The work of the ministry is to build up the body of Christ. It is the business of the ministers to build up the Church, not to build up themselves! Alas! they have far too often built up themselves, and we read of princes of the Church living in positions of great wealth and pomp. What an utter travesty that is of Paul’s teaching! Let us note also that ministers are called to build up; not to please and to entertain. The way in which they are to do this is summed up perfectly in that most lyrical passage in Acts 20. The Apostle Paul was bidding farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus, at the seaside, and this is what he said: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (v.32). ~ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Christian Unity: An Exposition of Ephesians 4:1-16,” pg.202
This piece by Gaylene Goodroad is posted on Herescope. Christians who are involved in Eastern mysticism will read this, see the danger, and leave it. The Christian who chooses to participate in any sort of pagan practice is in rebellion against God.
“For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with influences from the east….” (Isaiah 2:6)
BEATLEMANIA AND EASTERN MYSTICISM
When the Beatles helped to bring Transcendental Meditation (TM) into vogue in the 1960s, few could imagine then that the mystical Hindu practice would endure beyond the hippie generation and become commonplace today from the elementary school classroom to the Christian church.
What modern meditators might not know is that the “Fab Four” learned Eastern meditation from Hindu guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Upon his death in 2008, a CBS News article recapped the Maharishi’s dark contribution to the world:
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru to the Beatles who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, died Tuesday at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop, a spokesman said. He was thought to be 91 years old… Once dismissed as hippie mysticism, the Hindu practice of mind control known as transcendental meditation gradually gained medical respectability. He began teaching TM in 1955 and brought the technique to the United States in 1959. But the movement really took off after the Beatles attended one of his lectures in 1967. Maharishi retreated last month into silence at his home on the grounds of a former Franciscan monastery, saying he wanted to dedicate his remaining days to studying the ancient Indian texts that underpin his movement…. With the help of celebrity endorsements, Maharishi – a Hindi-language title for Great Seer – parlayed his interpretations of ancient scripture into a multi-million-dollar global empire. His roster of famous meditators ran from Mike Love of the Beach Boys to Clint Eastwood and Deepak Chopra, a new age preacher. After 50 years of teaching, Maharishi turned to larger themes, with grand designs to harness the power of group meditation to create world peace and to mobilize his devotees to banish poverty from the earth.
For those who are unfamiliar with Steven Furtick, he is among those the late Ken Silva dubbed: Evangelical Ecumenical Magisterium (EEM) which is comprised of megachurch pastors.
In a blog post entitled Steven Furtick and the Second Great Embarrassment, Silva quipped: “Furtick is the spiritually nefarious prophet-leader of the highly influential multi-site megachurch known as Elevation Church, who is without a doubt a leading member of this EEM along with e.g. James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll.”
Southern Baptists will not be amused at what their president is doing. Seems he is leading that denomination down a very slippery slope. The Pulpit and Pen has the report:
Last week I reported on Southern Baptist president, Ronnie Floyd, participating in the Onething Conference put on by the apostate IHOP (International House Of Prayer) Church, founded by New Apostolic Reformation “prophet” Mike Bickle. I even went out on a limb and speculated that he may be attempting to unite the Southern Baptist Convention with the organization, since he has a similar religious worldview with them. Just when I thought this rabbit hole couldn’t go any deeper, it has been brought to my attention that this event will be strongly pro-Roman Catholic.
It’s as though we Southern Baptists are in a twilight zone of sorts. Martin Luther, John Calvin–all the men who put their lives on the line, or martyred themselves to separate from Rome–these great Protestant men would be turning over in their graves. It’s bad enough that prominent SBC pastor Rick Warren, and ERLC leader Russell Moore took to the Vatican last year to participate in a largely political event backed by co-belligerence. I, along with most Protestants, strongly opposed that too, but that is small potatoes compared to this.
Most Americans are unaware that the RCC receives millions of taxpayer dollars to settle refugees in the U.S. Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media has the story:
In the face of President Obama’s veto threat, members of Congress may not be able to pass legislation suspending or upgrading the program permitting refugees from Syria, the Middle East and North Africa to settle in the U.S. But the Republican Congress certainly has the power to hold hearings into the millions of taxpayer dollars being funneled through Catholic and other church groups to bring them here. Many Catholics and non-Catholics alike would like to know how “religious compassion,” using federal money, is increasing the potential terrorist threat to America.
You may recall that Pope Francis promoted the Obama administration’s pro-immigration policies during his visit to the U.S. Left unsaid was the fact that the American branch of the Roman Catholic Church is getting millions of taxpayer dollars to settle refugees. According to their financial statement for 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops received over $79 million in government grants to provide benefits to refugees.
