Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila
Do you ever wonder if there’s something more to the Christian life? Maybe you’ve heard of or know people who tell you about having some sort of amazing God-experience—whether it’s been intense feelings of peace and joy, some kind of ecstatic excitement, maybe even visions or voices—and you wonder if you’re missing out. You hear about these things and you think to yourself “I want more”.
There have been times in my life when I’ve thought that maybe if I prayed in a different way, or if I sang songs in a different style, or if I used that Bible reading plan, then maybe I would experience God in a fuller, deeper, and more intimate way. Maybe if I just did something differently, then God by his Holy Spirit would fill me with these feelings of excitement, making my Christian walk just that much better.
As I speak with Christians at church or university, it seems that this desire to ‘experience’ or ‘feel’ God more intimately is quite widespread. People who desire such an experience feel they’re missing out on something. As one Christian said to me at church after hearing a sermon on Psalm 103, “There must be something more to the Christian life than I am currently feeling”. I wonder what advice you would give to such a person? On one hand, you may be right to point out that what we know to be the truth shouldn’t be overshadowed by being caught up in an experience-hungry age—but does this downplay too seriously the proper place of our emotions? My hope is that we can speak in such a way that values a desire for intimacy with God by speaking truthfully about the work of the Holy Spirit in the here and now.
“It is not just religious conservatives who have problems with the transgender revolutionaries,” says Bill Muehlenberg. “Many others also have some valid concerns about it, and how it impacts our culture and our kids.” In this piece over at Culture Watch, Muehlenberg offers examples of non-religious people who have problems with the trans agenda. He writes:
That the trans revolution is causing massive devastation to countless families and children, as well as to society and culture as a whole, is something I have now documented numerous times. So too have many others. But our concerns are often dismissed as mere ‘religious bigotry’ and the like.
However I can assure you that there are plenty of non-religious folks who also have problems with the trans agenda and their radical take on gender (that it is fluid and a social construct, and has no biological basis, etc). Non-Christians, feminists and even lesbians among others have all expressed real concerns about the gender activists.
There would be plenty of these folks out there, but let me just highlight four of them who have spoken on these issues at various times. Consider as my first exhibit the lesbian academic and social commentator Camille Paglia. She has often been critical of feminist excesses, and is not too keen about the trans mania as well.
Na-ma-stay is the pronunciation. It’s a Hindu salutation that is said at the beginning and end of most yoga classes. Participants place their palms together before the heart, bow their heads, and utter “Namaste,” which means “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.” But wait! We all know professing Christians who participate in yoga classes. Many of them have been warned that there are spiritual dangers associated with yoga and are not concerned in the least. According to Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler, who has warned of the spiritual dangers for years, “The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine.”
So, should believers avoid yoga altogether? What about “Christian yoga“? And what is the association between yoga and Satan? Pam Frost answers these questions in a piece she penned for truthXchange. Some of what Frost reveals about this Hindu practice is chilling. She writes:
Photo credit: truthXchange
These are surely shocking words to the ears of most yoga enthusiasts, who find the association of yoga with Satan to be both disturbing and incongruous with their own understanding and experience of yoga. Yet, so begins an article announcing yoga classes to be held in the Satanic Temple of Salem, Massachusetts. How could something so widely considered beneficial in every way suddenly be associated with the devil? After all, yoga has achieved status in the West as the seemingly ubiquitous answer for the general well-being of just about everyone—from children in our public schools to the elderly in assisted living, from those with robust health in the prime of their lives to those with terminal illnesses nearing the end of their lives, and everyone in between. Many healthcare professionals recommend yoga for purported benefits such as the increased strength, flexibility and balance attributed to yoga’s postures; for the reduced blood pressure and heart rate attributed to yoga’s breathing techniques; and for the inner peace and global harmony attributed to yoga’s meditative spirituality. Yet, while most acclaim what they believe to be the positive benefits of yoga, William J. Broad, in his New York Times Magazine article How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body, warns that it can actually cause serious physical injuries such as trauma to the back, neck and head, as well as brain injuries and even stroke. But as Christians, we also need to ask whether there could be real spiritual dangers associated with the practice of yoga. We need to understand what the essence of yoga really is.
