Saturday, December 29, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
... ... ...
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know. I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.
... ... ...
The problem with Mormon theology is that it adds to the perfect work of Christ. The Mormon equation is faith in Christ's work plus human works. Unfortunately, this is diametrically opposed to Ephesians 2:9-10.
If I were to approach the owner of an original Stradivarius and suggest that I could improve the instrument if only he would let me work on it, I think he would be rightly piqued.
It is a completed masterpiece.
In the same way, Christ, having paid the full and complete penalty for my sin is the master maker of our salvation. No other work is needed. Out of gratitude for what he has already done, my good works naturally follow as a product of my salvation, not the cause (James2:14-18).Salvation by addition equals infinite subtraction from the power of grace.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Merry Christmas to everyone! 2006/12/21
In the Name of Almighty God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Merry Christmas to everyone!
My sincere congratulations to everyone for the Glorious and Auspicious Birthday of Divine Prophet - confirmed and authenticated by Gabriel, the angel of Divine revelation - the Obedient of Almighty God,
Jesus Christ, the Messiah (peace be upon Him)
He was a messenger of peace, devotion and love based upon monotheism and justice. He was raised in His Mother's hand - Virgin Mary (peace be upon her) - that Almighty God stood her as impeccable and exalted her above the women of the world. The Mother and the Son that in the Divine Sight are reputable and prestigious. And they are positioned by God - The All Wise- at a sublime level.
There's no doubt, after God - the Peerless Creator, the Beneficent, the Merciful - created the human beings, did not forsake them on their own. By sending and assigning the emissaries - prophets and messengers - along with the righteous individuals, and on top of that, by providing and utilizing the mankind with the gifts of intellect and human nature, they are guided in the right path - in order to achieve the complete perfection. The human generations - one after another - were not created to live in anguish, intimidation, skirmish, aggression, oppression, and misery. And without enjoying an amity and fraternity atmosphere - replete of love and justice - depart this life and leave it for the next generations.
Unfortunately during the history, some egoistic and tyrant individuals have existed that stood against the convocations and the sermons of the Divine Prophets. And these tyrants and oppressors were the causation of all the adversities and the originator of all wars and animosities.
Frankly, if Jesus Christ - the Messiah (peace be upon Him) was present today, how would He react? And whom would He stand with and against?
If Jesus Christ (peace be upon Him) was present today, he would order an encounter against those who would propagate corruption, obscenity and perversion, and try to nullify and exterminate the merits and the rights of women and diminish their position - a position that virgin Mary (peace be upon Her) - is their role model and sample.
If Jesus Christ (peace be upon Him) was present today, He would order a contention against those who try to discharge the world from morality, spirituality, intellectuality, justice, and peace. And accordingly, the true followers of the Divine Prophets would follow their steps in regard to strengthening the morality, intellectuality, spirituality, peace and justice in the world.
Certainly, the implementation of the Divine Prophets' commands and directions would reform and improve our lives in this world and would safeguard a satisfying afterlife conjunctionally.
We believe that the beloved Jesus Christ - the Messiah (peace be upon Him and His Mother) would also reappear for the fulfillment of the promises of all the Divine prophets. And together - accompanying the invited of the nations - would bring all the beauties and goodness for humanity of the world. And we are getting close to that date.
While commemorating the birthday of the Prophet of amity, love and devotion - Jesus Christ, the Messiah (peace be upon Him and His beloved Mother) and congratulating the new year, I beg God - the Merciful, the All-Wise - a year of bliss, and health and a year replete of blessing, abundance, success, and affection for everyone, specially the Christian of Iran and the world.
Written by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at 22:42
For example, when asked "Does the Church believe that God lives on a planet named Kolob?" The response was that this was merely a reference in the ancient documents translated by Joseph Smith and that the matter has very little to do with core LDS doctrines.
Unfortunately, the idea that the God of earth once lived on a planet named Kolob is directly tied to Mormon doctrine. There is an infinite regression of gods who started as men on their own planets and who eventually worked their way to godhood. The Church of Latter Day Saints does not only promote a works-based faith, it also contends that men can become gods.
Foxnews.com also asked, "Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become 'gods and goddesses' after death?" The LDS responder replied that it is not the goal of the Mormon faithful to equal or achieve parity with God. Mormons merely desire to "imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes." They sidestepped the question by using terms that almost any Christian would agree with, but if they were speaking clearly, they simply would have said 'Yes.'
The full article may be found at foxnews.com. Mormons should not feel embarrassed about their faith, however, it is getting harder and harder to find a Latter Day Saint who will proclaim that Joseph Smith was a true prophet or that their theology espouses that men can become gods. It is, after all, an election season...
Warning; prepare the kleenex before watching.
My heart was not only touched by the story itself, but moreover by the parents who know that God is unfailing. No matter what our circumstances and pain - if it can serve to glorify the magnitude of our God - then let it be. As John Piper would say, 'God is most glorified in our suffering.'
The following is an excerpt from Igniter Media Group who originally hosted this documentary.
Eliot was born with an undeveloped lung, a heart with a hole in it and DNA that placed faulty information into each and every cell of his body. However, that could not stop the living God from proclaiming Himself through this boy who never uttered a word.
