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
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Entertainment in the Church

I originally posted this a few months after starting the blog.  I thought it was time to repost.

So many churches nowadays are following methods promoted by “seeker sensitive,” “market driven,” “purpose driven,” and even the emergent churches, that we are encountering a lot of entertainment-oriented services which have often completely changed the gospel message. Although this entertainment-oriented ideology is pervasive in the church today, it really isn’t new.  The following commentary is by A.W. Tozer:
For centuries the Church has stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was - a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability. For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of the world. But of late she has become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers. So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theatres where fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it. … The great god Entertainment amuses his devotees mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is characteristic of childhood, has taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that not a few persons manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns and serving them up in various disguises to church people. What is natural and beautiful in a child may be shocking when it persists into adulthood, and more so when it appears in the sanctuary and seeks to pass for true religion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Random Apologetics News

The last time I posted a “random” collection a commenter asked if the post was meant as satire or if it was serious.  I was at sort of a loss how anyone could see these posts as satire.
The purpose of my “random” posts is to highlight some of the many articles I have read over a particular period, for which I don’t have time to write my own articles about.  I feel the issues are important, however, and that the body of Christ should be aware of the false teachings that are corrupting the Church.  And there are also times when I find articles which are very thought-provoking in ways of edification.  While there may be an occasional satirical article among them (such as the one showing Benny Hinn as a Dark Lord), the posts themselves are not intended to be humor.  I got the idea from a fellow blogger who does a “Roundup,” but I got my idea for a title from Thomas Sowell (a brilliant commentator) who writes an occasional “Random Thoughts From the Passing Scene.”
That being said, it has been 10 days since my last “Random” post, and I have come across so many things which I think are important to be aware of, that this may be my longest “Random” collection.  Let us proceed.
I have previously pointed out that John Hagee is a false teacher.  Another example is that he allowed the MORMON Glenn Beck to preach at his church!!  Mormons are NOT Christians!!   To treat Beck as a Christian and let him teach in a Christian church is unconscionable!
I have had posts in the past about how Joel Osteen is a rank heretic.  During the last election for President, I had to do an article on Osteen’s claim that the Mormon god was the same as the Christian God.  Well, he’s done it again!  Osteen just doesn’t have a clue!!!  A CBS headline reads: “Osteen: Romney ‘believer in Christ, like me.’” As seen here, this makes apologetics ministries have to work harder for damage control to show the world - and other Christians - that Mormonism is NOT just another denomination.
While still on the subject of Mormonsim, Janis Hutchinson has a good article explaining the newer strategies of the LDS for gaining followers.  Very deceitful, of course. 
Neil over at Eternity Matters has a good post explaining the further descent of the United Methodist Church into apostasy.  I’ve exposed the UMC in the past, so this isn’t new to me.  If you are in a UMC church, if you are not fighting this - why not?
Corporal punishment is one of those areas which should be a Romans 14 issue as to whether we should or should not use it.  HOWEVER, it is certainly a biblical method of punishment.  The problem is the abuse of such punishment by people such as Mike and Debi Pearl and the way they teach it.  Christianity Today (or should I say Christianity Astray?) has decided to go on record as being against spanking due to twisted hermeneutics.  If you don’t like spanking, don’t do it, but don’t say it is unbiblical!
Hippolytus has posted an excellent short article by Dorothy Sayers about the state of church.
There is an excellent site by those who have left Gothardism (IBLP/ATI) where they share their experiences while in that legalistic and cultic environment.  Last week there was an article using the movie Tangled as an analogy.  We loved that movie, and we also saw the analogy of a relationship in which our adult children are involved.  I recommend this thought-provoking article.

Jerry Wragg over at The Cripplegate has an excellent 3-part series addressing the current fad of unsavory preaching and writing about all things sexual by certain “pastors.”  Wragg’s series gives some good analysis of the problems with this ideology, as well as great responses to claims made about the importance of their unsavory teaching.  Read parts one, two and three.

