A Berean

Since the time the Lord brought me out of the false healing movement (International Association of Healing Rooms), the false prophetic and false dream/visions it has been my hope to help others see the truth. Through the leading of the Lord, his great love and mercy, I have seen that take place, time and again. During the past 8 1/2 years, I have learned a great deal and oftentimes the learning has been the result of the gifts and love of my brothers and sisters in Christ, most often than not, other bloggers as well as my readers.

For these moments I am deeply grateful as I have seen the Lord bring together believers who were, and still are without a meeting place. Yet, it was in the early days, between the months of April, 2008 and June, 2009 when I, like Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus to learn because there was no where else to turn. And like before me, Simon Peter, and the woman with the vial of oil, I clung to him and only to him, uncaring of what others thought of me, because he has the words of eternal life (John 6:68, Luke 7:37).

When I first embarked upon this journey I had no real plan in place. I felt greatly responsible for the damage I had done and I wanted to set things right though I had no idea what that would look like. I realized my greatest downfall first, my own ignorance of the scriptures. Second, was my willingness to submit to others who I believed knew more than I did. I also acknowledge a big part of that willingness to submit was out of balance, and a trap of Satan to which many of us fall prey.

There do exist ideologies resulting from teaching that are not scriptural, yet they are taught by people who have a need for control and attention. They are taught to people who believe they are lowly and are in need of someone to reign over them. And though believers are admonished in scripture to search for the truth and to test the teachings of others, we do not. As we read these two verses in Acts 17, we find the result of that research is to find the truth and believe.

11Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true. 12As a result, many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men.

We are responsible for our salvation and we are told to work it out in fear in trembling (Philippians 2:12). Again, we do not. And the resulting entrapment is of our own doing as we have allowed the father of lies to gain entrance into our lives and separate us from Christ who has set us free from the assignment of death.

Recently, as you have read, I had the experience of trusting a teacher I deemed to be from the Lord. As a group we were invited to ask questions and the result of our questions brought a storm against us that has not yet abated. Of late, we have been called feminists and Jezebels, and are accused of doing the work of Satan.

While I feel bad for people who have the need to control others, I will not stand for it. And I will continue to preach the one and only Jesus, the Messiah to as  many who will listen, male or female. I will continue to encourage healthy, doctrinal sound conversation here, held in the search for the truth, as bereans, as defenders of the faith, until such time as the Lord says to stop. Why? Because the it has been by the hand of the Lord that this blog came into being.  Together, we have grown and thrown off the wiles of the devil. It is the true work of a believer to make disciples. I believe there are many out there who still need to be pulled from the fire of charismania. As I have stated in the past, I will not wear a burqa. There is too much at stake.

Going forward, I will be looking at some very interesting and enlightening research regarding the roles of Christian women, written by men and women who not only know the scriptures, but understand the meanings, the culture and the events that took place during the times the scriptures were written. The omission of these important details have been the result of some very bad teaching regarding the roles of women.

Ideologies set by man, and their resulting bondage be damned. Literally.

Christ came to set us free and I will stand for that freedom.

 

We All Struggle…

Quote

From a dear friend to another, as prophecy is to build up, encourage and bring comfort…

We all struggle, we all stumble, and we all fall…… But our steps are ordered by God and we will rise again; because of our righteousness in Him.

 

Remember Eph. 1 God knew us, choose us and loved us before the foundation of the world….the beginning to the end. He knows how we messed up yesterday, what we’re going to trip over today and the pit He will have to pull us out of tomorrow. That’s part of the gift of His salvation, His redemption and deliverance from the things we find ourselves entangled in.

The Unpardonable Sin

This subject of the unpardonable sin has come up here from time to time and I thought the following writing would be most helpful –

The concept of an unpardonable sin has been a source of difficulty for many because it seems to go against the Bible’s teaching concerning grace. It also seems to be contrary to the purpose of why Christ came, to save sinners. Yet in Matthew 12 Jesus speaks of a sin that is unpardonable. Through the years I have heard many assert a great many things surrounding this passage which has left me often times frustrated, discouraged and even doubting salvation.

Go to Closing Stages and read the rest of Mike’s article based on Dr. Alan Cairns’ explanation right over here. 🙂

To Be Called By His Name

Christian or Christ-follower?

