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SOURCE

http://christianresearchservice.blogspot.com/ (GREAT NEW LOOK ..BTW)

 

DOMESTIC ABUSE IN THE CHURCH

An Open Letter to Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is

not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not

provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice

in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes

all things, hopes all things, endures all things. –1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

 

As you may know, I have taken the time to educate myself on the problem of domestic abuse and the mindset of a female abuser. I have communicated with both Christian and non-Christian abuse counselors locally and nationwide, written a Letter to the Editor of our local newspaper, shared my concerns with numerous pastors locally, and written the story, “The Waitress, the Man, and the Rose” ( http://tinyurl.com/WaitressManRose ).

http://www.christianresearchservice.com/TheWaitressTheManTheRose.htm

 

Yesterday, during another phone conversation with Paula Silva (a Christian counselor and former sufferer of domestic abuse), I was informed of the widespread abuse occurring within the body of Christ, and that many of the calls she receives are from pastors’ wives–all of whom are suffering from one or more forms of domestic abuse (verbal, emotional, and physical).

 

Yes, you read it right: wives of pastors are being verbally, emotionally, and physically abused by the very men who stand in their pulpits at least three times per week preaching the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.

 

Again, during my phone conversation with Paula, I learned that it is rare that a man will get involved in the battle against domestic abuse, and stand in the gap for women everywhere who are suffering and living in fear every day of their lives.

 

While the very thought of a man abusing a woman is repulsive, a man who refuses to come to the aid of an abused woman causes within me an acute case of righteous indignation.

 

I am not ashamed to say that I have diligently prayed through my tears for women who endure the terrible ordeal of domestic abuse. Now that domestic abuse has reared its ugly head within the body of Christ, our Lord has led me to appeal to you to get involved in yet another “unpaid bill” of the church.

 

Yes, the battle to expose the cultic, occultic, and heretical teachers of our day is extremely important. However, as we defend the faith against those who promote demonic doctrines, please keep in mind that a man who abuses a woman has the same mindset of a cult leader, who uses the same fear, intimidation, humiliation, and isolation tactics on his followers.

 

Is there a woman or women in your church who are being abused by their pastors or husbands? Is there a teenage girl or single woman in your church who is dating or living with a man with a background of abuse? If so, are you willing to reach out to them with help and assistance in the same way you would to a victim of a cultic or heretical leader? Think about that as you attend church this week.

 

Across our country, women are dying–both emotionally and physically–at the cowardly words and brutal hands of an abusive man. We cannot, we must not sit back and allow someone else to bear the burden and tremendous responsibility to protect and assist women who live in fear on a daily basis.

 

As Christians, we are joined together in Christ as brothers and sisters. We are family. Right now there are members of our family who are suffering the tragic effects of emotional and physical abuse. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for domestic abuse to rear its ugly head within our family before we decide to get involved.

 

Today, a Google search on “domestic violence” netted over 11 million hits, and the numbers are growing on a daily basis. Therefore, I appeal to you to educate yourself and your family on the warning signs of domestic abuse, as well as the cultic mindset of an abusive man. Afterwards, I pray you will prayerfully consider getting involved in the battle against domestic abuse in the church.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord led me to write “The Waitress, the Man, and the Rose”. If you haven’t done so, I ask you to prayerfully consider placing it on your website and blog. Your doing so will help inform and educate your readers to a serious problem within the church, and will serve to encourage abused women to seek help and assistance.

 

Finally, Hits never hurt until they hit home! The emotional pain of knowing that a close friend or daughter is in harm’s way is excruciating. Those who have experienced it know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t, I pray that God will spare you and your family that pain.

 

I have pledged to do my part and stand in the gap for abused women. What about you?

 

In Christian love,

Bud Press, Director

Christian Research Service

http://www.christianresearchservice.com

http://christianresearchservice.blogspot.com

June 23, 2009

The following is enlarged from the Way of Life Advanced Bible Studies Course UNDERSTANDING BIBLE PROPHECY – By David Cloud

 

The word “rapture” does not appear in the Bible, but it is a term used to describe the catching away of the saints of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The term “caught up” in 1 Th. 4:17 is also translated “pluck” (Jn. 10:28), “take by force” (Acts 23:10), and “pulling [out of the fire]” (Jude 23). It refers to a forceful seizing and a snatching away. It is used of the Spirit of God snatching away Philip after the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:39). This is exactly what Christ will do to the New Testament believers before the onslaught of the Great Tribulation.

Notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

1. The Rapture is (1) a resurrection of the dead in Christ (v. 14-16), (2) a catching up and translation of the living New Testament saints (v. 17).

2. The dead in Christ are with Him in heaven (v. 14).

3. The Rapture is the believer’s hope (v. 13). It is what we are looking forward to.

4. The Rapture is certain. (a) It is as sure as Christ’s resurrection (v. 14). (b) It is the word of the Lord (v. 15).

5. The Rapture is a comfort (v. 18). If this translation did not occur until the end of the torments of the Great Tribulation, it certainly would not produce solace for the Christian standing on this side of the Tribulation.

6. The Rapture is before the day of the Lord’s wrath (5:1-5, 9).

This event is also described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

1. The Rapture is a mystery that was not revealed in the Old Testament (v. 51). The Old Testament prophets taught about the resurrection, but they did not teach that some would be caught up without dying. The translation of the New Testament saints will involve an instantaneous change from morality to immortality. Those believers living at that hour will never see death.

2. The translation of the church-age saints is said to be a source of comfort and encouragement (1 Co. 15:58). Again, if this translation did not occur until the end of the torments of the Great Tribulation, it would not be a comfort.

Among those who believe in a literal Rapture of church-age saints, there are three general positions. All of these pertain to the timing of the Rapture in relation to the Great Tribulation. The three views are (1) Pre-tribulational, meaning the church-age saints will be raptured before the Great Tribulation. (2) Mid-tribulational (also called Pre-wrath Rapture), meaning the church-age saints will go through the first half of the Tribulation. (3) Post-tribulational, meaning the church-age saints will go through the entire Tribulation period.

THE EVIDENCE FOR THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

For the following reasons we are convinced the Bible teaches a Pre-tribulational Rapture. In the following study, we are using the term “church” in a general, institutional sense:

1. CHURCH-AGE BELIEVERS ARE PROMISED SALVATION FROM WRATH (1 Th. 1:9-10; 5:1-9; Rom. 5:9; Rev. 3:10).

The Great Tribulation is expressly called the day of God’s wrath. Today the Lord is withholding His anger; He is seated upon a throne of grace, but the day approaches when He will take the seat of judgment. Then “the day of his wrath” will be upon all the world (Ps. 110:5; Isa. 13:6-13; Rev. 6:16-17). It is true that in every century, Bible-believing churches have been subjected to persecution, but this is quite different from the Great Tribulation. The general persecutions of the saints are caused by the wrath of wicked men and the devil, whereas the seven-year Tribulation is a period especially pertaining to God’s wrath (Rev. 6:16-17; 14:10). Some feel that the church will not be saved out of the time of wrath, but will be saved through it. This cannot be true, since the Bible clearly reveals that those who are on earth during the Great Tribulation will not be delivered from wrath but will be overcome (Rev. 13:7). The Scriptures that promise church-age believers deliverance from wrath must refer to salvation out from the very presence of the wrath. Concerning the Great Tribulation, we are told that “as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Lk. 21:35). Therefore, church-age believers must either be physically removed from the earth, or they will be involved in the day of wrath. God promises removal. “… I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10). This verse does not say that God will keep the church age saints through the temptation but from it.

2. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TO BE REMOVED BEFORE THE TRIBULATION (2 Th. 2:1-8).

In other passages of the Bible, the Holy Spirit is said to be the restrainer of sin (Ge. 6:3; Is. 59:19). The Holy Spirit came into the world in His present dispensation at Pentecost (Acts 2), when He came to empower the church for the Great Commission (Acts 1:8). He will remove the church-age believers before the time of God’s great wrath. This does not mean the Holy Spirit will not be present in the world at that time. He is God and is omnipresent. It means that He will not be present in the same sense that He is in this age.

3. CHURCH-AGE BELIEVERS ARE PROMISED MANSIONS IN HEAVEN (Jn. 14:1-3).

When the Lord Jesus returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, He sets up His Messianic kingdom. If the Rapture occurred at the end of the Tribulation, the promise to church-age believers pertaining to Heaven would not be fulfilled. Church-age believers are a heavenly people with a heavenly hope (Eph. 1; Ph. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3). Some dispensationalists teach that the church-age saints will live in heaven during the millennium. I believe they will live both in heaven and in earth. Jesus promised the apostles that they would reign with Him over Israel (Matt. 19:28).