In the midst of heartbreaking tragedy, the Mooney family found the presence of God strengthening, comforting, and guiding them. Their story reminds us to seek God and endure our struggles rather than blame Him for our hardships.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Pagitt is often insulting and seems entirely disconnected from the history of Christian thought. He refuses to speak of heaven and hell as literal places and is unwilling to consign unbelievers to hell.
Pagitt is one the strongest voices of the Emergent movement which is beginning to infiltrate into every major denomination. Spending some time to hear his views is well worth the effort.
Transcript of conversation
MP3 of conversation
Monday, December 10, 2007
The Yale statement that responded to this document has been signed by many prominent evangelicals. Among them, we may find John Stott (author and theologian), Chuck Colson (Prison Fellowship), Rich Nathan (Senior Pastor, Vineyard Columbus), Brian McClaren (noted heretic, author), Leith Anderson (President, National Association of Evangelicals), etc.
Due to the supremacy of Scripture, I can easily question how such vaunted members of evangelicalism would sign such a document. The document refers to god as the "All Merciful", a clear reference in the Islamic mind to Allah. More specifically, it states "...we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world." It goes on to describe the foundation of future dialogue to be Islam's and Christianity's common understanding that God is a God of love. This syncretistic hash is expressly forbidden by Scripture.
The signers of this blighted document will no doubt state that the document iterated nothing that they did not intend -- God is a god of love -- Christians can evangelize using this common understanding of God. Unfortunately, what does it mean to the people who read the document from a perspective outside of orthodox Christianity? Have we so succumbed to post modernism that we can lend our good names to a document that will definitely be interpreted in a different light than within the pall of our evangelical tradition? I cannot believe that the evangelical signers for a moment did not understand that this document could be read in many different ways. Ways counter to the Christ-centered Gospel.
While I do not blame these leaders for reaching out to Islam, they have lent their names to a document that will give creedence to universalism and a myriad of other absurdities. Their theological and social capital will be used without their permission to spur all kinds of hopeless ecumenical gatherings that seek to unite Islam and Christianity on a spiritual plane. Christ tells us that such spiritual unity is impossible.
Franklin Graham had it right when he stated that all non-Christian religions are wicked in the eyes of God (Matt. 12:30-31; I Peter 3:4-6). Muslims are lovely people, but they have a deplorable religion.
The best that we can hope for within the Christian-Islam dialogue is a temporary detente or a temporary cessation of hostility. To expect open arms and long lasting harmony is naive at best and idolatrous at worst.
Christ calls us to love those wrapped in idolatry. He also tells us that we will be abused by these same people that we reach out to (John 15:18-25). Unreciprocated love and hopefully a smidgen of respect is all that we can expect.
We should reach out in a non-syncretistic, non-compromising fashion. The politics of ecumenicity can only disgrace the Gospel. Someone should draft a better and more well-thought-out document that does not sell Christianity's soul for an ounce of good will...
- Yale Center for Faith and Culture - A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You
- A Common Word Between Us and You
- An interview with one of the authors, Emilie M. Townes.
- Testimony of Joseph Cummings, one of the authors of the Christian response.
- Leith Anderson's rationale for signing the response.
Ostentation and self-gratification exerts enormous clout during the holidays. Good citizens are expected to exchange gifts with people who have no needs, to purchase new baubles for the themselves, to put the stores in the black for the year, to drown their children in a sea of toys, to enshrine the materialistic ethic. Meanwhile, a mere continent or so away, people are struggling to maintain even the barest essentials of life.
Americans take their excess for granted. We lavish gifts on one another and, if we give at all to the third world, we only spend a very small fraction of our total Christmas giving.
How much is enough? Is being comfortable enough? It seems that we continually redefine comfort as our financial reach grows longer. Somehow the guideline of personal comfort takes us every time to the limit of our budgets and leaves us unable to practice the barest minimum of charity for the poor and starving.
Christians battle the iconography of our country. Santa Claus, an icon now largely shaped by Coca Cola depictions and marketing, used to be an emblem of charity and compassion. In his original incarnation as Nicholas of Nicea, the fiery champion of Christianity at the Council of Nicea who slapped the heretic Arius, Saint Nicholas represented someone who poured his life out for the lost and suffering. How distant is that memory of Nicholas?
Did God promise us safety, comfort and material excess when he gave us the ultimate gift in Christ? Quite the contrary, God promised us that the world would revile us, that we be foreigners on earth and that we might be called upon to pay the ultimate cost for our faith; our very lives. In America, we are blessed that the season of persecution is not upon us.
I believe that most Christians vainly imagine that when times get tough that they will rise to the occassion and blossom spiritually by giving their time, money, family and life for the Gospel. If we cannot blossom while the days are still sweet, persecution will only spur our blight.
Here is an opportunity to pour out your life for the lost and to defy a materialistic Christmas....Gospel for Asia.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Jesus - Jesus is our spirit brother and also the brother of Satan. Jesus' plan of how people would become gods was chosen over Satan's plan by God the Father. This sibling rivalry sparked the rebellion of Satan and his followers who were forever denied the opportunity to take flesh and blood bodies. Jesus is more of a pathfinder than the Savior who paid for all sins and who secured all of the blessings of eternal life.
Heaven - Three levels exist and almost everyone gets into the lowest level known as the terrestrial heaven. Telestial heaven is reserved for Mormons who don't quite do all that is necessary to achieve godhood. Celestial heaven is reserved for the faithful Mormons who are given the right to see the face of God the Father and who also secure the privilege of godhood through faith and works. After death, everyone is resurrected and given a second chance to accept the Mormon Gospel.
