Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Excess of Benny Hinn

When will those who call themselves Christians stop throwing their God-given resources down the abyss known as Benny Hinn?

Joel Osteen, Stuart Smalley and The Secret

I've appended a great Youtube video that shows the similarities between Joel Osteen, Oprah's religious cult known as The Secret and Saturday Night Live's Stuart Smalley.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Osteen's Salvation?

The media-appointed spokesman of Christendom, Joel Osteen, has sounded off on the Mormon issue. Upon being interviewed by George Wallace of Fox News, Joel showed his utter lack of understanding for Christian truths.

... ... ...

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 - From Iran!

I like to visit Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's blog for a different perspective on world events (The picture at left is of Ahmadinejad stoning the devil while on his Hajj in Mina). I was delighted to find the following letter from Ahmadinejad to the Christians of Iran. It highlights a Muslim's beliefs concerning Jesus -- a very different Jesus than the Lord and Savior of Christianity.

--- --- ---

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

Mormon Meandering recently published a list of questions that were posed to the Latter Day Saint authorities. I was not pleasantly surprised by the answers. Rather than directly answering the questions, the Mormon spokesperson avoided giving accurate and full-fledged responses. It was almost as if they were embarrassed.

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. 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 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...

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

I have just posted a YouTube video below about a little baby boy named Eliot.

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

Emergent Hell

Doug Pagitt, popular speaker, Emergent Church leader and pastor of Solomon's Porch, interacted with Todd Friel of Way of the Master Radio on October 22, 2007. Their primary topic was hell. I find Pagitt's responses to be extremely eye-opening about the deviation of the Emergent worldview from orthodox Christianity.

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 Price of Good Will - Islam/Christian Dialogue

Muslim scholars authored a historic letter entitled A Common Word Between Us and You. In a bold move, these scholars made an overture of unity with Christians worldwide.

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...


Merry Materialism

During the Christmas holidays, I think Christians have the most difficulty with materialism. American culture has a huge expectation for excess. The expectation suffuses everything that we do as Christians to the point that we often do not even recognize it.

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

A Latter Day Saint Quick Reference

God - The God that we recognize on earth is merely one of millions of gods that started on the pathway of their eternal progression in much the same way that we currently live. By merging faith with works, a faithful Mormon can someday achieve god-hood. Through producing millions of spirit children through sexual relations with one's wife (or wives), an incipient god populates their own planet. God is flesh and blood.

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:

A Mormon President

I'm struggling with the idea of possibly supporting Mitt Romney, a Mormon presidential candidate. Giuliani's social positions on abortion and homosexuality exempt him from my viable candidate list. Thompson and Huckabee also provide some reservations and they may not make it very far in the political process.

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.

Participate in the discussion by commenting or sending me an e-mail directly via the address in my profile. Dialogue is welcomed.

Beware of Atheists Bearing Gifts

As with every religious holiday, we can expect an attack on the institution of Christianity this season. During past holidays, we have had the release of the DaVinci Code, the revamping of the Gospel of Judas, the re-emergence of the Gospel of Thomas -- all spurious and all containing half-baked theories concerning the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

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.

The movie has been sanitized so as not to blatantly offend America's Christian audiences. However, there is no doubt that the movie will popularize the more scurrilous books. Christians should vote with their wallets and not view the movie. If The Golden Compass fares well at the box office, Hollywood will no doubt gauge this as encouragement to wage a more open war on faith.