4. THE TRANSLATION OF CHURCH-AGE SAINTS IS SAID TO BE IMMINENT (it could happen any time) whereas the Second Coming is said to be preceded by specific signs.

Christ taught this (Matthew 24:42, 44; 25:13; Mark 13:33). Paul taught it (Phil. 4:5; Titus 2:12-13). James taught it (Jam. 5:8-9). And Peter taught it (1 Pet. 4:7). The early Christians were living in expectation of Christ’s return (1 Th. 1:9-10). The apostle Paul instructed the church at Thessalonica that they did not need to heed signs and times, because the New Testament believer has been promised redemption from the “day of darkness” that shall overcome the whole world (1 Th. 5:1-9). The church is not waiting for the appearing of the Antichrist, but for the redemption of the Son of God.

5. THE CHURCH IS A MYSTERY UNREVEALED IN THE Old TESTAMENT (Eph. 3:1-11).

The New Testament church has no part in the chronology of events foretold by the Old Testament prophets. They clearly foretold the first coming of Christ, His miraculous birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The same prophets described Christ’s Second Coming in glory, preceded by a time of unprecedented worldwide tribulation, and followed by the establishment of the glorious Messianic kingdom centered in Jerusalem. But these prophets did not see the present church age–“which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:5).

Between the first and second coming, there is a time gap that was not seen by the Old Testament prophets. This gap is the church age. The prophets did not see that Israel would be set aside temporarily while God called out from among all nations a special body of people. After He has accomplished this purpose and the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, God will restart Israel’s prophetic clock and will fulfill all Old Testament prophecies in relation to His ancient chosen nation. “… blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).

The Great Tribulation deals with Israel, not with church-age believers. This present mystery period will end with the removal of the church-age believers from the earth; and the Lord will then take up His plan for the nation Israel as He fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the time of Jacob’s trouble, the coming of Messiah in glory, the regathering of the remnant, and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom.

6. THERE ARE EVENTS INTERVENING BETWEEN THE TRANSLATION AND RESURRECTION OF THE CHURCH AND THE SECOND ADVENT.

According to 1 Cor. 15:51, EVERY saved person will be translated at the Rapture. Yet Mat. 25:31-46 shows that when Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Advent He will find many true believers in their natural bodies. There must, then, be a period of time between the Rapture of the church-age saints and the Second Coming to allow for these folk to be saved. It is reasonable to believe that this period is the seven years of the Great Tribulation.

7. THE BOOK OF REVELATION SHOWS THAT THE CHURCH IS NOT ON EARTH DURING THE TRIBULATION.

(a) The church is not seen on earth in chapters 4-18.

(b) The witness for God in the earth during the Tribulation is Israel, not the church (Rev. 7).

(c) The prayers of the saints in Revelation 8 are prayers for judgment. Only Israel prayed such prayers. The church-age saints are instructed to pray for her enemies, not against them (Lk. 9:51-56). These prayers of Revelation are those of the Psalms and are based on God’s promise to Abraham to curse those that cursed Israel (Gen. 12:1-3).

(d) The scorpion-like creatures of Revelation 9 are given freedom to hurt all earth-dwellers except those Jews who were sealed by the angel of Revelation 7; if church-age believers were on earth, they would be subject to this horrible judgment of God.

(e) Revelation 10 identifies the events of Revelation 4-18 with those foretold by Old Testament prophets–the days of the Great Tribulation, the “day of the Lord.” The church age was never in the view of these Old Testament prophecies; it was an unrevealed mystery. The church has a different purpose and program than national Israel. It is Israel that is in view in Old Testament prophecy and in Revelation 4-18.

(f) The ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 identifies them with national Israel and with Old Testament prophecies of the “day of the Lord.” The two witnesses minister from Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. The churches have no such capital, her hope being heavenly, not earthly (Col. 3:1-4; Phil. 3:17-21). The two witnesses are clothed in sackcloth, typical of Old Testament Israel, not New Testament believers. Nowhere are the churches seen in sackcloth. They are told, rather, to “rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). The church-age believer’s judgment is forever past, and he is to keep his mind centered in the heavenlies where, in position, he is seated eternally victorious with Christ (Eph. 2:5-10). Revelation 11:4 identifies the two witnesses with Old Testament prophecy. Zech. 4:3, 11, 14 is a prophecy of Israel, not the church. Further, the two witnesses call down judgment upon their enemies in Rev. 10:5-6. Jesus rebuked his disciples for desiring to do just this and instructed the church-age believer to pray for the well-being of his enemies, not for their destruction (Lk. 9:54-56; Rom. 12:14, 17-21).