Hell - Reserved for only a very few apostate Mormons who attack the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
Salvation - There is a difference in Mormon terminology between the phrases "eternal life" and "salvation." Eternal life is achieving the ability by personal merit and faith to become a god. Salvation is generally available to everyone through the merits of Christ's salvific work.
Bible - The Bible is accurate only as far as it has been properly interpreted. Mormonism contends that the Christian faith was lost shortly after the passage of the twelve apostles. The Bible was also lost in its true form. Joseph Smith restored the Gospel through translating the Book of Mormon. Though the Bible has a secondary role in the life of the Mormon faithful, the reliable words of God may be found in the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants.
For more thorough coverage of Latter Day Saint beliefs, visit the following sites:
Huckabee is anticipated to strike early in the primaries, but may trail off as Mitt Romney gains steam. Everyone is playing a hundred possible scenarios, so it seems worthwhile to contemplate how I would vote if Romney gains the GOP nomination for the general election.
Latter Day Saints (LDS) prophecy (a somewhat anemic genre) describes a time when the Constitution will hang by a thread during a national crisis. The Mormon eldership will sweep to the fore to save the nation. Having a Mormon President in the Whitehouse seems to be a harbinger to the Mormon faithful that the prophecy will come true.
"Will the Constitution be destroyed? No; it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, 'The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.' It will be so." (JD 7:15, Brigham Young, 4 July 1954)
Romney is a true believer and is even purported to wear the LDS under garments that supposedly are endowed with spiritual protection. On Thursday, Romney will give a speech explaining the role of his faith in his politics. The act is being compared to John F. Kennedy's speech on his Catholicism.
As a Christian, can I in good conscience support a man whose ascendency will legitimatize the Book of Mormon? The alternative may even be scarier.
This year the attack may be more subtle. Theaters are currently playing the movie The Golden Compass. Its author, Philip Pullman is an enemy of Christ. Pullman hates the writings of C.S. Lewis and has written his series to directly counter Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. He has left little doubt about his books' intended thrust in discussions of his works, such as noting in a 2003 interview that "My books are about killing God" and in a 2001 interview that he was "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."
A Los Angeles Times article on the Golden Compass controversy noted that:
Pullman's never hidden his skepticism about God or his rejection of organized religion. A quick Internet search turns up a 2004 essay he wrote deploring "theocracies" for a newspaper in his native Britain, and his own Web site states that he thinks it "perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it." His "Dark Materials" features a sympathetic character, an ex-nun, who describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake," while "The Amber Spyglass" concludes with the two child heroes participating in the dissolution of "the Authority," a senile, pretender God who has falsely passed himself off as the creator of the universe.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
George Barna is America's Christian pollster. He has simultaneously supported the growth of the mega church by providing polling data while also writing books extremely skeptical of evangelical practices.
The reason that John Piper levies that charge of blasphemy against George Barna is because Barna has lumped a wide variety of people into the group that may be identified as "born again." Barna's polls have consistently found that there are no differences between those that are identified as born again and the rest of the world. Barna does not create the born again polling group by allowing them to self-identify. There are a number of questions that he asks that, per his definition, dilineates born-againdom.
Piper takes umbrage because he believes that Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit makes a difference in a person's life once they accept Christ. Per Piper's perspective, a saved individual is by definition a changed individual. Saved people cannot continue to live like the rest of the world because the power of an omnipotent God is working His sanctification in them.
Piper is right. When we tell the world that true Christians are not different from anyone else, we are telling the world a lie. If a person does not act like a redeemed person, they are not a redeemed person. Jesus gave us two standards for identifying Christians; profession of the truth and lifestyle. If either of these are missing, the person is not known by Christ.
It is a form of blasphemy to say that Jesus' work is not efficacious. Since only God can know the human heart, George will probably continue to fight the blasphemy dragon since his definition does not take into account the God prescribed human evaluations of truth and lifestyle.
I'll conclude by letting John Piper speak for himself:
In other words, in this research the term "born again" refers to people who say things. They say, "I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s important to me." They say, "I believe that I will go to heaven when I die. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior." Then the Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely important reality of the new birth, and then blasphemes that precious biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more victory over sin than unregenerate hearts.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
If you have browsed through Youtube.com to look at some of the videos of those who have "renounced the Holy Spirit," your heart will no doubt be grieved. Thousands have taken the challenge and not-so-boldly, but ever-so-defiantly looked into their webcam to denounce the existence of God. Their ages vary from the pre-pubescent to the aged. Their socio-economic class ranges from the affluent atheist to the still dependent, stay-at-home computer geek. But they all feel proud of their moment to announce independence from the tyrant God.
Perhaps most tragic and laughable is that they are not accomplishing the unpardonable sin. Per most Biblical expositors that I have read, the unpardonable sin is to deny the works and person of God when he has personally manifested Himself. The specific scenario was when the Pharisees attributed a healing by Christ through the Holy Spirit to the work of Satan (Matthew 12:22-30). Confronted by the very person (Jesus) and works (the healing) of God, they refused to believe. When God was at his most persuasive through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Pharisees chose to cling to disbelief.
Those that participate in the Blasphemy Challenge have likely not had the opportunity to commit the unpardonable sin. Are they walking dangerously? Absolutely. However, I think that we will find many of these 'denouncers' with us in heaven after Christ beckons to them. Such was Paul at one time.
