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

Friday, February 28, 2014

Random Apostasies and Heresies

My last report told how the Church of England was considering women for the roles of church leadership.  Now they are saying that those people in same-sex fake marriages should be welcomed into the assembly.  And their pit gets deeper.

Is it right to “name names” when exposing false teachers?  I have previously written an article about this subject, explaining the necessity for naming who the false teachers are.  In that article I linked to another blog’s article with much more in-depth teaching on the subject.  Since that time I have come across this post examining as to whether we should name names.  The answer is, of course, that we should do so.  By not doing so, we allow the sheep to be attacked by wolves.

Christianity Today Astray actually named names of some of the movers and shakers in the Emergent Church movement: Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, and Donald Miller.

Don’t step on the toes of a Beth Moore follower!

I have many times debated with charismatics over their use of so-called tongues.  One of the major claims I hear for supporting their position is that there are TWO types of tongues.  The Cripplegate demolishes this argument.

Further reviews of Michael Brown’s book, “Authentic Fire” are now posted.  Chapter five part one is here, while part 2 is here.  Last for now is chapter six.

A new movie is coming out which we can expect to misrepresent Christ: Son of God.  From what I read, it will be just as bad as the other fad movie, “The Passion of Christ.”  But, can you believe that Rick Warren has joined in a project to make “Bible” studies available, which are based on the movie?  Why don’t they study the Bible once in a while!!??!!

More about Steven Furtick’s advice on how to plan for “spontaneous” baptisms.  And there’s more about his vast wealth and how it is acquired.  There sure are a lot of deceived people following wolves like Furtick.

Another Bible for bringing in the dollars to publishers; this one is a Jesus Calling Devotional Bible!  Since Sarah Young’s book is a theological disaster, why is Thomas Nelson publishing such blatant false teaching?!?!  Because making money is more important than loving God.

Another episode at Mormon Coffee exposing the racism in the Mormon Church.

The Mormons are always making changes to their doctrines, and then they turn around and say we misrepresent them!  I want to know how they can change theirArticles of Faith” without consulting Joseph Smith!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Some Good Stuff

As I have noted before, I come across some good article which I feel should be shared with other believers for their edification.  Here are five which have been collected since the end of December.

David Phillips has finished a thorough study on the issue of headcoverings for women, as noted in 1 Corinthians 11.  The home-page link allows you to view the document via PDF or Google Document reader.

Jon Gleason has a good article about the ancestry of Jesus.

I have to agree with this article, which makes the case for why ALL pastors should also be apologists.

Janis Hutchinson has a good series on the Trinity started.

And lastly, what does it mean to take the Bible “literally”?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Did They Really Say That?!?

In his book, Become A Better You, Joel Osteen says, “Positively or negatively, creative power resides in your words.”  Then to make his point, he cites the story about Abraham and Sarah, and about their inability to have children because of their negative confessions - that they thought they were too old.  Osteen says, “God had to change the image Abraham and Sarah had of themselves before they could ever have that child.  How did God do that?  He changed their names; He changed the words they were hearing.  He changed Sarai to Sarah, which means ‘princess.’ ... [Thus] every time somebody said, ‘Hello, Sarah,’ they were saying, ‘Hello, princess.’  Over time, that changed her self-image.  Now she no longer saw herself as an older, barren woman; she began to see herself as a princess.... [and then] she gave birth to a child.”

Cited by Hank Hanegraaff in Christianity in Crisis, 21st Century, p.xv

So, according to Osteen, Abraham and Sarah couldn’t have children because of their “negative confessions,” so God had to give them some self-esteem in order for them to conceive.  Why doesn’t this line up with what the Bible says?  Because Osteen has no understanding of Scripture and makes things up as he goes.  Tell-tale evidence of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

All Things to All People?

Our culture has abandoned such concepts as duty and responsibility as antiquated Victorianism.  But these are the virtues our text [1 Cor. 9:22-23] extols against an emphasis on “demands” and “rights.”  Those who would use this passage to support libertarianism miss his point entirely.  It is precisely because he was “all things to all men” that he would not participate with the pagans in their temples.