Simply stated, Congress can expose how the money is being spent and cut it off.
John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire offers many reasons Bible believing Christians should not practice contemplative prayer or have any involvement in Christian mysticism which has its roots in Roman Catholicism, as you will see.
According to International House of Prayer founder Mike Bickle, “God is calling everyone. Everyone in the Body of Christ is called to live in the contemplative lifestyle—everyone.’”
Is Bickle’s promotion of contemplative prayer a problem? Very much so.
Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing, warns, “Contemplative prayer is presenting a way to God identical with all the world’s mystical traditions. Christians are haplessly lulled into it by the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom of God and greater piety, yet the apostle Paul described the church’s end-times apostasy in the context of a mystical seduction. If this practice doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does.”
H/T to Glenn Chatfield over at The Watchman’s Bagpipes blog for this one. This piece contains unbridled blasphemy that will raise the blood pressure of Bible believing Christians. Jeffrey Walton of Juicy Ecumenism reports that “During the communion liturgy, Wesley [Theological Seminary] Professor and Episcopal Priest Sathianathan Clarke proclaimed: ‘It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, O Father and Mother, creator of all things old, new and in transition.’”
“In transition” refers to transgender people who have convinced themselves that God made a mistake when He made them male and female. Sadly, these people have the ridiculous idea that male-to-female transsexuals are actually females trapped in male bodies, and vise versa.
So, let’s begin at the beginning of what Chatfield refers to as “blasphemy of great proportions”:
Students at United Methodist-affiliated Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC gathered Thursday for a special service to commemorate the lives of persons who identify as transgender.
The noontime “Transgender Day of Remembrance” service held November 19 at Wesley’s Oxnam chapel was sponsored by Of Sacred Worth, a student organization established to promote understanding of LGBTQ people in the church.
Berean Research has the story of a transgender Lutheran who is about to be ordained. Be sure to watch the video:
She says she is “worthy” and “deserving.”
She’s a he. He’s transgendered (calls himself She). He’s about to be ordained in the “Lutheran” “Church” (both in bunny ears) He says he is worthy and deserving to be baptized, and worthy of the promises of God. Unfortunately, God promises wrath to those who do not repent of their sin and believe on Jesus, who washes all sin clean by His shed blood.
The Reformation Project’s Matthew Vines is sharing this man’s testimony and speech from the RP’s recent Kansas City conference: Nicole Garcia lit up the room with a fiery, heartfelt, and theologically grounded keynote address on our opening night,” says Vines, who launched a campaign to get all churches (especially the theologically grounded ones) to stop calling homosexuality a sin and to embrace gay members and gay marriage. (See our White Paper on the Homosexual Agenda.)
Here is a snippet of the speech, which you can watch on YouTube in its entirety:
Is it any wonder that I identify with this story? A person of color. A person who is not of the dominant culture. A person who does not fit into the gender binary systems. I really see the world through the eyes of the Ethiopian eunuch. For I, too, believe that Christ Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead in order that I may have eternal life in his kingdom—that I am worthy of baptism, I am worthy of the promises of God. I have been recreated, justified, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Republished with permission (Source)
Amy Spreeman of Berean Research shares a letter she received from a mom who learned that, while she attended a Bible study, the children’s leaders were “cheerfully working to coerce the children into praying the Sinner’s Prayer.” But is reciting a prayer out loud or in our heads even biblical? Some say yes, others say no. Amy believes “it is biblical to pray to Jesus to ask Him to forgive us our sins. But without true repentance, there can be no regeneration.” Thus, “it is not biblical to say someone is saved ‘because of reciting the Sinner’s Prayer.’ We must put our trust, hope, and faith in Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, but to give someone assurance of salvation based on reciting a prayer, or thinking the words in our heads as someone else says them, does not produce saving faith.”
Anmy Spreeman of Berean Research reports on WND’s promotion of a heretical Bible. We should not be surprised as WND promotes all sorts of unbiblical things, as you will see:
Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of advertisements for The Cepher Bible, a new translation of sorts brought to you by WND, where editor Joseph Farah sells Cepher alongside The Harbinger, The Rabbi Who Found Jesus, the Mystery of the Shemitah and other questionable books.
WND is a source to mark and avoid for discerning Christians, as I discovered several years ago when I first learned that the site sponsored Sid Roth’s hour-long video tutorial on how to do the New Age Soaking prayer.
