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, December 31, 2017

Are You Violating the Spirit of the Law?

When we watch sex on the silver screen, we are asking unbelievers to behave in ways we would never tolerate among ourselves. Yet we tolerate it so we can enjoy entertainment we otherwise couldn’t enjoy. We outsource our depravity so we can live within the letter of the law, even while violating the spirit.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Watch For the Errors of Men

Remember this short and plain caution of the subtile errors of men.  Let a snake but once thrust in his head at some small unguarded fold of your garment, and he will insensibly and unavoidably wind his whole body into your bosom, and give you a pernicious wound.

Isaac Watts, The Improvement of the Mind: A Supplement to Logic, pg.102

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:
We NEED to “name names” of false teachers.  Period.

Why do the Gospels and Josephus contradict each other about John the Baptist?

Can a false teacher heal you?

Leopard Theology” exposed.

A good book review about a book by an author of whom I’ve never heard: Ryan Lokkesmoe.  His book is really, really poor and full of false teachings. It’s one you can definitely skip.

During our home-schooling days in the early- and mid-1990s, we attended conferences at which material from Bill Gothard was displayed for sale.  Just skimming over the material we decided there was nothing interesting about it and passed it by.  In 1999 we began attending an assembly where the local Gothard representative attended, and we quickly learned something was amiss with that group. For more information I contacted the Christian Research Institute (by phone in those days) but they never reported on his teachings; they did, however, know of a group that did—Midwest Christian Outreach in the Chicago area. After contacting MCO I received a packet which provided me a wealth of information proving the horrid nature of Gothard’s teachings.  When I brought this information before the leadership they immediately placed a ban on any further recruiting for Gothard’s programs.  In 2002, while attending our first apologetics conference, we met Don Veinot of MCO, and he was one on the plenary speakers. He spoke of a book being released by MCO that year, “A Matter Of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard & the Christian Life.” Not only did I buy a copy, but after I read it I began ordering them by the case and giving them to pastors of many of the churches in town as well as everyone we knew who home-schooled.  Gothard’s teachings are still out there harming hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Here is an excellent review of this book, for perhaps whetting your appetite to purchase a copy.  Spread the word.

Freemasonry is inherently sinful. It's also another religion incompatible with Christianity.

The Bad:
Ever hear of Levi Lusko?  Neither had I until this article — another false teacher to avoid.

The ignorance and dangerous ideology of Bethel Redding “pastor” Kris Vallotton.

Tim Keller is descending more and more into apostasy.

The Pope is dangerous with his socialist, multi-cultural ideology.  Muslim “migrants” are barbarian, anti-God invaders to Europe. Joseph and Mary were not dangerous to anyone, and worshiped God.

The Ugly:
Bizarre NAR activities at Bethel Redding.  That place is NOT Christian

Kris Vallotton of Bethel Redding is a blatant false teacher — really.   The heresy at Bethel gets deeper as a children’s “pastor” teaches telepathy.

Too many “churches” are doing just like this apostate one — kowtowing to Muslims.  

Charismatics and “Heaven” Tourism.  Some of the worst kind of frauds.

Maintain a Virtuous and Pious Spirit

Ever maintain a virtuous and pious frame of spirit: for an indulgence of vicious inclinations debases the understanding, and perverts the judgment.  Whoredom, and wine, and new wine, take away the heart, and soul, and reason of a man.  Sensuality ruins the better faculties of the mind; an indulgence to appetite and passion enfeebles the powers of reason; it makes the judgement weak and susceptive of every falsehood, and especially of such mistakes as have a tendency towards the gratification of the animal; and it warps the soul aside strangely from that steadfast honesty and integrity that necessarily belong to the pursuit of truth.  It is the virtuous man who is in a fair way to wisdom.

