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Why Does The Media Focus Only On Harold Camping?

Posted by Job on May 26, 2011

Yes, Harold Camping has been exposed as a false prophet, deceiving many as concerning the timing of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Again. Yes, his deception has caused lots of problems and unnecessary harm, especially for his followers. Again. The question is this: what is the big deal? Why has Camping been the subject of such media attention for months when there are so many pressing stories to cover i.e. wars, famines, diseases, natural disasters, economic failures, political intrigues etc. on a global scale? Clearly the media has an agenda, but what is it?

First off, for the sake of sound doctrine, let it be known that the return of Jesus Christ will not occur until A) the gospel has been taken to all nations and B) a great apostasy, a great falling away from the true faith, occurs. As the great commission is a primary duty of the church, it logical to conclude that the falling away will occur shortly after the great commission is fulfilled, or when the great commission’s fulfillment and with it the time of the Gentiles draws to a close. Anyone who extricates themselves from rapture watching and religious right (or religious left) politics long enough to pay attention to the global missions movements knows that barring a fantastic miracle we are at least 100 years from fulfilling the great commission (the 10/40 window alone is an amazing challenge) and – despite the claims of Camping otherwise – far from there being a great falling away, there are more Christians – or definitely appreciable numbers of Christians in more places – today than at any time in history. So, if we can learn anything from this Camping episode, it is that we should heed the words given by angels and recorded by the physician Luke at the direction of God the Holy Spirit “why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” That was an exhortation to cease waiting for eternity and to get on with the business of living for eternity by loving Jesus Christ and walking in His ways.

With that out of the way, let it further be said that the error of Camping does not undermine the authority of the Bible, Jesus Christ or His church but rather confirms it. How? Because the Bible repeatedly warns against false teachers, including those who would lead people into error concerning His second coming. Jesus Christ said that “false prophets shall deceive many” in Matthew 24:5, and that many will be offended by the true faith in Matthew 24:10. Such false teachings were present even while the New Testament was being written, as the apostle Peter referenced them in 2 Peter 3:4, the apostle John did the same in 1 John 2:18, and the apostle Paul did the same in 2 Thessalonians 2.  Further, Jesus Christ predicted such specifically in Matthew 24:4-5! The New Testament makes it clear that we identify false teachers when they teach things that are in contradiction to the Bible. This truth is what drove William Tyndale to martyrdom, when he stated “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” in response to being told that common people didn’t need to be knowledgeable concerning the Bible’s contents, because it was better to obey the pope than the Bible anyway. So, in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that none knows the timing of His return save God the Father (Matthew 24:36), and in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that the great commission will be fulfilled before He returns (Matthew 24:14) and in rejecting the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Paul concerning the falling away first in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, this Camping teaches against things concerning God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and by his doing so and attracting so many followers he verifies the pages of the New Testament when it said that such a thing would happen. So, Camping did not harm the authenticity or integrity of the Bible by being wrong, but rather verified the Bible’s truth! Instead, Camping’s being RIGHT would have been an occasion to challenge the veracity of the Bible, for were Jesus Christ to return before we reach the many tribes in the 10/40 window or while there are tens of millions of believers risking persecution to worship in Africa and Asia, what would be said of those Bible texts?

So, make no mistake, there is nothing special about Camping. Was not just over ten years ago when there were tons of false prophets claiming based on Bible codes and numerology that Jesus Christ was going to return in 2000? (Never mind that the Bible doesn’t follow our modern calendars, and that Bede almost certainly incorrectly calculated the date of the birth of Jesus Christ that we use for “B.C.” and “A.D.” anyway). Or about 25 years ago Jesus Christ was going to return because it was 40 years after of the establishment of the modern state of Israel? (Never mind that Jesus Christ spoke “this generation” to the Jews of His own time concerning the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and if the Bible actually does speak of the restoration of the political nation of Israel, it does not link this event to any timetable concerning Christ’s return.) So why all the fuss and the furor? It has to serve some sort of media agenda.

Consider this: how come when the subject in view is Usama bin Laden or some other Muslim terrorist, the media is quick to say “he isn’t a real Muslim” or “he doesn’t represent mainstream Islam that is practiced by hundreds of millions of peaceful followers”, but the media is quick to depict Camping as being in or near the mainstream of evangelical and fundamental Christians? In truth, as Camping rejects the Holy Trinity, he shouldn’t be classified as Christian at all. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Jews all reject the Holy Trinity, a core foundational doctrine of Christianity that sets it apart from other religions that are either polytheistic or present a false teaching on God’s Unity. But while the media does its best to present Islam and increasingly Mormonism as moderate and mainstream, it uses Camping to create a wild eyed, dangerous fanatical face for Bible-believing Christianity.

Another thing: it isn’t as if Camping is the only false prophet or source of wrong information. Far from it. It is just that when so many others get things wrong and are exposed for their false, anti-Biblical thinking, nothing is ever said about it. Instead, the media, the academy, the elites simply move on. (Or they carry on as if the error was never made.) Consider liberal Christianity, such as the critical “scholars.” Barely a year goes by when an archaeological find of a Biblical site or a scientific breakthrough that confirms Biblical truth or discovery of early manuscripts verifying the existence of historical persons, places and the integrity of Biblical texts that the critical scholars challenged, yet the critical scholars are still accepted as scholars, and their methods – which would never be used in any other field because of their ascientific nature – accepted as reliable.

But that is just the Bible, right? Wrong. Take psychology. The theories of giants in that field like Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey have long been discredited. Yet they are still revered as having made great contributions to science, modern thought and human progress, and furthermore their discredited theories are still being taught as fact in our schools and universities. But psychology, save when it is based on experimentation and observation and does not deal with brain’s biology and chemistry, is a “soft science”, right? Sure, except that the theories in the hard sciences like physics and biology turn up erroneous also. Our schools still teach the long-discredited false leads in evolution theory, i.e. the “evolutionary timeline tree chart” that has long been abandoned as unworkable, and fossils allegedly showing primates evolving into humans that were actually either diseased humans or other animals as fact. You would be surprised to know how many of the things that were taught in science class has been quietly abandoned, how much more needs to be pushed from the classroom, and would be if the media held that community to the same scrutiny that it does evangelical and fundamental Christianity.

But that is just arcane science that has little relevance to our daily lives, so what harm does it do? Fine, except that the realm of false prophets also exists in government and policy. Many fantastic, dire predictions have been made and influenced the direction of governments and leaders to who knows what ends. Example? Global warming. Except that they couldn’t call it “global warming” anymore when many places in the world started experiencing prolonged unseasonably cold weather! So, the cause of the cold weather was attributed to greenhouse gas emissions also and “global warming” became “climate change.” I remember a specific prediction from the global warming prophets that had a lot of people frightened: after Hurricane Katrina and other large, powerful destructive hurricanes in 2005, the global warming community (the “climate change” moniker had not yet been instituted) claimed that the increase in the power and severity of the storms were caused by global warming, and that we could expect worse storms – and more of them – thereafter. They predicted that the hurricane season of 2006 was going to be one of the worst in history! All their models said so! What happened? We haven’t had anything approaching Katrina since.

