The Beginning of Sorrows

The Beginning of Sorrows

 Matthew 24:1-8

1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows. NKJV

Of all the things Jesus teaches the disciples, and us, in this chapter, His overriding warning is against being deceived. Verses 4, 5, 11, and 24 all include this warning, as follows.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

Matthew 24:5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

Matthew 24:11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

Matthew 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect

Verse 3 makes clear that Jesus had given the disciples enough teaching regarding the end times for them to know the difference between His “Parousia” or coming for the Church, and the “End of the Age.”

So, the three questions of the disciples are:

  1. When will these things be? (What things? The destruction of the Temple).
  2. And what will be the sign of Your coming? (Parousia).
  3. And of the end of the age?

In Matthew 24, Jesus doesn’t answer their first question about the destruction of the Temple because He is dealing with the end of the age when the Jews will turn to Him in faith as a nation. Luke 21:20-24 deals with the destruction of Jerusalem. Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are all apocalypse chapters and while there is a great deal of overlap in teaching, there are also some differences in emphasis and details. The main point of this posting is Jesus’ warning to His people not to be deceived, especially at the “end of the age.”

There is little interest in Bible prophecy or Eschatology in most Church circles these days, and at least some of the blame lies squarely at the feet of those who teach on prophecy. On the one hand, we have people trying to predict the date of the Lord’s return, contrary the Lord’s own words in Scripture (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44, 50; 25;13; Mark 13:32), and trying to play pin the tail on the Antichrist, even though he won’t be revealed until Christians are taken out of the world by the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). On the other hand, there is a new breed of prophecy teachers with a Postmodern worldview who are looking at the merging of man and machine or man and spirit beings, called Transhumanism. This is the flipside of the kook factor in the Bible prophecy movement, and it is gaining ground by leaps and bounds. Popular teachers are embracing it, and it is leading to great deception regarding the potential of humans. However, it’s basic ideas mesh very well with the human potential movement. Basically, it communicates the idea that mankind’s potential is unlimited, and presents an almost evolutionary view of humanity, but this is a deception and a delusion, and may well play a part in leading to what the New Testament calls “the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). At any rate, the study of Bible prophecy is being discredited by those within our own ranks who go beyond Scripture and get into wild speculations, and they don’t admit their speculations (Numbers 22:18; 24:13). Those of us also who are students of prophecy are responsible to expose these false teachings, so that we are not taking part in their unfruitful deeds.

While we all think a lot about the enemies of the Church without, the main emphasis probably should be on the enemies of the Church within. The enemies without have always been savage and persecuting the Church, trying to destroy it, which never succeeds. Today, however, we are facing enemies within the Church, perhaps to an extent not known before because they are accepted as true teachers by so much of the visible Church. This being the case, there is rampant false teaching within the Church, just as we were warned (Acts 20:29; 1 Timothy 4:1).

Yet most pastors are not warning their flocks of false teachers for any number of reasons. Perhaps Pastors and leaders are unaware of the teachings being promoted by so many today. Perhaps there is ignorance of the nature problems on the part of the Pastor or leaders of the Church. Perhaps the Pastor or leaders are not well versed enough in the issues to know how to refute them, so they decide to just be quiet about it, and hope it will blow over. But it almost never does. Another reason is that too often Pastors and leaders unwittingly embrace false teachings because they trust the teacher or author whose work may have been recommended to them by someone they respect.

These Pastors and leaders may be on top of it when it comes to apologetics (defending the faith from outside attacks), but they are not aware of, or willing, to deal with matters that require a polemic response (attacking and refuting false teaching from within the Church). Leaders often prefer to avoid the whole subject and practice of polemics because it is aggressive and controversial on its face. It is the nature of polemics to be controversial and aggressive in attacking error. Unfortunately, this is VERY unpopular today, as we are told never to be aggressive or controversial, and certainly we aren’t supposed to attack anything or anyone as false. However, this isn’t the pattern of the Bible. The New Testament deals forcefully with error and with enemies of the Gospel message within the Church. The Book of Galatians is a prime example. The Churches of Galatia were the only Churches Paul gave no thanks for, and because of his love and concern for them, he rips them to shreds verbally for relying on works added to faith for salvation. The Book of Galatians is not a nice or gentle book. It is angry, confrontational, and even condemning of the people teaching errors that are leading the believers away from faith in Jesus Christ. Paul even says, “Let them be damned” (Galatians 1:8-9). The Greek word is anathema, meaning cursed or damned. Strong language to be sure. However, Paul was afraid the Galatians had departed the faith and gone back under the Law, which no one can keep.

In conclusion, let us be watchful not to be deceived by anything or anyone in this last time, especially as it pertains to our faith in Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him and His Body, the Church. Anything you read or watch, do it as a good Berean (Acts 17), with a discerning eye and an open Bible you are searching daily to know whether what someone is saying is true. The Bible is the authority.

P.S. I am including a chart that presents one possible scenario of the time leading up to the Great Tribulation period and beyond into the New Heavens and New Earth.

