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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Contemporary “Worship” Songs

Too many songs pass into worship services which should have been looked at with discernment first.  I have previously examined some of these songs, but because the assembly where I worship chose to include some of these songs today, I think the need is there for an alert.

The songs which were part of our service today were:
Only You Satisfy, by Jami Smith
Close to Thee, by Fanny Crosby
Our Great God, by Fernando Ortega
Revelation Song, by Kari Jobe
All Who Are Thirsty, by Kutless

Let’s look at the lyrics of the first one, which get repeated over and over ad nauseam:

Living water, bread of life
Satisfy us, satisfy us
Living water, bread of life
Satisfy us, satisfy us

Jesus, open up my heart
Jesus, open up my mind
Jesus, open up my life, Jesus
Because only you satisfy

You are the Christ
You are the blood
You are the Holy Spirit living in us
You are the truth
You are the life
You are the bread
Only you satisfy

Aside from the annoying repetition while singing this, do you notice theological problems?  

Is Christ the blood?  Um, no.  He is not the fluid that ran in His veins, nor is He the fluid that runs in our veins. Even in communion we say the wine (or grape juice) represents His blood.

Okay, even worse is the stanza saying that Jesus is “the Holy Spirit living in us.”  Um, no He isn’t.  The Holy Spirit is a separate person, who does indeed indwell us.  If you say Jesus IS the Holy Spirit, then you have the heresy of modalism.

Okay, let’s look at the second song, Close to Thee

Thou my everlasting portion,
More than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.

Refrain 1:
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.

Not for ease or worldly pleasure,
Nor for fame my prayer shall be;
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.

Refrain 2:
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.

Lead me through the vale of shadows,
Bear me o’er life’s fitful sea;
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.

Refrain 3:
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.

This is an excellent song, and I have yet to find one by Fanny Crosby which has questionable theology.  But, these songs are considered boring to the new generation, so we seem to drop them from our service very often nowadays so as to sing tripe like Only You Satisfy.

Next up is another contemporary song, Our Great God

Eternal God, unchanging
Mysterious and unknown
Your boundless love unfailing
In grace and mercy shown
Bright seraphim in ceaseless flight
Around your glorious throne
Their voices raised both day and night
In praise to you alone

Glory be to our great God
Glory be to our great God!

Lord, we are weak and frail,
Helpless in the storm
Surround us with your angels
Hold us in your arms
Our cold and ruthless enemy
His pleasure is our harm 

Rise up, oh Lord, and he will flee
Before our Sovereign God

Glory be to our great God!
Glory be to our great God!

Let every creature in the sea
And every flying bird
Let all the mountains, all the fields
And valleys of the earth
Let all the moons and all the stars
Throughout the universe
Sing praises to the Living God
Who rules them by His word

Glory be to our great God
Glory be to our great God!

See, this is a contemporary song by an author who gets it - he understands that what we sing must be consistent with God’s Word.  Keith Getty and Stuart Townend have developed some outstanding hymns and praise songs (some of which I’ve posted) because they also “get it.”

Okay, moving on now to Revelation Song, which also has a lot of repetition while singing it:

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Is God really “clothed in rainbows, of living color?  Where do we find that in Scripture?!?  I’m not even sure I understand the context of “Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder” - should there not be some sort of explanation as to what that means?  Then there is “Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder” - who is?  What is?  This is one of the problems with so many of these new songs - they lack a cohesive grammatical structure so that one is left to wonder what they are talking about!  Oh, and since the church assembled is not performing, do we really need to have “yeah” as part of the lyrics?!?

The last one from our list above is All Who Are Thirsty.   The fact that this is from the Vineyard should alert anyone to possible problems, and singing such songs only gives tacit approval of Vineyard to the congregation.  (And if you aren’t familiar with the Vineyard movement, just e-mail me and I’ll fill you in).

All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life
Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of his mercy
As deep cries out to deep (we sing)

Come Lord Jesus come
[repeat 3 times]

Holy Spirit come
[repeat 3 times]

As deep cries out to deep
[repeat 2 times]

This is another one of those songs with lots of repetition so as to work up emotions and get the congregation swinging to and fro before they start speaking in “tongues” or other such emotional nonsense.

