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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Movie Review: The Passion of the Christ

Back in March 2004 when this movie came out, I decided to watch it for apologetics purposes.  Churches across the country were buying out whole showings so their members could attend and take unbelievers with them, assuming there would be a revival or something. This week I ended up in a discussion with Catholics about this movie and discovered I have never posted my review on my blog to be able to link to!  So I dug in my files and found it—it had been typed up but never saved as a digital file, which means for THIS posting I will be typing it from my file copy, which was written on 8 March 2004. Note that every reference to a “mystic” is referring to Anne Catherine Emmerich; much of the movie was based on "visions" in her "The Dolorous Passion," which included much extra-biblical and unbiblical material.


I was very disappointed with this movie; I don’t understand how people can make a “decision for Christ” by watching it.  The gospel is not in it; there is no discussion as to all of us needing a savior because we are sinners—I guess it is assumed that you know the story.

It is a very Roman Catholic presentation.  I have read much about it and this was the reason I didn’t want to waste my time with it, but I have had several conversations recently where I really couldn’t intelligently discuss what I hadn’t seen. For apologetics purposes I can recommend it as something to be able to discuss why it is a problematic movie.  Otherwise I can’t recommend it.  Here are my thoughts from notes I took (yes, I took notes the whole time).

There was an awful lot of dramatic license, mixing scenes from the Bible, but that is to be expected from Hollywood. The devil in the Garden was all imagination and not found in Scripture.  It is possible this took place, but must we have a feminine Satan? I suppose he did look sexless, even though played by a woman. The guy playing Jesus was just too Aryan, and too nice looking. Jesus was a Jew, and Isaiah tells us He was nothing to look at.

The fight in the garden at the arrest was not biblical. From Scripture it seems only Peter resisted and that was one blow, and Jesus immediately rebuked him. The main problem in the garden is that, when they asked for Jesus and He said, “I am he,” they didn’t fall back and to the ground as Scripture says; this is a very important point to demonstrate who he was! It should not have been omitted.

Jesus’ fall over the bridge was just silly, especially falling next to Judas. This is one of those mystic’s visions.  And the issue of Judas seeing a demon there is really reaching.

The movie has Mary sensing the capture of her son. I don’t think this is at all correct; it would give her omniscience, a la Romanism.

With the flashback to Jesus making the table and his conversation with his mother, we are being really silly. A much more modern idea than I think they would have had. And where is Joseph? As far as we know Joseph should be around with Mary. Once Jesus’ ministry starts we have no mention of Joseph so it is possible he died, but Rome always depicts him as aged at his marriage to Mary so that he dies early in Jesus’ life.  Since the Bible doesn’t say this, I don’t think we should be assuming it.

There is entirely too much beating at the temple; he would have had his jaw broken, cheek bones broken, teeth knocked out, and probably broken ribs and internal injuries. The Bible does not depict this much violence here. This will lead to my major problem with the movie.

Peter and John both call Mary “Mother.”  While John is later told that she is his mother to care for, I seriously doubt that they would be calling her this. However, it fits well with Rome and their view of her as everyone’s mother.

The scene with Judas and the demonic children is just too implausible.  If this was the case, why wouldn’t Scripture tell us this?

Satan is always in the crowd watching. Again, why isn’t this in Scripture?

Why is Mary his only family member watching and following? We know Jesus had siblings (contrary to Romanist dogma); wouldn’t they also have been concerned?

The flogging scene is just ridiculously over-exaggerated. The cat-o’-nine-tails with the stones/bones would do much more damage than they showed for all the flogging they showed; I doubt if anyone could have survived it.  And Jesus gains strength by looking at Mary; is this making her a co-sufferer of the beating?

Another “vision” scene (either a mystic’s or Mel’s) is the women mopping up the blood. Why would they do this, and why would the soldiers allow it?

The soldiers calling Jesus “King of worms” and “wormy king” came from a “vision” of a mystic. The beating here, after such a severe flogging, would have killed him again!

The flashback of Mary Magdalene makes her the woman caught in adultery; where do we find that in Scripture?  Oh, Rome teaches it as “tradition.”

Jesus prays to God and says he (Jesus) is the son of God’s “handmaid.”  This certainly is pointing to Mary as special, leading to Mariology.

Why is Jesus the only one to carry the whole cross while the others carry only a cross-beam?

