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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
My favourite law enforcer and (yes) street evangelist has a very interesting post on a common finding these days -Christian nomadism….(I love sign number 7)
Nomadism is a growing problem within the Body of Christ and has infected the biblical evangelism community. Nomadism is a serious problem among not only young and immature believers, but also older more mature believers, and as well as some who are well-known in the biblical evangelism community.
The following list of symptoms is in no way whatsoever intended to be a tongue-in-cheek or flippant offering. Nothing about this subject is a laughing matter. The list first appeared on Twitter and some have asked me to compile the list in the form of a blog article. So, here it is. …Read More!
There is a video clip of a pastor who seems to be unleashing extra ordinary waves of powers into an emotionally charged congregation with a slight swing of a finger and a swerve of an arm. In some circles such a man is given the almighty title ‘mighty man of God’ placing him above any pastor in the land and becomes the linch pin for any ‘revival service’. For it is then believed that he has reached a higher echelon of power. The preacher’s worthiness becomes the virtue on to which the congregation clings to so as to per chance swing the pendulum of fate and fortune in their own lives.
Such preachers are suave and charismatic and very winsome and convincing in their trade. Once they have amassed a sizeable congregation, they sneakily put their bibles far aside as they go to great lengths to mesmerise and entertain. But once they make you their convert you become seven times worse emotionally, financially and spiritually – you sadly become more faithful and dependant on them for answers to your prayers than to God.
Martin Luther once said on prayer that:
Some say, “I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.” I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of blood.
We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone.
So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness.
“If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, STUDY THEM BETTER. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. …Read More!
This is an excerpt from a Table Talk (TT) magazine interview with an African pastor (Conrad Mbewe) of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia…
TT: What are two important lessons that Western Christians can learn from the African church?
CM: Western civilization has lost a lot of its interpersonal virtues. It has become overly individualized—if you see what I mean. Issues like hospitality, respect for authority and the elderly, being more people-conscious than time-conscious, and so on are largely lost. This has affected not only the society generally but Christians as well.
Western Christians have filled their lives with too many things (toys?) that have robbed them of eternal perspectives. Electronic gadgets, holidays, sports, recreation, and so on have almost become idols. Even church must be about having fun.
It is not that often that televangelists and faith healers open their doors and have their theology and doctrinal practices tested against the standard of scripture. More often than not these offices always come shrouded in mystery and sadly mysticism. However a brave Chris Rosebrough managed to get an interview with Brian Powers a popular televangelist and faith healer and they decided to go through some honest doctrinal issues.
Tony-Allen Cucolo writes an interesting summary of common responses when most of these “hyper” anointed men are confronted with scripture.
- A complete and utter inability to answer any direct question (here especially regarding the Trinity, his personal sin, etc.), usually going off on another tangent instead.
- A double standard in regards to accusing someone of harping on doctrine (eg., Trinity), while at the same time accusing others of violating Christian doctrine (eg., Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit).
- Almost zero knowledge of church history.
If you are wondering about what to pray for when it comes to the church in Africa, do pray for faithfulness to the message of the gospel. Conrad Mbewe a local pastor in Africa in his recent newsletter from Kabwata (Zambia) laments:
[This post was first run here in 2012] I came across a pamphlet today. It was given to me at the traffic lights while waiting for the lights to go green. It read as follows:My name is Stella Mwanza from Sinda (Eastern Province). I used to read in newspapers and listen to the radio about how different people were testifying concerning Pastor Elijah and I was so impressed with his healing powers that I decided to try him as I had a lot of problems.First, my husband was divorcing me as he accused me of having an affair with another man and even doubted our lastborn child. Pastor Elijah prayed for me and this calmed down my husband and now we’re happily married with our kids.I introduced a friend of mine to the same pastor who had an unstable marriage because her husband was sexually weak and had a tiny manhood. She was going out with other men to satisfy her sexual desire though she loved her husband. Pastor Elijah invited the couple to his place and prayed for both of them. Now they are back in a good relationship. Thanks to Pastor Elijah. …Read More!
“Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit will always have a very deep view of the sinfulness of sin. It will not merely regard sin as a blemish and misfortune, which makes men and women objects of pity, and compassion. It will see in sin the abominable thing which God hates, the thing which makes man guilty and lost in his Maker’s sight, the thing which deserves God’s wrath and condemnation. It will look on sin as the cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, of strife and wars, of quarrels and contentions, of sickness and death–the curse which cursed God’s beautiful creation, the cursed thing which makes the whole earth groan and struggle in pain. Above all, it will see in sin the thing which will ruin us eternally, unless we can find a ransom,–lead us captive, except we can get its chains broken,–and destroy our happiness, both here and hereafter, except we fight against it, even unto death. Is this your religion? Are these your feelings about sin? If not, you should doubt whether your religion is “authentic.” – J. C. Ryle
HT Friends on FB for this quote.