So, just how does one “dip” their “heart in the stream of life”?  What is the “stream of life?  Is this supposed to be Jesus?  And just what does it mean for “deep” to cry out to “deep”?  Why are we asking for the Holy Spirit to “come” when He dwells inside each believer? I can answer that one - all one has to do is look at the false revivals as they yell for the Holy Spirit to come and bring more “fire.”  

Let’s use some discernment in the songs we select for corporate worship!  Ensure the theology is correct first and foremost.  And make sure they are understandable.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Some Recommended Reading

It’s time again for me to steer my readers to some good articles on other sites.

First up, should wives submit to their husbands?  Is this really a biblical idea?  And what does it mean?  Check out the article, Should wives submit?

One of the big lies of our culture is fashion - that women, especially young women and teens (and even pre-teen!) should dress provocatively - that its great to be “sexy,” as well as being great to attract members of the opposite sex!  The culture of provocative fashion even includes young men!  Marie Notcheva has a good article discussing the problem with this mindset, and how we can reclaim the modesty our Lord desires.

One of the controversies in the modern church is about the gift of tongues; is it a real language or just some “heavenly” or “angelic” language?  And are tongues for today?  The Cripplegate has a good discussion about this subject.

Have you ever tried explaining the Trinity?  It is a difficult concept to wrap one’s head around.  I can prove it by logic (as I have done on this blog), but describing how it works with analogies can get very difficult, especially when trying to avoid heresy.  I think Doug Beaumont has the best analogy yet.

Finally, the Christmas season is upon us and that means many Christians will be giving a multitude of reasons why Christians shouldn’t be celebrating it.  Aside from two article I’ve previously written on the subject, Jon Gleason has a selection of articles covering just about every angle.  I think you’ll find his articles thought-provoking.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sexual Relations Are Spiritual

“Sex isn’t primarily biological.  Sex is primarily spiritual.  It is by definition a union, and that’s what Paul said here [1 Cor. 6] when he spoke of sex as a union that takes place, using the language of marriage even with a prostitute.  He referred to Genesis 2, with the language of marriage, to show how serious this is.  In a marriage, the two become one flesh.  If we seriously stopped to consider this, there would be less sexual immorality.  What Paul is referring to here is the utter inappropriateness of such immoral behavior.  SInce this is the act of union between a husband and wife, it makes no sense whatsoever to apply it outside of marriage.  He wants participants in such sinful behavior to know that their sin has draconian consequences, be it upon themselves, their families, their community, or in some instances even their nation.  Marriage, with its physical expression, is a mystical union.  It is the picture of the union of Christ and his Church, who are one.  This is why the temptations surrounding it are so severe.  Even those who we think are the best of God’s men and women are not exempt from danger here.”

Richard L. Ganz, “Controversies That Almost Killed a Church: Paul’s Counsel to the Corinthians and the Church Today,” p.95

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"New Age Bible Versions" - Chapter 13

Chapter 13: Another Gospel.  The premise of this chapter is that the editors of the “new version” Bibles “Reject Scriptural Salvation.”  Riplinger says, “Ignoring the word of God, which shows us the way, and following some New Age atlas, many turn down these blind alleys looking for avenues of spiritual advancement.  The street signs leading to salvation have been switched in recent Bibles.  They now map out a migration away from the New Jerusalem.”  This rhetoric is followed by a chart showing “When, How, What, Who, Where”  with columns for “New Versions,” “New Age” and “KJV.”  Riplinger doesn’t state which Bible versions she is specifically citing, nor does she say where she gets her “New Age” citations from, nor does she cite any specific passages so people can look them up in context!  But for demonstration purposes, here is the text from the chart - showing no context, etc.  How can we check her without excessive time-wasting?  

1.  When: 
a.   KJV says “are saved”, New Age says “have been (baptized/initiated)” and “New Versions” say “have been (baptized/initiated).”  I don’t know of any version which says anyone has been “initiated” into salvation, etc, so this has to be a misrepresentation.  However, “have been baptized” is not a problem if the context is the fact that they are saved.
b.  KJV says “are saved” while New Age and New Versions both say, “are being saved.”  

2.  How:
a.  KJV says “believe,” while New Age and New Versions say “obey.”  
b.  KJV says “faith” while the other two say, “faithfulness.

