Christians and conspiracy theories

The Sola Sisters have compiled several articles on the topic of Christians and Conspiracy Theories. These articles were written to biblically address the reality of conspiracy theory websites that Christians are sometimes drawn to, but which we feel are unbiblical and cause Christians to become unbalanced and unsteady in their walks.

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Christians, the Super Bowl, and rejecting conspiratorial thinking

Yes, the world is wicked. And yes, a lot of that in-your-face wickedness was on display, both visually and lyrically, in many ways during the 2015 Super Bowl half-time show. But please, let’s not go down the Illuminati rabbit hole. Exhibit A, an article from the dodgy, conspiracy-focused website called Now The End Begins, entitled: Ex-Christian Katy Perry Promotes Dark Magic and LGBT Agena at 2015 Super Bowl Halftime Show. View article →

Mark Driscoll: a timeline of his downfall

What follows is a brief timeline of Mars Hill history. This timeline is by no means comprehensive, but merely gives a brief overview of some of what has taken place in Mars Hill under Mark Driscoll. In my opinion, three of the events below were pivotal moments that, taken together, caused Christians outside of Mars Hill to sit up and start asking questions about Driscoll. View article →

To Christmas, or not to Christmas, that is the question

I have noticed in recent weeks what seems to now be an annual occurrence of Christians-shouldn’t-celebrate-Christmas-because-it’s-a-pagan-holiday commentary online. So to address that topic head on, I should like first to say that I would never urge a brother or sister to go against their conscience if they felt that celebrating Christmas was wrong or sinful. I do not disdain my brothers or sisters who are uncomfortable with such celebrations, nor do I feel somehow superior in my freedom. But what I should like to point out is that a lot of this fear over celebrating Christmas (and oftentimes, Easter, too) comes from misinformation attributed to an historian named Alexander Hislop. We’ve posted before about the myths associated with Hislop – myths that were formed from his own biases, and which were not actually rooted in historical data. And I would therefore urge, with all gentleness and kindness, for my fellow Christians to think this issue through biblically, historically and truthfully. After all, God is the author of all truth, isn’t He? So truth matters.

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The Hebrew Roots folks are again busy telling Christians they are sinning if they celebrate Christmas

The Hebrew Roots folks are out in force again this Christmas season, attempting to convince Christians that they are sinning against God by celebrating Christmas.* Sorry, but I’m going to have to whip out my can of Luke on them for that. After all, if the gospel accounts record Jesus’ birth being proclaimed, angels singing his praises, shepherds rushing to see him, and wise men bringing him gifts some time later, why should we not, as Christians, also have the freedom to:

  • proclaim his birth (using Christmas as a springboard to talk about how God has sent a Savior who died for sinners);
  • sing his praises;
  • dwell on the fact that one day I will bodily be in his presence, just as those who rushed to his side that day were in his presence; and
  • exchange gifts with my loved ones as a way of remembering the greatest Gift of all time, our Savior, who was given to us by God out of his great loving-kindness?

* Please note that I respect the right of my Christian brothers and sisters who choose not to celebrate Christmas. And just as I do not look upon them with disdain, neither should they look upon me with disdain (Col. 2:16).

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The fault lines of Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy

For those unfamiliar with Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy, here’s a thumbnail sketch: Christian Reconstructionists are the buttoned-up version of Dominionism. On one side of the Dominionism coin, you have the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), who believe they have a mandate from God to take spiritual dominion of the earth. Out of this mistaken belief, which is based on misinterpreting various Bible verses including Genesis 1:28 and Psalm 8 (which are about taking physical dominion of the earth, not spiritual dominion), the NARs have developed errant teachings known as “Joel’s Army” and the “7 Mountain Mandate.”

But flip the Dominionism coin, and you will find Christian Reconstructionism, a much more theologically buttoned-up form of Dominionism, and one that has taken strong root inside the homeschooling community. Christian Reconstructionists work very, very hard to distinguish themselves from the New Apostolic Reformation, with its wackadoodle services where adherents sometimes shake, quiver, bark like dogs, and deceive themselves into believing angel feathers, gold dust and glory clouds are manifesting. Christian Reconstructionists eschew all this nonsense, and rightly so. Christian Reconstructionists are also, as previously noted, much more theologically buttoned-up and biblically grounded. But like their NAR counterparts, Christian Reconstructionists also believe they have a mandate from God to reclaim the culture, and the world.

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Thoughts on Driscoll and the biblical qualifications for a pastor

Pastoring 101 – here’s what should happen when seminary students show up for their first day of class: they are handed two live sheep. And the professor then tells them this: your assignment is to look after these sheep for the next semester. You are to feed them, care for them, tend them, comb their wool, and protect them from wolves. If, at the end of the semester, you return both of these sheep to me, alive and in good condition (i.e. they not frightened, malnourished or missing any limbs), then you will have earned the right to graduate to the next step: learning how to minister to actual people. View article →

What John Piper finally said about the issue of Mark Driscoll … what we wish he had said instead

Since his resignation, former megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has reportedly fled the biblical process of church discipline at Mars Hill, perhaps in favor of setting up another church elsewhere with those willing to turn a blind eye to his sins and unresolved conflicts at his former church. (For documentation of Driscoll’s having fled the discipline process, listen to the audio of Mars Hill pastor A.J. Hamilton speaking at the 19 October 2014 Mars Hill church service, beginning at the 37 minute mark.)

