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Unholy Signs & Cash Flows
|Bethel’s example of Church working with Corporate and State|
“I dedicate this book to my children’s children’s children’s children. Though we will not meet until we get to heaven, I wanted you to know that I had you in mind as I wrote every word of this book, and I continue to hold you in my heart. You will become the answer to my prayers and the fulfillment of my prophecies. By the time you read this book, I will be watching you from heaven (see Hebrews 12: 1).”
This quotation above is the opening dedication to Kris Vallotton’s upgraded book called Heavy Rain. Its former title was How Heaven Invades Earth. At the outset it sounds like a way to soften, or even spiritualize, the more militant sounding “invade” language in his book from six years ago. I believe this change is part of a new effort to say the same thing in a more sophisticated, and yet more palatable, way in order to attract a wider audience.
In this day and age where everything is seen from a marketing standpoint, as far as publishers and agents and business in general, it is no surprise that this would happen from within the headquarters of a now worldwide movement—Bethel Church in Redding, California.
I am writing this from Redding as it is the closest city to where we live for groceries and doctors. It is also where I lived for several years. It’s a pretty typical town in most aspects, with a Costco and an old converted theater downtown, and a mix of working people and retired folks looking for the sun…. It is even sunnier in Redding than Phoenix!
But Redding is actually quite special in regard to what is happening in Christendom. A phenomenon has grown up here. There is something almost “magical” about the effect that Bethel has had on this community. The city has fallen in love with this “church”. Is this even possible in our day of hysteria over “separation of church and state”? It is not separate in Redding. Bethel bailed out the Civic Auditorium and is running it well from all indications. Bethel is also becoming a major property owner. They have bought and improved several commercial properties and hope to increase their School of Supernatural Ministry to 3000 students in the next few years. (It is currently around 1400.) They want to build a museum of revival in Americana and have spent around $40,000 to purchase one man’s memorabilia collection of articles from major “moves of God” going back into the 1950s.
Bethel is growing while the city of Redding has endured a decline in many facets. Crime is up. The housing market is flat at best. Homelessness is rampant. But Bethel is doing really well. I believe they know why. I think they have discovered a secret to moving forward at this time in their history. Before I get back to this subject let met tell you why I am writing this report.
|The Bethel “cash flow” agenda, cited HERE|
Why I Write
Before becoming a full time pastor in 2011 I spent over 30 years being a regular Christian, with a regular secular job, raising a family with my wife of 37 years. Before we moved to Redding we attended a church for 10 years beginning in 1994 in Yuba City, California. We noticed after almost 7 years in that church that the teaching was changing. We heard things that shocked us, but because of intense loyalty to the leadership we tried to justify things we should have checked out immediately. We were told that spiritual warfare was calling out demons by name and defeating them in the atmosphere, and thus allowing our city to have a mass revival. We were told it was always God’s will for us to be physically well. We were told our children were a chosen seed to bring in the great harvest of all time—that they would do miracles greater than Jesus or the Apostles. These things came in slowly, like a steady drip. We were told that Christians have demons that need to be cast out. We were to go on “prayer walks” that would run the devil out of neighborhoods and out of families as we took dominion over our city.
The problem is it didn’t work, and we could not find a good Biblical reason to swallow all of this new teaching. Young people would go to the church’s new “discipleship” school and come out on the other end bewildered by a lack of power, not blaming the leaders who taught them but God, who they thought did not keep up His end of the bargain. We looked at our Bibles and saw texts that were clearly meant for the next world being brought into ours, with no concept for context or proper Biblical interpretation.
It took us almost 3 years to realize we needed to get back to the Bible. Then we found the Discernment Ministries’ Herescope blog (www.herescope.net). God led us to this small cadre of folks who had been writing for years about different new teachings, that were really old things wrapped up in new and upgraded lingo. As Solomon says, there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).
Then, because of a job, and a ministry opportunity to take what we were finding about Satan’s schemes and warn younger believers, we moved to Redding to start a new job and work with a couple we thought truly were wanting to warn others. Sadly, within a year we found out we were not on the same page with the very people we were supposed to serve with. Shortly after this we began to attend a church where the Bible was taught verse by verse. God put us away in His waiting room where we could get our thoughts and hearts in line with His precious Word.
We began to serve the Lord in humble but useful ways. We helped clean the church each week, emptying waste cans and vacuuming the carpet. Later we taught Sunday School. We truly had many glorious times with our 4th grade class teaching through the entire Bible line upon line. Eventually I was asked to teach in place of the pastor when he was out of town. We were asked to shepherd a part of the congregation and had a “home group” of over 40 people in our home each month. What I found in those days was that God is gracious. When we seek Him and His ways for His glory, He provides all we need. His Word has the answers we need to communicate. We don’t need to make up anything fancy to attract attention to it.