Note: I would welcome different perspectives on what constitutes the unpardonable sin.
MacArthur announced that he believed that America has been abandoned by God. He then went on and developed an extremely compelling theology of abandonment using Romans 1 as the linchpin of his argument.
He noted that among all the nations that God had abandoned in the Bible, that America has surpassed all of them in the breadth of its iniquity.
There are certain practical and personal implications for Christians in the United States if God has abandoned us. How should we rear our children? What should we expect to happen to American media in the next ten years? Of the influences that currently shape us, how will these influences begin to falter? What is our role as proclaimers of the Gospel? Should we separate? How can we escape from inclusion in God's wrath? How do we help others to escape?
In ages past, heroes of Biblical proportions were faced with hard choices in light of God's abandonment of their cultures. We live in no less momentous times if MacArthur is right. For my part, I came to the same conclusion almost ten years ago.
While America has likely been abandoned, there is always an opportunity to forestall God's wrath.
"If my people would but listen to me,
how quickly would I subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!"
Note: For a transcript of MacArthur's sermon, visit http://www.gty.org/Resources/transcripts/80-184.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
It is the common consensus of many of the most avant garde churches that studying prophecy is too divisive of an issue. If they do venture into this area, they do so only for immediate life application and dare not foray into any conjecture about future events.
I find this to be very disheartening. These leaders are robbing their people of the anticipation of future events. They are also robbing their flocks of the ultimate culmination of history -- the events that will more fully allow mankind to understand the entire scope of history within its context.
How can you avoid a book that promises a blessing for those that read and understand it? In Revelation 1:3, "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." This passage intimates that we can actually understand the book of Revelation!
At times, the fear of prophetic writings is so great among churches that I actually fear for their spiritual descendents. There is a tendency among those that avoid prophecy to also allegorize Genesis 1-3. This seems to be in synch with 2 Peter 3:3-7 which ties together skepticism of the second coming with skepticism in creation and the flood (among unbelievers).
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come,
scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this
`coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has
since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long
ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and
by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and
destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for
fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
A strong understanding of God's Word can only be amplified by a complete understanding of prophecy. How can we rouse out of this apathy to the apocalypse?
Eric decided to pray on the way to work one morning that God would give him something to do that would have an eternal, non-selfish purpose. God responded in a big way. Immediately upon arriving at work, Eric's boss asked him to help remodel a friend's home for $25/hour. Upon hearing of the opportunity, Eric saw the hand of God and told his boss that he would do it for free. God impressed upon him that he was working to earn five minutes to present the Gospel .
So, Eric worked on the weekend during the biggest Ohio State football game of the year. Working feverishly, Eric reminded himself that he was working to earn the opportunity to share his faith. He told God that he would do the work, but God would have to do the speaking. At the end of the work day, Eric nervously approached his boss and the owner of the house. God gave him the perfect message at the perfect opportunity. Eric started by talking about how how a carpenter much better than himself once died for Eric's sins.
There is something absolutely wonderful about being part of God's eternal plan. There is no other feeling like it. I applaud Eric Harrington this Thanksgiving week.
God challenges us to have faith enough during this holiday week to speak the truth of the Gospel to friends and family.
*I only post this story because Eric has no idea where my blog is. He is a great man who is growing in his faith. I'll keep him humble by keeping my fandom secret.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The abortion question came up and the candidates were asked if they would support a litmus test for pro-abortion Supreme Court justices. One-by-one, the candidates waffled and stated that they would put forward Supreme Court nominees that "protected a right to privacy." They all assiduously avoided stating that they would make abortion (not privacy) their litmus test. Do words mean anything?
I am continually stunned that the ability to take a human life is shrouded in a right to privacy by politicians. The general abortion debate has long gone beyond whether or not abortion is the taking of a human life. Liberal ethicist are now coming out and supporting infanticide. Do you want to try out a child? Peter Singer of Princeton says he'd kill disabled babies if it were in the "best interests" of the family.
Several area pastors have decided that being a "single issue voter" is too divisive. They are beginning to embrace liberal politicians and unwittingly they are also beginning to embrace liberal theology. These pastors believe that world hunger, ecological issues and poverty should be the highest agenda items for the Church (Jim Wallis and his local friends).
I, for one, believe that abortion is an immense evil that will speed God's judgment. Is it a sin for the Church to ignore the hungry, imprisoned and hurting? Absolutely. But the mere existence of these injustices should not make us think that we must choose between the poor and the abortion issue.
Monday, November 12, 2007
- $350,000 luxury car.
- $1.4 million six-bedroom, nine-bath mansion on 20 acres.
- Between 1997 and 2000, Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc. provided its founder with at least $3.07 million in salary, benefits and use of property.
- In those same four years, the charity only made $3.1 million in other donations. It’s impossible to tell to whom those funds went as the records aren’t itemized, as required by the IRS. The four-person board responsible for overseeing the charity included both Long and his wife.
My Uncle Clyde recently sent out a list of the private planes owned by these mega-wealthy pastors (International Pentecostal Church of Christ E-Date):
- Paula White - Hawker-Siddeley "Jet Dragon"
- Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, Mark Bishop - Each have a Cessna Citation 500 ringing in at $1.25 million each.