You may indeed speak in tongues if you realise …
What Biblical Tongues Were:
- The manifestation was supernatural (Acts 2:1-4).
- The manifestation involved speaking. (We read in Acts 2:4, “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in different tongues, just as the Spirit was giving them to declare” [emphases added]. In fact, we must notice that this activity of speaking in tongues began before any of the listeners heard the speakers. The stress is on what the believers say, not on what the listeners hear. They spoke in other languages. Also, in v. 6 we read, “each one was continually hearing them speaking in his own dialect”; and again, in v. 11, “we hear them speaking in our own tongues the mighty deeds of God” [emphases added]. There is a reason it is referred to as the gift of “tongues,” not “ears.”)
- The manifestation involved languages that were intelligible. (Cf. Acts 2:9-11; 1 Corinthians 14:19), known (Greek glossa means language; cf. also Corinthians 12:10, 28; 14:21, 22), and not naturally learned (Acts 2:7). …Read More!
“The problem in our day, which gives rise to highly questionable church growth methods, is twofold:
On the one hand, we are seeing a waning confidence in the message of the gospel. Even the evangelical church shows signs of losing confidence in the convincing and converting power of the gospel message. That is why increasing numbers of churches prefer sermons on family life and psychological health. We are being overtaken by what Os Guinness calls the managerial and therapeutic revolutions. The winning message, it seems, is the one that helps people to solve their temporal problems, improves their self-esteem and makes them feel good about themselves.
I think this will come in handy for any one trying to find out more on Word of Faith movement. I just met some one who is attending a church where the pastor teaches and believes in the movement. This excerpt and the bible verses can be a good primer:
Word of Faith teaching is decidedly unbiblical. It is not a denomination and does not have a formal organization or hierarchy. Instead, it is a movement that is heavily influenced by a number of high-profile pastors and teachers such as Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, and Fred Price.
The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where “name it and claim it” originated) was combined with Pentecostalism, resulting in a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism. Kenneth Hagin, in turn, studied under E. W. Kenyon and made the Word of Faith movement what it is today. Although individual teachings range from completely heretical to completely ridiculous, what follows is the basic theology most Word of Faith teachers align themselves with.
At the heart of the Word of Faith movement is the belief in the “force of faith.” It is believed words can be used to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health and wealth). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God’s sovereign will and that God Himself is subject to these laws. This is nothing short of idolatry, turning our faith—and by extension ourselves—into god. …Read More!
Listen to this clip….
Dr Steve Lawson and Todd Friel. …Read more!
Mark Dever in his book, What Is a Healthy Church? writes, “When you peer into the life of a church, the growth of its members can show up in all sorts of ways.” Here are just a few good examples – though of course this is not an exhaustive list :
- Growing numbers being called to missions—“I’ve enjoyed sharing the gospel with my neighbors from South America. I wonder if God is calling me to …”
- Older members getting a fresh sense of their responsibility in evangelism and in discipling younger members—“Why don’t you come over for dinner?”
- Younger members attending the funerals of older members out of love—“As a single man in my twenties, it was so good to be taken in by Mr. and Mrs.…”
- Increased praying in the church and more prayers centered on evangelism and ministry opportunities—“I’m starting an evangelistic Bible study at work and I’m a little nervous. Would the church pray that …”
- More members sharing the gospel with outsiders. …Read More!
I used to believe in Word of faith and prosperity gospel. I feel quite relieved that I have come a long way and now understand some things a lot better like God’s sovereign control of events and circumstances around me and the world. I am also grateful for His providence and looking back I am more rested now knowing that He is in complete control of everything. How puny my thoughts were when I thought that if I sowed a bigger seed or made a positive confession or regularly said prayers breaking generational curses then these would keep me from ‘afflictions of the devil’. John Berrige has an interesting letter to a Christian friend under severe affliction. I hope it helps some one struggling to understand afflictions:
I grant that your circumstances are very severe and difficult—but let me beg of you not to construe your afflictions as a token of God’s displeasure, or a sign of your not belonging to Him. This is an old temptation of Satan’s, with which he often assaults the afflicted Christian; but take the shield of faith—that you may quench the fiery darts of Satan.
Alas! Crosses and afflictions are the common lot of the people of God in this present world. Our Lord has told us, that in this world—we shall have troubles! Every saint has his own particular difficulties, temptations and conflicts to grapple with. …Read More!
Martin Lloyd Jones once said:
The preaching and teaching of a false prophet does not emphasize repentance in any real sense. It has a very wide gate leading to salvation and a very broad way leading to heaven. You need not feel much of your own sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart. You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd, and your name is put down, and is one of the large number of ‘decisions’ reported by the press. It is entirely unlike the evangelism of the Puritans and of John Wesley, George Whitefield and others, which led men to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul sometimes for days and weeks and months. John Bunyan tells us in his book Grace Abounding that he endured an agony of repentance for eighteen months. There does not seem to be much room for that today.