Another example: peak oil. The experts a few decades back claimed that we had maxed out our oil production, that we had exploited the main reserves, that oil production was heading for an inevitable decline, and that we needed to alter our lifestyles and change our way of life to conserve what oil was left or face a global energy crisis. A few years after those dire predictions, some of the largest oil reserves in history were discovered, as well as technological breakthroughs for accessing oil, and possible new sources of oil, such as from shale and sand. (Do not mistake me for an oil company and fossil fuels advocate, quite the contrary I am fully supportive of alternative energy, and believe that a lot of great technology in that area is not being exploited.) And there was also the “overpopulation crisis.” It was promoted by folks who believed that if the world’s population reached 4 billion, it would become unsustainable, and the result would be mass famines and starvation, diseases, wars and environmental degradation. The only solution was immediate global population control programs! Well, now the world population is 6.75 billion and counting.

There is more. Remember when mad cow disease was going to ravage our food supply? Oprah Winfrey said “I’ll never eat a hamburger again!” (Of course, these folks OPPOSE abstinence from fornication as a defense against sexually transmitted disease as the Bible commands, but constantly promotes abstinence from eating the animals that God gave us dominion over and called lawful to eat.) Remember when bird flu was going to kill thousands, or tens of thousands? What about swine flu? Brought to you by the same false prophets who told you to run out and buy cellophane and masking tape to protect yourself from a nuclear terrorist attack after September 11th.

The prophets told us in the 1980s that AIDS was going to wipe out a significant portion of the U.S. population with little or no regard for lifestyle, and needless to say they were wrong, as AIDS rates only increased among homosexuals, the promiscuous and drug users while declining for everyone else. The lead false prophet was surgeon general C. Everett Koop, who used this false information to promote sex education and condom giveaways in schools starting in 3rd grade. Speaking of sex education, the false prophets told us that it would drastically reduce the venereal disease and teen/out of wedlock pregnancy rates, and it did neither. Instead, both shot through the roof, and further there are now new venereal diseases that even condom manufacturers acknowledge their products are useless against (not that you will ever hear that in any public school sex education program).

But wait, there’s more. The prophets told us that abandoning classical education for new education reforms (often based on Freudian or Marxist theories) would lead to markedly improved results and a transformation of society. They were totally wrong, American academic achievement has fallen off the map, and no one talks about it. The prophets told us that divorce and illegitimacy were GOOD for women, children and even most men, but education, poverty, drug use and incarceration rates say otherwise. The prophets claimed that we could eliminate racism through education. How is that working out? They claimed that we could eliminate poverty through government action, and now not only is poverty still a reality (as Jesus Christ said it would in Mark 14:7, not a favorite text among liberal theologians!) but unprecedented numbers of people in America and worldwide are reliant on government assistance of some kind. The false prophets also claimed that the triumph of Soviet communism was inevitable, and the best course of action was resignation, acceptance and learning from and becoming more like them, only to have the Soviet Union collapse and many remaining Marxist regimes like China and Viet Nam adopt more capitalistic economies. Those who predicted that the war on drugs and the war on terror (especially Afghanistan and Iraq) could be effectively and quickly won? Whatever happened to them?

The sociologists who said that eliminating censorship laws and allowing the free trafficking of pornography would make us more progressive and improve relations between the sexes? They have been nowhere to be found as rapists, child molesters and other sex criminals have proliferated, multiplying like rats. The social theorists who claimed that putting criminals in jail wouldn’t lower crime rates because the root causes were economic? Wrong, and verified when crime rates still remained lower despite two severe recessions and deep cuts in social services. (Well, street crime is lower anyway. White collar crime, the rich in their vain attempt to sate their lust for greed, remains through the roof. But the Bible said that this would happen concerning the wealthy also … see the book of James, which is not a favorite among political conservatives or those who teach the false prosperity gospel.) And another example: remember Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s claim that we had to immediately adopt a stimulus package to keep unemployment from hitting 8%? Unemployment has been at or near 10% for over two years! Anti-Christ? Probably not. False prophet? Definitely.

So, on one hand you have ONE Harold Camping, who again due to his rejection of the Holy Trinity and of many Bible texts (he forbids his followers from fellowshipping in local churches in violation of Hebrews 10:25) should not be considered a Christian is a false prophet. On the other hand, you have MANY worldly prophets who due to their embrace of ungodly, anti-Biblical ideas, doctrines, philosophies and imaginations that exalt themselves against God (2 Corinthians 10:5) that are utterly, totally and completely wrong all the time. Now both groups of false prophets are wrong for the same reason: their rejection of Biblical revelation as true, infallible, inerrant, and the final authority in all matters, and not merely things necessary for salvation. But the media and the elites shine the light on Camping to defame and discredit Christians who actually do adhere to the Bible while doing their best to cover up the fact that they so wrong so often on so many issues to the great harm of so many is appalling. It is hypocrisy at best, and a conspiratorial cover-up at worst. If anything, talking about Camping gives them an excuse to keep from having to address the huge mess that these folks have made of the economies, governments and societies of the world. Further, it allows them to transfer the blame from their failed policies – and the rejection of Jesus Christ and the Bible which reveals Him ideology that motivate them – to Christians, as if Christians are undermining their efforts.

Christians, for instance, are blamed for illegitimacy by opposing sex education. Christians are blamed for AIDS by opposing homosexuality. Christians are blamed for poor educational performance for opposing evolution. Christians are blamed for global warming for opposing climate change legislation. Christians are blamed for the wars and tension in the Middle East for supporting Israel and not a Palestinian state (by the way, I reject Zionism, and “Christian” Zionism is especially repugnant to what the Bible actually says, and John Hagee and not a few other false prophets follow this flawed school of interpretation). Christians are called misogynist for adhering to what the Bible says about the roles concerning men and women in the church, in marriages and homes and in society, and for opposing the murder of abortion. Christians are blamed for “Islamophobia” and “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Mormonism” for refusing to deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and accused of undermining cultures with our missionary work. And the list goes on and on.

And it is only going to increase. As more and more ideas based on a rejection of the Bible and even of general revelation (see Romans 1:18-32) causes still more decline and failure, anger will increase against Christians. As the world continues to reap the fruit of the sin and wickedness that it sows, it will increasingly see Christians as scapegoats. Instead of repenting of their sins and acknowledging those as the true source of the misery and calamity, the blame will be on Christians for failing to get with the program.

This will climax in first sporadic but then general and organized attempts to silence Christians and remove us from their midst, in the hopes of keeping us from hindering their “progress.” This is far-fetched, you say? Not in the least, because it has already happened. An example is not merely the brutal repression and murder of Christians on a massive scale in the Soviet Union, China, Germany, Sudan and other totalitarian (whether Marxist, Muslim or fascist) regimes in the last century, but the experience of the church in the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire’s wealth, power and culture were declining due to the decadence and incompetence of its ruling classes, and from Nero to Decius, they saw Christians as a scapegoat.