- Fred Price, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn - Each have a Grumman Gulfstream II. With a two-man crew and 19 passengers, these cruise at 581 mph with a range of 4,275 miles. Used, they're worth about $4.5 million each.
- Paul Crouch - Bombardier Challenger 604. Carrying a crew of two plus 19 passengers, she cruises at 529 mph with a range of 3,860 miles. She's valued at $16.5 million, not including Paul's "special interior remodeling."
- The late Ken Hagin - Challenger 601valued at $6 million.
- Joyce Meyer - Challenger 600, $4.5 million.
- Kenneth Copeland - Cessna Citation 550 Bravo ($3.4 million), a Grumman Gulfstream II ($4.5 million), a Cessna Golden Eagle, and a Beech E-55, a lesser aircraft and his own airport. Copeland said that God wanted him and Gloria to each have their own Cessna Citation Ten super-jets at $20 million each.
All of these names have resurfaced again-and-again as people who have taken the widows last mite in order to live a life of self-indulgent luxury.
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping (2 Peter 2:1-3).Citations:
Religion News Blog
Who are your heroes? Leave a comment concerning your hero and I will be selecting three individuals to receive a free copy of "Revolution in World Missions" by K.P. Yohannan. The drawing will take place on November 19th.
Dawkin's rather inane video may be viewed at Youtube. If you would like to see Dawkins debate Dinesh, write an e-mail of encouragement to Dawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dinesh has promised to forward these letters onward to the recalcitrant Dawkins.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
All of these mechanisms promise Church leaders growing congregations, health, vitality and a spiritual revolution.
When did God call pastors to resort to novelty? When did mechanics and methodology take over the Church of Christ? Does our current pre-occupation with revolutionary ideas and methodologies show that we trust the power of God's word or the power of human ingenuity?
God did not call us to novelty, but to preaching the old, time honored, time proven message of the Gospel -- the message once for all entrusted to the saints by the apostles (Jude 1:3). God builds the house, not the ideas of men (Psalm 127:1).
Friday, November 02, 2007
Her goal is simple. If they lose the Pittsburgh people over the homosexuality issue, they will keep the property through legal entanglements.
Here is Robert Duncan's response:
1st November, A.D. 2007
The Feast of All Saints
The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York
Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.
Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Praise God for this man! In his time of trial, e-mail Duncan at email@example.com to show your support. May the Episcopal union be sundered if it be for the cause of Christ.
For more on Robert Duncan, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Duncan_(bishop)
To site the letter directly, go to http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/pbresponse110207
To read about Katharine Shori's gambit, visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_91480_ENG_HTM.htm
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It is sad that Willow Creek has invited the heretic Brian McClaren to speak at their upcoming youth event known as Shift. This is definitely not a move in the right direction if they desire to spur a new generation to maturity. McClaren represents the new theological liberalism threatening the Church. I doubt if it is coincidental that he is currently organizing a Deep Shift conference.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Last week, an article was published in the Hilliard newspaper entitled “Consider Reducing Baby Emissions.” The author was Marianne Gabel, a high powered Columbus attorney, who has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into environmental and reproductive related causes. The theme of the article was the need to reduce unwanted pregnancies thereby reducing the environmental impact. Washed in the sanctifying cry of “Environment!” was presented the case for abortion, condoms for sexually promiscuous teens and the depopulation of ‘burdensome’ third world children.
Pastors have also picked up the mantra of the new religion. A battle wages beneath the surface of the National Association of Evangelicals over whether abortion or the environment should be paramount. The issue truly boils down to ‘Who is my enemy and who is my friend?’ Do we side with Al Gore and his cronies or do we champion the weak who have no voice?
Make no bones about it, the liberals will not allow religious conservatives to try to side with both sides of the issue. There is too much at stake in their minds concerning the absolute and dire need to achieve zero population growth.
The environment is the new god of this age because we have entrusted it with our peace and security. Loyalty to the environment is unquestionable and, in the new ideology, the only morality. The sacral creed of the environment is uber-morality, superceding any misguided, Biblical morality.
If you believe that the linkage of the environment to a new religion is a little overblown, consider these quotes by Al Gore taken from his first book “Earth in the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit”:
- "A modern prayer of the Onondaga tribe in upstate New York offers another beautiful expression of our essential connection to the earth: `O Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us'" (p. 259).
- "The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief.
- "This panreligious perspective may prove especially important where our global civilization's responsibility for the earth is concerned" (p. 258-259).
- "A growing number of anthropologists and archeo-mythologists argue that the prevailing ideology of belief in prehistoric Europe and much of the world was based on the worship of a single earth goddess, who was assumed to be the fount of all life and who radiated harmony among all living things.
Rob Bell's Beliefs
1. Rabbinical Authority - Rob Bell believes that listening to the early rabbis is key to unlocking the message of Scripture. As Mark Driscoll points out, however, it is highly questionable whether men who do not love, adore, revere, respect and cling to Jesus would possess God's hermeneutic principles. If their method of interpreting the Scripture did not open their eyes and hearts to Christ, then who would want to follow in their footsteps?
2. Brian McClaren's Influence - McClaren is the leading spokesman for all things Emergent. He denies eternal hell, posits that one can be a good and justified Buddhist who reveres Jesus, enjoys the works of heretics like John Dominic Crossan (Jesus Seminar) and Tillich, and he has sanctioned a five year moratorium on discussing whether homosexuality is sinful. McClaren has often filled Rob Bell's pulpit at Mars Hill.