Conrad Mbewe a pastor of a little church in Kabwata in Africa has written an interesting post on the growth of Charismatic movement in Africa to the point that there is now a fringe mystic personality that has replaced the local witch doctor. This personality called ‘the man of God’ has become an ‘anointed guru’ who brings deliverance, breaks generational curses and dishes out break-throughs at a local center where you have to come ready to sow a seed. Oh let me not spoil the article for you…
Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.The African Spiritual WorldviewLet me explain what I mean. The African spiritual worldview consists of four tiers.1. God2. Angels and demons3. Ancestral spirits4. Human beingsIt is because of this reality that Africans do not question the existence of God, as is the case with many people in the Western world. To an African, God is there. He is the Creator and ultimate Governor and Benefactor of the whole universe.Rather, in our spiritual worldview, although God is there he is very far away. Between him and us as human beings lie two layers in the spirit world. One is that of angels and demons (i.e. bad angels) and the other—which is even closer to us—is that of the spirits of the departed.So, although God is a benevolent, loving, and caring Being, unless the beings that dwell in these two layers that lie between him and us are appeased, his blessings cannot reach us. It is, therefore, important to appease the ancestral spirits and defeat the demons. Only after that will God’s blessings come upon us.This is where in African traditional religions witchdoctors come in. …Read More!
Purpose driven church?
Many in the church today believe that the only way to reach the world is to give the unchurched multitudes what they want. . . Subtly the overriding goal is church attendance and worldly acceptability rather than a transformed life. Preaching the Word and boldly confronting sin are seen as archaic, ineffectual means of winning the world. After all, those things actually drive most people away. Why not entice people into the fold by offering what they want, creating a friendly, comfortable environment, and catering to the very desires that constitute their strongest urges? As if we might get them to accept Jesus by somehow making Him more likable or making His message less offensive. That kind of thinking badly skews the mission of the church.
Todd Bentley is eccentric in his practice. He loves being the charismatic preacher he is and will draw a crowd and will definitely continue to do so. I have watched and listened to his ‘revivals’ all the way from Lakeland to South Korea and now in Uganda. Most of these trail blazing show men draw crowds because they preach a message that most of the people they attract want to hear. He promises sensations, manifestations and signs and wonders and indeed he does get to mesmerise hundreds with his showmanship. But at what cost? It is at the cost of the gospel.
This is what Todd reports in his news letter:
One time in my life, a curse was broken that I didn’t even know was on me. It doesn’t mean that there was a witch doctor or a warlock practicing magic or sorcery like we see in the movies that was specifically cursing me. That’s happened, too. I’m not just talking about someone out there with a voodoo doll and putting pins in it. These things happen. I believe in that (sic)….
[So Todd tells of going to a Ugandan town called Jinja where “a curse came over the city for many years-nobody was getting saved, nobody was getting healed, and nobody was getting delivered” till he made an appearance]
I got up on the platform [in Jinja] and I started to break the power of witchcraft, and 1,835 people at the same time started manifesting demons and fell to the ground writhing like snakes. We counted 1,835 people vomiting, rolling in the mud, writhing and hissing on the ground like snakes. …Read More!
Some people have crept in to Evangelical churches and are stealthily spreading a teaching which has become quite lucrative with its draw strings. They claim that Christians remain cursed until those curses are broken and to have yours broken, you have to part with a hefty sum called “seed money” deposited at the foot of a particular “anointed man”. Furthermore, notes Kato Mivule[ a Ugandan pastor]….
Usually, those who are deemed cursed are the poor, weak, destitute, unemployed, sick, and those facing various challenges of life.
One of the remedies for “breaking” the curse is to give “seed” money to preachers so as to “break” the curse. The teaching has become very popular given the current global economic malaise, that poor Christians will take the little savings they have and “sow the seed” into the ministries of these predatory preachers.
The popularity of these “breaking the curse” teachings caught the attention of media [here is] an article on the subject. The catch phrase that these predatory preachers use is “if you are poor then you are cursed”. Thus many ignorant poor Christians give all they have as “seed money” so as to “break” the curse in hopes of getting a job.
This question has been adapted from a post written by Jim Bublitz in 2007 titled Why has Jim become a ‘Reformed’ Christian?
As opposed to a “normal” Christian. . .
What exactly does it mean that I have become “Reformed”.
