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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Did They Really Say That?

?!?
“God cannot take to heaven the slave who has been kept in ignorance and degradation, knowing nothing of God or the Bible, fearing nothing but his master’s lash, and holding a lower position than the brutes.  But He does the best thing for him that a compassionate God can do.  He permits him to be as if he had not been.”
Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 276.
According to E.G. White, God couldn’t take the slaves to heaven, and so annihilated them.  And how did she know that slaves knew nothing of God and the Bible?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It Happened Again!

Years ago, when I first started studying apologetics, it seemed as if information about various false teachings would come across my path a short time before I needed that knowledge.  After this happened so many times as to be seemingly against all odds to call it coincidence, I came to realize that perhaps the Lord was leading me to the apologetics ministry.  While it has been some time since the last incident, I never doubted that the idea of coincidence would not hold water and that it certainly had to be by the Lord’s design.
Well, it happened again!  
Over the past few years I have read some things about “Messianic Christianity,” including the book, “Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity,” by Stan Telchin, and sold through Jews for Jesus.  But I didn’t realize this movement went beyond that - until last week.  Last week the new issue of Personal Freedom Outreach’s The Quarterly Journal arrived, and it has a front-page article on “The Hebrew Roots Movement.”  The article gives some basic divisions in this movement (I’m not going to explain them - I’ll let you buy the journal):
  1. The Messianic Movement. 
  2. Third Questers. 
  3. Dual Covenant Groups. 
  4. Noahides
  5. The Hebrew Roots Movement
  6. Autonomous Entities
  7. Eclectic System
The article was very interesting in that it demonstrates how far some will go to keep “Jewishness” in Christianity, to the point of often demanding legalistic adherence to the Mosaic Laws.  
Today I received a telephone call from a retired pastor friend who wanted to know what I could find out about Skip Moen, who is part of the Hebrew Roots Movement - what the movement teaches, etc.  (My friend, at almost 80 years, still does prison ministry, Bible studies, etc. - but he never had a computer).  A quick look on the Internet demonstrated that Skip is indeed part of this aberrational movement, and I already had information as to the teachings from this movement from that journal!  So it becomes just a matter of copying the article for my friend to study.

I’m not convinced this was just a coincidence!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More United Methodists Settle Into Satan’s Web

An article in yesterday’s Cedar Rapids Gazette declared that “a growing number of pastors in the United Methodist Church say they're no longer willing to obey a church rule that prohibits them from officiating at same-sex marriages, despite the potential threat of being disciplined or dismissed from the church.”
Is that “potential threat” of discipline really an actual threat?  Well, as I’ve reported before about these goatherds, the Gazette tells us that, “In some parts of the United States, Methodist pastors have been marrying same-sex couples or conducting blessing ceremonies for same-sex unions for years with little fanfare and no backlash from the denomination.”
When denominational leaders fail to do their duty, all they will get from it is more apostasy.  The UMC denomination is pretty liberal as it is, focussing on the “social gospel” rather than on Biblical teachings, so they really don’t have much of a leg to stand on anyway when it comes to enforcing a ban on conducting same-sex unions.  Yet the Gazette also reports that “Rev.” [read “goatherd”] Amy DeLong of Osceola, WI is facing a 3-day trial beginning today; it seems she has ordained homophiles and has “married” a lesbian couple.  She is also in a homosexual relationship and claims to have told her superiors this fact long ago, yet the UMC has done nothing to discipline her before.  So now they a trying her for practicing her known worldview!
Goatherd DeLong officiated at this “wedding” of lesbians two years ago and yet the UMC is just NOW taking action - or at least giving the impression that they are doing so.  DeLong claims that the UMC official stance on homosexual are “unjust laws.”  Interesting that she would say God is unjust for saying homosexual behavior is a sin.  Who gave her this moral authority over God?
The Gazette article reports that there are “hundreds of pastors from areas including Illinois, Minnesota, New York and New England have signed statements recently asserting their willingness to defy the rule.”  The reason given is that, “A number of Methodist clergy say it violates the church's social-justice teachings, and they say they're stepping up their efforts in part because national attitudes toward discrimination against gays and lesbians are becoming more enlightened.”
There you have it: God’s law has not changed but the false social gospel taught by the UMC opens the door to these claims of “social justice.”  And, after all, secular attitudes about homosexuality are more important that God’s attitude towards it.  Then there is the bogus claim about “discrimination,” as if discrimination is somehow always wrong.  With their logic, we should quit discriminating against adulterers and fornicators and no longer call what they do “sin.”  And don’t you love how they frame the acceptance of homosexual behavior by society as being “enlightened”?  Yes, us Bible-believing Christians are in such darkness!
The Gazette’s article ended with this bit of information:
One retired pastor in Massachusetts has been defying the same-sex wedding ban for more than 10 years without drawing any complaints and has no plans to stop. 
The Rev. Richard Harding, 85, said the church is only hurting itself by driving away both talented clergy and younger members who think the policy is out of touch. 
'I'm getting on in years and I may not see the change but there's definitely an uprising taking place,' he said. 'There are signs that the pole of justice is beginning to lean the proper way. I think we'll see even more of this. We aren't going to go away.' 
Proof positive that the UMC’s threat of disciple is harmless.  And to Goatherd Harding, the Church isn’t here to cater to those who want to deny God’s laws so as to be “in touch,” rather it is here to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If that drives people away, so be it.  It has nothing to do with secular justice, but it has everything to do with God’s justice.  I’ll take God over society any day.
If you are a member of a UMC body, why is your assembly still part of that denomination?  Do you like being tangled in Satan’s web?