 

revelation-timeline-chart-with-covenant

 

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Bible Translation Perversions

Bible Translation Perversions

In my last post I mentioned that Jesus’ most emphatic warning to His church regarding the last days was against deception. I mentioned that in His last lengthy discourse of Matthew 24-25, being on guard against deception was the primary emphasis—giving that warning no less than 4 times in that passage.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. NKJV

Matthew 24:5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. NKJV

Matthew 24:11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. NKJV

Matthew 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. NKJV

I discussed a number of issues in that article, but the issue that seems to have raised the most attention is my criticism of two newer “translations,” The Message and The Voice, which are demonstrably perverted for a New Age purpose. Since it caused concern for some folks, I decided to give some further demonstration of the problems with these products. For the sake of brevity and because it seems ironically proper, I will from here on in this article refer to The Message as MSG and The Voice as TV.

Lest someone accuse me of being a KJV Onlyist, or something, I wish to add that I worked on a multi-volume Old Testament Study Bible, Translation, Commentary, and Lexicon set for over 6 years. Also, my personal favorite English translation remains the New American Standard (NASB), even though I wish they had not relied on the critical text, which relies on the work of Westcott and Hort, and the texts of Codex Sinaiticus and. Codex Vaticanus. Both of which are corrupted texts with thousands of changes that do not even agree with each other. Yet the NASB remains an excellent translation of the Greek text used for the New Testament. The textual issues causing all the problems are almost exclusively related to the New Testament. There are other adequate, even good, English translations, as well. The English Standard Version (ESV) is very popular and quite accurate too. The 1984 New International Version (NIV) was good, so far as thought for thought (dynamic equivalence) translations go, but the new edition of the NIV and a host of others have gone with a gender neutral translation, which cannot be done with losing or changing the meaning of the biblical text. The New Living Translation is not among my favorites, but it isn’t going to spiritually derail someone. I even sort of like the old Living Bible Paraphrase as just a reading Bible for children and those new to the faith, although it is much better in the Old Testament than in the New. The real downside is that you don’t know which English word comes from which Hebrew or Greek work, so it is useless as a study Bible.

So now let me get to the matter at hand. I will repeat some of my material and add new examples that seems fitting to make the point that too many people in the church today don’t see the problems with their favorite translations because they are ignorant of the issues in Bible translation. Worse yet, they are ignorant of the biblical text as a whole.

In what is commonly called the Lord’s prayer, there is a major problem in The Message. First, I will quote the New King James Version of the Matthew 6:8-15 passage. In the formatted version, which I will post as a separate file I will put some other examples side by side for the reader to examine.

Matthew 6:8-15

8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

NKJV

To read the rest of this article in its formatted form click here or below.

2016-04-16 Perverting The Bible

 

 

Everyone Wants to Experience God

Everyone Wants to Experience God

Today we hear people, Christians and non-Christians alike, talk about “experiencing God.” Most of them are not, however, looking to experience the God of the Bible. Rather they are looking to experience a God that fits their ideas, desires, and spiritual ignorance. How do I know this is so? Because they are looking everywhere and in everything to “experience God,” except in His Word—the Bible.

Right now, I’m about to anger a bunch of my Christian friends by saying this: “If you find God somewhere other than in the Bible or through a biblically prescribed method of seeking Him, you ARE NOT experiencing the TRUE GOD. You will experience a god made up in your own mind and after your own image, but it won’t be the God, or Jesus Christ, of the Bible.

Today we have heretics, apostates, and outright liars telling everyone that all religions worship the same [G]god. Anyone who says that is a damned liar, and they are leading millions of souls to eternal damnation. This is so no matter how high their station in life may be in the worldly realm of religion, politics, business, education, or whatever.

The last lengthy discourse of Jesus recorded in Matthew 24-25 warns of many things in the last days, but of all the things He warned against, He warned us not to be deceived the most—4 times in that passage.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. NKJV

Matthew 24:5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. NKJV

Matthew 24:11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. NKJV

Matthew 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. NKJV

This is one way we can tell, at least for those who are paying attention, that we are in the last of the last days. Deceivers in the church are a dime a dozen. In fact, I will repeat what I have said before, that the two most dangerous places for a Christian to be are in a Christian bookstore (or the religious section of a secular bookstore), or listening to a television tuned to a so-called “Christian” station. With so many warnings in such a short span of Scripture, wouldn’t it make sense that deception of the believers in the last days is a real possibility, even a probability? I think yes! Yet most of the popular speakers and authors in Christianity today are doing just that—deceiving the Church of Jesus Christ.

The Evangelical church should now be renamed the “Evangullible” church because so many are deceived, and many seemingly are willingly deceived. Jeremiah 5:30-31 says, “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” NKJV Furthermore, why are so many teachers using “translations” like The Message and The Voice, which are demonstrably perverted for a New Age purpose.

In what is commonly called the Lord’s prayer, there is a major problem in The Message. First, I will quote the New King James Version of the Matthew 6:8-15 passage.

Matthew 6:8-15

8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

NKJV

Now here is Matthew 6:8-15 from The Message.

Matthew 6:8-15

8 Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. 9 With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,

Reveal who you are.

10 Set the world right;

Do what’s best —

as above, so below.