Isaac Watts, The Improvement of the Mind: A Supplement to Logic, pg.15

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Discernment When “Church Shopping”

This past Sunday, while out to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant in a nearby small town, we saw a sticker on a car which said, “Infuse Church.”  Of course the words weren’t posted that way — they were in a block sort of with letters going across and down so you actually had to look at it and think about what it said.  Curiosity got the best of me and I have now looked them up on the Internet.  WOW.

When you are looking for a church at which to worship, it would do you good to look at their Internet site to see just what they have to say about themselves.  Sometimes they don’t say enough to tell you really anything about them except perhaps a generic doctrinal statement.  Other times you can get some real red flags!  Our local “Infuse Church” is one of those “red flag” assemblies which should be avoided.  Let’s take a look.

On the home page we find “What to Expect.”  
we promise joining us on Sunday will be a fun and enjoyable experience”. Really? That’s what the assembly is for, to have a “fun and enjoyable experience”?!? While we may have some enjoyable experiences during fellowshipping, fun and enjoyment is not the purpose of the assembly.

Come dressed to impress or shorts and a t-shirt, whatever is comfortable.”  While there is nothing inherently wrong about not being dressed more formally for assembling with other believers, especially when there are people who can’t afford good clothing, tradition has led to being dressed as if you are going before an important person — i.e. coming before the Lord in worship should make one want to appear respectful, not slovenly; and it’s not about trying to impress any one..  Any “church” which suggests slovenly appearance is acceptable is one to avoid, in my book.

“Be Ready For… To Laugh and have a good time.” Again, this sounds like they are more interested in partying than they are about learning about doctrine or the Bible.

Be Ready for…some breakfast and coffee.”  When an assembly we previously attended began spending their income on breakfasts, that was one of the things which really bothered us.  There is no excuse for people to come to church looking to be fed before the service, looking for donations to buy them their meals, etc.  This is nothing but more party atmosphere.

Be Ready For… Good Music.”  By that they mean a raucous band with “contemporary” music and songs usually devoid of much doctrine and usually all about feeling good.

Look at the video and you will see that you can expect a “relevant” service. “Relevant” is a buzz-word often associated with the emergent movement. Then you see the concert atmosphere of a service.  And just what is “Outlandish Love”?!?

Now click on “Who Are We?” Several red flags appear:

Husband and wife “pastors.”  Obviously of the liberal bent, totally ignoring Paul’s teaching about only men being elders in the assembly.

Infuse is a new church with a motto of Imperfect People, Outlandish Love, and Real Faith.”  Very emergent sounding. “We believe the church is a place for imperfect people…” Um, no, the assembly is for “imperfect” Christians only.  While non-believing “imperfect” people may show up, they are not the purpose of the assembly.

Scroll down to “Our Vision” and you see:
To make churches that unchurched people love to attend.
Who are “unchurched people”? Usually this refers to unbelievers, but I may be wrong here.  We NEVER are to make our assemblies attractive to non-believers.  They also say that “church should be a place where all people love to attend”— HELLO! “Church” should NEVER be a place unbelievers love to attend; if they really love it there, then they aren’t being confronted with sin.

Under “What We Believe” I see a few not-so-clear/confusing things, but one thing stands out under “Church,” which says a purpose of the church is to “serve the world in order to fulfill the last command of Jesus.”  This sounds like the social gospel; nowhere in Scripture are we told to “serve the world.”  Jesus last command was to go and make disciples, not “serve the world.”

Click the next button, “Engage With Us” and find that there are lots of programs, but not much explanation. Scrolling down you’ll find “Ownership (Infuse 101)” and learn that they don’t have a membership, rather they have “Ownership.”  Sounds pretty “relevant,” doesn’t it?

Then we look at “Giving.”  Interesting response to questions about tithing: they are correct that the Christian doesn’t tithe, but then they tell you that you MUST give a percentage that raises with income!  Not everyone is able to do so, especially on the lower income scales.  The church has no business telling people what to give except that they are not to give “grudgingly or under compulsion” (2 Corinthians 9:7), yet this assembly is compelling them give a certain way.

