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I was rather surprised by a comment stating that apologetics do more harm than good  to the Christian faith. My first thought was, yes, those who do not want their views and positions analyzed against scripture dislike apologetics. False teachers say things like …..”Touch not God’s anointed,” or “Judge not”. While we cannot judge anyones salvation, we can judge what they are teaching against the Word of God. To not do so, is very dangerous indeed.

 

Here is a thought from CARM in the introduction of their site.

 

As the Christian faith is attacked more and more in schools, the media, movies, print, etc., it is vital that Christians learn why their faith is defensible, logical, and evidential.  CARM stands on the truth of God’s word and God’s truth can easily be defended just as false secular system can easily be refuted.

 

Here is the beginning of an article:

There are several reasons why we need apologetics.

The first and most obvious is because we are commanded to defend the faith:  1 Peter 3:15 says, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Second, we need apologetics because it helps Christians know their faith. This is something that is sadly lacking among believers.  Most don’t know much about their faith, let alone be able to describe the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, His physical resurrection, or even to tell the difference between justification and sanctification.  Apologetics helps to define and defend what the truth of the gospel is.

Read Entire Article HERE for all eight reasons.

I have a great deal of respect for godly leaders, teachers, and preachers who say things like , “Compare what I am saying against the Word of God. Check to see if what I claim is true. I am not infallible, but God’s Word is always truth. Interpret a verse  in context to it’s passage or chapter.”

 Acts 17:11. The Bereans listened to what Paul and Silas were preaching and they “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

Knowing God’s Word takes prayer, commitment and study on your part. These are the times when Satan knows his time is short and is he is burning the candle at both ends to deceive all of mankind, even believers. He is convincing the unbelieving world that God and sin do not even exist. Confessing Christians weak in their faith will fall away because they do not even know what their Bible  says. They do not read it!  Worse… they think that they are above being deceived.

Put on the armor of Ephesians 6. The armor is God’s truth in His Word. Do you know His Word? Do you know how to deflect the flaming arrows of the evil one? Are you prepared for battle?

There is power in God’s Word but first you must read it.  Let God speak to you through it and then actually apply the principles to your life and walk in obedient faith that God will help you conform through the Holy Spirit. This is not something that we can accomplish on our own. If you do not rely on the Holy Spirit you will not be clothed in Christ and you will fall.

There was a flyer on my door yesterday left by a Jehovah’s Witness. It contained a  statement, “Each year, Jehovah’s Witnessses mark the simple anniversary of Jesus’ death with a simple ceremony.”

JW’s deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the trinity, the deity of Jesus, and his bodily return. Are not all of these the basic biblical teachings of the Christian faith?  If you actually talked with a JW how would you fare handling scripture? Could you explain your faith and then find corresponding scripture to verify your Christian position?

Can you defend your faith to others?  If not..why not?

This is a great talk I just found on another site. Please take a few minutes to listen. How does your church compare? time (10:59)

Leaving Lakeland – A Firsthand Account

I found this article written by Mike Kirkland posted on:  http://www.darinhufford.com/article.php?id=19.  Mike went to Lakeland to get a firsthand account of what was going down.  I am posting this article for it’s very humorous, but more importantly I am posting this because it’s also a very sad article, in that it shows us what really happens at Todd Bentley’s revivals – that those who desperately need healing, leave the same way they came!

** Please note that I have edited some of the language. I understand that Mike is angry, but, there are other words we can use to express our anger.

Leaving Lakeland

by Mike Kirkland

The three o’clock traffic in downtown Lakeland wasn’t bad. I decided to ride by Lake Mirror since it was such a beautiful afternoon. The sun warmed the gentle breeze as it blew across the water where Blinky the one eyed alligator once lived and enjoyed celebrity status in the downtown area. Somewhere around here is the site of the old building where my grandmother worked. She was the first female manager in the Kress department store chain and I spent many a day hanging out here, looking for Blinky, and watching the people come and go.

This is my past. This is where I grew up. Though I have fond memories of Lakeland I also carry the scars of bad choices and negative influence. I was kicked out of Jr. High for drug possession and had been enticed into other small-time criminal activity along the way. There was good here and I had plenty of wonderful experiences; but the bad seemed to overshadow the beneficial and my parents had to make a decision for me. Leaving Lakeland changed the course of my life forever and it was difficult for me. I was fifteen and this place helped form my personality, it was my identity and my home. I didn’t like leaving and it felt like I was ripped from the only turf that provided me both trouble and a sense of belonging. Though it was a difficult transition and the pain of the change would take years to fully heal, the end result would prove life changing.

At four o’clock we decided we better hurry to the Lakeland Center so we could sit outside and wait! We wanted to make sure we got good seats and we were sure we’d be there early enough to make that happen. Mandy, the lovely but tenacious (and sometimes smug) voice of our GPS, guided us directly into the parking lot where we were elated to see that there was no charge.

It had only been a few weeks since we’d heard of Todd Bentley, and only then because of a message board post talking up a healing revival. “This guy is the real deal” they said, which made my skeptical skin crawl. I’m no stranger to this stuff having spent nearly 15 years involved in Christian worship ministry at various levels; but my perspective has changed quite a bit and having fallen off a few, I’m not so quick to jump on any wagons. But when the opportunity presented itself for me to actually see this revival first hand I had to take it.

Todd Bentley is a healing evangelist holding revival crusades all over the world. His quick rise to fame is all but miraculous, and the fact that he has garnered the support of heavy hitters like Bob Jones, Bobby Conner, Paul Cain, Rick Joyner and others, tips the scales of his charisma-cred. They’re calling it the “thing” they’ve been waiting for, the next big move of God, “this is it!” Of course, the fact that Bentley has taken full advantage of the internet to “spread the word” of his crusade instantly should be seen as no small factor in the success of the movement. One thing is for sure, whether it’s God or Google, Bentley’s Fresh Fire is catching on like… well, somethings hot.

The Lakeland Center is a fairly large venue with ample parking and open spaces. There were lots of cars in the lot but maybe a hundred or so people outside lined up at the various entrances. I noticed the handicapped spaces were filling up as well. We walked up a ramp and stopped at the first set of glass doors. There were about twenty people positioned strategically and ready to move at the first sign of the unlocking. The people seemed nice and they smiled friendly smiles welcoming us into line as the newbies. We wouldn’t be there long before we too would turn, smile, and try to make the rookies more comfortable.

Earlier in the day I told a friend that I planned on interviewing as many people as possible while waiting in line. But that proved more difficult than I imagined. What would the people think? I refused to lie about my skepticism and I certainly didn’t believe any of the hype about Bentley. But would I come across as a self-righteous ass by admitting it? Would I cause them to lose the happy feeling they seemed to be enjoying right now? I couldn’t do it. Maybe I’m a coward, but I didn’t feel good about it. So we decided to listen in on some conversations instead. We considered it eavesdropping for truth.

To our left were four middle aged ladies discussing the revival. “People have been hungry for God” said the lady with red and gray highlights. “Yes. People will crawl over one another to get to God!” said another woman. We would soon find out that she was the prophet of the group. One of the other women talked about being so overtaken with the “spirit” that she couldn’t stand up and she doesn’t remember how she drove home. I couldn’t help but wonder if God would really put lives in danger that way or was she simply embellishing? Or hell, maybe God has a special angel that helps people when they’re DWS (driving while spiritual).

Todd Bentley certainly believes in angels. In fact, he works with them all the time. One angel in particular is named Emma. She is a “mothering angel” who also made appearances to Bob Jones. Bentley says Emma put gold dust on people during one meeting which subsequently helped him bring in “thousands and thousands” of dollars. But why wouldn’t Bentley see angels? It seems perfectly natural since he also makes trips to heaven to visit the apostle Paul who lives in a cabin there. Oh, and by the way, all of you scholars who are debating over who actually wrote the book of Hebrews, Bentley said Paul claims that he co-authored the book with none other than the patriarch, Abraham. Personally, I think Paul is lying.