Veronica and her mopping Jesus’ face, with the impression of his face in blood on her cloth, is from a mystic’s vision.

Where were the garments that were bartered for? Where was the one-piece garment? Wasn’t this an important scene that fulfilled prophecy?

Mary wanting to die with Jesus; would this be true? Or doesn’t this lead to Mary being a co-redeemer/co-mediatrix?

Where were the guys in the crowd who thought Jesus called for Elijah?

So, the thief who is mean to Jesus gets his eyes plucked out?!?!? Where is this in Scripture? Is this another “vision”?

Way too much blood/water from the spear wound—the soldier is showering in it!

My major problem, aside from the Romanist view and additions to Scripture, is that the whole thing of Jesus’ suffering is unbelievable. The initial beatings are not mentioned to that degree in Scripture. Then he is flogged exaggeratedly to where he should have been dead. Now he has lost so much blood that he has to be so weak as to be barely able to stand. Then they hammer in the crown, which has such long spikes they would have pierced his brain. Then they have him drag a cross that is so heavy it takes two able-bodied soldiers to lift. All the while he is dragging the cross he is being beaten and falls often. When he falls, the cross hits him on the head, falls on him, and both times probably would have killed someone in that condition, or at least give them a severe head injury. Then at the scene where Veronica wipes his face, he is again beaten mercilessly.  During all this he is dragging this very heavy cross uphill on a very long trek that an Airborne Ranger would be winded doing, let alone someone who has half his blood missing and, with those types of beatings, probably broken ribs and other bones. The Jesus of this film is a superman to endure all of this, yet the Bible depicts him as a normal human in this regard. Now that he’s made it to the top of the hill and they nail him on, they lift the cross up, turn it over and drop it on him! That would have killed him. Then they turn it over and drop it back down again. This would likely have broken the back of a healthy man, let alone one who had his back flailed with that “cat.” 

The whole thing was just too unbelievable for anyone not biased. This creates a loss of credibility for the story, and I see it as very harmful for trying to get unbelievers to accept it.

The resurrection scene was so brief (12 seconds?) as to not be readily understood by someone not familiar with the story.

My wife’s reaction to the movie was, “Why didn’t they use the Bible more?”

These are reasons I feel the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with this production. Can the movie be used anyway? Yes, God can use anything to His glory.  But we as Christians shouldn’t be praising a movie that takes such liberties with adding to Scripture and given an unbelievable view of the punishment endured.

Some Good Stuff

Since my last “Good, Bad, and Ugly” post I’ve come across quite a few good articles which I feel need to be shared.  Topics vary, but they are all very informative. 

A Warning for ALL Evangelical Churches — Your music isn’t what it should be.

An excellent article for use with debating KJV Onlyers.

What did early Christians believe about hell?

Does the Bible endorse slavery?

Well, I certainly agree with the premise of this article — women should NOT be professors in seminaries, just as they should NOT be leaders in the church assembly.

When it comes to the 10 Commandments, do not live in “Assumption Land” as do the Seventh-day Adventists.

Destiny Destiny No Escaping That's For Me.  Charismania and “destiny” is getting totally out of hand.

Good book review of “False Prophets Among Us: A Critical Analysis of the New Apostolic Reformation.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Real Christians Don’t Advocate for Homosexuality

Christian advocates of homosexual and lesbian revisionism believe in themselves and in the sexual revolution rather than the gospel.  They therefore twist the Scriptures to make reality fit their desires rather than making their desires fit the truths of the Scriptures.  In Soren Kierkegaard’s stinging terms, they are “kissing Judases” who betray Jesus with an interpretation.

Os Guinness, Impossible People, pg.72

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Cost of Public Christianity

Contrast [the] modern casualness with the early church’s deep theology surrounding conversion and especially the costly stress on the public witness of the sacrament of baptism.  This was a direct and deliberate counterpoint to the Roman practice of sacrament.  For the Romans, the sacramentum was far more serious than a normal oath in law court.  It was a solemn vow by which a person gave his or her word before an authority and put his or her life in forfeit as a guarantee of what had been sworn.  Those who had given their sacramentum were then sacer. They were “given to the gods” if they violated their vow. They had given their sacred bond and they were no longer their own. …