Some might argue that Paul contradicts himself.  If he was truly “all things” to the Gentile, he would attend the pagan festivals, not avoid them!  It is here that the interface of the message and the method is seen.  He does not attend because it would entail the compromise of his message (a point he will expand in the next chapter).  The festival was a place of “fellowship” with demons.  And it is entirely incompatible with the believer’s association with the Table of the Lord and the body of Christ (10:14-23).  By the same token, he will approach the Jew with a keen sensitivity to those matters of religious observance that might cause offense and stand as stumbling blocks to their response to the gospel.  But here too he will draw the line where he might compromise the law of Christ.  In such cases, he will take his stand and let the chips fall where they may.

The contemporary Church struggles with this today.  Many fail to recognize the line Paul draws between communication and compromise.  In our efforts to be “all things to all,” it is possible that we have forgotten the message for which we have sacrificially abandoned all rights to personal liberty?  New Testament believers “came out from among them” when they “turned to God from idols.”  Today it is not uncommon to invite the idols (be they musical or media figures) into our feasts in order to “identify” with the lost.  One wonders what we think we are supposed to do with our unsuspecting guests after we have put the idols on the platform and hidden the gospel, like a door prize, under the tables.

Dan Mitchell, The Book of First Corinthians: Christianity In A Hostile Culture,  p.136-137

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Random Apostasies and Heresies

It would be nice if I could go two or three weeks without apostasy, heresy, or just plain bizarre teachings needing to be warned about.  Unfortunately, false teachers never sleep; their web is daily spun and just gets larger and larger as it captures the gullible, easily deceived, and the spiritually immature.  So the warnings must be posted.

The Church of England has decided that a lack of male leadership justifies the idea of women bishops. I really don’t see why they are having such a problem making the decision, since they already have women in leadership roles - directly contrary to Paul’s teachings.  Perhaps if the Anglican Church concentrated on preaching the word and discipling members to maturity, they might just end up with a large reservoir of qualified male candidates.

Emergent, seeker-sensitive, and heretical Steven Furtick has been in the news too often.  First, I see he has made his debut on the Trinity Broadcasting Network - the station known for its abject heretical teachers.  Like them, he is getting wealthy off the gullible who attend his “church.”  Furtick is really a cult leader, with his followers acting very much like cult members.  His teachings are bizarre. and yet apparently none of his followers read the Bible for confronting him.  And if those outside his goat-pen challenge him, they are attacked as “haters.”  He is very reminiscent of those preaching the “Toronto Revival” with his man-caused, “spontaneous” baptisms and his focus on numbers of people joining his cult.  

Meanwhile, in one of the original seeker-sensitive/market-driven assemblies, Willow Creek, they are teaching the Alpha Course!!!  This course has too many false teachings to explain here, but it is a course which should never show up in any church claiming to be evangelical.

Excuses given for “pastors” using foul language are really getting old.  Now we have James MacDonald [link gone by 9/26/20] joining with the likes of Mark Driscoll and his ilk by using crude language.  I even had a commenter this week defending Tony Campolo’s foul language!  Since these men are seen as leaders in the church, should they not behave as leaders and follow the teachings of Ephesians 5: 4 and Colossians 3:8, where Paul says to NOT use such language?

Yes, there is more to be learned about Michael Brown’s association with Benny Hinn.  All I can say is, “Sorry Mr. Brown, but you have NO excuse for associating with such a rank heretic!”  Anyone in Brown’s position who supports the likes of Hinn in ANY way is not worthy of being a Christian leader.

Now that the subject of “Strange Fire” vs “Authentic Fire” has been broached, the Cripplegate had an excellent article about what “tongues” in the Bible really were - which is nothing like what the charismatic churches have today.  In fact, what goes on in these charismatic churches, and the people who claim to speak in tongues, is nothing but the same phenomena found in the early days of the Mormon Church.