One thing I get tire of hearing from the liberals who claim the name of Christ, let alone the non-believers, is that “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.”  Stand to Reason blog gives a good response.
The aberrational man-made Code Orange Revival is the big talk on many apologetics sites.  As with all the man-made revivals over the years, there is nothing of substance in any of them.  One of the surprising things is that this so-called evangelical revival headlines the heretic modalist T.D. Jakes.  James MacDonald, who used to be pretty solid as a teacher, is part of the COR and claims he learned “a ton” from T.D. - okaaaaayyyy.  However, I think if anyone reads this story about T.D. Jake’s COR sermon, they’d be scratching their heads at just what it is they are supposed to learn!  Erin has an excellent recap of the 12 days of COR, demonstrating how man-centered the event was.  Goatherd Steve Furtick, who is behind COR, let a WOF woman, Christine Caine, preach a sermon in his “Elevation Church” last week.
And, finally, if you want satire, Ken Silva has posted a photo to give you a chuckle.  And he posted another that is scary - albeit true.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Two Dangers to the Church

There are many dangers to the Church today, the main one of which is false teaching corrupting it from within and without.  However, I think there are two other deadly dangers which severely damage the church and its message: legalism and syncretism.
Now there are four main understandings about legalism, some of which include false teachings:
1.  Keeping the law as a means of salvation. (e.g. Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:16)
2.  Keeping the law’s letter without keeping its “spirit.”  (e.g. Mk. 2:23-3:6)
3.  Building a “fence” of unnecessary, extra-biblical laws around Biblical laws. (e.g. Matt. 15:3-9; 23:16-24).
4.  Imposing obsolete, O.T. requirements on N.T. believers. (e.g. Rom. 14:1-23; Heb.8:13)
Now, it is easy to see how false teachings under these standards can be fairly easily seen.  But what about what is sometimes called “judgmentalism”?  
Chuck Swindoll had a good description in his book, Grace Awakening.  He said, “Legalism is an attitude, a mentality based on pride.  It is an obsessive conformity to an artificial standard for the purpose of exalting oneself… Legalism says, ‘I do this or I don’t do that, and therefore I am pleasing to God.’”
It is one thing for this attitude to be focussed on oneself, but it is another thing when directed at those in the church.  I have known of “seekers” who have quit going to church for this reason; I know of many people who were new/immature believers who quit attending church for this reason.  Both type have a bad taste left in their mouths.  
Let me give some examples as to what I’m referring here:
A young man has tattoos or earrings and is condemned, or just snubbed.
A single mom is condemned for promiscuity.
People are condemned for how they are dressed.
People are condemned for unbiblical beliefs.
Women condemned for short hair, men condemned for long hair.
A person with yard gnomes is told they are idols and they shouldn’t have them.

I think you get the picture.  Seekers may have a lot of unholy fashions, language, ideas, etc., which need to be dealt with in love and compassion as they are led to understanding their need of a Savior.  New believers may have bodily reminders of a life before they were saved and need reassurance that the sins which led to those decisions are forgiven.  New/immature believers need solid biblical instruction and discipleship to help them learn why some of the stuff they believe is incorrect.  New/immature believers need counsel if their fashions are immodest.  Other things are Romans 14 issues which need to be let alone rather than judging the person for their beliefs and practices.
Now let’s look at syncretism.  This again can have many connotations, such as the Emergent movement’s bringing in contemplative prayer and other Catholic mysticism, or   such as the new movement known as “Chrislam.”  Others of this type try to meld with pagan belief systems such as various American Indian beliefs or even Hinduism.  Movements which bring in this type of heresy as part of their syncretism are, again, easy to point out as the false teaching which they are.  
The subtle syncretism is more serious because it weakens the message of the Gospel while not being as readily discernible, and can very well eventually lead the assembly into apostasy and even heresy.  These types of ideas which are syncretized have more to do with the ideology of the world.  Here are some examples:
1. The “social gospel” is one of the worst, and may not even be considered syncretism, rather it is really a separate system completely distorting the gospel message.  However, often just aspects of this system are syncretized into an otherwise fundamental assembly, and while not distorting the Gospel, it weakens it.
2. Pop-psychology is an insidious movement easily syncretized with Christianity because we have all been brainwashed into accepting its precepts.  So-called “Christian psychologists” such as James Dobson, Larry Crabb, et al are guilty of this type of syncretizing.  Sometimes Bible teachers also bring in this type of teaching, as I have demonstrated in my articles on Beth Moore’s studies.  Many of the programs for church youth groups are rife with pop-psychology, leading to the “dumbing down” of our youth.  An excellent book on this subject is Spiritual Junk Food, by Cathy Mickels & Audrey McKeever.
3. Bringing in the world’s culture, including its entertainment methods is really nothing more than syncretizing Christianity with the culture around us.  And the culture selected is often self-focused.  When a worship service seems to be no different than a rock concert, then the culture has been syncretized into that service.  “Seeker-sensitive” assemblies are guilty of this carnage.
Of these two dangers, it’s sometimes difficult to decide which is worse.  Legalism can prevent people from coming to the Lord as well as chase immature believers into isolation so they can’t grow in their faith.  Possibly syncretization is the worst because it waters down the Gospel message and dumbs down the members of the assembly, leaving solid meat in the dust.
Either way, I have known people spiritually harmed by both.  Do you have observations of  these two dangers and which you’d consider worse?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Error May Be Subtle