For Christians, then, baptism was no casual choice. It was a public vow, a decisive break with the past and a solemn binding oath of allegiance to Jesus, sworn to God and before God—and before their fellow believers and the watching world. This was probably one reason why there were so many deathbed baptisms, such as the Emperor Constantine’s (“I am now numbered among the people of God. . . .  I shall now set out for myself rules of life which befit God”).  People did not wish to die unforgiven, but neither did they wish to commit themselves any earlier than they needed to live under a vow (sacramentum) that was so costly and so binding.  Choice today can always be casual, whereas the covenantal vow of faith is costly because we commit ourselves to Jesus and mortgage our very selves as we do so.  We have chosen, and we are committed.  We have picked up our crosses, and there is no turning back. We are no longer our own.

Os Guinness, Impossible People, pg.70-71

Friday, January 26, 2018

Christian Bookseller, What Is Your Priority — God or Mammon?

When I go into a Barnes & Noble bookstore, I know they will have not only good Christian books, but also books by “Christian” false teachers as well as books about false religions.  BUT, when I go into a “Christian” book store I should be able to be safe from false teachings of every kind because it is a “CHRISTIAN’ store.

However, that’s not how “Christian” books stores work.  The owners and managers of these stores are not concerned as to whether or not the books (and all other media) they sell teach false gospels or abject heresy; all they are concerned about is how much money they are making.

Believe it or not, a book store CAN choose what books to sell. They might not get as many customers if they sell only books by good teachers with solid biblical teachings, but they will be honoring the Lord.  Don’t these sellers have any conscience about what they sell?

Last week I had a Facebook discussion with the owner (?) of a new local “Christian” book store because an advertisement for the store came up on my news feed.  We used to have a couple “Christian” book stores in town, both of which eventually went out of business: one a “Parable” store [run by the manager (or owner) of the new one] and a “Zondervan Family Christian Store.”  I would go to these stores once in a while, but the more I shopped the more irritated I would get seeing all the horrible books being sold: these stores are minefields of false teachings! So I quit shopping at these places because I don’t want my money supporting stores which sell products which lead people into deception and all sorts of bondage to false teachings.

Let me show you the short interchange we had, starting with my first comment when I said why  I wouldn’t shop there:
Notice that his only concern about false teachings was whether or not it was a salvation issue; no concern that the false teachings may only be spiritually dangerous, leading people into bondage to false ideas, etc.  (My comments got pieced because I keep forgetting that “enter” doesn’t take you to the next line, rather it ends the comment.  I could edit, I know, but found it easier to just keep going.)
Notice the response: he’s sorry I “feel that way” rather than feeling convicted of helping enemies of God.  Also note that he only addressed the idea of “charismatics,” which I wasn’t even discussing, as opposed to the “charismaniacs” which I had to define for him (although I’d be surprised if he didn’t already know who that term applied to).

That was the end of the conversation.  He apparently couldn’t refute what I was saying, and he is obviously more concerned about making money than protecting the flock.  And this is a man who, with his previous store, I wrote to explaining why he shouldn’t be carrying the Dake Study Bible, for which I received no response, and noted that he continued carrying it years later.

Seriously, folks, how can a Christian justify making money by selling books by people who are unsound in their teachings, whether it be Word of Faith (many, many of these sold), modalist T.D. Jakes (heresy mated with Word of Faith), the Bethel’s and the Hillsongs, the Beth Moores and the Priscilla Shirers (who claim direct revelation from God for their false teachings), the New Apostolic Reformation false prophets and apostles, the trips to heaven and hell, et al, or even those who teach a false “spiritual warfare” which puts people in spiritual bondage? The list of horrid teachings found in such stores would be very lengthy and yet they are sold because the owner is more interested in money than he is in obeying God.  These booksellers CONTRIBUTE to the enrichment of all these corrupt false teacher; they CONTRIBUTE to the biblical illiteracy of the sheep, they CONTRIBUTE to leading people astray to false teachers, false gospels, and false Christs. 

By the way, the same holds true for Christian Book Distributers (CBD), the catalog and internet supplier of Christian books — I haven’t shopped there either for a long time.

Of course those publishers of these horrid books are also just as guilty of seeking money over protecting the flock.