Understandably, many eyes have now turned to Dr. Piper, who has in past years given Driscoll a large and generous platform, beginning with featuring Driscoll at the 2006 Desiring God conference. In a recent interview, Dr. Piper was asked if, given the magnitude of the scandals now associated with Driscoll, he had any regrets in partnering with Driscoll over the years. In essence, Dr. Piper stated in the interview published on 13 November 2014 that, despite “mistakes that Mark may have made” or instances in which “he might have walked out of step with the truth,” he had “no regrets” over partnering with Driscoll, and that despite some misgivings he had, he felt that Driscoll was on the whole a solid teacher.

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Mars Hill “Global Fund” contributors with concerns invited to contact Washington State Attorney General’s office

Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, who was first introduced to the world by being featured as a keynote speaker at John Piper’s 2006 Desiring God conference, and who quickly gathered a large following along with a “bad boy” reputation, has now resigned. However, questions still remain about alleged improprieties having to do with the handling of some of the finances while he was the lead pastor at his church, particularly with respect to the Mars Hill Global Fund, a fund to which Mars Hill attendees were encouraged to contribute, and which was positioned as being for missions.  View article →

Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll resigns, claims he is not “disqualified from future ministry”

Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, who was first introduced to the world by being featured as a keynote speaker at John Piper’s 2006 Desiring God conference, and who quickly gathered a large following along with a “bad boy” reputation, has now resigned. However, in his resignation letter, Driscoll appeared to leave open the possibility of his return to public ministry by stating that he was thankful to the Mars Hill church oversight committee for making it clear that he (Driscoll) has not been disqualified from future ministry. His basis for making such a claim seems to rest on the fact that the oversight committee had stated that Driscoll had not been charged with “criminal activity, immorality or heresy.” It should be noted, however, that these things, while important, are not the entire standard against which a pastor is to be held. View article →

Carl Trueman: Concerns with Quiverfull/Patriarchy

For anyone wanting to hear a balanced discussion about a movement within conservative Christianity known as the Quiverfull/Patriarchy movement, and the problems with it, please listen to the Sinister Headship episode of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelical’s Mortification of Spin radio show. Carl Trueman’s guest is Rachel Miller of The Aquila Report, who recently wrote an article entitled The Soul-numbing Dangers of Patriarchy.

Christine Pack and Cathy Matthews comment further on their Sola Sisters blog. View article →

9/11: a wake up call for one woman

9/11 woke me up. In fact, it awakened both me and my husband from our easygoing lifestyle. You’ve read articles that mention there was a massive influx in church services right after 9/11 happened? My husband and I were part of that. We went to church with lots of questions. If our lives can be snuffed out in an instant, what does it all mean? Is there a God? If there is a God, is He good? And if He is good, why did He let 9/11 happen? Turns out, we were asking all the wrong questions. View article →

Hope for Christians who have been spiritually abused

When you think of spiritual abuse, does your mind conjure up a rigid, stifling environment in which people are expected to dress in an extremely conservative way, and adhere to certain legalistic rules in order to be accepted? While it’s true that these are sometimes the marks of a spiritually abusive environment,

What about a church whose members are often in true fellowship with each other? Churches where members laugh together, eat meals together, study God’s Word together, bowl and bike and hike together, and swap recipes and share coffee while the kids play together?

As surprising as it may seem, spiritual abuse can happen in these environments just as much as in the obviously legalistic churches. And oftentimes, those experiencing the abuse are not even aware that it is taking place. View article →

 

The Christian and essential oils: a few thoughts

For those Christians who haven’t heard, essential oils are big business. Big, big business. Make no mistake: essential oils are the hottest thing going since yoga invaded the church a decade ago. One of the largest and most well known of these essential oils companies is Young Living. Young Living sells its products through Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), a pyramid form of selling that works through networking. (Other MLM companies that might be familiar to some readers are Amway, Juice Plus, Pampered Chef, Herbalife and Mary Kay.)

If you happen to be one of the few that hasn’t yet heard about essential oils, just wait. One day soon your Facebook inbox will blow up with invitations to this or that essential oils home party. If you choose to attend one of these parties, you might learn some useful tips for making nice-smelling homemade cleaning products or cosmetics with essential oils, but you might also be exposed to some very unbiblical concepts about sin, sanctification and illness.

