The sound of heresy…

February 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I know that it’s been awhile since I wrote something other than the Bible study, newslinks, or Persecution Friday spots. I’ve been kinda busy, but I haven’t forgotten. Something I saw the other day made me have to write this though. It’s going to be a long read, so if you have to take a potty break or get a cup of coffee, do it now…:)

I heard about something the other day that just about made me sick, but I didn’t want to say anything about it until I had some proof from the horse’s mouth. Now I have it and this needs to be put out in the open.

For a long time, I’ve been talking about false teachers and men who call themselves pastors. I see many both locally in my home town, nationally in the U.S., and (unfortunately) they are now spreading to other countries. Not that there weren’t false teachers there already, but the American style of prosperity gospel preachers is sadly reaching into other parts of the world that are just now opening up to real Christianity. It is one of these types of people that I am writing about today. Continue Reading The sound of heresy……

Revival (long)

April 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I don’t know what it is like in other areas of America (I’m originally from Ohio and don’t remember hearing a lot about this up there), but over the next five or so months, churches across the South will be holding revivals. These will be big to-dos varying in length from three or four days to an entire week. During the time leading up to these events, the church excitement grows and people look forward to this in order to be “refreshed” and get a spiritual boost so that they continue to “work for the Lord”.  They will dress in their Sunday best, notebooks in hand, to hear what the preacher/evangelist (usually a guest) has to say. Depending on the denomination and area, these meetings will range in volume and action. The expectation is that at the end of the week, they will have heard the very thing they needed to hear so that they can move to a new level with God and “do more” for Him. I remember attending a few revivals (I haven’t been to one in years) and recall them being emotionally charged appeals (in some cases) or sound, steady topical teaching (in other cases). For weeks following the revival, people would make larger efforts to have more ministries, outreaches, events, and other things geared toward the church. As I look back though, I seem to also remember that after about two months the revival wore off. People began getting caught up in the daily grind again and all of those new ministries and events just fell by the wayside. I have thought about this a lot lately. In my own life, I am striving harder to have everything I do line the Scriptures. I am not even close yet, but things are moving along. I started wondering what Scripture said about revival. What I found was interesting. Continue Reading Revival (long)…

This is the year!

January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Well, it’s about that time. The Christmas season is over and the ball has dropped to signify another year has begun. Aside from the annual commercials selling every type of weight loss machine, drink, and diet plan imaginable, there is one more thing that should be happening right about now. This time of year should also bring the beginning of all of the “prophetic words” from the numerous “pastors” and “preachers” that talk about how this is the year for ________ (insert the new, popular word/term for financial prosperity here…). This is the year of blessing, wealth, prosperity, health, overflow, abundance, and/or fullness. This is the year when that peace/love/hope/power/healing/miracle/joy you’ve been waiting for is going to happen! If you will send these men and women your seed/offering/gift in faith and believe that what they are telling you is true, oops sorry, I mean believe in faith, then you will know greater power/glory/honor/fame/money/prestige/happiness/joy/love/peace/prosperity/your best life now. All that for your best “faith seed”! Seems like a pretty good deal doesn’t it?

If it wasn’t so heretical, it would actually be kind of fun. Like biblical Mad Libs… Continue Reading This is the year!…

Chasing the gifts

February 4, 2008 at 10:58 am | Posted in Christianity | 1 Comment
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In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul exhorts his readers to pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy. Looking at the church today, it seems like we’ve gotten things backwards.

I have never seen a clamoring for the spiritual like I see now in the church. I have seen churches that were middle of the road on spiritual things all of a sudden begin chasing the “spiritual” with single-minded abandon. The charismatic churches seem to be growing will most others are losing members. Is this a sign of God’s favor or is it something else?

It seems like the thirst for the spiritual things has become a priority in many churches today. If you aren’t fully committed to the spiritual things, then you may not even be saved (not true). If you desire something above spiritual gifts then you are obviously missing some vital scripture that no one seems to be able to find.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the spiritual gifts and see them as necessary. But, in all that I read in scripture, I don’t find them promoted and placed like I see being done in the modern church. Many of the people promoting the spiritual gifts like this don’t even seem to have an understanding of the gifts. They don’t seem to have taken the time to study what the Bible says about the gifts. Instead, they just mimic other men and women who have gigantic ministries in hopes that they will have the same result. I see this as both dangerous and a down right shame.

I am going to broaden my rant a little bit. I don’t want to talk about the spiritual gifts by themselves, although I will be using them as an example. When I’m talking about the spiritual gifts, I’m implying the veritable explosion of gluttonous hunger for all things spiritual and airy.