But with the growth of the dangerous Hebrew Roots Movement, there is concern that WND’s powerful readership numbers may be aiding and abetting false teachers to reach a whole new audience. Christian Answers for the New Age author Marcia Montenegro recently alerted her readers:
From Berean Research:
Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley is a Berean. “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11 Michelle does not take pleasure in exposing teachers who are not doctrinally sound. You need only to visit her blog to know that. In this blog post she takes a popular teacher and author to task for not rightly handling the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15) thus misleading women — and some men. No doubt she will receive a lot of flack for exposing a beloved Christian celeb, so pray for her.
There’s a big brewhaha going on over the Starbucks holiday coffee cup. Seems some people are incensed that the cups are plain red, with no recognition of Christianity, when there could have been. This is surprising in light of the fact that Starbucks has never paid tribute to the reason for the season on its cups. Since 1997 the left-leaning company “has told a story of the holidays by featuring symbols of the season from vintage ornaments and hand-drawn reindeer to modern vector-illustrated characters.” The company logo is “a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren,” which is clearly pagan. One would think that professing Christians would find it offensive to see a pagan logo on one side of the cup and the baby Jesus on the other side.
So anyway, apparently the outside of the cup artists Starbucks’ employs ran out of ideas, threw caution to the wind, and went with an all red cup…and you know the rest of the story.
So to add some perspective to the brewhaha, listen to what Albert Mohler had to say in The Briefing:
Without doubt this does point to the larger secularization of the culture and that means that corporate interests and advertisers no longer feel like they have to give a tip of the hat to Christianity during the time of Christmas, as well as other holidays of the season. One explanation of this just might be religious diversity in the United States. I don’t actually think that’s the big story. I think the bigger story is the loss of cultural Christianity and the fact that major corporations no longer feel that they actually have to give any kind of tacit tip of the hat to Christmas or to Christians during the holiday season.
The End Times has provided a list of best-selling books that are supposedly “Christian” but are actually New Age/New Thought books that preach “Another Jesus”, “Another Spirit,” and “Another Gospel.” One of the books is “Jesus Calling” which is very popular among professing Christians. Jesus Calling was “the seventh-best selling book in America last year was a 10-year-old Christian devotional written by a woman who claims to have written down the words of God.”
More lunacy from Bethel “Church” in Redding, California. John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire fills us in on what Bethel’s children’s pastor is up to:
This article was written after watching the following two videos: Jesus asked Bethel Redding Children’s Pastor for forgiveness? Video, and Bethel Redding Children’s Pastor and the giant finance angel? Video
“Activating” the kids at Bethel Redding
1. “We also have a curriculum, four lessons on that that will just get your kids activated in prophesying over each other, over teachers, and learning how God will talk to them, learning to hear Him…”  –Seth Dahl, Bethel Redding Children’s Pastor
2. “Oftentimes, I think we get too concerned about is that God or is that me. I think we get way too concerned since we have the mind of Christ. Much of what God will do will feel like us or seem like us. ”  –Seth Dahl, Bethel Redding Children’s Pastor
3. “That’s the goal, is to get the children experiencing the works of God from a young age, having experiences to do with God, so they can never be argued out of their experience.”  –Seth Dahl, Bethel Redding Children’s Pastor
4. “You know, I think our environment, we have a lot of grace for, let’s say a kid gives a Word of Knowledge that isn’t accurate. We’re okay with that. We just have a high value for risk. And if it didn’t work, it didn’t work, and we move on.”  –Eric Johnson, Bethel Redding Pastor
5. “You had me come down and bring some kids to do Words of Knowledge on the stage. Like, how can we activate the kids more?”  –Seth Dahl to Eric Johnson
Activate the kids?
Was Peter as bad as Judas? The writer of a new book believes Peter was actually a false disciple destined for eternal damnation. Kevin P. Emmert of Christianity Today has the story:
A leading evangelical scholar says Matthew thought Peter was as bad as Judas.
Robert Gundry, scholar-in-residence and professor emeritus of New Testament and Greek at Westmont College, argues in his most recent book, Peter – False Disciple and Apostate according to Saint Matthew (Eerdmans), that “Matthew portrays Peter as a false disciple of Jesus, a disciple who went so far as to apostatize.” He believes Matthew does so to warn Christians “against the loss of salvation through falsity-exposing apostasy” and against the “ongoing presence of false disciples in the church.”
“The good news about Christ needed to be tailored to Matthew’s, Mark’s, Luke’s, and John’s [respective] audiences,” Gundry told CT. “Hence the differences between the four Gospels. We have the good news according to Matthew, and so on. We have different versions of the good news suited to different needs and circumstances.”
