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Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

T.D. Jakes Exposed For The Heretical Liar That He Is And What It Means For The Church

Posted by Job on January 26, 2012

All right folks. I said that I was going to give this online discernment ministry thing up. The first reason was that there were too many false teachers and doctrines to keep track of. The second reason was that based on my interactions with those following these false preachers even after their unBiblical scandalous doctrines and behavior had been exposed that folks were going to believe what they choose to believe anyway. The third was that I had felt that I had adequately addressed the issue with the 3 years of blogging that I did dedicate to the topic. The fourth was that I felt that the best way to combat error was with the truth, so I decided to take this site in a more exegetical direction. And the last of those was also chosen for practical reasons: I no longer have the time to answer comments and interact with people that I did back when I made exposing false teachers so writing about scripture’s meaning and application seemed to be a superior use of time (and yes I do need to get back to writing about the Bible).

But the T.D. Jakes issue is timely right now due to Jakes’ recent appearance at a respected evangelical event of some estimation where he was “interviewed” by Mark Driscoll, where the topic of Jakes’ rejection of the Holy Trinity was discussed. Now I don’t mean to attack anybody, but one Christian blogger quickly proclaimed Jakes’s statement satisfies me that he is a Trinitarian and that we should celebrate that Jakes has joined the Trinitarian camp. (Which, er, makes all his time as a false preaching modalist heretic and the people that he deceived during that time “ok” I guess. The truth is that at best he was an unregenerate false teacher when he was in the pulpit before, and even if he believes in the Holy Trinity NOW and is born again NOW, he has no business in the pulpit. His previous experience and service is worthless, and he needs to take his place in the pews learning from an actual Christian pastor. Otherwise, we can go get Jewish rabbis, Catholic priests, Buddhist monks, Muslim imams, and liberal “Christians” who perform homosexual “marriage” ceremonies and put them into the pulpit immediately after they say a salvation prayer.)

Another Christian blogger made a similar – though more guarded – statement: “By far, the session that was most anticipated was the one in which T. D. Jakes was asked to clarify his position on the Trinity. Thankfully, he did so – though perhaps not in a way that would satisfy all of his critics. I believe we should celebrate his affirmation of the truth that there is one God in three Persons.”

The problem with doing so: Jakes own words on the Holy Trinity in the past and present. Now, here is a link to the transcript of the Elephant Room session, judge Jakes for yourself. But what follows is MY evaluation.

Part 1: I used to follow T.D. Jakes. Now … not so much. Without calling him a liar (while actually, you know, calling him a liar) allow me to propose that just because Jakes says something does not make it so. So … just because Jakes says that he believes “One God three Persons” DOES NOT MEAN that we should take it at face value. Jakes has been “less than forthcoming” on many issues in the past, so he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Just because Jakes is in the pulpit and calls himself a Christian does not mean that we should believe what he says. So no, listening to what he says and being “satisfied” requires a presumption that he is telling the truth, a presumption that he does not merit. Does that sound harsh, the bitter words of someone who has “church hurt” as it is called? Well keep reading.

Now in one context I can be SYMPATHETIC to Jakes’ views because I don’t like the wording or terminology used by the Cappadocian fathers myself. But this unease with the Cappadocian formulation needs to be addressed by someone other than Jakes. Why? Because Jakes has been known to be less than honest with the truth, and not merely on this issue. Recall that when Jakes was first challenged on the Trinity doctrine by Christianity Today, he submitted a modalist doctrinal statement that he insisted be accepted as Trinitarian!

Do not take my word on this: another ministry came to the same conclusion, that Jakes was dishonestly trying to pass off modalist heresy for orthodoxy. When challenged on it, he dissembled, claiming that his views on the Trinity were adapting and growing, that he was studying and learning more about it, and how Christians need to stop all this infighting and arguing about such things as minor differences in phraseology and get to the weightier matters of the kingdom, and such excuses for retaining and defending heresy as “these things are too mysterious to be comprehended or explained.” Jakes even resorted to race-baiting, stating “Christians will never agree on every theological issue any more than the colors of our skin will all suddenly match.” So, if Jakes was a liar and a demagogue on this Trinity issue in the past,why should we presume that he is any different now? What has changed to make us presume that Jakes has changed? Especially since he is still preaching heresies in other areas, such as the prosperity doctrine and trying to pass off ecstatic babbling done by mystics in many false religions as “speaking in tongues”?

Part II: From the transcript, it really does appear as if Jakes is fine with “persons” in his Trinitarian statement so long as “persons” is synonymous with “manifestations.” Basically, he says, “well, so long as I can call a ‘person’ a ‘manifestation’ then I am Trinitarian.” He says “My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except the word” – and Driscoll finishes his thought – “manifestations.” What he says next is a amazing.

“Manifest instead of persons. Which you describe as modalist, but I describe it as Pauline. When I read…let me show you what I’m talking about…when I read I Timothy 3:16 – I didn’t create this, Paul did.” And then he goes onto the time-honored modalist lying techniques from the pit of hell: “I think it’s important that we realize that our God is beyond our intellect. And if you can define Him and completely describe Him and say you are the end-all definition of who God is, then He ceases to be God. Because the reason Paul says it is a mystery, is that we deify the fact that God does things that don’t fit our formulas. And because people’s formulas and understandings of a description of an unbiblical God did doesn’t make them demonic.”

Let us go to his abuse of I Timothy 3:16. Yes, the King James Version that many oneness pentecostal liars claim is the only translation – and I used to be KJV-Only myself, and still today am KJV-Preferred, but not because of the translation itself but the texts used to produce the translation, as I believe text criticism used to produce the new manuscripts is a false science – reads “manifest” as its rendering of the Greek word  phaneroō. But other versions translate phaneroō to be “appeared” and “revealed!”

Another thing: phaneroō’s definitions: “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way.”  So, rather than being a “mode” or “state” or “relationship” after the doctrines of the oneness heretics (for example, as water has a liquid, solid and gas manifestation as water, ice and vapor) phaneroō’ in this context merely meant how God was shown to men! That is revelation, after the same manner that the Greek word apokalypsis was used in Revelation 1:1. Paul could have just as easily used apokalypsis instead of phaneroō!

Further, according to the definition, what can phaneroō “reveal” or “manifest”? A PERSON! It is right here in definition 1d in a common Bible lexicon placed online via BlueletterBible.com:

1) to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

a) make actual and visible, realised

b) to make known by teaching

c) to become manifest, be made known

d) of a person

1) expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear

e) to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood

1) who and what one is

Jakes is exposed as a liar by exegesis of the very text that he used to claim that he was telling the truth! In this Jakes fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 10:2, which reads “The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.”