11 Keep us alive with three square meals.

12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

14 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. 15 If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

Do you notice any peculiar phraseology in this passage? You should. The worst of it is the phrase, “As above, so below.” This is a widely known and used incantation among, witches, Satanists, occultists, and New Agers alike. Just Google the phrase “As above, so below meaning”, and see what results the search yields you. Here are some of the results I got just typing it in different ways.

https://www.google.com/search?biw=964&bih=603&q=as+above+so+below+meaning&revid=608550214&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqvMflyIXMAhVExWMKHSMVCGsQ1QIIZSgA

https://www.google.com/search?biw=964&bih=603&q=as+above+so+below+satanic+meaning&revid=616246549&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKobD8yIXMAhUC3mMKHVIOBWIQ1QIIkQEoBg

https://www.google.com/search?biw=964&bih=603&q=as+above+so+below+meaning+baphomet&revid=616246549&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKobD8yIXMAhUC3mMKHVIOBWIQ1QIIjgEoAw

The origin of this saying is attributed to a man named Hermes Trismegistus. Various sources confirm this, although I cannot advise one to go to the following websites, I include them here for the strong believer to simply confirm that I’m not making this up.

The Hermetik Library of Hermetik International. (http://www.hermetik-international.com/en/media-library/)

The Hermetic Library. (http://hermetic.com/)

The Hermetics Resource Site. (http://www.hermetics.org/)

The Corpus Hermeticum at The Alchemy Web Site. (http://www.levity.com/alchemy/corpherm.html)

You can also find an introduction to Hermeticism at Wikipedia, although I have an inherent distrust of the website as a whole. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism)

This is just one problem with this purported “Bible.” There are many others that in their own way are just as bad. For instance,

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. NKJV

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

As you can see, what Eugene Peterson has done with the text bears no resemblance to what is actually in the biblical text at all. It’s just his idea thrown in. And is God present just in all believers, or is He present in all, as

The Message says. That would be the teaching of Panentheism, that God is present in all. Whereas, Pantheism teaches that everything is God. Either way, it’s a problem.

I trust no teacher, preacher, or author who uses The Message and The Voice because they are misled, or misleading the flock of God. There are too many good, legitimate translations on the market to use such rubbish, and call it a “Bible translation.” Even good teachers like Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, and John Bevere, who have done much good in and for the Christian church are using these now, and they are undermining their ministries in the eyes of anyone who knows anything about Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Bible translation, or sound biblical theology. Of course, no one who knows anything about the Bible should trust Rick Warren because he quoted a New Age proponent by the name of Dr. Bernie Siegel in his book, Purpose Driven Life. On page 31, Warren introduces the idea of hope with the following statement.

“Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, ‘Do you want to live to be one hundred?’ Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having a purpose.”

Yet Warren never warns his readers that Dr. Bernie Siegel, while perhaps being a fine doctor, is also a major New Age leader, and has great influence as a spiritual leader. In fact, Warren Smith tells us that Dr. Bernie Siegel has a spirit-guide named George. That’s a familiar spirit, a demon (Smith, Warren, “A Wonderful Deception: The Further New Age Implications of the Emerging/Purpose Driven Movement. Lighthouse Trails Publishing. Eureka, Montana. 2009. 1st edition. 3rd printing 2010. pg. 16).

In fact, the “translation” being called The Voice is a handbook for New Age spirituality, the radical environmental movement, and other far left ideas well outside the mainstream of biblical Christianity. Some of those involved with it are Brian McLaren, Chris Seay, and David B. Capes.

One problematic example from The Voice is found in 2 Peter 3:18. Where the New King James Version says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” NKJV However, The Voice reads, “Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen. (VOICE). Now you can do all the double talking you want, but those two translations are nowhere near the same, nor do they convey anywhere near the same meaning and intent. Until the coming of the NEW AGE? So I guess His glory ceases at a point in time. Until the coming of the NEW AGE is not the same as both now and forever. Forever means forever, and not until the coming of some new age.

In context here’s how they both read.

2 Peter 3:14-18

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. NKJV

2 Peter 3:14-18

14 So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish; 15 and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation. Our dearly loved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written about this. 16 He says essentially the same in all of his letters, although uneducated and unstable readers misinterpret the difficult passages, just as they always misread Scripture, to their spiritual ruin.

17 So hear my final words, my friends. Now that I have warned you about what’s ahead, keep up your guard and don’t let unprincipled people pull you away from the sure ground of the truth with their lies and misunderstandings. 18 Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen. (VOICE)

The Greek text of that phrase from 2 Peter 3:18 literally reads, “Into [the] day age.” A phrase that means eternity or forever.

It’s time we start watching and listening more closely to those who are teaching us. I will borrow and altar a phrase from the old Arthur Conan Doyle character Sherlock Holmes. Deception is afoot. It’s time for those who sit in the pews of the churches to once again become Bereans who search the Scriptures daily to see whether the things we’re being told are really so (Acts 17:11). Because a lot of what the church is being fed these days just ain’t so! Pardon the grammar, but the point is correct. Another good analogy is that we need to be like Ezekiel’s watchman on the wall, and sound the alarm of impending danger (Ezekiel 33:1-9). Yes, warn the wicked, but warn the church too because the wicked have crept in and gained powerful positions of influence and authority.