The legitimate Christians refused to join in their state religion (an odd mix of paganism and patriotism not dissimilar from what goes on in our country today, including in not a few churches) so the Roman “gods” were angry. The Christians refused to join in their public activities (regrettably this is not a mark of contemporary Christianity!) so they were called “divisive” and were accused of undermining the common culture (in addition to not being patriotic!) that was allegedly needed to have a cohesive, strong empire. And Christians preached and taught against the immorality, wickedness and depravity of the people, the rulers and the times. They preached against the rampant adultery, homosexuality, violence and child molestation. They preached against the wanton excesses of the upper classes (again, not a mark of contemporary evangelical Christianity, unless the upper classes in view are Hollywood, government bureaucrats and other liberal elites). And they preached against paganism, not only by the people but the official state religion (again, the evangelical Christian preacher who even speaks of the freemasonry and occult that was vital to this nation’s founding and has been influential in it ever since is rare).

Then, the persecution began as sporadic and localized, but climaxed in a brutal, sustained attempt to completely rid the Roman Empire of Christianity. And despite the estimated ten million Christians that were killed by the Roman Empire (something that you will never see mentioned in history books or depicted in movies, as they are more wont to depict Christians as murderous crusaders and the like) and the carnage of the past hundred years, that is only a shadow of the real bloodbath to come. You see, unlike Harold Camping, I do not adhere to a rapture belief. Instead, I believe the Bible when it says that when the anti-Christ comes, it will be given to him to make war against the saints, and to overcome them. I believe the Bible when it says that the time of tribulation, of great sorrows, will be of such severity that it will be cut short so that the saints, the elect, will survive it. And I believe that the saints that were mentioned in Revelation and Matthew 24 that will see that horrible time are not Jews, or those converted by Jews during the great tribulation, but Christians.

And that is what it is all about. That is why turning an obscure preacher with questionable doctrine into an international news story lasting several cycles was done. It is why Westboro Baptist Church, a cult that has existed for decades, is only now becoming international news. It is why Terry Jones, an obscure leader of a small congregation, became an international pariah for burning a Koran when not only Muslims but the United States military routinely burns Bibles!

It is why terrorists attacks committed by atheists like Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph are attributed to Christians. It is why violence against abortion clinics and doctors is an issue oft raised against Christians despite the fact that less than 5 such incidents have occurred in over 20 years, and only 1 in the past 10. The Hutaree militia drew headlines and a massive sting operation from the federal government as a Christian terrorism threat to rival that posed by Al Qaeda, and it turned out to be just a bunch of guys spinning yarns over the Internet.  Yet, the Marxist “liberation theology” types, not a few of whom were trained Soviet infiltrators, fanned the flames for any number of bloody murderous third world Marxist coups with their organizing and “preaching”, and the truth about their activities – and the level of support that they received from their ideological and religious fellow travelers in the U.S. – has never been documented by the media, Hollywood or our schools. Neither has the true history of our own “civil rights movement” – how it duped the black church and many well meaning white Americans into supporting Marxist subversive tactics, and how that movement was also organized by and rife with Soviet agents and sympathizers – been told, and nor can you expect them to spill the beans on their own false prophets.

The agitation propaganda against Christians will continue in the future just as it did in the Roman Empire. Christians should be heedful of the times, which means that we must be aware of what is going on, aware of where it is headed, and aware of whose agenda it is serving. That is why Christians should end these “battles” over “being represented in Hollywood” and the “culture wars” and “religious right politics” (and religious left politics) in favor of opening our eyes to the true state of affairs. Instead, we should study our Bibles, study about the early church during its time of persecution before Christianity was co-opted by the Roman Empire so that by learning about the church’s past, we can learn about the future – our future. Of course, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ will win in the end and vindicate and save His church. But make no mistake: just as Jesus Christ suffered Gethsemane and His passion before His resurrection and glorification, the church, being less than its Master Jesus Christ, must also suffer many things. Christians must be prepared so that we might stand during the time to come, and endure to the end. This is a battle that will be won not by guns, money or governments but by faith in the God who is fighting on our side and prevail.

It must be asked: which side are you on? The side of God, or of the wicked? Though Camping was wrong, his error only proved the Bible to be correct. The Bible makes it clear that the wicked perish and that Jesus Christ and those who believe in Him will triumph. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ, make no mistake, you will be counted among the wicked, because no matter how good you perceive yourself to be, before a holy and perfect God you are a sinner. I urge you, repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

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Spiritual Warfare In The Parable Of The Sower

Posted by Job on April 6, 2011

According to many popular spiritual warfare teachers, a major battlefield for spiritual warfare (binding and rebuking demons) and warfare prayer or directed prayer (praying against demons, their areas of influence and their activities) relates to evangelism and missions. These doctrines teach that there are powerful demons opposing the spread of the gospel by acting not just against comprehension and acceptance of this gospel of Jesus Christ in the minds of individuals, but that they keep entire regions, population groups, nations etc. in spiritual bondage. Sometimes it is through false religions and sinful practices, other times it may be government officials working to intimidate Christians, stop the building of churches, limit the distribution of Bibles, etc. There is a huge body of evangelism and missionary literature available that deals with this subject, and many large, respected Christian seminaries and Bible colleges deal with this issue in some fashion or another, including offering entire courses related to it, including how to stage and support successful evangelistic revivals. So it begs the question: how Biblical are the doctrines involved?

To answer, there does not seem to be a wealth of Bible texts that depicts the assumption of this scenario: that there is this huge swath of people that would receive the gospel and be converted if only demonic opposition were removed from the way. This is not to say, mind you, that these references are wholly nonexistent.

Revelation 2 and 3

Revelation 2 and 3 speaks of opposition to the churches in the way of false religious doctrines and persecution that may be influenced by demons. See the reference to the blasphemy of the “synagogue of Satan” as well as the “tribulation ten days” attacking Smyrna. Pergamos being located “even where Satan’s seat is” (a reference to the church’s proximity to a center of pagan emperor worship) and the martyrdom of Antipas, and accepted the false doctrines of Balaam and Balac (idolatry/sexual immorality) and the Nicolataines.

Thyatira adhered to the Jezebel doctrines (idolatry/sexual immorality) which is referred to as “the depths of Satan”. Philadelphia is being persecuted and withstood by another reference to “the synagogue of Satan.” However, no demonic persecution is apparent regarding Laodicea, Sardis or Ephesus. Instead, those churches – and presumably their evangelistic activities – were being hindered by love of the flesh and its works thereof, and this was particularly the case with Laodicea, who fell in love with money, prestige and power.

Also, even the churches that did have problems with demonic influences, it appears that in some cases those problems existed because what the evil influences offered appealed to the flesh – the fallen natures – of the church members, and the churches yielded to the temptation not so much of the evil spirits as of the flesh. This appears to particularly be a problem with Thyatira and Pergamos. By inviting demonic problems with their own carnality, those two churches were really no different from Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus, in that the root cause of their problems was the carnality, not the evil spirits.

That is why Jesus Christ gives Thyatira and Pergamos the same remedy that He gives Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus: repentance and return to true worship of Jesus Christ in holiness, sound doctrine and Godly fear. One should also note that regarding the two churches that did not provoke demonic persecution with their carnality or spiritual immaturity – Philadelphia and Smyrna – Jesus Christ does not tell them to respond to the demonic tormentors with spiritual warfare, but instead tells them to be faithful in the midst of trials by relying on Him and on His work, His promises and His faithfulness (see Revelation 3:8-10 and 2:10)!

