On Leonard Sweet: Connectness Or Correctness – Which Will It Be?

This piece by Tamara Hartzell is posted over at Lighthouse Trails:

Photo credit: Apprising Ministries

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Sadly, it has become quite obvious that the time has already come. Openly preferring the fables of man’s imagination to the doctrinal truth of God’s Word, today’s shifting Christianity is heaping to itself teachers to scratch its itching ears. People are choosing to be led in “a way that seemeth right unto a man” rather than in the way that is right unto God as set forth by God in the Word of God.

In Leonard Sweet’s 2009 book, So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church, which, sadly, is just as anti-truth, anti-God, anti-Christ as everything else that caters to today’s epidemic of itching ears, this “[r]enowned professor and theologian” —who has worked for “years as a mentor to pastors” and “is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, state conventions, pastors’ schools, retreats” as well as “a consultant to many denominational leaders and agencies” —asks a question that effectively sums up the new way of thinking:

“What if we were to think connectness rather than correctness?”

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See our Research Paper on Spiritual Formation

Doctors Successfully Deliver Baby From Mother With Aggressive Brain Cancer Who Laid Down Life for Unborn Daughter

According to Christian News:

Photo Credit: Cure 4 Carrie/Facebook

Doctors have successfully delivered a baby girl from her mother’s womb after her mother refused recommendations that she abort her unborn child in the midst of a battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and instead decided to forgo treatment in order to save her baby.

Doctors at the University of Michigan performed a Cesarean section on Carrie DeKlyen Wednesday night, delivering her daughter, named Life, at a gestation of 24 weeks, 5 days. She weighs 1 pound, 4 ounces.

“Life was delivered at 24 weeks and 5 days at 5:30 pm. She is doing as well as they had hoped,” the Cure 4 Carrie Facebook page announced. “Thank you, Jesus, for this amazing gift of LIFE!”

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U.S. Conference of Bishops’ Ludicrous Response to Steve Bannon’s ’60 Minutes’ Interview

John Nolte of Breitbart has the story:

In a preview of Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, CBS released a segment in which Bannon is asked a question by Charlie Rose that no one in the media ever asks pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion Democrats.

Bannon was asked to reconcile his Catholic faith with those political beliefs in opposition to the church. In this case, it was about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) strident and, as I wrote Wednesday, hypocritical support of DACA.

Transcript courtesy of CBS News:

Rose: Can I remind you, a good Catholic, that Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan is opposed to what’s happened with DACA? Cardinal Dolan.

Bannon: The Catholic Church has been terrible about this. … The bishops have been terrible about this …  Because [they’re] unable to really come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches. … They have – they have an economic interest. They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.

Rose:  Boy, that’s a tough thing to say about your church.

Bannon: As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine.  View article →

See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism

The Blessings of Righteousness

22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Romans 4:22-25 (NASB) 

We have completed Paul’s case that God justifies sinners on the basis of faith alone. In the passage above (Romans 4:22-25) we have his concluding remarks to that part of his dissertation. He has made it clear that those truly in Christ did not get there according to merit or works, but on the basis of faith alone, but now we begin the section of Romans that if not taken in context can cause much confusion. I will not move quickly through it. I have found it amazing to study God’s Word in context as we are doing and come across a passage that has been used by “proof texters” to teach a pet theology, but when kept in its proper context, it does no such thing. Carefully read again the passage I placed at the top of this post then read the passage below because, as you will see, it begins with the word “therefore.” View article →

New NAR group to keep your eyes on: The International Coalition of Prophets

From Berean Research:

Holly Pivec of Spirit of Error alerts us to a new NAR coalition (NAR is keen on coalitions) professing believers mustn’t take part in. Not surprisingly, the group is asking those who join to pay an annual membership fee that ranges from $300 to $350 per prophet. Since this isn’t exactly chump change, it seems aspiring prophets will have to be prosperous.

Now to Holly’s piece:

The International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders is the world’s largest network of New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) apostles, with hundreds of members from many nations. When I was on their website recently, I noticed a link to a newly formed group, the International Coalition of Prophets.