3.  What:
a.  KJV says, the gospel,” while the others say, “a gospel.
b.  KJV says “his word,” while the others say, “a message.

4.  Who:
a.  KJV “the God” vs “a God.”
b.  KJV “the Son” vs “a son
c.  KJV “the Saviour” vs “a Savior”  (is it New Age to spell Savior vs Saviour?)
d.  KJV “the Spirit” vs “a spirit”  (my guess is that the caps in KJV are not warranted)

5.  Where:  KJV “the world” vs “an age.

Knowing that there are language problems with KJV vs current English, and knowing that in all previous claims we see Riplinger’s lack of context making the text appear to be saying something different when it isn’t, I would assume that her complaints are without warrant.  But, I am not going to sit down with a concordance to try to figure out which passages she is referring to - it just isn’t a proper use of time.

Riplinger then says, “New Version Editors Reject Scriptural Salvation,” and spends the rest of the chapter supporting this claim against the following:

6.  “Edwin Palmer: NIV.  Riplinger cites a statement by Palmer, which is standard Calvinist theology, which says one must be regenerated before they have faith in Christ.  While I agree that Calvinist theology isn’t correct, it does not reject Scriptural Salvation,” rather it just has a different understanding as to the sequence.  Her whole argument then continues by attacking Palmer’s Calvinism, as if that has anything to do with what the Bible actually says.   But she does give an example from the NIV which supposedly proves her point, and she also gives an example from the NAS, which Palmer isn’t accused of editing!

a.  Lk. 21:19
KJV: “In your patience possess ye your souls
NIV:  “By standing firm you will save your souls.”

I’d say that “in your patience” and “by standing firm” one is doing pretty much the same thing, whether you want to call it “save” your souls or “possess” your souls.

b.  Heb. 8:9
KJV:  “Because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not” 
NAS:  “For they did not continue in my covenant and I did not care for them.”

Riplinger bolded “because” to make a point that isn’t there.  The two say the very same thing.  “For” is very often used synonymously with “because.”   She claims the NAS version presents “a cruel and fickle God.”  

As Riplinger continues in her diatribe, she said we have to “watch out for the letter ‘s” - because it is of Satan, which is why, she says, Saul “had to be changed to Paul.”   Sigh.

7.  “J.B. Phillips: NASB-Greek-English Interlinear Preface, J.B. Phillips Translation, et. al.  Riplinger cites  a statement from Phillips without any context so it is impossible, without reading the book she footnotes, to know if she is misrepresenting him.  However just looking at the citation she gives says she reads beyond what is stated:

“Those who give themselves in love to others did in fact ‘know God,’ however loudly they might protest their agnosticism.”

I see nothing in this statement by itself which supports Riplinger’s claim.

8.  The other two editors, B.F. Wescott and F.J.A. Hort, are attacked for promoting a “social interpretation of the Gospel,” and she cites a couple quotations.  My guess is that these citations are out of context because there are many false charges leveled at these men by the KJV Only crowd.  Since I do not want to get into this discussion here, I will point my readers to the following two links defending these gentlemen.

9.  Chapter Summary:  Nothing but false charges and misrepresentations.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Right Thinking and Right Action

“There is a mistaken notion in modern Western thinking that ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ have little or nothing to do with each other.  Some - even in evangelical churches - take pride in their disdain for theology in favor of giving people ‘practical’ instruction on how to deal with issues in their lives, families, and churches.  A visit to the average Christian bookstore will easily demonstrate the popularity of such fare.  Paul shows us that he would reject such compartmentalized methodology.  Right thinking and right action are two sides of the same coin.  Without doctrine we are left to drift with the tides of modernity - victims of every ‘wind of doctrine.’  Without the faithful appropriation of truth in action, we are locked in an ivory tower far removed from the realities of the world into which we are called to serve Christ.  Paul’s writings give us the perfect balance of doctrine/theology and practical instruction.  Never does he place a wall of separation between these.”

Dan Mitchell, The Book of First Corinthians: Christianity In A Hostile Culture, p.10-11.

Friday, October 18, 2013

How Do You Live?

“How we live quite often determines how we think.  When we live a while in a particular sinful manner, our minds begin to justify and rationalize our actions.”