With all this, do I really need to listen to any message?  No.  There may be good messages but the foundation of this assembly is sand.  It is “fun” focused, programs focused, seeker-sensitive, with an unbiblical leadership.

These are things you look for when seeking an assembly at which to worship.  Use discernment.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Once Saved, Always Saved?

There are some different views on whether once a person has been saved by faith in Christ, if he can lose his salvation.  Calvinists say that since God chooses who to elect for salvation we have nothing to say in the matter and therefore will always be saved.  Meanwhile, other groups like the Church of Christ say one can become entangled in sin and lose salvation until they’ve repented and rejoined the assembly.  Catholics declare that if you’ve committed a “mortal sin” and have not confessed it to a priest and received absolution prior to death, then you have lost your salvation.  Some people (e.g. Calvinists) say if YOU chose to accept Christ by faith, then you can also choose to leave the faith. So what is the truth—can one truly saved lose his salvation?  I say “no.”

What I believe the Bible teaches is that once someone truly by faith accepts the fact that Jesus died as an atonement for our sins, and that he arose from the dead as proof that his sacrifice was accepted, that person is saved and always will be; he will not walk away from it because he knows how very serious the faith is and wants to live his life the best he can for the Lord.  However, there are a great number of people who accept such facts intellectually and consider themselves saved but never accepted the faith in Christ into their lives, and when things don’t go in their lives as they think they should, then they turn their backs on the doctrines of the Christian faith and deny their necessity. They didn’t lose their salvation—they never were saved! 

If falling into sin caused a loss of salvation, then how does one account for King David’s sin of adultery and murder being forgiven by God and restored to fellowship? And how does one account for the fact that we all sin daily? And how does one then account for the fact that Christ died for ALL our sins, not just the ones we committed before we became believers?

Some people  even claim that “once saved, always saved” (OSAS) theology gives a license to sin, but my answer to that is Romans 6.

Let’s look at some passages which I believe substantiate my belief, and then we can look at some passages which are used to say that salvation can be lost. (All passages will be from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

First, I have to say that there are numerous passages which specifically state that salvation is available to ALL (not just the Calvinist’s “elect”), and many of those are noted in my article about Calvinism.  Not a single one of those passages say that it is a salvation you can lose once you’ve accepted it, and I think if that was a possibility then at least one or two would have such a warning!

Matthew 13, the parable of the sower.  Jesus describes three types of soil on which the seed fell and what the result was.  

The first important soil for this article is the rocky ground: This is the person “who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy.  Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived.  When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” The man was not truly saved; he accepted it intellectually but never took it to heart and left the faith when persecution or pressure became too tough. 

The second important one is the seed falling among the thorns. “this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and so it becomes unfruitful.”  I once had a very good friend who I invited to the Navigators Bible studies when I was a new believer, and he became on fire for the Lord and accepted the faith.  I “knew” he was a Christian, but then after so many months he was seduced into transcendental meditation and decided that was where the truth was. He was never saved, just took the word and had it choked.  I’ve known others who claimed to have accepted the faith and become Christians but their lifestyles never changed as they were more and more seduced into sexual immorality and hedonism, all the while still intellectually agreeing that the Christian faith is true. I know a young woman who said she had accepted the faith at an AOG assembly, but there was so much mistreatment that she strayed until she became involved with the American Indian culture and marrying into it, and then syncretized Christianity with American Indian spirituality; she still talks all the same “Christianese” and claims to be saved, but it is obvious that she has no real understanding of the word, having it all chocked out by mistreatment in the Church and acceptance of pagan spirituality. I’m sure just about everyone has heard stories of people who “grew up in the faith” and believed themselves to be saved, even speaking of going down for altar calls, but then things happened in the church which turned them sour on it, or things happened in their lives which they think should never happen if one follows God, etc, and they leave the faith, saying that they discovered it wasn’t what it claimed to be; these people may have accepted the Christian teachings intellectually, but never took them to heart. They didn’t lose their salvation—they never had it.