(g) The devil persecutes Israel, not the church, during the Tribulation (Rev. 12). There can be no doubt that the woman in this chapter is identified as national Israel. Verse 5 shows the woman bringing forth Christ; it is obvious that Jesus was brought forth by Israel, not by the churches (Isa. 9:6-7; Rom. 9:5). Also, the symbols of Rev. 12:1-2 recall familiar Old Testament typology of Israel. She is referred to as a woman (Isa. 54:5-7). The sun and moon and the 12 stars of verse 2 remind us of Joseph’s dream regarding Israel (Gen. 37:9). The words of Rev. 12:2 are almost an exact quote from Micah 5:3, again referencing Israel’s delivery of the Messiah. These symbols are not used in the New Testament of the churches.

THE ATTACK ON THE PRE-TRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE

The doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture is under severe attack today. Consider some examples from the emerging church:

Brian McLaren mocks the “fundamentalist expectations” of a literal second coming of Christ with its attendant judgments on the world and assumes that the world will go on like it is for hundreds of thousands of years (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 305). He calls the literal, imminent return of Christ “pop-Evangelical eschatology” (Generous Orthodoxy, p. 267) and the “eschatology of abandonment” (interview with Planet Preterist, Jan. 30, 2005, http://planetpreterist.com/news-2774.html). McLaren says that the book of Revelation is not a “book about the distant future” but is “a way of talking about the challenges of the immediate present” (The Secret Message of Jesus, 2007, p. 176). He says that phrases such as “the moon will turn to blood” “are no more to be taken literally than phrases we might read in the paper today” (The Secret Message, p. 178).

Jonny Baker of Grace in London, England, rejects dispensationalism as “escapology theology” and “advocates that Christians need to invest themselves in the current culture, not live on hold until time runs out” (Emerging Churches, pp. 78, 79).

Tony Jones says that the emergent church, in contrast to the dispensational viewpoint, is characterized by “an eschatology of hope” (An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, p. 130). He says: “What I mean is that the folks who hang around the emerging church tend to see goodness and light in God’s future, not darkness and gnashing of teeth. While that may seem obvious to some followers of God, pop theology today is facing the other way. … Those novelists and the theologians who provide them their material take the view that we’re in a downward spiral, and when things ‘down here’ become bad enough, Jesus will return in glory. But those of us represented in this book take the contrary view. God’s promised future is good, and it awaits us, beckoning us forward” (p. 130).

N.T. Wright, who has a great influence on the emerging church, warns that the doctrine of an imminent rapture is dangerous because it interferes with kingdom building and environmental activities. “If there’s going to be an Armageddon, and we’ll all be in heaven already or raptured up just in time, it really doesn’t matter if you have acid rain or greenhouse gases prior to that. Or, for that matter, whether you bombed civilians in Iraq. All that really matters is saving souls for that disembodied heaven” (“Christians Wrong about Heaven, Says Bishop,” Time, Feb. 7, 2008).

Tony Campolo says: “I mean all of this stuff [about the imminent coming of Christ and a literal Tribulation] comes out of not only fundamentalism. It comes out of dispensationalism, which is a weird little form of fundamentalism that started like a hundred fifty years ago. … I think that we need to challenge the government to do the work of the Kingdom of God, to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. That whole sense of the rapture, which may occur at any moment, is used as a device to oppose engagement with the principalities, the powers, the political and economic structures of our age” (“Opposition to women preachers evidence of demonic influence,” Baptist Press, June 27, 2003).

Mark Driscoll refers to the pre-tribulational rapture as “pessimistic dispensationalism” (Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, p. 146). He has said that “eschatology-minded Christians” are not welcome in his church.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PRE-TRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE

The doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture is not a peripheral one. As we have seen, Christ, Paul, James, and Peter taught that the return of Christ was imminent and was to be expected at any time (Mat. 24:44; Phil. 4:5; Jam. 5:8-9; 1 Pet. 4:7). The early Christians lived in expectation of Christ’s return the literal fulfillment of the prophecies. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

The doctrine of a pre-tribulational Rapture is a great motivator for purifying one’s personal Christian life.