So, in conclusion, if you want to experience the God of the Bible, then open the Bible and read and study it on a daily basis. Pray daily, and seek Him according to what His Word says. Worship Him in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and have regular fellowship with other believers in Jesus Christ.

From one sheep to other sheep to be on the watch for the wolves, for there are many.

 

Here is a fully formatted version of this post in pdf format.

2016-04-10 Everyone Wants To Experience God

Biblical Theology or Experiential Theology?

Biblical Theology or Experiential Theology?

(Revised 11-10-2015)

This is going to be a very long post, but the things that must be said cannot be said quickly. So clean your eyeglasses, put some liquid tears in your eyes, get a large insulated mug of coffee, and get ready for the long haul.

Before I begin my discussion of “Experiential Theology” let me affirm that I believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit set forth in the Scriptures, especially in Acts and 1 Corinthians. I am thoroughly Pentecostal, but I believe we should avoid going beyond what the Bible says about these things, as this always puts us on shaky ground. Some of those calling themselves Charismatic or Pentecostal these days are just hyper-emotional spiritual thrill seekers. I will even say that some of them are outright charlatans or kooks. The Bible teaches balance and propriety. With that said, let me address the issue at hand.

Too many so-called Christians are now focused on their “experiences” with God as more authoritative than the Scriptures themselves. “Experiential Theology” is rapidly becoming the new norm in the church, and biblical theology is being downplayed or mocked outright. I hear frequent arguments from the Postmodern Emerging Church and Purpose Driven types that you can’t let the Bible determine your theology or your understanding of the world around you. They assert that you cannot read and study the Scriptures to learn truth. Instead, you must “experience” truth for it to be valid or relevant. (“Relevant”: If there is a more overused word in the English language, perhaps other than “gay”, and whose meaning has become more bastardized, I can’t think of it). However, the Apostle Peter refutes this nonsense. Even speaking of the Mount of Transfiguration “experience” he says,

Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:15-21).

Peter says the Scriptures are more certain than his experience on that mountain. Emotions, attitudes, health, environment and surroundings, and a host of other things can influence experiences. However, the Scriptures do not change because of those things. The Scriptures are unchanging, and God is unchanging. Yet modern “translations” (which aren’t even legitimate paraphrases) of the Bible like The Voice and The Message have taken liberties with the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts that even the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t dare consider.

Those who insist on keeping the Scripture as our unchanging standard for everything are mocked as intellectual eggheads. It is stressed that you do not love, worship or serve God if you defer to the Scriptures as your infallible guide. However, the Bible says that we are to love the Lord with our whole being, including the mind (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). Call me old fashioned, but the written Word of God trumps the notions of those who place their mind over the Bible, rather than under it.

Even some ministers who have been accepted into mainstream Evangelical and Pentecostal circles have grossly aberrant theology, such as Oneness Pentecostal Tommy Tenney. He supports the idea that the Bible is where God has been, but He is somewhere else now. Ridiculous! In his book The God Chasers, Tenney says,

The difference between the truth of God and revelation is very simple. Truth is where God’s been. Revelation is where God is. Truth is God’s tracks. It’s His trail, His path, but it leads to what? It leads to Him. Perhaps the masses of people are happy to know where God’s been, but true God chasers are not content just to study God’s trail, His truths; they want to know Him. They want to know where He is and what He’s doing right now.”

TOMMY TENNEY, The God Chasers

So I would ask mister Tenney and others like him just how it is that we can truly know God apart from what He has revealed of Himself as recorded in the Holy Bible? Any knowledge we have of God must agree with what He has already revealed in the Scriptures. Let me be politically incorrect and say that Tenney and those who agree with him are heretics in the strictest and most literal sense.

There is now a whole group of people in the church, led by former Fuller Seminary professor and author C. Peter Wagner, who think they are 21st century apostles, and that we are seeing a new apostolic reformation. What we are really seeing is the wholesale desertion of the church from sound doctrine and the biblical faith once delivered to the saints, and a clinging to ungodly men with ungodly ideas posing as Christian leaders (Jude 3,4).

We are told that doctrine doesn’t matter, and we should just focus on Jesus Christ. But you cannot even mention the name of Jesus Christ without getting into doctrine. For example, which Jesus are you talking about? Is it the Jesus of the Mormon cult who is the half brother of Satan? Is it the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who Michael the Archangel? Is it the Jesus of Islam who is the son of Mary and simply a prophet, but not God in the flesh? Is it the Jesus of Roman Catholicism who still hangs on the cross, who must be resacrificed continually, and is embodied in a wafer kept in a tabernacle called a Monstrance? Or is it the Jesus Christ of the Bible who is fully God and fully man—the eternal Son of God who at a point in time became a man to set us free from sin? You see, doctrine matters!

We have plenty of Scriptures that speak of the importance of sound doctrine, and we would do well to once again begin to heed them before the deception goes any further.

Proverbs 4:2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. NKJV

Jeremiah 10:8 But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine. NKJV

John 7:16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

17 “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. NKJV

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. NKJV

Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. NKJV

Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. NKJV

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,

7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed [anathema=condemned, damned].