I seem to remember being taught by my Mother to not say words or repeat things I didn’t understand. So truly I had no excuse to have picked up and used the words “Christ-follower” to describe “who I was”.  Fortunately, that fit was very short lived as I found out what that phrase meant exactly and who coined it. (Yes, Emergent Church warning…)

I am very happy and content to be called a Christian. It is an honor and I will never again go seeking after another cool or hip phrase to be called by. It is enough to be called by His name.

This is an excellent article on that very thing from Lighthouse Trails Authors —(yes, think – Beth Moore, Richard Foster, Basil Pennington, Henri Nouwen, Rick Warren, etc, etc…the gang’s all there!)

Christian or Christ-follower?

Christian or Christ-follower. It’s a distinction that is being made more and more today, and often the latter term, Christ follower, is replacing the former term, Christian. Even many Christian leaders are making the switch. But just what does it mean? Emerging church leader, Erwin McManus says his “goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.” In McManus’ book, The Barbarian Way, he talks about being “awakened” to a “primal longing that … waits to be unleashed within everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ.” McManus says that the “greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity [i.e., Christians].” A video series on YouTube.com called “Christian No More” (by Christian Community Church) exemplifies this view by portraying those who call themselves Christians as shallow church-goers who wear suits and ties, have Christian bumper stickers on their cars and prefer the King James Version. This belittling video is evidence that it is increasingly more popular to call oneself a Christ follower rather than a Christian.

Interestingly, most of the leaders who seem to be downplaying the name Christian and promoting the appropriation of the term “Christ follower” are contemplative spirituality proponents. One contemplative advocate, Rick Warren, had the term throughout his former pastors.com website. Lee Strobel refers to it in his book Case for Christ (Student Edition), and Wesleyan pastor David Drury has a Christ-Follower Pop Quiz on his web site to help determine if you are really a “Christ Follower.”

This theme of anti-”Christian” sentiment is not going to disappear any time soon. In emerging church leader and labyrinth promoter Dan Kimball’s book called, “They Like Jesus, But Not the Church,” the idea is that you can go for Jesus, but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. This concept spills over into some missionary societies too, where they teach people from other religions that they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation. They don’t have to embrace the term “Christian” (see The New Missiology).

So what’s the problem? So what if you want to be a Christ follower instead of a Christian. Well, the problem, when identified, will show you why the Spiritual Formation movement (which is promoted by Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, the emerging church, etc) is so dangerous and misleading.

Let us explain. If you have researched the teachings of contemplative authors, you may have noticed a common message. That message says: If you want to be like Christ, then practice these certain disciplines and you can be like Him. Chuck Swindoll bought into this when he wrote his book, So You Want to Be Like Christ: Eight Essential Disciplines to Get You There. But Swindoll exalts one particular discipline – the silence. In fact, he goes so far as to say you can’t become a deep, meaningful Christian without it. Beth Moore, in the pro-contemplative film, Be Still, says: “[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.” And this is what contemplatives teach. The one common thread woven throughout spiritual formation teachings is that the silence and being a Christ follower are practically synonymous. You can’t have one without the other. And of course, this silence is induced through meditative practices such as centering prayer, lectio divina, etc.

So what we are witnessing is countless teachers, authors and leaders telling people they can become like Christ through a method that can be learned. Richard Foster teaches that anyone, not just believers, can practice contemplative prayer and become like Christ.

Now here lies the difference between a Christian and a Christ-follower. A person who is truly born-again has Jesus Christ indwelling him. Jesus lives inside that person. And it is His life in him or her that gives the power to become progressively more like Him (sanctification), as Paul said in his address to Corinthian Christians: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). The believer draws his strength and power from Jesus Christ (who indwells him), and he realizes his salvation and any good thing in him is from Christ; as the Scripture says: “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).

But being born again or having the indwelling of Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite for the Christendom of today. Spiritual formation can be practiced by anyone. Jesus becomes a model or an example who can be followed and mimicked. For example, Ken Blanchard, says Jesus is a perfect model to follow. That’s why he talks so much about leading like Jesus would lead. But Blanchard has shown time and again that he believes meditation is a key factor in becoming like Jesus.