1. It encourages the believer in trials and persecutions. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).

2. It keeps the church’s focus on the Great Commission (Mat. 28:18-20; Mk 16:15; Lk. 24:44-48; Acts 1:8). It teaches us that preaching the gospel, winning people to Christ, and establishing churches as the pillar and ground of the truth is the most urgent matter. D.L. Moody had it right when he said: “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said to me, ‘Moody, save all you can.’”

3. It motivates us to be busy in the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 15:58).

4. It motivates us to live obedient lives (1 Jn. 3:1-3; 1 Th. 5:4-7).

5. It motivates us to separate from evil (Tit. 2:13-14).

6. It keeps believers on the outlook for heresy and apostasy (2 Timothy 4:3-4; 1 John 2:24-28).

I have often wondered how one gets to a mindset that entertains God as a female. Anyone who knows scripture and reads the Bible on a consistant basis knows that God is called the “Father”. No other possibility exists.

So where do the heresies come from?

The explosion of mysticism in our society is key and it is not confined to the general public. It is rampant in the church.

Take for instance Neal Donald Walsch. He claims to converse with God. The truth…he is deceived and deceiving others. His “god”, speaks of a new age gospel which is truly distorted from God’s word. There is no truth in him and his enlightened revelations. His experiences trump the truths found in the Bible, so he says.

As Walsch meditates, here is a product of what he has “received” taken from “Conversations with God.”

“If you think God looks only one way or sounds only one way or is only one way, you’re going to look right past Me night and day. You’ll spend your whole life looking for God and not finding Her.”

The problem with the statement is vast. To know God you have to study His word. He is the only way.

No one can find reconciliation with God and salvation from sin except through union with Jesus Christ.

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There is no place in scripture that refers to God in the female sense. Heresies are often traced back through man’s secret revelations obtained by occult mystical spirit guides that are quickly emerging.

So on to the article for today from David Cloud.

THE EMERGING CHURCH’S FEMALE GOD (Friday Church News Notes, June 12, 2009, http://www.wayoflife.org

– Phyllis Tickle, an Episcopalian lay “Eucharistic minister and lector” and a Senior Fellow at Cathedral College at the liberal Washington National Cathedral, is an influential voice in the emerging church and the contemplative prayer movement. Tickle promotes non-verbal contemplative praying. She says, “The whole business of entering prayer WITHOUT THE VEHICLE OF WORDS is very important, for it allows the spirit to flow freely with the spirit of God, and does not have to articulate what is happening until one comes out from prayer” (“Praying in Color: A Conversation with friends and authors Sybil MacBeth and Phyllis Tickle,”

 Wordless meditation is not biblical prayer; it is a pagan practice that is a recipe for demonic deception. Those who practice it are invariably led into heresies. It should not be surprising, then, that Tickle believes in a female God and calls the Holy Spirit “he or she or it.” She teaches that by partaking of the Lord’s Supper the believer is feeding God and reinvigorating the Holy Spirit, whatever that means.

Speaking at Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she said: “God is both male and female. God is both father and mother. … There is more than one thing under the name of God, and it is both male and female. … As we are about to do that [take the Lord’s supper], let us remember what we are doing. We not only celebrate that death and that promise of return, but we are feeding by eating God–which is what we are doing here–by eating the body and blood of our God, we are feeding the God within us. For as we take those elements the Spirit also feeds within us and is reinvigorated as he or she or it is by our faith” (Tickle, “A Treasure We Don’t Understand,” May 3, 2009).

Phyllis Tickle, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and that crowd are worshipping idols. The Shack, a popular book in emerging circles, also depicts God as a woman.

 

 It is easy to find what is wrong with the church today, because there is aplenty. It is not too difficult to point out error and false doctrine with scripture. But the Lord has been speaking to my heart. “Feed my Sheep”.  

When I protested the showing of a Hindu movie in our church called “Water”, I was told that “knowledge is power and that we have our faith, and they have their faith.”  How sad is that..?

Here are some verses on knowledge…

Col 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

2Pe 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

As the world is pummeled with the phrases “common ground”  and “tolerance”  in reference to the world’s religions, the need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes even more evident. It has been shocking to discover that many professing Christians do not believe that belief and faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved.  I recently quoted John 14:6 to a church-goer only to hear back, “Well… I don’t know whether I believe that.”  Stunned, I asked, “You don’t believe the Bible?”

This lack of biblical knowledge in our churches is a major cause of the absence of discernment of the times that we live in.

Here are a couple of excerpts that struck close to my heart and soul.