So, regarding the demonic opposition that rises up against missionary work (and everything else), from what Jesus Christ told the churches concerning this opposition, we can take the position that His position is the same as that of the Holy Spirit speaking to and through Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh (a demon that tormented him) in 2 Corinthians 12:9’s “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Rather than going into spiritual warfare/deliverance over their oppression, the church was to heed the next verse’s admonition: “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.” So, rather than attempting to overcome this opposition with our own warfare tactics, we are to put our trust in the sovereignty and power of God to overcome them on our behalf for His glory. Our duty, then, is to be faithful to God by keeping His commandments.

Simon Magus

Another reference is that of Simon Magus in Acts 8-9. Using false religion akin to witchcraft and the occult, Simon Magus opposed the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Samaria. How was this demonic stronghold defeated? Not by spiritual warfare to bind it, or by directed prayer against it. Instead, Philip the evangelist simply kept preaching, and the Holy Spirit used his preaching to break down that stronghold Himself, and the Samaritans were converted. Demon spirits cannot withstand the power of God! Indeed, even Simon Magus believed the gospel! Though this Magus was not regenerated and went on to become a notorious opponent of the gospel and advocate of a gnostic syncretist system, even his form of belief – that lacked the power of Godliness – was evidence of the triumph of the sovereignty of God over against the works of both man and evil spirits.

The Whole Armour of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 is probably the most vital text to spiritual warfare/deliverance/directed prayer teachings. It reads:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This passage may well seem to contain a treasure trove of spiritual warfare teachings, exhortations and methodology, especially if it is interpreted more spiritually than literally. Verse 11-12’s meaning, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places“, is impossible to dispute. However, the problem is that this passage is not quoted in its entirety when spiritual warfare teaches use it. So, consider verses 19 and 20, which complete the section and the thought.

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Recall that Paul is in a Roman prison for preaching the gospel at the time that he wrote this epistle. Rather than being some text on spiritual warfare that fails to reveal any warfare methods or practices and is of a sort that exists nowhere else in the canon of scripture, Paul was merely exhorting the church to preach the gospel, to pray for the spread of the gospel, and to pray for him specifically that he would not succumb to his flesh by allowing the persecution that he was experiencing (in jail) to cause him to either stop preaching the gospel, or even worse, to start preaching it in a way or manner that would minimize offense and better his situation.

Paul did reveal the truth that evil spirits were ultimately behind the spread of the gospel and his imprisonment, and that these spirits were the ones motivating the religious and political leadership to oppose Christianity in general and him specifically. But Paul’s purpose of doing this was to prevent his followers from using secular or temporal methods (i.e. political maneuverings or intrigue) to get him out of jail (recall that from Acts that Festus would have released Paul to the Christians had he been bribed) or overcome opposition to the gospel, but to instead rely on God. And, through the use of a military metaphor to make his words memorable (just as Paul used athletic metaphors for the same reason), Paul stated that this reliance on God and His will, being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might in order to stand against this Babylon system, meant possessing or exhibiting truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, salvation, and the gospel of peace (or of Jesus Christ).

Now had Paul simply written “go and be truthful, righteous, faithful, exhibit evidence of your salvation, preach the gospel boldly, and pray for yourselves and me also”, it would not been nearly as memorable, or as effective in the ears of the original hearers. However, it also would not have been the subject of such curious interpretations and applications as it has been through the years. One problem is that so many spiritual warfare teachers take this text as justification for their binding/rebuking/casting out doctrines and practices while ignoring what the text actually commands, which is truth, righteousness, faith, exhibiting fruits of possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A particularly great irony: Paul wrote this text specifically so that the church would not have temporal aspirations or use secular (or spiritual) means to get them, but instead to keep their eyes fixed on God and eternity. However, spiritual warfare teachers, particularly those in dominion theology, use this verse to mean that Christians should use spiritual warfare against demons that control government and religions for the purposes of asserting political, social and economic control over nations and ultimately the globe. So where the Holy Spirit spoke that text through Paul commanding Christians to be patient, faithful and reliant on God, this verse is being misapplied by men who misuse Christ’s Name while pursuing their own thirst for power.

The spiritual wickedness in high places will be overcome by Jesus Christ, and not by man, and yes man does include Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will overthrow Babylon, not the church taking authority, recovering the dominion that was given to Adam (for the dominion given to Adam transferred not to the church but to Jesus Christ!), overthrowing Babylon, and setting up its own rule in its place. Revelation does not depict the church defeating and overthrowing Babylon, but Jesus Christ returning to defeat Babylon! Recall that it will be given to the beast to make war against the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:7) and that Babylon will be filled with the blood of Christian martyrs. Only the return of Jesus Christ will save us from this. Evidence of this is how Paul did not apply this very same text used by spiritual warriors in their quest to take towns and nations for Christ in asking for his fellow Christians to so much as pray to get him out of jail! Instead, Paul ultimately humbly glorified Jesus Christ by dying the death of a martyr.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

This text is explicit. “But if our gospel be hid , it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  This reminds us of Revelation 12:9, which says that Satan deceives the whole world concerning the truth of Jesus Christ. But what does 2 Corinthians 4 tell us to do about this sad fact? Not spiritual warfare to take on dominions, powers and principalities. Instead, there is merely a brief exhortation to confront this fact by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is curious that in the prior chapter, there is an apparent reference to the blindness of the Jews reminiscent of Romans 11. Both Romans 11 and 2 Corinthians 3 state that the ending of this blindness, the “lifting of the vail upon their hearts” as it is called in 2 Corinthians 3:11-18, will happen when God commands it. The King James Version text states that this will happen when Israel turns to the Lord, and Zechariah 12 supports this. Israel’s turning to God will not occur as a result of Christians binding and rebuking dominions and directing prayer towards them, but after the times of the Gentiles – as mentioned in Romans 11 – ceases. Just as the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity happened when the prophesied 70 years were completed, the coming of Israel to Jesus Christ will occur when the times of the Gentiles end, and this is a predetermined time known only by God the Father. Warfare prayers cannot open the eyes of the blind. Only the Holy Spirit can. The Holy Spirit does this in concert with the preaching of the gospel by drawing sinners, convicting them and opening the eyes of those Satan has blinded.

Parable of the Sower

This brings us to the parable of the sower of Mark 4:3-20, Matthew 13:3-23, and Luke 8:5-15. This parable is probably the best theological treatment of evangelism and missions in the Bible, and all of the apostolic teachings in the epistles, including Paul’s, merely expands on it, or enhances the Christology of it. Jesus Christ is the seed, for His gospel is the seed, and the legitimate gospel presents Jesus Christ Himself: it is Jesus Christ Himself through the reality of His existence, His teachings, His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that is being sowed into hearts. Also, Jesus Christ is the sower, for it is the church, Jesus Christ’s own body, that preaches the gospel. For brevity, Luke’s presentation will be given.