I had heard the Lord calling me to ministry when I was 12 years old. I had, because of fear, chosen not to follow His call for many years. Finally at 50 years of age I answered that call. I began to seek the Lord, and asked others to pray with me about going into full time work. I assumed it would be in a ministry to young people, as that was the reason I moved to Redding. I wanted to warn them of what the enemy was trying to do, both within the church and without it. After another year of waiting, just when I began to give up, an opportunity came as the Lord opened up a door for ministry. I have been serving as pastor at a small community church in Lewiston, California, ever since. I live within 35 miles of Redding in the mountains. God is gracious indeed. It is the hardest, and yet most fulfilling job, I have ever had.
But Bethel is still a thorn. I suppose it reminds me of what happened to us in Yuba City. But it is far worse. It is a leader, a worldwide and dominant leader, in a movement rife with error. This is grievous to me personally because it goes after, and actually targets, young people in a huge way. This is why I write. These young people (and old people, too) are precious to our Savior. This movement is swallowing them in ways I never could have imagined even 6 years ago when I lived within a mile of Bethel Church. This church is more sophisticated and more “excellent” in an alarming way.
by Jeremiah Johnson
By now it is unlikely that you have not heard of Jesus Calling. That book—a daily devotional by Sarah Young—has sold more than 15 million copies, along with several sequels, children’s storybooks, and mobile apps. Today the Christian world is thoroughly saturated with Young’s writing, as her little devotional has exploded into a phenomenal success.
However, I wouldn’t call it unprecedented success. Christian publishers excel at creating these types of fads. Like its predecessors The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose-Driven Life, Jesus Calling has managed to find the sweet spot of mass appeal: man-centeredness.
In the case of Jesus Calling, the devotional entries are presented as the actual words of Christ, with Him speaking words of encouragement and hope directly to the reader. Here’s how Young explains it in her introduction:
I have written from the perspective of Jesus speaking, to help readers feel more personally connected with Him. So the first person singular (“I,” “Me,” “My,” “Mine”) always refers to Christ; “you” refers to you, the reader. 
Young pushes back against the notion that her book is inspired. But that distinction seems to be nothing more than a semantic façade. Here’s how she describes her writing process:
The following year, I began to wonder if I could change my prayer times from monologue to dialogue. I had been writing in prayer journals for many years, but this was one-way communication: I did all the talking. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God might want to communicate to me on a given day. I decided to “listen” with pen in hand, writing down whatever I “heard” in my mind. 
Only Young understands the balance she’s attempting to strike between divine revelation and her own imagination. In that sense, her books have a lot in common with modern prophecy—we’re told to believe they are the words of God without assigning them the authority of the Word of God.
And whether it’s a daily reading from Jesus Calling, an outburst of tongues, or a personal revelation from the Lord, there is a consistent and troubling theme gaining influence in the church today: The Bible is not enough.
In an earlier, unrevised version of Jesus Calling, Young made that point abundantly clear.
I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day (emphasis added). 
This desire to hear personally from the Lord is nothing new to the church, but it may be enjoying unprecedented acceptance among God’s people. Lately I hear phrases like “the Lord told me,” “God revealed to me,” and “I heard God say” from a wide variety of Christian ministries—it’s no longer the exclusive territory of the charismatic church.
The truth is God has already said everything He intended to say to us—His Word makes that clear. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible we have is neither incomplete nor inadequate—we already have all the revelation we need from God. As our good friend Justin Peters says, “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear Him speak audibly, read it out loud.”
I’ll admit, I don’t fully understand this desire to receive personal messages from the Lord. I’m enough of a Bible student to know that if I did truly hear God’s audible voice, it would likely knock me off my feet, or worse (cf. Matthew 17:5-6; John 18:6).
Instead of chasing special revelation from the Lord, we need to recommit ourselves to the sufficiency and authority of what He has already said. Moreover, we need to consider the special care the Lord took in recording and preserving His Word. As the apostle Peter wrote, “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Regarding that passage, John MacArthur writes,
By contrast, true prophecy does not come to mind through psychic intuition or New Age mysticism, and it is not discerned by guesswork. . . . Those who equate their own personal impressions, imaginations, and intuition with divine revelation err greatly. 
The great danger of books like Jesus Calling is that they drive a wedge between God’s people and His Word, encouraging them to look beyond the scope of Scripture for additional words from the Lord. In simple terms, they devalue the Bible and elevate emotional experiences and imaginary voices to the level of divine authority. And when anything you hear or feel could be the Lord speaking, you leave yourself open to all sorts of heresy and satanic lies.
God’s people need to be warry of anyone who assumes to speak for Him. We need to defend the authority of His Word against all pretenders. And we need to help shepherd other believers away from the popular desire for special revelation and back to the all-sufficient Word of God.