From Jack Kelley

http://gracethrufaith.com/ikvot-hamashiach/seven-major-prophetic-signs-of-the-second-coming/

THIS GOSPEL WILL BE PREACHED IN ALL NATIONS … Looking at the state of the world, it’s hard to be encouraged. But as world news gets worse and worse, more people are turning to the Lord for solace. According to some reports as many as 175,000 new believers are born again every day, mostly in Africa, China, and India. Reports of these conversions are accompanied by accounts of miracles, people receiving supernatural healings and even being raised from the dead. Just as He did at the beginning of the church Age the Holy Spirit is moving mightily at its End. I believe the Lord is issuing a giant “last call” before He suddenly takes the church out of here to begin the End Times judgments.

And this from Jan Markell

http://www.olivetreeviews.org/wordpress/2009/06/has-god-abandoned-america/#more-5330

Thankfully some Christian leaders and pastors are speaking up and risking all, but for the most part, the church is asleep. A nation is only as strong as her churches. A passage was given to Israel that can be applied to our day reads, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, then turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14). The verse is not directed at the devil’s crowd! The responsibility for turning the direction of a country is up to the church. Again, while many state this verse is only for the nation of Israel, other world powers, including the U.S., can still learn from it and heed the warning and exhortation.

Unfortunately many churches today don’t want to preach about judgment. They are spiritually anesthetized. They have not been taught to fear the Lord but rather, that God is all about love because that makes people come to church. Many pastors and ministry leaders would never put a big part of the blame on America’s demise onto the church! They’re into church-growth and don’t make waves or people won’t return next week. Praise needs to be extended to pastors and church leaders who are holding to truth, who are telling the truth, and who are warning of serious judgment to come.

We have reached a point where we can only pray that God would have mercy in His judgment on America and that He would send out a pouring of His Spirit to help beat back the rampant evil of our times. And just perhaps right now our only focus should be on evangelism before the Ark door shuts once again. Maybe it is too late for petitions and pleading with Congress to do things right. Maybe our focus should be eternal, not earthly. But once an individual or a nation give up, the slide can be at rapid-pace and no one wants to see that. Thus I would exhort you to press on and speak up for righteousness, for Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

                           phoenix

 

Occult “Eagle Spirituality” Manifests in Popular “Prophetic” Ministries

source: The Berean Call

http://www.thebereancall.org/node/2682/print

As demonstrated by native American culture and indigenous people groups worldwide, animal worship has long been a means of contacting and interacting with deceiving spirits. Equally pleased to appear in human or animal form, they often take willing participants on exciting out-of-body experiences or communicate “secret knowledge.”

Modern shamans (who are as apt to wear suits as loin cloths) market seminars where everyday people can “encounter” their personal “power animal.” In public schools, children are encouraged to use their “imagination” and “dreams” for astral travel. Occult relaxation and visualization techniques are reinforced by literature such as the Harry Potter books and Scholastic’s “Animorphs” series, in which hero-children transform into creatures with special powers and abilities.

Fictionalized in popular games and movies, these techniques are based on ancient occult practices that, once widely banned, now flourish virtually unchecked. According to answers.com, “a familiar spirit…obeys a witch, conjurer, or other users of the supernatural, and serves and helps that person….If they look like ordinary animals, they can be used to spy….These spirits [also]…inspire artists and writers.”

Many new age writers and occult practitioners have been assisted or encouraged by animals they perceive as “familiars.” As Patrick Ryan, author of The Eagle’s Call: A Journey of Body, Mind, and Spirit recounts,

When I was writing this book…an eagle often circled the building in which I lived, visiting many times….When I was…doubting my direction, a coyote also came to visit….Across the street, it looked toward me as if encouraging me on….So, led by the spirit of coyote, eagle and the many other guides of the universe, I was able to complete this tale. Its primary message is about following the call of my body, mind and spirit.

Romans 1:18-32 gives a clear account of man’s “call of his body and mind”-a rejection of God in favor of nature worship: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Rom 1:22-23).

Perhaps in part due to the reverence of “animal spirits” by ancient pagan cultures, animals continue to play a significant symbolic role in our world today. School and professional sports teams adopt animal names such as the panthers, tigers, lions, bears, wolves, or eagles-based on popular significance of animal traits. Consumers even purchase “animal” car models and athletic shoes marketed for their perceived attributes of speed and power.

So, what’s the fuss? Is animal symbology inherently evil? No, even Scripture makes generous use of animals as symbols-from love poems in The Song of Songs to comforting analogies of the Lord: “hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Ps 17:8b) et al.

