impieties of Simon; and thus they destroy multitudes, wickedly disseminating their own doctrines by the use of a good name, and, through means of its sweetness and beauty, extending to their hearers the bitter and malignant poison of the serpent, the great author of apostasy.

Do you want to guess who said this and about whom it was said?  Sounds to me like the author was talking about the Word of Faith teachers, or perhaps Joel Osteen, or perhaps - you name them!

This was written by Irenaeus in Against Heresies, directed at Cerdo and Marcion, two of the Gnostic false teacher of his time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Important New Book

I am usually reading three books at any one time; I have one in my bedroom, one in my living room and one in my library - the latter giving me something to do while waiting my turn on the computer!  Currently, my bedroom book is Volume one of a 10-volume set on the writings of the ante-Nicene Fathers, and I am in the last half of this book, reading Irenaeus’ Against Heresies.  In the living room is War Against the Weak, which is a history of the eugenics movement.  And for waiting my turn I am currently reading The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Of course, whenever a new journal or other apologetic news letter arrives in the mail, books get set aside until I’ve finished reading the new stuff.  Occasionally someone will give me a book with a request that I read it, either for reporting on or because they think it is important enough for me to put as a priority.  The book I just finished is in that latter category.

When A Nation Forgets God, by Erwin W. Lutzer, is a must read for all Christians, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt non-Christians to read it.  The subtitle is, 7 Lessons We Must Learn From Nazi Germany.   Lutzer demonstrates parallels to how the USA is currently operating compared to the way Nazi Germany rose to power, and it is quite sobering.
In reality, there is nothing in the book which I haven’t read before, but Lutzer packs it all succinctly in 141 pages, in a format which makes for an easy read.  The seven lessons are as follows:

1.  When God is separated from government, judgment follows.  Lutzer explains how the Nazi government slowly removed any reference to God from German schools and politics, in the same way we are doing in America.  “When God is ousted from government, transcendent values are replaced by *) The raw use of power, *) Eroticism, *) Arbitrary judicial rulings *) The morality of personal pragmatism."

2.  It’s always the economy.  Summed up this way: “When given a choice, most people probably will choose bread and sausage above the free market and individual liberties. ...many people would prefer economic equality along with tyranny rather than economic opportunity with freedom.”

3.  That which is legal might also be evil.  Lutzer cites R. J. Rushdoony: “If the source of law is the individual, then the individual is the god of that system...if source of law is our court then the court is our god.  If there is no higher law beyond man, then man is his own god... When you choose your authority, you choose your god, and when you look for your law, there is your god.”   This allowed Hitler to define Jews as non-human as well as allowing the U.S. Supreme Court to define the pre-born as non-human.  Laws can make actions legal, but they can’t make them moral.

4.  Propaganda can change a nation.  Lutzer quotes Hitler as saying, “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!”  The same type of propaganda Hitler used to get Germany to accept his beliefs as true is being used now by those promoting the homosexual agenda.  “[A cultural current] is a dominant idea promoted by the media and willingly adopted by a critical mass of people who want to believe a myth so badly they will close their minds to all contrary evidence.  When such cultural movement gains momentum, people will stare at facts and filter out what they don’t want to believe.  Contrary evidence will be ignored or reinterpreted to fit their deepest wishes.  And the more people who believe the myth, the more difficult it is for those who wish to counter it.  In a spirit of euphoria, all warning signs are brushed aside.  Before we know it, we are in a world where facts do not matter.  (Lutzer’s emphasis)

5.  Parents - not the state - are responsible for a child’s training.  In Germany Hitler forced all children into public education so as to be able to indoctrinate them in Nazi philosophy.  Hitler stated, “Your child belongs to us already...what are you?  You will pass on.  Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp.  In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”  State-sponsored education in America is radically changing the values of our children, and more and more of the leftist agenda is being forced upon them without parents being able to do anything about it.

6.  Ordinary heroes can make a difference.  Lutzer gives many examples of Christians who did not join the state church in compromising to Hitler and often gave their lives for it.  We, as Christians, must not compromise our faith just because we don’t want to be persecuted.  “But if Christians are silent at our universities for fear of being disgraced; if believers are intimidated at work because of new laws that might keep religion out of the workplace; if a Christian nurse is silent about abortion because to speak out would put her job in jeopardy; in short, if we keep Christ to ourselves out of fear of reprisals, are we not taking our stand with those pastors in Germany who chose to close ranks with Hitler?”

7.  We must exalt the cross in the gathering darkness.  “[Bonhoeffer] warned that when a people idolize a leader, ‘then the image of the leader will gradually become the image of the “misleader.”  Thus the leader makes an idol of himself and mocks God.'”  The church in America, on the whole, has compromised the message of the cross for self-help and self-esteem teachings, as well as entertainment-oriented worship.  Without the cross being central to our teachings, we will have nothing to stand on.  “Destroyed for being blinded by the pride of nationalism instead of being humbled by its great need for repentance.  The church stood with pride, but it would not bow in humility.  The church neglected the cross and had to live with the consequences.”

I recommend you get a copy of this book ASAP, and buy many more to pass out.   At only $7.99 retail, it should be a relatively inexpensive item to get into as many hands as possible.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

False Teachers Pervert the Scriptures

Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions. Their manner of acting is just as if one, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skilful artist out of precious jewels, should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skilful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception what a king’s form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king. In like manner do these persons patch together old wives’ fables, and then endeavour, by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions.
Irenaeus, Against Heresies

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rome Is Not the “Mother of the Church”

This following commentary is part of the Introductory Note to Irenaeus Against Heresies.