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UC Santa Cruz Art Department Chair: Have Sex with Earth to Save It

GRAPHIC CONTENT

We’re posting Breitbart’s piece to show you just how wacky some environmentalists are. Keep in mind that Elizabeth Stephens, who’s clearly a kook, is the Chair of the Art Department at UC Santa Cruz. Tom Ciccotta has the story:

UC Santa Cruz Professor Elizabeth Stephens, a pioneer in the “ecosexual” movement, is encouraging the public to engage in environmentalism by having sex with the Earth.

Stephens, the Chair of the Art Department at UC Santa Cruz, a public university, first garnered public attention four years ago with the release of her documentary Ecosexual Love Story, in which she and others licked trees, rolled around in mud, and engaged in vaguely sexual acts with elements of nature.

Stephens is still promoting her brand of ecosexuality. Just this summer she hosted an “Ecosex Walking Tour” in which she taught participants “25 ways to make love to the Earth, raise awareness of environmental issues, learn ecosexercises, find E-spots, and climax with the planetary clitoris.” Stephens is also slated to premiere her documentary Water Makes Us Wet during an art exhibition in Germany this week.

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MacArthur and a response to racism

The interview with Dr. MacArthur is posted over at The Cripplegate:

John MacArthur was recently on the radio in Los Angeles (the Frank Sontag Show) to discuss the Charlottesville attack, but it became a longer conversation on the roots of racism and the Christian’s response to culture-wide hatred. Here are some of the highlights of that twenty-minute conversation:

Sontag: John, how to do we respond as Evangelicals to racism?  

MacArthur: We need to understand the roots of this. The roots of this are really not political, they’re not even economic. They’re moral and have to do with the sinfulness of the human heart. The Devil is the murderer from the beginning. The first crime was a killing. That basically defines the Kingdom of Darkness. That defines the realm of Satan. Jesus even said to the leaders in Israel, “You are of your father, the Devil. You’re either a child of doubt or child of Satan.” Those are the only two possibilities. For those in the Kingdom of Darkness hatred, anger, hostility, harm, and even murder is just par for the course.

That’s why God has designed mitigation into the culture. That’s why God has given every human being a conscience so at least you start out with some form of internal restraint. That’s why God designed the family and the rod in the family so that children can be harnessed and can be taught even to some inflicted reasonable amount of pain to be socially contributing to the well-being of society. That’s why God has ordained the police and given them the sword because this solemn world is completely captive to hatred and hostility at the most vicious level.

Of course, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. It might have various political forms, whether it’s white supremacy, Black Lives Matter, or whatever other form of it. Whether it’s Kim Jong-un or ISIS. This is how the worst in this solemn world conduct themselves.

It must be denounced on every level, but it also has to be understood that the remedy is not a political one. We need to restrain it by strong laws that are enforced at the highest level with justice essentially demanded and meted out.

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Abraham’s Example

27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. Romans 3:27-31 (NASB)

In our last post we ended with the passage above in which Paul makes it very clear that genuine salvation is by the law of faith not by a law of works. In v28 he says, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.Justification is by faith alone and does not depend at all on doing any works of the law. In vv29,30 he tells us that since God is the Lord of all, whether Jews or Gentiles, there can only be one way of justification, which is by faith alone. What does it mean that believers uphold the law rather than overthrow it by our faith? Justification by faith alone does not denigrate the law, but, instead, underscores its true importance by providing a payment for the penalty of death, which the law required for failing to keep it; by fulfilling the law’s original purpose, which is to serve as a tutor to show mankind’s utter inability to obey God’s righteous demands and to drive people to Christ (Galatians 3:24); and by giving believers the capacity to obey it (Romans 8:3,4). Then Paul moves into the obvious objection to these arguments by using the Old Testament Patriarch Abraham whom God declared righteous in Genesis 15:6. View article →

Star Wars Novel Hints That Last Jedi Character Is LGBT

Liam Nolan of CBR.com has the story:

Passages from Claudia Gray’s Leia: Princess of Alderaan novel imply that the Resistance’s Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, played by Laura Dern in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, may be either bisexual or pansexual.