Two Hispanic fellows stand at the front of the line, all smiles, talking with the elderly couple and young man behind them. Three younger guys stand to our left talking smack like young guys do. One, with long stringy hair, black-rimmed glasses, shorts and flip-flops, mixed spiritual topics with various quips. His partner, dressed in all black, metrosexual, with what appeared to be fake glasses (which seemed a bit ironic at a healing revival), laughed as if on cue. My wife and I stood patiently looking, listening, but apparently not looking right in front of us because the three young guys decided to squeeze their way into our spot. I mean, they moved in front of us when we weren’t looking… praise Jesus, “on thy feet, lose thy seat”, so to speak.

Up at the front of the line I overheard the Hispanic guy explain to the elderly couple and young man about a gold tooth that appeared in “one guy’s” mouth after one of the meetings. I never understood why God, the creator of the universe would take the time to do that. And then I wondered if God would give me gold fronts like Flavor Flav, cause that would just be cool. They talked of expectations and being ready to receive whatever God had to offer. The vibe outside the venue was definitely that of expectation. I looked over at the other entrances and all over the place people were praying for each other and some were beginning to get what I call “the Cocker Shuffel”. Out of the blue they would break into Joe Cocker like movements; kind of like Tourette’s but with rhythm and the added convenience of being able to turn it off at will.

As I stood in line I began to wax nostalgic about my past. This was the town where I got saved. It was in a little place called Crystal Lake Church of the Nazarene. Sure, it was after watching a movie called “A Thief in the Night” which totally scared the shit out of me, but still, I have fond memories of that place and the people there. That’s also where I discovered I had a talent for singing and first felt “called” to somehow do that for God. I also wondered whether or not the pastor’s daughter remembers me but was jolted back to reality by my wife pointing out the fact that the four ladies had also cut in front of us. I really need to pay more attention.

Just then a hulking security guard, and by hulking I mean if the Hulk were played by Peter Griffin from The Family Guy, opened the door and the crowd surged forward. Only one door was opened. In other words, three lines of people were funneled through one door. I was quickly reminded of the earlier prophesy regarding people crawling over each other to get to God and just then three more people jumped in front of us. When it was finally my turn to breech the opening I noticed an elderly couple standing slightly to the rear and to the right of me. I saw a look of frustration sweep across their faces as they stood not knowing how to approach the situation. Immediately my years of home-training kicked in and I held the door for the old folks. They seemed appreciative and gave a slight smile as the passed by and moved through the doorway. Then another couple slipped in behind them, and another. I counted nearly 15 people rush past me while I held the door. I finally had to put my hand out toward the crowd and say “whoa! I’m not the door man people!” That created a hole just large enough for my wife and I to scoot through and enter. Once we got in we saw people running toward the corridors and we were once again separated by swarms of pushy people. Though we were very early, we weren’t ruthless enough to secure floor seating. That was left to the truly spiritual, the battle-ready, hard chargers for Jesus. We wound up second tier, stage left. But that’s okay.

A nice lady sat beside us. She was middle aged, seemed a bit stern, kind of like a librarian, one that wasn’t afraid to tell you to “shut the hell up!” She asked the typical questions: “where are you from?” and made the standard statements: “this is going to be good” etc. Turns out, she had driven twenty-two hours straight to attend a few days of the revival. She wanted to bring the “FireTM” back home to her church. She told us of how she’d been to previous “outpourings” such as Toronto and Brownsville. She asked how we liked it so far and I couldn’t help but mention our recent adventure traversing the God-Gauntlet in the lobby. She wasn’t amused but decided to relay a story about last night’s prayer time. She said that Bentley asked how many in the service were senior pastors and about a hundred raised their hands. He then said for the senior pastors and ONLY the senior pastors to come down front to receive prayer. But instead, almost a thousand people got up and rushed down front. I felt a bit of indignation come over me and I said: “wait, did Bentley stop everyone and rebuke the spirit of LYING!?!! If he didn’t, WHY NOT?” “Why are Christians such selfish jerks?” “If I would have known that’s how God rolls, I would have brought football pads and numchucks to secure my personal blessing!” I continued. I could tell I made her uncomfortable so I let my lovely and way more tactful wife talk with the nice lady while I decided to go get some food at the concession stand.

During my absence the lady recounted a story Bentley told regarding yet another angelic encounter. The angel came to him in a dream but didn’t give his name. It turns out that Bob Jones already knew about that angel and said that his name was “winds-of-change”, which, obviously suggested that Bentley was a new kind of revivalist or something (further establishing his charisma-cred). My wife said that Bentley must have channeled an Indian angel with a name like that. I said, yeah, well there was demon in the men’s room named “hey-light-a-match”. You couldn’t see him, but you knew he was there, oh yeah, he was definitely there!

I ordered two nachos, two red-bull’s and a snickers. It was $20! I made the lady at the counter tell me she loves me before I paid her. She asked why but then almost as quickly said: “Ohhhh I get it, I love you man”. When I got back I think the librarian lady had decided that we were just going to bring her down so she changed seats. It was just as well, the music was starting.

The band wasn’t bad. By the end of the first song they had most of the technical bugs worked out and even with our bad seats and poor acoustics, I liked them. But then again, I tend to cut worship bands a lot of slack. They played a song that my worship team used to play and my mind began drifting back a few years. I remembered how good it felt to cut loose and express deep seated emotions through music. I remembered the synergy shared between team members each expressing their individual creativity held together by the laws of rhythm, timing and tone. As a worship leader, my style leaned toward the “prophetic” and back then I was known for being spontaneous and spirit led. Today I’m known as a skeptic. I’m not sure when the transition began, but on some level I think I understand this stuff more deeply and better than ever before.

Part II

“I want to change”, “fill me”, “wash me”, “set me on fire.” This was the mantra shouted by the emcee, then repeated by the crowd, over and over, prior to the live feed television broadcast. The people were being hyped up and primed for the cameras. Prayers and more prayers, with lots of shouting preceded the program. This is a healing revival and according to them, it requires activating faith. “You have to expect it” stated the emcee. And the people definitely expected something.

I began my interest in stage magic and hypnotism several years ago after seeing a show in a local bar. Though I never actually engaged in the art, I studied the techniques intently and greatly enjoyed trying to figure out various tricks and illusions. One particular interest was the power of suggestion and how it relates to everyday life, especially in advertising and later in Charismatic meetings. Few people realize that hypnosis is completely voluntary and only works on willing subjects. Trickshop.com put out a book called “Mastering Hypnosis”. In it, they define hypnosis as:

“…an altered state of consciousness characterized by heightened susceptibility to suggestion. Under hypnosis, suggestions bypass the critical faculties of normal consciousness and directly enter the subconscious mind where, if accepted, they are acted upon. The deeper the level of hypnosis, the greater the subject’s suggestibility.”

“This entire process is based upon the fact that while our conscious thought processes produce inductive reasoning, our subconscious uses only deductive reasoning. Once a suggestion is accepted by the subconscious, it is automatically transformed into reality. It does not matter if the suggestion originates from an internal source (i.e. self hypnosis) or an external one (the operator). Indeed, the distinction between autosuggestion and heterosuggestion is considered to be both arbitrary and superficial.”

The speaker approached the stage with a serious look and a nervous twitch that apparently told the audience that he was about to say something important. “Seventy-five percent of what happens here is due to hunger” he said. “Are you hungry tonight?” The crowd responded loud and long; of course they’re hungry, that’s why they’re here! After several minutes and more such comments the band cranked back up.

The music was carefully selected to create an atmosphere of surrender and expectation. I’m no stranger to this sort of manipulation, but I’m not going to say it’s necessarily a bad thing either. Maybe I’m just defending the art since I’m a musician but before you stop reading, at least here me out. I would say that all music is or can be a form of meditation. At least it helps one experience a meditative state. These type worship songs are a merging of music and message which allows one to accept the suggestion and experience it emotionally. What’s wrong with that, as long as the suggestion is positive? All music does that to some degree and that’s why I still listen to Christian radio. At least I am meditating on pleasant things for the most part and not subjecting my subconscious mind to accept the rubbish produced by the various other artists such as Brad Paisley “checking his girl for ticks”, or Juvenile’s infamous “Back that a** up”. No thanks, I’ll stick to the positive message found in Christian music whether or not I describe myself as one or not. In doing so I’m making a logical and informed decision on what I allow to influence my mind. The trick is learning when and how to turn it on and off. For a brief moment, I allowed myself to relax into the music, but that would quickly change.