Now the dictionary entry makes the Cappadocian utilization of “Person” more justifiable in my mind and it who knows, the Cappadocian fathers might have relied heavily on 1 Timothy 3:16 when they formulated their Trinity doctrine (which would make Jakes’ abuse of that text still more ironic) because that text refers to the revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ and not the mere exhibition of a mode of existence or relationship (and moreover this revelation refers to Christ’s existence being shown to the world; for phaneroō to have the meaning that Jakes claims that it does, THE TERM WOULD HAVE TO REFER TO HIS INCARNATION IN THE WOMB OF MARY, NOT HIS EXISTENCE AND WORKS BEING WITNESSED BY MEN, WHICH IS THE TRUE CONTEXT OF 1 Peter 3:16 AS WELL AS REVELATION 1:1, WHICH AGAIN IS WHY APOKALYPSIS COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN USED INSTEAD) but I confess to still uneasy with it. But the difference between me and Jakes is that JAKES IS LYING. That is the bottom line.

But you know what? This is not truly about Jakes anyway. The reason is that anyone who goes and clicks on the T.D. Jakes category on this blog will know why no legitimate Christian pastor should touch Jakes with a 10 foot pole, unless that pastor has been instructed by God to smite Jakes with it. Instead, it is about the people that are embracing him. It is one thing for the decadent TBN (who has their own tag) Pentecostal abomination to embrace Jakes, and please recall that it was TBN who made Jakes into an international figure. TBN is run by a man who paid off a TBN employee with whom he had a homosexual encounter with, and has since been sued by another man making the same charges. These charges and the many other scandals are commonly known by those who patronize that network anyway and … well now you see why I felt that there were better uses of my time than exposing people who have already been exposed because people simply do not care!

But now, TD Jakes is being embraced by the “more respectable” corners of evangelical Christianity as represented by (ironically named) The Gospel Coalition, which includes some of the most prominent pastors and theologians in evangelical Christianity today. Now of course, there was significant “debate” over inviting Jakes. The fears of those objecting were quite founded, as it resulted in Mark Driscoll, himself a very troubling personality, doing very much to rehabilitate Jakes, largely because of Driscoll’s own desire to push his false anti-cessationist doctrines into the Reformed/Calvinistic evangelical movement. Also, those who would have challenged Jakes rather than accommodate him were not allowed to participate.  But the fact that there was even a debate at all shows how far gone the evangelical landscape is! Having Jakes in the Elephant Room should have been as much a nonstarter as having Richard Dawkins or Pope Benedict!

And that brings us to the real issue: further evidence that the evangelical church in America is veering off the rails. (It is such times that even people who MILDLY stand against Jakes and his lies are the ones to be mocked, opposed and condemned.) Is the great apostasy, the great falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 upon us? This event is prophesied in scripture, and will come to pass. It is a very tragic development in and of itself, but 2 Thess 2:3 tells us that the great falling away is a precursor to – or more accurately a precondition for – the coming of the beast, the anti-Christ, the man of sin, which occurs during the great tribulation. It is my position that the church will experience this great tribulation, and not be raptured from or otherwise escape it, as many pastors and teachers propose. So as difficult as things are now for the church as evidenced by its willingness to not only suffer but endorse and promote such false teachers as Jakes, it is only paving the way for even tougher times to come. Christian, watch and discern the times. Pray. Be strengthened and encouraged in the Lord so that you will not be deceived, that you will resist temptation, and stay in the faith.

For those of you not in the faith, realize that the proliferation of false doctrines and those who gain wealth, fame and power by teaching them does not undermine Christianity, but rather is evidence that the Bible is true, for Jesus Christ Himself and His apostles predicted that such a time as this would come thousands of years ago; Christ referred to men such as Jakes as ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing. That many will follow such people is evidence that narrow is the gate that leads to salvation, and wide is that which leads to destruction!

Enter into the narrow gate. Be saved in the Name of Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ. Follow

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Posted in Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

On The FBI Arresting The Hutaree “Christian” Militia Because They Made Threats Against Muslims

Posted by Job on March 29, 2010

First, allow me to say that nothing in the Bible justifies having a “Christian” militia. Quite the contrary, when Peter assaulted the Jewish temple guardsman who came to arrest Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ rebuked Peter, healed the man whose ear Peter cut off, and told Peter “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” The early church faced severe persecution, with the Roman Empire killing millions of Christians over 300 years, yet never at any time was there an armed resistance against the persecution. Those people took the words of Jesus Christ literally when He said that those who would be persecuted for His sake would be considered blessed, and followed the example of Peter and John who considered it a blessing and honor to be counted worthy to suffer mistreatment for Jesus Christ’s Name.

And it goes without saying that threatening violence against a Muslim or anyone else is – as this Hutaree “Christian” militia allegedly did –  clearly incontrovertibly a sin. People like this have to realize that Jesus Christ began His ministry during the time of armed uprisings by Jews against a very evil, tyrannical Roman government. (However, it should be noted that had the Jews not taken up arms against the Romans, the Romans would have generally left them alone.) The Jews were looking for a political messiah to defeat the Romans and re-establish a sovereign, Davidic kingdom. Many false messiahs promising just that came, and many followed Jesus Christ hoping that He was a messiah of that sort. They even mistook the miracles that Jesus Christ performed as evidence that He would use power from God to defeat the Romans.

However, when Jesus Christ made it known that His mission was not to establish an earthly kingdom, many lost interest and followed others, the ones who Jesus Christ referred to as “thieves and robbers”, which in the vernacular of the day referred to the seditious false messiahs leading rebellions. Jesus Christ repeatedly and consistently told His followers that it was wrong to rebel against Rome (especially violently) and that was what the significance of issues like paying taxes to Rome were all about. Later, Paul wrote Romans 13 about submitting to Rome as opposed to rebelling against them, and Peter wrote that Christians should pray for their leaders rather than rebel against them. And in the Olivet discourse, Jesus Christ told His followers not to defend Jerusalem from the attacking Romans, but instead to flee.