9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed [anathema=condemned, damned].

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. NKJV

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —

16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. NKJV

1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia — remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. NKJV

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. NKJV

1 Timothy 4:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.

7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. NKJV

1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.

16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. NKJV

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. NKJV

1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. NKJV

1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,

4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,

5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. NKJV

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. NKJV

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. NKJV

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,

9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. NKJV

Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:

2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;

3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things —

4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. NKJV

Titus 2:6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded,

7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,

8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. NKJV

2 John 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;

11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. NKJV

Revelation 2:12 ” And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘ These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

14 “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

15 “Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

16 ‘Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

18 ” And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘ These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:

19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

20 “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

21 “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.

22 “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

23 “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.

25 “But hold fast what you have till I come.

26 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father;

28 “and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘ NKJV

Looks like doctrine, sound teaching, and a proper understanding of what is The Gospel is important after all. I guess we must take the Word of God over the nonsensical notions of men.

It was “Experiential Theology” that destroyed the Quaker and Shaker movements. It has been destroying the extreme Charismatic movement for at least two decades. Now it is eroding the sure foundation of more conservative Pentecostal and Evangelical churches as well. This seems like a good time to repeat the question of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “I say to you, that He will execute the justice to them quickly; but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the faith upon the earth?” (Luke 18:8) YLT (Yes the definite article is in the Greek text when Jesus asks, “Shall he find the faith upon the earth?”). We hear a lot of talk about faith these days, but we must ask, “Is it the faith of the Bible?” (Jude 3)

The latest thing to really make a long-lasting sweep through the church under guise of a “devotional” is a book by Sarah Young, titled Jesus Calling, a book that has been on the market since 2004 and keeps gaining steam. Allow me to say that I know nothing personally about Sarah Young, other than she and her husband have been missionaries to Japan, and she seems like a nice lady. However, that doesn’t matter when talking of one’s theology. I can think of several seemingly nice men and women these days who are leading the church astray, going off into mysticism and all manner of extra-biblical and even anti-biblical revelations and teachings.

I used to ask if anyone knew someone who was reading, or had read, Jesus Calling or had a Jesus Calling Bible. Now I ask if someone doesn’t know anyone who is reading, or has read, Jesus Calling or has a Jesus Calling Bible. Rarely do I come across a professing Christian these days who has not either read Jesus Calling or owns more than one Jesus Calling product (Bibles, etc.). In fact, I overheard a young lady at my own church recently gushing about what a blessing Jesus Calling had been to her. I cringed, and it was all I could do to bite my tongue keep from blurting out the dangers of this occult-inspired book. However, realizing that since this young lady doesn’t know me, that would have probably done little good in that particular moment.

Due to the expressed concerns of some Christians, Sarah Young’s publisher, Thomas Nelson, has taken to making serious edits (make that re-writes) to the book. In fact, author Warren B. Smith calls it “whitewashing the red flags about Jesus Calling” and “damage control for a false Christ”. I will give a few examples by Warren Smith of that which I speak, but these edits cannot change the sources from which Sarah Young herself claimed she received the book.

So allow me to share some of these examples from an article titled, Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ, by Warren B. Smith.

In his article, which can be accessed at http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/changing-jesus-calling-damage-control-false-christ/, Smith points out the following:

  1. Jesus Calling was inspired by a book called God Calling, which was written in the 1930’s by two ladies who claimed the book was dictated by Jesus Christ Himself. That book was, and is, a mainstay in New Age circles. That claim by Sarah Young has been removed from the new edition.
  2. Sarah Young originally wrote that she received messages directly from Jesus Himself. That claim has now been revised.
  3. Sarah Young’s Jesus contradicts the Jesus of the Bible. In fact, Young claims 250 of these devotionals are messages directly from Jesus Himself. Smith writes, “In two separate messages, Sarah Young was told by her “Jesus” that the last words he spoke after his resurrection and before ascending into heaven were “I am with you always.” But this statement made by the true Jesus Christ on the Mount of Galilee were not His last words before ascending into heaven. His last words were spoken from the Mount of Olives as recorded in Acts 1:7-9, 12. The two “messages” Sarah Young received from her “Jesus” contradict the words of the true Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible. What her “Jesus” said was totally unbiblical”.

[Smith shows] January 28th Original Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.
These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.18 (bold added)”

[Then Smith shows] January 28th Replacement Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.
  I spoke these words to My disciples after My resurrection. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.19 (bold added)”

[Smith shows] October 15th Original Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection.
My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.20 (bold added)”

[Then Smith shows] October 15th Replacement Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection.
After My resurrection, I assured My followers: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.21 (bold added)”

  1. Sarah Young’s Jesus claimed that Abraham was guilty of “idolatry” and “son-worship”. Smith writes, “Sarah Young’s ‘Jesus’ said that Abraham was a man of ‘undisciplined emotions’ and was guilty of ‘son-worship’ and ‘idolatry’”.