The hint that Holdo may not be straight comes during a conversation with Leia about the possibility of an interspecies relationship:

“A pair of pretty dark eyes.” Then Amilyn thought about that for a moment. “Or more than a pair, if you’re into Grans. Or Aqualish, or Talz. Or even – ”

“That’s all right! Leia said through laughter. “It’s just humanoid males for me.”

“Really? That feels so limiting.”

“Thank goodness it’s a big galaxy.”

Although the passage doesn’t explicitly state that Holdo is bisexual or pansexual, it notes she’s interested in more than just humanoid men. While there are many alien species in the Star Warsuniverse that are both humanoid and non-humanoid, some don’t fall into a strict gender binary. The insectoid Xi’Dec, for example, have more than 180 different sexes. Other species are hermaphroditic or have a third sex.

Is a ‘Christian America’ Really on the Decline?

Kimberly Winston of LifeZette has the details of a new study that says organized religion, including white evangelicalism, is losing numbers:

The future of religion in America is young, non-Christian and technicolor.

Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing in diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Wednesday, Sept. 6, by the Public Religion Research Institute.

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Michael Brown Excited About Superstitious Gypsy Voodoo Mats

According to Pulpit & Pen News:

Gipsy Smith – who is mentioned by Brown – is responsible for the “start the revival in this circle” analogy often heard by traveling evangelists. Rodney “Gipsy” (it was spelled “Gipsy” by Smith; not Gypsy) Smith was a British evangelist and a member of the troublesome Salvation Army denomination (until they kicked him out for accepting personal gifts of gold jewelry). A widower at 78, Smith made headlines for marrying a 27 year-old. Smith might best be known for the illustration he often gave as a famous evangelist, in which he would draw a circle around himself with a piece of chalk while preaching and pray that revival start with him, inside the circle. He would exhort people to do the same.

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by California Churches Over Directive Requiring All Insurance Plans to Cover Abortion

Christian News reports:

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by several California churches over a state directive that they believe forces all faith-based employers to pay for abortion coverage regardless of their religious beliefs.

“[P]laintiffs have not alleged sufficient facts to make it plausible that the director has selectively applied the law to target the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller on Friday.

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The Source of Righteousness

19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20 (NASB) 

The real Gospel is not entertaining. It is not “fun.” It is not hip. It is not cool. No, it is blunt and abrupt and not politically correct. It calls everyone a sinner with no exceptions and those who are justified by God are so on the basis of the righteousness of another while they remain completely undeserving. Not one of them can take credit for their own salvation. After they have been baptized into Christ, they remain “sinners saved by grace.” They are not perfect or perfected. They have not somehow become “better than” anyone else. They have the mark of the Saviour upon them. They belong to Him. They are His bondservants or slaves and He is their Lord, but in the interim until they go home to be with Him forever, they remain in this life both declared Holy and Righteous by God in their justification, but also still sinful and imperfect as they go through the fires of sanctification. What is the source of this righteousness since it is not by any works of the law that it comes as we read in the passage above? In fact, it is through the law that comes the knowledge of sin. View article →

How Fashion Is Helping Megachurch Pastors Reach A New Demographic

We’ll begin with a quote from a celebrity pastor:

“I don’t see myself as an influencer in fashion at all,” says [Chad] Veach. “I’ve been just really blessed to have guys that are close friends in the [fashion] industry.” Still, he acknowledges that dressing a certain way can provide a quick “in” with people who might otherwise write him off. “If I walk into a place and I’m wearing something that makes people go, ‘that’s a cool outfit,’ I am working with an advantage, rather than a disadvantage of like, ‘man, those are really whack sneakers.'”

Whitney Bauck of Fashionista tells us how “pastors” who are into fashion are winning back millennials who are leaving the Church in droves. According to Bauck, “there’s no doubt that fashion plays at least a supporting role” in bringing them back to what is considered a church these days.

Megachurch pastor Chad Veach

Hailey Baldwin considers “church wife” to be an aspirational look, according to her Twitter and her stylist’s Instagram.

