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, August 28, 2014

Give Our Youth Meat!

Herbert Schlossberg reminds us, “In their uncompromising determination to proclaim truth, Christians must avoid the intellectual flabbiness of the larger society.  They must rally against the prevailing distrust of reason and the exaltation of the irrational.  Emotional self-indulgence and irrationalities have always been the enemies of the gospel, and the apostles warned their followers against them.”  Indeed, the apostles left no doubt as to the place of intellect in their work.  Peter’s masterful presentation of the Christian faith in Acts 2:14-36 displayed his grasp of the substantive issues.  His ability to expound on the intricacies of the relationship between David and Christ was a brilliant piece of verbal tapestry that appealed directly to the minds of his Jewish audience.  Soon thereafter, Paul effectively engaged all manner of groups and individuals in his missionary journeys, using his reasoning capabilities to present the gospel of Jesus Christ with lucid clarity. . . .

It might be an interesting exercise to randomly survey our young people coming out of their next emotionally charged rally.  Let’s ask them if they, like young Timothy, could adhere to Paul’s instructions to defend the faith.  Their answers, or perhaps more precisely, bewildered looks, will reflect leaders who have bought into the myth that dumbing down the faith will make it more palatable for our youth.  In addition to the “it’s boring” cant, these leaders offer other arguments: “We do whatever works,” they say, leaving us to wonder, works to accomplish what? . . . 

Perhaps most disconcerting is the realization that once leaving the cozy, entertaining subculture we have created for them, our youth are ill prepared to face the bombardment of “isms,” which carry no warning labels for the unwary neophyte. . . .

What should be do about this state of affairs?  In his most recent book, Charles Colson comments that “local churches need to encourage youth leaders to go beyond volleyball and pizza parties and begin to teach apologetics and worldview issues.”  Indeed, the bar should be raised, and nothing less should be accepted by parents and leaders alike.

Paul Kerr, “Where’s Timothy,” Christian Research Journal, Vol. 23/No.1, p.61

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Babel Rising

Christians desire to live virtuously with beliefs grounded in love, truth and justice. However, for many churches, justice has been perverted from its biblical meaning - conformity to God's statutes - into a quest for egalitarianism. Truth - consistency to the character and will of God - has lost its clarity. Love has been reduced into a mere emotion. Many mainline denominations afford more certainty to atheists in academia and media than Scripture.  

Many Christians abandoned Scripture, embarrassed by its teachings anywhere they differ from what passes for progressive, nuanced or sophisticated thought. Paul warned against being deceived by the world's philosophies (Colossians 2:8), but many mainline churches were overrun by the same leftist ideologies that overran every other facet of America's intellectual current. Babel rises anew.  

--Bill Flax (Banker, former Marine, and Sunday School teacher at his Baptist Church).  Cited in The Berean Call e-mail, 25 Aug 2014  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

It seems that many Calvary Chapel assemblies are sliding more and more into emergent, as well as following the “Purpose Driven” nonsense.  I find that saddening.

For a thorough examination of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” take a look at this critique by T.A. McMahon.  Yet for all the problems of the book, Christians lacking in discernment are still gobbling it up.

If you have been spiritually abused, there is still hope for regaining spiritual freedom and sanity.

More on singer Vicky Beeching’s confession to being a lesbian.  In her discussion with Pastor Scott Lively, you should readily be able to discern how she reinterprets the Bible to justify her depravity.

Recovering Grace continues exposing the false teachings of Bill Gothard by examining “Wisdom Books’” twisting of Scripture with the Beatitudes.

Michael Gungor has received a lot of criticism lately for his stance on Biblical creation.  However, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his professed beliefs. He doesn’t like the story about Noah either.  His criticism of it is quite childish and irrational, all the while claiming to being thoughtful and rational!  Since Jesus and the apostles taught the Flood and Noah’s journey through it as true, Gungor has to say they are lying.  His “What Do We Believe” article is quite rambling and demonstrates why he should not be invited to perform in Christian venues - he doesn’t even believe Adam & Eve were literal.  Without that, you have no literal fall and no literal need for a savior.  That, my friends, is heresy. [links gone by 2/14/16]

Mark Driscoll is now the recipient of formal charges.  This document was apparently meant to be confidential, but someone posted it on the ‘net, and I think it is just more factual evidence that Driscoll was never qualified for the position of pastor.

Something to think about is “How to Shrink Your Church in One Easy Step.”  

Along this line, read Matt Barber’s, “An Open Letter to the False Church.”

Franklin Graham is sliding further into Rome.  Elizabeth Prata also has a commentary about Graham.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth had an article exposing a song I’ve never heard of before, and she demonstrates that the lyrics are very problematic.  This seems to happen often with contemporary Christian music.