Needless to say, Jesus Christ’s words were rejected. He who came in the Name of God they did not follow, but those who came in their own name, including the false messiahs, they followed. This pattern of rejection of the true Messiah and His spiritual message and their embrace of false messiahs who offered a message of this world (i.e. political liberation, which included many economic benefits as well) was best symbolized when the Jews demanded that Pontius Pilate release the seditious murderer Barabbas – one of those involved in the violent liberation movements – in the place of Jesus Christ. By continuing to reject Jesus Christ and follow such people in their violent uprisings against Rome (they failed to listen to not only Jesus Christ but to even secular and Jewish leaders like Josephus and Yochanan ben Zakkai), the Jews brought the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD upon their nation, which resulted in the death of over 1 million Jews and the destruction of the temple (which fulfilled the near term “this generation” prophecies of the Olivet discourse). And in 132 AD, still following false messiahs like Simeon bar Kochba who promised that God would use them to defeat the Roman Empire, the Jewish liberation movement suffered their final defeat by the Romans, who burned what was left of Jerusalem to the ground, renamed it, and made it a capital crime for any Jew to re-enter the city. So, no Jewish liberation projects would exist for over 1700 years until 1897 when Theodor Herzl formally created the Zionist movement (although pre-Zionist movements had existed since at least the French Revolution).

So, by forming “militias” and certainly by threatening Muslims, these people do nothing but reject anything resembling the true literally interpreted teachings of the New Testament. By doing so, they reject Jesus Christ for Barabbas, and for that matter Jesus Christ for the Jews who delivered Christ to the Romans to be killed, and had Barabbas released in His stead. So let it be clear … the teachings of the New Testament and the unfolding of history (not only Jewish history, but the violent, failed “revolutions” of certain Anabaptist and Donatist Christian groups, as well as the violent death of the very vicious Ulrich Zwingli) supports nothing of the kind.

Still, we must wonder why it took mere threats against Muslims to bring the FBI down against these people. Unless, of course, they had evidence that these groups were going to act on their threats. So far, the FBI has everything sealed. Right now, a lot of LEGITIMATE Christians and a lot of conservatives are wondering about the double standards … why were these “Christians” arrested when other groups – including Muslims – who make similar threats all the time go free? I do not deny that there is not some element of this going on, or that the Obama administration does not have a propaganda motive to do this shortly after the passage of health care legislation and during the rise of the Tea Party movement and things of that nature. So, this is as good a time to go after conservative anti-government groups as any, and this provides fodder for anti-Christians who have long wanted the government to start ramping up their activities against Christians, starting with illegitimate Christian movements but only until going after their real targets – legitimate Christians – can be justified.

However, we must have the ability to acknowledge that in general, if armed groups make threats, the government shouldn’t just sit around and wait for them to act on their threats. (For instance, “making terroristic threats” is indeed a crime.) So, the issue should be whether the threats against Muslims made by these groups were legitimate. If the government doesn’t reveal the nature of these threats the way that they did with the many Muslim terror suspects that they have arrested, then that is indeed a cause for concern. Especially since “making terroristic threats” is a common offense, so common that a lot of people don’t even know that it is illegal.

Now as a Christian, my position is always going to be not to make terroristic threats. It is not only a sin in and of itself, and it is also against a legal code that does not cause Christians to violate scripture, which makes it also a sin by violating Romans 13. However, Paul according to the Acts narrative asserted not only his Christianity, but also asserted his Roman citizenship when it was in the interests of the gospel of Jesus Christ to do so. Now again, though this Hutaree group is not a legitimate Christian outfit, as a law abiding citizen of this country I am curious as to precisely what it was that made the FBI go after this group of people making terroristic threats while ignoring the many others. We do have a right to know precisely such a thing, and it is in our interests to pursue these rights to their fullest extent. The reason is that Jesus Christ commanded us to discern the times, and if these charges against the non-Christian Hutaree militia are spurious or are evidence of clear double standards, legitimate Christians can use it to take note of the times that we are entering.

Christian militia group arrested, allegedly threatened Muslims, Hamas-linked CAIR plays victim card

P.S. I purposefully resisted making an issue of the Hutaree militia’s premillennial dispensational beliefs. The reason is that I am 100% certain that there are very many legitimate Christians who are dispensationalists. The Hutaree group is not a legitimate Christian group. So, associating legitimate Christian dispensationalists with people like the Hutaree militia that have rejected the true teachings of Jesus Christ while adopting some themes or ideas … how is that different from associating Christians with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or, say, Muslims who affirm the virgin birth? Now though I am no longer a dispensationalist, I am not going to use this as an excuse to go after Christians who are.

Now so-called Christians who use their dispensationalist beliefs in a manner like John Hagee (who demanded that George W. Bush attack Iran to “defend Israel”, and gave one of his many failed prophecies that the attack would happen before the end of Bush’s presidency with the rapture to occur soon after) and to whip up a fearful frenzy and hatred against Muslims that may lead to threats and violence … THOSE associations (between one false Christian who rejects the Bible but finds dispensationalism useful like Hagee and another) I can countenance, though I will not pursue them myself at this time. The issue is not differing views on eschatology, but those who accept the teachings of the New Testament versus those who reject it. Using premillennial dispensationalism to have your feet in both camps (meaning the church and the world) is what leads to stuff like this. However, this is by no means limited to premillennial dispensationalism. After all, Ulrich Zwingli, who massacred members of his own Bible study because they refused to join his church-state, was an amillennialist.

Update: Confederate Yankee says that the FBI claims that the militia was plotting to kill police officers. That angle is repeated here. Confederate Yankee is skeptical, but his reasoning for being skeptical – that police officers represent the local and not federal government – is wanting.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments »

If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was *first* Published in “Christianity Today”

Posted by Job on February 23, 2009

I am sorry. This is going to have to be a 100% cut and paste job.  Courtesy of sister PJ Miller.

If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was *first* Published in “Christianity Today”

 

by pjmiller

This satirical piece at The Sacred Sandwich had me both laughing outloud and pondering the more serious implications. (HT to ChristianResearchNetwork)

Can you imagine if Paul’s letter to the Galatians were to be originally published in Christianity Today, now, what some of the reactions from readers would be?

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dear Christianity Today:

In response to Paul D. Apostle’s article about the Galatian church in your January issue, I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone of this hit piece. Why the negativity? Has he been to the Galatian church recently? I happen to know some of the people at that church, and they are the most loving, caring people I’ve ever met.

Phyllis Snodgrass; Ann Arbor, MI

____________________

Dear Editor:

How arrogant of Mr. Apostle to think he has the right to judge these people and label them accursed. Isn’t that God’s job? Regardless of this circumcision issue, these Galatians believe in Jesus just as much as he does, and it is very Pharisaical to condemn them just because they differ on such a secondary issue. Personally, I don’t want a sharp instrument anywhere near my zipper, but that doesn’t give me the right to judge how someone else follows Christ. Can’t we just focus on our common commitment to Christ and furthering His kingdom, instead of tearing down fellow believers over petty doctrinal matters?