Cleaning out my files this week I came across this drawing.
I have no idea when or where it came from.  All I know is that I was somewhere listening to some teacher who had this drawing and I copied it because I thought it was a good visual aid.
The point is that false teachings are often very subtle because they cross back and forth over truth.  All cults and false teachers have some truth in their teachings, which makes discernment of the utmost importance.  Often it is the true parts of their teachings that draws people unwittingly into the false, not being able to discern where the line was crossed.
An example would be Mormonism when they speak of God, Jesus, salvation, atonement, etc.  The words themselves can be true descriptions of Christian theology, but the Mormon definitions are not in accordance with Scripture and are false teachings,  only picking up the truth of the words as they cross the line of truth.
Roman Catholicism has much more truth than the LDS, of course, because Rome is a true Christian faith which has added much aberration and heresy to burden the Catholic faithful.  They actually have a truth line which makes the criss-crossing of it with their false teachings all the more difficult to discern.
It is important for every Christian to be continually in the Word of God so that the line we follow is the true path, and so that we will be able to recognize the false teachings whenever they cross our line.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Discernment Thoughts from Martin Luther

This is our foundation:  where the Holy Scripture establishes something that must be believed, there we must not deviate from the words, as they sound, neither from the order as it stands, unless an express article of faith (based on clear Scripture passages) compels us to interpret the words otherwise, or arrange them differently.  Else what would become of the Bible?
Martin Luther (cited by Dick Fischer in The Origins Solution, p. 96)
In philosophy a small error in the beginning leads to a very large error at the end.  So in theology a small error overturns the whole doctrine.
Martin Luther (cited by Jean S. Carton in Who Broke the Baby, p.45)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Investigate Religious Beliefs

"The subject of eternity is of infinite moment to all; and each individual has sufficient capacity to embrace truth instead of error, provided the due exercises of the faculties are instituted.  Then, when any subject is presented to us in the garb of religion, we ought carefully investigate it, and compare it with the standard which should be our rule of faith and practice.... If any doubts hang over the subject, it is reasonable that a scrupulous search, and a critical enquiry be instituted by us."
E.D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, p. 37-38

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marketing God’s Word

Just when you get to thinking that there is nothing else they can do to the Bible to provide more income for the publishers, out comes a new one.
There are Bibles out there in just about every design possible, and today I even saw a “clutch purse” version called - appropriately - the “Clutch.”  Study Bibles, Charismatic Bibles, teen Bibles, children’s Bibles, etc, etc, etc.
Now we have “The Story.”  The advertisement tells us, The Story was created to turn everyday people into devoted Bible readers - pastors tell us it’s working!”  Essentially a chronological Bible, it uses the NIV translation in a condensed version.
I looked at one at Barnes & Nobel today as I shopped for a particular book, and could see no benefit.  The publishers are always looking for more ways to get rich off of God’s Word, and suckers oblige them by the minute.
I guess I want to know why we need another chronological version.  Back in 1993 I purchased “The Gospels Interwoven,” which had been out since 1987, and it is a chronological version of the Gospels using the NIV.  It was such an interesting way to read Scripture that in 1996 I picked up a copy of “The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order,” also using the NIV.  It is copyright 1984 and I have still seen it in Christian book stores as late as last year!  So if a person wants a chronological version, why not just get that one?
OH, that’s right; we must dumb down our translations to make them appealing as a book, which is why The Story is a condensed version - sort of like a “Reader’s Digest” condensed book.  Of course it includes “a timeline, maps and charts, character sketches, discussion questions, and an epilogue.”   Boy, am I glad it has an epilogue!  But the text itself has been altered: “It’s almost entirely Scripture.
And don’t think Zondervan stopped with just the book; marketing this sort of commodity takes imagination to garner the most gold from the world.  Here are some products of “The Story” for your purchasing pleasure:
The Story Audio CD