Buy your books from Barnes & Noble or through Amazon — at least they don’t pretend to be Christian!  I’d like to see every one of these so-called “Christian” book stores go out of business.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Celebrity Shepherds are Wolves

As in the times of the Hebrew prophets, so among Evangelicals today, it is too often the pastors, the shepherds, who are leading the people astray—though celebrity shepherds is surely a contradiction in terms.

Os Guinness, Impossible People, pg.31

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Grave Disappointment

The assembly at which we’ve been attending for the past three years was chosen by us due to what we knew about the Pastor’s teachings and the leadership philosophy.  While the teaching and corporate worship there is usually good, there are times when I can really get irritated.

The first issue is the music leader’s choices of songs.  It was originally looking like we were getting at least 50/50 between old hymns and new songs, but I’m thinking now that we get 25% solid-meat hymns and 75% spiritual junk food.  What is worse is that he chooses too much from Hillsong, totally disregarding what I’ve told him about the origin of this stuff (and we had another one this week). When we are singing the newer stuff, the volume seems be louder and the band provides way too much drum, so that you can barely hear the congregation singing.  When we use the older stuff, the pianist or organist play, with a substantially lower volume, and we can actually hear the congregation singing!!

The second issue came in the form of a sermon this week.  Our Lead Pastor and Youth Pastor are both gone this week so we had a replacement speaker who was already scheduled to talk about the ministry he and his family are about to embark on: church planting in Europe. This couple had their normal ministry time and then he later came up for the sermon.

Ir was the worst exposition of Scripture I’ve ever heard outside of the cults!  The referenced text was Revelation 5; this had been read to the congregation right after the collecting of the offering and before the song before the sermon. 

So, the “preacher” began by saying that John asked who was worthy to open the scroll; which my wife and I immediately recognized as an error because verse 2 plainly states that it was an angel who asked the question, and it was John who wept because no one was worthy.  SO, I began taking some notes, which is something I don’t usually do for sermons.  Throughout his message he continued to say John asked the question!!

This preacher then went on and on about how everyone wants to be worthy of something, that we want to have it all, to be enlightened, but no one is worthy — and he didn’t even say why!!! But he brought in stories from Plato, and books, and lyrics from songs, etc, to demonstrate how everyone wants to be enlightened but no one is ever worthy.

Next, he talked about a movie he had recently watched on Netflix about Benedict Arnold.  He discussed how Arnold was an excellent general who was seeking “it all” and so became a traitor.  He then said that the movie talked about how beautiful his wife was and how Arnold used that to advance in his career.  Well, we all know Hollywood likes to play with history so I had to wonder if they added to the real history that Arnold used his wife for advancement (to be “enlightened”), and I also wondered what this had to do with the Revelation 5 passage!

Then came the preacher’s use of a passage in Ecclesiastes which showed the futility of life; he said Ecclesiastes was “written by Solomon or maybe it was just written about him.”  The man had a question as to whether Solomon was the author of if the book was written by someone else to teach about Solomon! So what other parts of Scripture should we question as regards to authors?!?

More references to movies were made, including the series “Lord of the Rings.” He was discussing Rev. 5:6 and how John said Jesus looked like a lamb who had been slain.  Then he said that, just as at the end of the LOR series Frodo was limping, and that this made him more worthy (worthy of what?), so the disfigurement of Jesus made him more worthy (and he also praised the Catholic doctrine movie “The Passion of the Christ”).  I immediately had the desire to ask, “How could the son of God, God in the flesh, ever be made more worthy?!?!" But I controlled myself.

As the preacher moved to verse 6, he stated that the four living creatures did a “face plant” before Jesus — he didn’t even mention the 24 elders doing the same thing!  But my issue was his flippancy about how they fell down in worship — a “face plant.” He then pointed to other passages in Scripture where people did a “face plant” before God.

The he began to get to the point of his whole sermon: “And they sang a new song.”  It seems the church he wants to plant will be named “New Song” and he based it on this passage. Oh, the eisegesis which followed!  He said that this passage showed that Jesus wanted us to open a scroll and write a new song. Seriously!  I tried to find the passage saying this but couldn’t find it in the Bible, let alone in Revelation.  He also said that the “new song” was because Jesus opened the scroll, but Jesus didn’t open the scroll until the next chapter!  The singing was because Jesus was found to be worthy to open the scroll!