The speaker once again took the stage and began telling an Old Testament story where Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so that Joshua could defeat the Amalekites. He then told the crowd that they too could be like Aaron and Hur and undergird Todd Bentley by becoming a, you guessed it, “ministry partner” to financially support the revival crusade. This classic bait and switch was a bit too blatant for me. I almost called b**s** but just then they asked for twelve more volunteers to help with the offering. “Meet at the bottom of the platform, stage right” said the emcee. I immediately leapt to my feet and didn’t even have time to tell my wife where I was going; she knew. It was all the way across the arena so I sprinted down the steps, nearly busting my butt on the sticky soda stained floor but I made it to ground level in tact. Others were running too, and they beat me. I showed up at the corner, out of breath and attempting to speak. “I’m… here… to volunteer” I said but was too late. The younger, more agile guys (with football pads and numchucks) made the cut and I was turned away.

On my way back to my seat I decided to get the lay of the land. To check out the people and see if I could get a better feel for the type of crowd that was present. As I made my way around the floor seats I noticed several wheel chaired individuals, people with various infirmities and some with obvious deformities. Some were old; some were young; like this one little girl with dark hair and angelic smile. Her legs had not formed properly and they hung from the wheelchair motionless but most notable thing about her was the way she brightened up the space around her with her presence. I walked by an old man, slumped over in his chair barely moving. It looked as if he’d had a stroke or something, his wife stood behind him dutifully with rays of hope beaming from her eyes as she looked around expectantly. I saw another man walk by and I caught myself do a double-take as I noticed a large tumor protruding from the right side of his face causing his right eye, nose, and part of his mouth to be distorted by the intrusive mass. As I continued to walk, I noticed more and more chairs and people, all in some need of physical healing, all with the same gleam of hope and air of expectancy. By the time I made it back to my seat I was emotionally exhausted. My little comedic adventure of trying to volunteer was overshadowed by the notable suffering of the individuals I passed.

The emcee took the stage and delivered a monologue which I would describe as a Bentley promo. He told a story of how a group of ministers recently said that whenever Bentley came in the room, they could feel the presence of God and that they would often drop to the floor (in typical charismatic type fashion I suppose). My ears perked up at this because I felt he was laying the groundwork for what was to come later. He was literally and blatantly implanting suggestions. I predicted (not prophetically) that Bentley would use these suggestions later to create the desired effect so I quickly jotted down notes. I put myself in Bentley’s shoes and tried to read the crowd. They were not that difficult to read, it was like they were holding up a neon sign that read: “we’ll believe whatever you tell us, but just tell us SOMETHING!” And tell them he did.

A Successful hypnotic induction relies mainly on acceptance by the subconscious mind of the target. “Even under hypnosis this acceptance is not always automatic but rather relies on proper timing, repetition, and delivery. Timing is the single most important element in presenting a suggestion” says the book Mastering Hypnosis. “Always begin by suggesting what will happen, and gradually work up to reinforcing what has happened”. Bentley’s crew did a wonderful job of doing just that. They certainly don’t call it that, they call it activating faith. But the entire evening, prior to Bentley’s first appearance, has been spent on priming the pump and implanting suggestions. “Think of repetition” says the book, “as the glue that binds your timing together. It helps to ensure you maintain proper timing with regard to your suggestions. In addition, the persuasive power of suggestion tends to be cumulative in effect.” The music, the prayers, the cheering, the repetitive and monotonous nature of the songs, growing in intensity, all culminate in one thing; the arrival of the main speaker.

I see Bentley sitting on the sidelines reading a magazine. No doubt it is the Charisma Magazine article which just today published their take on the event. I thought he was about to take center stage but another man walked to the podium and asked the crowd if they were ready for testimonials. It may seem pretty innocuous to ask that question, and the guy probably didn’t mean anything by it, but it is significant nonetheless. They were responding on cue and willing to be led. He began by reading a testimonial he received via email. A man was flying into the Lakeland airport and saw an angel outside the plane. My mind immediately raced to the Twighlight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 feet” where a creature devoured the wing of the plane right in front of a passenger who subsequently went nuts. Even though this guy’s angel didn’t do anything as cool as that, I listened intently. He said the angel looked in the plane at him as if wondering to himself, “why are you in a plane?” I thought that must have been a really dumb angel. Then the man said that he looked ahead and saw thousands and thousands of angels spiraling into the city of Lakeland to attend Bentley’s event. Wow. That sounds pretty cool and the crowd seemed to enjoy it as well. I’m sure there were more skeptics at the event, but everywhere I looked I saw nodding heads. The man read other testimonials claiming various healings and such but what struck me was that there didn’t seem to be any verification process, they simply took their word for it.

As Bentley approached the podium the crowd began cheering. He’s a lot shorter than I imagined and pale, the man is very pale. Tattoos cover most of his arms, hands, and neck and his face is pierced with several metal studs. His appearance is certainly atypical and stands out from his peers. That’s about the only thing that stands apart from them though. His voice, his mannerisms, and his style all seem to mimic those who have gone before and you can definitely detect a Kathryn Kulhman-esque quality in his performance. He didn’t preach, and I’m not sure he even had a message. But he did have a point and it came through loud and clear. Todd Bentley is the next big thing. He droned on for a long time, dropping names of the charismatic superstars like John Wimber, Paul Cain, and Bobby Conner showing how they all approved of Bentley. He spoke of their long-time prophecies that called for a big revival and proceeded to insert himself as the fulfillment of that prophecy. And why shouldn’t he? Bob Jones sat directly behind him nodding in approval.

At first I was confused as to why he was pumping himself up like that but it soon became clear. It wasn’t because of healing, it was because of support. He wanted people to give to his ministry, become a “ministry partner” and help spread the word. He told stories of spreading the FreshFire revival worldwide and that even Arab countries are opening the airwaves to his ministry. He claimed that a group of Arabs attempted to hop a plane and come to Lakeland but that day terrorists shut down the Beirut airport so they called Bentley on his cell phone telling him of their predicament. I wonder how they got his cell phone number? I’m calling b**s** on that one.

Bentley went on and actually made a theological point. He claimed that God was in heaven, and that he couldn’t come down unless we tore open a hole so that he could come through. And if we tore a little hole, we would get a little bit of God, but if we tore a big hole, we would see more of his presence. It doesn’t matter that this statement has absolutely no basis in fact, reality, or even biblical theology; he said it and that’s all that matters. The people responded with cheers; maybe they were attempting to let God out of his cloudy prison, I don’t know. But the wording here is important. Bentley suggested to the crowd that they were responsible for how much of “God” they would receive. The ball was now in their court and he garnered himself a bit of plausible deniability. If nothing significant happened, then he could blame it on the small hole, if something cool happened, then all they would remember is the name Todd Bentley and that cool thing. It’s a win-win for him.

Part III

One thing I noticed about the crowd is that they all seemed to be long-time Christians of the charismatic line. Those I talked to and listened to throughout the evening had all been to several of these type events and seem to speak the same language.

My wife confided in me that when she was sixteen she attended an event with Eastman Curtis as the key-note speaker. It was a camp that lasted several days and during that time they tried their hand at the healing aspect of ministry. Several of the teens were encouraged to receive prayer for all sorts of ailments and sure enough, my wife had one that necessitated urgent and immediate prayer. Some of the girls noticed that her right ankle turned in a bit and they talked her into being the center of a prayer circle where God would be invoked to heal her ankle. She reluctantly agreed and entered the circle. Now her ankle isn’t deformed it simply rolls inward after standing for any length of time, but those folks were desperate for a restorative miracle (one where God actually fixes a physical problem). After several minutes of prayer and touching the affected body part, they asked her to stand. When she stood up her ankle was completely and utterly straight. It looked absolutely perfect. The people shouted hallelujah! Praise God! Their faith immediately went through the roof. All the while my wife never told them that this was completely normal for her and that after a few minutes standing, it would roll inward again. She said that she chickened out and allowed them to feel that they had actually done something. To do otherwise would disappoint them she said. I’m not sure it would have mattered, because people tend to only look for whatever confirms their bias and omit the rest. I can’t be too hard on her though, I had a similar experience when one of my legs was shorter than the other!