Ed Bilgeway; Tonganoxie, KS

Dear CT:

I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle in the past, and frankly I’m surprised you felt that his recurrent criticisms of the Church deserved to be printed in your magazine. Mr. Apostle for many years now has had a penchant for thinking he has a right to “mark” certain Christian teachers who don’t agree with his biblical position. Certainly I commend him for desiring to stay faithful to God’s word, but I think he errs in being so dogmatic about his views to the point where he feels free to openly attack his brethren. His attitude makes it difficult to fully unify the Church, and gives credence to the opposition’s view that Christians are judgmental, arrogant people who never show God’s love.

Ken Groener; San Diego, CA

______________________

To the Editors:

Paul Apostle says that he hopes the Galatian teachers will cut off their own privates? What kind of Christian attitude is that? Shame on him!

Martha Bobbitt; Boulder, CO

______________________

Dear Christianity Today:

The fact that Paul Apostle brags about his public run-in with Peter Cephas, a well-respected leader and brother in Christ, exposes Mr. Apostle for the divisive figure that he has become in the Church today. His diatribe against the Galatian church is just more of the same misguided focus on an antiquated reliance on doctrine instead of love and tolerance. Just look how his hypercritical attitude has cast aspersions on homosexual believers and women elders! The real problem within the Church today is not the lack of doctrinal devotion, as Apostle seems to believe, but in our inability to be transformed by our individual journeys in the Spirit. Evidently, Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee, and is unable to let go and experience the genuine love for Christ that is coming from the Galatians who strive to worship God in their own special way.

William Zenby; Richmond, VA

_______________________

Kind Editors:

I happen to be a member of First Christian Church of Galatia, and I take issue with Mr. Apostle’s article. How can he criticize a ministry that has been so blessed by God? Our church has baptized many new members and has made huge in-roads in the Jewish community with our pragmatic view on circumcision. Such a “seeker-sensitive” approach has given the Jews the respect they deserve for being God’s chosen people for thousands of years. In addition, every Gentile in our midst has felt honored to engage in the many edifying rituals of the Hebrew heritage, including circumcision, without losing their passion for Jesus. My advice to Mr. Apostle is to stick to spreading the gospel message of Christ’s unconditional love, and quit criticizing what God is clearly blessing in other churches.

Miriam “Betty” Ben-Hur; Galatia, Turkey

________________________

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christianity Today apologizes for our rash decision in publishing Paul Apostle’s exposé of the Galatian church. Had we known the extent in which our readership and advertisers would withdraw their financial support, we never would have printed such unpopular biblical truth. We regret any damage we may have caused in propagating the doctrines of Christ.

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Sex Sells Especially In The Church: Hannah Montana Miley Cyrus Does Everything For Jesus Christ Including Kissing Katy Perry And Liking It

Posted by Job on September 18, 2008

I have tried to ignore this Miley Cyrus thing, even after her proclamations of not only being a Christian celebrity, but doing everything for Jesus Christ. The reason is that I had already dealt with the trend -beginning with Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child, and Anna Kournikova in the 1990s but becoming a major part of our cultural landscape with Britney Spears – of making teenage (and even younger looking) girls into overt sex objects for not only teenage boys but also adult males in the past. Even that Miley Cyrus would be able to get away with the added dimension of claiming to serve Jesus Christ by being an underaged sex fantasy object was only a minor development. After all, Jessica Simpson’s father is a former Southern Baptist minister. Britney Spears made claims of being a Southern Baptist virgin a huge part of her original public relations profile. Destiny’s Child oft claimed Christianity. Mandy Moore went from singer to actress in the evangelical Christian film “A Walk To Remember.”  And lest we forget, the father of Miley Cyrus, after his country music career evaporated, did the common tactic of using Chri$tian capitali$m to stay in show business, even being given a TV series on “Christian family values” PaxNet (Doc, in which Miley Cyrus appeared in an episode). 

But Slice of Laodicea’s revealing the extent to which Miley Cyrus is mocking the very Christians that she is professing herself to be a role model for AND how some Christians are STILL DEFENDING HER (see link) made me decide that this topic was worth revisiting: Miley Cyrus kissing Katy Perry, who wrote the lesbian anthem “I Kissed A Girl”, at some MTV awards event. Cyrus says that she does everything for Jesus Christ … so apparently emulating Perry’s promotion of lesbianism was her way of spreading the gospel? 

Let me state that my position is that a Christian can pursue a career in secular music so long as said Christian’s music and betrayal does not transgress the Bible. So no, I am not objecting to Cyrus’ going on heathen MTV and being photographed with Perry. If there is no justification for me having a ‘holier than thou’ attitude when I at work, I also have no justification for demanding that she act that way just because she is a celebrity. Instead, my issue is with how so many entertainers are able to claim Christianity so that they can rake in even more money while still meeting the desires and expectations of their supporters who hate Jesus Christ.

And how does Miley Cyrus meet the expectations of these people? Kissing Katy Perry, something that people will remember when Cyrus inevitably attempts to make the leap from child entertainer to adult singer (more on that later) is just a tiny part of it, and why not let someone who does not claim to be Christian (but does acknowledge having and acting on lesbian desires),  actress Megan Fox explain:

Fox also defended Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens regarding their racy photo scandals and said that she doesn’t like Disney because they take “these little girls, and they put them through entertainment school and teach them to sing and dance, and make them wear belly shirts …”

What Fox is speaking of is Disney’s game of turning little girls into sex objects. Why did I use Fox’s words instead of a Christian who said the same? Well show me a single prominent Christian that is taking up this battle (even if it is only in the context of saying “Miley Cyrus is not a suitable role model for Christian girls”) and I will use his or her words. As our “Christian leaders” are being preoccupied with wanting and hoping Cyrus, Spears, and their daughters and church members grow up to be beauty queen Sarah Palin, it appears that no such statements are forthcoming and the non – Christian Megan Fox has provided the most truthful words on this matter!

Miley Cyrus is part and parcel of the Disney “use kids for sexual fantasies” game. The tight skimpy outfits, makeup, clothes, dancing … Cyrus is one of many young girls that Disney uses to market sexual fantasies to both teen boys and also grown men with the emotional development of teen boys. How do we know this “grown men” part? Because when racy photos of Cyrus were published in Vanity Fair, it created so much traffic that their servers crashed. Thirteen year old boys are not Vanity Fair’s demographic! And no, it is not teen boys that create the vast majority of the many websites on the Internet dedicated to racy pictures of teenage (and again, often preteen looking) girls. It is grown men who not only create those sites, but grown men who visit them, often paying money to do so! 