Romans 10:9…if you confess with your mouth , ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Not “you might be saved,” but “you will be saved.” But notice it says to believe in your heart, not just intellectually.  Believing it in your heart means you accept it as bonafide truth, and no one would leave such a faith knowing it is true.

Romans 11:16-25:  A lengthy passage so I’ll let you look it up.  Again, it is not talking of loss of salvation, rather it is speaking of those who have not fully accepted the faith while claiming to be part of the Church — they will be pruned off!

1 John 5:12-13:  “The one who has the Son has life.  The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life.  I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you man know that you have eternal life.”  Notice that John says, “so that you may know you have eternal life.”  Know you already have eternal life, not that you might have it if you don’t walk away.

At this point I can’t think of any specific passages demonstrating that salvation is forever, except as I noted above with the myriad of passages of which none warn you can lose what you get.  So let me look at the “if” passages used to deny that one is always saved if they really were saved.

Romans 11:22:Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity; severity towards those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness.  Otherwise you to will be cut off.”  This really addresses the rocky and thorny grounds; those people are cut off, so if you don’t want to be cut off, you need to re-evaluate your faith to see if you’ve taken it to heart rather than just intellectually.

1 Corinthians 15:2:  “You are also saved by [the gospel] if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed to no purpose.”  I think this passage is misused for the OSAS debate.  Paul is talking about if the message itself was believed to no purpose because there will be no resurrection; his argument is to prove that without the resurrection our faith is worthless because it is based on a lie.

Colossians 1:22-23:  “But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him—if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.” Again, this is the same concept as Matthew 13.  Accept the faith to the heart and not just intellectually, otherwise it is not a saving faith.  2 Corinthians 13:5 speaks to this very thing—TEST YOURSELF to be sure you are indeed taking the faith to heart and not just intellectually.

1 Timothy 5:11-15:But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when they are drawn away from Christ by desire, they want to marry and will therefore receive condemnation because they have renounced their original pledge. At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say. Therefore, I want younger women to marry, have children, manage their households, and give the adversary no opportunity to accuse us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan.” Here we are not talking about people who lost their salvation, but rather have been led into temptation and sin, i.e. “following Satan.”  A Christian man or woman who gets caught up in adultery (whether physical or pornography) has not lost their salvation by following Satan’s temptations, but they are certainly out of fellowship with God and the Church until such time as they repent.

Hebrews 2:1:  “We must therefore pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.”  All this is saying is that one can drift away into being lax in their faith, not drifting out of salvation.

Hebrews 3:6: But Christ was faithful as a Son over his household, whose household we are if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.”  Again, check your faith to see if it is real (2 Cor. 13:5)

Hebrews 3:12-14:  “Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.” Another passage about checking our heart to see if our faith is a true saving faith.

Hebrews 6:4-8:For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt. For ground that has drunk the rain that has often fallen on it and that produces vegetation useful to those it is cultivated for receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and will be burned at the end.” Notice he said the individuals were “enlightened” and “tasted” the message, but didn’t fully accept it into their hearts—they were never saved and have rejected the message.

Hebrews 10:26-29:For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. If anyone disregards Moses’ law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”  This speaks to those who live a lifestyle of sin after proclaiming that they accepted the faith; but notice he says that the received the knowledge of the truth, not that they took it to heart. They have received the intellectual knowledge but their behavior shows they haven’t accepted it into the heart.  It’s a warning to take it to heart if you want to be saved.

James 5:19-20:My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.” I see this as pointing out how to handle one who has fallen into sin, by leading him back to repentance. The death discussed is physical death, which we see has been used by God in the N.T. to punish Christians who were, shall we say, “misbehaving”?  (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 11:30).

2 Peter 2:  This chapter is discussing false believers; false teachers and false prophets.  It is not discussing people losing their salvation.