T.A. McMahon’s interview with Dale Ratzlaff about the Seventh-day Adventist cult continues with part 2.

Finally, I had to really laugh last week as I read about a Mormon professor defending Joseph Smith’s integrity.  My rapid first thought was, “What integrity?!?”  Smith was a con artist’s con artist!  Sadly, the Mormon church continues to prosper.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Some Edifying Things

Once again it is time to post a collection of good articles about the Faith.

An interesting passage of Scripture — 1 Timothy 2:15 — has always been a curiosity to me, and I have read so many commentaries about it that I can’t remember them all!  I don’t think even the theologians really understand it.  Denny Burk posted an interesting commentary a few weeks ago, which you may find thought-provoking.

The printed New Testament Greek text has celebrated its 500th anniversary.

A bit deeper reading is an examination of the historical contexts of Genesis 2:7 - 3:8.  Yes, the passage is real history.

I was pointed to a very good article by John MacArthur about the wife’s role in the home, and whether it is proper for her to work outside the home.

Be very aware of the 8 Ways the Enemy Attacks Churches.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Consumer Christianity

Many evangelical churches have committed themselves wholeheartedly to a marketing approach aimed primarily at attracting the lost, who are viewed as potential customers.  As unbelievers attend the church and mix with new and long-standing members, the consumer concept unavoidably spreads to the entire congregation.  This inevitably affects the preaching, music, Sunday School programs, etc., which in turn produces a biblical shallowness throughout the congregation. …

Is consumerism supported by the Scriptures?  Did God shape His Gospel to gratify the worldly desires of humanity?  Are there some things in the Bible that should be strategically avoided in order not to put off “potential” believers?  Does God’s Word reflect a concern that people might take their “business” elsewhere if their felt needs aren’t being met?  Does the Bible tell us to make the truth more acceptable by feeding it to the lost in diluted or entertaining forms?  And is it really the gospel that saves if it’s altered to cater to non-Christians?  If any believer even remotely thinks so, I fear that the thinking of the world has grievously influenced his understanding of the Bible.

T.A. McMahon, “Consumer Christianity,” The Berean Call, February 2005.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

The BIG news this week is about Beth Moore establishing “unity” with heretic Joyce Meyer.  
Erin Benziger also has a short commentary about the situation.  Beth Moore has gone farther and farther into false teachings, and yet churches still allow her stuff to be used for “Bible study” classes and small groups, and women continue to spend thousands of dollars purchasing her materials or attending her conferences.  How far will she need to go before these people wake up?  Elizabeth Prata has an excellent article about that very question.

Aside from this news, Lighthouse Trails Research Ministry asks another excellent question about Moore:

Another big item in the news this past week is the reporting of Vicky Beeching’s confession to being a lesbian, and that she doesn’t see anything incompatible about that and her claim to being a Christian.  Perhaps the Church should be more discerning when it comes to our “worship” music.  (I refuse to sing anything by the Vineyard).

The Berean Call has part one of an interview with Dale Ratzlaff about the false teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist cult.

Sort of a followup to a previous RAAH post which included a link to an article about the possibility of women deacons being biblical.  I came across another article this past week, by Tim Keller (who often has some off-kilter teachings), which gives some more information on the topic.  I’m a bit amused that he thinks one can “commission” instead of “ordain” a woman deacon.  While I’m not really concerned about women deacons (since they have no teaching or leadership authority), I think Keller is playing word games, as if “ordain” is some biblical term anyway!

Matt Chandler likes Ann Voskamp.  Where is the discernment?

Erin Benziger has an interesting commentary about the Roman Catholic unbiblical doctrine of the “Assumption” of Mary.

A Methodist Seminary is “going gay.”  With as much support for all things homosexual from the United Methodists as a whole, it really isn’t surprising.

Lastly, I was pointed to a great link this week; many, many examples of the deception in the Mormon Church, and how the leaders lie about, um, just about everything Mormon! It isn’t a quick read.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Right Path

Which Path Will You Choose
by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Proverbs 4:18, 19)

There are two ways that are set in contrast. One is the way in which the righteous go. There is another way, the way the lawless go. It is a way of darkness. It reminds us of the broad way that our Lord described, which I believe has been misunderstood.

I can remember when I was a boy that we would be taught about the broad way and the narrow way. Now if they had asked me which way I wanted to go, I would have said immediately, “I think you could have a lot more fun on the broad way.” Unfortunately, I think that is the impression most often given. However, that is not accurate at all. The picture is altogether different.