And Cyrus is in no way unique. Quite the contrary, sexuality using and aimed at teens and preteens pervades virtually every Disney show, even the cartoons, and has for years. So, when Miley Cyrus agreed to the Disney show, she knew what it would involve, and so did her father. And even if Miley Cyrus was somehow unaware at this Internet subculture based on trading images of underaged girls when she agreed to do the show A) her father knew and B) Cyrus certainly knows now, because she is the latest in a long line of “oh my goodness how and why did someone violate my privacy by stealing and publishing these racy photos!” young starlets that use that Internet subculture to enhance their fame. 

Is this as bad as when Kanye West was actually nominated for a gospel music award for recording “Jesus Walks”, or when Destiny’s Child received good publicity for putting gospel songs on an album, and one of their members released a gospel album? I still remember the video for “Survivor” … one of the “singers” claimed to have overcome persecution in Hollywood for refusing to compromise their Christianity, and right after the word “Christianity” was, er, “sung”, the video cut to the grind – dancing bikinied crotch (something straight out of the strip club) of the “singer”, either overtly mocking Jesus Christ or their Christian supporters buying their albums. If any Christians denounced that video (or Destiny’s Child’s claims to be in any way Christian), I missed it. 

The younger Cyrus knows what she is doing. So does the older Cyrus. Evidence of this is how they handled the mild criticism from Christians over the Vanity Fair photo shoot: Miley Cyrus made the typical claim of being exploited and taken advantage of by the worldly heathens at the Noo Yawk magazine, and Billy Ray Cyrus claimed that it happened because he trusted the Vanity Fair people with his daughter and was off somewhere on business instead of protecting his daughter’s virtue. Now Vanity Fair’s version of the story was entirely different. Quite frankly, anyone who has ever watched the excessive makeup, skin tight clothes, and suggestive dancing that takes place on a typical episode of Hannah Montana (let alone Cyrus’ increasingly notorious private behavior) would find the Vanity Fair New York heathens to be much more credible than the professing Christians from evangelical entertainment and publishing capital Franklin, Tennessee. 

Now Britney Spears dropped the Christian pretensions once she decided to leave the teeny bopper scene behind and aim for a more adult sound and a wider more lucrative audience. Miley Cyrus’ far edgier public profile lately, plus her public statements that she wants to stop doing Hannah Montana, indicates that she is ready to follow Spears’ path. And why not? If it works, why try to fix it? But the issue is not the younger Cyrus, who will succeed or fail on her own merits. (Since she isn’t much of an actress, dancer, singer or songwriter those merits will consist of being able to get males older than 15 to look at her. Well, good luck with that.) It is not the older Cyrus, who has gleefully used his daughter to extend what is left of his fame. (The Disney Channel actually plays his songs and videos … probably because their contract with his daughter compels them to.) The issue is with Christians so desperate to have an entertainer in the secular arena that they can call their own. The common justification is that “we need to be represented in mainstream culture.” Fine. If a Christian can use their mainstream soapbox to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ so that sinners can come to repentance, fine. But show me a shred of evidence that Cyrus, Spears, Destiny’s Child, West, etc. have done this or even tried to (the solo gospel album of Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams as an exception). Instead, what is these people truly mean is that “we need THEM to represent US in mainstream culture so WE won’t feel so strange, different, and alone!” 

Now this is not an endorsement of theologian Soren Kierkegaard, but his goal of making Christianity hard and uncomfortable for those in his homeland that had made Christianity easy by marrying the church with the state (or in our context marrying the church to the culture) should be considered. In this context, Christians are not even allowing themselves to be used and exploited by God – mockers like Spears and Cyrus. Instead, Christians are the users and exploiters. They are sacrificing these little girls to the child porn (in the sense that Jesus Christ used the term “pornea”, which means sexual immorality) monster so they can avoid what the Bible says about rejecting the world and being rejected by it. It is because of their own need to be accepted and loved by and have a place in the world that they could care less how many young girls Hollywood chews up and spits out. They could care less how many young girls develop eating disorders or disfigure themselves because they think that if they can just look like Britney or Miley someone will love them (because hey, it isn’t as if Britney or Miley interrupts their shimmy pole dancing and selling merchandise long enough to tell these girls – or boys – that JESUS CHRIST LOVES THEM … if they did Disney would rip up their contracts overnight).

They could care less how many husbands become emotionally detached from their wives because they are committing adultery (again according to Jesus Christ’s definition of it) by surfing the web looking for pictures of Miley, Britney, Lindsay Lohan (another Disney product) to feed their fantasies, which many find much easier than emotionally relating to their living breathing adult spouse. And no, they could care less about how many little boys that grow up socialized by Disney’s (and Nickelodeon’s) sexuality go on to become rapists, and how many of those men that crashed Vanity Fair’s servers go on to molest their daughters. And they could care less about how the carnage of human emotion that causes will lead to suicides and murders (including but certainly not limited to abortions). “Being represented” in the world so that they don’t have to reject it or be rejected by it is so valuable to these Christians that they are very much willing to sacrifice what happens to everyone else, even when that everyone includes the Savior Jesus Christ that is being mocked. But be not deceived … God is not mocked. Thus saith scripture. And on judgment day, all will see precisely how and why God’s Name shall not be the subject of shame. The ones who will behold this will not only be the artists purporting to be Christian, but the purported Christians that created the environment where such artists could successfully employ this tactic. 

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s Anti – Christ Universalism

Posted by Job on September 4, 2008

From True Discernment weblog.

from Berit kjos:

Believes Many Paths Lead to God

The Faith of Barack Obama written by New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield was released in August by Thomas Nelson publishers. The book carries the endorsement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the front cover. Tutu, one of the global “Elders,” calls the book “perceptive and well-written.” The publisher’s description of the book reads: 

“…takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama–as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief.”

 

Mansfield, says: “If a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life.”

According to Mansfield, Obama is “raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow.”

Recently, when Obama was interviewed by Rick Warren, Obama told Warren that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. Yet this “banner” Obama raises is one that has an inter-spiritual foundation, representing a new kind of “Christianity,” one that looks more like Brian McLaren’s spirituality than traditional, biblical Christianity.

What emerges from this book is a glimpse of a man who has New Age philosophy, believing that other religions are legitimate paths to God, and all humanity is connected together (spiritually speaking – i.e., God is in all):

“Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. ‘I am rooted in the Christian tradition,’ he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, ‘I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.’

 

“He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. ‘In our household,” he has explained, ‘The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf … on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.’” (p.55 of Mansfield’s book, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203).