As for blotting people out of the “Book of Life,” I see that as EVERYONE has their name in the book at the beginning but only remain there if they accept the salvation offered to them.

Again, if one really, truly accepts the Faith to heart, knowing exactly what it means and what it requires, he will never turn his back on it.  He may be sidelined by tragedies, may have some doubts, become ineffective as a worker for the Lord due to temptations, etc, but he will never leave the faith.  When he deliberately sins the Holy Spirit continue to make him feel guilty until he repents and leaves the sin behind, but he does not lose his salvation because of it.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:
Just last week I had a discussion about this topic with Pulpit & Pen on Facebook.  I came to the very same conclusion as does Michelle!  No, a nativity scene is NOT idolatry.

A fellow blogger pointed me to this excellent resource for responding to skeptics. I skimmed a lot of areas and there are a few places where I disagree with the author (such as the Sabbath and whether it was ever for Christians), but overall I think it is beneficial.

Another excellent resource is “Answering Catholic Claims.” This blogger does excellent work exposing the false teachings of Roman Catholicism.

Alexander Hislop’s book, The Two Babylons, published in 1858, is a favorite text of KJV Onlyers and other legalists, who very often use Hislop’s material to “prove” that Easter and Christmas — and all the associated decorations, etc — are from pagan origin.  As well, the book is a rant against Roman Catholicism but misrepresents a lot about that organization.  I used to have my own copy but finally tossed it as being worthless.  A good, but short, examination of Hislop is by Ralph Woodrow.  I recommend you order his book, about which you can find information at the bottom of the page of this article.

Christmas time also brings out the myths of pagan origin from many sources.  Here’s one helpful source to counter some of the nonsensical claims.

Is Jesus Simply a Retelling of the Horus Mythology?

Wayne Grudem has an excellent article about angels.  (even though, as a charismatic, he has many bad teachings)

The Bad:
James White has long been a good apologist (even if he is a 5-point Calvinist), but lately he’s been doing some weird things.  Something really surprising is his unqualified support for Michael Brown’s false teachings.

The Ugly:
Charismatic Tarot cards and “Christalignment”. This is about as occult and heretical it gets.

A “Top Twenty” list of “Christians” to follow on social media is predominantly a list of false teachers and heretics.

More warnings about Michael Brown, Todd White, et al.

Bethel Redding is really a very ugly institution pretending to be a Christian assembly. And if this isn’t enough information for proof, try this one.  Then the plot thickens.  And thickens again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What We Intend

I read this paragraph by Tim Challies and liked the way he puts it.  This is indeed why we apologists do what we do.

I would like to ensure that people realize I am not just pointlessly raging against these men to make myself feel better or to fulfill a need to complain about other professed Christians. I believe God calls us all to be Bereans and to evaluate every teaching by the unchanging standard of His Word. That is what I intend to do . . .

Friday, December 8, 2017

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:
An excellent video demonstrating why December 25th is a likely date of the birth of Jesus.

Addressing the myth of the “pagan origins” of Christmas.

An examination of the New Order of Latter Rain, and how it led to the New Apostolic Reformation.

Historic Heresies Related to the Nature of Jesus. There heresies continue in many groups today, so it is good to know about them and understand them.

A good article about the cult of Scientology.

The “diseases” plaguing women’s ministry.

The Bad:
A good analysis of Beth Moore.  Then there is a new one-stop “shopping list” for dozens of articles exposing Beth Moore’s false teachings.

The Church of Sweden has bowed to political correctness.

An example of why Michael Brown is dangerous to Christianity.

More attacks on the true faith from those who are supposedly Christians.

The Ugly:
This horrid trash is considered “worship” at Hillsong. Notice in the article that the lead “pastor”’s wife is his partner “pastor."

False Christian Perry Noble really needs to disappear; this is getting ridiculous.  His latest “sermon” proves he is a narcissist-heretic.