Alan F. Johnson, Romans: Volume 1, The Freedom Letter, p.41

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Random Apostasies and Heresies

The latest buzz is about some guy who claims to be a “Bible scholar” while at the same time claiming that the Roman government made up Jesus - that Jesus never really existed!  The man is obviously oblivious to the factual historical information readily available.  He’s truly a “flimflam” artist.

Joel Osteen - what can I say?  This article is just another example of why Osteen is a false teacher - as well as a heretic.

A hat tip to Erin Benziger for the next three items:

Ever hear of “soaking prayer”?  I have, and I can tell you there is nothing biblical about it, and such teaching by false teacher Sid Roth and others of his ilk will lead to spiritual danger.  BEWARE!

The “fundamental flaw” of the Charismatic movement is their denigration of the Word of God.

I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but Mormonism is NOT true Christianity!  Mormonism worships another god and another Christ - not those of the Bible.   This is “True Mormonism.”
In fact, as I have pointed out in the past, the Mormon Church actually places Joseph Smith in a position so as to be virtually more important than Christ!

Brian McLaren is now preaching his heretical teaching to the Seventh-Day Adventists.  The SDA already has enough aberrant and heretical teachings - they certainly don’t need McLaren’s addition.

And yet another review of Rachel Held Evans abominable book, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”  I really despise that title, because it has nothing to do with “biblical womanhood” and everything to do with Held’s agenda.

More idolatry towards Mary is being promoted by the new pope.

I must be reading the Bible wrongly, because I can’t find where it is a sin to oppose homosexual behavior.  Yet the Dean of Washington’s National Cathedral says it is a sin.  He must be reading a different Bible!

The Presbyterian Church (USA) continues to support all that is demonic.  Now they partnering with Muslim Brotherhood groups in the USA!  It is obvious that leaders in the PCUSA who are involved with this have no understanding about the evil political-religious movement known as Islam.

Celebration of Praise Church in Clermont, Florida, is an example of what the seeker-sensitive and market-driven philosophies lead to: extravagance among goats.

When I was a new believer back in January 1974, one of the first books given to me was Hal Lindsey’s, “The Late Great Planet Earth.”  At the time I found it exciting to know that I would most likely be seeing the Rapture.  Well, after a couple years of Bible study my copy of the book had a lot of notes in the margins about its misrepresentations of Scripture.  I had purchased a few other books by Lindsey, and they likewise began getting the marginal notes.  The more mature I became in the Word, the more laughable I found Lindsey’s claims.  Over time the laughter gave way to concern for all those who have been deceived by such teachings.  Here’s an excellent video showing how Lindsey’s teachings began contradicting Lindsey’s teachings - let alone contradicting the Bible.  If you are a follower of Hal Lindsey, you might want to consider tossing out any books you have by him!

Lastly, Jack Chick is a well-known anti-Catholic bigot and KJV Only cultist who does much to damage the name of Christ.  This video should give you plenty of reasons to never use a Chick tract.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Spiritual Gifts Have A Purpose

“The apostle’s view of the gifts was stated with perfect clarity in 1 Corinthians 12:7, where he said, ‘Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.’  The gifts have a purpose.  They are given for the edification of the church, not for private pleasure or for a demonstration of the supposed highest level of spirituality.  They are not a tool to manipulate your inner states or a device to make you feel better.  They facilitate the edification of the church.  This is the key point.  Everything that is given to the church is given for its edification.  If it doesn’t edify, no matter how exciting it seems, no matter how spiritual it feels - it is not fulfilling the requirements for a spiritual gift.”

Richard L. Ganz, “Controversies That Almost Killed a Church: Paul’s Counsel to the Corinthians and the Church Today,” p.166

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sexual Purity is the Biblical Way

“Young people often believe that they can fool around sexually and not be hurt.  If you think this way, you are only fooling yourself.  Christian young people often ask me how far they can go, not even realizing that once you are on that road, it can lead only to harm.  This is not because sex is bad but because it is so powerful and can easily destroy what is so good.  When you try to possess this enjoyment in a relationship outside of marriage, it will bring destruction.