 

After his inter-spiritually-based upbringing, Obama later spent twenty years in a church, which promotes the panenthestic (God in all), inter-spiritual approach. In a 2006 article in United Church News, Obama stated that the teachings of the UCC (United Church of Christ), of which he was a member (Trinity United Church of Christ) until recently, are “foundation stones for his political work.” Just what are those “teachings” comprised of? On Trinity’s website, on the Yoga page, the following statement is highlighted:

 

“Within each [of] us is the seed of Divinity. Each Soul is divine. I bow to the divinity in us all!”

This is classic Hinduism that teaches that divinity resides in every human being. It is also the message of the New Age movement — man’s divinity!

In Obama’s own autobiography, Audacity of Hope, he calls himself a “progressive” (i.e., emerging or postmodern) and says: “We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal” (p. 216). Echoing the sentiments of Rick Warren (a close friend of Obama, says Warren), he clarifies that partnerships between “religious and secular” will have to be built, and “each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration” (p. 216). He adds:

 

“Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.” (p. 218)

Obama insists that to base national “policy” on biblical truths “would be a dangerous thing” to do (p. 220).

There is one sentence in Audacity of Hope that sums up Barack Obama’s spirituality. He states:

“When I read the Bible, I do so with the belief that it is not a static (stable) text but the Living Word and that I must be continually open to new revelations.” (p. 224) In other words, just as Tony Jones said in his book The New Christians, and just as other emergents consistently say, the truths in the written Word of God, the Bible, are not unchanging and cannot be looked upon as stable or immoveable. “New revelations” can bring about new “truths” . . . truth is fluid.

To be interspiritual (all paths lead to God), to be panentheistic (divinity is in all), to reject God’s Word, and to embrace mysticism is to be what Alice Bailey called a rejuvenated Christian, who is one who follows “another gospel” and “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4).

 

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” (John 14:6)

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Touching The Not Anointed And Doing False Prophets Harm: Todd Friel False Teacher Montage Take 6

Posted by Job on September 4, 2008

Courtesy of Youtube user sermonfire

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Touching The Not Anointed And Doing False Prophets Harm: Todd Friel False Teacher Montage Take 5

Posted by Job on September 4, 2008

Courtesy of Youtube user sermonfire

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Touching The Not Anointed And Doing False Prophets Harm: Todd Friel False Teacher Montage Take 4

Posted by Job on September 4, 2008

Courtesy of Youtube user sermonfire

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Touching The Not Anointed And Doing False Prophets Harm: Todd Friel False Teacher Montage Take 3

Posted by Job on September 4, 2008

Courtesy of Youtube user sermonfire

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Touching The Not Anointed And Doing False Prophets Harm: Todd Friel False Teacher Montage Take 2

Posted by Job on September 4, 2008

Courtesy of Youtube user sermonfire

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Third Wave Pentecostalism And Why Miracles And Signs Exist

Posted by Job on August 11, 2008

I cannot say that I am surprised, because he also endorsed the Pensacola and Brownsville revivals and the Toronto Airport Christian fellowship, but Sid Roth is fully aligned with the third wave pentecostal movement in his endorsement of Todd Bentley. See this link on his website. Yep, Sid Roth is yet another one of the prosperity/Word of Faith teachers that I used to watch religiously and send money to. I continued to support Roth even after I began to turn away from the likes of the Crouch family, T. D. Jakes, etc. because I did not see where any of the discernment or apologetics ministries had addressed him. Also, I must admit that I hesitated because I personally believed in Roth’s ministry and especially his powerful testimony because it was so similar to my own! But I have to follow God rather than man, and that includes the desires of my own heart! Looking below, it appears that Roth has been supporting Bentley ever since at least 2007, because the fellow has at least 16 articles authored by Bentley on his website.

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 1 (Bentley)

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 2 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 1 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 2 (Bentley)

Encounter With Heaven Part 1

Encounter With Heaven Part 2

Encounter With Heaven Part 3

Healing and God’s Sovereignty (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 1 (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 2 (Bentley

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 1 (Bentley)

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 2 (Bentley)

Restoring the Voice of Healing (Bentley)

The Gifts of Healing and Miracles

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 1 (Bentley)

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 2 (Bentley)

What is the third wave? Here is a fundamental Christian viewpoint:

1. Its History

In the early 1980s the Vineyard Christian Fellowship movement began with the ministry of John Wimber in California. He believed that people would become convinced of the genuineness of Christianity by seeing miraculous signs and wonders from God more than by being convinced doctrinally. He not only practiced this belief in the church he pastored, but he also teamed up with missions professor Peter Wagner to teach and encourage its practice in the Signs and Wonders class at Fuller Seminary. Others who emphasized these signs and wonders include Christian psychologist and speaker John White, former Dallas Seminary professor Jack Deere, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School faculty member Wayne Grudem. Support for this emphasis has also come from the ministries of such recognized Christian leaders as John Piper.

2. Distinctive Views

The movement’s supporters come from various evangelical backgrounds and do not necessarily want to be identified with traditional man-centered Pentecostal views. Some, in fact, have strong Calvinistic convictions. But all stress the presence of genuine signs and wonders from God today. Tongues-speaking is not emphasized as much as in the more traditional Pentecostal groups, but healings and especially the gift of prophecy are very prominent.

D. Other Contemporary Charismatic Emphases

Also present in more recent years are the ministries of several others who have a strongly charismatic approach and emphasis. These include those who emphasize a “health and wealth” gospel; the ministries of charismatic teachers such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, and Kenneth Copeland; and the current ministries of Oral and Richard Roberts, John Arnott and the Toronto Blessing, Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets, and Rodney Howard-Browne and John Kilpatrick of the Brownsville Assembly of God Church and the Pensacola Outpouring Revival.

For more, please see George Houghton’s part 1 and part 2 on the topic of Pentecostalism in general. I am aware that some have accused me of being opposed to the supernatural, of miracles. To answer those charges, read my testimonies part 1 and part 2 of miraculous faith healing from asthma, addiction, and a lung infection that doctors could not cure, killed several other people around the same time (including the actress that played the bride in “Meet The Parents”), and had stopped my breathing (I was minutes away from dying people). Also search my archives and take notice of how LEGITIMATE faith healing, miracles, and deliverance from evil spirits is a major area of attention of mine (regrettably I have gotten away from those topics in these past months and need to get back into them). 