While Jesus was and is a model, that wasn’t His primary mission. And when people refer to Him as a model, it is often because they see Him as a model for higher consciousness rather than the unique Son of God, Emmanuel (God with us) who came to die for us and be our Savior. And that’s what you find across the board in contemplative writings. Contemplative icons Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen saw Jesus in this manner. This is why Nouwen said it disturbed him when he heard people say Jesus was the only way. He said it was his mission to help people find his or her own way to God (see Sabbatical Journey). That’s also why he saw India as a source for many spiritual “treasures” for the Christian. 1 In an eastern religion like Buddhism, Buddha was a model where his followers were imitators of him. But in Christianity the Spirit of Christ indwells us through faith. So Jesus becomes more than a model; He is a living presence in us. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

This is actually the heart of the whole spiritual formation movement. It supposedly teaches you how to be like Christ, but the power to do this doesn’t come from Jesus Christ living in you (in fact that isn’t a requirement, according to Richard Foster) – but the power to change has to come from somewhere. Where? It comes from meditation! So anyone at all, from any walk of life, from any religion, can be a “Christ follower.” But this does not mean they have Jesus Christ in them. The contemplative prayer movement is misguiding millions into believing that if they practice certain disciplines they can be like Christ, thus securing their spiritual well being. They may come to believe that they have a christ consciousness and are Christ like, yet they do not have the actual power of Christ within. That power can only come from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:18).

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come … Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:1,5).

The man who virtually wrote the book on the subject (Centering Prayer), Basil Pennington, made the point of what we are trying to say when he penned these words:

It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced.

Another majorcontemplative promoter stated:

The new ecumenism involved here is not between Christian and Christian, but between Christians and the grace of other intuitively deep religious traditions.–Tilden Edwards

These two men have both been leaders of the contemplative prayer movement for decades. And it is important to note that evangelical leader Richard Foster endorsed Edwards’ book, Spiritual Friend, from which this last quote came (see back, Celebration of Discipline). Both Pennington and Edwards would call themselves Christ followers, following in the same spiritual path as Jesus Christ followed. But as you can see, both Pennington and Edwards do not accept the view that believing the gospel is a vital prerequisite for having a relationship with the living God. Otherwise they would not have said the above. With this mindset, the message of the cross is rendered useless. And so the question that we must ask ourselves is this: Will we, who have Jesus Christ living in us, call ourselves Christians? Let those of us who name the name of Christ, stand and say, yes, we will be called Christians.

For a complete analysis and documentation of contemplative spirituality and its infiltration into Christendom, we encourage you to read A Time of Departing.

A Word on Elitism

Anyone who has done reading on my blog knows that I warn against spiritual elitism. I have put up several articles regarding Mother Teresa following this post. I did not do it to trash an old woman. I did it because I believe that NONE of us are above reproach in any sense of the phrase. MT has been held in very high regard for a long period of time. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She has an impeccable reputation except by those who knew her best. The point I am making in presenting the articles that follow is to remind us again not to esteem any one person so highly. Many things she believed in and taught are not truly biblical. So we need to be careful of the pedestal we put people on.

Christianity is trashed because of our inability to remain focused on who’s who. No one died for us but Jesus Christ. He is the only one who is high and lifted up. He is the only way to God, not through works, but salvation alone. I truly hope this woman repented and is now with Jesus.

A Word Against the Wilderness Outcry

Against the Outcry

The following is a comment I put up at the blog linked above. This is a group of people – Christians and Atheists who are against the upcoming Wilderness Outcry coming to their hometown in Missouri this June. The blog has linked some of my related articles to help get the word out. Please pray that the deceitful teachings of Dutch Sheets and Lou Engle be revealed to the people. Their false doctrines and silly ideas are damaging to the true faith!

_________

We need to put this in its proper perspective. Dutch Sheets and Lou Engle are part of what is known as the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) under the leadership of C Peter Wagner. They subscribe to the latter rain doctrine (Dominionism/Kingdom Now/Manifest Sons of God) which teaches that in the final days God will pour out His Spirit in a way that He never did in the past. They believe there will be an end time army of believers, taken from Joel 2 that will have supernatural ability never before experienced. Some of them will achieve a sinless state, embodying Christ Himself. It is complete heresy!! This is the driving force behind what is called Joel’s Army or Engle’s The Call, the Nazirites. They also believe God has called them to take dominion over the earth, in all 7 areas of influence, aka the 7 mountains – religion, entertainment, media, education, government, etc. They believe this can be achieved through these prayer/worship/fasting gatherings.

What their teachings and beliefs come down to is their own personal interpretations of scripture. They take the words of the bible out of context to support whatever dreams or visions or prophetic words they claim to have had. They throw out any regard to what the scriptures truly mean or who is being addressed, but use them for their own purposes. Much regard and importance is given to their own subjective supernatural experiences which is known as experienced-based theology, having no basis in the truth of the word of God. Their followers who trust and support them do so at their own detriment, but believe they are fulfilling the call of God and that they have been called to this service being forerunners or having special purpose or ability above that of a normal Christian. These movements are very dangerous, very deceptive. Once people become wrapped up it is very difficult to show them the truth.