UPDATE, 6/23/11
Goat herd DeLong got a hand-slap.  Check out Neil's report at Eternity Matters.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

We sang one of my favorite hymns today.  I first heard it sung by Shirley Temple in the movie, Heidi, then it was a song we sang in the Lutheran churches we attended for eight years.  During that time, I transcribed the tune to play on my bagpipes.
It is an old hymn but not a dirge hymn; and it has some good theology as well.
Holy God, we praise Thy name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee;
All on earth They scepter claim;
All in heav’n above adore Thee.
Infinite Thy vast domain;
Everlasting is Thy reign.
Hark, the glad celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising;
Cherubim and seraphim
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heav’ns with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy Lord.
Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit: Three we name Thee
While in essence only one;
Undivided God we claim Thee,
And adoring, bend the knee
While we sing our praise to Thee.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to Destroy the Church

Three years ago, and only three months after I started this blog, I posted this citation from Don Veinot of Midwest Christian Outreach apologetics ministry.  I decided this was a citation which needed reposting, with my short thought at the end:
How to Destroy the Church: Turn Christianity into one of many equal religious options no more or less true than any other. We could incorporate the 'rich heritage' of these various religious traditions into a non-judgmental spiritually affirming setting of contemplative thought and conversation. We can be on a journey in the land of not knowingness and mutually embrace our ignorance while we sneer and jeer those lesser humans who think they can know things. We can de-emphasize sound doctrine and biblical teaching in order to not make those who don't know anything about the Bible feel bad about not knowing anything. Since nothing is really true anyway we can all feel really good that no one feels bad, except of course, those who believe the Bible."
This is exactly what we see happening in today's church, especially with the Emergent Church movement.  Again, I have to cite 2 Timothy 4:3-4: "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (NIV).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Did They Really Say That?

?!?
Audible prayer can never do the works of spiritual understanding, which regenerates; but silent prayer, watchfulness, and devout obedience enable us to follow Jesus’ example. ... Audible prayer is impressive; it gives momentary solemnity and elevation to thought.  But does it produce any lasting benefit?  Looking deeply into these things, we find that “a zeal...not according to knowledge” gives occasion for reaction unfavorable to spiritual grown, sober resolve, and wholesome perception of God’s requirements.  The motives for verbal prayer may embrace too much love of applause to induce or encourage Christian sentiment.
Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp.4, 7
Mary Baker Eddy obviously had a problem with audible prayer.  However, how does this teaching compare with the myriads of examples, even by Jesus, of audible prayer!?!  This teaching is unbiblical.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What About Gambling?

In my last post I had a commentary about a person who claimed God gave his mother a winning lottery ticket after he prayed.  One of the comments I received questioned what the problem was with gambling which would lead me to say I didn’t believe God would work that way.  
Well, over a decade ago I did a series on Biblical Ethics for my high school Sunday School class.  The text I used was Robertson McQuilken’s, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics.  I found my outline for this course and decided to cut and paste here the section on gambling.  While my outline had much quoting from McQuilkin, I used him as my jumping-off point for my own lesson.  So here you have mostly McQuilkin’s comments extracted from that section of his book.  I tend to agree with what he says.
Gambling:
McQuilkin tells us the reason he places gambling as a subset of "social responsibility" rather than under "personal integrity" is that it is virtually impossible "to make a convincing case from Scripture against gambling as inherently sinful, but it is no difficult task at all to marshal biblical evidence against gambling as a social evil."