HILLSONG’S APOLOGY FOR THE NAKED COWBOY
(Friday Church News Notes, June 10, 2016, ) from Way of Life
In last week’s Friday Church News Notes, we reported on the appearance at the March Hillsong Women’s Conference in New York City of “a naked cowboy.” Though he wasn’t entirely naked, he appeared to be wearing only a cowboy hat, boots, and a guitar. He was joined on stage by “scantily-dressed ‘cheerleaders,’ an Elvis impersonator,” and others. Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Sydney issued a public statement claiming that his wife, Bobbie, “was clearly unaware that this was going to happen” and that Hillsong New York’s pastors, Carl and Laura Lentz, “were not part of the decision” (“Brian Houston Responds,” The Christian Post, June 5, 2016). Hughie Seaborn, a former Pentecostal who lives in Australia and has followed the antics of Hillsong for decades, makes the following observation: “In the same way he lied about any knowledge of his father, Frank’s, paedophilia, Brian is lying again. This time about Hillsong New York’s leadership, including his wife Bobbie, having any knowledge of a naked cowboy appearing at the Women’s Conference. The video clip clearly shows that the Naked Cowboy was choreographed into the performance. None of the other participants in the debacle was shocked to see a naked cowboy coming onto the stage. He didn’t have to shove anybody out of their place and steal their position. The Hillsong leadership are all complicit in this diabolical event, including his kids and his wife Bobbie, who you might remember produced a series of sexually explicit ‘teaching’ tapes back in 2001 entitled ‘Kingdom Women Love Sex,’ which were available from Koorong ‘christian’ Bookshop for $21.95. Watching this short video clip tells us a lot about the downward progression of Christendom, not just in America, but in the world, when you see a couple of thousand professing Christian women all screaming and acting like lunatics–even before any naked cowboy appears. They all bring reproach upon the name of Christ.”
“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;”
Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent’s wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God’s opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God’s love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ’s work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God’s people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ’s disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.
Daniel’s 70 Weeks
(first published May 26, 2014) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Daniel’s “70 week” prophecy is one of the most amazing and important prophecies in Scripture. A Book that foretells the future in detail with perfect accuracy is obviously a Divine Book!
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall beseven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:24-27).
The occasion of this prophecy was Daniel’s prayer that God would have mercy on Israel. The vision is God’s answer. In this vision God reveals to Daniel the time schedule and major events which will lead to the establishment of Israel’s Messianic kingdom.
The purpose of the 70 weeks (Dan. 9:24)
The prophecy pertains to Israel and to the holy city Jerusalem.
1. The prophecy describes the finishing of the transgression and the making of reconciliation. During the 70 Weeks, Israel’s rebellion will be finished, and she will be cleansed from her sin. Israel’s rebellion was the reason for the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BC and by Rome in AD 70, and she has never repented nationally. This will happen at the end of the 70 Weeks, and she will be cleansed by the atonement of Christ.
3 The prophecy describes the sealing up the vision and prophecy. It will be the fulfillment of all of the Messianic prophecies.
4. The prophecy will result in the anointing of the most Holy. The temple will be desecrated by the Antichrist, but upon Christ’s return a new temple will be built and anointed by Christ’s own presence.
The length of time of the 70 Weeks
The Hebrew term for weeks (shebuah) means “sevens.” The context must determine whether it is a week of days or of years.
1. The weeks which have already been fulfilled show that these are weeks of years rather than of days. We know that by any reckoning, it was almost 500 years from the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the coming of Christ. This fits the testimony of Daniel 9:25, which places 69 weeks of years (483 years) between the two events. It is only reasonable to believe that the 70th week shall also be a week of years.
2. The concept of weeks of years was familiar to Jewish thinking (Lev. 25:3-9). There was a weekly sabbath and a yearly sabbath.
3. At the time of the vision, Daniel had been thinking in terms of weeks of years (Dan. 9:2). He was considering the 70 year captivity, which was 10 weeks of years (2 Ch. 36:21).
The events of the 70 Weeks
1. During the first 7 weeks (49 years) Jerusalem was rebuilt in troublous times.
a. The commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given in 445 BC. The walls were completed the next year, and work of rebuilding the city apparently continued on for another 48 years.
b. This was accomplished “in troublous times,” as we see in Nehemiah. The rebuilding was accomplished in the face of great opposition.
2. The next 62 weeks (434 years) extends from the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah.
a. When did the 69 weeks (the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks) end?
It ended when Messiah came as prince (Dan. 9:25). This was when Christ entered Jerusalem on the donkey a few days before the crucifixion and was acclaimed as “the King that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Zech. 9:9; Lk. 19:37-38).
b. When did the 69 Weeks begin?
It began with the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25). This was the commandment by Artaxerxes for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls and the city (Neh. 2:1-8). In 536 BC, Cyrus commanded Zerubbabel to build the temple (Ezra 1:1-3), but that isn’t the commandment described in Daniel 9:25.
c. There are some difficulties in determining the exact dates for the beginning and ending of the 69 Weeks.
First, Jews and Babylonians and Persians used different calendars with different months. The Julian or Roman calendar that we use today is different. This is why it is difficult to know exactly what years by our calendar Christ was born and died. Second, the Jewish and Persian calendars were 360-day years instead of the 365-day years on our Roman calendar. This means that the 483 years (69×7) of Daniel 9 was 173,880 days or 476 of our years.
By some reckoning, Artaxerxes’ commandment to Nehemiah was in 445 BC and by other reckonings, it was 444 BC. Sir Isaac Newton set that date at 457 BC, and this date was placed in the margin of the King James Bible beginning in 1701.
Sir Robert Anderson, a lawyer and an investigator with Scotland Yard and a brilliant Bible student, concluded that the commandment was given March 14, 445 BC and Christ entered Jerusalem on the donkey April 6, 32 AD. He documented this position in his 1895 book The Coming Prince.
John Phillips summarizes this position as follows: “We know from Nehemiah 2:1-8 that the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given in March (Nisan) of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, who ascended to the throne of Persia in 464 or 465 BC. Thus the beginning of the prophetic period would be 445 BC. Some commentators actually fix the date at March 14, 445 BC., and claim the support of astronomy for so doing. After sixty-nine of these ‘weeks,’ the Messiah would be ‘cut off’ (69 x 7 = 483 years) bringing us to AD 39. Since the Biblical year is 360 days and not 365 days, the difference (5 x 483 – 2,415 days – 6.6 years) must be deducted, bringing us to AD 32. The Lord’s ministry began in the ‘the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’ (Luke 3:1). This Caesar began to reign on August 19, A.D. 14, so that the Lord commenced His public ministry early in A.D. 29. The first Passover of the Lord’s ministry was in the month of Nisan of that year. Three Passovers later, in AD 32, He was crucified. Sir Robert Anderson contends that this prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled to the very day.”
The important thing to understand is that the Jews of Christ’s day knew how to figure these dates, and they had no excuse for not knowing exactly when Messiah the prince would come or what would happen when He came.
3. After the 69 weeks, the following events will happen (Dan. 9:26).
a. Messiah is cut off, but not for himself. This refers to Christ’s crucifixion and His substitutionary atonement. He did not die for Himself, because death is the wages of sin, and Christ had no sin. He died for man’s sins (Isa. 53:5).
b. The city and the sanctuary are destroyed. This occurred in AD 70 at the hands of the Roman armies under the generalship of Titus.
c. There are wars and desolations until the end. The Hebrew word translated “desolation” is also translated “destruction (Hos. 2:12).
(1) This is a perfect description of the last 2,000 years of Israel’s history since Christ was “cut off.”
(2) Even today, though Israel is back in the land, she has no peace and war and desolations continue, and she will have no peace until she repents and receives her Messiah, Jesus.
(3) It also describes what will happen to Israel just before the return of Christ as recorded in Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-18.
4. Between the 69th and 70th week is the interlude of the church age.
a. It is called a “mystery” because it was not revealed to the Old Testament prophets (Eph. 3:3-6). The church age is like a valley that the Old Testament prophets did not see between the peaks of the first and second coming of Christ.
b. During this time, Christ is calling out a people for His name from among the nations (Ac. 15:14-18).
c. Paul describes the church age as the time of Israel’s blindness in Romans 11:25-27.
The 70th week (the final seven years) (Dan. 9:27)
The final week, or seven years, of Daniel’s prophecy remains to be fulfilled.
It is this period that Jesus describes in Matthew 24:3-31.
1. The final week is divided into two parts (Dan. 9:27).
a. At the beginning of the seven years, the Antichrist will make a false peace covenant with Israel.
(1) The Antichrist is a prince of the revived Roman Empire. He is identified as the prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem after Messiah’s death. This was Rome.
(2) Revelation depicts the Antichrist coming on the scene on a white horse, signifying peace, and carrying an empty bow (Rev. 6:2). The horse and empty bow signifies that the Antichrist will have the capability to make war but initially he will come as a man of peace. Five times in Daniel the Antichrist is called a liar and a flatterer (Dan. 11:21, 23, 27, 32, 34). Daniel says by peace he will destroy many (Dan. 8:25).
(3) This is probably when the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt. When he comes on the scene, the Antichrist will be the greatest diplomat the world has ever seen, and he will doubtless solve the “Israel-Palestinian problem.”
(4) It is probable that either the Antichrist or his prophet or both will be accepted by the Jews as their Messiah and by apostate Christians as theirs and by the Muslims as the Mahdi. Both Sunnis and Shiites believe in an Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, who will appear at the end of the world to establish a global caliphate in Allah’s name and rule for a period of time (seven, nine, or nineteen years, according to varying interpretations), ridding the world of evil before the day of judgment. The coming of the Mahdi is believed to coincide with the second coming of Jesus, whom they call Isa, who will join hands with the Mahdi against a false messiah or antichrist.
b. Mid-way through the seven years the Antichrist will break this covenant and exalt himself as God.
(1) The abomination that makes desolate is the desecration of the Jewish temple by the Antichrist. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
(2) This event marks the beginning of the 3.5 years of the Great Tribulation (Mat. 24:15).
(3) Revelation 6-19 describes the same period of time (the final “week” of Daniel’s vision), and Revelation also divides the time into two 3.5 year periods.
– During the first half of the Tribulation, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will preach for 1,260 days, or three and a half years (Rev. 11:3).
– During the second half, the Antichrist will rule for 42 months, or 3.5 years (Rev. 13:5), and converted Israel shall flee into the wilderness for 1,260 days, or 3.5 years (Rev. 12:6).
David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com
Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc.’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service, an e-mail listing for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY IS NOT DEVOTIONAL BUT IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.
Way of Life Literature – http://www.wayoflife.org
copyright 2013 – Way of Life Literature
Except Ye Repent
By Dr. Harry Ironside
Chapter 17 – BUT IS REPENTANCE DESIRABLE?
And now I come to discuss, in this closing chapter, what many will feel should have been the first question raised and settled: Is repentance after all desirable?
According to much of the humanistic thought of the day there is no occasion whatever to call upon mankind in general to repent. In fact, we are told, he who does so shows that he fails to appreciate man’s innate dignity and praiseworthiness. The evolutionist points with pride to the abysmal depths of bestial ancestry from which man has struggled upward to his present exalted position. What some call sin is but the slowly conquered animal traits which, it may be hoped, will be outlived in future centuries. It is not for this magnificent thinking creature to repent of anything, certainly not of his upward progress. If he condemns himself as a “miserable sinner” he fails to appreciate his glorious heritage. He is the child of all the ages; he has come the long, long way from a tiny speck of protoplasm to the dignity of a cultured twentieth century genius. Shall he repent that he is not what he once was? Does he not know that every fall has been a fall upward? Was it not by unceasing struggle with superstition, ignorance, and unwholesome environment that he has reached his present high estate? To command him to repent and to do works meet for repentance is to insult him to his face.
And then there are those who have given their adherence to various highly lauded religious cults of widespread acceptance, all of which are based upon the proposition that man is but a manifestation of God and that what the Bible calls sin is merely an “error of mortal mind.” The realization of man’s own Deity in order that he may ever be “in tune with the Infinite,” and so declare confidently, as Jesus did, that “I and my Father are one” will, we are told, enable us all to demonstrate the essential unity of the human spirit with the divine. But if this be so, there is no place for repentance. Repent of what — that I am one with God? Surely not. So these teachers, however much they may quarrel among themselves as to terms, all insist that the path of life and the way of peace are to ignore all that seems to be evil and to be occupied alone with the good and the true. “Condemn not thyself,” is a favorite saying. And the devotees of all these systems consciously or unconsciously seek to build themselves up in spirituality and to rise to higher moral and ethical planes by means of constant repetition of the Coué formula,
“Every day, in every way,
I am getting better and better.”
Of course, this kind of argument is only another form of the old and very familiar philosophy of the bootstrap. We do not have bootstraps on our shoes, but many act as if their minds had something of the kind and they were diligently trying to lift themselves to higher heights by pulling on them.
Often we are told that it is degrading and belittling to cry “Repent!” We should rather shout, Advance! and forgetting the past reach forth to the better things the future has in store. Did not St. Paul tell us this in his Philippian letter? The answer is, he did not. He himself tells us in that very Epistle how he once gloried in his fleshly religion until the vision of the risen Christ brought him to repentance, so that what things were gain to him he now counted but as offal and as dross in order that He who had manifested Himself to him might henceforth be magnified in him whether by life or death. Now he could forget the things behind and reach forth in holy expectation to the things beyond, “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
For nearly a century the world has been drinking at the fount of these strange philosophies, and one might have thought that by now, if they were true at all, we would see a great improvement in the human race. But lust, cruelty, corruption, and violence were never more prominent than in these strangely unsettled years since the close of the World War — the war that was to end all war and henceforth make the world safe for democracy. But the nations are still in turmoil as the iron of imperialism and the miry clay of Sovietism struggle for the mastery. The horrors of the Ethiopian massacres, the unspeakable cruelties of Russian Bolshevism, the bloody strife in Spain, the desperate conditions still prevailing in China, together with ominous forebodings of coming class conflicts all over the so-called civilized world, show that the nations are far from realizing the idealism in which their salvation is supposed to be assured.
No, man is not Godlike. He is not at one with the Infinite mind. He is not a great, heroic figure dominating the ages. He is a poor, needy, sinful creature who will never find the path of peace until he humbles himself before high Heaven and repentantly confesses his manifold iniquities and looks to the cross of Christ and to the Holy Spirit of God for twofold deliverance, justification before God and practical sanctification of life, through the power of the Word applied by Him who alone produces a second birth and comes to indwell all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to the salvation of their souls.
Applied psychology, psychiatry, and ethical culture, will not bring this about. Whatever value there may be in the wise use of these systems, so far as combating certain conditions of the mind is concerned they are utterly powerless to change the heart of man or to produce a new life. J.R. Oliver in a recent volume entitled Psychiatry and Mental Health, which is well worth reading, frankly confesses that after all the varied needs of mankind can best be met by “the divine Psychiatrist, the one great Physician of the soul.” He rightly declares that if we but know Him and walk with Him, all books on mental science, moral theology, marriage and birth control, with all the well-meant regulatory laws which have been tried or proposed to curb the evil desires of men and nations, could be safely discarded, for in Christ is found all that is needed to give us moral and spiritual health. To turn to Jesus as the Great Physician is to repent, for He came to heal — not the well — but the sick. His message was for those who had lost their way. What His enemies said of Him in derision and contempt is blessedly true and the cause for everlasting praise, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”
But so long as men insist on attempting to justify themselves and their behavior they are under the divine condemnation. It is concerning him who cries, ‘I have sinned and perverted that which was right and it profiteth me not,’ that the voice of God exclaims, “Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.” (See Job 33:14-30.) We are told in Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” It is another way of saying that all confessed sin shall be made to serve in the working out of God’s eternal purpose. Where recognized guilt leads to repentance, the forgiven man rises to a consciously higher plane than he would otherwise have attained. Our sin becomes the dark background that better displays the lustrous jewel of divine grace. We know God better as forgiven sinners than Adam knew Him, as unfallen in that first earthly Paradise. It is this that makes the joy of heaven so great as the redeemed adore the Lamb and sing His praises who was slain in order that He might wash us from our sins in His own blood. Not one voice in that wondrous choir will attribute merit to other than Christ Himself.
In a recent book, in which one was objecting to expressions such as these, the writer challenged those who habitually confess themselves miserable sinners and acknowledge that they have left undone the things they ought to have done and done the things they ought not to have done, to dare to say such derogatory things of themselves when applying for a position of trust in some reputable firm, and the implication was that if such language was not suited as between man and man, it was not proper between man and God.
One does not have to be a “deep thinker” to see the fallacy of this. A man is hired by a firm because of his supposed ability and trustworthiness. But men’s standards are altogether different from those set forth in the Holy Scriptures. Righteousness is emphasized in our dealings with our fellow men; holiness when it comes to relationship with God. A man’s life may be outwardly correct and righteous, while his heart is corrupt and unholy. “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” He desires truth in the inward parts.
It is the pure in heart who shall see God. Therefore the absolute necessity of the new birth, apart from which there can be no spiritual enlightenment. The heart of the natural man is as a nest of every unclean and hateful bird; all sorts of evils come forth from it. The mind of the unsaved man is incapable of grasping heavenly realities. His understanding is darkened because of the ignorance that is in him. When he accepts God’s testimony he takes the position of repentance, and is in an attitude where God can reveal to him the wonders of redeeming grace. In no other way can guilty man be reconciled to God, who beholdeth the proud afar off, but is nigh unto every broken and contrite heart.
If these pages fall into the hands of any anxious, troubled soul, desirous of finding the way of peace and earnestly seeking to be right with God, let me urge such a one to give up all struggling. Just believe God. Tell Him you are the sinner for whom the Saviour died, and trust in Christ alone for salvation. His own word is clear and simple: “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
To hear the Word is to receive God’s testimony, and this is the very essence of repentance. When he who has spurned that Word bows to its message, even though it tells him he is lost and undone and has no righteousness of his own, he turns from his vain thoughts and accepts instead the testimony of the Lord. It is to such a one that the Holy Spirit delights to present a crucified, risen, and exalted Christ as the one supreme object of faith. He who trusts Him is forever freed from all condemnation. (See John 3:18). He is henceforth in Christ, and “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
This is not to say his own conscience will never again condemn him, for that is not true. The nearer he lives to his Lord, the more tender his conscience will be. But it does mean that God no longer sees him as a sinner exposed to judgment, but that He counts him henceforth as a child, a member of the heavenly family, accepted in Christ, the beloved of the Father.
In this blessed relationship he has by no means done with repentance. He is called upon daily to judge himself in the light of the Word of Truth, as it is opened up to him by the Spirit, and so to repent of anything that he learns to be contrary to the mind of God. Otherwise he will have to know the Father’s chastening rod. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1st Corinthians 11:31-32.) It is in view of this that He says, “Be zealous therefore, and repent.”
But I must bring these remarks to a conclusion. I need not multiply words. This book is, perhaps, already much too lengthy for busy readers, though I hope many will take time to examine carefully, in the light of the Holy Scriptures, every position taken. The conclusion of the whole matter is simply this: Repentance is not only desirable, but it is imperative and all important. Apart from it no sinner will ever be saved. God Himself commands all men everywhere to repent. Our Lord Jesus declared, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” That which it is so perilous to neglect should be faithfully preached to all for whom Christ died. And when men receive the message in faith and judge themselves in the light of the cross, they may know that all heaven resounds with gladness for “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).
The glorified throng in heaven will all be there, not because they were holier or in any wise better in themselves than other men, but because, as repentant sinners, they “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” He alone will be extolled as the Worthy One. All others who are ever saved will be saved through His merits alone.
[Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948]
Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin
by Cameron Buettel
We live in a therapeutic culture that seems determined to do away with sin. Adultery and every form of immorality has been re-classified as sex addictions. Addictions to drugs and alcohol are classified as diseases, not the results of deliberate actions. And guns are now perceived as a greater evil than the murderers pulling the trigger. Whatever the sin may be, there always seems to be a way to excuse, redefine, or minimize it.
That determination to separate who a person is and what he does has also infiltrated the church. The exhortation to “love the sinner and hate the sin” is a clever Christian cliché regularly used to deflect people’s responsibility and accountability for their sin. While it’s true that we should both love sinners and hate sin, the cliché distorts those truths by unbiblically severing the two.
That sort of dualism was prevalent among the Gnostic heretics of the first century AD. The error of the Gnostics was so seductive that the apostle John wrote his first epistle as a direct response to their false teaching. John MacArthur made the following observations regarding the situation facing the church in 1 John:
Gnosticism (from the Greek word gnōsis [“knowledge”]) was an amalgam of various pagan, Jewish, and quasi-Christian systems of thought. Influenced by Greek philosophy (especially that of Plato), Gnosticism taught that matter was inherently evil and spirit was good. That philosophical dualism led the false teachers whom John confronted to accept some form of Christ’s deity, but to deny His humanity. He could not, according to them, have taken on a physical body, since matter was evil.  John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1–3 John (Chicago: Moody Press, 2007) 8.
But it was the Gnostics’ personal application of their dualistic views that echoes today in the efforts to separate the sinner from his sin.
The Gnostics’ philosophical dualism also caused them to be indifferent to moral values and ethical behavior. To them, the body was merely the prison in which the spirit was incarcerated. Therefore, sin committed in the body had no connection to or effect on the spirit.  1–3 John, 8.
The cliché of loving the sinner and hating the sin follows the same dualistic reasoning as Gnostic heresies—that we ought to effectively divorce the sinner from the culpability and consequences of his sin.
Worse still, it confuses and corrupts the very concept of what it means to love a sinner. True love does not demand willful ignorance. You wouldn’t simply pretend that a cancer patient was suddenly free from his disease. Nor would you ignore his affliction in hopes that it would go away on its own.
The same holds true for sinners—the most loving thing you can do for them is not to blithely ignore their sin or excuse it away, but to confront it. In other words, you cannot possibly love a sinner if you don’t also hate his sin.
Not Dualism—Dual Responsibilities
I’ll grant that the way we confront sin can vary depending on the nature of the sin and the spiritual condition of the sinner. You might need to show more gentleness with an unbeliever blinded by his own depravity than with a fellow Christian who ought to know better. And even within the church, we need to be measured and considerate with how we confront one another, yet still bold and clear enough to preserve the purity of the Body of Christ.
In fact, church discipline is an essential part of protecting the church’s purity (Matthew 18:15–20). John MacArthur, while commenting on that passage, points out:
A Christian who is not deeply concerned about bringing a fellow Christian back from his sin needs spiritual help himself. Smug indifference, not to mention self-righteous contempt, has no part in the life of a spiritual Christian, nor do sentimentality or cowardice that hide behind false humility. The spiritual Christian neither condemns nor justifies a sinning brother. His concern is for the holiness and blessing of the offending brother, the purity and integrity of the church, and the honor and glory of God.  John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 16–23 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985) 128.
In response to those who see the confrontation of sin as inherently unloving, John adds:
In the eyes of much of the world and even in the eyes of many immature believers, such action is considered unloving. But discipline given in the right way expresses the deepest kind of love, love that refuses to do nothing to rescue a brother from unrepentant sin and its consequences. Love that winks at sin or that is more concerned for superficial calm in the church than for its spiritual purity is not God’s kind of love. Love that tolerates sin is not love at all but worldly and selfish sentimentality.
To preach love apart from God’s holiness is to teach something other than God’s love. No awakening or revival of the church has ever occurred apart from strong preaching of God’s holiness and the corresponding call for believers to forsake sin and return to the Lord’s standards of purity and righteousness. No church that tolerates known sin in its membership will have spiritual growth or effective evangelism. In spite of that truth, however, such tolerance is standard in the church today-at all levels.  Matthew 16–23, 128.
Some people appeal to God’s unconditional love as if that trumps or invalidates His other attributes, most notably His wrath. But as John emphatically argues, such sentiment amounts to nothing less than a popular form of idolatry.
Belief in a God who is all love and no wrath, all grace and no justice, all forgiveness and no condemnation is idolatry (worship of a false god invented by men), and it inevitably leads to universalism-which, of course, is what many liberal churches have been preaching for generations. Salvation becomes meaningless, because sin that God overlooks does not need to be forgiven. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross becomes a travesty, because He gave His life for no redemptive purpose. Not only that, but it becomes apologetically impossible to explain the common question about why a loving God allows pain, suffering, disease, and tragedy. Removing God’s holy hatred of sin emasculates the gospel and hinders rather than helps evangelism.  Matthew 16–23, 130.
We should love sinners. We should hate sin. And we shouldn’t divide those two truths into separate categories. Our hatred of sin should manifest itself in a love that warns sinners—compassionately, but no less clearly—of the dire consequences their sin demands. Short of that, how could we ever claim to truly love them?
By Kim Olsen
Learning about SOZO occurred when I was working with a woman who was dealing with oppression and darkness. Many are deceived when they enter into a spiritual realm that they have no business delving into.
Today we easily find mysticism, false teaching, divination, abuse of spiritual gifts, and love of experience trumping the Word of God. When you fall into this area the problem is that the spirit world will deliver. Those seeking to be in the “presence of Jesus” will indeed find themselves in the company of a entity but it will not be Jesus of the Bible. Remember that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14.
Satan is the prince of darkness and well-meaning Christians will fall into the trap and deceitful workmen will also masquerade as “apostles of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:13
There are so many who love the Lord and want to serve Him with all their hearts but the way we do this is laid out in the Epistles to the church in the New Testament. We also find many warnings of false teachers in the scriptures.
When we read about Jesus as our shepherd and recognize ourselves as the flock, it must be remembered that sheep are not very smart. They need to be led. They often cannot discern the enemy among who are clothed in sheepskin but inwardly are wolves. These wolves will be found IN the church, they are among God’s people.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
The false self-claimed apostles, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Todd Bentley, John Arnott, Todd White, just to name a few, are promising that people can walk among the streets and in the power of the Holy Spirit, heal people of their diseases. Of course this speaks of the pride of man, to be just like the apostles in the book of Acts. These early men were hand selected by Jesus and therefore Apostles. Paul was the last Apostle. God does still does heal today but not like what we are seeing in these false ministries.
The sad part is the report that those seeking healing at Bethel in Redding, CA are subjected to rating their healing from 1 -10. This can only be due to the fact that they are not being healed and people are trying to glean some positive results from their man-made practices and techniques.
SOZO is found in two main ministries…Bethel in Redding and IHOP ministries but is spreading to many charismatic churches. The focus is on drawing susceptible youth and making them believe they have some special abilities other Christians are leaving on the table.
Here is a good article to get you started on research by someone who has personal experience with SOZO.
This site is also dedicated to SOZO and its false teachings.
These tools are not biblical and will actually put you into contact with an entity masquerading as Jesus. But many will accept this Jesus.
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Think new-age spirit guides (demons) and you will have a better understanding of what spiritual world is truly being contacted.
Do you think that these false teachings will not reach you or your church? Think again. What prompted me to repost this information is that on Facebook there is a woman excited to take a SOZO class in a nearby town. The comments on her post encouraged her to do so. I can longer reach this woman who blocked me because of my past warnings on other issues.
What can we do to protect ourselves? Stay in the Word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into truth. There are no shortcuts. Study the Word, pray, fellowship, be obedient to the Word, and walk in faith…not by sight.
40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags
by Kevin DeYoung
For evangelicals who lament last Friday’s Supreme Court decision, it’s been a hard few days. We aren’t asking for emotional pity, nor do I suspect many people are eager to give us any. Our pain is not sacred. Making legal and theological decisions based on what makes people feel better is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. Nevertheless, it still hurts.
There are many reasons for our lamentation, from fear that religious liberties will be taken away to worries about social ostracism and cultural marginalization. But of all the things that grieve us, perhaps what’s been most difficult is seeing some of our friends, some of our family members, and some of the folks we’ve sat next to in church giving their hearty “Amen” to a practice we still think is a sin and a decision we think is bad for our country. It’s one thing for the whole nation to throw a party we can’t in good conscience attend. It’s quite another to look around for friendly faces to remind us we’re not alone and then find that they are out there jamming on the dance floor. We thought the rainbow was God’s sign (Gen. 9:8-17).
If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, there are important questions I hope you will consider before picking up your flag and cheering on the sexual revolution. These questions aren’t meant to be snarky or merely rhetorical. They are sincere, if pointed, questions that I hope will cause my brothers and sisters with the new rainbow themed avatars to slow down and think about the flag you’re flying.
1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?
3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?
4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?
5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?
6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?
7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?
8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?
10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?
Finish this article at “The Gospel Coalition”