What Your Church Needs to Know Before Doing a Priscilla Shirer Study

We have warned our readers about popular speaker, author and Bible study teacher Priscilla Shirer a number of times (here) for the reason that some of her teaching is dangerous. For one thing, Shirer is a proponent of unbiblical contemplative prayer. In a piece over at Lighthouse Trails, we learn that she’s promoting Jan Johnson who also encourages her followers to adopt practices that stem from Roman Catholic mysticism.

According to LHT: In her book, Invitation to the Jesus Life: Experiments in Christlikeness, Johnson shows her resonance with a number of contemplative figures with quotes by and references to them.  One particular name that jumps out is New Age sympathizer Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

LHT begins with these quotes:

Roman Catholic mystic Teresa of Avila

The repetition [of a word or phrase] can in fact be soothing and very freeing, helping us, as [Roman Catholic mystic] Nouwen says, “to empty out our crowded interior life and create the quiet space where we can dwell with God.”—Jan Johnson, When the Soul Listens, p. 93

Years ago, I got a chance to meet Jan Johnson. . . . I was encouraged and redirected in so many ways. As a young woman trying to navigate the ins and outs of my relationship with the Lord, Ms. Jan spoke wisdom into my life that was extremely pivotal in my life—personally and in ministry.—Priscilla Shirer (emphasis added; http://www.goingbeyond.com/blog/wisbits; quoted in 2010 and still up on Shirer’s website)

This week, our office received a call from a woman who was concerned that her church is going to be doing a study using material by Priscilla Shirer. Our caller wanted to get some information she can show her pastor as to why her church should not be doing a Priscilla Shirer study. Because Priscilla Shirer is a contemplative proponent, we concur with our caller’s concerns. In John Lanagan’s booklet,  Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer, Lanagan shows how both Moore and Shirer have been advocates of contemplative spirituality for quite some time. In that booklet, and this is what we want to focus on in this article, Lanagan discusses a woman named Jan Johnson. Because Priscilla Shirer embraces and has gleaned spiritually from Johnson, we need to take a closer look at what Johnson believes.

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Why You Should Be Skeptical of Global Warming Alarmists

According to Terry Jarrett of LifeZette the cause of so-called global warming may be solar activity, not carbon dioxide as we’ve been led to believe. Jarrett writes:

When it comes to the global warming debate, both alarmists and critics agree on one thing: The earth has warmed by roughly 0.8 degrees Celsius over the past 150 years. It’s the cause of this warming, however, that remains in dispute. And while the public is constantly bombarded with messages about the evils of carbon dioxide emissions, there are actually compelling reasons to believe that contemporary global warming has been driven by rising solar output, not carbon dioxide.

To start with the basics, when the sun’s ultraviolet radiation strikes the earth’s surface, it is re-emitted as heat in the form of infrared radiation (IR). Carbon dioxide is one of the atmospheric gases that absorb and re-radiate this heat.

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The photo that lost radio’s ‘Bible Answer Man’ thousands of listeners

According to Tim Funk of Charlotte Observer, between 100 and 150 radio stations dropped BAM from their daily lineups. “That picture of Hank kneeling before a Greek Orthodox priest – that was hard for many evangelicals to see,” said Mike Carbone, chief operating officer at The Truth Network.  TTN dropped BAM from six of its stations, including those in Charlotte and Raleigh. “Hank is as likable a guy as you’ll find,” said Carbone, “but we were not able to go where he was going.”

CRN posted several stories on Hanegraaf’s shocking conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy that can be read here.  Now to Tim Funk’s report:

For nearly three decades, Hank Hanegraaff has been the “Bible Answer Man” to millions of evangelical Christians who tune in to his Charlotte-based radio program with questions – big and small – about Scripture.

“What does the Bible teach about debt?” they ask him. “When is divorce permissible?” And – the question that gets asked the most – “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Two months ago, Hanegraaff, whose faith had long been focused on exploring the truth of a book, went through a different kind of religious experience. It was, he says, “one of the premiere moments in my life.”