“The Scriptures are clear.  They teach that young men are to treat young women ‘as sisters, with absolute purity’ (1 Tim. 5:2).  The reality is, you are to behave with a young woman the way that you would behave with your sister.  You are to act with total purity.  That is the standard for young men and young women: complete purity.  If you start to fool around sexually even a little bit, there is only one place it will lead - into trouble and disgrace.  Like a narcotic addict, you will demand more and more.  You will whine and complain.  You will manipulate until you get it.  You will justify and rationalize everything in response to all that you have ever learned or believed, when you have convinced your boyfriend or girlfriend to give in (although it is almost always the boy convincing the girl, who foolishly believes he loves her).  When she gives herself to him, then he loses interest in her or is disgusted with her and has nothing more to do with her.  If there is love in the relationship, you will respect each other enough to wait for marriage.  If you find yourself even thinking in the direction of sex, you had better ask yourself why you are not thinking about marriage.  If you are thinking about marriage, it should be with serious-mindedness and the intention of establishing a Christian home.”

Richard L. Ganz, “Controversies That Almost Killed a Church: Paul’s Counsel to the Corinthians and the Church Today,” p.86-87

Friday, October 4, 2013

What Is Man?

“What is man?  Man is God’s creature; Yes, but man is God’s image, and through the misuse of his God-bestowed freedom, man is God’s shame and man is God’s problem; But by that incredible strategy of the cross, God makes it possible for man to become the Creator’s child; And man may become the Creator’s co-laborer, and man, finite man, may become the friend of an infinite and all-holy God; And ultimately man may be, if he will have it so, God’s glory.”

Vernon C. Grounds, “The Book of Romans in One Sentence.”  Cited in Romans: Volume 1, The Freedom Letter, by Alan F. Johnson.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Random Apostasies and Heresies

I’ve been gathering news items while waiting for a chance to sit down and share them with my readers.  Fasten your seat-belts - these things give a rough ride!

The charismatic movement thrives in Africa, and I could never understand why.  One of the sites I follow had a link to an article from July explaining the attractiveness of charismatic teaching in Africa, and I found it very interesting.

Charismaniac Cindy Jacobs grates on me - really, really grates on me.  I have a really difficult time listening to such heretics, knowing how rich they get off of their gullible followers.  Well, this article was brought to my attention, where Jacobs claims to have caused a cheek bone to regrow in seconds.  She claims all sorts of power to heal, as well as claiming to know that Satan put a tumor in her!  Too bad she has no factual evidence to back up her claims; I always wonder why her sort don’t spend time in hospitals healing people!

The “Women of Faith” conferences seem to continue to add bad teachers to their line-ups.  I can’t recommend that women - or anyone for that matter - attend these things.  Especially when, like this one, they have a guest speaker like Rick Warren.  Partnering with Roma Downey really leaves them with little credibility. 

Not too many people know this about Mormons, but newlyweds are “punished” by the LDS by not being allowed to have family attend temple weddings.  On top of that, if they have a civil wedding to allow family members to attend, then they are banished from their temple wedding for a year.  Since the LDS consider such weddings to be an important step in their salvation progression, denying the temple wedding for a year could seriously affect their eternal position if they die before they have the wedding!  Of course in the real Christian faith, that is all nonsense anyway.  Just another example of legalisms in cults.

Hey, surprise, surprise!  Oprah had her mind “opened” by Rob Bell’s teachings!  She goes from one heretical idea to another, all the while propagating her New Age damnation to hundreds of thousands of viewers.  I think she is one of the most dangerous women in the world, because her teachings send people to hell.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are another group who can’t seem to keep their teachings straight.  One of their essential doctrines concerns who the “faithful and discreet slave” is, and yet they keep changing their ideas as to their identity.  CARM has a good article about this subject, which you might want to use as ammunition for the next time JWs knock at your door!

A Methodist “pastor” claims there was no political statement meant in his church’s sign, which said, “Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine.”  Yeah, right!  Mark Tooley examines the message of the sign.

Another good article from Hip and Thigh examining claims of the KJV Only crowd, this time about the KJV translators.

Do You Contemplate the Glory?

“The lack of true scriptural holiness today is surely due to the fact that we do not spend sufficient time in meditating upon the glory that awaits us.  The world is too much with us, and we tend to think of salvation too much in terms of present experience rather than in the light of the glory which awaits us.  This contemplation of the glory is the high road to holiness.”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Promise: An Exposition of Ephesians 1. p.385