3. Trajectory Hermeneutics - Rob Bell believes that Scripture contains the kernel of ideas that evolve into their full form over time. This type of trajectory hermeneutics has been used to defend homosexuality (not yet by Rob). Homosexual apologists believe that the principles of love and equality in the Bible lead to the trajectory of total acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. This type of methodology will produce a multitude of errors and can be used to rationalize and defend almost any sinful behavior.
4. Velvet Elvis - Rob Bell's groundbreaking postmodern work argues that certain doctrines like the virgin birth are discardable. While Rob personally believes in the virgin birth, he questions what Christians really gain from the doctrine of Mary's Holy Spirit inspired pregnancy. Bell asks where we would be if DNA evidence concluded that Jesus had not been born of a virgin. In the paraphrased words of Mark Driscoll, 'How can we believe the extravagant claims of a son of a lying whore?' Without the virgin birth, the entire story changes. Rob further goes on to state that theology is flexible like a trampoline and that it can easily be molded to fit the times. Unfortunately, Rob forgets that even trampolines have to have a solid foundation.
While Rob Bell has not moved to full blown heresy, his ideas will inevitably lead others there. History has taught us that successive generations attempt to live more in tune with the ideas that have been passed to them. There are tremendous dangers in having the wrong perspective of the world, much less God's word.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
There are few indicators of cultural decline as significant as the disappearance of beautiful art. When one considers the works of early Americans, the ancient Greeks, their works are truly beautiful and inspiring. Upon viewing their craft, one is left with reverence that God has created such beautiful images for the artist to capture on canvas or within chiseled stone.
However, recent American and European art has departed from the beautiful and plunged into the imagination of man. As man has searched for meaning outside of God's word and world, signifying man's repudiation of God Himself, he has delved into his own mind and found the brokenness revealed in Genesis 3. Consider these highly lauded examples of modern American art:
Is there anything beautiful in them? The Scream (the first painting) betokens a silent menace at the end of the bridge. The other two paintings are decompositions of reality. Is there anything redeeming within them? Yet the world has devolved so much from a true appreciation of beauty that empty-headed critics heap praise on these modern debacles.
The message of the paintings is that reality is malleable, chaotic and threatening. While I consider these paintings intellectually intriguing, my four year old has created such masterpieces without nearly the artistic training.
Literature and music follow the same path as the visual arts. There are very few, if any, great literary masterpieces being written. Music has been conquered by drug saturated, blond no-talents who believe that baring all is part of their musical repertoire. The messages of their songs are self-indulgent and decadent.
In the words of a famous deviant, "I care not who makes a nation's laws, so long as I can write its songs." Musicians are the laymen philosophers of every age. Within music, there is real power to influence and shape a nation. Is it any wonder that our children commit atrocities as they gyrate to the music of their lawgivers?
American culture is in decline because it has abandoned God. As a post-Christian nation, America still has vestiges of its former glory. It is up to Christians to redeem the arts and to salvage the ruins of mankind's artistry. When a Christian creates beauty, he does so to the pleasure of his Creator.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Note: The picture at left is of K.P. Yohannan, the founder of GFA and an incredible saint in Christ.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
First, the quote is often attributed to Francis of Assisi. Unfortunately, a survey of his actual writings will not yield the quote. The Franciscans themselves cannot find those words among Francis' works or legacy.
Second, the statement contradicts the Scriptures. Romans 10:14-15 states it well:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Christians favor the quote since they think it obviates them from opening their mouths. The common belief is that a Christian's lifestyle will miraculously lead people to Christ. However, Buddhists live righteous lifestyles (in the eyes of men). Taoists, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, mystics, Moonies, and cultists all live lifestyles that are often commendable and disciplined.
Unless Christians open their months, Jesus Christ never gets the credit for their conduct. Arguing whether we should have both a verbal and a lifestyle witness is like arguing whether the left or right wing of an airplane is important.
Ray Comfort tells a wonderful story that illustrates my point nicely.
One hundred and fifty thousand children had been on the brink of starving to death, but thanks to the kind gift of a very generous billionaire, every child now had enough food to keep him alive. That gift had arrived in the form of one big check. The horror was now over. It was finished. It was just a matter of distributing the food using the few relief workers we had. Without them to get the food to the children, there would have been many more deaths.
Some days later, a frantic worker burst into the camp and cried, "Some of the relief workers have stopped distributing food. Masses of children are dying!"
Why would the workers stop when there was plenty of food? It didn't make sense. The distraught man said, "It's because one of them held up a sign that said, 'Feed the starving children. Where necessary, use food.' That has caused some of the workers to simply befriend the starving children without giving them food. It's insane!"
Christian, who are you to withhold the bread of life?
Monday, October 22, 2007
Our religious liberties are a brittle thing. How long before the anti-religious plague striking Sweden crosses the Atlantic?
In a video created by Richard Dawkins, famous scientist and atheist, Dawkins decries the passage of religious beliefs from adults to children as a form of child abuse (The Root of All Evil - The God Delusion). Dawkins encourages government to remove parental rights in the education of their own children. This spirit was recently injected into the American debate when John Edwards announced that he would not "impose" his own morality even on his second grader.