I am a Christian. I believe in the word of God as it is written. These people, even tho they use the name of God and throw scripture around do not speak for true Christianity. It is very important for us to make that as clear as possible. They are liars and have their own plans and purposes aside from anything God has done, outside His will or purpose. All anyone has to do is to read the bible to find this out. It is not hard to see the lies.

Numbers do not have special purpose, nor are they ever used by God to communicate messages to His people. This is numerology and is used in the occult, a practice of divination forbidden to us by God. (Leviticus 19:26) To confirm this, scan the bible and see if God ever used numbers or a grouping of numbers to speak to people. You will find He did not. There are some who call themselves Christians yet teach numbers have meaning. (I know because I took their courses, only to find out the truth later.) And to multiply that number gives that meaning more emphasis. This is why the number 7 is expressed as 777, or 4 as 444, etc. A little research into numerology will confirm this as true. The bible was written without the numbering system as divided into chapters and verses. Man did that to make it easier to read, study and refer to. So the little scenario of 444 acres being Isaiah 44:4 is questionable since God didn’t use the numbering system anyway!!

This connection with Nazirites is part of the Old Covenant, having nothing to do with Christianity. It is old and should be put aside, not practiced or encouraged. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and is the New Covenant. We call ourselves Christians because we follow Christ and His teachings and His ways. If we are to take on a vow of the Nazirite we need to be aware there is more to it than just the vow in itself. So, these followers may want to ask themselves if they are ready to follow ALL of the rules and requirements of a Nazirite because there’s more there than just getting caught up in the emotional moment and making a vow. (God takes vows seriously!) Again, this is like a buzz word, making Lou Engle look as tho he knows what he is talking about. He does not – otherwise he would teach all the requirements of a Nazirite. If he is truly a Christian he should take a closer look at what he is telling people because he is teaching them to do something other than what Christ does. In effect, he is causing a separation between Christ and His followers!

Being a Christian I must point out that upon salvation we are given the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who is Jesus Christ living with us, guiding, directing. The Holy Spirit is not a separate entity, but what is known as the third person – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. He reveals Jesus Christ. He has nothing of Himself for He is God. The Lord does not visit His people in special places. There are no longer places on earth set aside for worship or visitation. This was symbolized when Jesus was crucified and the curtain in the temple Holy of Holies was torn in two. It signified man now has access directly to God, not longer needing a priest or sacrifice to go before Him.

God treats all people as individuals and while we are called to pray we cannot repent on behalf of our nation and expect that will change things. It will not. Change will only happen when people recognize their need for a Savior, when they recognize Jesus Christ is the mediator, the one who came to reunite a sinful person with a Holy God. A God who loves us so much that He (Jesus) died for us. When we recognize this need and turn from our own selfish needs. we look to the needs of others, esteeming them more than ourselves, we can only truly love or care for another through the love of God Himself. The key aspect to anything we do is to preach the gospel. This other stuff is something other than true Christianity and I feel it of the utmost importance to show the difference as best I can. This world will continue it is sin and destruction until the return of Jesus Christ. Mankind will not change this nor will he ever be granted dominion in the way the NAR intends. They are far from the truth and must be exposed.

I have links to resources where much more information on these topics have been compiled in greater detail. I will be happy to supply them if you wish.

We are warned repeatedly in scripture of false teachers, prophets and doctrine, and that others will come in the name of Christ. This deception is very old. Please know there is a coming world leader who will take over control for a time. He will be political and religious and is known in the word as the antichrist. He will seem to be a man of peace, but only for a time. This is why it is of the utmost importance to know the difference between the true Christ and the imposter(s) and to be prepared.

The disasters on the earth happen because the earth itself is fallen. I do not believe this is God judging anyone yet. But that will come. These people who claim the storms and earthquakes, etc are judgments of God have no real way of knowing that with any certainty. To claim that we can come together and pray to avoid further devastation is an outright lie. Sheets is using fear to motivate others to follow him, manipulation is considered a form of witchcraft! It is enough to know that God allows the storms and disasters and there is no way of knowing if we will be included in the next one or not. Please be ready for what is to come on the earth.

Jesus said My Kingdom is not of this world – John 18:36
The promise and work of the Holy Spirit – John 14:26, 16:7-14
The purpose of Christ – John 3:16-17