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed , some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down , and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up , it withered away , because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it , and choked it. 8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up , and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried , He that hath ears to hear , let him hear . 9 And his disciples asked him, saying , What might this parable be ? 10 And he said , Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see , and hearing they might not understand . 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear ; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved . 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear , receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe , and in time of temptation fall away . 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard , go forth , and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection . 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Please note first of all that the gospel is not only or merely to be preached where the way has first been paved by spiritual warfare and directed prayer. Instead, the seed is sowed everywhere. The gospel must be taken wherever the Christian goes, and it should be preached for and to the glory of God in addition to the goal of converting sinners. It is not to be preached in some strategic, planned manner desired to produce the most or best results after the manner of some corporate marketing scheme or government program.

Quite the contrary, the sowing of the seed seems almost heedless or arbitrary. The sower is only concerned about sowing the seeds, and the sower then leaves the seeds to their own fate. The reason is that the job of the sower begins and ends with sowing the seeds. (Please note that we are speaking of evangelism only, not discipleship or fellowship.) Just as a human farmer planting corn or watermelon, he simply puts the seed into the ground and allows “nature” (not really!) to take over.

Sure, he may water it, fertilize it, and take actions to remove weeds, but none of those will make the seed grow. Only God (not “nature”) can make the seed grow! And the same as it is with evangelism. Directed warfare prayer does not convert people, only the Holy Spirit does. The only caveat is that for the seed to grow, it must first be planted, so for converts to be made, the gospel should be preached. So, efforts in binding, rebuking demons and praying against them should be redirected towards evangelism, whether personal or public.

Another consideration: of the four groups listed by Jesus Christ, which were the seeds that landed 1. on the wayside, 2. on stony ground, 3. among thorns and 4. in good soil, the works of Satan were only explicitly mentioned in one of those, the ones that landed on the wayside! Now Luke 8:13 does say that Satan does this in order to prevent people from being saved. But Matthew 13:19 states that this is made possible only because of the failure of the person to understand or comprehend the gospel! While this certainly reminds one of Hosea 4:6’s “many people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”, the truth is that only the Holy Spirit gives one knowledge or comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states that the natural man cannot perceive or understand spiritual things, and that includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, binding and rebuking the enemy and directed warfare prayer will not result in the effectual opening of the hearts of the gospel, because this will not happen in a heart where the Holy Spirit is not active to provide comprehension of that gospel!

Now what of the other two groups who are not saved, meaning those among the thorns and those on the stony ground? The failure of these groups are not attributable to evil spirits, but of human nature: the flesh. Those among the thorns do not persevere because they prefer the riches and cares of this world. They are akin to Demas and the aforementioned Simon Magus. While it is true that Satan is behind the Babylon system that tempts men with its illicit pleasures, but going into spiritual battle against that system is to no avail when the issue is not the Satanic availability of the system, but the failure of man to resist it. Again, without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not so much that Satan that man cannot overcome, but rather his own flesh that Satan appeals to with his temptations: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It was these things that Satan appealed to in order to cause the fall of Adam, and it was also these things that Jesus Christ resisted during His time of temptation in the desert. So, it is not the presence of Satan but the absence of the Holy Spirit that is the key here, and that is something that warring against devils will not fix.

The same is true with the other group, the one that falls among thorns. Though Revelation and other areas of the Bible make it abundantly clear that Satan provokes and controls the persecution of those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, the issue is those who yield to this persecution because of the weakness of the flesh. The parents of the man born blind refused to testify to the miracle of Jesus Christ worked on their own son because they feared being put out of the synagogues. The gospels refer to many others who believed in Jesus Christ but refused to testify of it because they feared the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Of those like unto them, Jesus Christ said that those who are ashamed of Him in this life will not be saved on judgment day!) The epistle to the Hebrews was written to warn Jewish Christians that they could not be saved if they abandoned the faith due to persecution, and Revelation 2-3 (indeed the entire epistle!) was written for the purposes of encouraging Christians to endure persecution to the very end.

Falling away due to the cares of the world and falling away due to persecution are two sides of the same coin. One is more concerned with pleasing the flesh than pleasing God, and the other is more concerned with preserving the flesh than preserving the relationship with God, and both are of Esau in that they mortgage their future inheritance for much lesser benefits in the present. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives Christians comprehension of the gospel so that Satan cannot deceive them with a lie (i.e. false Babylon religions including atheism), and the Holy Spirit is also the One who seals Christians so that they do not yield to the pressure on their flesh that the Babylon system exerts either through persecution or enticement. So, in all three cases, spiritual warfare and directed prayer will not overcome the lack of Holy Spirit involvement concerning an unbeliever. Doctrines otherwise are those which place the erstwhile spiritual warrior in the place of God.

More Workers In The Vineyard

Now Jesus Christ did tell us to pray on matters concerning evangelism and missions. However, just as Paul exhorted Christians to pray for the protection and the success of the missionaries and evangelists, Jesus Christ instructed us to pray for more missionaries. Matthew 9:36-28 reads “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted , and were scattered abroad , as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Similarly Luke 10:2 reads “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Now the prayer was not that the works and workers of Satan would be thwarted and overthrown so that people could be saved. Instead, the prayers were for more workers for the harvest! Why? The key term is “the Lord of the harvest.” YHWH is the Lord of the harvest, meaning that He is utterly sovereign over salvation of men.

The term translated “Lord” in this passage, kyrios, means (in the context that is most relevant here) “about which he has power of deciding.” Do not be deceived: the number of those who will be saved and the identity of those who will be saved is known by God, decreed by God, and is set forth by God from before the foundation of the world (Mat 25:34, Eph 1:4). Otherwise, in what sense could YHWH be the Lord of the harvest? In that case, YHWH could be manager of the harvest. Or CEO of the harvest. But YHWH could not truly be the Lord, the complete and total ruler, of it!

Consider an illustration. If you are selling a product, the manager or CEO can run the operation of manufacturing and marketing the product, but he does not have the power to choose who buys. Even if he breaks down and destroys opposition to the sale of his product by driving all competitors out of business and overcoming tariffs and regulations (the business equivalent of spiritual warfare evangelism) the consumer decides whether to buy or sell or not. Because the manager or CEO, despite all of his efforts and talents, still does not ultimately determine whether his product is bought or not (or by whom it is not) he is not the lord of the marketplace, only a manager or CEO in it. But God, in His sovereignty, is Lord of the harvest. He is Lord of evangelism. He is Lord of missions.

Thus, the number of those who will be saved, set forth from before the foundation of the world, will not be reduced by the plans of Satan, for God’s purposes shall come to pass. His Word shall not return null and void, but instead go forth and accomplish its purposes! Also, this number will not be enlarged by the prayers and warfare of the saints. We are but God’s servants, not little gods with dominion over salvation and those who hold the eternal fates of men in our limited, flawed sinful hands. So, our role is to pray that more Christians would obey God by taking on the duty of active evangelism and missions so that God will be glorified by more people, and so that there will be a further division of labor.