This is a question for unbelievers, of course. Christians know that there is no such thing as a ghost. In fact “No evidence has produced a single fact that should sway a Christian into believing that the spirits of deceased people can loiter on earth,” wrote Rick Barry in 2010 for Answers in Genesis Magazine.
According to Christian apologist Ron Rhodes who penned The Truth Behind Ghosts, Mediums, and Psychic Phenomena:
A common misconception is that disembodied spirits can remain on earth or perhaps come back to “haunt” or otherwise interact with us. However, nothing in the Bible supports this belief. Rather, “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
Dabbling in spirit contact is strictly forbidden in the Bible. We must come to grips with the fact that demons can masquerade as the dead and can mimic the voices of our loved ones. Moreover, demons can give information that only the dead person would have known. For this reason believers must never attempt to contact the spirit world.
So – now to the article Rick Barry wrote for AIG:
Ghosts. What do you really think about them? If someone pushes us, most will admit a degree of love for scary stories. But what about reports of real ghosts, even by sincere Christians? Few Christians seem to know what to think. If we look to the Scriptures, however, we find solid answers, even on this murky subject.
Both children and adults alike wonder about the existence of ghosts. Some reject the notion. Others insist that ghosts exist and cite experiences—their own or friend-of-a-friend stories—as proof.
But what is a ghost? Although definitions vary, the most common one is that ghosts are the disembodied spirits of dead people that linger on earth. According to tradition, ghosts are invisible but can permit humans to see them.
Of course, either a thing exists or it doesn’t. No amount of belief will cause ghosts to exist if they don’t; nor could personal opinion cause ghosts not to exist if, in fact, they truly do exist. Because a person’s belief in ghosts creates very serious and far-reaching ramifications, it’s a topic that no Christian should ignore.
Reformation Day is coming up. Why do Protestants commemorate this day? Stephen Nichols, president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, tells us what led up to “the trial that led to the birth of the modern world.” But first watch a dramatic reenactment of Martin Luther standing before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms defending what he taught and had written. (H/T John Lanagan):
Now to Dr. Nichols piece:
A single event on a single day changed the world. It was October 31, 1517. Brother Martin, a monk and a scholar, had struggled for years with his church, the church in Rome. He had been greatly disturbed by an unprecedented indulgence sale. The story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Let’s meet the cast.
First, there is the young bishop—too young by church laws—Albert of Mainz. Not only was he bishop over two bishoprics, he desired an additional archbishopric over Mainz. This too was against church laws. So Albert appealed to the Pope in Rome, Leo X. From the De Medici family, Leo X greedily allowed his tastes to exceed his financial resources. So enter the artists and sculptors, Raphael and Michelangelo.
When Albert of Mainz appealed for a papal dispensation, Leo X was ready to deal. Albert, with the papal blessing, would sell indulgences for past, present, and future sins. All of this sickened the monk, Martin Luther. Can we buy our way into heaven? Luther had to speak out.
But why October 31? November 1 held a special place in the church calendar as All Soul’s Day. On November 1, 1517, a massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. None of this seemed right.
Martin Luther, a scholar, took quill in hand, dipped it in his inkwell and penned his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. These were intended to spark a debate, to stir some soul-searching among his fellow brothers in the church. The 95 Theses sparked far more than a debate. The 95 Theses also revealed the church was far beyond rehabilitation. It needed a reformation. The church, and the world, would never be the same.
Pulpit & Pen brings to our attention Ed Stetzer’s continuing lack of discernment. This is important because Stetzer runs the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention so he has a lot of clout in the Christian community. According to P&P:
Remember the large kerfuffle that started last year involving Lifeway, the media retail branch of the Southern Baptist Convention, and their peddling of heretical materials for profit? It all began when Pulpit & Pen confronted Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of Lifeway Research about Lifeway’s promotion of Heaven Tourism books and other heretical materials in their retail outlets. Stetzer’s response was to brush off the complaints and counter attack with ad-hominems while ignoring the issue. This sparked a widespread movement, known as #the15 on Twitter, which after much investigation and uncovering of evidence of wrongdoing by Lifeway’s leadership, eventually led to Lifeway removing Heaven tourism books for good.
Why would the Communist party USA be thrilled when the Supreme Court discovered a new right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution? And why are communists bent on pushing the LGBT agenda? According to Paul Kengor of The Daily Signal: “Communist Party USA and its publication, People’s World—successor to the Soviet-funded and directed Daily Worker—were thrilled with what Anthony Kennedy and friends had done.” This was no surprise to Kengor who studies communism for a living.
For communists, this was a stunning victory, the securing of a long-elusive effort to vanquish the fixed marriage model set forth long ago by nature and the Creator. Indeed, if you thought the White House seemed eager to hoist the rainbow colors, you should have seen the American Communist Party.
