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REPOSTING THIS IMPORTANT ARTICLE….

from Lighthouse Trails Research in light of the scandal of  Tom White. Thank you to

http://spiritualabusesanctuary.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/tom-white-suicide-vom-child-molestation-scandal-update/  for the additional information.

Concern Expressed Over Voice of the Martyrs Article on Mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon

FOLLOW UP NOTE 11/19/10: ON NOVEMBER 19TH, PERSONNEL FROM VOICE OF THE MARTYRS CONTACTED US BY E-MAIL AND ASKED US TO GIVE THE FOLLOWING LINK TO OUR READERS FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT THEM REGARDING THIS ISSUE. http://www.persecution.com/public/contact.aspx?clickfrom=bWFpbl9tZW51 This person who contacted us told us that Tom White is the one responsible for the Guyon article.

In the November 2010 Voice of the Martyrs magazine, there is a feature “Christian Martyrs” article on 17th century mystic, Madame Jeanne Guyon. Lighthouse Trails contacted Voice of the Martyrs last week to discuss their article and to remind them that they had brought some attention to themselves in 2009 when they promoted emerging futurist Erwin McManus’ book, The Barbarian Way, and Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase. Lighthouse Trails did not write an article over those incidents but contacted them and offered to send them free copies of A Time of Departing and Faith Undone. We sent the two books but never heard back as to whether VOM president Tom White or other VOM officials read the books.

Needless to say, when some of their supporters contacted Lighthouse Trails last week troubled over the Guyon article, we were concerned too. Voice of the Martyrs has done a long-standing important work of defending and helping persecuted Christians throughout the world. The ministry is the inspiration of founder, the late Richard Wurmbrand who suffered persecution and imprisonment under communist rule.

The article in the VOM November magazine, titled “Madame Jeanne Guyon – June 9, 1717,” states:

Throughout her years of ministry, she continued to seek a deeper union with God, to the point that she felt God spoke and acted through her. Madame Guyon practiced a philosophy called “Quietism,” which teaches that spiritual perfection can be attained when self is lost in the contemplation of God.”

It is taught by contemplatives that if one practices the contemplative [spiritual] “disciplines,” he or she can become more Christ-like. As Richard Foster and other contemplatives teach, anyone of any religion or belief can connect with God through contemplative prayer (it has nothing to do with a relationship with Jesus Christ).

Quietism is described by one source as “a Christian philosophy that swept through France, Italy and Spain during the 17th century, but it had much earlier origins. The mystics known as Quietists insist, with more or less emphasis, on intellectual stillness and interior passivity as essential conditions of perfection. . . . Quietism has been compared to the Buddhist doctrine of Nirvana.”1

The Voice of the Martyrs article on Guyon says that Guyon was challenged by church (Catholic) authorities for her prayer beliefs. She was eventually sent to prison for seven years (no doubt the VOM writer considers her a true martyr for this). VOM continues:

In one of her short works, “A Short and Easy Method of Prayer,” Madame Guyon distinguishes between three kinds of prayer: the prayer of meditation; the prayer of simplicity, which consists of keeping oneself in a state of recollection and silence in the presence of God [LT: this is contemplative prayer]; and active contemplation, in which the soul leaves God to act and renounces all its own interests [LT: this is the altered state that contemplative prayer induces] .

As with most long-term contemplatives, Madame Guyon became panentheistic in her beliefs. She stated that: “Here [in the contemplative state] everything is God. God is everywhere and in all things” (Guyon,Willigis Jager, The Search for the Meaning of Life, 1995, p.125). The God of the Bible would not have someone say that God is in everything. This very mindset is what prompted contemplative Brennan Manning to quote Thomas Merton in his book, The Signature of Jesus:

During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: “We must tell them that they are already united with God.” Contemplative prayer is nothing other than coming into consciousness of what is already there. (The Signature of Jesus, pp. 211, 218 , as cited in A Time of Departing)

As Merton and Guyon did, those practicing contemplative prayer ultimately come to believe that God is in all people and in all things. This is the “fruit” of contemplative prayer. The reason for this is that in that altered state of silence (the same as the Hinduistic Transcendental state) are demonic influences. It’s as simple as that.

Guyon embraced a prayer method in which one is to enter a state of non-thinking during prayer. Brennan Manning backs this up by saying, “[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer” (The Signature of Jesus, p. 212). Guyon explained it thus:

May I hasten to say that the kind of prayer I am speaking of is not a prayer that comes from your mind. It is a prayer that begins in the heart…. Prayer that comes out of the heart is not interrupted by thinking!—(Guyon, Experiencing The Depths of Jesus Christ, p. 4)

All that is of your doing, all that comes from your life-even your most exalted prayer-must first be destroyed before union can come about. All the prayers that proceed from your mind are merely preparations for bringing you to a passive state; any and all active contemplation on your part is also just preparation for bringing you to a passive state. They are preparations. They are not the end. They are a way to the end. The end is union with God! —(Guyon – Experiencing Union with God Through Inner Prayer)

Ask any Hindu or Buddhist or New Ager, turning off the mind is the goal in meditation so that an altered state of consciousness can be reached. As Ray Yungen puts it, it is like putting the mind in neutral, this stilling of the mind. This is not what the Bible means when it says “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 — the classic Scripture used by contemplative teachers). This instruction meant to stop worrying, settle down, and trust the Lord. There is absolutely no indication anywhere in that or any other Scripture that we are to go into a meditative state in order to hear God or to “really know Him,” as many contemplatives say.

It is a known fact that Madame Guyon is known also for her “automatic writing.” Mystic Evelyn Underhill ”refers to Guyon as a ‘medium’ exhibiting clairvoyance, prophecy, telepathy, and automatic writing in bewildering profusion” (“The Mindless Mysticism,” Fisher). Underhill said:

When she [Guyon] was composing her works, she would experience a sudden and irresistible inclination to take up her pen; though feeling wholly incapable of literary composition, and not even knowing the subject on which she would be impelled to write. If she resisted the impulse, it was at the cost of the most intense discomfort. She would then begin to write with extraordinary swiftness. “In writing I saw that I was writing of things which I had never seen: and during the time of this manifestation, I was given light to perceive that I had in me treasures of knowledge and understanding which I did not know that I possessed.” (Underhill, Mysticism)

One writer explains:

As she fasted to the extreme and often went without sleep, her mystical experiences increased. She experienced what she thought was union with the essence of God. She had mental delusions or demonic visitations such as envisioning “horrible faces in blueish light.” She went into trances, which would leave her unable to speak for days. During some trances, she wrote things that she believed were inspired (Guyon, An Autobiography, p. 321-324). This is automatic writing, and she was doubtless influenced by demons. (“The Delusion of Madame Guyon,” Cloud)

We hope that Voice of the Martyrs will reconsider their apparent promotion in contemplative/emerging authors. Otherwise, they may be leading people down that slippery slope of mystical deception, and that would be truly tragic. It is sadly ironic to realize that someone like Guyon, who was imprisoned largely because of her mystical activities and writings, would be put in the same category as true martyrs who have defended the biblical faith, and this being the cause of their affliction and martyrdom. Thus we have written this article with the past and present Christian martyrs in mind, hoping to help maintain the dignity and integrity which they so deserve.

Below are a couple letters we have received over the past year or so from Voice of the Martyrs supporters. We hope that VOM will read these and see that it isn’t just Lighthouse Trails saying this; others are concerned too.

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I have been a supporter of Voice of the Martyrs but recently was distressed to open my monthly newsletter and find Tom White supporting the book “The Barbarian Way.” [by Erwin McManus] The tone of his letter that month was disturbing, seeming to be mocking those who are looking forward to heaven, a common attitude today.

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

First of all I want to thank you for all the work you do. My reason for writing is my concern for Voice of the Martyrs magazine. I have enjoyed getting it in the mail for several years but in the February 2009 issue on page 2 there is an article by Tom White where he quotes Erwin McManus from his book The Barbarian Way. ( page 108-109) This greatly concerns me. I wondered if you would want to warn Mr. White about Mr. McManus. The email for the magazine is thevoice@vom-usa.org. Thank you.

The following is a letter written to VOM President Tom White, which was sent to us by the person who wrote it (who gave us permission to post it):

To Dr. Tom White :

As regular supporters of Voice of the Martyrs and Bibles Unbound, we were very shocked and disappointed to see in the front of the sample “Extreme Devotion” booklet we recently received in the mail from VOM, that on the copyright page, it states: “Scripture taken from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson…”.

It is our sincere prayer that Tom White and all of the staff at VOM will educate themselves immediately on the dangers of this so-called “translation” by Eugene Peterson.

“The Message” is a contemplative, mystical distortion of God’s Holy Word. On the surface it simply appears to be written in “lingo” that is easier to understand for today’s average American – however, dig deeper and you will realize that it “adds to and takes away” from God’s Holy Scriptures, which we are warned, specifically at the end of Revelation, not to do….

[W]e would like the assurance of VOM/persecution.com that the foreign language Bibles we are sending out [through Bibles Unbound] are NOT translations/interpretations of “The Message”/Eugene Peterson’s so-called “translation.”

The Chocolate Soldier or Heroism – The Lost Chord of Christianity

by C.T. Studd

“Heroism is the lost chord; the missing note of present-day Christianity!”

“Every true soldier is a hero! A SOLDIER WITHOUT HEROISM IS A CHOCOLATE SOLDIER! Who has not been stirred to scorn and mirth at the very thought of a Chocolate Soldier? In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their heart’s desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldier’s vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes him a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength, and vigour of a hero.

EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SOLDIER—of Christ—a hero “par excellence!” Braver than the bravest—scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger, and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends.

THE OTHERWISE CHRISTIAN IS A CHOCOLATE CHRISTIAN! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. “Sweeties” they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.”

The apostles were certainly not “Chocolate Christians,” and they definitely obeyed the Lord in boldly declaring the truth, regardless of the consequences.

“In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.” (Psalm 138:3).

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1).

“But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?” (John 7:26).

“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word…” (Acts 4:29).

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 14:13).

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [Spirit], and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46).

“Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness [boldness] of speech—” (2 Corinthians 3:12).

“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).

“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).

“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:19-21).

“For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:13).

The Root Cause is Lack of Biblical Separatism

The biblical principle of “separation” begins in chapter one of the Bible, and continues to Revelation 22, the end of the Bible. God utilizes separation in the creation account, with His people the Israelites, and with the Bride of Christ – the church. In various ways, God either implements separation Himself, or through His people. God commands it, and we are to obey Him!

“So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to harken [heed] than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

So too, in many places in Scripture, God commands separation from false and aberrant teachings and teachers and false prophets. Those who profess to follow Christ but are unwilling to separate from false teachers and false teachings are clearly in error. They themselves, no matter how popular they are, should also be exposed. Why? They are a threat to the body of Christ because they allow false teachers and false teachings to come into the church. Here are but three examples of God the Holy Spirit warning the church.

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (Romans 16:17-20).

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4).

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am [innocent] pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in[from outside the church] among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves[from within the church] shall men arise,speaking perverse things,to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:26-31).

On the Internet and in published literature, one can now find many articles that reveal just how far many modern day church leaders have gone in not separating from unbiblical teachings and aberrant and false teachers. There is simply no excuse for Calvary Chapel ecumenical compromises. This documentation (see section at end of this article) deals with the problems of interfaith dialogue, ecumenical compromise, Jerry Boykin’s close-knit associations with false prophet Rick Joyner and the ecumenical Knights Hospitallers, Calvary Chapel’s neglect of standing firm for sound doctrine and against Purpose Driven, contemplative spirituality, and much more.

Biblical preachers and church elders are supposed to prevent such things, not endorse, promote, and participate in them. It should long be remembered that those who refuse to make a public stand against false teachers, strange doctrines, and ecumenism, have already made a stand to allow it into the church.

The biblical standard is preaching, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with all long suffering and sound doctrine. The principles that Jesus and the Apostles and God’s prophets have always used have been warning and teaching and warning and teaching – not just teaching, teaching, teaching. Far too many in the church today simply teach and teach and teach, and either forget to warn altogether or purposely refuse to warn in order to remain popular and politically correct.

Neglecting to warn the church and protect God’s people from false teachers, antichrists and counterfeit watchmen who masquerade as popular Christian conference speakers is a horrible thing indeed. Sharing speaking platforms with such not only confuses masses of people, but it destroys godly reputations and repulses those who faithfully walk with the Lord. Calvary Chapel pastors and others who claim to teach the whole counsel of God are no exception to the rule. If they share speaking platforms with avowed Ecumenists, false teachers, New Age/New Spirituality sympathizers and the like, they will destroy their own reputations and drive the name of the fellowships where they serve straight into the ground. It is happening now on a very large scale, and the amount of people leaving the Calvary Chapel movement continues to grow.

At the beginning and the end of the day, God’s Word is clear – faithful men of God are to warn of error, and teach the truth. Anything less is not God’s will for the biblical preacher, teacher, evangelist and church elder. Those who want to confuse the body of Christ and blow the trumpet of confusion, should sincerely consider again what the Word of God instructs:

“I charge [command] thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:27-29).

It is one thing to stand firm in sound doctrine out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is altogether another to tolerate that which God hates. To the corrupt church at Thyatira God’s rebuke was clear about their sin was – toleration of evil and not making a stand against it. Sadly, the same can be said about many popular churches and personalities today.

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow…” (Revelation 2:18).

*****

The above article was taken from the source below.

Sharing Speaking Platforms – When Leaders Wrongly Share Speaking Platforms with Ecumenists and Aberrant and False Teachers.

How to Discern – Part 1

by Anton Bosch

How to Smell a Rat

A toddler will eat anything. It does not matter if it is nutritious or poison, it has no ability to discern between food and poison.

As Christians mature in the faith they should learn to discern between spiritual poison and spiritual food. “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). The problem is that the vast majority of modern-day “Christians” are either not born again or have been kept in a perpetual state of babyhood, and are thus unable to discern the difference between truth and error. Because of this, and because we have a new generation of church-goers who do not know the Bible, false teachers have multiplied, and millions believe anything these preachers say.

Discriminating between truth and error is really not that difficult as long as we abide by a few basic principles. The first of these is that truth is absolute. I use the term “absolute” as the opposite of “relative.” For most people – Christian and non-Christian – truth is relative. We hear:

“Truth is relative to one’s own experience, background, culture and environment.”

“What is true for one person may not be true for someone else.”

“What was true in Jesus’ day or a hundred years ago, is not necessarily true today.”

“What is true in the jungles of Africa is not true in the concrete jungles of America.”

But truth is absolute. It is unchanging and it is equally true in every time, culture, or environment. God’s truth does not change or have a different meaning in a different environment.

What is truth? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). The Truth is first a person – Jesus Christ. His Word is Truth. Jesus said: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17). Truth, the Person, never changes: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Truth, the Word, never changes. “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19).

The second principle is that the Bible is complete. Many people think that God continues to give new revelation through prophets, preachers and visions. But that is a lie from Hell to move people away from the foundation of the Word. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son….” Note that God has spoken. The Greek is very specific, this is past and complete. God does not continue to speak. Yes, we refer to “God speaking to us,” but what we actually mean is that God is reminding us of what He had already said in His Word. Jude 3 says: “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” This translation is accurate in that the faith was delivered once and for all (eternity). It is not continually being delivered.

Theologians speak of “progressive revelation.” Unfortunately some preachers do not understand what the term means and assume that it means that God is continually revealing more and more of Himself. No. He gave us the whole revelation in Jesus Christ which has been written down in the form of the New Testament, and that’s it. The next time we will get any more information is when we see Him face to face. We can be absolutely sure that there is no further revelation between the Revelation given to John and the revelation of Jesus at His return.

Anyone who claims to have additional information that is not contained in the 66 books is a charlatan and a heretic. In fact, the Bible several times pronounces a curse on any who add to, or subtract from God’s Word. (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, Matthew 15:6-13, Revelation 22:18). If a preacher is willing to subtract or change the smallest part of the Bible (a jot or tittle), then you need to be careful. If he will subtract in one area, he is capable of subtracting or adding in other areas. Once you undermine the smallest part of the Bible, then you may as well throw the whole thing out.

The third principle is that God does not change His mind. What God has said is forever established and will never be altered in any way. “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). (Settled means established, firm and unchanging.) “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good” (Numbers 23:19). So, to suggest that God has a different plan for people today to what He described in His Word, or that He changed His mind, or that He is making up His plans as He goes along makes God a liar and a man. He is neither. His plans were established from before the foundation of the earth. He knew all the twists and turns that man and history would take from the beginning. He does not adjust or tweak his purpose as time unfolds.

If we can accept that God has no other plan, purpose or will for us than which is revealed in the Bible, and that any deviation from it in deed, word or principle is heresy, we will easily be able to recognize most of the error that goes around.

Don’t be fooled when men tell you that only the educated can understand the Bible. We can all understand it. It does not matter how clever the argument is presented. If its conclusion is contrary to the plain teaching of the Bible, it is error. BUT there are a few simple rules that we must apply when we interpret the Scriptures. It is often these rules that are broken in order to arrive at a teaching which is erroneous. I know that not everybody knows these rules or how to apply them. But every believer who faithfully reads his Bible will know enough to smell a rat and to be on guard.

I believe that no one can get into error by simply believing and practicing the Bible. God gives us enough information for each stage of our growth to protect us. Eve did not know the whole counsel of God, but she knew that God had forbidden eating of the tree. But, she got into trouble when she listened to the Devil’s version of what God had said. If only she had stuck to the simple truth God had given her, she would have been safe.

Every believer can ask this easy question: “Show me where it says so in the Bible.” If the teacher cannot do so, or has to contort your mind or the Scriptures to get a square verse to fit into a round hole, then run for your life – he is dangerous.

God’s word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). It enlightens and leads us. It does not bring us into darkness, confuse or mislead us. Trust His Word and if man contradicts His word “let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

How to Discern – Part 2

How to Understand the Bible

Many people will agree that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. The problem however is often how it is interpreted. How can we be sure that our understanding is the right one?

In discerning truth from error, we must begin by understanding Truth for ourselves. Many people try to discover the Truth by analyzing and dissecting error. You simply cannot do that. It is like someone trying to drive a car by looking only in the rearview mirror while trying to move forward. You cannot see where you are going by looking where others have gone wrong. So before we try to judge error or someone else’s doctrine, we need to be sure about what we believe. I agree, that many are prompted by the rise of some error to study truth. But, if you want to learn the truth on some matter, you will only learn it by studying the Bible, not by studying the mistakes of others. So what must I do to understand?

First I must ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). The same Spirit Who inspired the men to write the Bible (2Timothy 3:16, 1Peter 1:21), is available to help us understand what is written. The Bible is not an academic book which can be studied in an intellectual way only. Yes, the Bible is logically sound and intellectually deep, but it is primarily a spiritual book in which God speaks to His people. And His Spirit will lead, guide and counsel us so we may come “into all truth” (John 16:13). Studying the Bible is both an academic and spiritual exercise. Read it in a “spiritual” way without applying sound reasoning and you will not discover the Truth. But study it as academic literature without the Spirit’s help and you will most certainly end in error. Pray David’s prayer: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18).

Second, the reader must be in a right relationship with the Lord. When we are disobedient, in habitual sin or rebellion, we will always read into the Bible what we want it to say. This is the most dangerous way of handling the Word of God. Countless errors have been “discovered” when the reader looked into the Bible for justification for his disobedience or sin. If the Lord has been convicting you about something, you must be obedient to Him first else your reading will always be distorted and you will not see clearly. David was able to say “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:100). Obedience leads to understanding, disobedience leads to error.

Third, we must be open and willing to change our views if they are proven to be wrong. When our prejudice or preconceived ideas overwhelm sound thinking, we will inevitably end with a distorted view of Scripture. We grossly underestimate the power of tradition and preconceived ideas to keep us from discovering the truth. Our traditions invariably are a filter through which we read and which colors the teaching of the Bible. Just think about the word “church.” Every person who reads has an established view of what that word means, even before they begin to read and so when one reads, he sees the Roman Church, or one of a thousand denominations. Others see a building of a particular shape while others see two or three believers agreed and in the name of Jesus. The same word – many different meanings – but only one can be right!

Paul says: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Corinthians 3:18). By “unveiled face” he was referring to the veil which Israel put over Moses’ face to filter the glory of God’s revelation and to deliver it in a form with which they were comfortable. But we must come to the Word without a veil or filter. We need to be willing to be open-faced in order to absorb the full impact of God’s revelation. The same revelation transformed Moses and blinded Israel. Come to the Word with an open face and it will transform you. Try to veil, limit or modify it and it will blind you (2Corinthinas 3:14).

Sometimes we actually need to suspend what we believe on a particular subject while we do an in-depth study of God’s Word on it. If we don’t do so, we may continue to build on bad foundations. I have found it invaluable, at different times in my life, to actively put all my experience, training and tradition on hold while I seek to understand some aspect afresh. Only the fool keeps going down the wrong road without checking from time-to-time if he is indeed on the right way. Even Paul felt the need to check (Galatians 2:2).

Fourth, we must turn to the Bible first. Many people will turn to their pastor, guru, commentary or Internet before going to the Bible. (Some will only go to these sources and never get to the Bible). If we go to any source outside the Bible first, it will invariably color and bias or thinking, more than it already is. In order to understand a particular subject, you need to enlist the aid of a concordance (preferably computerized) and search for every part of the Bible that speaks to that subject. Then you need to read those sections – not just the verses, but the entire passages. Note down the ones that make a specific point. Only once you have read the whole Bible (Old and New Testaments) on a particular subject, and have collated all the information, can you begin to come to some conclusions. Only after having searched the Scriptures, and have come to some conclusion, should you to turn to other sources. (More about that next week.)

“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1Peter 2:2). It is the pure milk that causes us to grow. If it is diluted with the words, thoughts and traditions of men, it is no longer pure. If it is sugar coated by the eloquence and stories of the preacher, it is also no longer pure. What I am writing here is not the pure milk of the Word – they are my ideas based on the Word. And while my thoughts may help some to understand a few things, it can never have the same effect as when you read, study and understand the Bible yourself.

Finally, we must study the Scriptures with a specific goal in mind. This goal is not to increase our knowledge, or to prove that someone else is wrong, or to justify your own actions. The only valid attitude is to allow God to speak to us through His Word. The reading and study of the Bible is first, foremost and primarily a personal issue. The Lord does not use the Bible to speak to others through us, unless, we have heard Him speak to ourselves first. We can only approach it with trembling hands and with the prayer of Samuel: “Speak, for Your servant hears” (1Samuel 3:10). Only if we truly want to hear and obey, will its truths begin to unfold.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8)

How to Discern – Part 3

Orthodoxy

The Roman church has for a long time believed that only the “clergy” may interpret the Bible. In fact, until recently, they did not even allow translations of the Bible into the common language of the people because they did not believe that ordinary people were equipped to read the Bible, let alone interpret it.

Since the Reformation, the Bible has been made available to ordinary people and now anyone in the free world is able to read, study and own Bibles. But the pendulum has swung to the other extreme so that today every Tom, Dick and Harry feels he has the right to interpret the Bible as he feels fit. This is an equal but opposite error to that of the Roman clerical system.

It is therefore important that we understand that while each of us has the privilege of reading the Bible for ourselves, no individual has the right to interpret the Scriptures as he wishes. We can all understand the Bible, and the Spirit will lead us into all Truth, but it is not up to us to formulate our own “new” doctrine. There is a body of truth that is not open for reinterpretation. We refer to this as “orthodox” teaching. “Orthodox” means “conforming to established and traditional doctrine”. (Not to be confused with Eastern Orthodox churches.)

Over the last 2,000 years of Christianity the church has endured countless errors, counter-errors, over-corrections, church councils, remarkably gifted teachers and heretics. Through all these processes the basic tenets of our faith have been established, tested and proven. We have the advantage of learning from 2,000 years of experience. Yet, many fools have risen in these days who feel they are wiser than all the great men who came before and have the right to attack or add to orthodox and established doctrine. Anyone who feels they have a “revelation” that goes against orthodox teaching needs to be very sure of his facts.

Is there Biblical proof for the statement that no individual has the right to interpret the Bible without reference to orthodox doctrine? Yes indeed.

Paul quoted a principle established in the Law that “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established” (2Corinthians 13:1). This principle applied to every area of Jewish life and is carried forward into the life of the church. Even Jesus applied this principle to Himself. Jesus Himself said: “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true” (John 5:31). He then named four witnesses who testify to His claims. These are John the Baptist, Jesus’ works, His Father, and the Scriptures (John 5:33-39). Thus Jesus honored the principle that no individual can make a claim that is not able to be substantiated by multiple witnesses.

There are two essential qualifications for witnesses. They must agree and they must be credible (Exodus 20:16). The Jewish council found two witnesses to testify against Jesus, but they were false witnesses. So whose testimony should we believe concerning Jesus? Should we believe the testimony of John, Jesus’ works, His Father and the Scriptures or that of two rogues from the back streets of Jerusalem? Most false teachers may be able to quote others who believe like they do, but who are those witnesses? Are they people who have a reputation for correct theology or are they just as confused as the one who finds support in their false teaching?

The great Apostle Paul received his revelation and doctrine directly from Jesus Christ Himself (Galatians 1:12). In spite of the magnitude of this revelation, Paul felt the need to check his doctrine with Peter (Galatians 1:18). Then fourteen years later he again went to Jerusalem to check that he was indeed preaching the truth: “And I went up… and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain” (Galatians 2:2). Notice that he checked with “those who were of reputation”.

When building a wall it is no use checking the wall with a spirit level that is not correct. The level may indicate that the wall is plumb when it is not. Too many Christians check their doctrine with the wrong people and the wrong standards. Any doctrine has to be confirmed by those who have a reputation for Truth and correct doctrine. Far too many preachers are like King Ahab. Ahab gathered a team of 400 prophets who would tell him what he wanted to hear but he rejected the one man who he knew spoke truth (1Kings 22). Thus every heretic has a list of names of those who believe like he does, but will not listen to those who hold to orthodox doctrine.

When pilots bring ships into the harbor at Durban in South Africa, the channel through which they must pass is very narrow and disaster waits a few feet on either side. So to navigate safely they watch three lights on the distant shore. When these three lights line up, the ship is on the right course. The problem is that the shore is littered with thousands of lights. Only a fool will choose any three that line up. If it is imperative that a ship’s pilot has to make sure that he gets the right three lights to line up, then it is even more incumbent on us to make sure our teaching lines up with the right reference points.

Paul told Timothy “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2Timothy 2:2). Notice how Paul reminds Timothy that there are witnesses to his teachings. Also, he does not instruct Timothy to formulate his own doctrine but to simply carry forward those truths that had already been established by Paul.

Jude says: “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Jude does not instruct us to establish or formulate doctrine but rather to contend for what was once for all delivered. Jude’s reference to “the faith” refers to a body of established truth and doctrine.

Job said: “inquire, please, of the former age, and consider the things discovered by their fathers; For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, Because our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you, and utter words from their heart?” (Job 12:8-9).

In this generation, our doctrine should be the purest, the most accurate and the most orthodox because we have the benefit of 2,000 years of church history. But instead of learning from the mistakes and discoveries of those who have gone before, this generation seems hell-bent to disregard the benefits of accumulated wisdom and rather to invent their own peculiar brands of heresy. These are indeed the people Jeremiah prophesied about when he cried: “Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, `We will not walk in it.” (Jeremiah 6:16).

How to Discern – Part 4

Check, Check and Check Again

This is a principle that holds true in most areas in life. Carpenters speak about measuring twice and cutting once. We teach our children that when they cross the street they must look left, look right and look left again. And when it comes to our faith we must be even more careful and check everything we hear.

1Thessalonians 5:21 says: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” In other words, not everything is good and can be trusted, so everything must be tested first. The noble-minded Bereans even subjected Paul’s teaching to scrutiny and they were commended for doing so (Acts 17:11).

We live in dangerous times and the world is filled with deceivers, false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing and heretics. Those who preach the Truth are a small minority while the false apostles wield massive budgets with which they dominate every form of media. No matter whether you listen to “Christian” radio, watch “Christian” television look at “Christian” websites or enter a “Christian” bookstore, the odds are stacked against the possibility that you will be exposed to truth. Yet every day thousands are deceived into believing anything that is sold under the banner of “Christian.”

It is thus imperative that we carefully check every word we hear or read. But how do we do that? Here are a few brief pointers:

First, listen to the voice of the Spirit: “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21). Let me make this very clear: You cannot judge a message or a man just based on that inner voice. But if you listen to the promptings of God’s Spirit, you will often feel uneasy about something which simply means that you need to stop and check. In the same way, a good feeling about someone or a teaching does not mean it is right – you must still check. Almost every week I get emails from people who question things because they “did not feel it was right.” In most cases they were correct. Error is presented so cleverly and so slickly that there are times that the problem will not be obvious. Yet an uncomfortable feeling about the message should lead to a check.

It is easy to overreact to the extremes of the mystical and touchy-feely religions and to reject anything that is not written in black and white. But Jesus promised that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). Paul writes “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). Listen to Him. He will often warn you of danger and alert you to the need to check further.

The second check is to ask the question: “Does this line up with Scripture.” Notice, the question is not whether the speaker / author quoted a verse. The question is “does it line up with the general teaching of the Bible.” It is easy to support error with isolated verses which are taken out of context.

Next ask the question: “Exactly what does the Bible teach on this matter”. You will be surprised how much you can learn by simply using a concordance. The fist time I heard that people were barking like dogs in churches, and that this was a “blessing from God,” I immediately looked at every verse that spoke about dogs and barking. That little study showed that every time dogs were referred to in the Bible they were symbolic of evil, demons and that which is defiled! So if the devil is presented as a dog in the Bible (Psalm 22:16,20), can the barking of a dog be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit?

The fourth question is whether the teaching is new or is representative of what the church has always believed? So when the televangelist says that God consists of nine parts, we should immediately recognize that as contradictory to the commonly held doctrine on the tri-unity of God. Some times new teachings aren’t quite as obvious as this, but the point is – they’re new.

Off course, this presupposes that you know the basic doctrines of the faith. That is just the problem. Most Christians do not know the fundamentals of the faith and “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). If you are not able to list and describe the fundamentals of the Christian faith, then you are in danger.

I am not asking you to be a theologian, just like you do not need to be a chemist to know that protein is food and arsenic is poison. You must know the basics else you will swallow the biggest lies and be deceived. When someone presents a teaching that contradicts the basic tenets of the faith you need to be very careful. Check again. Did you misunderstand him? Did he misspeak or does he really believe what you heard him say? We do not all agree on every detail of the faith but there are certain non-negotiable doctrines that are simply not up for discussion and you need to know what those are.

The fifth question is whether the message contains flaws in logic. Our faith is logical and rational and when preachers make irrational and unproven claims they must be challenged. There are many ways in which preachers and writers break simple rules of logic. Here is one example of a “technique” that is often used: If “A” equals “B” then “C” equals “D.” NO! The first part of the statement has nothing to do with the second. Don’t be fooled by a long list of things that are mentioned but that has nothing to do with the conclusion. Here is a real example. God made Abraham rich with material things; God made Isaac rich (materially); God made Jacob rich (materially); therefore God will make you rich with material things. Wrong. There is no direct link between the Patriarchs, material blessings and you – even though many like to say so.

The sixth question is whether there is evidence of dishonesty. Does the author deal with the material and evidence in an honest way or does he disregard all the verses that disproves his point and only quote those that support his idea? Does he blatantly change words or their meaning? Does he pick and choose translations to find one that will support his view? Or does he make obvious errors in fact. Remember, if he can lie to you in small things then he can lie to you in the major things – don’t trust him (Galatians 2:24). I just caught you. There is no Galatians 2:24! Yet you will be surprised how often writers and preachers will quote verses that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic. They do this since they know their audience is gullible and will not open the Bible to actually check.

Next week I will deal with questions you need to ask about the author / speaker. You must check both the message and the messenger. Sometimes good preachers can bring a flawed message. In that case you must reject the message but not the preacher. But sometimes a bad preacher can bring a good message. In this case both the message and the messenger must be rejected. The only way you will know the difference is to check, check and check again.

How to Discern – Part 5

Who’s Who?

It is important that we check every word we hear or read against the plumbline of the Bible. In addition, we need to check the source of the information as well. We must check two things: The message and the man.

Many times we will hear messages that sound spot-on, and may even be doctrinally correct, but the speaker is a deceiver. Remember, the Devil will present truth in order to get you on his hook. No Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness will knock on your door and begin the conversation by saying that they have come to present another Gospel and another Jesus. They all begin by affirming that they believe exactly what you believe. The problem is that by the time they get around to the lie it is often too late. Our only defense is not to listen to a single word from someone we have not checked out thoroughly first. Mormons and JWs are easy to recognize by their outward appearance. But how do we recognize someone who appears to be an evangelical, Bible believing preacher? Here are a few hints:

First, who is he and where does he come from? In other words who does he relate to and who has influenced his thinking? This can easily be established from his bio, personal history or curriculum vitae. Where did he train? Where does he fellowship? Who is he in relationship with? Who does he quote? Who quotes him? If he has a website, look at the other sites he provides links to. These questions will often reveal a lot about the messenger. Obviously, he may have had bad connections in the past and may have repented. If he has repented from former evil associations, has he publicly repudiated those links and doctrines and broken fellowship with them? If he has, his past should not be held against him; but, at the same time, some of those influences may continue to taint his thinking and one should be on the alert for signs thereof. “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1Corinthians 15:33) and a man can be known by the friends he keeps.

Second, and closely related to the first: What qualifies him to be a teacher? By this I don’t mean whether he is ordained or has papers, but what gives him the right to teach you anything? You need to ask questions about how long he has been a believer, how old he is, does he have a proven track record of serving the churches, or is he just a maverick who has set himself as a “prophet”? Is he in submission to others? Since the advent of the Internet and self-publishing any misfit who cannot work with others, and who has no desire to be a servant to the churches, can set himself up as a “ministry”. Does he exhibit skill and integrity in the way he handles the Word, or is he a workman who needs to be ashamed? (2Timothy 2:15). Does he faithfully teach and preach the Word, or is his message based on stories, testimonies and jokes? Finally, does he challenge as well as encourage, or does he only speak those things that will not offend the hearers? (2Timothy 4:2).

Probably the most important qualification is his life! How many times has he been married? Does he have a testimony of integrity, uprightness and holiness? How does he relate to money and material things? These are but a few of dozens of questions that need to be asked about the fruit of his life. Jesus said: “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). By their “fruit” Jesus did not mean the fruit of his ministry (how many converts, books etc) but the fruits of his life. What does his life produce? Do you really think that if he produces thistles at home he will produce grapes in your life? (2Timothy 3 and Titus 1 contain additional questions you may need to ask.)

Fourth, what does he believe? This gets a bit harder since he will very likely hide the real truth under language that appears to be sound. Sometimes error can be discerned by carefully scrutinizing his statement of faith. But mostly you will have to read and listen carefully. The internet may contain hints at what may be wrong, but don’t accept anything you find on the internet without thoroughly investigating that information and its source. Anyone can publish anything on the internet and many work very hard to discredit legitimate ministries through this means. But read carefully what is said about the individual and use that information as a cue what to look out for in his teaching. But allow me to emphasize: information from unknown sources on the internet can only serve as red flags; it cannot be trusted to approve or disqualify anyone. “Whoever… does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him (2John 1:9).

Fifth, we must ask the question; what do the witnesses say? In the third article in this series (Orthodoxy) we established that we need to look at the credibility of the witness as well as the testimony of the witness. Who approves of this man? If known false teachers give him a good testimonial, or he appears on the same platform as they, then you know he has to be a false teacher himself. Likewise, if those who are proven to be ministers of light condemn him, you better take note

This is why it is important that we surround ourselves with those whom we can trust to advise and counsel. Many “discernment type” ministries have an axe to grind, but there are a few that can be trusted to give a balanced assessment of a particular ministry. These people who have been gifted to be watchmen to the church can save us a lot of time and research. (Next week we will examine the qualifications of a good discernment type ministry.) Check their websites and blogs for warnings about specific ministries, speakers and authors. The Lord says about watchmen that: “whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head” (Ezekiel 33:4).

Sixth, what is his agenda? Sometimes a speaker or author can pass all the tests and still have the wrong agenda. It is therefore important to ask what it is that drives him. Is it money, ego or power? Does he bear a grudge or bitterness? Is he trying to prove that he is right and everyone else is wrong? Watch and listen carefully and his motive will shine through. If he is not driven by a love for the Lord, a love for God’s Word and a love for God’s people – then he probably has nothing to say. When Jesus commissioned Peter, there was one question that mattered: “do you love me?” (John 21:15-17). If the speaker does not exhibit a love for Jesus then he is disqualified no matter how much he knows (1Corinthians 13:1-3).

Unless you are able to verify the bona fides of a speaker or writer, you should never receive from them. Very few would knowingly invite the devil to preach in their church, yet many are willing to have his messengers speak in his place.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1John 4:1).

How to Discern – Part 6

What of the Watchman?

Each believer has responsibility for himself to be on the lookout for error and deception (Revelation 3:11). The Lord has also set the elders in the local church with the duty to watch for wolves who would seek to attack the flock (Acts 20:28-30).

In these last days error is multiplying and spreading faster than the average believer or shepherd can track. Every day brings some new heresy, and modern electronic media and world travel has resulted in new heresies spreading across the globe within hours of being hatched. Often these teachings are so cleverly disguised that it literally takes a specialist to recognize them and to formulate a defense against them.

As a result the Lord has raised up a special group of people who have been uniquely gifted and prepared to act as watchmen to the churches. When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, the attacks were so incessant that in addition to every man carrying his sword whilst building (Nehemiah 4:17-18), a select group was tasked with looking out for the enemy (Nehemiah 4:9, 16). As a shepherd in a local church, it would be impossible for me to fulfill my duties and keep track of the many new errors that arise almost daily. I am therefore very grateful for those who have dedicated themselves to the work of monitoring, researching, warning and formulating answers to the many winds of false doctrine of our time.

But, as in every area of the Lord’s work, there is the good, the bad and the ugly. Just the fact that someone points out error does not necessarily make them devoid of error themselves. Some err in doctrine, and others in their attitude or lifestyle. It is therefore important that we establish what the difference is between the good and the bad amongst discernment ministries. (I use “discernment ministries” [lower case] as a generic term distinct from “Discernment Ministries” which refers to a specific organization).

In one sense, this is the easiest ministry that anyone can get into these days. This is true simply because it is much easier to point out mistakes in others than to correct those mistakes. Some who could not write or preach a single word to edify the church get involved in throwing stones. Pulling down is easier than building up and finding fault is easier than teaching truth. Many are involved in these ministries because they want revenge for past hurt, or because they want to be involved in ministry but do not have the gifts to do so, or even because they have a problem with pride.

Here are some important questions to ask about discernment ministries:

What attitude do they display? Is it one of arrogance and pride and do they feel that they are better than those poor heretics over there? Or do they genuinely mourn and weep over the state of the church? Do they speak with humility and grace, recognizing that it is only the grace of God that has kept them? Do they feel that they are superior to everyone else and God’s only remnant? (The series “Contentiously Contending” deal with this in more detail.)

Who are the faces behind that particular ministry? What are their personal lives like? Do they have a history of serving the churches and standing for truth? Are they in fellowship with other believers and ministries and do they serve a local church or are they loose cannons?

What is their motive? Is it revenge, profit, fame and importance? Or is it love for the Lord, His Word and His People? (The previous article “Who’s Who?” applies as much to discernment ministries as to preachers.)

Are their accusations based on thoroughly documented research supported by credible witnesses and empirical proof? Or is it based on second-hand rumor and guilt by association? Many of these ministries could discredit someone just because that person happened to pass through the same airport as a known heretic, even though there is no connection between them.

Do they rely on innuendo, rumor and quotes taken out of context to make their case? Or do they rely on facts, track-records, history and documents?

Are they credible? In other words how do you know you can trust them? Do they exaggerate or embellish to make a point? Have you ever noticed them lying or are they people of integrity? Is their assessment balanced, or are they biased? Do they ever have something good to say about anyone or can they only speak about what is evil and wrong?

Are they conspiracy theorists? One such man teaches that the Jews are to blame for every form of evil that plagues our world, that NASA found dinosaur bones on the moon but conspired to conceal the matter, but at another time claimed that man never went to the moon and that it was all a conspiracy! Yes, this man is one of the most prominent speakers, broadcasters and writers against “error”.

Do they teach the truth or only against error? Do they provide an antidote to the heresy, or can they only point out what is wrong? The Lord and the Word never reveal a problem without providing a solution to that problem. Yes, the Bible speaks against sin, but it also provides the antidote – the precious blood of Jesus. It reveals the wickedness of man’s heart but offers the righteousness of God to those who believe (Romans 3:22-23).

Just the fact that they are a discernment or apologetic ministry does not exempt them from all the checks and balances we have spoken about in this series. They need to be checked. The bad need to be rejected and the good need to be valued. I would urge you to know which of these ministries can be trusted and to read their material regularly. If you are a pastor or preacher, you need to attend a good discernment conference every year in order that you may be warned of the new devices of the evil one.

If you do use their services you need to support them by your prayers, encouragement and gifts. The good ones will never speak of their needs, yet it costs a lot of stamina and finances to keep those ministries going – help them so they can better serve you. Above all, pray for them. It takes a lot of courage and they pay a very high personal price for their stand as they are constantly being attacked. They need your prayers and encouragement.

The fact that Nehemiah set a watch and dedicated some to bear arms, did not absolve the rest of the people from being on guard:

“Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us” (Nehemiah 4:17-20).

Anton Bosch

anton@ifcb.net

3310 W Magnolia Blvd

Burbank, CA, 91505

Tel 818 846 5520

http://www.antonbosch.org

http://www.burbankchurch.org

 

RAY COMFORT SITTING WITH JOYCE MEYER

by Holly Garcia

from Redeeming Moments

I was asked about what I thought about Ray Comfort appearing on Joyce Meyer’s show. I am afraid some will not appreciate this, but what I do, I do for Him, and for the love of the body, and to obey His Word to “prove all things”.

Seen here at this link: http://youtu.be/T9HOrXHK5WY

◦ Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful. Psalm 1:1

People may or may not agree with my thoughts on this. There are a few passages that come to mind regarding associations. So I will share here and see if you come up with the same thoughts I have on the matter.

Ray Comfort is not at Joyce’s show to debate her. Nor is he there to argue the scriptures with her in the marketplace as far as I could determine. Some will say, “But he is sharing the gospel, isn’t that a good thing?” We will address it I hope. I do not believe this can be compared to a debate with an atheist or a non-believer.

Why? The atheist does not claim to be a “brother or sister in Christ”.

◦Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. I Cor 10:20-21

Joyce is WOF and also has the heretical teaching of Jesus being born again in hell, along with being a female pastor (unbiblical also), prosperity teachings etc. So what do I think applies to this situation?

Some may ask, “Could he be there to speak against her error in public?” Or, “Maybe he is there to help her?”

The question I would rather ask; “Is he by his presence, commending her ministry to those who follow his ministry?” (I believe so). So, I think these passages apply.

(This one -I John 2:9-11 below, seems pretty clear to me – too many try to wrestle with the outcome of what will happen if we obey this passage. Such as: “How will people view us if we just didn’t talk to them?” Or, How will non-believers think of Christians or the Lord, if we are “unloving”?

I rather prefer to think, “What will the Lord think of me if I do not obey His Word?” And also I ask this of myself, not to point a finger at any who may disagree, but, who am I to decide what the outcome of obeying His Word will be, even if I haven’t seen it practiced at the churches I have been at, or by pastors, I have to remind myself that we are in the age of apostasy, surrounded by a falling away from the true faith, and obedience to His Word is life. We must obey the truth and God rather than man. These false teachers hinder people from obeying the truth, lead people into eternal death, why on earth would we want to associate in a ministerial capacity with a known wolf?… Beyond me…

◦Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If ANYONE comes to you and DOES NOT BRING THIS DOCTRINE, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him SHARES in his EVIL DEEDS. 2 John 1:9-11

STILL NOT CERTAIN?

(Think on the Bride, and who will answer to the Bridegroom for exposing her to ravenous wolves).

◦If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. I Tim 6:3-5

We are to take heed to the doctrine for a reason:

◦Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. I Tim 4:16

Should we ignore these scriptures and share a pulpit with the false in the hopes of “reaching more people”?

◦But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Pet 2:1-3

This grieves me…

MANY will follow their destructive ways.

So you want to lead the sheep over to the wolf in order to get God’s Word out???

My decision thus far… Ray Comfort has crossed the line and fellowshipped with the unfruitful deeds of darkness. I believe he has also disobeyed 2 John 1:9-11, whether knowingly or by justifying the end outcome. I believe I’m not to keep company with him, yet still consider him a brother.

Does the Word tell me to mark and avoid him for association? That’s a harder decision for me, but open to Biblical thoughts on this. I think it is very border line and so prayer and discernment is needed for each of us. We have to determine if they have “caused” (by their association) divisions or offenses, by bringing a doctrine contrary to the one you have learned…

◦Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-19

HAVE THEY DISOBEYED HIS WORD? AND DOES THIS VERSE APPLY ALSO?

◦But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thess 3:13-15

I know some see this as just obeying this particular epistle of 2 Thess. 2, but I believe by proxy, it speaks to obeying His entire Word. I believe it gives us the counsel to know what to do for a professing believer who does not obey the Word. Anyone can make a mistake (yes, I’m answering the one that says “nobody’s perfect”.) I’ll let the Word speak. Everyone should obey the truth, and all should tremble at His entire Word. (Is 66:2) Will we make mistakes? What should we do with those teachers and pastors, apologetics authors, etc. who continue in them? As a matter a fact, what do we do if ANYONE doesn’t obey His Word, or associates with a wolf, and shares in their evil deeds?

What is our responsibility when we see these things…We can start here…

◦For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:4-5

O.K., let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

What do I think Ray Comfort should have done when Joyce Meyer asked him to be on her show?

EASY!!! TURN HER DOWN!

Reject a divisive (heretic) man (or woman) after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11

I know… people rationalize ALL the people he will reach. Again, this is not our decision to make. We are to obey God’s Word… They will compare it to a Glenn Beck scenario. Such as Kirk Cameron being on his show. Glenn Beck is not a Christian, he is a Mormon, therefore a Biblical Christian understands he is of the world. Apples to oranges.

WHY SHOULD WE NOT FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FALSE?

Because we are told….

◦ Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Eph 5:10-11

The laying on of hands was done to approve someone for ministry. I know some may not agree with me on this, but isn’t what these pastors/teachers do when they associate together with the heretics? They lead people into error.

◦ Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure. I Tim 5:22

NOT KEEPING COMPANY WITH THE ONE WHO ASSOCIATES WITH THE WOLF.

Does the verse apply in 2 Thess. 3 to obeying the entire Word? I personally do believe so. The entire epistle of 2 Thessalonians discusses the antichrist, false teachings, and men that are unreasonable and wicked that do not have faith. It reiterates in chapter 3 for believers to do the things that they commanded them. One very important command was that we WITHDRAW from everyone who walks disorderly and NOT ACCORDING to the tradition they received from the apostles (the entire New Testament is written by those who were the apostles or those who traveled with them, or brothers of Jesus. I think this would include the entire Word.)… Also mentioned…hmmmm… even busybodies who don’t work, but mind other people’s business….

We know that we have to obey God’s Word, so for me personally, if someone meets with these people, without the intent of correcting them in public (and that’s even questionable) then I have to stay away from listening to them until they repent for their error.

In the case of correcting a wolf, or even a brother in serious error, I believe that person would have to come to you in repentance, to turn from his false teachings, and then maybe this would apply.

◦ And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Jude 1:22-23

Why do I think it’s such a great sin to put up with false teachers? Besides the greater condemnation teachers will receive for leading someone into error, we have certain standards for the church and a reason for them. It is to protect the flock and to make sure a dying world receives the truth, not poison.

Now for those who bring up that Jesus ate with Pharisees, prostitutes and tax collectors, these would be applicable to the standards for the world. We do not judge the world, God judges the world (I Cor 5) but any who profess Christ, it is a different story. We are to be commended if we will search the scriptures and hold up someone’s teaching to see if these things are so- Acts 17:11, (Commended! Not to be called heresy hunters, witch hunters, or nit-pickers).

We obey the truth through the Spirit (which purifies our soul), in SINCERE LOVE OF THE BRETHREN… (from I Pet 1). This is why I think it is so important to not compromise His truth. It is not ours to rationalize what we think might be a better way to handle something. I don’t want to be hanging with one who decides which portions we might obey, and which ones we can let slide in the name of evangelism, unity, love, etc. Because ONLY the truth will set them free… WHY would we want to mingle it with error? It is not error or watered down truth that will set anyone free. So continue in His Word!

◦So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

A LITTLE LEAVEN

Immorality, especially spiritual fornication, defiles the church. And we have NOT mourned as a church, instead, we invite them to conferences with us, we have them speak at our church, or we go on their t.v. programs.

Each person has to make a decision, it’s not always easy to say in each and every situation. But I believe they are allowing these spiritual fornicators to slip into the church as they have joined hands with their ministries to do certain projects etc. I believe spiritual fornication is to be treated the same as sexual immorality, it is a sin of rebellion against the truth, fornication against the bridegroom. It is for covetousness, and for their bellies. They revile the real church, and they mock them, and they mock God’s Word and blaspheme the way of truth. Did we forget this passage?

◦Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” I Corinthians 5:6-8, 11-13

*FOOTNOTE: (FOR ME)

◦ But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15

This may be shared in its’ entirety for God’s Glory only!

Copyright © 2012, All Rights Reserved, Holly Garcia

The Battle for Truth

Let us be mindful of the words of A.W. Tozer, who wrote:

“So skilled is error at imitating truth that the two are constantly being mistaken for each other. It is therefore critically important that the Christian take full advantage of every provision God has made to save him from delusion – prayer, faith, constant meditation of the Scriptures, obedience, humility and the illumination of the Holy Spirit” (That Incredible Christian).

We need to ask God for courage and boldness as we rely on the power of His Word. May we all become more like the apostles who were strong, bold, fearless, dogmatic, unaccommodating of error, courageous, intolerant of sin, inflexible concerning the Gospel, controversial, willing to die for the truth and fully devoted to Christ. We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Eph. 4:14).

During these times of great deception, the Body of Christ must respond with a theological, biblical worldview that defends the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must protect the purity of His Gospel for the sake of His elect.

From Proclaiming the Gospel

“How does a respected evangelical leader move so far away from the plain truth of Scripture?”

COSMS, CODES, AND CRYPTOLOGIES, Part 2

By Gaylene Goodroad*

Are we in possession of messages of extraterrestrial origin?

If so, what do they mean?

What do these messages from the edge of eternity portend for the future?

What has the science of cryptology revealed about these ancient texts? Is our universe itself a “digital message”?

Do these messages explain the interval between the miracle of our origin and the mystery of our destiny?

Read the implications of our finite universe and the shocking discoveries of quantum physics at the very boundaries of reality and learn their significance to our origin and personal destinies!

(Koinonia House advertisement for Cosmic Codes)

Chuck Missler’s Cosmic Codes: Hidden Messages from the Edge of Eternity is a 535-page textbook for the Koinonia Institute Bible Course, BTE 620: Introduction to Biblical Cryptology.[i] Here is a description from the KI [Koinonia Institute] Handbook:

This course includes an introduction to cryptography (the study of secret writing), with a survey of codes and ciphers: transpositions and monoalphabetic, polyalphabetic, and polygraphic substitutions.

It explores the surprising use of encryptions in the Biblical text, including—but not limited to—the controversial equidistant-letter-sequences which have been so fancifully promoted.

Microcodes (“jots and tittles”), Macrocodes (strategic anticipatory structures) and Metacodes (beyond the boundaries of physical reality) are explored.

Paracryptology and extraterrestrial communication investigations are also highlighted.[ii]

Did you understand this quote? In order to interpret it one must use interchangeable language pulled from New Age physics** where “microcosm” becomes “microcode,” “macrocosm” becomes “macrocode,” and “metacosm” becomes “metacode.” These, and other terms linked to mystical, occultic, and arcane ideas, are vigorously used and taught in Cosmic Codes. This includes numerous highly unusual and extra biblical words that read like codes themselves—terms such as cryptography, cryptanalysis, cryptology, encipher, encode, ciphertext, cryptogram, decipher, decode, acrostic, and anagram.

Chuck Missler defines these secret code practices:

Some [codes], we discover are hidden behind, or underneath, our day-to-day traffic of ideas. The ones which are hidden usually reveal an ulterior intent or purpose…. From the ancient palaces of our earliest cultures to the super-secret “black chambers” of our most modern command posts, the art of secret writing—and the science of their decipherment—have determined the course of history. Cryptology—the study of secret codes and ciphers—has also been stimulated by its use in literature.[iii] [bold added, italics in original]

De-Coding the Bible

It is significant that the word “occult” means “hidden” or “secret.”[iv] The idea that the LORD God would imbed secret knowledge in His Word—requiring believers to “decrypt” it by using worldly techniques—soars to the heights of blasphemy. “Cryptological Bible study” is totally foreign to the Bible’s plain teachings and precepts.

Full article HERE

QUANTUM MYSTICISM IN THE CHURCH

COSMS, CODES, AND CRYPTOLOGIES

PART 1: Crossing the Boundaries of Reality and Scripture

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

(2 Peter 1:16)

By Gaylene Goodroad

“We are stumbling within this interval between the miracle of our origin and the mystery of our destiny. And we are now beginning to realize that the most critical aspects that impact our destiny lie just outside the ostensible boundaries of the veil surrounding only a ‘virtual’ reality.”

“This field of study is called ‘Quantum Physics’ and its philosophical implications can be shattering to our presuppositions about our ‘reality.’ We now discover that the physical reality that surrounds us is only a virtual simulated reality—made up of indivisible, electrically charged particles: in fact, we exist within a digital electrical simulation!”

“Does the ‘Paranormal’ lie within the margins between the ‘Metacosm’ [a larger reality beyond the macro/microcosms consisting of 10 dimensions or more] and the virtual reality established by the digital simulation?”

— Chuck Missler, Systems Engineer, Author, & Bible Teacher (Introduction to God’s Ghostbusters [italics in original, bold added])[i]

When I began reading successful evangelical author, publisher, and former pastor Tom Horn’s recent book, God’s Ghostbusters, dealing with classic horror film themes (vampires, ghosts, aliens and werewolves), I didn’t expect to encounter these Chuck Missler quotations above dealing with the new science/new math of quantum physics or quantum mechanics.

Initially, terms such as Chaos Theory, Metacosm, and Hyperdimensional or Holographic Universe seemed starkly out of place. Familiar with the bizarre teachings and science fictionesque concepts of Tom Horn (the subject of two previous Herescope articles),[ii] the more I read, the more I began to see other ominous connections between Horn, his collaborators, and New Age physics.[iii] These men are not only taking their readers beyond physical realities, but beyond what is written in Scripture.[iv]

Finish HERE

THE TEST OF TRUE BIBLICAL DISCIPLESHIP

by Savvas Constantatos

“Now I Beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine [didache] which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such [the false prophets] serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [the innocent].” Romans 16:17,18.

Unbelievers say that the Word of God, the Bible, is irrelevant to our times, but many of us Bible-believing Christians do not cease to be amazed how fresh and up to date the Word of God is! “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8. “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:5.

It was God the Holy Spirit who inspired the apostle Paul to write and to exhort the Roman Christians [and of course all Christians] to “mark them which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE which ye have learned; AND AVOID THEM.” Dear Christian friend, what is your attitude towards the truth of this verse? This very verse will put you to the test, and you will know whether you are a compromiser, or a true disciple of Christ!

Do you think that the apostle Paul who wrote these words, was judgmental, a mistaken separatist, an unloving rightwinger, and an unenlighted extremist, as many think of us today? Did he in any way imply that Bible-believing Christians are to join forces with the compromisers and the false preachers in their religious enterprises? No, of course not! He said “AVOID THEM”, and that is exactly what the Holy Spirit wanted him to say!

What then is your attitude towards this truth, and towards the compromisers and the false preachers of this apostate hour? Do you AVOID THEM, or do you reject the Word of God, and the people of God who have tried to warn you? Do you condone and tolerate the neo-Christianity of our time and its many false preachers, in the name of a false love, and in the name of a false unity?

If that is your attitude towards the exhortation and warning of the Word of God, then you are not a Bible-believing Christian, and you are not a true disciple of Christ! You are a compromiser, and in great danger.

Remember that with God there is hope! “For the Lord is good; and His mercy is everlaslasting.” If you have not gone too far into the apostasy of our time, and to a place of no return, of which God’s Word speaks about, repent to God, and become a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ!

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