So, the Bible clearly teaches that spiritual warfare missions/evangelism is to no avail. Instead, we should do what the Bible actually tells us, which is to pray for the salvation of sinners, pray for more evangelists and to be evangelists ourselves. In this way we properly apply the Biblical evidence, obey God and glorify YHWH who is the Lord of His harvest.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, how does this relate to you? It is simple: you must repent of your sins and believe in the deity, virgin birth, atoning death on the cross for sins, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you will be one of the seeds that did not land on good soil, and therefore lost to an eternal punishment in the lake of fire. But be encouraged: Jesus Christ promised that none of those given to Him by God the Father would be lost. So, one must take on their responsibility of believing in and confessing the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved in order to make their calling and election in Jesus Christ sure. Do this now! In order to do so, please click on the link below and:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, evangelism, false doctrine, false religion, gnosticism, Jesus Christ, limited atonement, missionary, Reformed, religion, spiritual deliverance, spiritual warfare, syncretism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Kidnapped India Christians Forced To Participate In Humiliating Hindu Temple Ritual Then Released!

Posted by Job on March 12, 2008

More than 60 Christians who were kidnapped by extremists in Himachal Pradesh, India, on February 27 were released unharmed. However, the kidnapped Christians were forced to participate in a humiliating ceremony at a religious temple before they were released. Click here to read the news story about their release.
http://links.mkt561.com/ctt?kn=2&m=1001994&r=NTE2NDg4OTczNAS2&b=2&j=MTAyNjA4NjI2S0&mt=1

We also learned today that Gospel for Asia missionary Haresh Kujur was released after being kidnapped March 1. He was conducting a youth program at his church in Assam, India, when a group of anti-Christian extremists abducted him. No other details about his release are available at this time.

Please keep both of these situations in your prayers, even as we rejoice over the release of these Christian brothers and sisters.

K.P. Yohannan
Founder & President

Himachal Pradesh Kidnapped Christians Released

Anti-Christian extremists have released the more than 60 Christians they kidnapped on February 27 in Himachal Pradesh, India. None of the Christians were harmed during their ordeal, and none were members of GFA-related churches as was previously thought. The kidnapped Christians were forced to endure a humiliating ceremony at a religious temple before the extremists gave them anti-Christian literature and let them go.

The radical group responsible for the kidnapping, while part of a system that keeps Dalits and other low castes in virtual slavery, covered their own agenda by publicly accusing Christian missionaries of trying to split the nation of India along caste lines.

This leader also falsely claimed that missionaries offered inducements to low-caste people to lure them into converting to Christianity. Himachal Pradesh’s ruling anti-Christian political party believes that keeping people in the traditional religion brings unity to the state, and ultimately to the entire country. It is reported that the group who kidnapped these Christians is affiliated with the political party.

It is not unusual for these extremists to kidnap believers and try to force them to bow before the statues that represent the country’s traditional gods. If the Christians refuse to bow, they risk being ostracized from society, which brings much shame in the Asian culture in which they live.

GFA’s correspondent is thankful for the prayers for these believers, and says that by God’s grace, they are safe. However, religious and political tensions in the area are still strong. Please pray that these Christians and others near them will trust in the Lord and not fear.

Read the original report here.

Learn more about Himachal Pradesh, where the kidnapping took place.

Posted in Asia, buddhism, Christian Persecution, Christianity, dalit, evangelism, Hinduism, missionary, religion | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Steven Camp: To Evangelize Effectively Think Biblically Not Culturally

Posted by Job on March 6, 2008

Courtesy of Christian Research Network.

Romans 1:14-17
“I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”1 Corinthians 2:2
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”2 Corinthians 4:1-6
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 1:6-10
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Ephesians 1:3-14
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

Philippians 1:20-21
“as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Colossians 1:6-15
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

1 Thessalonians 2:2-8
“But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

1 Timothy 1:12-19a
“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.”

2 Timothy 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 4:1-5
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound [1] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Titus 3:1-8
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”

Philemon 1:4-6
“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.”

Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelical christian, evangelism, missionary | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Bible League: Jesus Christ Changing Lives In India, Kenya, Colombia, Middle East

Posted by Job on March 5, 2008

They could ALL receive Bibles

They could ALL receive Bibles
India–Like many preachers in India, Nikhil had no formal training—he simply felt called to lead a congregation. But once he realized there was so much to learn, he turned to a Bible League-trained Christian who was offering Bible studies. Read more

Taking a stand for the Gospel

Taking a stand for the Gospel
Middle East–Aaqib refused to give up when he encountered difficulties in establishing a church. Because of his faith, more Christians are now sharing the Gospel in an area where Islam dominates. This church and others like it are beacons for Christ amid strife and violence. Read more

Breadth of mercy

Breadth of mercy
Colombia–Envigado, Colombia is home to more than 175,000 people. Surrounded by lush green hills and winding roads, walks on dirt paths and through the mountains are inevitably routes taken daily. One Colombian man shares his story of a winding path that led him into the arms of a loving Savior. Read more

God's Word continues to go forth in Kenya

God’s Word continues to go forth in Kenya
Despite deadly riots and widespread violence in Nairobi, as well as in Kenya’s eastern and western provinces, Bible League staff members are continuing ministry. While three ministry areas have been completely shut down, Bible League staff members are pressing their
way through the tense spiritual environment. Read more.

Posted in Asia, Bible, buddhism, Christianity, evangelical christian, evangelism, Hinduism, India, Islam, Jesus Christ, missionary, Muslim, testimony | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gospel For Asia: Answered Prayer Amid Danger In India

Posted by Job on March 5, 2008

One of our missionaries, Gautam Taru, is back with his family after severe threats
forced them to leave their village for a few days. The police, who previously did nothing to protect Gautam, are now actively trying to help him.Read this update on Gautam to find out more about the situation, which is far from stable.

Praise God for these answers to prayer. Please continue to lift up this brother, who is risking his safety to share the Gospel. Thank you for being part of his ministry through your prayers.

Yours for the unreached.
K.P. Yohannan
K.P. Yohannan
Founder & President

“We are extremely grateful for your prayers for Pastor Gautam,” wrote Gospel for Asia’s correspondent in Madhya Pradesh, India. “The situation has calmed down.”

Police have stepped in to protect GFA missionary Gautam Taru after extremist groups threatened him last month. The group told him he must leave the village within three days or face “serious consequences.” At first, police simply advised Gautam to leave the village until things settled down. Gautam sent his wife and children to stay with her
father for their protection, and he sought shelter at the GFA state office.

The anti-Christians did not leave him alone, however. They actively planned to lodge an official complaint against him, compelling many people to give false testimony against him. And three days after the original threat—the day the group said Gautam would face serious consequences—the situation looked ominous.

“Every day, the fanatic group goes to the village to inquire whether Pastor Gautam has left the place or not,” our correspondent wrote that day. “We even heard that they are preparing a person to pretend that the pastor gave him money to become a Christian.” However, now that the police have said they will protect Gautam, the situation appears to be calmer. Pastor Gautam was able to join his wife and children at his in-laws’ home. But the anti-Christian sentiment is still strong. Pastor Gautam asks for prayer for safety to continue his ministry.