I’ve seen people that are otherwise grounded go completely nuts over the spiritual things. I’ve seen others who (unfortunately) so desire to be seen and to have a ministry that they’ve latched on to spiritual things in hopes of inspiring awe and spirituality in those around them and thereby improving their image. They speak in tongues with every breath. Every time they talk about anything to do with scripture, it was “a word from the Lord” or something “God spoke to them”.  I wonder if people would be so quick to do all this if the Old Testament laws were still in effect? If someone were to be stoned to death for falsely speaking on behalf of the Lord, I daresay that there wouldn’t be near as many that would be so quick to do it…Not only that, I would think that those who preach the gospel would take it a lot more seriously than many seem to do now.

Now, you might be reading this and thinking, “But, didn’t Paul say to earnestly desire spiritual gifts?”

And my answer would be: “Yes.”

But taking just that scripture doesn’t give us a proper picture of what the spiritual gifts are for.

If we look in Ephesians 4, we begin to see a bigger picture concerning the spiritual gifts. In this chapter, Paul is talking about how God has gifted some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He then gives the reasons why this was done. These gifts were given so that the men they were given to might equip the church for the work of service and to build up the body of Christ.

Sadly, that’s not what the gifts are being used for in most instances today. Instead, they are dividing the church. They are being used selfishly for personal gain and prestige. The one that speaks in tongues in a group of people without an interpretation is misusing a spiritual gift. Paul even says in 1 Cor. 14 that the one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. He goes on to say that if that tongue isn’t clear enough to be understood, the person speaking will be like a barbarian to the one being spoken to and vise-versa. Is that edifying? Most of the people I’ve heard speaking in tongues were mumbling or speaking so fast that I couldn’t understand what they were saying. And, I have yet to hear someone interpret in the instances I have heard tongues.

It’s not just tongues either. Like I said earlier, it seems that a whole new “crop” of prophets has sprung up and they all are speaking the “word of the Lord”. The odd thing is, they contradict each other a lot. They also seem to gain personally for it and are glorified for their “office”. When I look in the bible, I don’t see that to be the case. Look at Isaiah or Ezekiel. Look at some of the other prophets. There were prophets like Daniel who were placed in high positions, but he didn’t ask for it and it wasn’t his goal! Look at John the Baptist. He was a prophet for the coming Messiah. He didn’t seem to be all that prosperous in the world’s eyes…

All of this reminds me of another prophet and a situation that he faced in his life. The prophet is Elijah. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah confronts the people with the truth. Either God is God and follow Him, or Baal is god and follow him. The people don’t respond. So Elijah has this test set forth and has King Ahab call all 450 prophets of Baal. They are given an oxen and Elijah gets an oxen. Elijah then challenges them. Both are to build an altar and put wood on it. They are to prepare the sacrifice and put no fire under it. They are then to call on their god and the Elijah will call on the name of the Lord. The one that answers will be the true god.

They start this in the morning and the prophets of Baal go first. They go all throughout the morning leaping around their altar and shouting, “Baal answer us”. I can’t help but see this as a reflection of the modern church. Our buildings are filled with people who are leaping and shouting in “worship”, hoping that “God” hears them and somehow answers them.

At about noon, Elijah begins to mock them saying that they should shout louder. He says that their “God” might have gone aside or on a journey or may be sleeping. So the prophets of Baal being to shout louder and cut themselves until blood started gushing out on them. Again, I can’t help but be reminded of the modern church. When “God” doesn’t answer us, we don’t look to see if it’s something in our lives, we shout louder! Obviously, we just haven’t done the right things yet to get Him to answer us.  If we offer ourselves as a sacrifice (in a way that is not in accordance with the Word of God), then surely He’ll hear us!

The prophets rail and rave until the time for the evening sacrifice and there is still no answer.

Then, Elijah begins his effort by doing something that the prophets of Baal never thought of doing. He looks at God’s people and tells them, “Come near to me”. Then, this one old man begins to rebuild the altar of Lord. He takes twelve stones (one for each tribe of Israel) and builds an altar to God. He then digs a trench around the altar that’s deep enough to hold two measures of seed (this is actually believed to be as big as the amount of land it takes to sow two measures (six gallons) of seed). He then lays out the wood for the offering and prepares the sacrifice properly. The sacrifice is then arranged on the wood and the entire thing is doused with a total of twelve pitchers of water (so much that it filled the trench too). By now, it is time for the evening sacrifice. Elijah cries out to God to answer him and show the people that He is the One True God. Then, fire from heaven comes down and consumes the sacrifice, the altar, the stones and even the water in the trench. The people fall on their faces and turn their hearts back to God (part of Elijah’s prayer). Elijah then commands the people to rise up and capture every prophet of Baal. Elijah takes them to the brook Kishon and kills all of them there…

I’m not calling for the death of the men and women who have put the spiritual above everything else. What I am calling for is that the people of God return to Him and seek to rightly understand His Word, the way He meant it to be understood. Elijah was answered because he did things God’s way! If were are to be truly obedient, then we need to stop doing things our way and start doing things God’s way. The spiritual gifts are important because they build up the church. But the most important thing that the church needs is to be founded on the truth of the Word of God the way God meant it!

Your thoughts?…

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