First off, “Reformed” simply means that I attend a church that holds to the beliefs of the protestant Reformation of the 16th century, when Luther and Calvin and others were instrumental in splitting the true church away from the abuses of the Roman Catholic system that evolved through the medieval centuries…
Like the majority of the churches during the post-Reformation era (and the Puritan era that followed), I have come to believe that Salvation begins with an unfailing work of God in the hearts of all those who will believe. While most churches in our current day believe that you “believe to be born again”, like the Reformers and Puritans I have come to believe the opposite about that; my belief is that you are “born again to believe” (see the change in order?).
Here’s a simple quiz for bible believing Christians who may not be convinced of this. Click the link below and see whether you truly believe that God is sovereign over the salvation of souls. …Read More!
Hollywood marketers offered free screenings of “Man of Steel” to church leaders as well as sermon notes in an effort to highlight the film’s Christian themes.
Christian marketing firm Grace Hill Media sent out nine pages of sermon notes written by Pepperdine University professor and theologian Craig Detweiler to Christian pastors across the country, CNN reported Friday.
Grrr!!! Aren’t we simply an entertainment driven bunch of milk sops? Where are the great preachers of old like Charles Spurgeon and George Whitefield who spent more time in reading and studying Scripture as they prepared for the Lord’s day?
Do we have to pander to Hollywood? Yup, only if you are a seeker sensitive pastor who wants to appear relevant. Actually, one wise deacon [see link above] put it in better words than I ever could:
P.J. Wenzel, a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Dublin Baptist Church in Ohio, said using “material pumped out from Hollywood’s sewers” to entertain congregants will result in people’s souls being neglected.
“Any pastor who thinks using `Man of Steel Ministry Resources’ is a good Sunday morning strategy must have no concept of how high the stakes are, or very little confidence in the power of God’s word and God’s spirit,” he said.
Somebody isn’t laughing now…
Rodney Howard-Browne, self-styled “Holy Ghost Bartender,” has taken notice of the Strange Fire conference sponsored by Grace to You (October 16-18, 2013). He seems unnerved by the prospect that twenty-first-century charismatic phenomena are going to be examined in light of Scripture. …Read More!
We all know how IT guys think they are gods (insert smiley face here) but well here is one who is taking things literally and actually getting away with it:
A man claiming to be Jesus is gaining followers and causing concern among cult experts in Australia.
Former IT specialist Alan John Miller, or AJ as he prefers to be known, runs a religious movement known as the Divine Truth from his home near the small town of Kingaroy in the state of Queensland.
Mr Miller claims that not only is he Christ, but his partner, Australian Mary Luck, is in fact Mary Magdalene, who according to the Bible was present at the crucifixion.
He told Sky News: “I have very clear memories of the crucifixion, but it wasn’t as harrowing for me as it was for others like Mary who was present.
“When you are one with God you are not in a state of fear, and you have quite good control over your body’s sensations and the level of pain that you absorb from your body.”
Mr Miller holds seminars near his home and also travels around the world teaching people how to have a personal relationship with God, often by delving deep into their emotions.
Dozens of his followers are understood to have bought properties in the area to be closer to him.
After his crucifixion the Australian claims he entered the spirit world where he met Plato, Socrates, popes and presidents.
Now, I didn’t see that coming. Jesus tucked away in the sunny out backs of Australia!
G’day, mates! Meet me in Kingaroy! Without further ado I am off to the land down under!
I always knew Oz was God’s own country – how dare you judge me when I now have confirmation from some one from IT? 😉
Found this interesting list compiled by Limerick Reformed Fellowship.
1. He claims to be an apostle (II Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2).
2. He was not present during the Lord’s earthly ministry or he was not directly commissioned by the risen Christ (Acts 1:21-22; Acts 22:10, 21).
3. He is not part of the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20)
4. He has not seen the risen Christ (I Cor. 9:1; 15:8) or he claims to have seen the risen Christ (perhaps in his bedroom or in some other private location) and is therefore a liar, a deceiver or deluded (I Peter 1:8).
5. He does not have supreme authority in all the churches or he claims such supreme authority and is therefore a liar, deceiver or deluded (I Cor. 7:17; I Cor. 14:37; II Cor. 10:8, 11:28).
6. He cannot demand that his letters be read in the churches as inspired writings from God, and if he does, you’ve guessed it, he is a liar, deceiver or deluded (I Thess. 5:27; II Peter 3:15-16).
7. He makes these claims today, that is, long after the death of the last apostle who was John.
HT via FB.
In some streams of Evangelicalism, Christian faith and practice are defined by popular prevailing notions or personal charisma and less by Scripture. J. Lee Grady (of Charisma magazine) seems to be fighting a losing moral battle when it comes to some his brothers within the Charismatic camp. In a scathing memo he appears to be decrying the materialistic trendy lifestyle that most Charismatic televangelists and pastors are adopting. Honestly, it is good to see some one from within the charismatic camp get loving enough to rock the boat this much:
Such “preachers” are a cancer in the Body of Christ–“….I’ve pulled a lot of my hair out watching our embarrassing charismatic sideshows over the last few years. I think it is time we draw a line in the sand and say: “NO MORE.”