The broad way is a wide one today. That is where the mob is. The crowd is having a “vanity fair” down that way all the time. The carnival is going on. Down there is the place where they indulge the flesh, and they call it the way of liberty. We hear today that we are living in a new age in which we can do as we please. That is certainly a broad way – that is, at the entrance. But notice that this broad way gets narrower and narrower and narrower. The way of the lawless is the dark way. “The way of the wicked is as darkness.” There are the bright lights at the entrance, but down a little farther there are no lights. The people don’t even know what they are stumbling over. That is the broad way that the Lord Jesus described. It is just like going in at the big end of a funnel and then finding that it gets narrower and narrower until finally it ends in destruction.

In contrast, the narrow way is very narrow at the entrance. The Lord Jesus said, “… I am the way …” (John 14:6, italics mine). It is so narrow that it is limited to one Person: Christ. No one can come to the Father but through Him. You just can’t find a way any narrower than that. Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The entrance is narrow, but after the entrance the way gets wider and wider, leading to an abundant life here and on into the light of heaven itself. My friend, we need to enter into the narrow end of the funnel, and that end is labeled, The Lord Jesus Christ.

HT: Lighthouse Trails Research Ministry

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stimulating Thoughts

I just finished the book, “An A - Z of Christian Truth and Experience,” by J. Graham Miller.  It was given to me by a friend, and is a collection of quotations from various well-known Christians throughout history.  The book is published by “The Banner of Truth Trust,” which publishes Calvinist books.  That explains why probably half of the citations in the book are from Calvin himself.

Except for ONE citation from Calvin below, I had no use for things by Calvin, because they were all heavily TULIPed.  However, I think the rest of the citations below will stimulate thinking.  The one by Calvin I have to post to show the absurdity of some of his teachings!

John Calvin stated:  “The offspring of believers are born holy because their children, while yet in the womb, are included in the covenant of eternal life . . .  Nor are they admitted into the Church by baptism on any other ground than that they belonged to the body of Christ before they were born.”

Really?  Just because a child’s parents are Christians the child is thereby also a Christian?  So if that child grows up and chooses “the dark side” and lives a life of evil and wicked deeds and rejects God, he is still saved because his parents were?!?!  Can anyone show me this from Scripture?

Okay, now that I had my poke at Calvinists, let’s look at some thought-provoking citations.

“The more carnal and worldly a man is the more he has to bring up against the Word of God.”
Martin Luther

“Whatever contradicts the Word of God should be instantly resisted as diabolical.”
John Bunyan

“The nature of Christianity [is] conformity with Christ and . . . disconformity with the world.”
Robert Leighton

“The great source of error in religious matters is that men do not fully and honestly take the Word of God as their rule and standard.”
William Cunningham

“The family is the primary institution of God for killing the natural self-seeking of the individual.”
James Candlish.

“Sir, you often told me of Christ and salvation: why did you not oftener remind me of hell and danger?”
A hearer, to John Newton

“Love fears and is concerned for the beloved.  What is not loved is easily neglected.”
Martin Luther

“The devil is but God’s master fencer to teach us to handle our weapons.”
Samuel Rutherford

“It is dangerous to gather flowers that grow on the banks of the pit of hell.  They who play with the devil’s rattles will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.”
Thomas Fuller

And, no, I’m not keeping the book.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

I’ve been away from home so much this past week that I haven’t even had time to work on my New Age Bible Versions review, let alone much of anything else.  But I’ve tried to keep up with the news about the Church at large, and collected some links to share with my readers.

I think I’ll start out with a couple posts by Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
Have you ever wondered just what teachings are considered to make a church “liberal”?
What is wrong with Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins?

How about a couple items Erin posted about?  I just learned that Joyce Meyer has a “university” where you can learn all sorts of things from her — like how horrid her teachings are and what heresy she promotes.  Then there is some good information about the Insider Movement.

When “Christians” attack you for teaching children about sin, you know there’s a problem with THEIR theology!

Recovering Grace has a two-part posting about some of Bill Gothard’s bizarre twisting of Scripture, here and here.

Hip and Thigh has two more articles completing his series about responding to KJVO questions, and you will find those quite interesting— here and here.  The various claims about conspiracies might give you a chuckle.

This month’s Berean Call has a thought-provoking article about false prophets.  Pay attention to the names.

Another example of problems with contemporary Christian music.

Speaking of which, there is a band I’ve not previously heard of which is coming under fire for their anti-Creation teachings.  Answers In Genesis notes that Gungor has a problem with most of Genesis.  Bravo to the Baptist church which cancelled their concert — why let false teachers into your assembly!

As I have pointed out many times, the United Church of Christ is the most liberal and un-Christian denomination in the USA.  I call them CINOs - Christian In Name Only.  A perfect example is the sponsorship of “gay games.”