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Former Sovereign Grace Ministries youth leader convicted of sexual abuse; C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris resign from TGC

Christianity Today is reporting that C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris, both key figures in the history of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), have resigned from The Gospel Coalition (TGC), a parachurch organization of which both were members, following the May 2014 conviction of former SGM youth leader Nathaniel Morales of multiple counts of child sexual abuse. View article →

What’s on deck

Any of our regular readers know of my deep and abiding love for hymns. I am constantly finding and downloading new hymns: some old, some new, some contemporary, some traditional, some gospely and bluesy, some on the pipe organ, and everything in between. I am also constantly being surprised at hearing from readers who report that they have had little to no exposure to hymns. With that in mind, I’d like to share my current iPod playlist, for anyone who would like to check out a few of these hymns and see what they’ve been missing. View article →

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: a Christianized version of “sexytime” with ghosts?

Out of the highly sexualized culture in America, which also has a taste for the supernatural, comes a recent article describing alleged sexual encounters with ghosts. Actress Natasha Blasick and pop singer Ke$ha have both shared in recent interviews about their sexual experiences with supernatural entities, with Ke$ha terming her encounter “sexytime with a ghost.”

But wait, here comes the Reformed Christian culture wanting a piece of this action too. After all, they’ve got their very own mystical girl looking for “sexytime” with God in Ann Voskamp, who has written of having a sexual encounter with God in her bestselling book, One Thousand Gifts.

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Centering prayer taught by mystic Phileena Heuertz at Catalyst Dallas

 A Centering Prayer exercise was recently led by mystic and contemplative spiritualist Phileena Heuertz at Catalyst conference, which is a Christian conference that moves from city to city. The current Catalyst is being held April 30-May 2, 2014 in Dallas, TX.  Heuertz, who is the author of Pilgrimage of the Soul, was listed as a “lab speaker,” which means that her session was probably a breakout session in which not all of the conference attendees were participants. Some of the other Catalyst Dallas speakers include Tullian Tchividjian, Dave Ramsey, Louie Giglio, Mark Batterson, Jen Hatmaker, Craig Groeschel, and Francis Chan. View article →

A warning to Christians about homeopathy

With respect to Edward Bach, who created homeopathic treatments, are his theories, methods and preparations scientific? Do they seem compatible with the Christian worldview? Let’s remember that God gave humans minds with which to reason things out, and that includes the use of the scientific method for testing substances, as opposed to going by mystical feelings, hunches, guesses, or impressions (which was how Bach developed his remedies).

Also, when I look at the list of 12 “emotional types” that Bach came up with, I can think of lots of Scripture that addresses those weaknesses in humans, none of which involve floating flowers in stream water and allowing the sun to spiritually imbue the essence of those flowers into the water in order to magically free the affected individual from those weaknesses.

Christians should call sin sin, and should address their areas of weakness biblically: through accountability, Scripture memorization, Bible study, prayer, etc. That takes relying upon the Lord and the power of the Holy spirit for wisdom and strength, diligence, a desire for holiness and hard work. There are no magical remedies for sin, but thankfully the Bible does gives us all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

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Et tu, Jars of Clay?

It used to be that professing Christians, even the more liberal ones, knew that unrepentant sin was not okay. But no longer. In today’s finger-in-the-air, blow-with-the-trends evangelicalism, it seems that those who call themselves “Christian” today must be stopped at the gate for a definition-of-terms check. Jesus as the Son of God? Check. The substitutionary atonement as payment for sins? Check. Jesus raised from the dead as proof of his satisfactory work? Check. Gives a pass on homosexual sin in the name of ultra-tolerant love? Not so fast, buster. View article →

Former nanny to Doug Phillips’ family files lawsuit, alleges sexual misconduct

World Net Daily is reporting that Vision Forum’s former president, Doug Phillips, has been named in a lawsuit by Lourdes Torres, a young woman who worked as a nanny for the Phillips’ family beginning at the age of 15. Torres has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, alleging that Phillips committed “inappropriate, unwanted, and immoral sexual acts” against her while she worked and lived in the Phillips’ home and tended to his children. View article →

Bill Gothard legalism

A couple of years ago, I innocently posted an illustration on my Facebook wall which to me at that time, illustrated what I thought was a biblical concept of submission in the home. Shortly after posting it, I began receiving information that this illustration had originated with a man named Bill Gothard, and who was a very influential figure, if not the most influential figure, in the hyper-patriarchal homeschooling movement I had just begun to research. View article →

Should Christians pay any attention to the ‘blood moons’ talk?

For those who don’t know what the blood moon chatter is all about, or have maybe heard something about it but don’t know what it is, writer John Hagee has recently published a book which purports to have scientific evidence that there will be four lunar events which Hagee claims are known biblically (and prophetically) as “blood moons.” These blood moons, Hagee claims, herald the beginning of the End Times. This teaching has inexplicably gone viral, with USA Today picking up this story, and #FourBloodMoons becoming one of the hottest trending topics on Twitter and Facebook. Even I got on Twitter and posted about it, and I never get on Twitter! View article →