Biblical basis for opposition.  For the serious gambler, it is a violation of the commandment against covetousness.  Selfishness is also present in most gambling.  Kenneth Kantzer, in Christianity Today, said gambling is "an artificially contrived risk, taken for selfish gain at another's expense, with no constructive product or social good as its goal." But is gambling a sin?  Maybe not, but sin often lies at the root of gambling and sin is often the result of gambling. McQuilkin says, "Human experience indicates that even recreational gambling promotes covetousness and leads away from giving as a way of life.  It often nurtures the fantasy that luck rather than hard work is a way to prosperity.  All too often it sucks the gambler into a life of dishonesty.  Even if one should escape the common evil results, is it right for the strong to validate gambling by personal example and help create an atmosphere in which others will fall?   Seeing the practice in real life outcomes leads to the conclusion that gambling is not a legitimate part of a God-pleasing way of life."
Social effects of gambling.  There are more compulsive gamblers in America than there are “alcoholics” (drunks).  This often leads to poverty-destroyed families.  McQuilkin says, "The gambling business is dominated by the major crime syndicates.  One organized crime boss said that the syndicates could get along very well on gambling alone even without their other mainstays: narcotics and prostitution."  These should be additional reasons for Christians to avoid gambling.
State lotteries:  McQuilkin tells us that what happens in state lotteries is "the enhancement of the professional gambler's take and the increased involvement of syndicated crime because the state develops a whole new crop of gamblers.  This occurs because the novelty of a state lottery normally wears off in about one year and the state must begin major marketing to enlist new gamblers. ... The state finds itself an ally of organized crime, an exploiter of the poor, a promoter of social blight, and a loser in the gamble to make a bundle with little effort and cost. No lottery has begun to measure up to optimistic projections, and many, within a decade, have failed financially.  And who can calculate the cost to the state in the fight against organized crime and the accompanying corruption in law enforcement, not to mention the increase in welfare costs for increasing numbers of gambling losers?”
Summation:  "In the light of the way gambling has worked out in the life of the nation, it seems the most responsible position for the Christian is total abstinence, opposition to any form of church sponsored gambling, and cooperation with all people of good sense in opposing state-operated lotteries and pari-mutuel betting."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Random Apostasies and Heresies

One of the more bizarre instances of “religion” recently was the story about a lady who won a $1 million lottery after her son prayed for her to win.  Now this supposed atheist has come back to the fold of the Catholic church.  Maybe I’m just a wee bit cynical here, but I find it difficult to believe that God would answer this prayer for a woman to benefit from gambling.  I also find it difficult that God would answer this prayer so as to lead a man into the cultic Roman Catholic religion.  I am much more inclined to believe we have a bonafide coincidence!
I learned a bit more about The Message non-Bible this week.  Apparently the “god” of Eugene Peterson is an environmental god, because Romans 15:13 says, “Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy...”   The “Mess” also omits the sin of homosexuality from various passages.  A while back I purchased an NIV/The Message parallel Bible so as to do some studies of comparison for exposing this “Mess” for what it is, but I just haven’t had the time to do so.  I still intend to get to it when possible.  This book, after all, is a favorite of false teacher Rick Warren, as he uses it to propagate his false teachings.
If you’ve never been over to The Museum of Idolatry, I highly recommend it as a place to see the idolatrous trends of the church.  This past week they had an excellent example of the entertainment-orientation of so many churches.  Too many assemblies don’t want to teach from Scripture because it isn’t entertaining enough, so they play-act at being at the movies, etc.  And we wonder why our young people especially have no theological understanding of their faith.
Lastly for today, more apostasy from members of the United Methodist Church.  [link dead by 5/3/14] At an annual conference, “about 40 members of Minnesota’s United Methodist clergy signed a statement saying they would marry any couple who came to them, including two women or two men.”   Why is it people want to play at being Christian while denying what God has specifically taught?  Why don’t they call themselves something else rather than blemishing the name of Christ?  Well, Bishop Sally Dyck (female bishop in the UMC is part of their problem) says that the statement doesn’t break church rules, but doesn’t it break the rules the Bible lays down for elders?  I will look forward to the dismissal of all these “clergy” - but I know it will never happen.