NO MORE BODYGUARDS. We have evangelists who send a small squadron of muscular thugs to “scout” the lobby of a hotel before they arrive. This is extremely odd when you realize that most of the people in said lobby have never even heard of the guy! Sorry, but I really don’t trust a man of God who claims he needs a bodyguard in church. Get down on the people’s level if you want to minister to them.
NO MORE $10,000 PER NIGHT HOTEL ROOMS. We have traveling preachers who book 10,000-square-ft. hotel rooms with private pools so they can rest on their way home from international trips. Excuse me? We could build an orphanage with the money this man wasted. (P.S. I know a good Hampton Inn where you can get a nice bed for $89 a night—and it includes a hot breakfast.) …Read More!
This sounds like a joke stretched too far. However when it comes to making merchandise of men’s souls there is no end to the limit of options. A new bible version inserts your name in almost every sentence that sounds good or may make you feel good about yourself! It is the ‘personal promise bible’ of course and you can imagine how many misguided people will be buying into this fad. In a liberal generation that holds high self esteem as an essential, this is just the tip of the proverbial self actualization and narcissistic iceberg.
It’s sad to see the line up of celebrities trying to endorse this ‘bible’. To quote some of the personalities:
I loved the Bible and I was quoting excerpts from it in church!! It is a great idea!
Brian Houston, Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church, Sydney, Australia
“Its awesome…how alive the most routine verse has become! I can’t put it down.”
Dr. Wanda A. Turner, Author of Sex Traps and Celebrate Change
A friend on FB made a very interesting observation …Read More!
“Churching” the unchurched is a terminology used by many mega churches or purpose driven churches and if you have never heard of it, (let me begin by bursting the bubble) it actually has nothing to do with evangelism. No…
“Churching the unchurched is an absolute fallacy – it is like purposing to let the tares in. It is absolutely bizarre to want to make unsaved people feel comfortable in a church. The church is not a building – the church is a group of worshiping, redeemed, and sanctified people among whom an unbeliever should feel either miserable, convicted and drawn to Christ, or else alienated and isolated. Only if the church hides its message and ceases to be what God designed the church to be, can it make an unbeliever comfortable.” ~John MacArthur
Pastors Fred Price Jr (Word of Faith) and Saiko Woods (Reformed) discuss their different theological differences.
The list is long but I could only fit in 10 ways to botch an altar call (I know this makes me sound like a disgruntled Arminian) :
- Present an unbalanced message. Only let them see the heart-warming part of God’s character. Preach God’s love but leave out His holiness and justice. That way they’ll think He’ll let them into heaven no matter what.
- Don’t mention repentance until they’re repeating a “sinner’s prayer.” Just get them to say, “I repent of all my sins” while they’re echoing you. They won’t know what they’re saying and they won’t count the cost.
- Above all else, be dignified. Don’t get heart to heart with the people. They would get something out of what you said.
- Skim over the gospel and push the prayer. Pretend the lost naturally understand what Christ has done for them.
- Preach Jesus as a life enhancer not a life rescuer. Tell them how Jesus can improve their life but don’t show them Jesus as the only One who can save them from Hell. People will think if they reject Him they’re only losing out on a spiritual high. Read More!
The year 2012 was interesting and frustrating. This year I will not feature the 10 most popular posts like I did in 2011. However I will give you a running commentary and “warm your little Calvinist hearts” with some grace and hope you won’t end up swimming back to Rome in the end.
The year started with high expectations and has ended on a high note – well unless you are a Mayan apocalypse enthusiast then you might be just a tard deflated. But hey cheer up we have extra time now, don’t we?
In 2012 it was interesting to see that many people were interested in reading how Veggie Tales ended up being a failed experiment. Well to be honest it was a fad that went too far into teaching kids how to be “Christian” without knowing Christ. Ironic but frankly I have come to expect this from most Evangelical fads that it doesn’t surprise me any more. Speaking of fads the year kicked off with a fad…oops thud when Steven Furtick (yup the celebrity pastor who spontaneously baptised 2,000 people in two weeks) invited Matt Chandler into a room full of orange flood lights, orange walls and orange carpets. When Matt began to preach about celebrities and supposed pastors using church as a platform for personal ambition, you could hear a pin drop. The barn burning sermon was a good fire starter for the year it and it ended with a clear gospel presentation too. But nothing prepared us for pastor Jim Murphy’s stance when he decided to root out religious junk from his lukewarm church bookstore. Murphy lamented the disintegration of Christianity and its falling away from the truth of the gospel and into more and more error – he traced the roots of today’s error to the subtle attacks on the authority of Scripture. When he finally asked “How did we get where we are?” Many expected him to point the finger else where but the wise old pastor pointed to him self and said said he was responsible for allowing his church to become lukewarm and hence forth there would be changes. Talk about the perspicuity of scripture.