But I must say that I was motivated to finally deal with Sid Roth after seeing him promote a pastor who claims that during his worship services, angel feathers, gold dust, and precious jewels would appear out of thin air. The pastor was also selling a book – with companion DVD – claiming to have discovered in scripture the secret for unlocking the power of God in your life that he was using to bring forth these manifestations (it is humility). Let me first state that Christianity IS NOT a secret religion. It is based on revelation from the Bible that is freely available to all. People speaking of finding secrets and unlocking spiritual keys are actually practicing gnosticism, which is based on using gnosis (secret knowledge) to advance spiritually and attain salvation. Gnostics were syncretists who assimilated elements of virtually every religion and belief system of the time that suited them in order to create their own abominations. And no, the gnostics did not invent the notion of secret or magical spiritual keys or codes embedded in religious texts. That idea long predated them, coming from the ancient near east mystery religions and cults. Basically, gnosticism was a mixture of Christianity, Judaism, and western (especially Greek) mythology and philosophy, and who knows what else. So, the third wavers that are convinced that they are finding some new – or rediscovering some lost – way of reading the Bible and worshiping God through Jesus Christ under the Holy Spirit are actually just rehashing the same vile dark deceptions that John, Jude, Paul, etc. took up most of the New Testament contending against. So much of what we know about Christian doctrine and practice in the New Testament was not information volunteered at the author’s initiative, but rather came from an apostle writing an epistle to oppose some lie that people claiming to have secret knowledge or special revelation was passing around! 

But the primary issue that must be dealt with is the erroneous fascination of third wave pentecostals on signs and wonders: miracles and revelation. The reason is that it is BACKWARDS. This fascination is due to faithlessness by the alleged faithful. If you truly believe nothing else in the Bible but Genesis 1:1, the idea that God can work a miracle should be presupposed, basic, nothing to get excited over. Why? Because it is merely God changing something in the natural realm that He created in the first place … very often things that would change anyway without a miracle! Further, not everyone who witnesses a miracle responds with faith. Case in point: the Pharisees. Despite all that Jesus Christ did, they kept telling Him “OK, just do one more miracle or give us one more sign and THEN we will believe that you are the Messiah.” The Pharisees were simply the spiritual descendants of the children of Israel who refused to enter Canaan after seeing God work the greatest miracles that the world had ever seen to crush the greatest empire of the world AND miraculously sustain them with food and water AND the glory of God on Sinai AND the rock that followed them AND the pillar of fire by night/cloud by day that guided them. What was the problem with those Israelites? Well the least favorite book of this movement, the Book of Hebrews (which says that revelation was completed and ended with Jesus Christ in its opening verses … or maybe 1 Corinthians with its denunciations of confusion and disorder in the church are the least favorite!) it is FAITHLESSNESS. If the basis of your Christian doctrine and affiliation is miracles and signs, trust me, it is never going to be enough, because just like a glutton with a piece of pie or a fornicator and sex partners or a greedy man and dollar bills, you will never be satisfied, you will always seek JUST ONE MORE no matter how much you have already had! 

So, the FAITHFUL who know well and good that God can perform miracles on the natural order … we praise and glorify God over those things true, but those are not the things that we focus on, not the least because evil spirits can emulate those. Do not be offended! Evil spirits emulated several of the signs and wonders of YHWH in Egypt during their contest with Moses. People follow false religions for a reason! And the Bible itself says that the anti-Christ will deceive the whole world with his evil fantastic works, and that but for the grace of God even the very elect would be deceived by him also! 

So no, those who truly believe in God are not after by angel feathers, gold dust, and jewels popping up out of thin air! We are not after new visions, revelations, and secrets. Why? The reason is that those things, while impressive to behold, have no lasting value. They are not the things that the kingdom of heaven is built on. So what true believers love to see and hear about are CHANGED HEARTS as evidenced by CHANGED BEHAVIOR. Unbelievers hearing the gospel and getting saved. People confessing their sins and turning from them rather than using their works, church membership, background, or “anointing” to justify remaining in them. People overcoming the grief of losing a loved one. People forgiving those that have done them grievously wrong. The fearful becoming bold, the haters becoming lovers. THAT is what Christians should seek after and try to participate in. And those are what we Christians should be after. For it is a certainty that demons can motivate tongues and private prayer languages. That goes on in Hindu temples all the time! I have no doubt that a demon can cure – or at least temporarily alleviate – physical ailments. Were that not the case witch doctors, rootworkers, medicine men and women, etc. would go out of business tomorrow. The same with the diviners, necromancers, fortune tellers, etc. People have been seeking out mighty wonders, strange works, new revelations, etc. ever since man rejected the knowledge of God as Paul told us in Romans 1:18-32 for a reason! Not a few missionaries can relate dark spiritual happenings involving the demons that work through those false religions that would curl your hair even if you were bald! Check out “And The Word Came With Power” by missionary Jo Anne Shetler if you doubt. But an evil spirit cannot save someone’s soul or change their heart! So why put all the emphasis on the things that Satan can imitate while ignoring the things that he cannot? I don’t know about you, but while hearing testimonies about people delivered from asthma personally touch me because I was healed of the same, what I really love hearing about is testimonies of God delivering them from selfishness, hate, pride, lying, meanness, sloth, lust, and irresponsibility, for those character flaws and many more I had them, and let me tell you they were much more destructive to me and those around me than my asthma was! 

So then, why DO miracles and revelation occur? Why does God work them? Let me start with my own personal testimony and go from there: God healed my body as part of His plan to draw me to Him and save me from my sins. And that corresponds to the Biblical record. God was not some two bit Las Vegas entertainer performing tricks for the ooohs and aaahs of alcoholics, adulterers, and gamblers. Some say every miracle, every revelation, every prophecy regarded in the Bible played a part in salvation – redemption history, a rough English translation for the German term Heilsgeschichte, God’s plan to redeem mankind from His sin. Others take a broader view and say that it was part of God’s plan to reveal Himself to mankind, with the ultimate and final revelation being His Son Jesus Christ. So, God parting the Red Sea was a salvation – historic act to deliver Israel, His elect nation that He planned to use to be a light to all nations and use to incarnate Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s healing the Gentile woman’s daughter in Matthew 15:21-28 was an act of revealing both God’s love and mercy to mankind. Peter’s vision while on the tanner’s rooftop was God letting the Jews know that Jesus Christ came to bring salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. You want to know about the importance of the floating axhead? Well try this link. Ultimately, God had a higher purpose for every miracle, every prophecy, every vision in the Bible. They were not done because people like to see visions. They were done to reveal Himself to sinful men living in a sinful world so that His chosen among them would turn to Him. 