Then there was reference to a Monty Python movie, a movie which he said most of us had probably seen (I didn’t?), but I totally missed his point there because I was taking notes instead of paying attention.  But the next thing I knew was that the preacher said that Jesus told the living creatures to sing, but again I couldn’t find this anywhere in the passage.

This preacher also said that Revelation 5 is saying that God wants a new song!!  He pointed out how God sang in Zephaniah 3:17, and that God’s singing has more of a military flavor, and that God’s song wouldn’t be like a hymn or a modern worship song, rather it would be like “Metallica”!  I found that to be rather blasphemous. The whole theme seemed to be an appeal to emotions, and that we should have a very emotional time singing.

The lesson we were to take away was that we were to open our own scrolls and write a song praising God, and that if we prayed to God, He would guide our hands.

The preacher ended by giving an emotional reading of the lyrics from “Worthy,” a song by his favorite Christian “rap” band, Beautiful Eulogy. (Personally, I think “rap music” is an oxymoron.)

When he stepped down from the pulpit a large percentage of the congregation applauded!!!!!! These people have never applauded the meat from our pastors (no, don’t I think applause is appropriate), yet they applauded the tripe from this man!!!!  Seems to me there were few discerning people in that “audience”! 

All I can say is, if this is the type of stuff he plans on teaching when planting a church, he will end up with a poorly discipled congregation who is all about emotion rather than the meat of the Scripture.

Here is the lesson I want my readers to take away from this article: NEVER accept as true everything taught from the pulpit, just because it is from the pulpit.  Use discernment no matter who is teaching, never turn off your brain just because you are in church.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:
Women are NOT to be preaching to men; i.e., they are not to be leaders in the assembly.

The modern blasphemy of the Holy SpiritClaiming the Holy Spirit is doing what he is not doing.

The Mormons have a new prophet leading the church.  This article gives some good history behind this Mormon tradition. At 93 years old he won’t last long.

A great example as to why we need to know the author and purpose behind the songs sing in church.

The Bad:
A “glory cloud” at Bethel, and a man who is an example of a “charismaniac.”  Believing foolish stuff like this is how people get deceived into cults.

Ever hear of the “Sacred Heart” in Roman Catholicism?  I have, but I never understood the reason behind the term, and never investigated it because I just figured it was more RCC nonsense.  Mary Dalke DID decide to investigate, and I think you’ll find her article to be very interesting.

Here’s an article to keep you up-to-date on the false teachings of Seth Barnes and Adventures In Missions.

More proof that the Pope does not represent Christ.

Some new information (actually old but just brought to light) proving what a horrid false teacher is Shawn Bolz.  Sid Roth is a false teacher, so for Bolz to be on his show to begin with should be enough to raise red flags about Bolz.  The angel Bolz saw was NOT an angel of the Lord.  He seems to have a lot of “visions”—the devil must like him, OR, more likely, Bolz makes up all this nonsense for publicity and attention.

Spiritual danger showing up in 4-H!!

The Ugly:
Heretic Paula White covers her tracks.

I’ve been saying for quite a while now the Michael Brown is dangerous to listen to.  Another example why.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was most likely not a Christian and so should not be praised as such.  He was also a very, very immoral man.

False teacher and “Jezebel” Jory Micah really, really needs to be avoided! (Yet she is another false teacher who Beth Moore promotes!)

Oh my!!!  This conference is nothing less than aberrations and blasphemy.

Cindy Jacobs — run from her as fast as you can. Her psychic ability is “spiritual reading.”

T.D. Jakes says that God needs to hear that you love Him!!

The humorous 
Sad, but humorous.  The result of worshiping “saints.”

Really humorous, although Mormons might be a bit rankled.

I’m not so sure this is really satire rather than factual!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Challenge to the Church

The challenge to the Western church is subtle but unprecedented in its scale, and it must be answered with a courageous no to everything that contradicts the call of our Lord—whatever the cost and whatever the outcome.  Is Jesus Lord, or are the forces of advanced modernity lord? The church that cannot say no to all that contradicts its Lord is a church that is well down the road to cultural defeat and captivity.  But the courage to say no has to be followed by an equally clear, courageous and constructive yes—to the Lord himself, to his gospel and his vision of life, humanity and the future, so that Christians can be seen to live differently and to live better in the world of today.

Os Guinness, Impossible People, pg.21-22