Christian colleges are more and more becoming just like the world, or bringing in false teachings.  Wheaton College students protested the visit of a former lesbian to their campus.  It seems they didn’t like the idea of her message being that one can leave such sin behind by turning one’s life over to Christ.  It seems they think another side of the story should be presented that people can be Christians while being unrepentant of homosexual behavior. Then we have Faith Baptist Bible College in Ames, IA, which has always been very fundamental, now promoting and selling books by contemplative authors.  Sigh.

Last week I posted information about Bill Gothard’s sexual abuse and harassment of young ladies working for him.  Another young lady’s story was posted this week, which should raise the hackles of any parent.  With all the recent exposure of Gothard’s lust for his workers, and the refusal of Gothard to deal with it, a new project is being developed to bring lots of public exposure to what has taken place in Gothard’s organization.  I would really like to see the total collapse of the organization.

Andy Stanley disappoints me more and more.  Now he thinks it is “offensive that Christians would leverage faith to support the Kansas law. Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”  The new Kansas law which failed to pass was about protecting Christians from being forced to provide services for same-sex fake weddings, etc, which SHOULD BE morally repugnant to every Christian.  And, there is plenty of biblical support for refusing to assist people in their sin.  It isn’t about refusing to sell products or services just because people are sinners, it is about specific kinds of goods and services which make the provider a participant in said sin.  For example, I don’t care what a person does with their sex lives (homosexuality, bestiality, adultery, fornication, etc) if I’m asked to play music at a birthday party for them; it’s helping people celebrate another year of life and is not in any way giving even tacit approval to whatever sexual immorality they may indulge in.  But if I am asked to play for a fake wedding I would be helping to celebrate what is an abomination to God.  For Stanley to suggest otherwise is an affront to God.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Reason For - And Need of - Apologetics Ministries

The evangelical Church is being besieged by militant Islam, contemplative mysticism, personal revelations, ecumenism, false prophets, pseudo apostles, deluded teachers, outright charlatans, political correctness, and a decline of doctrine with an absence of the knowledge of sound hermeneutics.  It seems that many in the Church neither know nor can explain what they believe.  The Church universal has lost not only its will but its ability to discern.

Thanks to many of the legitimate counter-cult and apologetic ministries, there is a voice to address error and offer biblical corrections to these junk food doctrines, outright aberrations, and obvious heresies.  These are men and women who, like the sons of Issachar, have understanding of the times to know what to do (1 Chronicles 12:32).

G. Richard Fisher, “A Root Cause of Division and Confusion: Cautions and Corrections of the Hebrew Roots Movement,” in Personal Freedom Outreach’s “The Quarterly Journal,” January-March 2014.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Spirit As Teacher

O God the Holy Spirit, 

That which I know not, teach thou me, 
Keep me a humble disciple in the school of Christ, 
learning daily there what I am in myself, 
a fallen sinful creature, justly deserving everlasting destruction;
O let me never lose sight of my need of a Saviour,
or forget that apart from him I am nothing,
and can do nothing.

Open my understanding to know the Holy Scriptures;
Reveal to my soul the counsels and works of the blessed Trinity;
Instill into my dark mind the saving knowledge of Jesus;
Make me acquainted with his covenant undertakings
and his perfect fulfillment of them, 
that by resting on his finished work 
I may find the Father’s love in the Son, his Father, my Father,
and may be brought through thy influence
to have fellowship with the Three in One.

O lead me into all truth, thou Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
that I may know the things that belong unto my peace,
and through thee be made anew.

Make practical upon my heart the Father’s love
as thou hast revealed it in the Scriptures;
Apply to my soul the blood of Christ, effectually, continually,
and help me to believe, with conscience comforted,
that it cleanseth from all sin;
Lead me from faith to faith,
that I may at all times have freedom to come 
to a reconciled Father, and may be able 
to maintain peace with him against 
doubts, fears, corruptions, temptations.

Thy office is to teach me to draw near to Christ 
with a pure heart, steadfastly persuaded of his love,
in the full assurance of faith.

Let me never falter in this way.