In response to a question of whether he would be comfortable having a fairy tale read to his second-grader that ends with two men kissing and living happily ever after, Edwards had this to say: "… I don't want to make that decision on behalf of my children. I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in (chuckling), what did you say, second grade? Well, second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade, to be exposed to all those possibilities. Because I don't want to impose my view – nobody made me God – I don't get to decide on behalf of my family and my children. … I don't get to impose on them what it is that I believe is right."
Prepare to defend your right to transmit your beliefs to your children. Edwards and Dawkins cometh!
Angel and her training group prepare for a day of running.
Everybody crossed the finish line in flying colors!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
In all honesty, this is a lot better than many of the things that pass for modern art.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Within the evolutionary framework, there is a natural inclination to racism. Theorizing that whites and blacks took divergent evolutionary paths, evolutionists of past ages even shot, killed and stuffed aborigines for museums. I cannot really blame Watson since he is merely stating the logical outcomes of his belief system.
Scripture on the other hand, teaches that there is no such thing as race, just different shades of mellanin. There is nothing more hypocritical than for a Christian to espouse racism. We are all brothers and sisters in Adam and share one blood.
Somewhat to my shock, my favorite living theologian, Wayne Grudem, has announced his support for Mitt Romney. As one of the leading evangelical thinkers of his time, Grudem makes a simple, but intriguing case. To read his article, visit Townhall. To be honest, Grudem's case has me seriously rethinking the 2008 election.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I heartily disagree with the caller. Heresy can be an act of omission as much as inclusion. If a preacher should choose to exclude the life saving message that we have all sinned against God and that Jesus had to suffer for those sins, then he commits heresy. How dare a man of God withhold the single message by which mankind might be saved.
For those that adore Joel Osteen, I want to pose some hard questions. Where does a theology of the life of Paul fit into Joel Osteen's overly positive, prosperity message?
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? (II Corinthians 11:23-29)
Where does a theology of Jonah fit? Are our brothers and sisters in China "Living Your Best Life Now" as they are driven into prisons and summarily executed?
The truth is that Joel Osteen's message (or lack thereof) does not fit the reality of God's world. It is incapable of bringing comfort to a newly orphaned child. It is incapable of answering the question of why there is pain in the journey.
Should churches seek to find a better model? Should they restructure everything that they do and say in order to bring up the favorability rating? Or could it be true that our nation is beginning to enter a state of hardening not seen since Biblical times?
My fear is growing that each new generation is growing more sinful and blinded to the word of God. We may soon reach a point where we will be like the Old Testament prophets who preached their unswerving message to a hard hearted, obstinate and (most importantly) unhearing people.
May God continue to give us a tender heart for the lost, and may He also keep us from negotiating the non-negotiables.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Go with His great commission. Go.
Christ said “go” and then said … “Lo
I am with thee always.”
Go in prayer; go to share
Him who is beyond compare;
Go highways and byways.
Go. What is thy constraint?
Warriors were not meant to faint.
Gospel feet go quickly.
Why tarry long beside the road?
Jesus bears they heavy load,
And He it is who lifts thee.
Go. Just like the Saviour said.
He who raised those humble dead.
Now reigns in thee to raise man.
Go ye all into the world,
There where Satan’s darts are hurled.
Christ is greater. Trust Him.
Somewhere good soil awaits the Word.
Seekers must not be deferred.
Christ rewards our toil.
For God will send the latter rains
To soften up the loam again
To grow new wheat from thirsty soil.
Go. March up to the gates of Hell
That open wide its hordes to swell,
And shout “Thy slaves surrender!”
Angels high applaud the show
When saints turn out to face the foe.
What earthly power can hinder?
The Holy Spirit craves the Word
From Genesis to Revelation be heard,
So why tarry we here longer?
Since God brings all His truth to pass
Let fear of man be dead at last;
Our awesome God is stronger.
D. R. Daniels
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, awaits the coming of the Mahdi, the legendary twelfth Imam who disappeared down a well in 941 AD. Muslims believe that the Mahdi has been hidden, like the sun is hidden by a cloud, until such time that he will be revealed to conquer the world for Islam. Ahmadinejad full heartedly believes that the Mahdi’s return is imminent within the next four years.
The Mahdi is an apocalyptic and messianic figure who symbolizes the return of Islam’s glory years. Many westerners forget that Islam once almost conquered the world if it were not for Charles Martel. The Muslim world has never forgotten though and they covet the day when their religion will be justified in the eyes of the world.
The Koran itself teaches in Surah 4:89 that good Muslims should, “Seize them (infidels) and slay them wherever you may find them.” Surah 9:29 states, “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day.” Most Muslims are peaceful, but those that interpret these passages as being unabrogated and literal need little more encouragement to fight for pan-Islamic fascism.
As one of the Mahdi’s faithful, Ahmadinejad hopes to usher in this new world of Islamic domination and to lay vast power at the Mahdi’s disposal; namely a nuclear weapon. In the words of Khomeini who said in 1981, "I say let Iran go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."
Religious liberals do not begin to understand people who are true believers of any faith. They think that since their own religion is something they may check at the door, that all they really need to do is to discuss issues in rational dialogue. For a true believer, the art of persuasion does not exist. They are on a juggernaut trail to complete their mission for god.
Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to New York is likely only a game of smoke and mirrors as he tries to buy precious time for the development of his nuclear ambitions. A nuclear Iran is a horrible thing to contemplate. Will people continue to choose to ignore his previous words?
· "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury."
· "Remove Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations."