Don’t blink yet, that was just the beginning!
Do we “do church” or are we called to be the church? Are we ‘missional’ or do we have a commission? These are some of the questions you will be asking your self soon if you haven’t come across the latest craze sweeping through Evangelicalism. To pre empt some thought here is some interesting bit of information:
We hear others talk about what they are “doing” at their church. And we tell people what we are “doing” at our church. But what Christians in all denominations are asking themselves and others is, are “doing” and “being” a Christian the same thing?
Something new is being discussed and embraced by Christians around the world. Many Christian writers are saying that the rise of the missional church is the single biggest development in Christianity since the Reformation.
Just as the medieval church was different from the church we see in the Book of Acts, the church after the Reformation looks totally different from its medieval predecessor. And the emerging missional church will just as dramatically distinguish itself from what we now call “church.” …Read More!
First Peter 2:24 says of Christ, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
One of the primary rules of biblical interpretation which must never be violated is context. What is the context in 1 Peter 2? Answer: salvation. There is no way to interpret it in any other sense. The verse is talking about Jesus on the cross dying for us, enduring punishment and bearing our sins, thereby providing salvation for us.
When certain people get hold of this passage, however, they change the context from salvation to physical healing. Every time such people see the word “heal” in the Bible they assume it refers to the miracle of divine healing for the physical body, regardless of whether the context indicates otherwise. …Read More!
It’s a while now since we last saw Todd Bentley warn a bewildered chap that he was just about to leg drop him so that he could earn a “revival” in his church. Another time he supposedly gave another man a two minute head start before he broke his teeth and sternum. Bentley’s erratic behavorisms were outlandish but they drew crowds. People came to see and be subjected to mesmerising antics. No one seemed to question the biblical basis of his practices.
People actually will crown any one as king if he can create an illusion or pretend to conjure up one. A couple of years before Mr Bentley graced the Evangelical scene, there was a like minded charismatic man called Smith Wigglesworth. No, he didn’t knock people around with his coat like some famous televangelists do on television or huff and puff a glory cloud to make people drowsy “in the holy ghost”. Mr. Wigglesworth is said to have punched a man so hard during one of his “revivals” that the man died. He then went on and raised him back to life, or so the legend goes. Today we will look at the teachings of Mr. Smith Wigglesworth. So, to begin with – who was Wigglesworth? Was he orthodox or a heretic? I am glad you asked….
SMITH WIGGLESWORTH (1859-1947) was a famous Pentecostal evangelist and faith healer. Many books have been written about his unusual life. He was converted in a Methodist church, confirmed as an Anglican, and as a young man was associated with the Salvation Army and Plymouth Brethren. In 1907 he claimed that he was “baptised in the Holy Spirit” after hands were laid on him by Mary Boddy, who alleged to have had a Pentecostal experience only a month prior to that. Mrs. Boddy believed in the doctrine of healing in the atonement, but she spent the last sixteen years of her life as an invalid. Wigglesworth, too, believed that physical healing is guaranteed in the atonement of Christ. He taught against the use of all medicine. He believed that signs and wonders should always follow the preaching of the Gospel. He taught that a Christian can be justified and sanctified but still not have everything necessary from God. “People are never safe until they are baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Wigglesworth, “The Place of Power,” June 1916, reprinted in The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 151). He taught that handkerchiefs which are prayed over will bring life if carried in faith to the sick (The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 231).
From the country that gave us great preachers like George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon and John Owen a new breed of people are now coming up. No, they are still religious if want to put it that way. Actually that is the most worrying thing…they are too religious that anything goes these days…
Today’s Census figures show that 176,632 people in England and Wales identify themselves as Jedi Knights, making it the most popular faith in the “Other Religions” category on the Census and the seventh most popular faith overall.
The new figures reveal that the lightsabre-wielding disciples are only behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism in the popularity stakes, excluding non-religious people and people who did not answer.
Following a nationwide campaign, Jedi made it onto the 2001 census, with 390,127 people identifying themselves a decade ago as followers of the fictional Star Wars creed.
Long gone are the days when people lived within a stone throw from a church bell. Gone are the days when the First Commandment was recited by little children on the dusty streets of Oxford and Cambridge. Fiction has become the bed rock of reality and God has become whatever alternative you want Him to be.