From The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions, p.58,59

Friday, February 14, 2014

Growing Kids the Ezzo Way - DANGER!

In one of my comments on my first article about Mike & Debi Pearl, I mentioned problems with Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo’s “Growing Families International.”  A recent commenter asked if I could explain the problem.

I have to admit that a major problem with GFI is not a biblical problem, rather it is a medical problem, which even Focus on the Family denounced as hazardous to babies.  This is why I really haven’t addressed this cultic group.  However, they do indeed abuse Scripture for many of their claims, so they really are a valid group to examine by an apologetics ministry.

The following is a summary I wrote up in 2002 to cover some of the major objections.  I have not examined this group since that time, but there is a site which has done so.

I’m sure a search of the Internet would turn up lots of sites exposing the problems with GFI and the Ezzos, as well as sites by ardent followers (just like you’ll find with every cult).

So now, on to my summary:

Having not read the material personally, I derive my information from various reviews by apologetics ministries and magazine articles.

A.  Biblical problems.

1.  The curriculum Growing Kids God's Way, by its very name, is claiming revelatory knowledge.

2.  Ezzo claims that since God is a God of order, the concept of “demand” feeding for infants is wrong and unhealthy, leading to "metabolic chaos," while "parent-directed feeding" leads to healthier babies and happier moms.  He calls it "God's Order For Your Baby's Day" (which is also the book title, implying divine revelation).

3.  The Ezzos use the crucifixion to justify letting an infant cry, many times citing Matthew 27:46.  "Praise God that the Father did not intervene when His Son cried out on the cross."  

4.  They claim that their method can generate "a type of spiritual inertia" in children.  "Once the parents have instilled biblical patterns into their child, their training should carry him to the point where God's Spirit will take control of the reins of his heart.  Without sufficient spiritual inertia generated in the formative years (birth through 12), the child will ultimately limit the influence of God in his life."

5.  Parents can't baptize infants at Christ Episcopal Church in Plano, TX unless they commit to attending Growing Kids God's Way as part of their baptismal covenant.

6.  Children cannot attend County Oaks Baptist Church School in Tehachapi, CA unless they have completed Growing Kids God's Way.  

7.  Christian Research Institute stated that with GFI "Scripture is often used without regard to context to justify unbiblical or extrabiblical doctrines.  Teachings not found in the Bible (on child rearing) are accorded the status of divine revelation ("God's Way").  Theological confusion and legalism follow from these abuses."

8.  Ezzo states that maternal instinct is not a biblical concept.  Cited by CRI, Ezzo states, "Mothering decisions without assessment are dangerous.  Such noncognitive responses violate the Bible's call to sobermindedness. (Biblical references to 'sober-minded,' 'sober,' and 'soberly' are found in Acts 26:25; Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6,8; 1 Timothy 3:2, 11; Titus 1:8; 2:2, 6, 12; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8.)  Yes, even in parenting you must be soberminded."  CRI responds by saying, "None of the biblical references to sobermindedness cited by the Ezzos pertain specifically to parenting.  In fact, none of them even set forth general principles that can rightly be applied to infant care.  Rather than contrasting reason or assessment with feeling or intuition, they contrast soundness of mind or self-control with insanity or immorality."

9.  According to CRI, the Ezzos place a central emphasis on the redemptive role of "biblical chastisement" (a method of spanking) for sin.  Ezzos claim it will cleanse the child of guilt and release him from its burden.

10.  Ezzos suggest that if parents faithfully "grow their kids God's way," God will be obligated to save their children.

11.  Ezzos state that demand feeding is not an option for the Christian.  They state that, "Women who demand feed say they love their children because they tend to their every need.  That is not biblical love; it's idolatry."

B.  Other pastoral concerns.

1.  According to churches the Ezzos have attended or worked with, Gary Ezzo lacks "truthfulness, Christian character, and accountability."

2.  GFI originally developed at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, pastored by John MacArthur.  MacArthur severed support and rebuked Ezzo for his divisiveness.  He was also cited by MacArthur as obscuring what was biblical versus personal preference, and MacArthur is quoted as stating Gary Ezzo is disqualified "from Christian leadership or public ministry in any context.