One of the elders of my church had us over for lunch after services one day. He told me that God gave him the ability to lengthen shortened limbs! I said, well, that’s cool. So he decided that he would show me. I didn’t even know I had one leg shorter than the other but sure enough, whenever he sat me down and held them up, it was true. Holy smokes! Maybe that’s why I always felt I leaned to one side! At any rate he prayed in tongues for a minute or two then said “watch this, here it comes, look, it’s growing, there it goes”… and sure enough, IT WAS! Right before my eyes I saw it grow. At least I said I did and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings because I really liked the guy. Much later I learned how to do the exact same parlor trick, without the praying and speaking in tongues. It’s a simple illusion, nothing more.

Those events led to my eventual skepticism and rejection of the Charismatic movement as a whole. If you want “success at hypnotic suggestion” states the author of Mastering Hypnosis, “You need to get it early and build slowly. With each failure you diminish the suggestibility of the subject.” I think that’s what happened to me combined with my hard-headed nature and analytical personality. Other factors that increase suggestibility include getting people to respond early to suggestion. Voluntary responses increase susceptibility to involuntary responses later on. Non-verbal suggestions such as certain repeated mannerisms, body movements, and breathing all influence the outcome. Mass suggestion is more powerful than individual. People who are in groups tend to lose inhibitions as long as the entire group is going with the flow. By this time it seemed like the entire arena was in Bentley’s grip. They were ready for what he was about to do.

Bentley began telling a story of a recent crusade in Africa. He spoke of creative miracles which are supposedly where God actually restores a body part such as an amputation. He said that these things actually happened at his crusade in Africa. I wondered to myself; why the hell does this only happen in Africa? What is so special about them that they can get documented, verifiable, bonafide miracles and we get healing of hemorrhoids? Of course, those miracles are NOT verified, documented, or proven; they are simply claimed, halfway across the world, where it is nearly impossible to actually investigate. That’s why it only happens in Africa.

Bentley then claimed that after he prayed for a creative miracle, a woman ran up on stage and ripped open her shirt to expose her breasts. He said that the woman had one of her breasts surgically removed due to cancer and that God had given her, apparently, a new set of chi-chis. I kid you not; Bentley said that this miracle was verified by those who knew her. Bentley also talked about a man who came up on stage and said that he had a creative miracle of his own, and pointed to his nether-regions. So Bentley now claims that God restored a man’s penis, which had been previously amputated. He said it, I’m just reporting it.

What I think offended my intellect most was that here Bentley had a great opportunity to actually document and verify a significant and ministry-altering, life-changing and ultimately faith building event, and he doesn’t do it. Instead he offers a theological explanation of why God did it. This again is a classic bait-and-switch! It takes the crowd’s focus off of the reality of the claim and forces it onto why God would do such a thing. Turns out, as Bentley suggests, God was showing him that it was about reproduction. And reproduction incidentally was what Bentley was all about; reproducing his ministry to as many people and places as he could. God was giving his seal of approval by symbolically, and actually, restoring reproductive organs. What more could you ask for? Well, I would ask for proof, but that’s just me.

Bentley then claimed that some 34,000 people came to his revival in Africa and had become Christians there. I would like to know how he accounts for this number since he doesn’t seem too worried about verifying the most exciting miracle since Jesus walked the earth, I’m not sure he can be trusted to show how he arrives at his numbers.

“Get ready!” said Bentley. Then he began calling out creative miracles that God wanted to perform! He used the typical shotgun approach where he called out so many different types of things, he was bound to get it right with some. He said that God was going to remove tumors, heal sexually transmitted diseases, re-grow body parts, heal erectile dysfunction and even re-grow hair. People literally ran down to the front of the auditorium and the front area filled up quickly with at least a thousand people. As I looked out over the crowd, I was amazed at how many people needed a creative miracle in their reproduction organs.

When it came time for healing testimonies; the part of the show where Bentley calls up people who have been healed throughout the service, several people vied for their spot on stage. One-by-one they sifted through and gave their testimony with Bentley ending each with his signature “BAM!” (which he totally ripped from Emeril) and an open handed push to the forehead which sent ninety-nine percent of them to the floor resulting in a quivering pile of mush. Of course, they fell ever so gingerly, never messing up their hair or sustaining a bruise but always falling in someone else’s way. To that I have some advice… If you’re going to protect your head and elbows, why not take the extra second to make sure you’re clear of the aisle? C’mon people!

A few of the testimonies stood out to me, like the woman who claimed she was healed of Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid arthritis. Or the other woman who said her doctor told her she had cysts in her arms but now they were gone. Another woman insisted that she had a golf ball sized tumor in her neck that disappeared instantly. Still another woman claimed that God healed 18 fibroid cysts in her breasts. The only consistent thing in these testimonies is lack of proof. I mean, the man I saw earlier with the large facial tumor, wasn’t among those giving testimonials. Why would God only heal occult symptoms and not obvious deformity? I’m calling b**s**. It may not be these women’s fault either; they were literally hypnotized from the outset. I am quite sure they actually believe they were healed but I am equally sure that an independent physician would not corroborate their claims. I would love to be proven wrong here. That would make me very happy indeed.

A man in a wheelchair with Multiple Sclerosis approached the stage. The staff helped him up and sat him in his chair after he hobbled up the steps. Bentley told him to get up and walk. The man slowly pushed out of his chair and stood. As the man got up he walked toward Bentley and the crowd cheered. But his gait was unsure and his legs weak, typical of MS. He was obviously struggling under the pressure. Bentley told him to remove his back brace and the man did so. It actually made him more unsteady but Bentley told him to walk nonetheless. Again the crowd cheered and Bentley took the opportunity to claim victory for the miracle. But this wasn’t a miracle, it was more likely a simple case of the crowd seeing only what they wanted to see and not questioning the information to the contrary. If the man was actually healed of MS, it would be a significant find. After that Bentley said that there is an anointing for crippled people in wheelchairs to be healed.

In a bold move Bentley called all those in wheelchairs up to the front of the stage. He said he would pray for them to be healed. Faithfully they came and lined up side by side along the front of the arena. But they never got prayed for and they never got healed. Bentley left the stage.

I noticed the older man in the wheelchair leaning forward, his wife still behind him, not smiling nearly as much now, but still hanging in there like a faithful companion. I was very close to them and wanted so much to reach down and take the man by the hand and just hang out with them but as the worship band played the crowd grew densely packed and the woman wheeled her husband slowly back to her seat.

I saw the angelic little girl, still lighting the path with her smile, head back to her seat along with all the other wheelchair faithful. They’re the ones that need the miracle. No amount of suggestion can heal them. Hypnosis cannot create body parts or even restore life to them and these folks are the evidence of that. They are also evidence that Bentley’s healing revival is merely a revival of hype with no actual substance. All of the physically impaired individuals with very real and evident medical problems were not healed. They’re still in their chairs Todd; they’re still in their chairs and you’re p****** me off.

After the cameras were turned off the real show began. Todd took a break and a guy named David Hertzog gave the offeratory. It was an hour long ridiculously lame infomercial about how people need to give more money to the revival. This guy was blatantly over the top. I can’t say enough how much I don’t like this guy. For instance, he said that if you give, you’ll get that many times in blessing. For instance, if you give three times, you’ll get three years blessing and that whether you give or not, you’ll affect the next seven years of your life, good or bad! In other words, if you don’t give money, it’s worse than breaking a mirror people! Holy smokes. Did I mention that I don’t like this guy? He also mentioned that there are angels of finance. He said that he prays to his angel of finance to bring him money from the four corners of the globe. Huh? Dude, this guy is really, really weird. No wonder they waited till the cameras were turned off to feature him.

The rest of the night was more of the same but as fatigue set in the crowd thinned and the rhetoric stopped being as affective. I was tired at this point and just wanted to leave. I forced myself to stay though, and took the opportunity to wander around the arena again. There were lots of people who seemed genuinely moved by the experience. These were self admitted ministers who were there to bring back the “Fire” to their respective towns and cities. There were those who were less elated but still somewhat pleased to be there. These were the truly crippled and I can only wonder what they must be feeling since they left the arena in exactly the same condition as when they came. Was their faith not strong enough? Does God only wish to heal obscure or hidden conditions that cannot be medically verified? Maybe God is too humble or shy and doesn’t want to call attention to himself.

Then it hit me. This revival isn’t about those who actually need healing. It’s about those who think they can be used by God to heal those who need healing. That’s where the revival is, that’s what is spreading like fire. It’s a big ole steaming pile of ego gratifying and emotional marketing without substance. What it is sure to do is fund a huge ministry to perpetuate the same. I predict (not prophesy) that they will bring in tons of cash and I also predict that not one single verifiable healing will take place; one that passes rational inquiry of a qualified medical professional.

This kind of thing will happen as long as people buy into it, lock, stock, and barrel, without subjecting it to the rational mind. As long as people continue to give their wills over to others without thinking for themselves, they will be duped.

As I walked back to my seat I saw a woman frantically running through the arena with a panicked look on her face. As she came near to me I reached out and grabbed her arm and asked “what’s wrong ma’am?” She kept moving but started crying “my baby I can’t find my baby”. I followed behind her a short ways and then her child popped out from behind a table and the woman collapsed in delight. I didn’t really have to help her but what is significant is that no one else bothered to approach her to ask. That seemed to be the capstone of the event for me. People are too spiritually self-absorbed, trying hard to get a personal and supernatural touch from God while overlooking others who could benefit from real and practical aid.

Walking to the car I noticed a young lady being lifted out of her wheelchair into a van. She’s still in the chair Todd and you’re still p****** me off.

It was around one o’clock in the morning and as we left the Lakeland Center we drove around by Lake Mirror then set out to see the old neighborhood and finally by Crystal Lake Church of the Nazarene where I said hello to the old building. It was just as I had remembered it; in fact I don’t think it changed at all, but I certainly had.

As I left Lakeland for the second time I realized that my life was once again changing. I was leaving behind a belief system that helped form my thought processes and shape my personality. I was leaving behind an identity and moving toward a future which would no doubt be full of uncertainties, hard work, and downfalls. But I knew that where I was moving would be better in the long run.

Have you ever slowly waded into a cool swimming pool? At first it seems cold, but little by little, you inch deeper and deeper into the water as your body gets used to the temperature. Before you know it you are ready to dive right in because you have become accustomed to your surroundings and it no longers feels uncomfortable. Where once there was wariness, there is now familiarity. In a pool of water where a foot was gingerly lowered, there is now splashing and frolicking.

So it is, in the case of indoctrination. To teach or accept a system of thought uncritically. These children are unknowingly being indoctrinated into Hindu philosophy, and the parents allow it. Why?… because they themselves have accepted it. 

Did you know that the Sun Salutation is a form of worshiping the Sun God?     Read Deuteronomy 17: 2-4, to find out if this practice is acceptible for a Christian.

“If a man or woman living among you…is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord…contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun..”

I think this is pretty clear. Deuteromony says these practices are “detestable” unto the Lord.

Do you know why the asanas (poses) in the Sun Salutation are to be done in a certain order?  They were created and developed over a 5,000 year period. The positions were not created to stretch the muscles or to create relaxation. The unnatural positions were created to force energy up the spine and ultimately into the brain for spiritual unification with Atman. Yoga means to yoke. To create union with Hindu gods. This is an oversimplified explanation but there is plenty of information once you get past the american pasteurized yoga versions. Here is quote from a Swami:

“your karma, your births and deaths – all which can be overcome if you enter into the substance of nature by understanding its laws, by becoming cosmic itself in essence. Towards this end, yoga takes us.”

http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/patanjali/raja_92.html  

So if you want to really learn something about yoga then wander around the above link for awhile.

Obviously, the Bible is not silent on this. We are to have nothing to do with the heathen gods of the world, or participate in their rites. Even the Hindus have expressed dismay that Christians have hijacked their practices and that Christian terminology has replaced their own.  HIndus know that their religion or philosophy cannot be removed from the practice.

Satan would never say…”Here jump into this occult pool of Hinduistic activity,” to Christians. Who would jump in?  Instead Hindu religious activities and terminologies are neutralized into language we easily accept. Exercise and relaxation. The true reason as stated earlier is to awaken a cosmic force in the body. Now you won’t hear this explanation in american gyms or yoga studios. It may well be, because the instructor is unaware of the true reasons the poses were developed.

Here is an excerpt from Yoga2U:

Kundalini, The Kundalini (kundala=coil of a rope; Kundalini=a coiled female serpent) is the divine cosmic energy. This force or energy is symbolised as a coiled and sleeping serpent lying dormant in the lowest nerve centre at the base of the spinal column, the Muladhara-chakra. This latent energy has to be aroused and made to ascend the main spinal channel, the Susumna piercing the chakras right up to the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head. Then the Yogi is in union with the Supreme Universal Soul.

 YOGA = KUNDALINI = SERPENT POWER

Now look at these children below. What are we subjecting them to?  Why are we allowing serpent power to be exposed to these precious children. How has it happened, that we have been slowing blindly ourselves to the infiltration and worship of false gods and teachings into our supposedly Christian nation? Ever since the Beatles introduced the world to Hinduism through their music, there has been an increasing comfort level and acceptance of eastern religions that was not known  here in the states.

We have allowed this by not standing up for Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us to reject other gods of the world. Are we openly doing this? Christians…are you protecting your children, grand-children, nieces, and nephews by expressing concern over these issues? 

Once someone is indoctrinated into false beliefs it is extremely difficult to help them see the truth. Once someone is used to water, they do not want to get out. They say, “Hey the water is great, come on in. What are you afraid of? The water is not cold it is wonderful.” But they have numbed themselves to the truth.

If you are involved in occult practices, stop and repent. Do not allow your children or people you care about, to be indoctrinated into eastern mysticism. When you tell other Christians that Yoga is NOT ok, you may experience anything from indifference to indignation. I often am called, ignorant, narrow-minded, ridiculous, or self-righteous. This is something you get used to. Maybe. But do not let this stop you from telling others the truth. Also, If you want to help others, pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to them. 

 

WENATCHEE — WASL testing kicked off Tuesday, and with it began a new kind of stress relief for elementary schoolkids: morning yoga

A 10-year-old girl at Lincoln Elementary requested it. Her fourth-grade teacher Tina Nicpan-Brown couldn’t say no.

“For them it gives permission to just relax and not think about anything,” Nicpan-Brown said after yoga Tuesday. “They deal with a lot of pressure between home and school, so if there’s anything I can do to take that anxiety away, I will.”

Gym lights dimmed to a soft glow Tuesday morning. Babbling creek sounds and wooden flutes flowed from a stereo in the corner.

Alexis Rodriguez, 10, stretches his back along with about 30 other students as teacher Tina Nicpan-Brown leads a yoga session at Lincoln Elementary School before school Tuesday, the first day of WASL testing. (World photo/Kathryn Stevens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Inhale into cow, feel the stretch in your belly,” Nicpan-Brown said slowly and steadily. On all fours, students let their midsections sink slightly to the floor.

“And exhale into cat.” With a breath out, they tucked into a scared-cat position, stretching their back muscles.

About 20 girls crowded the front rows, silently focused, with an occasional smile-exchange with other girls.

Six boys banded together in the back, quietly interjecting fake farts, snoring sounds and giggles.

Ana Giles, 10, helps teacher Tina Nicpan-Brown lead about 30 students from Lincoln Elementary School in yoga before the start of the schoolday Tuesday, the first day of WASL testing at the school. Ana has practiced yoga at home before, so Nicpan-Brown, her fourth-grade teacher, asked her to help demonstrate some of the poses. (World photo/Kathryn Stevens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Toe power!” Matt Kirkpatrick, 10, murmured to his buddies as he dug his toes into the mat for downward-facing dog, a basic pose that looks like a human pitch tent with hands and feet on the ground, rump in the air.

“It looks kind of funny sometimes,” Matt said after class. “We don’t have to do the hard stuff, like putting my leg behind my neck. I thought it was fun.”

Nicpan-Brown introduced her class to yoga during their studies about India this winter. They learned that Indian children practice yoga two hours a day in school. The students were intrigued.

Nicpan-Brown turned to her yoga instructor Jan Bullock, who also works as a counselor at Foothills Middle School, for advice on how to adapt it for kids. After a 45-minute yoga introduction, students later requested yoga before class tests and projects.

“They asked me if I’d be willing to do it before WASL, so I scheduled it before school so I could invite more people,” Nicpan-Brown said. She agreed to lead nine classes on WASL days for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders with parent permission.

Nicpan-Brown said many of her 9- and 10-year-olds are afraid of failure, and some believe they won’t graduate to fifth grade if they don’t pass the WASL, she said.

“(WASL) makes me nervous, like maybe I won’t pass,” said 10-year-old Alexis Rodriguez after Tuesday’s session. “I think doing yoga makes me feel relaxed so it’s not so difficult.”

For 10-year-old Chyanne Rubash, “It feels good to stretch out my muscles so I can sit down for a long time and focus on the test,” she said.

About 35 students signed up, but Nicpan-Brown expects 25 to 30 to show up on any given morning.

“I’m honored that they came and wanted to help themselves,” Nicpan-Brown said. “They were willing to get up at 6 in the morning to be here at 7:20. I’m really proud of them.”

 

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The first time i heard of Rick Warren was when that kidnapped women supposedly saved her captor. Remember this:

                                

New York Times
September 28, 2005
Celebrated Hostage Gave Crystal Meth to Captor
By EDWARD WYATT   Ashley Smith, who was held hostage in her apartment in March by the man now charged with murder in the Atlanta courthouse shootings, was hailed as a hero after she disclosed how she had persuaded her captor to surrender, partly by reading to him from the spiritual best seller “The Purpose-Driven Life.”

But in a memoir released yesterday, Ms. Smith also recounts that she gave the kidnapper some of her supply of crystal methamphetamine during her captivity and that she did not tell the police for some time afterward.

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Almost 2 years have passed since that incident. I do not know what has happened since to that women or her kidnapper but i sure know a lot more about Rick Warren. 

When i first heard of “The Purpose-Driven Life” i assumed that it was probably a good book and full of inspiration for the Christian life.  But here is what i discovered instead….

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/saddleback_church.html

by David Cloud

Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, pastored by Rick Warren, is one of the most influential churches in the world. Warren says, “This is a world class church making a world class impact.” He is right about the impact, but sadly that impact is not encouraging strict faithfulness to God’s Word. Everything about Saddleback is shallow. Truth has been boiled down to such a low common denominator that not much is left. For example, the Saddleback Statement of Faith has six simple points.

Note the following statement on salvation, which we are quoting in full: “Salvation is a gift from God to mankind. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can we be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our life by faith.”

Note that the gospel is not actually given in this statement. There is nothing about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, nothing about His shed blood and atonement. Sinners are exhorted to trust Christ but that is not explained in any sense whatsoever.God has commanded us not only to believe sound doctrine but also to earnestly contend for it (Jude 3).

That means we are to fight aggressively against that which is false. This is exactly what we see in the uncompromising ministry of the Lord’s apostles. Their epistles contain strong and clear warnings about false teaching. Paul often named the names of the false teachers. Such a ministry naturally causes divisions between those who are committed to the truth and those who are following error. Paul made no effort whatsoever to avoid doctrinal controversy.

Our day is described plainly in Bible prophecy: “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” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Rick Warren claims that he has not compromised the Word of God with his principles and methods, that he has only modernized them; but when I look into the book of Acts and the Epistles I see a different kind of Christianity, a different kind of church there, than the one that Rick Warren has devised. Thus I must reject Warren’s Purpose Driven methods and I must warn those who have an ear to hear, regardless of how small that crowd may be, that they not heed the siren call of the contemporary church growth gurus. It is fearful that this church is influencing thousands around the world.

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Have you heard of Warrens Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan?  What possibly could be wrong with wanting peace on this earth.  Well, plenty….the way Warren is planning to achieve this peace.  Wait a minute..doesn’t the Bible predicts wars and rumors of war?  Does Christ ever predict peace before his return?  Nope. Here is what P.E.A.C.E. actually stands for:

P – promoting reconciliation

E – equip leaders

A – assist the poor

C – care for the sick

E – educate the next generation

Sounds great doesn’t it?  But let’s take a look at Matthew 24:6-11 Here is what Jesus says about the signs of His return.

Mat 24:6 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these things are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all the nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”

I attended a kick-off celebration at a neighboring church who is signing on to the “40 days of Community”. The workbook i purchased from their table is subtitled, “Better Together…What on earth are we here for? A CHURCHWIDE SPIRITUAL GROWTH CAMPAIGN.” First we watched a video of Rick Warren.  The ad in the New Age section* of my local paper said he was speaking at the church, but this didn’t happen. The pastor called the video a “Rick-Fix”. Here are some of the pastors quotes:

You cannot fulfill God’s purposes by yourself.

The 40 Days of Community takes us from, me and God, to we and God.

Do this as a cell group.

We are to impress others with our love of others.

We are to focus on our relationships together.

We have the longing for belonging.

The key in interdependence.

Okay, so here we have a program that is stressing the relationships that we have with one another instead of the relationship that we have with God. On our little worksheet that was handed out to us, we learned that the “Community” is God’s answer to lonliness, getting more work done, defeat, waiting, and witnessing. 

Here is where i lost it….What is witnessing the pastor asked? “SPREADING THE LIFE MESSAGE” was the answer.

Life message? Hello….Excuse me?  What about the Gospel? Is this what Rick Warrens main thrust is. THE LIFE MESSAGE.  I am still not over this. Let’s thumb through the book.

pg. 30 ” This is your chance to choose your spiritual legacy, which will also transform your physical legacy.”

(I thought we were to do God’s will for us, that He had plan for our lives…does this mean i get to choose God’s will for me? My spiritual legacy? I have no desire for legacy. All the Glory is for God, not man…..)

pg. 44 “We is more powerful than me.”

pg. 57 “The bottom line is this: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Non-believers, like most of us, are looking for deep, true, supportive friendships.”

(Not me…i search only for Christ, He takes care of the rest)

pg 59  You’ve got to spend time with nonbelievers in order to becomes friends with them.”

( I thought we were not be friends with the world but to be separate)

There is some really good stuff in the book too. Inspirational but that’s about it…This is a book about good works.  Good works…is…er…good!… but even a non-believer can do good works, so what is the difference here? This body of good-workers support and love and pray for each other….This is absolutely wonderful…but? Okay, time to move on.. let us take a look at the Missions Projects Booklet and see what this particular church has selected. Food drive, county park clean-up, Crisis Clinic, HIV/Aids Foundation, Hospice of *****County, God’s Kitchen and Closet…OK.. again all good stuff.  BUT NO EVANGELIZING……There is NO training for evangelizing, no mention of evangelizing. 

 What is the Great Commission?  

Great Commission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Christian tradition, the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples, that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world.

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Scanning this book “Better Together”, it is very easy to pick up on questionable statements. But the rule is this.  I Corinthians 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (KJV)

This is from the King James Version. “Better Together” uses the NIV, GW, CEV, NCV, NLT, LB, Msg, TEV,GNB, NASB, NKJV, NJB, and the ESV. It must be nice to have so many versions to select from. In fact, there are thirteen versions. Then you can select the version that best matches the point you want to make. 

I applaud those who want to serve Christ and do His will, and encourage those who in His will are seeking the lost and spreading the Gospel.  But many professing Christians do not even know what the gospel message is. The Gospel is this…Jesus died and rose again, and He took our sins upon Himself. We need to repent of our sin and turn AWAY from it.  It is our faith that leads and sustains us as our santification grows in Christ.