On Palm Sunday, he and wife Kathy and two of their 12 children were “chrismated,” or confirmed, at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in southeast Charlotte. During the sacramental rite, a priest anointed them with oil and invoked the Holy Spirit.

And then …

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Hollywood Suffers Meltdown Over Paris Climate Move

Todd Starnes, host of Fox News & Commentary, reports that Hollywood’s so-called esteemed ‘scientists’ fear President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord will put us on a “slippery slope to the hothouse.” He writes:

“Today, our planet suffered,” tweeted Leonardo DiCaprio.

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the Paris Climate Accord has sparked widespread hysteria in juice bars and luxury spas across Hollywood.

As a candidate, Trump vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate deal – slamming what he called “draconian climate rules.”

“The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States,” the president told a gathering Thursday in the Rose Garden.

House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the president’s decision and thanked him for “withdrawing from this bad deal.”

“The Paris climate agreement was simply a raw deal for America,” Ryan said. “Signed by President Obama without Senate ratification, it would have driven up the cost of energy, hitting middle-class and low-income Americans the hardest.”

But some of Hollywood’s most esteemed scientists fear the president’s decision will put the nation on a slippery slope to the hothouse – an apocalyptic future with melting igloos and polar bears unable to put their Coca-Colas on ice.

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Heresy Hunter’s Open letter to Michael Brown…

In letter posted a few days ago, Churchwatch Central (CWC) had a lot to say to Dr. Michael Brown, who is a charismatic, for calling those of us who are involved in online apologetics and discernment ministries “self-appointed heresy hunters.” Actually, what we are is “wolf hunters.” The name fits, as we’re the ones who go after wolves in sheep’s clothing who are savaging the sheep.  Some of those we call out are New Apostolic Reformation self-appointed prophets and apostles who’ve introduced every heresy imaginable into the visible Church. In short, wolf hunters report on anyone who doesn’t hold to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

See also Discernment is rooted in maturity in Christ by Mike Ratliff

Wolf hunters fear God, not man; thus, we will often “names names.” One of the names we’ve brought to the attention of the Christian community is prominent apologist Michael Brown (here).  Why?  For sending wolves into sheep pens.  Dr. Brown responded to what some bloggers were reporting about him — and CWC has hit back.

Dear Dr. Brown,

Recently you took aim at Christians and labeled them as, “self-appointed heresy hunters” who “are like a doctor who amputated his patient’s head because the patient needed eye-glasses.” You went as far as to painting them to be “like the hypocrites Jesus spoke of who strained out a gnat yet swallowed a camel.” You’ve unfairly stereotyped them by claiming they are “damning some of God’s children to hell because of a difference over a non-essential doctrine or practice.”

We already know what you think about us with your false accusations and your fallacious arguments as to ignore the claims about you and your theological practices and leanings. Yet you hold to an ideal in hoping “God reveal to them the fullness of His truth and love, and may the discover the fullness of the Spirit’s power.”

Do you sincerely want that desire to come to pass? Then keep supporting your NAR Apostle and Prophet friends. Keep strengthening the “relational structures” of your NAR network and keep promoting a culture of ‘unity’ at the expense of love and truth.

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Illinois Purges Social Workers and Foster Families Who Don’t ‘Facilitate’ Transgenderism

According to Mary Hasson of The Federalist, the Illinois’s child welfare agency has ordered staff to ‘affirm’ gender ideology and ‘facilitate’ LGBT identities for kids or they’ll be fired. She writes:

The science-deniers are running the LGBTQ show over at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and dissenters will not be tolerated.

The department’s new “enhanced” policies promoting the “well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) children and youth in the Department’s care” ratchet in one direction only: encouraging children towards LGBTQ identities. DCFS has drawn a rainbow-colored line in the sand, announcing it “will not tolerate exposing LGBTQ children and youth to staff/providers who are not supportive of children and youths’ right to self-determination of sexual/gender identity.”