3.  Ezzos were also excommunicated from Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship of Granada Hills, CA, which itself was a split from MacArthur's church when Gary left.

4.  Gary Ezzo was asked to step down as pastor-teacher in early 1980s from a church in New Jersey because of his divisiveness, the church accusing him of exhibiting "authoritarianism and isolationist tendencies."

5.  There is a controversy over mismanagement of funds resulting in his accounting firm terminating their relationship.  

6.  Ezzo has been charged with "persistent unwillingness to respond to biblical admonition" and basically considers himself to be accountable to no one.

7.  Ezzo's educational accomplishments have been exaggerated and falsified.  Former editorial director at GFI, Frank York, has a very interesting open letter to Ezzo's publishers on the internet (www.mailing-list.net/redrhino/Ezzo/Frank York.html) discussing many of the integrity problems with Gary Ezzo [this link is no longer available].

8.  The president of Apple Tree Family Ministries wrote a letter to Christianity Today stating, "for 10 years I have observed devastating results of this program, as well as serious integrity concerns: slow weight-gaining babies; depressed children; division among churches, friendships, and families; false attacks on people who disagree or dare to raise concerns, including myself."

9.  The Christian Research Institute did an in-depth study of Ezzos and their programs and came to the conclusion that it is a cultic community.  They state, "The Ezzo's word on parenting seems to close the matter irrespective of evidence.  Individual interpretation on that subject is not allowed.  The Ezzos appear to be unaccountable to anyone outside of their own group and to suppress any attempt to question them from within the group. ... The Ezzos are considered virtually the only ones who are teaching biblical truth on their subject.  Those who follow the Ezzo way are believed to raise morally superior children.  Some esteem the Ezzo philosophy of child-rearing to be so essential that they treat it almost as though it were the gospel.  It is promoted with missionary zeal, resulting in division among churches, families, and friends.  In fact, Christian outsiders are some-times viewed and treated as sub-Christian. ... Members of the GFI 'community' have been shielded from teachings and opinions contrary to the Ezzo way.  Full knowledge of GFI teachings has been withheld until after one becomes involved with the program."

CRI also points out examples, such as how well a child sleeps being based on its parents' "spirituality."

C.  Health concerns. 

1.  Christianity Today said, "The Ezzo's program for 'parent-directed feeding' (PDF), their advice about physical punishment for young toddlers, and the lack of independent research to support their methods, have generated an international controversy among Christian leaders, pediatricians, and lactation experts."  

2.  Ezzo "has no professional background in child development, medicine, or breast-feeding support" yet claims to be an authority on all three.  His "infant-feeding advice is inconsistent with standard medical recommendations."  

3.  The American Academy of Pediatrics have specifically condemned Babywise and Preparation for Parenting as hazardous to infants' health, and have identified 35 unsubstantiated medical claims in Babywise alone. 

4.  Leading breast-feeding authorities have specifically warned against GFI programs in regards to infant feeding.

5.  Frank York's letter also discusses medical problems and false medical claims by Ezzo in his books.  

6.  Jeff Gerke resigned as Multnomah Publishing editor in 2001 over the Ezzo books.  Jeff stated, "I'm personally convinced Gary Ezzo and his infant care materials are dangerous.  He has no medical training and therefore no business writing medical books - or disregarding the advice of bona fide medical professionals."

7.  Well-known pediatrician and author of baby books, Dr. William Sears, soundly condemns the Ezzo methods as damaging.

8.  According to the Christian Research Journal, "A child abuse prevention council's religious task force (including evangelical Christian pastors) investigating GFI programs found that they were not developmentally and age appropriate.  It further concluded that the programs did not consider individual temperament, have a balance of loving guidance and discipline, or foster parental discernment."

My major problem with the entire program as described in a World magazine article, including the quotes from the Ezzos, is their very, very poor exegesis.  They have no clue as to what the scriptures say.  I have been studying the scriptures for close to forty years and never in all my studies have I ever come across such nonsense in an attempt to use the Bible to defend one's philosophy, except in the case of non-Christian cults.  As well, the Ezzos smell very cultish in their child-rearing philosophy.  I have to denounce it as not "Growing Kids God's Way", but, rather "Growing Kids the Ezzo Way". 

Did They Really Say That?!?

“We were made out of God.  When God created Adam, He created him from the dust of the earth.  He put His mouth on him; blew in him the breath of life.  He became a living soul.  God said, ‘I wanted to see what I looked like, so I made you to be in My image.  You have My DNA.  You are created out of Me.  You are a derivative of Me.  You are My picture in the Earth.’”

T. D. Jakes, “MegaCare 1,” The Potter’s Touch, Lightsource.com, iTunes Podcast, 17 August 2008, as cited by Hank Hanegraaff in Christianity in Crisis, 21st Century, p.375.

I wonder where T. D. Jakes finds such claims in the Bible?  Did God really not know what he looked like?  Did Adam really have the same DNA as did God?  This is almost like Mormonism!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

God Is Watching

Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing you would not like God to hear. Write nothing you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, “Show it to Me.” Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like to have God say, “What are you doing?”

―J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Random Apostasies and Heresies

The big news last week was the Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate.  If you haven’t seen it, the full debate is available to watch on youtube.  Albert Mohler has an excellent commentary about how the debate was really an examination and exposure of clashing worldviews.  Rick Phillips at Reformation 21 has a good, short commentary worth your while also.
There are some really good analyses of the debate, and I can provide some links if requested.

I’ve read several interesting things about the Mormons the past week or so, a few of which really need to be shared with my audience.
A lawsuit has been filed in England against the LDS president, for fraudulent teachings which led to the loss of money from an adherent of the faith.  It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.
This situation was first brought to my attention through a link to a site I’ve never seen before, but which I think is a good one to follow regarding news about the LDS; it’s called, The Mormon CurtainMormon Coffee has posted part 2 of their article exposing Joseph Smith as the founder of racism in the Mormon church.

Recovering Grace, a web site by former followers of Bill Gothard, which exposes the teachings and practices of Gothard’s organization, had as a six-part series the testimony of a young lady who was being groomed by Gothard to be his bride - unbeknownst to her.  It is a good exposure of the sort of sexual harassment that was apparently common with Bill.  Part one will take you to part two, and so forth.
After you’ve read that one, take a look at Charlotte’s Story for an example of just how far Gothard would go.

Long ago I learned of the origin and teachings behind Alcoholics Anonymous, and why it is something Christians should not be a part of.  Lighthouse Trails Research has a new booklet about AA, and this article sums up what the booklet exposes.
(I’d like to point out that the founder of AA coined the word “Alcoholic” so as to take away the responsibility of the drunk, and the psychology and psychiatry industry turned “alcoholism” into a “disease,” which is total nonsense.)

One site I have never previously read is that of Rolling Stone Magazine; that sort of material is just not my cup of tea.  However, I was given a link last week to an article on the site, about the International House of Prayer cult.  It is a very interesting viewpoint from a secular publication, but they seem to have hit the proverbial nail on the head in their assessment.  And I would say they describe a lot of demonic activity! Of course, as with any cult, followers have joined in the comment section making claims against the article - but my personal research confirms what the article says.  It is sad that cult followers are so deluded in the defense of their particular cult.

Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, continues his slide into total apostasy.

One of the things which has always bothered me is the teaching that Christians pay a “tithe” to the Church.  This is a 100% false teaching!  The tithe (meaning 10%) was something Israel was required to give (as one of many required offerings).  Christians have no minimum amount for giving, rather we are told to just give as our heart directs us, without grudging or compulsion.  Some people say 10% is a good place to start, but I think that depends on one’s financial condition - sometimes that 10% can be the difference between eating or not eating.  
Elizabeth Prata has a good article on this subject.

I thought Larry King’s interview with Joel Osteen took place a few years back, but this link makes it appear to be recent.  So is this a new one?  I don’t know, but the interview is 100% proof positive why Joel Osteen should not be in any pastoral position.  It is difficult to even conceive of him being saved, since he never really seems to understand the Gospel.  I think, again, that Elizabeth Prata has a better handle on Osteen’s teachings than do most Christians - “doctrines of demons.

I’ve previously addressed Michael Brown’s book, “Authentic Fire,” and how confused it is with reality.  Another article about the subject, which I think is worth your perusal, is over at the Cripplegate.  Meanwhile, Phil Johnson addresses Brown’s association, and defense of, arch-heretic Benny Hinn.

Then we have “The Circle Makers,” which exposes many who are teaching some really bad doctrines.  Mark Batterson isn’t alone in this convoluted idea; Rick Warren and Ed Young are right in there with him, albeit with a difference.

We’ve heard a lot over the years about all the “Holy Laughter” in so many false revivals, but the real “Holy Laughter” is from God.

Lastly, this video sums up a lot of current “worship” styles.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Random Apostasies and Heresies

Well, the Mennonites seem to be leaving their fundamental traditions behind.  It seems that 150 Mennonite pastors and other ministers are wanting to change the church policy to “welcome and bless” those who practice sexual perversions.  I’m sure Menno Simons would excommunicate the entire bunch.

More about the Mormons from “Mormon Coffee.”  Glenn Beck has been perpetrating Mormon myths; I don’t think he really understands the Mormon church - at least no better than he understood the Catholic Church.

Next, they posted a video showing the very sad teachings of works-based salvation in the Mormon Church.

Finally, today they posted irrefutable evidence that Joseph Smith is indeed the originator of LDS racism.  I’m looking forward to part 2 of this series.

Speaking of the Mormon church, a couple weeks ago a fellow blogger alerted me about Ravi Zacharias again speaking in a joint session with Mormons.  Of course, I was saddened to hear of such compromise.  I came across an excellent review of the subject, and have to agree with the author.

Lengthy, but excellent, article about IHOP - and I don’t mean the pancake restaurant!  I’m talking about the cult in Kansas City, as well as all the satellites around the nation.  The amount of false teaching originating with that bunch is astounding.

The Evangelical Free Church in America has been one of the more fundamental denominations, but now it appears that they are jumping on the contemplative bandwagon.  It seems everyone wants to be a mystic nowadays.

CARM has a good, short, article on Arnold Murray and the Shepherd’s Chapel.  Another false teacher to avoid.

Rachel Held Evans seems to have a typical left-wing, liberal theological worldview.  Not only is she woefully ignorant about proper hermeneutical understanding of Scripture, but now she has show what poor understanding she has about socio-political issues, such as birth control.  Evans has seemingly come from out of nowhere and has become a media darling as someone representing Christianity.

Two bloggers are taking turns writing chapter reviews of Michael Brown’s book, “Authentic Fire.”  As of today, four chapters have been reviewed, beginning with an overview here, followed by the chapter reviews here, here, here, and here.  Of course these reviews are in defense of the Strange Fire conference, but they really do a good job of refuting Brown’s assertions.

The Cripplegate posted an article about “holy fire” - a “holy fire” totally unlike that promoted by the charismaniacs.  Of course the author also argues against the charismatic “fire.”

What do you think about presenting Jesus as a “Son of Allah” in order to use the “Camel Method” to evangelize to Muslims?  I’m hoping you have the same though as I do - that Allah is NOT the same as the God of the Bible, and that we do NOT compromise truth to make the Gospel more palatable.

The latest about Sarah Young’s book, “Jesus Calling.”  

A Church Of England cathedral in the U.K. has taken apostasy and heresy to a new level.  They screened the movie,The Last Temptation of Christ.”  The excuses given are outrageous.

To end today’s episode, take a look at Gary Gilley’s article on real “spiritual formation.”

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sacred Marriage

Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas, was passed to me by a friend, and, coincidentally, another friend told me about the book and raved about it.  So I figured I’d better read it!

