Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Way of the Master


There are few ministries that have awakened such an incredible resurgence in Biblical witnessing as Way of the Master. I would strongly encourage anyone to visit Way of the Master or Way of the Master Radio.

Way of the Master Radio has a daily two hour podcast hosted by Todd Friel that emphasizes evangelism and speaking the same message as Jesus Christ. They also have clips of their television show available online at http://www.wayofthemaster.com/watchepisodes.shtml.

Willow Creek Announces Failure

Willow Creek has announced that it is failing to produce spiritually mature disciples. I'm glad that they have acknowledged this issue and I hope that they can begin to turn things around. Bob Burney, a Salem Communications radio show host, has posted a good article at Town Hall.

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

Environmental Reverence

There is a new religion and Al Gore is its chief priest and prophet. The idol of the environment is our new Lawgiver. Anything uttered in the spirit of the environment is sanctified.

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.
We have a new god in mother earth. Abolished are the 10 commandments. In their place, the dictum of peace and safety. Peace and safety at the expense of godless tyranny.

Rob Bell, Emergent Error

Much has been written about the Emergent church movement and its strong ties to postmodern thinking. One of the chief proponents of the movement was a target of Mark Driscoll's speech at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in September. Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill and creator of the popular Nooma videos, has begun to draw significant attention for the postmodern underpinnings of his beliefs.

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

Fading Beauty and Cultural Decay

Artistic Absence of Beauty

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

A Gospel for Asia Christmas

If you are trying to break out of the rut of a materialistic Christmas, I would like to commend to you Gospel for Asia.

Gospel for Asia (or GFA) is a ministry that builds support for indigenous Asian missionaries. Native missionaries are extraordinarily effective since they have already mastered the languages and nuances of their cultures. Today, over 85 percent of Asian countries do not allow western missionaries to come and freely preach the Gospel and plant churches. These brothers and sisters in Christ live purposefully at the level of their neighbors, often in severe poverty, all for the sake of the Gospel. GFA passes on 100% of your donations directly to the missionaries or the cause that you designate.

For an eye opening experience, take a peek through the GFA Christmas catalogue at http://gfa.org/gift. Here you can find water purifiers, water buffaloes, wells and a spring of life overflowing.

This Christmas, please bust traditional self-gratification and buy an Asian a chicken! Such a small gift will be an incredible blessing.

Note: The picture at left is of K.P. Yohannan, the founder of GFA and an incredible saint in Christ.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Preach the Gospel. If Necessary Use Words?

There is an oft quoted saying "Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words." This has long been heralded by Christians as a profoundly wise saying. Over the years, I have come to find the sentiments of the quote to be appalling.

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

Sweden Crushes Religious Education

Per an article published in the United Kingdom's Guardian, Sweden will be crushing any faith based teaching even in private schools. The writer of the article argues that this should be par for the course in Britain as well. Sweden is struggling with how to curb fanatical Islam. The full article is at http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/andrew_brown/2007/10/gods_honest_truth.html.

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's First Half Marathon - From Start to Finish

The sun is just rising . Half the crowd is wearing trash bags for warmth.

Angel and her training group prepare for a day of running.

Everybody crossed the finish line in flying colors!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Boys!


Bubby Art Work

Apparently, this is supposed to be me... My son's first sculpture. Breathtaking isn't it? By juxtaposing my image over a map of the United States, I assume that he is making a statement that I'm a man of the world.



In all honesty, this is a lot better than many of the things that pass for modern art.

Friday, October 19, 2007

From Evolution to Racism

Dr. James Watson, the famous secular humanist and discoverer of DNA, has recently made statements that black people are less intelligent than white people. The Nobel prize winner has since apologized, but his earlier remarks obviously reflect his beliefs. Stating that black employees are more difficult to manage than their white colleagues, Watson noted that he could not find any qualified black people to serve among his research teams.

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.

Unlikely Bedfellows


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

Joel Osteen on 60 Minutes

Joel Osteen was interviewed on 60 Minutes and was portrayed as "America's Pastor". During a subsequent radio show that was discussing the interview, a caller stated that Joel was not preaching heresy because you had to preach doctrine to be a heretic. He believed that Joel did not teach any doctrine whatsoever.

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.

Watching The Polls

A friend recently sent me an article which detailed a recent Barna Group poll that indicated that the youth of today were increasingly disenamored with the Church. As I scanned through the article, I began to meditate on what I should learn from the poll.

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 - Poetry by D. R. Daniels

Go

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
10/15/1998

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Apocalypse



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

Heritage of Abortion

Within the Old Testament, God condemned the Israelite nation for not defending the weak and powerless. How far away are we from their fate? How long will God endure?

  • 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.

I pity many of the mothers who abort their children. The grief and knowledge of what they have done often comes late and unrelenting. May they find forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bill Maher Crashes Creation Museum

I must have missed this one when it first came out. Bill Maher sent a crew to the Answers in Genesis Museum - http://www.thepath.fm/cyberradio/media/.



Bill hates Christ, but who thought he would switch to Allah?

Air America Launches Nationwide Atheism Program

CNSNews.com reports that the liberal talk radio network Air America announced this week it will launch a nationwide show focusing on atheism. The first national show will feature Christopher Hitchens, author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." The Freethought Radio Program, hosted by the co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has been airing on Air America's Madison, Wis., affiliate since April 2006.

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."



Smiling atheist Dan Barker who hosts Freethought Radio

Monday, October 08, 2007

Strange Fire on Defiled Altars

By John Lee Grady
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 na├»ve 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.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Heretic

Over time, words rot. One word that has grown increasingly rotten is the word “evangelical.” In recent time, an evangelical can believe that God is still growing (Open Theism), that there is no hell (either annihilationism or universalism), that Paul did not have a concrete theology of justification (New Perspectivism or New Paulinism), that abortion is permissible (plain paganism), that homosexuality is laudable (hedonism) and that God’s love trumps his hatred for sin (idolatry).

I believe it is time to resurrect an old term – heretic. It has not been used nearly enough in our century. In an age of syncretistic pluralism, we are loathe to label Tony Campolo (who supports homosexuality and does not believe in an eternal hell), Joel Olsteen (who espouses a prosperity gospel gilded with Norman Vincent Peale positive thinking), Brian McClaren (who also does not believe in hell and who believes that you can be a fully justified Buddhist who loves Christ as if He were religious garnish), Benny Hinn (not a lot to be said) or Kenneth Copeland (even less to be said) heretics.

There is something missing in the current American expression of Christianity. The division between acceptable teachers and those that distort truth has become blurred. I guess that no one wants to be known for only those things (or people) that they stand against. In the paraphrased words of Ravi Zacharias, ‘He who slings mud loses lots of ground.’

I still find it somewhat tragic that there are no guides to help Christians discern between wolves and sheep. The greatest gift that my Baptist liberal arts education gave me was to help me pick the good writers out from among the sea of bad writers.

The word “heretic” is still powerful and has yet to lose its sting. I hope for its resurrection.