Take the eagle, for example. Revered as a national symbol by various countries, Scripture makes several positive references to the eagle. One of the most popular verses cited for encouragement is “they shall mount up with wings like eagles…” (Is 40:31). Many are comforted by the eagle as a symbol of patriotism and American heritage (which is often equated with Christianity). Fewer though, take note of passages that portray the eagle in a negative light, or realize that the eagle doubles as a Masonic symbol of the phoenix, representing “rebirth through fire” in occult mythology.

In addition to its being an “unclean” animal, Scripture also contains a number of negative references to the eagle (“They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey” (Job 9:26). Obadiah even contains a reference to Edom as an eagle, apparently as a type of Lucifer: “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord” (Ob 1:3-4).

So why do the neo-prophets and apostles of today use the eagle as a symbol of choice? Many “prophetic” ministries associate eagles with tremendous natural vision and observable qualities of “rising above;” but like shamans and seers-ancient and modern-they err in assigning to eagles spiritual qualities. An occult website declares the eagle’s role is that of an “illuminating force” that rises on the east wind, whose gift is that of “seeing hidden spiritual truths” and “whose strength is by its connection to spirit guides.” The website advises: “One who flies with the Eagle has a responsibility…to operate from Higher Intent, to develop the latent abilities of Illumination, and then freely share this Illumination with Others.” In other words, a seer who channels the eagle is to “impart” this knowledge and “gifting” to others.

A number of prominent ministries use the eagle as a corporate symbol, and most of these do so quite innocently. But research into the testimony of a young prophetess associated with C. Peter Wagner’s self-titled New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) raises great concern. (The NAR, a blended resurrection of several modern heresies-kingom-dominionism, manifest sons of God, new breed, et al.-is spreading like wildfire through a growing number of charismatic and evangelical churches.) Here is just one example of cause for alarm:

Sharnael Wolverton…was called to the ministry at an early age….During [an]

incredible period of seeking intimacy with [God] she encountered many dreams,

visions, visitations and divine appointments leading to the birthing of Swiftfire Ministries….One divine appointment…was with Bob Jones, who introduced her to a golden eagle named “Swift.” “Swift is sent forth to those in order to carry the purposes of God swiftly.” Another encounter was with Patricia King of Extreme Prophetic, who had also been introduced to Swift.

This admission by a professing Christian “minister” is nothing short of astounding! Aside from this startling testimony, most followers of these seers (and even skeptics) would not think twice about the recurring “eagle” motif on the websites of Sharnael Wolverton (swiftfire.org), Bob Jones (bobjones.org/itinerary), and Patricia King (extremeprophetic.com). But with the knowledge that Bob Jones (a proven false prophet who was removed from ministry in 1991 for sexual misconduct) “introduced” at least two prominent neo-apostolic women to a demonic entity that manifests as an eagle (whom all three know as Swift) the “birds of a feather” mascots they share take on far greater significance.

Other “apostolic-prophetic” leaders who often teach with or promote Bob Jones also use the symbol of an eagle in their ministry logo: Paul Keith Davis, Rick Joyner, Bobby Conner, Cindy Jacobs, and others. Does this mean they also have the spirit of Swift to help them “carry out the purposes of God?” Not necessarily-but the connection between “eagle spirits,” shamans, and today’s neo-prophetic seers is unmistakable. This is the New Spirituality.

Though his mystical teaching remains unchanged, none of Jones’ co-ministers or spiritual offspring seem to mind that his misconduct involved giving private “hands-on” readings to young women-disrobed to “stand naked before the Lord”-or that he was rebuked for other occultish practices. Ironically, he is revered as a spiritual grandfather among today’s rising stars of the Third Wave (neo-apostolic) movement, promoted largely by the much-hyped pseudo-prophetic website, “The Elijah List.”

But, Jones is in good company. Many of his disciples, as well as the “apostles” and “prophets” who endorse or teach with him, claim to have met and talked with angels, with the Lord, and with saints of the past (the forbidden practice of necromancy); and, they all take great pride in teaching others how to have angelic encounters and “third heaven visions.”

Undoubtedly believing they are working divine signs and wonders, could they instead be “deceived and deceiving others” (2 Tim 3:13)? As God’s word declares, “There shall not be found among you any one…that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord” (Deut 18:10-11).

-Mark Dinsmore

June 2009
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