Read the original report about the threats against Pastor Gautam.

Madhya Pradesh is Pastor Gautam’s home state.

Posted in Asia, buddhism, Christian Persecution, Christianity, dalit, evangelical christian, evangelism, Hinduism, India, Jesus Christ, missionary | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Son of Martyred Missionary Become A Missions Aviation Pilot

Posted by Job on February 28, 2008

by Teresa Neumann : Feb 28, 2008 : Christa Desrets – AP Original Link

“Reaching the world with the Gospel is going to take a good many folks. We won’t all be pilots or design aircraft. It’s going to take all of us doing what God has gifted us to do to reach the world.”

(Lynchburg, Va.)—Attending the missions aviation program at Liberty University, Jeff Burnham, son of the Martin and Gracia Burnham—the missions aviation missionaries who were kidnapped in the Philippines while on an anniversary celebration and held captive for more than a year—is set to follow in his late father’s footsteps. (Martin was killed during his captivity).

Missions pilot training is not for the faint of heart, but that hasn’t deterred Burnham. “I grew up with it, and so it was all I ever knew,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be a pilot.” Of the year that Jeff lived without knowing if his parents were dead or alive, he says: “It was a shock at first, and it was a hard year to be away from them. But I don’t look back at it as a traumatizing experience. The Lord just really quieted our hearts at that time; it was amazing.”

Jeff’s mother has written of her and her husband’s captivity in the Philippines and recently spoke to the pilots-in-training at the Liberty campus. “Reaching the world with the Gospel is going to take a good many folks,” she said. “We won’t all be pilots or design aircraft. It’s going to take all of us doing what God has gifted us to do to reach the world…One of the lessons that I learned in the jungle is you don’t have to figure everything out, you just have to trust. God’s going to take care of him.”

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Evangelism Road Trip

Posted by Job on February 28, 2008

A grueling schedule does not dampen the enthusiasm of Gospel for Asia’s mobile teams! These six-person teams will go to whatever lengths necessary to share the Good News with those who have never received it before. Click here to see how they do it.

Your prayers for these missionaries are making a difference as thousands hear the Gospel for the first time. Thank you for your heart for them!

Yours for the lost, K.P. Yohannan
K.P. Yohannan
Founder & President

Posted in Asia, buddhism, Christianity, evangelism, Hinduism, India, missionary | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Resurrections From The Dead Winning Christian Converts In India

Posted by Job on February 21, 2008

This week I interviewed two people who were raised from the dead during an evangelistic meeting in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

During my 26 years as a journalist I’ve interviewed some interesting people and heard some amazing stories. But this week set a new standard when I met two people in southern India who experienced biblical-style resurrection.

Six-year-old Jyothi Pothabathula looks like a typical girl from Andhra Pradesh, a state in southern India. She has wide brown eyes, mocha-colored skin, slick dark hair and a shy smile. When I asked her who brought her back to life when she was 2 years old, she demurely answered, “Jesus,” in her native Telugu language.

“In May 2004 we were coming to the evangelistic crusade on a bus when she collapsed,” Jyothi’s father, Suribabu, told me on Monday during a chat in my hotel room. The little girl had no history of illness, but she suddenly stopped breathing during the bumpy ride. The girl’s mother, Nagamani, said she began desperately praying for God to save her baby.

Suribabu and his wife were traveling to the town of Kakinada to attend an outreach festival sponsored by Harry Gomes, an evangelist based in the southern Indian city of Coimbatore. When the couple arrived at the event with Jyothi’s lifeless body in her father’s arms, someone urged them to push through the crowd to reach the stage where Gomes was praying for the sick.

They quickly carried the girl to the preacher. Immediately after he prayed for her, they said, Jyothi sat up and then began walking. The crowd erupted in applause.

“I know Jesus is a great God because he raised my daughter to life,” Suribabu said, wiping away tears. He was already a new Christian when the miracle occurred. His brother and two more of his Hindu family members converted to Jesus after they heard the story and saw the revived girl.

On Dec. 4 of last year, Mesheck Manepally, a 45-year-old shop owner, was attending one of Gomes’ meetings in Prathipadu, another city in Andhra Pradesh. His son, Varaprasad, said his father collapsed in the back of the crowd and began foaming at the mouth. Varaprasad was hysterical, but he managed to flag down an emergency vehicle so he could take his dad to a hospital.

When crusade organizers learned of the emergency and alerted Gomes, he interrupted his preaching, left the stage and walked to the side of the crowd—which had swelled to 100,000. By that time, Gomes said, Mesheck had no pulse and showed other signs of death including a dark pallor and stiffness of the body.

Gomes laid his hands on the man and prayed for his life to return. Within a few minutes, Mesheck sat up in the back of the vehicle with a dazed look on his face. “People started telling me, ‘You were dead and now you are alive!'” Mesheck said. “I was confused and I started crying. I was so thankful.”

Mesheck’s wife, Laxmi, said Hindus from her village came to visit her husband for 10 days after the incident. “They came to view him as a Lazarus,” she said. “The people were saying, ‘Their God is the true God.'”

Since medical documentation is not easily available in isolated rural areas of India, skeptics will argue that these miracles can’t be confirmed. Death certificates weren’t issued in either case, and no doctors were on hand to verify the facts. But Jyothi’s parents and Mesheck’s family say that doesn’t negate what they know is true. Neither the girl nor the man has had medical complications since they collapsed, their relatives said.

Gomes believes God is displaying His power in India today in dramatic ways in order to draw Hindus to Jesus Christ. He has witnessed five incidents of resurrection in his meetings since he began doing evangelistic crusades 14 years ago.

“Every time it happens it boosts the people’s faith,” Gomes said. “In the Bible we are told that the crowds came not just to see Jesus but to see Lazarus. As the word about these miracles spreads, everyone’s faith is elevated.”

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J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma

Posted in Christianity, evangelism, India, missionary | 1 Comment »

Eight Christians Arrested In Jordan

Posted by Job on February 20, 2008

Typical accusations of trying to buy converts that are true nowhere near as often as it is alleged.

Eight people have been arrested in Jordan for propagating the Christian faith, according to a Saudi newspaper. Jordanian security forces arrested eight people, mostly foreigners, after they were caught distributing missionary material to Bedouin families north and east of the Jordanian capital, Amman, the Saudi daily Al-Watan reported.

The authorities received information about the missionaries from local residents who said these foreigners were offering humanitarian assistance to poor Muslim families and distributing fliers promoting Christianity. Sources said they were “enticing” impoverished youngsters by paying them money and calling on them to marry foreign girls.

Islam is the state religion in Jordan, though christianity is a recognized religion in the country. Evangelism is a practice frowned upon in the Muslim world, and often associated with Western imperialism.