Overall, the book was very good, but there are some caveats that must be made before I can recommend it.

First, the author makes too many speculations as to what God thinks and why God does things, and often does this dogmatically.  For example, he asserts that God designed marriage to make us more holy, and that is the premise of the book.  Nowhere in Scripture does it even intimate that God designed marriage for such a reason.  Can it be an outcome of marriage?  Of course.  But nothing in Scripture says that was the reason for design.  

One of those “myeh” moments came when I read where Thomas tells about the last scene in the original Star Wars movie, where Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia are honored for their part in winning the war; he says this “still tears me up inside,” and that “it shadows a heavenly truth I yearn for.”  And what is this “truth”? That we are “to turn from earthly ambition and to shun earthly rewards.”  I’m sorry, but I definitely cannot see such a “shadow” in that scene.

Like so many teachers, as well as lay persons, Thomas abuses Matthew 18:20, in which Jesus said, “where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.”   Thomas says,  “The presence of God comes to us as two beings are joined.  God ‘dwells’ in the midst of this coming together.  It’s a beautiful picture.  There is a long tradition of seeking God in solitude, but clearly there is also biblical warrant to seek God in relationship and community.  Consider Jesus’ words in Matthew...”   Then he emphasizes “where two or three come together in my name....”  This passage is about church discipline and has nothing to do with the subject Thomas is forcing into it.

The most egregious problem is his citations from numerous authors who are mystics or false teachers.  There are so many mystics used that I can only conclude that Thomas must be a mystic himself!  After all, he admits that his wife reads Guideposts, which, if you are unfamiliar, was founded by false teacher Norman Vincent Peale.  But Thomas cites a story from it!

Okay, as for authors Thomas cites to buttress his teachings:

Let’s start with Dan Allender.  His book, “The Wounded Heart,” is soundly refuted for its pop-psychology in Ed Bulkley’s book, “Only God Can Heal the Wounded Heart.”  Allender syncretizes Christianity with secular psychology - a dangerous mix.  However, Gary Thomas apparently has no problem with such syncretization, because there were so many citations from the book, Intimate Allies, by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman that I felt I should just read that book and get it over with!  

Next, there is Phillip Yancey, who also gets a number of citations.  I’ve previously exposed Yancey as being New Age, a proponent of pop-psychology, ecumenical, defender of homosexuality, approving of the Emergent movement - and he rejects attempts at correction by others.

Other questionable teachers cited include:

Bill McCartney of Promise Keepers.  Thomas speaks favorably about this organization, which is also ecumenical and has some downright aberrant teachings.

Friedrich Nietzche -  Need I say more?

Donald Harvey - a counselor who syncretizes the Bible with secular psychology.

Francois Fenelon - Roman Catholic mystic, admirer of Madam Guyon (who he calls “one of the great Christian mystics of all time”).

Bernard of Clairvaux  - Roman Catholic mystic.

Teresa of Avila - Roman Catholic mystic.

St. John Climacus - Roman Catholic ascetic, mystic.

Henri Nouwen - another mystic/contemplative teacher, Catholic priest.

Dick Westly - Roman Catholic philosopher; calls real “love-making” the “height of asceticism.”

Mary Ann McPherson Oliver - “spirituality today”

Brother Lawrence - Roman Catholic mystic.

Thomas Hart; I’ve never heard of him, but the citation by Thomas has Hart saying, “our fascination with sex is closely related to our fascination with God.”  My immediate thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  Of all the sex perverts out there pushing every type of sexual aberration and immorality, loading our culture with pornography, same-sex fake marriage, etc, I sincerely doubt many are “fascinated” with God!

Other authors cited had names unfamiliar to me, and they may or may not be problematic.

Lastly, I think he gives too much personal information about him and his wife and their marriage, and it made me feel like a voyeur at times.

As I said at the beginning, the book was really good as far as its overall teachings, but I think there are some real “bumps in the road” which need to be addressed before passing it on to an immature believer.