[Smith notes] August 23rd “Message” in the Original Edition
ENTRUST YOUR LOVED ONES TO ME; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one—as well as yourself.
Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac. I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father’s undisciplined emotions. I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love.23 (bold added and signifies material that was deleted)”

[Then Smith notes re-write] August 23rd Replacement Message
ENTRUST YOUR LOVED ONES TO ME; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one—as well as yourself.
Joseph and his father, Jacob, suffered terribly because Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons and treated him with special favor. So Joseph’s brothers hated him and plotted against him. Ultimately, I used that situation for good, but both father and son had to endure years of suffering and separation from one another.

I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love, so beware of making a beloved child your idol.24 (bold added and signifies material that was added)”

  1. Sarah Young has Jesus complaining about the night of his birth. Smith states, “The ‘Jesus’ of Jesus Calling said he was born ‘under appalling conditions’ in a ‘filthy stable’ and that the night of his birth ‘was a dark night’ for him. To many readers, this did not sound like the voice of their Savior—it sounded like the voice of a stranger (John 10:5) and that Satan—not Jesus—would be the one describing the night of Jesus’ birth as ‘that dark night for Me’”.

Now I would add that the human reality is that the place of Jesus birth, being a stable, could be accurately described as a stink hole. However, we never hear Jesus complain of the conditions into which He was born. In fact, as we read Luke 2:1-20, it sounds like an absolutely glorious and joyful occasion. Furthermore, Mathew’s account tells us, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (1:23) That sounds pretty fantastic to me—God with us! Praise the Lord! Furthermore, the Bible tells us that Jesus came to earth and did all the things He did, including going to the cross, willingly (Matthew 10:45; John 10:17-18; 1 John 3:8).

[Smith shows] December 25th Sentence in the Original Edition  
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions
—a filthy stable. That was a dark night for Me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.25 (bold added to highlight what was deleted)

[Then Smith shows] December 25th Replacement Sentence
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable.
There was nothing glorious about that setting, though angels lit up the sky proclaiming, “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.26 (bold added to highlight what was added)

So if anyone reading this post knows someone involved with the writings of false teachers, especially books like Jesus Calling, please give them a copy of this article, refer them to my blog Fighting the Wolves (https://fightingthewolves.wordpress.com/), or refer them to one of the following links on the dangers of Jesus Calling (http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/changing-jesus-calling-damage-control-false-christ/, http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/01/is-jesus-calling-in-your-library/, http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2011/10/jesus-calling-devotional-bible.html, http://steakandabible.com/2012/07/04/is-deception-calling-a-review-of-jesus-calling-by-sarah-young/, http://www.searchthescriptures.org/blog/jesus-calling-an-innovative-way-to-sense-god-or-a-dangerous-practice, http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/is-hit-book-jesus-calling-pushing-new-age/, http://www.cicministry.org/commentary/issue125.htm).

Of serious noteworthiness is a new article published by Tim Challies, published today November 11, 2015, and titled, 10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling, which can be found at http://www.challies.com/articles/10-serious-problems-with-jesus-calling.

It’s time for us to get back to sound doctrine, exposing those evil workers who are teaching falsehoods. But I realize this puts me (or anyone else who dares to speak out) in danger of being called uncooperative, angry, rigid, and maybe even dangerous. Maybe I am, but I also think there are things no child of God, especially a minister, should agree to.

It’s way past time to return to the Bible as our ground of being and basis for Christian life and practice and our rule for theology—the study of God. We must also insist that all experiences people claim to have had with God must agree with, or at least not disagree with, the Bible.

Distractions to the Gospel

Distractions to the Gospel

Today Christians, and those professing to be “Christ-followers,” are forsaking the preaching of THE GOSPEL and the teaching of THE SCRIPTURES for things that make them “feel better about themselves.” I will readily agree that we need to be concerned about the many needs that affect people in our world and willing to do our part to help in those areas. However, we also face the very real danger of making too many of these things, even though they may be noble things, the main things, rather than secondary things we do in order to get THE GOSPEL to people. For example, if a person is hungry, you may have to feed them or even make long-term provision for feeding them in order to reach them with THE GOSPEL, but don’t feed them without giving them THE GOSPEL. If you do, then you’re just sending them to hell on a full stomach. The main thing is not that they are hungry. The main thing is their need for the Living Bread of THE GOSPEL, so they can be in eternal fellowship with the Living God Who created them. So let’s look at some of these distractions so pervasive in hindering our focus on and the spread of THE GOSPEL in the early part of the 21st Century.

ECUMENISM

People love to point out that Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17 that His people would be one (vv. 11; 21-23). This is true. But it is unity in the truth (John 17:17, 19). There can be no unity that is not found in the truth of Scripture.

Furthermore, the unity Jesus prayed for is a spiritual unity, rather an organizational unity, as is clear from the whole context of John 17, as well as from the specific word of Jesus’ prayer.

Not only can we not find unity with the systems of 7th Day Adventism, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, or the Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses), we most certainly cannot unite with the systems or the people of religions outside of any semblance of Christianity, such as Islam or Hinduism. Yet teachers like Rick Warren, Tony Campolo, Jim Wallace, and others are promoting the idea of Christians uniting with all sorts of groups, including homosexuals and Muslims, to promote religious unity and social change. These teachers should consider the words of 2 Corinthians 6:15, “And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?”