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. Colossians 3:5-7 (NASB)
It is one thing to compare the Biblical teaching of our Sanctification with the man-oriented false teaching that is prevalent seemingly everywhere, but then easily overlook the fact that so many believers are desperate to know how to obey the command in the passage I placed at the top of this post (Colossians 3:5-7) to consider the members of your earthly body as dead to sin. Christian living is frustrating for the truly regenerate when they forget that we are actually commanded in Sacred Scripture to “be what we already are.” That takes us aback because we do not “feel” Holy or Christlike. Why? Our repeated sins lead us to believe that we are anything but. Then we hear false teachers like Rick Warren and his followers tell us that what we need is his program of behavior modification to fix us right up. When I was a youth, the big thing was “let go and let God.” Well, that didn’t work either. Both trying hard to not sin through some program and simply “letting go” to have God take over leads to the inevitable breeding of discouragement, apathy, and the lowering of God’s standards.
Bloomberg reports that Republicans are abandoning their pledge to fight climate change. According to Technocracy News: Trump’s campaign pledge to fight global warming is becoming increasingly moot as his elected constituents turn in the opposite direction. Climate warmists may or may not not realize that they are promoting Technocracy, Sustainable Development and Green Economy that will eventually destroy America.
Now to Bloomberg’s report:
Seventeen conservative Republican members of Congress—10 of them in their first or second terms—are bucking long-time party positions and the new occupant of the White House. They announced on Wednesday that they’re supporting a clear statement about the risks associated with climate change, as well as principles for how best to fight it.
Called the “Republican Climate Resolution” by supporters, the statement by House members takes about 450 words to mention conservative thought on environmentalism, support for climate science, feared impacts, and a call for economically viable policy. They pledge in general terms to support study and mitigation measures, “using our tradition of American ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism.”
Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church penned some guidelines aimed at Church leaders that deal with the monumental lack of spiritual discernment in the Church visible. Included in the Kozar manifesto are several video clips of celebrity “pastors” jumping, skipping and flouncing around on church stages in an effort to entertain parishioners who expect their pastor to deliver a fabulous show each and every Sunday. Also included is a photo of Word of Faith prosperity preacher T.D. Jakes’ “ridiculous and obscene mansion.”
Steve Kozar offers some no holds barred–and biblical–advice for Church leaders, plus this reminder: You’re a sinner that deserves God’s wrath, just like the rest of us. Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon Himself to set us free from sin and death; you didn’t do anything.
We will maintain a healthy skepticism towards all the big-name leaders in the church. No matter how famous a Christian celebrity might be, we refuse to be gullible just because someone has become a “brand name.”
We will check everything any pastor/teacher says against God’s Word, and when it comes to the most powerful, multimillionaire “Super Pastors,” we will assume the worst until convinced otherwise.
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)
Deception is our enemy’s most powerful weapon. When a person is deceived into believing a lie they are not intending to participate in something that is wrong. No, they believe they have the truth and all those who oppose what they believe are just wrong. When the lie leads people to believe that their form of ‘religion’ is true Christianity, regardless of how unbiblical it is, they are not actually intending to be evil following an evil system. They are ‘sure’ they have the truth. They are sincere. I am sure the priests of Baal whom Elijah defeated at Mount Carmel were sincere as well.
Breitbart has a video showing environmentalist wackos vandalizing Trump’s golf course:
According to a report by the Washington Post, an “anonymous environmental activist collective” decided to vandalize the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA over President Donald Trump’s “blatant disregard” for the environment.
The group snuck into the golf course Sunday morning and carved the words “NO MORE TIGERS. NO MORE WOODS.”
“In response to the president’s recent decision to gut our existing protection policies, direct action was conceived and executed on the green of his California golf course in the form of a simple message: NO MORE TIGERS. NO MORE WOODS,” the group said in a statement released to the Post.
What did the Lord Jesus do to expose the deadly doctrine and unrighteous actions of the false teachers of His day? Well, for one thing, He exposed their error publicly and then taught them the truth! What are God’s people to do about all the deadly doctrines the Church visible is awash in? We’re to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed … ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3
Blogger, author and book reviewer Tim Challies examines the way in which our Lord dealt with those He referred to as “ravenous wolves” in Matthew 7:15. Challies reminds us that in Matthew 23, Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees and called them “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “blind fools” … even worse, “you brood of vipers.” So, while God’s people are contending/defending with false teachers who are spreading their manure all over the globe, is it appropriate to call them out, rebuke them, and do some name calling ourselves?
Let’s listen to Tim Challies’ advice on how to handle a wolf. He writes:
It’s a good time to be a false teacher and to espouse deadly doctrine. It seems that today’s most brazen heretic will be granted a hearing and, in all likelihood, a book deal. Novelty is appealing, orthodoxy boring. It’s the ones who sound the warning and issue the challenge that bear the risk—the risk of being labelled “haters.” There’s more patience for those who smilingly subvert the truth than for those who boldly defend it. Conviction is a sign of arrogance, while humility is expressed in uncertainty. Love, it seems, requires us to bear patiently with any amount of error. And this kind of love, we are told, is modeled after Jesus. Jesus did not judge, Jesus welcomed all opinions, Jesus would have accepted different kinds of teachings—so long as those teachings contained love and hints of truth.