Chris Rosebrough has an interesting article on Bible reading and misinterpretation of the text. I must confess I used to apply this technique to twist Scripture and I see many pastors resort to using it with motivational speaking, Prosperity “gospel” and Word of Faith teachings. It is very faulty and man centred and I am glad to condemn it today. You see…
There is an epidemic of Narcissistic Eisegesis a.k.a. Narcigesis, infecting the churches in America today. Pastors and Bible teachers have mastered the art of allegorizing all of the characters and details of every Bible story in order to make the stories about YOU. Therefore, I’ve decided to give a little ‘how to’ advice regarding this Bible twisting technique in the hopes that by doing so you’ll see the obvious problems with this way of approaching the Biblical texts. So here we go.
How to Narcigete Any Bible Story In 4 Easy Steps
Primary Assumption: Every Bible story is about YOU. And, since YOU struggle with setbacks, problems and challenges that keep YOU from achieving YOUR maximal greatness that means that the Bible is really all about giving YOU a road map that YOU can follow to achieve YOUR dreams and god-given destiny.
Read a Bible Story.
Identify the hero and the villain(s) in the story.
Identify yourself with the hero (who also happens to be on a journey toward greatness and achieving his god-given destiny, just like you).
When pastors keep a finger on the pulse of pop culture so as to set the pace for the church then do not be surprised when there becomes no difference between the sacred and the profane. If you look to “America’s pastor” to decide your purpose then he sure is doing a good purpose driven job…
Rick Warren is a megachurch pastor, international speaker, and best-selling author of the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in history, The Purpose Driven Life. Outside of coordinating global peace efforts and Bible study curriculum for his 20,000+ member non-denominational Christian congregation in Southern California, he’s tracking popular trends and publicly declaring his affinity for South Korean artist Psy’s K-pop song “Gangnam Style.” According to Twitter, “Gangnam Style” has been his ringtone since July 20.
[Apparently] “Gangnam Style,” a song by South Korean artist Psy, recently became the most-viewed YouTube video EVER, with over 826 million views as of this month (overtaking my man, J Biebs’, “Baby” video). The “Gangnam Style” dance is now a global phenomenon, with thousands buying, playing, and dancing to it on a weekly basis.
The world seems to be having a lot more influence on the American church these days. Reminds me of when one man in anguish lamented, “If God withdrew the Holy Spirit tomorrow, my church would function just the same; we wouldn’t even know He was gone.”
Oh my anguish!
We have all heard that excuse before haven’t we? During one of Phil Johnson’s trips to India (God rest his pen – I still can’t believe he stopped blogging!) met an interesting young man. The story goes that this college student came for advice believing he was suffering an intense Satanic attack and wanted special methods of tactical spiritual warfare to help him rid his home and family of Satanic influences. He said he was finding it impossible to get along with his mother. He said the two of them hardly ever spoke a civil word to one another, and it was destroying the peace of their household. He said he found it hard to study the Bible or grow spiritually as long as these tensions ruled the household. And he had come to the meeting that night, specifically hoping to get Satan out of his household. So…
[Phil continues] I first asked him what made him think this problem was uniquely Satanic. As he described it to me, it sounded much more like raw carnal pride on both his part and his mother’s. They were constantly saying unkind and unloving things to one another. He admitted that he purposely did things he knew would annoy her. He spoke disrespectfully to her. He said he just couldn’t stand her and didn’t like being around her.
It sounded like youthful rebellion on his part, more than a satanic attack. So I said, “It sounds to me like you’re just behaving in a fleshly way. I think you need to look into your own heart for the culprit, rather than blaming the devil and outside influences.”
But he insisted that I just didn’t understand the issue. It must be Satanic, he said, because the nature of his conflict with his mother was so powerful—and living with her was like living with the devil.
Studying The Heidelberg Catechism has helped me come to understand the Sovereignty of God. First published in 1563, this is a document of the Reformed Christian faith which is used by many churches. Many people especially if you are like me (from a Word of Faith and Charismatic background with bits and pieces of gleaned aberrant theology) come to find a lot of theological depth in the different questions and answers with scriptural references in this Reformed document. I for one would get worried that the devil would ‘make me backslide’ or come against me on a vengeance trip and cause me to fearfully ‘lose my salvation’. What if a generational curse pursued me all my life and couldn’t be broken by my pastor? What if I didn’t tithe enough or sow enough seed to guarantee a good standing with Jesus? What if…what if …what if? However starting with the first question of this Catechism one comes to learn the depth of the riches of the grace of God. I have come to learn that my comfort in life and death has a lot more to do with Jesus to whom I belong. Oh how comforting! How very comforting? One good study guide that I would recommend on The Heidelberg Catechism is this one by G.I Williamson. It has numerous scripture references and is well structured for either individual or family study. Now, the very first question of the Catechism causes me to smile with confidence not in myself or my ability but in my God and faithful Savior.