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM

Another distraction from THE GOSPEL is environmental activism. While we should try to be good stewards of our environment, many of the so-called “earth-care” or “creation-care” groups feature only a thin veneer of Christian (or pseudo-Christian) spirituality over their nature worshiping, pantheistic, or panentheistic worldview. They view the earth as our “mother,” which is a totally pagan idea, and not a biblical one. The earth is not our “mother” and time is not our “father.” See Links below for more information.

I like clean air and water as much as anyone else, and I want the same for my extended family, friends, and neighbors. However, I’m not nearly so concerned about a cow crapping in an Ozarks stream as I am about nuclear and other toxic waste being pumped into food and other products that we purchase from places like China. Yet all the activists seem unconcerned about the worst pollution and the worst polluters in the world. I hear nothing of the pollution in India, China, Cuba, Pakistan, and other Communist or Islamic countries. Instead, they seem intent on destroying the American economy, the American way of life, and America itself.

Furthermore, if these folks think mankind is messing up the earth, then they should take a look at what God Himself does to the earth and the heavens in judgment for mankind’s sin during the Great Tribulation Period (Revelation 6-19).

SOCIAL ACTIVISM

Social activism takes many forms, and I won’t try to cover all of them here. But I do want to address a few of the most prominent “social” concerns being circulated in the American church today.

Social Justice

Social justice is a term used, even by well-meaning Christians, that primarily deals with using the government to steal money and property from those who have earned it, to give it to those who didn’t earn it. Instead of these folks giving to others out of their pockets, they stick their hand in someone else’s pocket to give to others. To be more precise, they use government to put a gun to the head of those who have, in order to steal their money and give it to those who do not have. In its most virulent form, it is called Marxist-Communism, and in its more unobjectionable form, it is called Socialism or Fabian Socialism. It’s still stealing, and it’s still evil. So why are Christians buying into the lie that justice must come in the form of Socialism? Socialism is not just; it is unjust on its face. In fact, there is coming a time when the whole world will be under the control of a world government, and one will only be able to buy or sell by pledging total allegiance to that system (Revelation 13).

Pro-Life Movement

I’m all for doing what we can to stop abortion, but the reality is that we will not stop it at this point in time by laws. The country and the church are too far from God for that. But we can stop abortion one person at a time by leading people to repentant faith in Jesus Christ. When people really come to faith in Jesus Christ, they will stop practicing those things the Bible calls sexual sin, which is sex outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. In fact, we can know that abortion and other forms of murder won’t stop because it is one of the things listed in Revelation 9:21 for which people in the Great Tribulation Period will not repent.

Stop Human Trafficking

Human trafficking too is a great evil, whether for purposes of sex slavery, or any other kind of slavery. However, I don’t usually hear the folks protesting human trafficking or slavery mentioning the African countries governed by Arab Muslims where this is prevalent and even legal. Even Saudi Arabia is a nation of slavery, although it’s behind the tent coverings of the royal family. Human trafficking too is a practice that will continue into the Great Tribulation Period (Revelation 18:13). What’s the best way to stop a person from being involved in this evil practice, either on the buying or the selling end of things? Give them THE GOSPEL of repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ!

War On Drugs

As a former drug and alcohol abuser myself, I am radically opposed to the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of all drugs and alcohol. In fact, I’ve been a teetotaler for almost 35 years, and I’m fine with that. But the use or abuse of drugs too is one of the sins mentioned in Revelation 9:21 as continuing into the Great Tribulation Period. It is usually translated as “sorceries,” “magic arts,” or sometimes even “witchcrafts.” The Greek word is pharmakeia, from which we get words like pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, and pharmacist. It refers to the practice of using potions or drugs to control someone, and in essence casting a spell on them. Biblically, the use of mind-altering drugs for that purpose is the practice of witchcraft, even without any of the other trappings of what we commonly think of as witchcraft.

Again, the best way to get a person away from this practice is to give them THE GOSPEL of repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ. When people truly commit themselves to Jesus Christ, they will leave the practice of sin behind. While they will still sin, it will not be the practice of one’s life, or the motivation for one’s living.

CONCLUSION

So what should concerned Christians do about these things? Should we stop being concerned for the poor, oppressed, oppressors, sick, and so forth? No! Absolutely not! Yet it isn’t that important how it makes us feel to do something good for someone else. It is about helping that soul in need and glorifying the True and Living God in the process.

We must remember that all the things we tend to focus on, such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, murder, gossip, stealing, cheating, lying, abuse, disease, poverty, drunkenness, drugs, and so on, are not THE PROBLEM.

These are SYMPTOMS of THE PROBLEM.

THE PROBLEM is SIN, which can only be dealt with by THE GOSPEL of repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ.

If we focus on giving THE GOSPEL of repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ to others, then giving the cup of cold water or doing any other good work will accomplish the purpose of ministering to the physical needs at hand and glorifying God in the process.