What is Christ asking you to do for Him today? By having a relationship with the Lord, He will reveal what His specific plan is for you.  He will lead you. He will guide you. Yes, we need our brothers and sisters in  Christ, but His will be done…not our will that is created by another man’s agenda.

kim

*see https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/is-there-new-age-religion-in-your-town-just-look-in-your-newspapers-religion-section/

 

 

dsc_0009.jpg

 

 

Gnosticism, spiritual warfare

and pride. 

 

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I would like to pass on this article by Mary D. Valentine  who wrote to Discernment-Ministries.

 

 

 

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  A Rotten Apple

 

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Mary Diane Valentine, PhD

 

 

 

Thank you for your archived newsletters. These have been very helpful in discerning my own deceptions. Of course, I am concerned about others but I am cleaning up my own house.

In January 2003 I attended a meeting where James Goll was preaching and selling his teaching tapes. I did not know very much about him or the group he associated with. Charismatic Christian seemed okay to me. It was at this meeting I was asking God to show me discerning of spirits. This request has since led me through a maze of overlapping tunnels into the darkness of my own deceptions about some Christian teachings I had embraced. I didn’t know it at the time but that prayer would bring me into a light I hadn’t seen for many years.

As I questioned different spiritual happenings and teachings I had previously accepted, I aggravated a number of my Christian buddies, prayer partners for many years. These relationships had sustained me in times of struggle but also held me captive to false assumptions about the charismatic life. I lost a friend over the “gold dust.” She had this phenomenon and wanted me to accept this as something from the Lord. I hadn’t really known anyone who had this and at first thought it was all right. I studied the Scriptures and could not rationalize this to be God’s work even though it sounded so good. To my knowledge, she still has this manifestation although I sent her the biblical rationale for why this could not be God’s way. It’s been a cool relationship since. I aggravated a whole audience of Charisma devotees when I wrote a letter about the Narnia films and how I argued these to be from the dark side. Charisma disagreed. Well, I didn’t know those people so that wasn’t so bad. But I lost others along the way as well.

I don’t want to go over each situation of a deception revealed in this although I will mention the spirit of Jezebel. I’d heard these teachings for many years and it’s another popular latter rain thing. I don’t know exactly how it fits into their theological paradigm, but when I did a word study, I found no spirit of Jezebel, only behaviors. These are behaviors no Christian should desire and we should be observant if others are behaving like Jezebel. It came to me that as charismatics or Pentecostals, we should be careful what we call a spirit otherwise we will find ourselves in wrong teaching, what I later learned as the Gnostic Christian area. The search for the spirit of Jezebel and finding none helped me continue questioning. I had cast aside the generational curse thing and the binding and loosing formulas in prior years along with other skewed interpretations of Scripture. The process has been several years in the making.

It’s been since this last August that the veil on Gnosticism has really lifted. Yes, I had seen quite a bit and knew the spiritual harlotry I had been involved in but something else was not clear. That is how I found your site – I did a search on Google about spiritual warfare.

Before searching out the validity of warfare teachings, I was in a situation of trying to discover why things were not happening in my life. I reasoned it was because I was in warfare, that I was not getting my prayers answered. My spiritual friends prayed and agreed. We went into warfare for months with many manifestations and confirmations I might add.

Thinking can drive us into deception, but also lead us out. I had several nagging questions that kept coming to me. Why didn’t Paul or Peter have to pray this way to get things to happen? Why is it now we learn of this? Why aren’t people having victory if this really works?

When I started pursuing answers, it’s so obvious to me now. I had been living in the wrong paradigms here. These were Gnostic ones but I hadn’t understood what the Gnostic teachings were really about. I had been duped by the Gnostic paradigmatic world I was choosing to be in. Of course, I couldn’t see the difference then. I had on the Gnostic glasses and viewed the Gnostic Christian teachings as “the norm.” In communication theory this is called cognitive dissonance, meaning any information that contradicts what you already know or believe becomes discarded because you don’t want to be in dissonance or inner conflict with yourself. Because I was experiencing cognitive dissonance, I was not able to see how deep into the Gnosticism belief system I had gone. Although I was wearing a milder prescription of Gnostic glasses since I had seen some of the deceptive teachings, I hadn’t come totally away from the Gnostic Christians. When I got the revelation about the spiritual warfare teaching errors, the Gnostic glasses fell off entirely. I no longer experienced any cognitive dissonance in studying the deceptions surrounding this popular teaching on spiritual warfare. I no longer sense oppression like I did before and it’s such a relief to know I am not going to have to be under a condemnation over the warfare routine. And it is a routine, much like the formulas of the word-faith movement.

Your archived newsletters have helped me understand the subtleties in these false teachings. Although I had thought I had gotten rid of extra biblical teachings with regard to the Third Wave, Latter Rain group, I realized this was part of that whole rotten apple I had been eating. I still had the apple in hand when I believed I was to participate in the spiritual warfare regimen. I am reading through your archived newsletters. I have checked out other sources as well to confirm what I now see so clearly.

In closing, I offer these thoughts. My sense of the problems I had stemmed from two sources. One was a lack of a good foundation to rightly discern the gifts of the Spirit along with the Word of God and the other was my indomitable pride. I liked being puffed up with the idea that I was called for something very special. I had received many prophecies about my position in the Body of Christ. I like position; I was in the elite group. I like being elite; that was my pride showing off. I wanted to be spiritual and with the spiritual ones. More pride. I wanted insider knowledge on what God was doing. I wanted to be anointed and that was pride. I sure believed I could conquer any foe out there because God was on my side. And I wanted my own way with God. All this comes to my desire for power and I see that now. My weakness of pride was a pull, like the force of gravity, toward the Gnostic Christians. These teachings fed my weakness and desire to be elite, have power and be “in the know.” None of that sounds like a humble servant, nor was I.

To me, knowing the weakness of how I got there is equally important to understanding the false teachings. If I had not experienced the weakness problem, I doubt I would have taken one bite of the rotten apple – the latter rain teachings. For me, it’s been more than finding out truth but repenting of my pride and all the things involved in it. And I’m not afraid of saying that publicly.

In my diet of rotten apple teachings, I did not feed myself enough truth from the word of God. I ate lies, which fed my pride and not my soul. 1 Peter 4:14 gives me biblical authority over the false Gnostic teachings. “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” I now know I don’t have to go seeking the glory because it rests on me. That itself speaks volumes to my soul. Very simply, the appeal of the truths of God in the Scripture is much more comforting and freeing than any peel on that rotten apple.

                the-great-day-of-his-wrath.jpg

After being called divisive and judgmental I decided it would be a wise thing to read scripture and pray about these issues.

My study group is in Matthew right now and what passage did we talk about?  Judging Others. Matthew 7: 1-6. How timely!

First though, let’s take a look at society today.  It seems that “tolerance” is the word of the day, and that all are seeking love, peace and unity. Yes, these are fine things up to a point. My breaking point is when those yearning for love and tolerance begin to change the gospel. My breaking point is when a pastor stands on the pulpit and tells me Revelation is no longer relevant.

Judge Not. Does this mean that a Christian cannot express views or opinions? No, it does not. Does “judge not”, mean that  Christians should allow all false doctine to go unchallenged.  Absolutely not. But…we are not to judge another’s character, and we are not to condemn another. Jesus tell us that when we see a speck in our brother’s eye, to first remove the plank from our own eye. But notice He does not stop at the plank in our own eye. We have to admit our own sin and bias first, then through God’s vision, not our own, we can then proceed. Only God can judge a man’s heart. To say that one can, is indeed self-righteous. However, we are still to use discernment between what is true and false and Jesus warns of false doctine and prophets in Matthew 7, as we continue on in this chapter.