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Right Begins to Fight: Conservatives Launch Offensive Against ‘Hate TV’

According to Lifezette an ‘Army of activists’ have mobilized to end the attempted ‘character assassination’ of conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity. Margaret Menge reports what’s going on:

Conservative groups are going on the offensive following the near takedown of Fox News host Sean Hannity and are pledging to use an “army” of activists to stop the left-wing media’s attempts at character assassination.

“Every network and cable news channel is today on notice that the MRC will be closely monitoring their leftist opinion programs and informing their advertisers and the American public when these programs and hosts go beyond political commentary and engage in smear, hate, and political extremism,” Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center said on Wednesday in announcing his organization’s launch of a new campaign.

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Does God speak to us? Should I expect Him to?

In a piece I wrote several years ago entitled Finding God’s will is no deep dark secret, I tackled the burning question: How can a person know God’s will?  I began by asking the following questions:

Is it possible for a Christian to know God’s will and not have to agonize over it? Should a believer make a decision without first spending hours in prayer, asking God to reveal His will? Must a Christian avoid making a decision until he or she has a “peace about it”? What about waiting for a “sign” from God? Is it okay for a Christian to consult a psychic or a Ouija board to seek God’s guidance?

Today, many Christians want the Lord to tell them what His will is for their lives.  In other words, they expect to hear from Him in one way or another. But is this expectation even biblical? I went to the scriptures to provide the answer.

In a piece over at The End Time, Elizabeth Prata tackles another set of questions that weighs heavy on the minds of many believers: Does God speak to us? And if He does speak to us, do we hear a still small voice, i.e. “personalized whispers,” or does He communicate to us through signs or omens? How exactly does God speak to His people?

Let’s listen to what Elizabeth has to say on this highly debated topic. She writes:

How can I hear God? What do you do to listen to God? Will God be giving me explicit instructions for my life, like He seems to be doing for so many other women?

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Desperate liberals resort to witchcraft to ‘bind’ President Trump

Liberals use tarot cards, chants, spells in their desperation to oust a sitting president

By Marsha West

“I don’t believe in the devil,” she admits, “but I do believe our country has gone to hell, and I am willing to try anything to save us.” Trying anything means she’s willing to join forces with those who practice the magical arts, to include shamans, witches, and warlocks.  These days the preferred term for witch is Wiccan. It matters not what witch’s call themselves. A witch by any other name is still a sorcerer who is hooked by the occult.

The Left is desperate to remove Donald Trump and “all those who abet him” from office, even if it means locking arms with the devil (he does exist) to accomplish their goal.  Ms Wagman must not have heard that New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) “prayer warriors” have tried their hand at “binding” for decades, only they bind demons who inhabit those who, they believe, are demon possessed.  I don’t want to get too far afield, but “Christians” who have embraced the NAR cult tried spiritual warfare prayer on Barack Obama. For all their attempts to bind the demon of…whatever you want to call it (NAR gives them titles like “demon of lust”), Obama still managed to remain in power for eight years. So much for spiritual warfare prayer warriors possessing the power to bind demons. Now the Left is having a go at binding, not demons, but conservatives they loathe.

Wagman informs us:

The “Spell to Bind Donald Trump” was first performed in February. I joined in April. I followed the clear, easy instructions posted online (just Google “Bind Trump” or check out the #Bind Trump Facebook page).

Hate drove Diana Wagman to participate in this craziness. Listen to the extremes Trump-haters will go to in their effort to thwart his agenda:

I found an orange candle in a box of multicolored ones we use for our Hanukkah menorah. I printed the required tarot card off the Internet and propped it up. I cut an unflattering photo of POTUS out of the newspaper, and I burned it while chanting the words of the spell.

My husband was watching “SportsCenter” in the other room. I stood at the kitchen sink. It took less than five minutes. More time was required to get the components together, although that wasn’t difficult — no eye of newt or boiling cauldron required.

Tarot cards…chants…spells? Hard to imagine that in their desperation to oust a sitting president, a large number of liberals would actually participate in an occult ritual.  But they have. Makes one wonder what these people will come up with next. A Trump voodoo doll, perhaps? Oh wait!  You can purchase a Not My President Donald Trump voodoo doll with pins on Amazon.

I’ll close with what Almighty God says about those who take part in the magical arts:

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.  Deuteronomy 18:10-14 (emphasis added)

See Berean Research’s White Paper on Occult-Sorcery

‘America’s Pastor’ Max Lucado in Tulsa to film new TBN series titled ‘Unshakable Hope’

Move over Billy Graham (or is that Rick Warren), because you’ve been replaced as ‘America’s Pastor.’  Seems Max Lucado now wears that title. According to a piece over at Tulsa World, the popular preacher and best-selling author is working with Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on a project. Evidently Rev. Lucado hasn’t gotten the message that TBN, which some call Trinity Blasphemy Network, is a haven for heretics and that deceased founders, Paul and Jan Crouch, were wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Their son, Matthew, who took the reins of power after his mother’s passing, is cut out of the same cloth as his parents. It is no secret that the Crouch family has continually caused division in the visible Church.  What does the Bible say about those who cause division?

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (Romans 16:17-19)

Now to Tulsa World’s report:

Max Lucado, one of America’s best-known Bible teachers and author of books that have sold more than 100 million copies, was at the old Spaghetti Warehouse building in downtown Tulsa this week taping a video series about an upcoming book.

The Lucado project is part of the vision of Tulsa filmmaker Tom Newman to retool Christian television to reach today’s generation. The series, called “Unshakable Hope,” is being produced with the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, using the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.

Newman is program director for Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest Christian television network, a position he assumed about a year and a half ago. TBN has 30 networks in 14 languages reaching millions of people around the globe.

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Saddleback Church Statement Appears to Downplay Role of Alleged Molester Ruben Meulenberg

According to a Lighthouse Trails (LHT) investigation, the released statement by Saddleback Church on May 26th has downplayed alleged child molester Ruben Meulenberg’s role at the church and it appears that he has been quite involved at Saddleback….and so are his parents, Abraham and Marieke. In fact, Abraham is a pastor in charge of interfaith outreach and was involved with Rick Warren’s efforts to form alliances with the Muslim community. So it seems there could be more here than meets the eye. LHT has the story:

On Friday evening (May 26), Saddleback Church released a statement about the arrest of Ruben Meulenberg, the man who allegedly has been molesting boys at Saddleback. The Saddleback statement called Meulenberg a “student ministry volunteer.” Here is the full statement:

We are shocked and grieved to share that this week a Saddleback member reported that a student ministry volunteer had acted inappropriately with two 14-year-old boys. Of course, our staff quickly reported this accusation to our Orange County Sherriff’s Department. The next day, the volunteer was arrested on suspicion of the offense. The investigation of the accusation is now in the hands of the proper authorities. …

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Remembering our fallen soldiers

On this Memorial Day we want to say how thankful we are to those who serve in the armed forces and their families.  It is a time to honor and recognize the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers. To the men and women still serving, it is because of you that we sleep soundly at night.  Be safe and God bless you!

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” ~ George Washington

The Christian Knows What Jesus Says On The Issue Of Homosexuality

Apprising Ministries has a piece by Pastor Ken Silva that was penned in early 2013 where he handles the homosexual debate in a biblical and uncompromising manner. Ken offers encouragement and reminds us that “our job as ambassadors of God in Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20) is to faithfully proclaim what the Lord has said in His inerrant and infallible Word in Scripture.” Now to his article:

Apprising Ministries continues to warn you that there’s a very dark and deviant same sex storm, which is reaching hurricane force and is now only just slightly off the coast of the mainstream evangelical community.

If you need any further convincing of the power of the pro-homosexual lobby consider the recently concluded presidential inauguration where a decades old sermon snippet from ostensibly evangelical Louie Giglio surfaced.

Though I’m no fan of Giglio, in that sermon he rightly called the deviant lifestyle of sexual relations with members of the same sex, i.e. homosexuality, sin. It’s always sexual union outside marriage, which is sexual immorality.

Immediately upon this sermon surfacing Giglio was no longer welcome to give the benediction for Obama’s inauguration. Sadly, Louie Giglio missed the opportunity to bring the hypocrisy of Barack Obama et al to light.

Pastor Giglio should have said: “Go ahead; do whatever you want to me publicly.” That would’ve brought liberals into the open and he could’ve then preached the real Gospel, which would’ve been headlines in the secular news.

Instead he chose to cower under the threat of enemy fire and acquiesce to them as I previously covered in Louie Giglio Is No Hero To Be Admired. The bottom line in this matter with Obama and Giglio is really pretty simple.

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Are Christian Ministries ‘Hate Groups’ for Believing the Bible?

“Are groups who declare homosexual behavior and transgenderism sinful (based on the clear teaching of Scripture) “hate groups?” asks Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis. “Well, The Eliminate Hate Campaign (EHC), a new coalition in America made up of liberal, LGBTQ organizations, certainly thinks so. They’ve formed to “label socially conservative organizations that oppose transgender rights as hate groups” and “to draw attention to groups it sees as extreme and hateful against . . . LGBT people.”

So watch out, Christian, because you’re being targeted.  Here’s Ken’s piece:

“Hate Group”—An Arbitrary Designation

Of course, this immediately raises the question, “Who gets to decide what is extreme, hateful, or a hate group?” The EHC has arbitrarily made itself the authority by saying that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a hate group.

This ignores the obvious fact that many liberals and liberal organizations frequently spew hateful, demeaning, profanity-laced language toward those who disagree with them. (Just view some of the comments on my Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll quickly see what I mean!) Why are they not considered hate groups? It’s arbitrary to designate groups that stand against sinful behavior as “hate groups,” and it’s based on nothing but the coalition’s own values and beliefs. Ultimately it’s a symptom of the spiritual battle raging around us, because those who are “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1) do all they can to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

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Fighting the Politicized, Evidence-Free ‘Collusion with Russia’ Narrative

According to Andrew C. McCarthy of National Review, the ‘Russian collusion’ scandal is completely manufactured. No question that the Russians hoped to influence the election outcome but no one can say whether they actually did, including former CIA director John Brennan who recently answered a slew of questions before the House Intelligence Committee. The end result? “After all this time and effort, Democrats are unable to show that Trump and his minions did anything wrong,” says former assistant U.S. attorney McCarthy. In a column he penned, he makes the case that there is not a smidgen of evidence that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians.  There is collusion, though — between the liberal media and the Democrats. More from McCarthy:

If police believe bank robbers were hoping for inside help on a heist, they don’t hold a press conference to smear the bank manager with their suspicions about “collusion.” They go about the quiet police work of building a conspiracy case. Unless and until they find concrete evidence and are ready to file formal charges, they keep their big mouths shut. Those rudimentary rules of the road are worth remembering when we consider the transparently political testimony of former Obama-administration CIA director John Brennan before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday.

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Planned Parenthood executives joke about decapitating fetuses in new video

Bradford Richardson of Washington Times has the story:

Photo credit: Godspeak Calvary Chapel

Planned Parenthood executives joked about decapitated fetuses, admitted to altering abortion procedures to preserve fetal organs and said clinics have a financial incentive to sell human tissue in a new undercover video released Thursday.

The three-minute video was recorded at an annual National Abortion Federation meeting by pro-life investigators with the Center for Medical Progress. The advocacy group said it’s just a preview of never-before-seen content that has been sealed for almost two years due to legal fights.

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How deep and wide does the NAR rabbit hole go?

On Wednesday we posted a piece by Amy Spreeman of Berean Research entitled “Who Are Family Research Council’s Watchmen On the Wall?” where she revealed who these so-called watchmen are and what the Watchman on the Wall gathering is all about.  Amy decided to do some more digging into pro-family groups, starting with the Family Research Council and what she discovered about this organization will come as a surprise to many of you. Thanks to Amy’s digging, those who’ve helped keep FRC in business by supporting them financially will learn where their money has been spent. She writes:

How do you discover which networks of Apostles are working together to reclaim America and build God’s Kingdom here on earth? You click. Just keep clicking, and clicking, and clicking some more, until things click. It takes time to research, and if you’re looking for an easy, bullet-point list of what I’m sharing in this report, you should put this aside for when you have time to investigate.