The Story Curriculum DVD and Participant’s Guide (Adult small group curriculum).
The Story: Teen Edition with features designed to resonate with teens,” including “fun flip animation on each page.”
Teen curriculum DVD (companion to the Teen Edition)
The Story for Kids, this time using the dumbed-down NIrV.  This is so “kids can discover God’s great love story.”
The Story for Kids: Later Elementary Curriculum  with CD-ROM
The Story Trading Cards: Elementary”
The Story for Little Ones
“The Story for Little Ones: Preschool curriculum with CD-ROM
The Story Trading Cards: Preschool
Don’t forget that you can “Help your church grow and have a greater impact” if you purchase their “Church Campaign Kit” for a limited-time offer of $149.99 (normally $300).  This kit includes:
The Story, NIV
The Heart of the Story, by Randy Frazee
The Story Curriculum DVD and Participant’s Guide
The Story for Teens and DVD Curriculum
The Story for Kids, Ages 9-12, and CD-ROM
The Story for Children, Ages 6-8, and CD-ROM
The Story for Little Ones, Ages 5 and under, and CD-ROM
Two packs of The Story Trading Cards: Elementary Age and Pre-school age.
Implementation Guide
Resource DVD
Online access to Resource Library
Did you notice the “Implementation Guide”?  Looks like they want to implement The Story as the only version for use in your church!  After all, you can’t just have people here and there using this version; we need curriculum for indoctrinating all ages into a dumbed-down version of the Bible.
Then we have also available:
Exploring the Story, by Adam T. Barr.  This is “A Reference Companion”
The Heart of the Story, by Randy Frazee
The Story of Jesus, NIV
Finally, if you order $250 or more worth of The Story merchandise, they will send you free of charge Max Locado’s “God’s Story, Your Story,” billed as a “Six-session Church Campaign and Small Group Curriculum.”  This set includes,
“God’s Story, Your Story” in hardcover
DVD with video teachings, sermon resources and promotional material
Participant’s Guide
Getting Started Guide
All this information is in a Zondervan catalog I received in the mail.
So why do we need this Bible version?  Are our pastors and teachers that lacking in ability to teach from the Word of God without curriculums and programs?  Isn’t the NIV readable enough as it is that it doesn’t need to be made into gimmicks to draw an audience?  How in the world were we able to reach people, including the youth, in times past without all the new gimmicks?  Cultures change, but people don’t, so what purpose does this version serve other than to bring more gold into Zondervan’s till?
Well, I guess I’d much rather see this one in public instead of “The Message.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Did They Really Say That?

I was shown that ... the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which contained the ten commandments.  This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844.  Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy, and passed within the second veil, where he now stands by the ark.
E.G. White, Early Writings, p.42, written 1849.
According to White, Jesus did not enter the most holy place of the heavenly temple until October 22, 1844.  What does the Bible say?
Now the main point of what is being said is this: we have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle, which the Lord set up, and not man.  Hebrews 8:1,2 (HCSB)
He entered the holy of holies once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  Hebrews 9:12 (HCSB).
Since Scripture says Christ entered the holy of holies when he ascended to heaven, either E.G. White is wrong or the writer of Hebrews is wrong.  I’ll take my stand with the Bible, which again proves Ellen G. White to be a false prophet, and in this case even a liar who blatantly contradicted Scriptural truth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Care of Converts