Someone has discovered another way to get rich off of God’s Word; now you can buy a "virtually indestructible” Bible.  I guess you’d also have to buy special pens if you are like me and like to mark passages, although the video didn’t mention that — the article says they offer pens! By the way, I’m sure this book won’t last forever - what about fire?  It certainly isn’t inexpensive, nor are their other products!  One last thing: in their “kickstarter” project they say this:  “And whether you call it a blessing or simply good karma, inspiring someone is a powerful thing.”  So now we are teaching “karma” as valid?

Finally, a very interesting study about Christians and morality shows that those who sanction homosexual behavior and same-sex fake marriage have already compromised by sanctioning fornication, abortion, adultery, and pornography.   Yes, it is a slippery slope.

Monday, August 11, 2014

False Gospels Are Poison

To undermine the “truth of the gospel,” Satan has invented clever counterfeit gospels that promise life but damn the soul.  Those who preach these lies…are cursed by Paul — and rightly so.  These false gospels are like rat poison — very tasty and 98.6 percent nutritious, but containing just enough hidden poison to kill.  Bereans must be prepared to contrast the lie with God’s truth and to warn the unwary earnestly and clearly.

Dave Hunt, “The Battle for Truth,” The Berean Call June 1992

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Did They Really Say That?!?

You say a boil is painful; but that is impossible, for matter without mind is not painful.  The boil simply manifests, through inflammation and swelling, a belief in pain, and this belief is called a boil.  Now administer mentally to your patient a high attenuation of truth, and it will soon cure the boil.  The fact that pain cannot exist where there is no mortal mind to feel it is a proof that this so-called mind makes its own pain — that is, its own belief in pain.  We weep because others weep, we yawn because they yawn, and we have smallpox because others have it; but mortal mind, not matter, contains and carries the infection.

Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.153

So, if I have a boil, it only hurts because I think it hurts?  It only exists because I think it exists?  And I would catch a disease only because I think I will and that thinking then “contains and carries the infection”?!? 

Do I really even have to address this scripturally when real science destroys it?  I have so often stated that “Christian Science” is neither Christian nor science.  This citation is only one among many which demonstrates there is nothing scientific about its teachings.  I find it extremely difficult to believe that people actually accept this nonsense as being true.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

Well, I’m a bit behind in my work.  We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary last week and took a few days away to relax and have some fun.  So now it’s time to catch up with the news of things aberrant, apostate, and heretical in the realm of the Christian faith.

A followup on an article from my last “Random” post on the book, “Healing Oils of the Bible.”  The book has some solidly unbiblical claims.

Roman Catholics continue to surprise me with their unbiblical ideologies.  Here we have a priest who failed at an exorcism and now receives text messages from the demon!  If you believe that, then I have a bridge I’ll sell you.

Of course, Roman Catholics should have problems with exorcism - their teachings are corrupt and have no power over Satan.  The corruption in that church includes the whole idea of socialism, condemning what the Pope sees as “inequality.”

The Cripplegate had an excellent article about the gift of tongues.

Mark Driscoll is in the news again.  Ex-members of Driscoll’s church want Driscoll to know that they are NOT anonymous as he claims, and they want to expose what kind of “pastor” Driscoll actually is.  They have even acquired and released a vulgar message from Driscoll, which he has removed from his site.  I’ve said many times that Driscoll is not qualified to be an elder in the Church.

Three years ago I reported on the first volume of Bill Gothard’s Character Sketches, and how bizarre the teachings are with the way it twists Scripture.  Recovering Grace has a good article about the same volume, and more.  Essentially, Gothard reads his own agenda into every Bible story.

I have really liked the movies put out by Kendrick Brothers.  I have Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous.  While all of them bother me a bit when they have God resolving every problem, Courageous bothered me the most with some of it’s unbiblical “patriarchy” teachings.  Overall I think they have some good messages about living a Christ-focused life.  Fireproof is my favorite.  Well, now I’m disappointed in their newest adventure with a movie about prayer; it seems they decided to consult with Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, both who are promoters of contemplative prayer.  These women should never be used for consulting about prayer — or theology in general!  And yet Shirer apparently has a major part in the film, while Moore appears in a cameo — but she has already made a de facto prophetic claim:  God waits to see a generation that will take Him at His Word.”  The plot, as described in the article Lighthouse Trails links to, includes the idea of a “secret prayer room” — as if God needs us to have one?  Just the fact that Shirer and Moore are going to be in the movie will keep me from seeing it.

Hip and Thigh has some good responses to KJV Only types.

Finally, Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry has an article examining the false teachings in the book, “The Shack.”  Just a good reminder for when the movie comes out.