 

11-05-08 The Earth Is Not Our Mother

11-06-19 Time Is Not Our Father

11-06-19 Time Is Not Our Father-powerpoint

What Are They (er, ah, We) Thinking? Part 3

What Are They (er, ah, We) Thinking? Part 3

This post was edited for spelling, grammar, and extra content on 05-28-2015.

So the world’s Pentecostal leaders met in Jerusalem for what was billed as “Global Congress Jerusalem 2015” during Pentecost Week, which began on May 20th and ran through May 25th.

Although the Assemblies of God has officially opposed the Positive Confession movement (also known as Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel, etc.), our General Superintendent George O. Wood has seen fit to be the co-chair of the Empowered 21 movement, which has as fellow members and leaders some of the worst Word of Faith (hyper-faith) proponents on the planet, including Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Brian Houston, Cindy Jacobs, and Bill Johnson. I ask you, are we so desperate in the Assemblies of God to be accepted by the religious globalists that we are now willing to compromise on anything to get invited to the party? I noticed that Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison is also a member of Empowered 21.

However, the Empowered 21 movement is just the tip of the iceberg. When one considers how the Purpose Driven heresy, the seeker driven heresy, and the postmodern Emerging Church heresy have invaded and infected the church, including the Assemblies of God, one sees we are well on the way to the last days apostasy predicted in the Bible (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 5-23).

Of course, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by all this when we consider that George Wood is a good friend of Rick Warren, and Warren will compromise with anything and anyone to be part of the party, and the evidence for that is so widespread that one can simply Google it, or look on You Tube to find his compromises. Yet, when you try to show our leaders the problematic or outright heretical teachings of the popular pastors, authors, ministers, and conference speakers these days, you are labeled as “negative”, “troublemaker”, or “divisive”. You can give them the evidence, but they probably won’t even look at it. Just as often, when you try to give them the evidence in person they will refuse to even take the evidence to look at it. They are willfully ignorant. I know this for a fact because I have sent evidence to leaders, which they never looked at, and I have tried to directly hand the evidence to leaders who refused to take the CD on which I had the evidence. This seems to be a widespread spiritual disease afflicting the church, especially the so-called church leaders, these days.

So what has happened to teaching and preaching sound doctrine? It has been thrown out the window in favor of scratching itching ears, and soothed ears give more money and bring in others who need their itching ears scratched, and they likewise will give more money. And the cycle goes on and on ad infinitum ad nauseum. This is the Laodicea mindset. Laodicea means “people justice” or “people judgment”, but today we would say “people opinion” or “human opinion”. And that’s where we are. We are doing the work of the Lord according to human opinions.

Instead of teaching sound doctrine, pastors and other leaders are giving the church their ideas called “vision casting”. Fortunately, the pastor of the church I attend doesn’t do this. While I’m sure my pastor and church leaders have goals for the work of the Lord, they aren’t consumed with their own ideas in lieu of God’s Word. I know the Bible says that where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). But that refers to prophetic revelation. If people today want a prophetic revelation, they should read the Bible. As a Pentecostal, I believe in the gifts of prophecy, tongues and interpretation, words of knowledge and wisdom. However, those things are used to confirm some biblical truth to us for a specific time and situation. They are not NEW REVELATIONS. Anyone claiming to receive new revelations is either a kook or a false prophet. And there are a lot of those these days. Just turn TBN, Daystar, or GOD-TV (more like Godless TV). I would like for someone to show me the practice of “vision casting” from the Bible. I’ve looked and it isn’t there. The vision and mission of the church is the Great Commission. Seeking the Lord for how He wants us to accomplish our part in that is one thing, but “vision casting” for new ideas, practices, and mandates is quite another.

I know, and I teach, that we are supposed to respect our leaders, but it is hard to respect leaders who display this kind of outright corruption. That’s what it is: Corruption. Our first loyalty is to Jesus Christ, and not to earthly leaders, whether spiritual or political. We can only be loyal to earthly leaders as they are loyal to the teachings of the Bible. The prophets and the apostles spoke out against the corrupt leaders in their day, so where are the influential prophetic voices condemning this corruption in our day?

It is my conviction that unless there are enough ministers who will take a stand for truth at the 2015 General Council in Orlando, Florida this summer to reel in these out of control leaders, that the Assemblies of God will be permanently set on a path toward blatant liberalism and apostasy. We already see this liberalism and apostasy right in Springfield, Missouri, the hometown of the Assemblies of God. Our leaders are not unaware of this. In fact, I have heard them laud these liberal A/G churches and their pastors.

At this rate, our numbers may increase, but that does not mean we will have an increase in real Christian believers and disciples. When people are given spiritual pablum about how wonderful they are, or what champions they are, they are not brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ. They are being sent to destruction with a positive outlook. The pastor who would do this kind of thing is not a real pastor (shepherd). He is either a hireling or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. God will judge that.

Finally, instead of the stupid “Soar” campaign slogan they have chosen for this year’s General Council meeting, they should try something more “relevant” to the time, such as “REPENT and MOURN”. Unless we repent of our sin and compromise, God will not continue to bless us. Instead, He will write ICHABOD over our doors. Honestly, I am not encouraged that things will move in the right direction this summer, but I pray it will nonetheless.

Have a blessed day in the Lord Jesus Christ!