This morning I reported on the Family Research Council’s Watchman On the Wall meeting in Washington D.C., which continued today and features several NAR speakers who teach a different gospel.

After doing a little more digging on this Watchman organization, I found a disturbingly large network of ecumenical groups working together in what the New Apostolic Reformation calls the “Cultural Sphere of influence” in its 7 Mountain Mandate. (If you can take dominion of these seven spheres, you can activate Jesus’ return, as the modern Apostles teach.)

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Salman Abedi: How Manchester attacker turned from cannabis-smoking dropout to Isis suicide bomber

In this piece over at The Independent, Lizzie Deardon reveals how a young man’s transformation to a murdering thug echoes those of Islamist terrorists across Europe. She writes:

Salman Abedi’s journey from cannabis-smoking university dropout to Isis suicide bomber is being gradually pieced together by investigators as Manchester reels from the worst terror attack to hit the UK in over a decade.

The 22-year-old was remembered as a “fun guy” who drank, took drugs and possibly had links with local gangs before appearing increasingly religious as his radicalisation deepened.

The same transformation has been documented in many of Europe’s deadliest terrorists, including petty criminals and drug dealers in the Isis “super cell” behind the Paris and Brussels attacks.

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Feeding Sheep Or Amusing Goats

We discovered the following essay by Archibald Brown, who was a student and contemporary of Charles Spurgeon, in Apprising Ministries‘ archives. Brown expressed his view of entertainment in the Church and his words still ring true today:

Photo credit: Ken Silva

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most short-sighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil.

It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

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Who are Family Research Council’s ‘Watchmen on the Wall’?

Amy Spreeman of Berean Research tells us who these people are and exposes their agenda:

Wouldn’t it be great if men and women who are dead in their sins would just stop being wicked and start respecting  professing Christians? At first blush, the idea of transforming America’s ever-sickening, vile culture sounds like a great plan. And giving pastors a support network of Watchmen on the Wall to help them fight the culture wars would be a really good thing, right?

In Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill, The Family Research Council is hosting a Watchman on the Wall National Briefing for pastors to transform America. FRC President Tony Perkins says this is not a political event, but a spiritual one. He’s invited dozens of guest speakers, including Harbinger and Shemitah author Jonathan Cahn, Bishop Larry Jackson (part of Apostle Rick Joyner’s MorningStar TV Network), Word of Faith prosperity preacher Jentezen Franklin, David Barton, Circle Maker author and pastor Mark Batterson, and radio host Dr. Michael Brown.  Click on the image for the full list of speakers:

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Don’t Judge Me!

According to David Hutchison, Christians must identify certain behaviors as sinful and we must judge in at least three other senses which includes evaluating the teachings of those who claim to speak in the name of the Lord. He reminds us that “There are contexts in which Christians must judge, but we must judge justly.” Now to his piece over at Theology Matters:

Standing for biblical truth elicits many negative responses from those outside the church as well as from some within. This is not surprising since Jesus told His disciples that they would be hated on account of Him (John 15:18-19, 1 John 3:13). While we may simply shrug this off as part of the reality of life, what is more challenging to navigate is the suggestion that by using the word “sin” for certain activities, we violate Jesus’ command not to judge. In popular sentiment, “do not judge” means that one cannot say any behavior is wrong. This understanding is pervasive, but it is severely flawed.[1]

There are pitfalls of judging that we must avoid, but doing so does not mean we cannot call sin what God has called sin. In fact, if we refuse to do so, we act as God’s judge, claiming that our perspective on the situation trumps His own. Similar to the rejection of God’s testimony in 1 John 1:10 and 5:10, this is tantamount to calling God a liar. We must call sin, sin, but we must also remember that God knows all of the details of the situation. We never will, and we often lack key information. As John 7:24 notes, we must not judge by mere appearances but must make a just judgment. If we wish to do so, we are wise to listen well and listen long, remembering the folly of giving an answer too quickly (Proverbs 18:13).

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How to Combat Biblical Illiteracy in the Church

“Two-thirds of young people are leaving the church largely because of unanswered questions about the Christian faith.” says Avery Foley of Answers In Genesis.  Foley has some good suggestions as to what we can do about this crisis in the visible Church. He writes:

Biblical illiteracy has become an epidemic across America. People, sadly including many professing Christians, simply don’t know what the Bible teaches and often hold to unbiblical or even heretical beliefs. For example, a recent study found that a mere 10% of Americans have a biblical worldview (despite 70% of Americans claiming the label of Christian). And the biblical teachings that the study considered part of a “biblical worldview” were the most basic of biblical beliefs, such as the personhood of the Holy Spirit or the existence of Satan. This study is a sad testament to the state of the American church.

What Can We Do?

What can parents, pastors, and Sunday school teachers do to combat biblical illiteracy? Here are a few ideas for how to instill a biblical worldview in the young people under your influence.

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Pastor talks to ‘God’ on the phone during church service

“I actually have a direct line which I can call Him on and get instructions on how to proceed,” claims the man who goes by the name of Pastor Talent. “I got this when I was praying and I heard a voice telling me to call direct.” So now he calls God direct and they chat on the phone.  The Citizen has a video of this guy that you won’t want to miss. Here’s the story:

Pastor Paul Sanyangore of Victory World International has claimed to have a direct phone number to heaven, after a video of him talking on the phone during a church service emerged.

In the video, the pastor can be seen holding his cellphone and responding to God’s questions, he claims.

He calls a woman from the crowd, and as she kneels down, he then starts receiving instructions from “heaven”.

“Hello, is this heaven? I have a woman here, what do you have to say about her? Oh … I should ask her who is Sibo,” he asks “heaven”. The woman then responds telling him who the said person is.

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What does the Bible teach about abortion?

Jesse Johnson of The Cripplegate offers eight biblical truths about abortion.  He writes:

1. The Bible teaches that a baby in the womb is alive, and is a person whom God is making. Those I know who have had an abortion all say this is the most critical issue for them. If they believed their fetus was a real person which an abortion would murder, then they would not have done it. But they all believed that at that point of development, what was inside of them doesn’t qualify as a person by their arbitrary standard.

First, it is important to note that a fetus is a human life. It is alive, and it is human, so there is really no other way to describe it (here is a graphic and info on a fetus at 12-weeks from a secular website, and it’s obviously a person). At 12 weeks, a baby has arms, fingers, eyes, and toes. He makes fists, faces, and all his organs are working, albeit still developing.

But the Bible says that before that point a fetus is a person. For example, King David declared:

My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them (Psalm 139:15–16).

Before ultrasounds, David looked inside the womb and saw God at work. Before his frame was finished, God was at work, making him. God counted David as a person, with his days numbered, before he ever saw daylight.

This truth is not limited to David. Back when God introduced himself to Moses, who wrote the first book of the Bible, God asked: “Who has made man’s mouth? Is it not I?” (Exodus 4:11).

The mouth, by the way, is formed in week 6 of a baby’s life.

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Pastors, don’t be a jerk. Be a shepherd.

Boyce College professor Denny Burk has a word of advice for pastors: A wise and courageous pastor will always remember the wisdom of Solomon when exhorting his people: “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov.12:18). A good pastor is not going to use his words like a sword but like a scalpel. A sword and a scalpel are both made for cutting. But a sword is for killing. A scalpel is for healing. Even in confrontation, a pastor’s aim is not to deliver the coup de grâce but to heal.

Listen as Denny Burk offers appropriate ways for a pastor to treat family members. He writes:

The venting of the proverbial spleen seems to be the order of the day from cable news to social media and sometimes even in interpersonal interactions. We like to hear someone who agrees with our views “tell it like it is,” especially if the telling involves a few zingers against people whose views offend us. We thrive on this kind of outrage because it appeals to our sense of self-righteous indignation. It feels oh so good to be oh so right. And there’s nothing quite as satisfying as dressing down “those people” who don’t agree with us.

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