The main thing to remember, third wave charismatics, is that the Bible makes it clear that everyone who works mighty works even in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved. See Matthew 7:21-23! The Bible even makes it clear that everyone who receives a miracle in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved! Remember the ten lepers! They all had faith to be healed by Jesus Christ. They were all healed by Jesus Christ. BUT ONLY ONE LEPER BOTHERED TO FALL AT THE FEET OF GOD AND GIVE HIM THANKS! Are you going to allege that a person who is not thankful for the work and person of Jesus Christ is going to be saved by Him? And let me tell you about the one … HE WAS A GENTILE! Let me tell you about the nine … THEY WERE JEWS! Do not misunderstand me, I am not going anti – Semite on you here. Just let me put it into the context. The Jews were in it for the miracle, the Gentile was in it for the God who worked the miracle! So, the Jews in it for the miracle in this story represent church folk who continually need to see signs and wonders to have some semblance of outward faith. In other words: THIRD WAVE CHARISMATICS AND ALL LIKE THEM WHO WILL ABANDON TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF SOUND DOCTRINE BASED ON THE BIBLE TO FOLLOW EMMA THE ANGEL AND SOME MAN WHO KICKS A STOMACH CANCER PATIENT IN THE GUT AND THE GUY DOES NOT EVEN GET HEALED! But Gentile in this story represents the person not in the church who repents and follows Jesus Christ not because they were looking for a miracle, but because they were seeking the God that works the miracle!

And guess what? At the beginning of the leper story, all ten were unsaved. Both groups were all in the same boat. But by the end of the story, only one group was saved, and the other group was unsaved. Can you guess based not on my words but on your knowledge of the Bible which group was saved and which group wasn’t? And after you do that, apply that Sunday school Bible story to your own life situation and ask yourself which group YOU are in!

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The Value of Spiritual Accountability

Posted by Job on July 20, 2008

From Sharper Iron.

Getting What You Inspect

by JoyWagner at 12:00 am July 18, 2008. 192 views. Filed under: Counseling, Christian Living

By all appearances, the pastor and his ministry were thriving. New people were visiting, members were growing in their walk with the Lord, and missions was an exciting arm of the church. There was no sign of any problem. Months later, though, the mask was ripped off, and the pastor’s consistent moral failure was revealed. A missionary was spending thousands of support dollars on lavish personal conveniences. A church member disguised his spiritual apathy and lack of devotion to his wife through years of performance in church events. How do these and many other sinful choices go on for so long without being noticed? While each person is responsible for his own actions, many spiritual battles can be won through loving accountability.

You might have heard the old saying, “You don’t get what you expect; you get what you inspect.” That’s a simple way of describing the process of accountability—a brother or sister in Christ “inspecting” the life of another member of the body. The difference is that in spiritual accountability a truly concerned believer doesn’t just ask questions and then remain uninvolved in the changing process. Accountability leads into discipleship. The whole process is asking a friend the hard questions and then helping each other to walk in the victory Christ offers. In most areas of life, we are held accountable for our actions. Why, then, in our spiritual lives are we are often sadly lacking in our attempts to keep people accountable or even respond in humility to others’ questions of accountability?

Real, biblical accountability is beneficial for both the asker and the receiver. On the receiving end, it’s difficult to admit weakness, yet it is the first step in true change. None of us like the idea of someone asking about our progress in areas of struggle. It’s easier to just hide behind a mask of superficial spirituality. My friend calls it “living in the world of fine.” During fellowship time, someone asks between bites of spaghetti, “How are you?” Our answer is “fine.” After church, the pastor says, “How is your family?” Our answer is “fine.” Maybe a concerned friend actually asks, “How is your time in the Word?” Our answer is “fine.” Sometimes this has become simply a polite way to start or avoid small talk, but many times our vague answer is an attempt to cover up a real struggle in our spiritual walk. Why do we so often avoid transparent communication about our own spiritual weakness? I can answer that in one word. Pride. Our pride holds us back from letting people into the broken pieces of our lives and helping us to look to Christ to restore that which was shattered.
Several times in the Gospels, Christ confronts His disciples about a particular area of weakness. Their reactions to His incriminating statements paint a picture of the depth of their character at that point. Look, for example, in Matthew 16:20-23 where Christ holds Peter accountable for his hasty words. Peter’s argumentative reaction reveals his pride. Contrast Peter’s reaction with the well-known question after the resurrection. “Do you love me” (John 21:15-17). On this occasion, Peter walked in humility and didn’t try to refute the all-knowing, all-loving question of his best Friend. He takes the position of a learner, and his reaction was the beginning of God’s using him mightily in the early church.

The process of accountability also helps the confronter. If done biblically, the person addressing the need must go in a spirit of meekness, knowing that he is very capable of sinning in the same way or some other way but equally in violation of God’s holiness (Gal. 6:1). This humility is a beautiful part of growth into Christlikeness. True accountability is not only helpful because of its reciprocal nature but also because of the mutual study in Scripture to get God’s mind on an issue. Studying Scripture together is always beneficial.

Knowing the benefits of accountability doesn’t give us carte blanche authority to address people in any way we choose. The Bible has much to say about the manner in which we communicate. In the process of accountability, our words must be carefully chosen and wisely delivered.

The first step in the accountability process is to ask good questions. I’ve often heard it said that “questions convict the conscience; accusations harden the will.” Christ used more than 100 questions even in what is recorded in the Gospels. In accountability, you need to be willing to ask the hard questions. People aren’t likely to tear off their masks without being pushed with penetrating questions. Open-ended questions are normally best to stimulate deep conversation. In the Christ-centered addiction recovery group I help with, we ask questions like “How were you tempted in the past week, and how did God give you victory?”

Accountability goes beyond just asking questions to addressing the issue from Scripture. Any secular psychologist can become a master at asking questions. As Scripture-saturated believers, we must direct people back to the Bible. This step could take the form of an official Bible study or maybe just a reference to a particular passage. Believers cannot walk in victory without a connection to the Source of all wisdom and victory.

Another essential part of the accountability process is to give a realistic goal and practical ways to meet that goal. In this step, I caution against the tendency for all of us—to trust in our own acts of righteousness for the victory that is available for us only through the finished work of Christ. Paul said that “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom 8:37). We can’t conquer our flesh with our flesh; Christ already provided the victory for us. However, we are responsible to live out that truth through dying to self and walking in the Spirit. The work of accountability or discipleship is not finished even after assigning a “project.” Like a physician, the discipler needs to do further evaluation for the continued growth of both people.

Accountability is a critical and too often-neglected arena in our churches today. When we leave fellow believers to fend for themselves without the protection of accountability, we are no better than the Pharisee and Levite who walked by the hurting man on the side of the road (Luke 10).

Joy Wagner taught classes and was the ladies’ dorm supervisor at Northland Baptist Bible College (Dunbar, WI) for 10 years. She works as a counselor at Rocky Mountain Biblical Counseling Center.

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