· "The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land. As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
· "If the West does not support Israel, this regime will be toppled. As it has lost its raison d' tre, Israel will be annihilated."
· "Israel is a tyrannical regime that will one day will be destroyed."
· "Israel is a rotten, dried tree that will be annihilated in one storm."
· "Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear"
· Israel is "a contradiction to nature, we foresee its rapid disappearance and destruction."
· “Imam [Khomeini] said: ‘This regime that is occupying Quds [i.e. Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.’ This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise… Very soon this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will be purged from the centre of the Islamic world – and this is attainable… This will be a short period, and if we pass through it successfully, the process of the elimination of the Zionist regime will be smooth and simple.”
Do we really want this man to have the bomb?
Friday, October 12, 2007
In 2003, the latest year for which full figures are available, 42 million abortions were carried out around the world
For every 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44 in 2003, 29 had an abortion, down from 35 in 1997, it said.
Abortion rates were lowest in Western Europe (12 pregnancy terminations per 1,000 women) but highest in Eastern Europe, where the rate was 44 abortions per 1,000 women. In the United States and Europe, it was 21 per 1,000, while in Asia and Africa, the rate was 29 per 1,000.
On the basis of the 2003 data, on average 90 percent of women worldwide will have had an abortion before the age of 45, the study calculates.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
On Saturday, Oct. 6, the show will begin airing on 14 other affiliates from Palm Springs, Fla., to Eugene, Ore., and on XM Satellite radio. "You can turn on the radio or TV 24/7 to be preached at," Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, said in a statement. "This is one hour a week of the public airwaves that offers an alternative." Gaylor said the program "offers irreverent views, news, music and interviews," including a regular news feature called "Theocracy Alert."
Monday, October 08, 2007
Many who claim to be voices for God today are on dangerous ground.
We don’t talk much today about Nadab and Abihu. They were obscure Bible characters who failed miserably. Certainly their tragic story doesn’t work well as an illustration in the typical seeker-friendly sermon about wealth or success. So we tend to ignore these guys, even though they are mentioned in the Old Testament nine times.
Both sons of Aaron the priest, Nadab and Abihu were suddenly struck dead in the tabernacle because they offered “strange fire” (Lev. 10:1 NASB). We aren’t told exactly what they did wrong—that is left to our imagination. All we know is that they did not follow God’s specific instructions when offering incense. They were careless with His glory. Their mistake proved to be fatal.
“I wonder why the ground has not opened up and swallowed some of the careless spiritual clowns who are masquerading as bishops, apostles and prophets.”
What I deduce from their story is that God’s altar is a holy place. When God struck them, He told their father: “‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored’” (v. 3). God made it clear that He isn’t playing games. He sent fire from His presence to slay Nadab and Abihu so we would understand that we can’t mess around with His laws, His name or His presence. We can’t rewrite His instructions or be slipshod or slapdash about worship.
That’s why I fear for many of the men and women who claim to be God’s mouthpieces today, particularly in the charismatic/Pentecostal movement that I serve. When I read Leviticus 10, I wonder why the ground has not opened up and swallowed some of the careless spiritual clowns who are masquerading as bishops, apostles and prophets.
A case in point: Bishop Thomas Wesley Weeks III, who is now facing charges of assaulting his wife, recently stood in his pulpit in Atlanta during a marriage conference and proceeded to teach married couples how to use profanity during sex.
Yes, the man who allegedly kicked and punched Juanita Bynum in a hotel parking lot last month told attendees at a “Teach Me How to Love You” event that they should get over their hang-ups about cussing. The bedroom, he said, is the place to get down and dirty.
“Don’t bring your salvation into the bedroom,” he said in a sermon segment that has been posted on YouTube. “All those special words that you can’t say no more because you’re saved … save that for the bedroom!”
It is bad enough that Weeks told his followers that it’s OK to use filthy language with your wife during lovemaking. It’s worse that he said these things as a minister speaking from a pulpit during a church service. Thankfully he didn’t bring a bed on stage and give a demonstration—but now that he has taken pulpit crudity to a new level, someone else is sure to introduce Pentecostal porn to an audience somewhere.
Weeks’ comments didn’t surprise me. There are so many crazy things happening in pulpits in this country that I’ve become numb to their impact. It seems that in many segments of the church today, false prophets and backslidden preachers can introduce the most bizarre doctrines imaginable and still get shouts from the crowd and plenty of donations in the offering plate.
Meanwhile, a growing number of television preachers are resorting to the most inane tactics to raise money. A popular trend this year is the “Day of Atonement Offering”—in which Old Testament scriptures are strained to the breaking point to make a case for buying special blessings from God. Thanks to this “revelation,” you can click on a Web site icon and give your Day of Atonement Offering to win divine favor. (And of course every dime of that money goes to an evangelist who uses it to purchase houses, cars, plastic surgeries and more airtime so they can spread this nonsense to more naïve people.)
I have no personal vendetta against these spiritual hoodlums, but lately I find myself praying: “Lord, when will You clean up Your church? When will you send Your holy fire into the sanctuary? When will You turn over the tables of the moneychangers and drive the charlatans out of Your house?”
I have a sense that the answer is coming soon enough. The question is: How close to the modern Nadabs and Abihus will you be when the fire of heaven comes to purge them from the sanctuary? If you are anywhere near a defiled altar, my advice is simple: Run for the nearest exit.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.