The Jordanian government prohibits conversion from Islam and the proselytizing of Muslims. The Shari’a courts have the authority to prosecute people trying to convert Muslims, according to the United States State Department’s annual report on religious freedom. Muslims in Jordan who convert to another religion face social and governmental discrimination, the report said. www.themedialine.org

Posted in Christian Persecution, Christianity, evangelical christian, evangelism, Islam, missionary, Muslim | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Students Pray And Fast For 21 Days For Fulfillment of Great Commission

Posted by Job on February 17, 2008

Students Pray, Fast 21 Days to Return to Christ | Christianpost.com
Christian students worldwide kicked off on Friday a 21-day initiative to pray and fast for the emerging generation to return to Christ.Under the theme of “Return to the Fountain,” students will focus on repentance, personal holiness, finding joy, healing and satisfaction in Christ from Feb. 15 to Mar. 6.

“Our conviction is that empowerment to proclaim the gospel to the nations comes from personal holiness. And personal holiness comes from diligently seeking the face of God, abandoned devotion to Jesus Christ,” stated Student Volunteer Movement 2 (SVM2), which is organizing the event, on its Web site.

The young participants will choose their own fast, but SVM2 encourages the students to take part in a food fast of some form. The movement noted that when the Bible refers to fasting, it is almost always referring to a fasting of food.

“There is a powerful spiritual release when we deny ourselves in this fundamental way,” SVM2 noted.

A “Daniel” or partial fast is highly recommended, where participants do not engage in a complete abstaining from all foods, but just a restriction of their diet. Generally, people on a “Daniel” fast abstain from meat and eat a fruit and vegetable heavy diet.

Another form of the partial fast is refusing a particular meal each day, thus limiting the quantity of food consumed.

In regards to prayer, the network asked participants to pray for six key points during the 21 days:

• God to raise up thousands of new global prayer teams
• God to prepare thousands of people who will preach the Gospel message to the nations
• Increase giving of the church to those working among the most unreached areas of the world
• Stimulate momentum and activities on campuses for a student mission movement
• Soften unreached areas of the world to be able to receive the truth of Jesus’ love and message.

There is a guide available with daily prayer points at http://www.svm2.net.

The Student Volunteer Movement 2 is an international network of students, leaders, churches, and organizations working together in a grassroots mission movement among the emerging generation with the goal of the fulfillment of the great commission in this lifetime.

SVM2 helps to organize prayer movements, equip students and leaders with practical resources to facilitate a student mission movement on their campus, and network like-minded young Christians around mission.

The number “2” indicates it seeks to be the second movement among college students committing themselves as workers for Christ. The first Student Volunteer Movement occurred around a hundred years ago when there was an uncommon outpouring of mission workers among college students.

Posted in Christianity, evangelical christian, evangelism, Jesus Christ, missionary | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Gospel For Asia: Demons Cast Out Of Jharkhand India Man!

Posted by Job on February 17, 2008

From http://gfa.org

A Last-Resort Effort Saved His Life
A Last-Resort Effort Saved His Life Gospel for Asia For Immediate Release

JHARKHAND, INDIA (ANS) — Nogen acted like a madman. He ran wildly from one place to another in his village in Jharkhand, India. He was incoherent and could no longer speak clearly. Of course, Nogen’s family was concerned and tried all they knew to get help for him. What they did not understand was that Nogen was being controlled by a demonic spirit.
Demons often torment their victims as Christians pray them out.

When a loved one is in physical or mental distress, Asian families will employ a variety of methods to help them. In addition to medical treatment, they will turn to the rituals of their traditional religions or ask a witch doctor to perform an incantation over the sick person. They also turn to Gospel for Asia missionaries for help.

Many in India, like this woman who was tormented by demons for many years, have been released from the bondage of Satan through the prayers of Gospel for Asia missionaries.

Nogen’s family asked GFA missionary Kamat Ramtake to pray for Nogen.

Kamat prayed for him, and slowly Nogen began to regain his senses. But the family decided it would be good to also take him to a local witch doctor, who said a mantra over him. Much to their surprise, Nogen got worse after the witch doctor’s incantations.

After this setback, the family took Nogen to a hospital, where he was admitted and stayed for three days. But his condition remained the same. When doctors discharged him, he was in no better shape than when he entered the hospital.

As a last resort, the family again approached Kamat, asking him to again pray for Nogen. Kamat spent time praying over Nogen, and as a result, the Lord healed him completely, freeing him from the evil spirit that was tormenting him.

Just as his erratic behavior pointed to demon possession, Nogen’s dramatic healing was a testimony to the power of Christ. After seeing the change that Christ brought into his life, many people in Nogen’s village chose to put their trust in Jesus, too.

Kamat requests prayer that Nogen and his family will live for Jesus, and that through them, many more would come to know the Lord.
Jharkhand, India is home to many tribal groups. Read about this interesting state.
Read an article about the ways in which God uses difficult circumstances to help missionaries share the Good News.

Posted in Asia, Christianity, evangelical christian, evangelism, India, missionary, spiritual deliverance, spiritual warfare, testimony | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

So The Troop Surge Worked? How About A Christian Missionary Surge Then?

Posted by Job on February 16, 2008

According to the opinions of many regarding the Iraq Conflict, the troop surge has been a success. I will not dispute them. After all, critics of the way that George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld were handling the war stated that we needed more troops from the outset. When they did so, neoconservative defenders of the Bush administration stated that such critics – which included not only liberal Democrats but plenty of conservatives including John McCain and John McTiernan (author of “The Hunt for Red October”) – did not know anything about military strategy, were harming the war effort, were trying to undermine and embarrass Bush and Rumsfeld, and even was driven by a desire for the increased casualties that would result from exposing all those extra troops to unnecessary harm could then be used to turn public opinion against the war. And yes, the troop surge never took place and Rumsfeld never resigned until after the very people that had been calling for both from the outset took control of Congress in 2006. So the war supporters that can explain why we invaded Iraq in the first place or why we remained there after the public premise for our invasion was rendered moot, please consider these facts when you evaluate both the success of the surge and the person that ordered it.

Now as for the curiosity that the most ardent supporters of George Bush and his Iraq War policy (meaning that they both defended Bush when he was insisting against the advice of military experts that no surge was necessary and now insist that he deserves full credit for the surge that he unwillingly acquiesced to out of political necessity) are theologically conservative Christians: what are we to make of them? I am sorry, but I have not seen any command or precedent in favor of lending organized political support to state warfare policy in the New Testament. However, one thing that I have seen many such explicit commands and precedents in the New Testament for is the Great Commission. The New Testament directly repeatedly tells us that our primary responsibility is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, people, tribe, etc. on the planet. Yet nearly 2000 years after that commission was given, there is an estimated 2 – 3 billion unreached people, a population several times greater than that of the entire world at the time that the Great Commission was given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So, should there not be a missionary surge to accompany this troop surge, both of men going into the field and the support that we give them in terms of prayer and finances? (Now when I stated “men”, it was not merely in keeping with my practice of favoring chauvinistic language. Rather, it was in recognition of the fact that TWO THIRDS OF MISSIONARIES ARE FEMALE!) Certainly there is, and I would hope that the Christians that have been so faithful in their support of the troop surge in Iraq would be the very ones to lead the way with their prayers, sacrificial giving, and also their own sons and daughters. Allow me to recommend my favorite missionary ministry, Gospel For Asia at http://gfa.org for starters.

Posted in Christianity, evangelism, Iraq, missionary, women preachers | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

 
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