If you mostly know Baldwin through social media, which features myriad images of the model wearing scanty lingerie or revealing dresses, that may seem incongruous. But if you know the churches she’s referencing — and the ministers that lead them — it’s less surprising.

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Three Egregious Obama Power Grabs Trump Can Rescind After DACA

Just as he promised during the campaign, Donald Trump is in the process of dismantling the “many, many left-wing remnants of Obama’s term,” says Edward Woodson of LifeZette. He writes:

You have to admit: Liberals are good at playing the victim. Former President Obama’s executive amnesty hasn’t even been around along enough for the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional, but as President Donald Trump prepared to announce its end, you’d think the world was ending.

My favorite part was the CEOs, now thoroughly addicted to cheap labor, acting shocked and disappointed that Trump is following through on one of his biggest promises during the campaign.

“There’s no issue that’s more gut-wrenching for us,” one tech exec anonymously told Axios’ Mike Allen, adding that some companies are considering smuggling their illegal alien employees abroad. Here’s an idea: How about take the money you would spend on that and use it to increase the wages of your employees?

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Victims of Bill Johnson’s SOZO Ministry speak out

Amy Spreeman of Berean Research (BR) examines the dangerous inner healing and deliverance ministry known as SOZO. In an earlier piece, BR revealed that “SOZO prayer is the brain child of husband and wife team Bill (self-proclaimed modern-day apostle) and Beni  (New Age guru) Johnson, both of whom are pastors of the infamous Bethel Church in Redding CA.” Supposedly the SOZO ministry will help participants solve problems that are blocking their spiritual growth. But what those who take part in this are unaware of is that some of the techniques used are drawn from occult methodologies.

Now to the first installment of a series Amy’s doing on SOZO prayer:

Many churches are bringing a practice called SOZO into their ministry, at the peril of damaging the sheep and possibly shipwrecking their faith. SOZO Prayer is a technique based on psychology and used by so-called “inner healing ministries” sweeping churches today.

This psycho-spiritual deliverance and inner healing methodology is designed to exorcise demons from Christians. Not that a Christian can be possessed by demons, but that is one of many apostate teachings from the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR. (See, What your church needs to know about NAR.)

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My brethren, do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NASB) 

In our daily Christian walk it is a rare day in which we take every thought captive and, through our active repentance, successfully deny ourselves through every circumstance. I don’t think I could claim that I have successfully done this the majority of the time. However, our God is wise and omniscient. It should be a matter of great rejoicing on our part that our perseverance is in His hands and is based on the work of the Holy Trinity on our behalf, not on our will power. View article →

Why did Jesus come?

32 “ Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. Deuteronomy 12:32 (NASB) 

We live in a very strange time. Perhaps earlier men lived in times that were just as perilous and even as spiritually dark as ours, but to me, being in my mid-sixties and a Christian for over 31 years, what is happening to the Church seems unprecedented. I know this is nothing new, and the Church has gone through apostasy before and that is why God wrought the Protestant Reformation. However, since the latter part of the 19th Century, liberalism and its various forms have invaded the Church in many ways. If we read the Reformers such as Tyndale, Luther, and Calvin, etc. and the Puritans such as Owen, Bunyan, Watson, Love, and Brooks, etc. up to Spurgeon and Broadus, etc. then compare their understanding of the Gospel and how it is preached and why that is what we are to be about then compare that to what we have now with the likes of Joel Osteen or Stephen Furtick then we must understand that a great downgrade has taken place. View article →

Why does God desire that all in Christ be filled with the Spirit?

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21 (NASB) 

What is God’s purpose for the Christian to be filled with the Spirit? I am going to start by simply posting some scripture first. View article →

Colleges rocked by left-wing rallies face backlash from parents, donors

According to Fox News:

Both the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College have been rocked by left-wing demonstrations, some of which administrators in both schools allowed. Now both have had to deal with falling enrollment and a decline in funds – and there are fears the situation could spread to other schools.

The defining issue is whether parents and donors see administrators as capable of containing clashes and responding firmly when protests get out of control, experts say.