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my Own,
but belong body and soul, in life and in death-
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Disillusioned Emergent preacher Rob Bell confused many people in his time as pastor. It is not surprising therefore to see that the man he left in charge of Mars Hill
church Amusement Centre in Grand Rapids is himself disillusioned as to whether to call himself a Christian or part time follower of Christ. He ends up serving up dregs of muddied water….
This time in a new video trailer for a book by Shane Hipps called “Selling Water by the River: A Book About the Life Jesus Promised and the Religion that Gets in the Way.” In an age where we need clarity now more than ever, this muddies the waters of confusion ever more, but in an oh-so-fresh and appealing way…
Many Christians around the world are martyred today, not because they say they “follow” Jesus, but because of who they are: Christians.
Lighthouse Trails reported that Emerging church leader, Erwin McManus says his “goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.” In McManus’ book, The Barbarian Way, he says that the “greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity [i.e., Christians].” …Read More!
I have never thought that kicking a ball that is burning with vivid scorching flames would make one more spiritual. How does a soccer match make you “more spiritual”? Thanks for asking, you see…
For these players have been preparing for these football matches for 21 days – praying and fasting and learning to ‘tame fire’.
When they are ready, the tough 60 minutes of football begins – played in bare feet with a burning coconut which has been soaked in kerosene for two days. The burning matches take place over 60 minutes – and the players may go through four coconuts before the game is over.
Each coconut soaks for two days, ensuring it is drenched with flames and ready to burn.
Then the players place the ball in the centre-spot, and prepare to play – lighting a match to the match-day ball.
Some Arminians were kind enough to help the world out by giving them a dictionary of Calvinist terms (see here). In the spirit of brotherly love, the Calvinist’s did the same:
All (1): All always means all. Yup, Jesus died for every single human, including those already dead and in hell, and even including himself.
All (2): (as to sin) If its related to sin, “all” doesn’t include babies.
Amazing Grace: Horrible song composed by a Calvinist. Teaches wretched “doctrines of grace.”
Argument (1): The mean things Calvinists do, means: a group of propositions wherein the truth of one is asserted on the basis of the evidence furnished by the others.
Argument (2): An unfortunate term for how Arminians lovingly discuss the glorious truth of Scripture, means: if it feels good, it probably is.
Arminius, Jacob: The first church father.
Assurance: Keep trying, hopefully you’ll make it, but since you have libertarian free will, you could just flip sides one day. Never can tell. …Read More!
This dictionary was created by a well meaning Arminian to help other Arminians better understand Calvinist terminology. (Please don’t take this too seriously, this is meant in good fun)
All: The elect
Altar Call: An insult to God
Arminianism: Man centered theology
Assurance: hoping that you’re elect
Augustine: The first church father.
Calvinism: The gospel
Call (effectual): to be irresistibly dragged
Call (general): God’s justification to condemn the reprobate.
Catholicism: What Arminianism leads to.
God wants his messenger to have the spiritual needs addressed, which super-cedes all other needs. It is God, through the Holy Spirit that we start with, not man. Seeker sensitive preaching is determined by the audience, the target is the “felt needs” or what people think is needed in their life. But who knows better, the sinner or God? Our teaching should start with the Holy Spirit leading us into the Scripture. The apostle Paul made it clear “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10-11). The gospel offends when it is spoken correctly but for those who come to the cross it heals.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. ~ 2 Tim 4:3
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On a lighter note, here is why the Arminian and Calvinist did not cross the road….
15. We are not sure if the Arminian will cross or not. No one knows. Not even God.
14. The Calvinist believes that “road crossing” ceased with the death of the last Apostle or the completion of the New Testament.
13. He has felt the draw of the other side of the road and the Arminian has resisted thus far.
12. Calvinists were not elected to cross before the foundation of the road.
11. The Arminian heard someone yell at someone on the other side calling him a dork. He thought he said “Dordt.” It scared him.
10. The Calvinists said road was called Tiber Ave.
9. The Arminian shipwrecked on his way across therefore he never made it.
In Singapore there is a form of godliness that is rooted in materialism and it’s called “Christless Christianity”…
At “Miracle-Seed Sunday” in Singapore’s New Creation Church last month, the pastor’s sermon was preceded by PowerPoint and video presentations, and donations were overseen by auditors.
[ Singaporeans] are flocking to a new species of churches making appeals more in common with “Material Girl” pop-singer Madonna…
Wearing a white leather jacket and jeans, Senior Pastor Joseph Prince asked God to reward a crowd of about 1,200 with houses, cars, jobs, pay raises and holidays if they contributed to New Creation’s multimillion-dollar funding drive.
Prince’s 24,000-strong flock belongs to a flourishing breed of churches from Houston to Sydney winning followers with a focus on personal well-being. As the rise of so-called mega churches helps make Christians the fastest-growing religious group