Matthew 7:13-14

What is it that we are hearing today? There are many roads to God.  Jesus warned that we are not to follow the crowd.  The crowd is headed for the wide gate and the roads to this gate are many.  Jesus tell us “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Only a few? Yes, it says only a few…This is so opposite of what we are hearing from the Latter Rain folks.  They say that there is going to be harvest of a billion souls for Christ in the end times. What? A billion? The Bible doesn’t say this. Is a billion a few?  Can you see that we have to discern the truth by what the Word of God says?  Do you think what I just proposed is divisive? It is.  It divides the truth from the lies.

 Matthew 7:15

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you as in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

Jeremiah 6:14

“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. Peace, peace, they say, when there is no peace”

Jesus is warning us against deceptions and delusions here. Not all who profess to be Christians are truly so. Jesus states that many so-called prophets are false in God’s sight.

Does Satan appear to us with a pitchfork and with flames leaping from his mouth?  No. He appears mild as a sheep, within the church, speaking calm words. False prophets minimize the sin of the people by applying a soothing balm and avoiding issues like the Wrath of God on Judgment Day.

Matthew 7:22-23

“Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

Many in the church today profess knowledge of the scripture, say biblical phrases and do works, but the Lord says some are evildoers. This really is a frightening scenerio.  How do we tell the difference from a false prophet and a true prophet?  We cannot see men’s heart like God can.  This is one reason why we cannot judge someone. So what do we do? We abstain from following the words of men.  We must study God’s word on our own and pray that truth and discernment will be given us. Also we are told to discern their fruit. So be a fruit inspector. It is biblical.

False prophets, false teachers and their followers, do not want others to use discernment…they do not want their words scrutinized. Even my words should be scrutinized and compared to the Word of God.  I don’t mind. I welcome it. I am also learning and praying for the Lord to teach and instruct me in His ways.

Matthew 7:24

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” 

Matthew 7:26

“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

This is not the entire passage but it is known as the scripture that tells us to build on the rock of Jesus Christ.  While this is very true what is overlooked is “what” Jesus is telling us to put into practice.  Jesus is definitely our foundation but He is telling us that after hearing His words we must put them into practice.  What good is the Word of God if we do not learn it, and hold it dear to our hearts? So what is our instruction?

Judge not.

Remove your sin or bias first before helping others. 

Do not follow men for they may walk the broad path to the wide gate which leads to destruction.

Beware of false prophets wearing sheeps clothing.

Watch those who appear righteous, they may be evildoers.

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Those who put these words into practice will protect themselves from destruction and deception.

Discernment is necessary in these times to recognize false teachings, apostasy, and spiritual conterfeits. We need the gifts of discernment and wisdom in these times of deception, so pray and ask the Lord for them. Committment is also needed to continuously study the Word of God and remain in prayer.

Those of us who create blogs and websites about apostasy, apologetics, heresies, discernment, or deception do so out of alarm of what we are seeing in our churches. We also do it because we love the Lord Jesus Christ. When I came back to the Lord and started going to church again, I was shocked to find out how much times had changed. Christian yoga, labryinths inside the churches, eastern meditation, no more need to bring your Bible, 10 minute sermons, quick services as to not interfere with the football game, Harry Potter books, and  messages of inspiration but never conviction or sin. It was conviction of my sin that brought me back to the Lord. When the realization hit that time was short before the return of the Lord, I knew that I would fall short and was headed for destruction.

I have heard and read so much about counterfeit spirituality lately that my head spins.  There is a false spirit being introduced into the church. It a spirit spouting love..peace..unity…light. Satan comes as a light. This same light comes from meditation. If you are experiencing joy and never any conviction of your sin, you should wonder why.

Do you possess the “attitudes of the Beatitudes”?  Do you recognize how poor in spirit we truly are? Do you mourn over your sin? Do you literally hunger and thirst for righteouness, asking Jesus to expose your sin to yourself for correction? Are you merciful to others? Are you pure in heart, seeking only the Lord and not material things? Do you promote peace as it depends on you? Are you being persecuted for Christ’s sake? These are the attributes of Gods children.

If you truly are filled with the Holy Spirit then you will no longer tolerate sin in your life.  When you read the Word of God then you will be convicted of your sin, which causes repentence.  Then you will have the freedom that is in Christ.

So am I being divisive? I want to continue to divide deception and the truth.  Am I judging others? I hope to be testing the fruit or the result of what one believes.  If you feel that I am judging you personally, please forgive me. I only want to discern the truth and I wish this for others.  God will be your judge not me.  The Day of Wrath is coming. Are you ready?

Todd Friel Interviews Doug Pagitt of the Emergent Church

 

11/17/07  UPDATE:::: I found someone who transcribed the entire interview…Read it here     http://www.robwillmann.com/blog/2008/07/10/wotm-radio-transcript-todd-friel-interviews-doug-pagitt/

A reader sent me two audio interviews of Doug Pagitt of Solomon’s Porch in Minnesota. Todd Friel is the interviewer from Way of the Master Radio. I have already posted an article about this church here: https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/solomons-porch-an-emerging-church/

I do not want to clump all emergents in one defining category or imply all their theology is like Pagitt’s but all emerging churches seem to be involved in either mysticism, contemplative spirituality, a road back to Rome, universalism, ecumenism, or adding Jesus’ name to another religion.

Please listen to these audios:

 

 

These comments are from YouTube

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Doug Pagitt is fulfilling

2 Timothy 4:3-4

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

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Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and ALL LIARS, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

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Plato? Cosmos? Dante? Reconciliation with God through the saving blood of Jesus Christ. Everyone outside of that is NOT RECONCILLED. You said it yourself Dougy Fresh!

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Wow, heresy.

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Systematic theology=taking your own views and imposing them on the Bible.
Biblical theology=reading the scriptures, with historical context in mind, and trying to figure out what is being said through it.

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Bless his heart, Todd Friel is a radio host. He did well given the extremely combative, elusive Padgitt. It’s difficult to nail down the Emergent doctrines because they are continuing to evolve.

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These comments are from the below site that also featured these two  interviews:

http://reformedvoices.blogspot.com   BTW i really like this site…..

 Anonymous said…

If I have to wander about in goat skins and starve half to death to preach out against this heresy I will this is a shame and is perverted enough to make me weep. Please hold fast to the bible. Thank you for exposing this garbage. Greg.

10/24/07 6:57 AM

Anonymous said…
Paggit is just another in a long list of heretic kooks who have no understanding of the word of God, for they have not the Holy Spirit to open their blind eyes to see, yet they proclaim to be teachers of men. Unfortunately,there are too many in the church today that are not truly born again, and are willing to swallow ANY teaching that comes down the pike. They love to have their itching ears scratched. It is also unfortunate that some seem to be so complacent and gullable, that they may as well wear a sign around their neck saying, “feed me and burp me when it’s over”. In season and out of season.

10/26/07 8:48 AM

Jason L. said…
DP didn’t surprise me one bit. One of the Po-motivators posters describes it best:”If you don’t agree with my new point of view, then it’s pretty obvious who the divisive one is”http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/posters.htmPray for the “sheeple” of these false prophets, that God would deliver them out of those places.

10/26/07 9:28 AM

Vaughan Smith said…
I think it was funny when he almost claimed Luther, Calvin, Whitfield, Spurgeon and Moody.

10/28/07 5:35 PM

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 Roger Oakland in his book “Faith Undone” says.

The emerging church movement cannot be ignored. It has the potential to reshape or redefine Christianity, as many of its leaders claim it will. 

While some say these things are comparable to those that took place during the 16th century reformation, the emerging church reformation is actually a reversal of what occurred in the past.  Rather than pointing the lost to the Word of God and out of an apostate church many are being led to dogmas, traditions, and extrabiblical experiences.

While there will be a remnant that will hold true to the Scriptures, these Bible-believing Christians will be a minority. As has always been the case throughout the history of the body of Christ, persecution and ridicule await those who refuse to accept Kingdom Now and utopian theologies, As the world prepares for the man of peace, those who hold fast to a biblical view of the end times will be seen as trouble-making oddballs and a menace to society and world government.” pgs 226-227.

Alas, the days are coming with lightning speed that the biblical church will no longer be tolerated. I beg of you…hold onto the truth as if your very life depends on it…your eternal life.

 

kim

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