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Federal Judge Blocks Texas’ Ban on Dismemberment Abortion

Breitbart reports:

A federal judge temporarily blocked a Texas law that banned second trimester dismemberment abortions in which unborn babies are “torn limb from limb” and then extracted from the uterus.

Following a challenge by Planned Parenthood, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a two-week injunction Thursday against the law – signed in June by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) – that would have taken effect Friday.

The judge wrote that Planned Parenthood and the other plaintiffs satisfied a requirement for the temporary injunction showing that “threatened injury to the Plaintiffs outweighs any damage that the temporary restraining order might cause the State.”

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Ronnie Floyd to preside over National Day of Prayer

“The National Day of Prayer includes Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus,” reminds Jeff Maples” and just about any other aberrant anti-Christ religion in the world who will stand in front of courthouses, government buildings, churches, streets…anywhere, and join hands in prayer to their false gods in the name of ‘restoring America.’”

So with this in mind, why would a former SBC president agree to take part in the National Day of Prayer? In a piece over at Berean Research Amy Spreeman reveals who the movers and shakers (literally) are that have hijacked the ecumenical event. Hint: NAR.

Former SBC President Dr. Ronnie Floyd will assume the role of President of the National Day of Prayer. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the ecumenical May event has been organized since 1952. It is a time when millions of people of all religions stop what they are doing and pray in unity with one another to whichever god they worship for the well being of America.

Says Floyd:

The National Day of Prayer must become a multi-church, multi-denominational, multi-ministry, multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual movement of prayer for America.

I believe this is possible by having strategic partnerships with churches, ministries, and denominations. We must create authentic relationships with all people regardless of who and where they are, whatever their age, stage, or vocation may be. With a convictional and competent staff team, we will exemplify servant leadership to all persons.  Source

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God Hears and Will Answer

It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, l will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)

Quick work this! The Lord hears us before we call and often answers us in the same speedy manner.

Foreseeing our needs and our prayers, He so arranges providence that before the need actually arises He has supplied it, before the trial assails us He has armed us against it.

This is the promptitude of omniscience, and we have often seen it exercised. Before we dreamed of the affliction which was coming, the strong consolation which was to sustain us under it had arrived. What a prayer-answering God we have!  View article →

Kids at Risk: AWANA Continuing Down the Emergent Road

Following is a letter to the editor of Lighthouse Trails. The person who wrote the letter offers plenty of reasons parents should be concerned about their children’s participation in AWANA. Church leaders such as Sean McDowell recommend that our youth read books by Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, Rick Warren, N.T. Wright and others:

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

A while back I alerted you to the fact that Awana was joining forces with Josh Griffin who was the youth pastor for Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. Josh Griffin is also associated with Youth Specialties, an organization that promotes occult [contemplative] practices to youth.

Unfortunately, Awana is continuing down the emergent road. Here are some examples:

1. On February 22, 2017, Steve Kozak, the executive director of Awana YM, (Youth Ministries) wrote a blog post encouraging youth leaders to promote Lent. Lent is very popular among those in the emerging church. Wikipedia says “The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, and self-denial.”(1) Kozak in his blog said, “Teach your students to go without, so that they can experience an overflowing of Christ.”(2) Nowhere in the Bible is the practice of Lent mentioned.  View article →

See our Research Paper on Contemplative Prayer

Same Sex Attraction: Is It a Sin?

Caleb Kolstad of Post Tenebras Lux answers the question:

I had not heard of the phrase “same sex attractions” (SSA) until I attended a Together For the Gospel conference a few years ago.  During one of the Q&A sessions a pastor addressed the subject is God anti-gay and other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and SSA (I believe Sam Allberry was a guest during one panel discussion). Allberry says that these SSA “are part of what I feel but are not who I am in a fundamental sense.  I am far more than my sexuality.”

These questions have been raised again at the Gospel Coalition.  A recent article by Matt Moore titled, How I Discovered True Masculinity set the internet ablaze.

Pastor Phil Johnson of Grace to You responded to this article on Twitter and Facebook with these comments, “Yet another hazy, misleading sophism from TGC. Lusting for something sinful is not “obedien[ce] to God.

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