In fact, the party of the red flag had been waving the rainbow flag before June 26, 2015. Communist Party USA has been pumping the full “LGBT” agenda for several years now.
Lauded by John MacArthur (Grace to You) and Mark Dever (9 Marks), CRN contributor Jon Cardwell gives his review of Jeffrey D. Johnson’s book, The Church: Why Bother:
In early 2007, a book was released by an Emergent (or Emerging) Church pastor titled, THEY LIKE JESUS BUT NOT THE CHURCH: INSIGHTS FROM EMERGING GENERATIONS. From a title like this, it’s clear he (and others) hasn’t a clue what the church is all about, what scripture says about what the church is and what it is not, what is the gospel, and what is Biblical Christianity. Imagine this scenario: You invite me to your home, I arrive with my lovely wife, Lisa, in tow, and when I get to your door you tell me, “You can come in, pastor, but I don’t like your wife. She’s not welcome here.” There are certainly gatherings of people calling themselves a “church” of Jesus Christ that do not reflect the behavior or resemble the Biblical picture of what is, in gospel truth, the beloved bride of Christ. Come on people, we’ve all read Matthew 7:21-23, haven’t we? Yet, to portray the true church of Jesus Christ, with the kind of perspective presented in the aforementioned book title, though pervasive today, is altogether wrong— doctrinally misinformed at best and hateful, unbiblical and unchristian at worst. Hard words, I know, yet words needing to be said regardless of toes and feelings.
Are you aware that the church in Thyatira’s big sin was……..tolerance? (Revelation 2:18-29) Tolerance “made being a Christian a lot easier, much less costly, must less counter-cultural,” writes pastor and best-selling author Kevin DeYoung. “But it was a compromised Christianity, and Jesus could not tolerate it.”
So why has the visible Church become so tolerant of the things the Lord Jesus said He hates?
Christians cannot be tolerant of all things because God is not tolerant of all things. We can respect differing opinions and try to understand them, but we cannot give our unqualified, unconditional affirmation to every belief and behavior. Because God doesn’t. We must love what God loves. That’s where Ephesus failed. But we must also hate what God hates. That’s where Thyatira failed.
Of the seven cities in Revelation, Thyatira is the least well known, the least impressive, and the least important. And yet, the letter is the longest of the seven. There was a lot going on at this church–some bad, some good.
Let’s start with the good. Verse 19, “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance.” Ephesus was praised for its good deeds and strong work ethic. Thyatira is even better. Is has the deeds that Ephesus had and the love that Ephesus lacked. The church at Thyatira was not without genuine virtue. It was a tight-knit bunch who loved, served, believed, and endured.
Is so-called Christian radio an instrument of God being used to bring people to Christ? Blogger Timothy Hammons takes a look at what is being passed off as Christian radio. Should we financially support this stuff?
In regard to “Christian contemporary music,” does it matter if the lyrics to the songs are theologically and biblically based?
Hammons also tackles contemporary worship or “praise music.” Is the music we sing in our churches even biblical? In his view: “The church should be giving us the songs we sing from God’s word, not from the sinful inclinations of the musician.”
In October 2013 Grace to You (GTY) hosted the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church to launch John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire. The conference critiqued those on the fringe of the charismatic movement who flagrantly misrepresent the work of the Holy Spirit. The conference caused quite a stir, to say the least. But that was two years ago. Seems GTY is not going to let sleeping dogs lie:
While the response to the conference was overwhelming, many of the issues that were raised have yet to be seriously acted upon. Our goal is to fan the flames of this important discussion and continue the call for discernment and discipline in the charismatic movement. To that end, we want to rerun some of the important articles from before and after the conference, and encourage you to visit the Strange Fire website for all the sermons, articles, and videos from that landmark event.
The first person to fan the flames is Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace to You.
Most people are unaware that A.A.’s co-founder Bill Wilson received the details of the 12 Steps through spirit dictation. John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire has taken the time to research A.A.’s beginnings. Following is a smidgen of what he has uncovered over the years:
It’s too late. Alcoholics Anonymous has served its purpose. That purpose has been to weaken the church, dilute the theology of Christians exposed to the 12 Step religion, and to point unbelievers away from Christ.
Through A.A. and other 12 Step groups, millions of Christians have placed Christ in a modern day pantheon, a temple of many gods, and have become used to worshiping with non-Christians. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
Although frequently (and wrongly) portrayed as Christians, Bill Wilson and A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob Smith delved deeply into the biblically forbidden practice of spiritualism.