There are certain telltale signs of the neglect of new converts in evangelical churches.  One of the most obvious is the large number of people that confess Christ but will not give allegiance to any church.  They float on the sea of religious activity with no sense of direction.  They hasten from sacred concert to sacred concert, from Bible conference to Bible conference, from seminar to seminar, from movement to movement, preoccupied with hero image leadership.  These unattached Christians are easy prey to certain types of spectacular leadership.  They are tasters of sermons more often than they are doers of the Word.  If everything does not contribute to their self-centered view of the church, they move on to hear the latest religious star in the vain hope that they have at last found the answer.  Well-discipled believers would not fall into that kind of hopeless syndrome.
Another sign that indicates a need for discipleship is the many believers that do not grow up: they remain babes in Christ and require constant care.  They are problem-centered, wanting a church ministry that provides spiritual props.  The pastoral staff counsels many Christians who, in the light of Scripture, should now be equipped to counsel others [but are unable to do so].
Keith M. Bailey, Care of Converts: Leadership Training Manual for Discipleship, p.13 (1979)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our Call to Judge False Teachings

While cleaning up my files I came across an article from a May-June 2006 Critical Issues Commentary, by Bob DeWaay.  The subject is the duty of the Christian to judge false teachings.  
DeWaay dismantles the various arguments which claim we are not to judge, as well as the argument which says if we have a problem with false teachings, we should to privately to the teacher.  Then he addresses the claim that “you will know them by their fruits” means “character qualities, popularity, or the ability to do supernatural signs.”  DeWaay demonstrates that in Matthew 7 the discussion is about false prophets.  
DeWaay then discusses the following points:
“Personality traits are not fruits.”
“The number of one’s followers is not fruit.”
“Signs and wonders are not fruits.
After the discussion about these points, DeWaay says, “People who call Jesus ‘Lord,’ come in His name, and do works of power are false prophets if they refused to abide within God-given boundaries.  This is an important concept.  This is lawlessness.  ... Understood in this way, false prophets are those who teach and practice lawlessness.  They do not abide within the once-for-all determined boundaries of New Testament teaching.”
As he continues in the article, DeWaay has some very pointed comments:
“Today many despise the very term doctrine and accuse those of being wrongly motivated who think it is important to correct false doctrine and espouse true doctrine. .... The duties of pastors and elders are very clear in Acts 20 and the Pastoral Epistles.  They are to teach true doctrine, correct false doctrine, and protect the flock from wolves.  Sadly, those who do so today are often accused of being divisive or sinning because they have ‘judged’ when Jesus told us not to judge.  This is a category error.  We are not to judge motives or relative degrees of righteousness, but we must judge public teaching.”
Well said, Pastor Bob!
I recommend the full article at:

Sufficiency of Scripture

Christians go looking for truth and guidance in all the wrong places.  They dig through the garbage cans of psychology, mysticism, spiritual gimmicks, and supernatural quick fixes. “As a result,” pastor and teacher John MacArthur says, “they wallow in a watered-down, pseudo-Christianity that has been drained of its vitality, effectiveness and security” (Our Sufficiency in Christ, back cover).  It’s not like “frozen concentrated orange juice - its contents need not be supplemented, augmented to or diluted.
Scripture is clear as to its all sufficiency.  Second Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Do you hear what the Holy Spirit is saying through Paul?  Scripture is sufficient for the man of God to be complete, thoroughly equipped. ...
When one looks beyond the pages of Scripture, they open themselves to confusion, chaos, subjectivism, mysticism, deception, and even demons.  Today, the Church is bombarded with a fraternity of self-proclaimed prophets and self-anointed apostles.  These “ascended masters” foist, in numerous ways and expressions, that Scripture is outdated and no longer applies. ...
It can be said, without doubt that which the Apostle Paul feared, that which moved him to tears, that which he admonished the church at Ephesus for a period of three years, is again confronting the Church (Acts 20:28-31).  It is a problem which the Church continues to face.
Kurt Goedelman, For Life, For Goodness, Scripture is Sufficient, SBABC newsletter, October-December 2001.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Lesson

A little something I found in my files; I hope you get the point.
Then Jesus took his disciples up to the mountain, and gathering them around him, he taught them saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are the meek; blessed are they that mourn; blessed are the merciful; blessed are they who thirst for justice; blessed are you when you are persecuted; blessed are you when you suffer.  Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven...”
Then Simon Peter asked, “Do we have to write this down?”
And Andrew asked, “Are we supposed to know this?”
And James asked, “Will we have a test on it?”
And Phillip asked, “What if we don’t know it?”
And Bartholomew asked, “Do we have to turn this in?”
And John said, “The other disciples didn’t have to learn this!”
And Matthew asked, “When do we get out of here?”
And Judas asked, “What does this have to do with real life?”
Then one of the Pharisees present asked to see Jesus’ lesson plans, and inquired of Jesus his terminal objectives in the cognitive domain.
And Jesus wept.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Love, Evil, & Free Will