33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:33-34 (NASB)
The “Emergent” gospel is one that claims that the sound doctrines of orthodoxy which teach us about the atonement, advocacy, and propitiation of Christ for the sake of His sheep are unnecessary “add-ons“ to Christ Jesus and, in fact, simply get in the way of truly knowing and emulating Him. If that is so then why did the God-inspired writers of the New Testament give these sound doctrines to us in such great and clear detail? These are not “doctrines” of demons. These are not “doctrines” made up by men. No, these are the doctrines given to us by God Himself that reveals God to us, gives us the truth about our own sinfulness and spiritual bankruptcy outside of His grace, and the superiority of Christ our Saviour, our Advocate, Our propitiation, our Redeemer.
According to USA Today:
Pope Francis said he is open to the possibility of permitting married men to become priests to address the serious shortage of Catholic priests in some countries.
The pope raised the idea in an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit.
He ruled out the prospect of allowing single men who are already priests to marry but was open to the idea of allowing unmarried laymen or men already married to be ordained.
The pope raised the prospect in the context of allowing “viri probati,” Latin for “tested men,” to be ordained in places with a scarcity of priests.
He told the newspaper the lack of Catholic priests was an “enormous problem” for the church.
“We need to think about whether ‘viri probati’ could be a possibility,” he told the German weekly. “If so, we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in remote communities.”
See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism
“For close to a decade, a few discerning Christians have been warning about The Shack,” says Gideon Knox. “Unlike other books that are equally as bad, this one even attracted the ire of more prominent men like [Albert] Mohler and [Tim] Challies. And yet, few listened.” Dr. Mohler charged that the book contains “undiluted heresy.” And he’s right. There are 13 heresies in the book. Even so, a large number of professing Christians read the book and had no problem recommending it to friends and family. Putting aside the controversy over the book, they rushed to theaters and filled their mouths with popcorn while enjoying Hollywood’s trashing of the Trinity on the silver screen.
Thanks largely to those who claim to follow Jesus, the movie’s a box office success.
In his piece over at Pulpit & Pen, Gideon Knox argues that discernment within the church is not vigilant and it must be. With this in mind, he has some excellent advice for pastors and church leaders. He writes:
While we should be thankful for the plethora of warnings about The Shack that have been published in recent weeks, there is still a cause for concern in Zion. Pastors and concerned laypeople have done an admirable job, by my estimation, of sharing articles on their social media pages, providing a polemical view of both the movie and the book. And even if the articles don’t include the word polemical, they nonetheless are, and they are obligatory warnings for our friends being carried away by the novelty and sensuality of a cinematic, modalistic, patripassian, whore-god who is an imaginary graven image of Yahweh, created and promoted by the money changers of the Christian book industry.
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34 (NASB)
To be honest, I never thought that I would ever end up in the part of the battle that I have found myself. For the first 19 or so years after my salvation, I was just your typical church member who “occasionally” found my faith peeking through into my work week. As I matured, I became a Bible teacher and a Deacon. I did participate in Evangelism Explosion training and used that training as a counselor on Sunday mornings at the altar. However, the rest of the time I was not exactly giving God much of my time. That changed in 2004.
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Matthew 7:15-18 (NASB)
Since God put me into this ministry back in 2006 the tragedy of the growing apostasy in the visible church seems to have only gotten worse. In discussions with friends about this some have lamented that at times it seems that there is no one who can be trusted anymore. My own perspective is that, yes, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to trust the fruit of those who minister for money or whose livelihood depended upon popularity. This is really nothing new. Our Lord, in His Sermon on the Mount, told us to beware of false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. He told us how to recognize them. How? It is by their fruits. This has not changed. Therefore, when I sit at the feet of a teacher or preacher of God’s Word I look for this within what is taught and within how he lives and with whom he associates and how he conducts himself in this life. One who is not really God’s man will be revealed in this because of his inconsistencies in godliness and his consistencies in worldliness because, we “…will know them by their fruits.”
The Globe And Mail reports that Canada plans to pay for advocacy groups to challenge laws in countries that severely restrict abortion such as Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the Middle East:
In a sharp reorientation of Canada’s foreign-aid strategy, the Trudeau government plans to spend $650-million on sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide – a move that could see Canada paying for a battle against anti-abortion laws in dozens of countries.