But let it be noted here, that, so far from being “the mother and mistress” of even the Western Churches, Rome herself is a mission of the Greeks; Southern Gaul is evangelized from Asia Minor, and Lyons checks the heretical tendencies of the Bishop at Rome. Ante-Nicene Christianity, and indeed the Church herself, appears in Greek costume which lasts through the synodical period; and Latin Christianity, when it begins to appear, is African, and not Roman. It is strange that those who have recorded this great historical fact have so little perceived its bearings upon Roman pretensions in the Middle Ages and modern times. … It is a striking example of this divine economy, that the see of Rome was allowed to exhibit its fallibility very conspicuously at this time, and not only to receive the rebukes of Irenaeus, but to accept them as wholesome and necessary; so that the heresy of Eleutherus, and the spirit of Diotrephes in Victor, have enabled reformers ever since, and even in the darkest days of pontifical despotism, to testify against the manifold errors patronized by Rome.

Something for Romanists to consider!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Do Not Accept False Teachings

If any one preaches the one God of the law and the prophets, but denies Christ to be the Son of God, he is a liar, even as also is his father the devil, and is a Jew falsely so called, being possessed of mere carnal circumcision. If any one confesses Christ Jesus the Lord, but denies the God of the law and of the prophets, saying that the Father of Christ is not the Maker of heaven and earth, he has not continued in the truth any more than his father the devil, and is a disciple of Simon Magus, not of the Holy Spirit. If any one says there is one God, and also confesses Christ Jesus, but thinks the Lord to be a mere man, and not the only-begotten God, and Wisdom, and the Word of God, and deems Him to consist merely of a soul and body, such an one is a serpent, that preaches deceit and error for the destruction of men. And such a man is poor in understanding, even as by name he is an Ebionite. If any one confesses the truths mentioned, but calls lawful wedlock, and the procreation of children, destruction and pollution, or deems certain kinds of food abominable, such an one has the apostate dragon dwelling within him. If any one confesses the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and praises the creation, but calls the incarnation merely an appearance, and is ashamed of the passion, such an one has denied the faith, not less than the Jews who killed Christ. If any one confesses these things, and that God the Word did dwell in a human body, being within it as the Word, even as the soul also is in the body, because it was God that inhabited it, and not a human soul, but affirms that unlawful unions are a good thing, and places the highest happiness in pleasure, as does the man who is falsely called a Nicolaitan, this person can neither be a lover of God, nor a lover of Christ, but is a corrupter of his own flesh, and therefore void of the Holy Spirit, and a stranger to Christ. All such persons are but monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of dead men. Flee, therefore, the wicked devices and snares of the spirit which now worketh in the children of this world, lest at any time being overcome, ye grow weak in your love.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Abstain From the Poison of Heretics

For there are some vain talkers and deceivers, not Christians, but Christ-betrayers, bearing about the name of Christ in deceit, and “corrupting the word”of the Gospel; while they intermix the poison of their deceit with their persuasive talk, as if they mingled aconite with sweet wine, that so he who drinks, being deceived in his taste by the very great sweetness of the draught, may incautiously meet with his death. One of the ancients gives us this advice, “Let no man be called good who mixes good with evil.” For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to it. For they alienate Christ from the Father, and the law from Christ. They also calumniate His being born of the Virgin; they are ashamed of His cross; they deny His passion; and they do not believe His resurrection. They introduce God as a Being unknown; they suppose Christ to be unbegotten; and as to the Spirit, they do not admit that He exists. Some of them say that the Son is a mere man, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are but the same person, and that the creation is the work of God, not by Christ, but by some other strange power. Be on your guard, [therefore, against such persons, that ye admit not of a snare for your own souls. And act so that your life shall be without offence to all men, lest ye become as “a snare upon a watch-tower, and as a net which is spread out.” For” he that does not heal himself in his own works, is the brother of him that destroys himself.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Watchman

The following was posted on Berit Kjos site, http://www.crossroad.to/ I thought it was worth posting here so more people could see it.

"...if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ ... I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me." Ezekiel 33:6-7

"Some one, then, must undertake the ungracious task of probing and laying bare the evils of the age; for men must not be allowed to congratulate themselves that all is well. If others will not, he will.

If others shrink from the obloquy of such a work, he will not.... He loves his fellow-men too well. They may upbraid him; they may call him a misanthropist, or a prophet of evil; they may ascribe his warnings to the worst of motives, such as pride, or arrogance, or self-esteem, or malice, or envy; but he will give no heed to these unjust insinuations.

He will prefer being thus misunderstood and maligned, to allowing men to precipitate themselves upon a ruin which they see not. Rather than that they should perish, he will allow his own good name to be spoken against. He will risk every thing, even the hatred of brethren, rather than withhold the warning. If they give no heed to it, he has, at least, saved his own soul. If they do, he has saved both his own soul and theirs.

He would rather take up the glad tidings of peace, and tell men of Him who came the first time for shame and death, and who is coming the second time for glory and dominion; but he feels as one who has a special and personal message to deliver, which cannot be postponed.

He must remember that he is a watchman; and, having seen danger pressing on, he must not hesitate to make it known. He must speak his message of forewarning and rebuke, sparing no arrows, and neither smoothing down nor hiding any form of sin, but laying his finger upon every sore, and beseeching men to turn from their ungodliness. The evils around him press upon him sadly; the coming evils are foreshadowed upon his spirit, and, therefore, he lifts up his voice like a trumpet.

Satan has many snares which need to be detected; the world has many spells and lures which must be disenchanted; religion has many guises which must be unmasked, many devious paths of inconsistency which must be pointed out, many cherished errors which must be condemned, many carnal taints which must be abhorred and shunned. All these he must protest against without fear or favour."

Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)