A very interesting article with my subject title was in the November-December issue of Worldviews, the newsletter of the Apologetics Resource Center, written by Jim Edwards.    It was a good article in defense of the skeptics’ claim against a loving God allowing evil in the world.  I think the summary would give you enough information to respond to anyone questioning this subject.
1.  Being made in God’s image means we have real free will, real choices, and the deep desires to love and be loved and honor and be honored.
2.  The alternative of evil (nonconformance with God’s will) is necessary for us to have free will with real choices.
3.  Love and honor would have no meaning without free will.
4.  The benefits of loving and being loved far out weighs the reality that we are allowed to choose evil and this arrangement is consistent with a God that is good and love us enough to make us in His image.
5.  The consequence of mankind’s choices is that evil was brought into our world and is sustained here.  All of mankind’s evil is a result of mankind’s real choices.
6.  Although we come into this world as a slave to evil due to our earthly father Adam’s choice, God provides us each a real choice to deny evil and do good through faith in Jesus Christ.
Summary of summary: In order to have real free will, evil must exist as a real alternative, but real free will also allows us to love and be loved by God and others, if we choose to follow Jesus Christ instead of Adam.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Underground Church?

This thought-provoking article was in yesterday’s The Berean Call e-mail, “TBC Today”:

Will the real Christian churches please stand up? Or, rather, should they go underground?

In order to stay true to their belief and to God, one conservative Christian commentator is convinced that the "real" Christian church in America is going to be forced to do as the early Christians did -- go underground.

[J. D. Longstreet's commentary argues that] many of the mainline Christian churches have slipped away from the foundation of Scripture to adopt secular tenants and leftist, politically correct philosophies [and] have become only a shadow of the true followers of Christ.

Strong words, but words that Longstreet -- who left his own denomination a few years ago because he said it was forsaking the tenets of the Bible and the gospel -- is standing on.

"Unfortunately, many of our mainline denominations have become nothing more than social clubs with many franchises nationwide," Longstreet writes. "Their pastors 'preach' feel good 'sermonettes' about the environment, and things like 'social justice.' In my opinion, that is not the mission of a church that purports to follow Christ. In fact, Christ Himself spelled out the mission of the church in what we refer to as the Great Commission."

As Longstreet sees it, pastors in America are fearful of preaching scriptures and of pointing out man's failings. They are concerned that they will be accused of slander or sued for libel. Longstreet admits that's a real threat in America -- and that's why he is suggesting churches that hold true to the gospel will be forced underground.

(Leclaire, "Will True Christian Churches Be Forced Underground in America?", Charisma Online, 12/8/2011).

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Robe

This week my wife and I took three nights to watch an old VHS movie of The Robe.  I hadn’t seen this movie in many, many years, and it was almost like seeing it for the first time!
The Robe used to be a television staple during Easter time, but I don’t know if this is still the case because I haven’t watched regular TV in many, many years.  I do know that the movie has been well-loved by Christians.  And that is the reason for this commentary.
I was very disappointed in this movie because it was nothing more than preaching the social gospel and the brotherhood of man, with lots of talk about how just a look from Jesus changed their lives.  Yet, how could they learn the gospel with just a look?
There was never any mention of why Christ was crucified, but there was much discussion by the characters about how horrible it was for Rome to have killed Christ.  In reality we have from the New Testament letters that it wasn’t a travesty at all - if Christ hadn’t been put to death we would not have the punishment for our sins paid!
If it wasn’t for the very poor theology, I could have liked this movie.  As it was, I was very irritated the whole time whenever some sappy social gospel idea was preached.  I could never watch this movie again, nor would I ever, ever recommend it to anyone; not to Christians because I don’t like recommending false teachings, and not to unbelievers because I wouldn’t want them to get the wrong idea about why Christ died.