The three-year plan, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday as he marked International Women’s Day, would finance a range of global programs, including contraception, reproductive health, legal abortion, sexuality education and advocacy work.
Roman Catholics say that they believe in Jesus. But many do not believe it the correct Jesus, says Jordan Standridge of The Cripplegate. Standridge suggests three questions to ask if you want to find out which Jesus your Catholic friend believes in:
As we celebrate the 500th year of the reformation this year, I’ve been very encouraged by the fact that there are so many in the church who understand that the reformation is not over.
Coming to America after growing up in Italy was very interesting. The world has a lot to learn from the American church, who, for so many years, has supplied the world with most of its Christian missionaries, and yet the American church has a lot to learn from the rest of the world when it comes to being able to condemn false religions.
This year is an opportunity for the American church to really explore what the Roman Catholic church actually is, and ask whether or not it teaches the truth. Secondly, each believer must ask himself whether, when speaking with the Catholic individual, they are asking the right questions.
Many Christians may accept the fact that the Roman Catholic church is a false church that teaches works-righteousness, but may have “the neighbor” who says he really loves Jesus, making it very difficult to figure out how to really know if they believe in grace or if they believe in works.
I understand the dilemma. I have had many conversations recently during which someone, either Mormon or Catholic, who had all the same words until we got to the heart of the Gospel, and then simply denied it. I think that, and perhaps this sentence will be controversial, when you are dealing with a Roman Catholic, you must begin from a skeptical position when it comes to whether they are saved or not.
The church, as we know, has made salvation very easy. Over the years, many evangelists and pastors have boiled it down to just saying a prayer; perhaps, out of a desire to see more decisions for Christ, they have lowered the bar. Over the years, this way of evangelism has trickled down to us. So many believers, out of a godly desire to be encouraging, have perhaps neglected questioning and embraced accepting people at face value.
See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism
First a quote from “Reza Aslan Doesn’t Get Religion” by John Stonestreet for some background:
Reza Aslan’s “Believer,” a “spiritual adventure series” it’s called, which premiered Sunday on CNN, explores belief systems from around the world. But in a recent opinion piece at CNN, Aslan (who identifies himself as a Sufi Muslim) makes it clear that he doesn’t believe there are any essential differences between the world’s religions. As a matter of fact, he seems to think all religions are basically subjective nonsense.
“I know better than to take the truth claims of any religion (including my own) too seriously,” he writes. And considering the “conflict” and “bigotry” religion inspires and the way it clashes with reason, Aslan thinks it’s “understandable why so many people view religious faith as the hallmark of an irrational mind.”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is your tour guide to the religions of the world.
Now, according to Heather Clark over at Christian News:
Shiva, Hindu God of Destruction
CNN host Reza Aslan, a Muslim, is sparking outrage after eating part of a human brain during a televised meeting with a cannibalistic extreme Hindu sect called the Aghori.
The meeting was part of his television series “Believer,” which is said to feature the “world’s most fascinating faith-based groups.”
The Aghori, while identifying as worshipers of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, are condemned by mainstream Hindus for their practices, which includes drinking out of human skulls and eating the flesh of the dead. They also wear the ashes of cremated humans on their faces and consume their own urine and excrement.
Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church gives a whole host of reasons that author, speaker and Bible study teacher Beth Moore cannot be trusted. Kozar has put much of her false teaching–yes, she’s a false teacher–into one place so that inquiring minds will have plenty of resources to explore what she teaches. Included are links to articles from Christians who have different theological perspectives, but according to Kozar “they all agree that Beth Moore’s teachings are not totally trustworthy and Biblical, and in some cases, she is teaching ideas that go directly against God’s Word.” Also included are sound clips so that we can hear unbiblical teaching coming from Mrs. Moore’s own lips, plus a video that shows her fawning over another false teacher, Word of Faith prosperity preacher Joyce Meyer.
Now to Steven Kozar’s exposé:
Beth Moore is a mainstream Evangelical superstar who speaks with an impassioned frenzy that inspires many women to become fanatical followers. She is not (officially) a pastor or theologian, but she serves both of those functions for millions and millions of people in the church. She first gained popularity in the 1990’s when her theology was viewed as middle-of-the-road, Bible-based, Baptist teaching, but her teaching has become more mystical and subjective over the years. Beth Moore sometimes refers to her own direct conversations with God in order to establish and validate her teachings, and she emphasizes unity in the church over sound teaching about important doctrinal matters. Moore has partnered with and endorsed Word of Faith false teachers like Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen and Christine Cain, and she is featured prominently on TBN: