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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?
“How to Try the Spirits” is from Tozer’s book, “Man, The Dwelling Place of God”, and I found it to be even more relevant today than when it was written. There are 7 sections dealing with how to test spiritual experiences by asking “How has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to:”
The Holy Scriptures
How to Try the Spirits
THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’s souls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.
Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.
Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (I Thess. 5:21) . “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1) . “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
From this it is plain not only that there shall be false spirits abroad, endangering our Christian lives, but that they may be identified and known for what they are. And of course once we become aware of their identity and learn their tricks their power to harm us is gone. “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird” (Prov. 1:17)
It is my intention to set forth here a method by which we may test the spirits and prove all things religious and moral that come to us or are brought or offered to us by anyone. And while dealing with these matters we should keep in mind that not all religious vagaries are the work of Satan. The human mind is capable of plenty of mischief without any help from the devil. Some persons have a positive genius for getting confused, and will mistake illusion for reality in broad daylight with the Bible open before them. Peter had such in mind when he wrote, “Our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:15, 16).
It is unlikely that the confirmed apostles of confusion will read what is written here or that they would profit much if they did; but there are many sensible Christians who have been led astray but are humble enough to admit their mistakes and are now ready to return unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. These may be rescued from false paths. More important still, there are undoubtedly large numbers of persons who have not left the true way but who want a rule by which they can test everything and by which they may prove the quality of Christian teaching and experience as they come in contact with them day after day throughout their busy lives. For such as these I make available here a little secret by which I have tested my own spiritual experiences and religious impulses for many years.
Briefly stated the test is this: This new doctrine, this new religious habit, this new view of truth, this new spiritual experience how has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to God, Christ, the Holy Scriptures, self, other Christians, the world and sin. By this sevenfold test we may prove everything religious and know beyond a doubt whether it is of God or not. By the fruit of the tree we know the kind of tree it is. So we have but to ask about any doctrine or experience, What is this doing to me? and we know immediately whether it is from above or from below.
1) One vital test of all religious experience is how it affects our relation to God, our concept of God and our attitude toward Him. God being who He is must always be the supreme arbiter of all things religious. The universe came into existence as a medium through which the Creator might show forth His perfections to all moral and intellectual beings: “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” (Isa. 42:8) . “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).
The health and balance of the universe require that in all things God should be magnified. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.” God acts only for His glory and whatever comes from Him must be to His own high honor. Any doctrine, any experience that serves to magnify Him is likely to be inspired by Him. Conversely, anything that veils His glory or makes Him appear less wonderful is sure to be of the flesh or the devil.
The heart of man is like a musical instrument and may be played upon by the Holy Spirit, by an evil spirit or by the spirit of man himself. Religious emotions are very much the same, no matter who the player may be. Many enjoyable feelings may be aroused within the soul by low or even idolatrous worship. The nun who kneels “breathless with adoration” before an image of the Virgin is having a genuine religious experience. She feels love, awe and reverence, all enjoyable emotions, as certainly as if she were adoring God. The mystical experiences of Hindus and Sufis cannot be brushed aside as mere pretense. Neither dare we dismiss the high religious flights of spiritists and other occultists as imagination. These may have and sometimes do have genuine encounters with something or someone beyond themselves. In the same manner Christians are sometimes led into emotional experiences that are beyond their power to comprehend. I have met such and they have inquired eagerly whether or not their experience was of God.
The big test is, What has this done to my relationship to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? If this new view of truth-this new encounter with spiritual things-has made me love God more, if it has magnified Him in my eyes, if it has purified my concept of His being and caused Him to appear more wonderful than before, then I may conclude that I have not wandered astray into the pleasant but dangerous and forbidden paths of error.
2. The next test is: How has this new experience affected my attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ? Whatever place present-day religion may give to Christ, God gives Him top place in earth and in heaven. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” spoke the voice of God from heaven concerning our Lord Jesus. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, declared: “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Again Peter said of Him, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) . The whole book of Hebrews is devoted to the idea that Christ is above all others. He is shown to be above Aaron and Moses, and even the angels are called to fall down and worship Him. Paul says that He is the image of the invisible God, that in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily and that in all things He must have the preeminence. But time would fail me to tell of the glory accorded Him by prophets, patriarchs, apostles, saints, elders, psalmists, kings and seraphim. He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. He is our hope, our life, our all and all, now and forevermore.
All this being true, it is clear that He must stand at the center of all true doctrine, all acceptable practice and all genuine Christian experience. Anything that makes Him less than God has declared Him to be is delusion pure and simple and must be rejected, no matter how delightful or how satisfying it may for the time seem to be.
Christless Christianity sounds contradictory but it exists as a real phenomenon in our day. Much that is being done in Christ’s name is false to Christ in that it is conceived by the flesh, incorporates fleshly methods, and seeks fleshly ends. Christ is mentioned from time to time in the same way and for the same reason that a self-seeking politician mentions Lincoln and the flag, to provide a sacred front for carnal activities and to deceive the simplehearted listeners. This giveaway is that Christ is not central: He is not all and in all.
Again, there are psychic experiences that thrill the seeker and lead him to believe that he has indeed met the Lord and been carried to the third heaven; but the true nature of the phenomenon is discovered later when the face of Christ begins to fade from the victim’s consciousness and he comes to depend more and more upon emotional jags as a proof of his spirituality.
If on the other hand the new experience tends to make Christ indispensable, if it takes our interest off our feeling and places it in Christ, we are on the right track. Whatever makes Christ dear to us is pretty sure to be from God.
3. Another revealing test of the soundness of religious experience is, How does it affect my attitude toward the Holy Scriptures? Did this new experience, this new view of truth, spring out of the Word of God itself or was it the result of some stimulus that lay outside the Bible? Tender-hearted Christians often become victims of strong psychological pressure applied intentionally or innocently by someone’s personal testimony, or by a colorful story told by a fervent preacher who may speak with prophetic finality but who has not checked his story with the facts nor tested the soundness of his conclusions by the Word of God.
Whatever originates outside the Scriptures should for that very reason be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them. If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in the Scriptures. “To the word and to the testimony” must always be the last and final proof.
Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with a lot of caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Over the last half-century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among the truths that were to be revealed in the last days. To be sure, say the advocates of this latter-daylight theory, Augustine did not know, Luther did not, John Knox, Wesley, Finney and Spurgeon did not understand this; but greater light has now shined upon God’s people and we of these last days have the advantage of fuller revelation. We should not question the new doctrine nor draw back from this advanced experience. The Lord is getting His Bride ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We should all yield to this new movement of the Spirit. So they tell us.
The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite. Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning. Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence. You cannot help him and he surely cannot help you.
Granted, however, that the Scriptures may not always be clear and that there are differences of interpretation among equally sincere men, this test will furnish all the proof needed of anything religious, viz., What does it do to my love for and appreciation of the Scriptures?
While true power lies not in the letter of the text but in the Spirit that inspired it, we should never underestimate the value of the letter. The text of truth has the same relation to truth as the honeycomb has to honey. One serves as a receptacle for the other. But there the analogy ends. The honey can be removed from the comb, but the Spirit of truth cannot and does not operate apart from the letter of the Holy Scriptures.
For this reason a growing acquaintance with the Holy Spirit will always mean an increasing love for the Bible. The Scriptures are in print what Christ is in person. The inspired Word is like a faithful portrait of Christ. But again the figure breaks down. Christ is in the Bible as no one can be in a mere portrait, for the Bible is a book of holy ideas and the eternal Word of the Father can and does dwell in the thought He has Himself inspired. Thoughts are things, and the thoughts of the Holy Scriptures form a lofty temple for the dwelling place of God.
From this it follows naturally that a true lover of God will be also a lover of His Word. Anything that comes to us from the God of the Word will deepen our love for the Word of God. This follows logically, but we have confirmation by a witness vastly more trustworthy than logic, viz., the concerted testimony of a great army of witnesses living and dead. These declare with one voice that their love for the Scriptures intensified as their faith mounted and their obedience became consistent and joyous.
If the new doctrine, the influence of that new teacher, the new emotional experience fills my heart with an avid hunger to meditate in the Scriptures day and night. I have every reason to believe that God has spoken to my soul and that my experience is genuine. Conversely, if my love for the Scriptures has cooled even a little, if my eagerness to eat and drink of the inspired Word has abated by as much as one degree, I should humbly admit that I have missed God’s signal somewhere and frankly backtrack until I find the true way once more.
4. Again, we can prove the quality of religious experience by its effect on the self-life.
The Holy Spirit and the fallen human self are diametrically opposed to each other. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:17). “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit . . . . Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8: 5, 7).
Before the Spirit of God can work creatively in our hearts He must condemn and slay the “flesh” within us; that is, He must have our full consent to displace our natural self with the Person of Christ. This displacement is carefully explained in Romans 6, 7,and 8. When the seeking Christian has gone through the crucifying experience described in chapters 6 and 7 he enters into the broad, free regions of chapter 8. There self is dethroned and Christ is enthroned forever.
In the light of this it is not hard to see why the Christian’s attitude toward self is such an excellent test of the validity of his religious experiences. Most of the great masters of the deeper life, such as Fenelon. Molinos, John of the Cross, Madame Guyon and a host, of others, have warned against pseudoreligious experiences that provide much carnal enjoyment but feel the flesh and puff up the heart with self-love.
A good rule is this: If this experience has served to humble me and make me little and vile in my own eyes it is of God; but if it has given me a feeling of self-satisfaction it is false and should be dismissed as emanating from self or the devil. Nothing that comes from God will minister to my pride or self-congratulation. If I am tempted to be complacent and to feel superior because I have had a remarkable vision or an advanced spiritual experience, I should go at once to my knees and repent of the whole thing. I have fallen a victim to the enemy.
5. Our relation to and our attitude toward our fellow Christians is another accurate test of religious experience.
Sometimes an earnest Christian will, after some remarkable spiritual encounter, withdraw himself from his fellow believers and develop a spirit of faultfinding. He may be honestly convinced that his experience is superior, that he is now in an advanced state of grace, and that the hoi polloi in the church where he attends are but a mixed multitude and he alone a true son of Israel. He may struggle to be patient with these religious worldlings, but his soft language and condescending smile reveal his true opinion of them-and of himself. This is a dangerous state of mind, and the more dangerous because it can justify itself by the facts. The brother has had a remarkable experience; he has received some wonderful light on the Scriptures; he has entered into a joyous land unknown to him before. And it may easily be true that the professed Christians with whom he is acquainted are worldly and dull and without spiritual enthusiasm. It is not that he is mistaken in his facts that proves him to be in error, but that his reaction to the facts is of the flesh. His new spirituality has made him less charitable.
The Lady Julian tells us in her quaint English how true Christian grace affects our attitude toward others: “For of all things the beholding and loving of the Maker maketh the soul to seem less in his own sight, and most filleth him with reverent dread and true meekness; with plenty of charity to his fellow Christians.” Any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christians may safely be written off as spurious.
The Apostle John makes love for our fellow Christians to be a test of true faith. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him” (I John 3:18, 19). Again he says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (I John 4:7, 8).
As we grow in grace we grow in love toward all God’s people. “Every one that loveth him that begot loveth him also that is begotten of him” (I John 5:1) . This means simply that if we love God we will love His children. All true Christian experience will deepen our love for other Christians.
Therefore we conclude that whatever tends to separate us in person or in heart from our fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil. And conversely, whatever causes us to love the children of God is likely to be of God. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
6. Another certain test of the source of religious experience is this: Note how it affects our relation to and our attitude toward the world.
By “the world” I do not mean, of course, the beautiful order of nature which God has created for the enjoyment of mankind. Neither do I mean the world of lost men in the sense used by our Lord when He said, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16, 17). Certainly any true touch of God in the soul will deepen our appreciation of the beauties of nature and intensify our love for the lost. I refer here to something else altogether.
Let an apostle say it for us: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:16, 17) .
This is the world by which we may test the spirits. It is the world of carnal enjoyments, of godless pleasures, of the pursuit of earthly riches and reputation and sinful happiness. It carries on without Christ, following the counsel of the ungodly and being animated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2: 2) . Its religion is a form of godliness, without power, which has a name to live but is dead. It is, in short, unregenerate human society romping on its way to hell, the exact opposite of the true Church of God, which is a society of regenerate souls going soberly but joyfully on their way to heaven.
Any real work of God in our heart will tend to unfit us for the world’s fellowship. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:140. It may be stated unequivocally that any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit. Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil and this regardless of how much purring its leaders may do about “accepting Christ” or “letting God run your business.”
7. The last test of the genuineness of Christian experience is what it does to our attitude toward sin.
The operations of grace within the heart of a believing man will turn that heart away from sin and toward holiness. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:11-13) .
I do not see how it could be plainer. The same grace that saves teaches that saved man inwardly, and its teaching is both negative and positive. Negatively it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Positively it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly right in this present world.
The man of honest heart will find no difficulty here. He has but to check his own bent to discover whether he is concerned about sin in his life more or less since the supposed work of grace was done. Anything that weakens his hatred of sin may be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour and to his own soul. Whatever makes holiness more attractive and sin more intolerable may be accepted as genuine. “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5: 4, 5).
Jesus warned, “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect.” These words describe our day too well to be coincidental. In the hope that the “elect” may profit by them I have set forth these tests. The result is in the hand of God.
|A Review Of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”
By David Cloud
The book “The Purpose Drive Life” by Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in southern California has sold more than 18 million copies and has wielded a vast influence.
Bruce Ryskamp, president of Zondervan, said, “The Purpose Driven Life is more than a bestseller; it’s become a movement.”
Over 12,000 churches from all 50 states in America and 19 countries have participated in Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose, which is drawn from the book. Over 60,000 pastors subscribe to Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox. He has provided materials and teaching to Christians in more than 117 countries on all seven continents.
Richard Bennett observes, “The movement is becoming a global empire.”
Rick Warren has been called “America’s pastor,” and it is for good reason. He is so shallow in his teaching, so positive in his approach, so slighting of repentance, so neglecting of unpopular doctrines such as hell and judgment, so tolerant of heresies, so enthusiastic of rock music, so soft-spoken on that nasty subject of worldliness, that apostate America can’t help but love him.
All of these characteristics are reflected in his best-selling book.
A FOUNDATIONAL ERROR IN WARREN’S BOOK IS THE EXTREME SHALLOWNESS AND INSUFFICIENCY OF HIS GOSPEL.
In chapter 7, “The Reason for Everything,” Warren explains to his readers how they can become a Christian.
“If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. … First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you. Second, receive. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. … Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!” (The Purpose Driven Life, pp. 58, 59).
This is one of the most superficial “gospels” I have ever seen. There is nothing here that would offend or convict the Pope or a Mormon. It’s not the gospel that was preached in the book of Acts or Romans.
For one thing, there is no clear dealing with the sin issue. Warren’s book is intended for wide distribution in society at large, and it is not enough in such a context merely to mention the word sin. The average person in North America will admit that he is not perfect and that he is a “sinner” in some sense, but he also thinks of himself as
a pretty good person. When he thinks of himself as a sinner, he does not mean what the Bible means, that he was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin (Psa. 51:5), that his heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9) and full of evil (Ecc. 9:3), that he is unrighteous and unprofitable (Rom. 3:10-11), that in his flesh dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18), and that his very righteousness is as filthy rags before a holy God (Isa. 64:6). Warren’s incredibly shallow approach allows any person who will admit that he is a sinner in any sense to pray a prayer and then think of himself as a genuine Christian, even though he might continue to deny what the Bible says about sin.
There are many other things we could expose in Warren’s gospel. There is nothing about God’s holiness and justice. There is no clear teaching on what Jesus did on the cross. There is nothing about the blood. He invites the reader to “believe on Jesus.” What Jesus? People today believe in all sorts of false christs, but Warren does not warn them of this nor does he take the time to identify the true Jesus of the Bible in any clear fashion and to distinguish Him from false ones. Just a vague “believe on Jesus” and presto you are ready to heaven.
And Warren completely ignores repentance. There is not a hint here that the sinner must repent of his sin and idolatry. This is not the gospel that Paul preached. Paul summarized his message as follows: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Warren says that he believes in the Great Commission and he mentions it in passing in The Purpose Driven Life, but he ignores repentance which is a part of the Great Commission. Christ gave the Great Commission in Luke 24:44-48 and He commanded that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” Paul boldly preached repentance to the philosophers and idolaters in Athens, and if he were alive today he would certainly preach repentance to the idolaters in America! Paul said that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30), and we can be sure that God hasn’t changed His mind.
WARREN TEACHES A SELF-ESTEEM THEOLOGY UNDER THE GUISE OF WORSHIP AND SERVICE
Though Warren professes that his teaching does not exalt man but rather exalts God and he claims that he does not teach a self help program, in reality he teaches nothing less than a Robert Schuller-style Self-Esteem theology.
Notice the following statements:
“The moment you were born into the world, God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. … It proves your worth. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep you for eternity, what great significance could you have? … Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship …You may be gifted at mechanics or mathematics or music or a thousand other skills. All these abilities can bring a smile to God’s face. …. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. … God also gains pleasure in watching you enjoy his creation. … When you are sleeping, God gazes at you with love, because you were his idea. He loves you as if you were the only person on earth” (pp. 61, 64, 74, 75).
Here worship is turned on its head by making it as much about me as about God. I am so loveable and so important and so desirable to God that whatever I do brings God pleasure and therefore is worship. Wonderful me! The self-esteem theology is more about celebrating self than dying to self, even when it talks of dying to self! Warren says that if I reject any part of myself I am denying God’s sovereignty.
What about sin and what it has done to “myself”?
Consider another statement from Warren’s popular book:
“If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross, saying, ‘I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you'” (p. 79).
Thus the cross is sanctified by the self-esteem theology so that it is about me and how the Lord couldn’t live without me. Wonderful me!
Consider another statement:
“God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering to him brings freedom, not bondage. When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is … not a boss, but a brother…” (p. 79).
The self-esteem God is dedicated to liberating me. He is not a boss! There’s nothing to fear. He’s just a Big Buddy, a Powerful Pal.
Warren quotes from Olympic runner Eric Liddell. “To give up running would be to hold him in contempt.”
Thus to deny what I am gifted at and what I like to do is to deny God. Isn’t it clever how that Warren has identified self will with God’s will so that they have become one and the same?
In fact, things I am gifted for and enjoy oftentimes come into conflict with God’s perfect will. God oftentimes calls upon an individual to give up even legitimate things for which he or she is highly gifted and qualified. Many men have given up such things when God called them to be a preacher or a missionary. Peter, James, and John gave up fishing. In the 1980s I met a Chinese man in Singapore who was a brilliant chess champion. God had saved him and called him to preach and he was preparing himself in a Bible College. He told me how that for awhile he had written a column on chess for a newspaper for extra income toward his Bible training, but he discovered that it was not possible to keep the chess moves out of his mind when he was trying to study Scripture so he gave it up entirely, though he was highly gifted at it and enjoyed it. That is true dying to self.
Note the following quotes from chapters 30 and 31 of The Purpose Driven Life which deal with finding my place in God’s will:
“Listening to your heart. The Bible uses the term heart to describe the bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections you have. Your heart represents the source of all your motivations–what you love to do and what you are about most. … Don’t ignore your interests. Consider how they might be used for God’s glory. There is a reason that you love to do these things. … How do you know when you are serving God from your heart? The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you are doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you or challenge you or check up on you. … The second characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness. Whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. … Figure out what you love to do–what God gave you a heart to do–and then do it for his glory. … What I’m able to do, God wants me to do” (pp. 237, 238, 239, 243).
Note that Warren does not warn his readers that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). What a gross, inexcusable omission! While it is true that you can trust your desires to some small extent when you are a mature Christian who is delighting in God and immersed in His Word and obeying Him (Psa. 37:4), how many of the readers of The Purpose Drive Life are in that condition? A great many of the millions of readers are doubtless complete unbelievers or nominal Christians or novices or carnal, and to teach them that what they love to do is God’s will is frightful heresy. Many are professional sports fanatics, for example. Others are rock & roll fanatics. Others are fanatics about modern fashion trends. Are they fanatic about such things because that is the way that God made them? No, they are fanatic about such things because they are conformed to the world and walk in the way of sinners (Psa. 1:1; Rom. 12:2).
There are many things that professing Christians are gifted for and effective at that are NOT God’s will!
Again we see that when Rick Warren’s theology is examined carefully it is about self fulfillment, but it is presented under the guise of worshipping and serving God.
Warren builds his self-esteem theology upon strange versions of the Bible. Consider an example:
“The Bible says, ‘Noah was a pleasure to the Lord.’ God said, ‘This guy brings me pleasure. He makes me smile” (The Purpose Driven Life, p. 69).
Warren is quoting Genesis 6:8 in the Living Bible. In fact, this verse should say, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” It has nothing to do with God getting pleasure from Noah. It has everything to do with Noah getting favor from the Lord! The Living Bible perverts this verse, turning it upon its very head. Nonetheless, since it fits Rick Warren’s theology he grabs hold of it and pretends that it is Scripture.
Consider another example of how Warren builds his self-esteem theology upon inaccurate versions of Scripture.
“The Bible says, ‘Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self'” (p. 19).
Here Warren quotes Matthew 16:25 in The Message. Actually, the verse should say, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
There is not a hint here about self help or finding your true self. The verse is not teaching about finding your self but about finding your life. What Warren quotes as Scripture is actually a prefabrication by Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message.
The Message also takes away the Lord’s solemn warning that whosoever will find his life shall lose it. This fits in perfectly with Warren’s unscriptural positivism.
WARREN SLIGHTS OVER HELL AND JUDGMENT AND THE FEAR OF GOD
The Lord Jesus Christ preached on hell frequently. There are nearly 100 references in Scripture to fearing the Lord, and God’s judgment is a never-ending theme of Scripture.
But when it comes to Rick Warren, he does not mention God’s judgment, never urges his listeners to fear the Lord, and he makes only one passing reference to hell. This is on page 37, and in the same section he quotes C.S. Lewis twice. Lewis believed that hell is a mere metaphor and a state of mind: “And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind–is, in the end, Hell” (Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 65).
Not only did the Lord Jesus Christ preach much on hell, but he preached it hot and furious.
“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).
There is no a hint of this kind of preaching in Rick Warren’s woefully inadequate ministry.
If ever there were an hour in which the people of this world need to hear hell and judgment and the fear of God preached fiery hot and powerfully plain it is this present unbelieving, mocking, blasphemous, pleasure mad, self-loving, self-content, self-righteous age, but the popular preachers won’t touch it. Too negative. Too damaging to self-esteem. Too dogmatic and intolerant. Too likely to offend and cut into the size of my audience.
WARREN PROMOTES EVERY STRANGE BIBLE VERSION
In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren uses 15 different Bible versions, including two Roman Catholic ones (The New American Bible and the New Jerusalem Bible). His favorites are the “dynamic equivalency” versions such as the Living Bible, the New Living Bible, Today’s English Version, the Contemporary English Version, and The Message. The latter seems to be his most favorite.
As a result, it is often impossible to know exactly what Scripture he is quoting because it is so strangely paraphrased and wildly inaccurate.
On page 70 Warren quotes Hebrews 11:7 from The Message.
“By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told … As a result, Noah became intimate with God.”
In the dependable King James Bible this verse says:
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
We can see that The Message adds to and takes away from the Word of God in an amazing manner. It adds the bit about Noah building a ship in the middle of dry land. It omits the fact that Noah was moved with fear. It changes “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” to “became intimate with God.”
On page 20 Warren quotes 1 Corinthians 2:7 from The Message:
“God’s wisdom … goes deep into the interior of his purposes … It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest–what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us.”
In the King James Bible this says:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.”
It is obvious that The Message is not a translation in any sense of the word; it is a presumption. It is not God’s thoughts but man’s. It is almost childish, not because it is simple but because it is ridiculous.
Warren claims to have quoted more than 1,000 Scriptures in The Purpose Driven Life, but most of the quotations are similar to the previous examples and have no right to be called Scripture.
When I visited a service at Saddleback Church in 2003, I observed that only a few people were carrying Bibles into the auditorium. The reason became clear when I saw the multiplicity of versions that were used in the preaching. It would be impossible to follow along in one’s Bible. The result is that the people do not bring their own Bibles and do not therefore carefully test the preaching. How could they, when any biblical statement they would attempt to examine has dozens of contradictory variations?
WARREN SLIGHTS SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM
The Purpose Driven Life has a page and a half dealing with baptism, but there is not a word about the mode, which is one of the most important aspects. He leaves the reader with the impression that pouring, sprinkling, or immersion is equally acceptable. Obviously it would offend many readers if he were to present a truly Scriptural position on baptism as a burial in water, but what else would a true Bible believer and a true Baptist do?
WARREN CLAIMS THAT GOD LOVES ALL KINDS OF MUSIC
In chapter 8 of The Purpose Driven Life, Warren becomes a prophet, saying:
“God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all–fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! … Christians often disagree over the style of music used in worship, passionately defending their preferred style as the most biblical or God-honoring. But there is no biblical style! … God likes variety and enjoys it all. There is no such thing as ‘Christian’ music; there are only Christian lyrics. It is the words that make a song sacred, not the tune. There are no spiritual tunes” (pp. 65, 66).
This idea that music itself is neutral and that any music can be used in the service of the Lord has opened the door for the world to come into the churches as few other things.
Though the Bible nowhere says nor even hints that God loves all kinds of music, we are to believe that he does because Rick Warren says so. His only evidence for this outrageous statement is his reasoning that since God “invented it all” he must like it all. But where is the evidence that God invented all music? Are you telling me that the devil and sinful men are not involved in the field of music? That is a ridiculous thought, seeing that the devil is called “the god of this world” and music is one of the most powerful influences among men. Sinful men have used music since Cain’s children built the first society apart from God and made musical instruments to satisfy their carnal pleasures (Genesis 4:16-21).
Styles of music are not neutral. Rock musicians have testified that they play their particular style of rhythm for the very reason that it is lascivious. Frank Zappa said: “Rock music is sex. The big beat matches the body’s rhythms” (Life, June 28, 1968). Gene Simmons says, “That’s what rock is all about–sex with a 100 megaton bomb, the beat!” (Entertainment Tonight, ABC, Dec. 10, 1987). John Oates said, “Rock ‘n’ roll is 99% sex” (Circus, Jan. 31, 1976). Patty Labelle said, “Rock and roll was something that’s hardcore, rough and wild and sweaty and wet and just loose” (Rock Facts, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Ohio). And punk rock manager Malcolm McLaren agreed, saying, “Rock ‘n’ roll is pagan and primitive, and very jungle, and that’s how it should be!” (Rock, August 1983).
Note that they are not talking merely about rock music’s lyrics and associations but also its RHYTHM! These men and women of the world believe there is such a thing as a sexy rhythmic pattern. Rapper Missy Elliot’s album, “Miss E … So Addictive,” was described by as “a seductive cocktail of quirky rhythms and hypnotic beats.”
Why do these secular rockers describe their heavily syncopated rock rhythms as sexy, primitive, seductive, rough, hardcore, naughty, loose, wild, and hypnotic? They are testifying the very opposite of Rick Warren’s philosophy; they are saying that music is not neutral and that the heavy rock & roll backbeat that can be heard on any Sunday at Saddleback Church is sensual and licentious and that is exactly why they love it.
As for the idea that there is no biblical style of music, I could not disagree more fervently. The Bible tells us exactly what type of music to sing in our churches, as follows: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Spiritual songs are not the same as unspiritual or sensual or worldly, hymns are not the same as rock music, melody is not the same as raucous repetition. Spiritual is something that is set apart from the world unto a holy God; different in character than the things of the world. The Bible gives Plain instruction about the Christian’s affiliation with worldly things, and any music that draws the child of God into fellowship with the world is to be rejected (James 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15-16). The Bible forbids the Christian to be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2). Yet the Contemporary Christian Music that Rick Warren uses in his church is nothing if not conformed to the world’s musical styles.
WARREN PROMOTES AN UNSCRIPTURAL JUDGE NOT PHILOSOPHY
The Purpose Driven Life contains extensive documentation of Rick Warren’s dangerous and unscriptural “judge not” ecumenical philosophy.
On page 164, Warren says, “God warns us over and over not to criticize, compare, or judge each other. … Whenever I judge another believer, four things instantly happen: I lose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride, I set myself to be judged by God, and I harm the fellowship of the church.”
In typical New Evangelical fashion Warren makes no distinction between judging hypocritically (which is forbidden in Matthew 7) or judging on the basis of personal preference in matters not taught in Scripture (which is forbidden in Romans 14) and judging on the basis of the Bible (which is required by God).
The child of God has an obligation to judge everything by God’s Word. The believers at Corinth were rebuked because they were careless in this regard and were tolerant of false teachers (2 Cor. 11:1-4). The Bereans, on the other hand, were commended because they carefully tested everything by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). The Bible says “he that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Cor. 2:15) and Jesus taught that we should “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). We are to judge preaching (1 Cor. 14:29) and sin in the churches (1 Cor. 5). We are to try the spirits (1 John 4:1).
To test preachers and their message carefully by God’s Word is not a matter of pride, but of wisdom and spirituality and obedience.
On page 34 of The Purpose Driven Life, Warren says: “God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him?”
If this is true, why does the Bible say so very much about doctrine and why did the apostles call for doctrinal purity on every hand? Paul instructed Timothy to allow “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). That is the very strictest stance on doctrinal purity, and it is precisely the stance we find throughout the apostolic writings. Rick Warren has a lot to answer for, because millions of people are basing their lives upon his teaching rather than upon the pure Word of God.
If God is unconcerned about doctrine, why did the apostles spend so much time warning about false doctrines and doctrines of devils? See, for example, 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Galatians 1:6-12; Philippians 3:18-21; Colossians 2:8; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 Timothy 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2; Jude 3-23.
Rick Warren requires his church members to sign a covenant promising to protect the unity of the church (The Purpose Driven Life, p. 167). This is a dangerous and unscriptural covenant. The child of God is not instructed to submit to a church or to its leaders blindly and at any cost. We are commanded to “prove all things” (1 Thess. 5:21), and all things means all things. The Bereans are exalted because they “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). No preacher or church is above being tested by God’s Word. The Bible says, “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge” (1 Cor. 14:29). Preaching is to be carefully judged by God’s Word. The pastor has God-given authority (Heb. 13:17), but it is not unquestionable authority and it is not his own authority; he is not a shepherd over his own flock; he is an undershepherd over God’s and he will give an account to the Great Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:1-4). The pastor’s authority is not in his own word; it is in God’s Word (Heb. 13:7); and if he strays from the Word of God he has no authority over God’s people and he should not be followed. Blind loyalty to a church is Popery and it is a gross heresy.
Warren even claims that “conflict is usually a sign that the focus has shifted to less important things” (p. 162).
If this were true, then the apostles and preachers in the early churches were side tracked much of the time, because they were frequently involved in doctrinal conflicts. Paul was involved in such conflicts almost continually. Many of his epistles contain lengthy sections in which he takes a stand against false teachers. In his epistles to his fellow preacher Timothy, Paul repeatedly warned about false teachers by name (1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 1:15; 2:17-18; 4:12, 14).
WARREN PROMOTES HERETICS
In keeping with his unscriptural judge not philosophy, Warren uncritically quotes from a wide variety of theological heretics, especially Roman Catholics such as Mother Teresa, Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence (Carmelite monk), John Main (Benedictine monk who believes that Christ “is not limited to Jesus of Nazareth, but remains among us in the monastic leaders, the sick, the guest, the poor”), Madame Guyon (a Roman Catholic who taught that prayer is not from the mind and does not involve thinking), John of the Cross (a pantheist who believed the mountains and forests are God).
Warren does not warn his readers that these are dangerous false teachers who held to a false gospel.
Mother Teresa and Henri Nouwen, who are quoted at least four times in The Purpose Driven Life, were universalists who believed that men can be saved apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ. When Mother Teresa died, her longtime friend and biographer Naveen Chawla said that he once asked her bluntly, “Do you convert?” She replied, “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him” (“Mother Teresa Touched other Faiths,” Associated Press, Sept. 7, 1997). Henri Nouwen said, “Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey).
Why does Rick Warren continually and non-critically promote heretics? The Bible asks, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
WARREN‘S SHALLOW ENCAPSULATIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT FAITH
On every hand Rick Warren presents his own shallow encapsulations as the true essence of biblical Christianity. For example, in chapter 39 he lists “God’s five purposes for your life.” They are (1) Love God with all your heart, (2) Love your neighbor as yourself, (3) Go and make disciples, (4) Baptize them into [a church], and (5) Teach them to do all things.
There is nothing in these “five purposes” about holiness, contending for the faith, separation from the world, separation from false teaching, reproving sin and error, and many other things that are emphasized in the New Testament Scriptures. Obviously Warren’s five purposes for life are not the sum total of God’s.
My friends, we don’t need some misguided man’s abbreviated form of Christianity; we need the “whole counsel of God” as found in the Scriptures (Acts 20:27). The Bible as a whole, not a few select parts thereof, is the sole and sufficient authority for faith and practice. The Lord Jesus Christ instructed the churches to teach “all things” rather than a few things (Mat. 28:19-20).
The Bible teaches that all Christians should grow in spiritual discernment.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
– Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB
Paul told the Thessalonians:
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NASB
While he encouraged the Thessalonians not to discount or dismiss the Holy Spirit – by despising that which was being taught as coming from God (prophecy) – Paul instructed them to test everything.
In other words, if someone preaches or teaches something that he or she claims was inspired by God, we are not to despise it – which would result in quenching the Holy Spirit.
However, we are to carefully examine that which is being taught.
Earlier, Luke called the people of Berea – where Paul and Silas had been sent to preach – “more noble-minded that those in Thessalonica,” because
they received the word with great eagerness, examining [anakrino] the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.
– Acts 17:11-12 NASB
Thus the Bereans did not quench the Spirit, but rather tested what was being taught, using Scripture as their guide.
How to grow in spiritual discernment
The only way to grow in spiritual discernment is
a) by relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit who indwells every true Christian, and
b) by stuyding God’s Word, the Bible.
These two go hand-in-hand:
The Holy Spirit
One can not expect someone who has just accepted Jesus Christ as his savior to have a full, working knowledge of Biblical theology. The Bible indicates that people come to Jesus because the Holy Spirit draws them and they respond to His invitation.
When someone accepts Jesus Christ, he becomes regenerated (born again – a new person, spiritually). Among other things, he receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which puts him at a great advantage over non-Christians. Paul puts it like this:
11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
16 For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct. – 1 Corinthians 2:11-16
The Bible provides the standard against which all teachings must be tested:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB
This reliance both on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and on God’s Written Word should keep Christians focused on God.
If Christians were to rely only on their ability to listen to the Holy Spirit, they would leave themselves open to all manner of private teachings and interpretations – without any rules by which to rest such revelations.
At the same time, it they were to rely only on their own ability to interpret and apply the Scriptures, they would leave no room for God’s guidance in revealing to them the riches of his Word.
As Christians our focus should always be on the living God, with whom we have an interactive relationship.
Relying on the discernment of others
No Christian is an island. There is much to be learned from one another, as we share the wisdom and insights God has revealed to us from His Word, by His Holy Spirit.
Sadly, though, many Christians leave the responsibility for discernment almost completely up to others. Their guidance comes primarily from televangelists, authors (and, more often than not, their ghost writers), their pastors, or their favorite websites.
That’s like being spoon-fed by someone else – marking one as an infant, rather than as a mature Christian:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
– Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB
By all means, let’s learn from one another – eagerly receiving the word, while also examining everything carefully.
Discernment as a spiritual gift
Christians who believe that the Spiritual Gifts are still available today, see the gift of “distinguishing between spirits” (discerning whether they are human, from God, or demonic), to be a special form of discernment (revealed, instead of learned):
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
– 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, NASB
This article taken from Apologetics Index
What is it, that is so compelling to people looking for God, that they are drawn to the new age mysticism cloaked in Christian terminology?
I can surmise by my own experience. I came back to the Lord about 5 years ago and found that the churches have changed drastically. I remember as a young girl, clutching my bible in Sunday school and then listening to the congregation leaf through the pages of their bibles searching for the scripture the pastor was preaching about. But hey…we don’t need to bring our bibles anymore. Everything we need to know is printed right on the bulletin. How does one know that the truth is being taught when bibles are no longer required at services? What a dangerous situation this presents to the congregation.
Does anyone remember the days when followers of Christ lived lives of holy surrender to his will, and let the filling of the Holy Spirit guide, comfort, strengthen, and convict them? It is no wonder that there are people starving and thirsting for God because he is no longer found in many churches.
So what is being presented today? What is the New Age gospel? What is the new mysticism that is being promoted in many churches today? Those who who no longer attend church are finding their search for God in the bookstores. Unfortunately, the New Age section and the Religion section are now being blended together.
I went to the Blue Letter Bible and searched for the word “mystery” in the KJV version and came up with 22 verses in the New Testament.
Many of these verses have Paul explaining the mystery being revealed of the Gentiles being included in the Kingdom of God, and there is the mystery of the changing of our bodies from mortal to immortal at the rapture, and then the mysteries of the end-times in Revelation.
I would like to start by focusing first on:
Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
What is the mystery of his will? Verses 8-10 is a wonderful passage that is telling us that we need His wisdom and understanding to know His will. How is it given? The believer is given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gifts we receive are spiritual wisdom and discernment. To those who do not walk in the Holy Spirit these are hard concepts to grasp.Wisdom to know what God’s will is for you and His will for the universe is given those who are in Christ.
Colossians 1:26-27 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Verse 27 is relating again to the Gentiles, but take a close look at this “But now is made manifest to his saints”. What does this mean? It means that there is “NO BIG SECRET” to be revealed only to a few or the elite. The problem of Gnosticism is again being addressed here. There is no secret knowledge because God is making himself known to those who are in Him. There is no secret way to discover God’s will, there are no secrets that can be obtained outside of his Word. The truth of God’s word is available for all to discover if they are truly seeking Him. The mystery is an open secret, but the truths remain impossible mysteries for those who are unbelievers.
This is why many are seeking alternate methods to find God. They cannot relate to the truth of the Bible, so one then has to find spirituality by other means. There are other methods easily available to those who seeking an easier way to God other than repentance and total committment to turning away from sin. People like their sin. They like thought processes that downplay its eternal significance. Using mysticism itself as a method to locate God is dangerous. The are two spirit worlds. If you are looking outside of the Bible and its precious word to find God…you will instead find the counterfeit. The counterfeit spirit downplays sin and minimizes it. Doesn’t this sound like the seeker friendly churches we are seeing today?
Let’s go on to:
Ephesians 3: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery
Ephesians 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see that what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Here Paul tells how the church is made one in Christ and explains that this was not previously revealed. God gave this revelation to Paul. This mystery was hidden in the past, and now is revealed by Paul to all. This message was also prophesied in the Old Testament even though the prophets did not understand the mystery was to include Jew and Gentiles alike. The church is a glorious example of faith in Jesus Christ as we await His second coming. As time goes on, the church will become more hated and ridiculed for not conforming to the world and its universal religious system being implemented today. This system is found in the form of seeking the “secret knowledge”. How this appeals to our pride, that we have found some secret knowledge available only to a few. The truth is that the knowledge of God is actually open and available to all believers.
Oh how Satan lies…the lies never change. You can be as God. You can find God within. You are God.
Why do people search for truth within themselves? There is nothing good in us and our hearts are corrupt.
Romans 7:18 For i know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth not good thing:
How is it that those involved in the contemplative prayer movement can condone the thought of “going within” to find Jesus? If we go “within”, we will find instead that our fleshy desires produce nothing good.
Let me ask you..are you so steeped in the Word of God that you would recognize a counterfeit gospel? If someone said to you…come join our group we have found a new way to Jesus, would you be wary of this approach? What about methods of worship or prayer..if someone said to you..pray the word Jesus over and over again till your mind becomes a blank… would you do it?
Many of these methods offer a mystical way to Jesus…One has to remember that there will be false prophets and false spirits posing as Jesus.
I Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
We can know without controversy, there is no doubt, we all can know and understand, that godliness comes from Jesus Christ who came to us in the flesh, whose power came from the Holy Spirit is now at the right hand of God. Only through Jesus can we find godliness. We have no righteousness of our own.
So is this a mystery to you? We will never know all the mysteries of God or the universe while we are here on this earth, but we can know what God has revealed to us in His Word, and through the leadings of the Holy Spirit. We all have a purpose here on this earth. God will reveal to you the mystery of His will to you. It takes prayer, reading His Word daily, and a giving up of what it is that WE want to do. By taking up the cross daily and relenting our will to His, the mystery of God, is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
Pray daily for discernment, wisdom and that the Lord will keep you alert to the sheep in wolves clothing and hidden in His deep truths of the faith.
This is a great article that I took from this site. Find it Here
The Strong Delusion of God
The Strong Delusion is coming; the strong delusion will be sent by God, and the strong delusion will be directed not only at those of the world that are lost in their sins, but specifically at all lukewarm, undecided, and corrupt Christians…
2Thesalonians 2:11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie
2Thesalonians 2:12: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Webster’s definition of “unrighteous”:
evil, guilty, immoral, unholy, unjust, sinful, unworthy, wicked
Author’s note: As I write this to you, I’m trying to be succinct, but my fear for you and for others, as well as for myself, is great and I may reiterate often in an attempt to wake us all from our spiritual slumber.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
My sole purpose in writing to you is to bear witness of the seriousness of this issue. We must not take our salvation for granted, but should work it out before God in fear and trembling.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Not all will be saved that claim to be Christians.
Consider: Are you secure in your walk with the Lord or are you basing your trust of your salvation in corrupted Biblical teaching under a false prophet? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus, or are you dependent upon your pastor or priest to get you into heaven?
Christ has stated that many will come before His Throne of Judgment believing they were saved, even holding up that they had cast out demons and healed the sick, all in His name, yet He will deliver to them the most feared of all rebukes possible; “I NEVER knew you, depart from me”.
Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
Why would God send a Strong Delusion upon the world?
Because lost (unsaved) people of the earth including those that claim to be Christians “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2:7-12
God will send the strong delusion on those among us that are guilty of not accepting the truth of His Holy Word found within the Old and New Testament Bible. Their guilt also lies in their accepting and following after the unrighteous teachings perpetrated by false prophets within the Christian church.
These false prophets are controlled by seducing spirits; and while working under the guise of end times preachers, pastors, teachers, elders, and church laymen they are preaching, teaching and promoting doctrines of devils.
1st Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some (Christians) shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
To clarify; the strong delusion will not be sent by God solely because of the actions of the false prophets, or due only to the blasphemous content of their false teachings, but also the strong delusion will be sent upon those that claim to be Christian and are proven apostate due to their acceptance of ungodly teaching. The Strong Delusion will be sent upon the false teachers and those that believe them.
Why will lukewarm Christians be included in the strong delusion curse from God?
Those that claim to be Christians have been given much in the teaching and knowledge of God.
Luke 12:48 For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..
Lukewarm and undecided Christians are denying the deity of Christ by not bowing to His authority in all issues of life. They are not obeying the teachings of God in His Holy Word, but instead are following after false prophets that teach a new and corrupted gospel.
Does God’s Word speak to the issue of undecided and lukewarm Christians?
Yes, Jesus states He will be disgusted with lukewarm Christians to the degree He will be nauseated by their presence.
Revelation 3:15 I know your works, that you art neither cold nor hot…
Revelation 3:16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Can Christians that profess to know the Holy God of the Bible be lost due to their wrong interpretation of scripture?
Yes. God has only one true interpretive meaning in His Holy Word. It cannot be rightfully interpreted and taught by false prophets that are under the influence of seducing spirits, nor can it be correctly espoused by Christians that have no personal walk or relationship with Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Is there punishment for Christians that do not OBEY the gospel of Jesus Christ?
2Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 2Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ Why will atheists, those that say they do not believe in God, be cursed?
There is no denying God’s existence, for everything seen and unseen speaks of the majesty of His existence through His Creation. Those that deny that God exists do so solely in rebellion and refusal to accept His Kingship. They choose to deny their true King rightful authority over their lives. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…Luke 12:9 But he that denies me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
What is the “LIE” that God’s Strong Delusion will cause people to believe?First recognize that the “lie” is NOT a lie spoken or sent by God. Also, do not confuse the “lie” with the “strong delusion”, they are two entirely different things, however, combined they will become a curse on the lost and also on the lukewarm in the Christian churches. The false doctrine being taught within the Christian churches today is the “lie” .
2Thesalonians 2:11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie
The “strong delusion” is God’s curse upon both those that teach the false doctrine lie and those that believe the false doctrine lie. The Warning of Jesus Jesus has warned emphatically that God will be so displeased with people during the last days that He will cause them to believe a lie in order that they may be cursed. Consider: Is God speaking of sending a strong delusion on only those that are lost due to their having not accepted Jesus as their Messiah or is this warning for all people, including lukewarm Christians? Some of you may think the strong delusion is meant only for unbelievers and will not effect “Christians”. If that is the case, then answer this; why would God need another (additional) reason to condemn those that are already condemned due to their not accepting His only begotten Son?
“He that believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18
Are there really False Prophets teaching a ‘lie” within the end-time Christian churches?
Yes, so much so that Jesus made a point of warning the disciples (and us) regarding them. When speaking of false prophets, Jesus was not referring to the common deceptions of the world that would mislead the lost through out history. He was specifically warning His Christian disciples, and us as His Christian followers, to beware of False Prophets within the Christian church family.
Seducers versus persecutors:Jesus was warning us that seducers in our midst are of much more danger to the church (then and now) than are the open and obvious persecutors. Jesus foresaw the false teachers (seducers) that would be embedded within our Christian churches today.
Who are the seducers within the Christian church today?The seducers in the Christian church today are those that have gained good reputation, perhaps through pseudo Biblical teachings, but afterward, having betrayed the Holy Word of Jesus entrusted to them, have turned away from the Truth entirely. Under the prompting of evil spirits these seducers have now begun teaching heresy and error compounded; of which Jesus said are “doctrines of devils”. Ignoring the clear scriptural warning of being cursed for adding to or taking away from God’s Holy Word, today’s false prophets are foolishly, and to their own eternal destruction, teaching a new and different gospelStop for a moment and consider this; Do you realize that God’s Word says there WILL be Christians leaving the true teaching of God and accepting the teaching of evil spirits. If the dawning reality of that is not enough to make you fall on your knees pleading God’s mercy in fear of this becoming your own fate, now consider that God also says that “doctrines of devils” will be taught in the end time Christian churches? Is your Church allowing doctrines of devils to be taught?
Doctrine: A belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some
Devils: Spirits of evil and adversaries of God; tempters of mankind; masters of Hell
Who are those that are teaching the Doctrines of Devils being taught in Christian churches today?
The seducing laymen, teachers, prophets, elders, deacons, and pastors that have compromised, omitted, changed, added to, and intentionally wrongly interpreted the Word of God to accommodate the cultural standards and desires of the lost people of today are teaching False Doctrines that God calls Doctrines of Devils.Do you know what is considered to be a doctrine of a devil according to God’s Word?
Examples given of doctrines of devils being taught in today’s churches include (but certainly are not limited to) the following;
Where as God’s Word calls an evil act done by man as being sin, false prophets within today’s Christian churches call this same sin good and acceptable.. Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.
Where as God states that He is God and there is no other god beside Him. The false prophets today teach that we are ALL gods. Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God
. Where as God says that if we pray we shall receive that which is in His Will, these seducing false prophets now teach that we are capable of receiving anything we desire regardless of God’s will, merely through our OWN will power. 1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:
Where as God states that we are to seek first the kingdom of heaven and then all things needed for our care on earth will be given to us. The seducers among us teach that we should first seek after material gain, wealth, and prosperity, and of course give them a good share of it. 1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Where as Christ said that no man can come to the Father, but through Him, and that God draws mankind through Jesus that we may be purified of our sins before approaching God. Today’s seducers teach that there are many ways to God.John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. Where as God demands that we honor and worship Him and Him only, the seducers in the Christian churches today demand that we honor and even worship them and our fellow man instead. Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator
Where as God says that effeminate and homosexual men are an abomination to Him, many of today’s ministers teach that homosexuals and effeminates are NOT sinning and that God will go against His own Word and bless them anyway because He is a “God of Love’. 1Corinthians 6:9-10 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Jesus speaking of the signs and wonders that will deceive the end times Christians:
“Even him (anti-Christ), who’s coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”
Christ Jesus warned us in Mathew 24 that the “him” that shall rise up is the anti-Christ, and will do so with direct empowerment from Satan, and will show great signs and lying wonders that will be so grand and spectacular as to fool many.
The great signs and wonders being done by the false prophets are not true miracles, but are instead, “LYING wonders empowered by Satan, and are NOT miracles empowered by God.
These false prophets take advantage of men’s lack of knowledge regarding God’s Holy Word.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
Surely, if men had read God’s warnings in the Bible they would recognize these false prophets spoken of in end time’s prophecies. But, sadly, yet it is their due; they are capable of being deceived by falsehood, trickery, magic, lies, their own arrogance, and other deceptions sent on the world by Satan through seducing spirits.
For us as true Christians, that is, those of us whom have asked with a broken and contrite heart for God to forgive us in the name of Jesus, we must also pray that God would protect and keep us from the great lie that Satan is now inflicting on the world. Pray that our God would not send the strong delusion upon us.
Will lukewarm Christians accept the anti-Christ as being Jesus? Yes.
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
2Thessalonian 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Because they did not receive the love of the TRUTH; the TRUTH being that Jesus is the ONLY way to God and is the true Savior, Lord, King, and Ruler over all creation here on earth, God is sending a Strong Delusion to curse them in order that those that accept the lie shall remain in their sins.
A Clear Warning
If you are lost in your sins without the freely offered salvation of Jesus at the time of the rise of anti-Christ you will remain lost. If you are a lukewarm, undecided, corrupt Christian that has not accepted Jesus Christ as your ONLY means of forgiveness before God, then you will receive the strong delusion from God Himself and be cursed.
God has given you the opportunity to repent today; if you refuse you will remain in your sins when the anti-Christ comes. If you believe you will recognize the anti-Christ and will not accept him as the false messiah, God’s Word says otherwise. God states clearly that because they would not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, HE WILL cause them to believe the lie.
Never before in the history of the world has there been a time of prophetic fulfillment such as this. Today all of the final prophecies of Bible Scripture are coming to complete fulfillment quickly and with an exactness of accuracy that is astounding. As a Holy Spirit filled Christian with “eyes to see and ears to hear”, I am in awe at the exponential rapidity toward completion in which God is bringing about these promised end time events.
It is absolutely imperative that you accept Christ as your Savior, your Lord, your King, and your Ruler now. Do not make the mistake to think you will be “raptured” out of the world before the tribulation, or that you can wait until tribulation begins and then decide to bow your knee to Jesus as King. For those of you that are undecided (lukewarm), make up your mind quickly; repent of your sins before God almighty now, today, and do not wait for tomorrow. God will soon send a strong delusion upon the people of this world. Are you foolish enough to think that God will fail to do that which He has promised?
Prepare yourself to not be deceived; follow the teaching of God’s Holy Word written in the Old and New Testament Bibles. Read His Word for yourself and pray that He would show you His truth as He meant it to be. Turn away from the lying false prophets that are within many of the corrupt churches today. Seek God our Creator through Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus alone. Do not seek after wealth, materialism, and prosperity. Seek God in truth and spirit. Do not seek after power, self worship, and attention to yourself. Do not seek self gratification of perverse and ungodly desires by living your life vicariously through actors, musicians, the wealthy, sports icons, politicians, or your pastor. Hold no man or woman up as being worthy of your attention-turned-worship. Heed the Word of God Almighty ONLY.
Old Testament prophecy of God’s wrath on unbelievers:
Isaiah 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
May God have mercy on us all.
A brother in Christ Jesus,
Barry L. Brumfield
“FAITH UNDONE” by Roger Oakland
the emerging church…a new formation or an end-time deception
One would be hard-pressed to find a more complete description of the various end-time deceptions currently exploding in our churches in one single paperback book. Roger has accomplished this feat in “Faith Undone”.
Why is his book so relevant today? Consider this statement. “In the near future, Christians of every denomination will have to decide whether to support or reject the spirituality behind the emerging church.”
Here are some of the topics he covers in his 13 chapters.
- Emerging Spirituality
- Contemplative Spirituality
- The “Eucharistic” Christ
- Purpose Driven Ecumenism
- The Kingdom of God on Earth
- The New Reformation
From Chapter 1 – A New Kind of Church
“It is not the ambience of the emerging church that causes me to write this book. It is the theological underpinnings….But is this ‘new reformation’ actually the way God has instructed us to go?… A new form of Christianity will replace faith with a faith that says man can find his own path to God and create a perfect kingdom of God here on the earth. The Word will become secondary to a system of works and rituals driven by ancient mystical practices.” (pp. 12-13)
This last sentence “The Word will become secondary to a system of works and rituals driven by ancient mystical practices”, is so very true of every deceptive practice being introduced into the church and the world today. This falls in line with occultist Alice Bailey who said “the teachings of the East and of the West must be fused and blended before the true and universal religion could appear on earth”.* When the church embraces occult teachings, we have to come to our senses and take notice of what is happening right in front of our eyes. The Bible warns of this deception but people do not want to listen.
Roger also says:
“This book does not attempt to identify every key player in the emerging church movement. There are too many…my objective is not to attack individuals but rather to unveil a belief system. Thus, this is not a book out to get the bad guys. On the contrary, it is a book that seeks to rescue those involved with the emerging church and countless others heading in that direction.”
“In the near future, Christians of every denomination will have to decide whether to support or reject the spirituality behind the emerging church. If the emerging church continues unfolding at its present pace, mainstream evangelical Christianity will be restructured so that the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ will be considered too narrow and too restrictive.” (p.20)
This is happening this very instant and many are totally unaware. This is why Roger’s book is so important. Let’s take a look at some of his other findings. This is from Chapter 6, When West Meets East.
“In the early ’80s, I became aware of a major shift in thinking that was sweeping the Western world. Religious pagan practices of the past, once relegated to a world of darkness, were now being embraced as the ways and means of ushering in an age of enlightenment….Every method and therapy imaginable imported from Hinduism, Buddhism and every form of Eastern mysticism suddenly was in vogue. The age of enlightenment had arrived, we were told.” (p.93)
This cannot be more true. Think back even farther when the Beatles swept in from England in the mid 60’s. They themselves delved into Hinduism and Transcendental Meditation because of George Harrison’s fascination with the East. The baby-boomers of today are already familiar with these practices so it is no wonder that it is not a stretch for them to readily accept yoga and meditation into their life. What does Roger have to say about this?
“Today it is becoming increasingly common to hear about churches promoting Christian yoga or Christian leaders suggesting the best way to enhance one’s prayer life is by getting in tune with God through repeating a mantra. What was once described as New Age and occultic is acceptable now in some Christian circles. ”
“Anyone who cares to do the research will find that yoga and its connection to Eastern religion remains the same. Linking oneself with the universal energy is still its goal. A Christian can believe that yoga is for health and well being if he or she wants, but the facts have not changed.”
“Can a Christian incorporate Hindu spiritual practices in order to get closer to the Jesus Christ of the Bible?” (pp. 94,96)
Roger goes on to explain why the answer to this question is NO. But you will have the read the book for the remaining argument. Let’s go on to Rick Warren and some of his extraordinary quotes found in Chapter 9, The Kingdom Of God On Earth.
“Rick Warren’s reformation, which will bring in the Kingdom of God through global cooperation for a common cause, will include Catholics, Muslims, and homosexuals – a combination hardly similar to the 16th century reformation…Rick Warren believes that God has shown him not only the boundaries (or lack of them) of this coming global kingdom, but also the strategy to bring it about. Before Warren came up with the plan, he says he asked Jesus to show him how to reach the world. He explains:” (p.149) (Warren’s comments in red)
RW “Then I said, ‘How did You do it? You wouldn’t have left us without a strategy.’ And I found the answer in a passage in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 where Jesus sends His first followers out…He says, ‘When you go into a village, you find the man of peace in every village, in every government, in every business, in every church.* The man of peace does not have to be a Christian believer. Could be Muslim. Could be Jewish. Because when Jesus said, ‘Find the man of peace, there were no Christians yet. Jesus hadn’t died on the cross. There was no resurrection. He’s just saying, go out and find somebody to work with.” (pp. 149-150)
“Jesus did not say they were to look for a man of peace of every town, Rather he said ‘whatsoever city or town ye shall enter , enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go hence” (Matthew 10:11)…it is important to realize that the criterion for staying in a house was not the greeting of peace itself but whether those in that house received their message.
“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)
“Let me speak very boldly here: if we are going to link hands with those who believe in another gospel or no gospel at all for the sake of establishing an earthly, unified kingdom, we will not be building the kingdom of God.” (p.151)
RW “I stand before you confidently right now and say to you that God is going to use you to change the world…I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are telling God they will do whatever it takes to establish God’s Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ What will happen if the followers of Jesus say to Him, ‘We are yours’? What kind of spiritual awakening will occur?” (p. 153)
“What does Warren mean by ‘whatever it takes’?
I am going to advance to Chapter 12, A New Reformation, for the next Rick Warren quote.
“In an article written by Rick Warren, “What Do You Do When Your Church Hits a Plateau?”, Warren told pastors and church leaders not to be discouraged about slow change in their churches. He told them it would take time…and in many cases, it would take these resisters either leaving the church or simply dying. Warren exhorts:” (p.204)
RW “If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it’s been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it has been plateaued for 20 years, you’ve got to set in for the duration. I’m saying people are going to have to die or leave. Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but it’s true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.” (p.205)
“By making statements like this, Rick Warren marginalized those who won’t go along with the new reformation that he is hoping for. While Warren doesn’t say that people should kill them, he does say that God may have to end their lives, just like when ‘God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land.'” (p.205)
These are frightening statements and I am sick of Rick but he will have to be dealt with. There is so much more in “Faith Undone”, like Warren telling his followers that the details of Christ’s return are none of our business, (I can’t tell you everything!), but we must move on to the emergents.
There are so many involved in the emergent movement that one needs to go to www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com or http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/ to check out all the names, but Roger gives much attention to Brian McLaren. (blue comment) McLaren was named one of the country’s top 25 “Most Influential Evangelicals” in 2005 by Time magazine.
“In an interview, Brian McLaren questioned the idea of God sending His Son to a violent death, calling it “false advertising for God”:
BL “One of the huge problems is the traditional understanding of hell. Because if the cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching then-I won’t say, the only, and I certainly won’t say the primary–but a primary meaning of the cross is that the kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world, by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing, voluntary sacrifice. But in an ironic way, the doctine of hell basically says, no, that’s not really true. That in the end, God gets His way through coercion and violence and intimidation and domination, just like every other kingdom does. The cross isn’t the center then. The cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”
“What an extraordinary example of faith under attack and the consequences of thinking outside the box. If McLaren is right, all those who have ever lived and believed in Christ’s atonement have been misled and wrong. McLaren has taken the freedom to to reconstruct what faith means by distorting the Scripture, or worse yet, saying the opposite of what the inspired Word of God says. This is blasphemy!” (pp.192-193)
I have resisted taking the final comment from Roger’s book from the last chapter, Or An Endtime Deception, even though there are many gems to pick from, and have selected this from p.217
“The emergent reformation, when it comes to fruition, will stand on the side of the line drawn in the sand that says all humanity is One–regardless of religion, beliefs–we are all One. That One-ness will mean one with all creation too, and inevitably with God. This is what the New Age movement is striving for–a time when all of mankind will realize both their unity and divinity–and the Gospel as we know it, according to Scripture, will be no more.”
Others mentioned in the book – Alice Bailey, Rob Bell, Ken Blanchard, Marcus Borg, Bob Buford, Tony Campolo, Peter Drucker, Richard Foster, Matthew Fox, Thomas Keating, Dan Kimball, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Erwin McManus, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Doug Pagitt, Leonard Sweet, and Robert Webber among others.
How is it that this one book can cover so many names and issues? It is because they are all related and together they have one goal and purpose in mind, which is Faith Undone, a must read for every Christian.
Order this book at Lighthouse Trails Publishing.
* Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy p.280
* Government, business, church is Druckers 3-legged stool.
“Oprah and Friends” To Teach Course on New Age Christ
By Warren Smith
Oprah Winfrey will be letting out all the stops on her XM Satellite Radio program this coming year. Beginning January 1, 2008, “Oprah & Friends” will offer a year-long course on the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles .1 A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons from the Course in Miracles “Workbook.” For example, Lesson #29 asks you to go through your day affirming that “God is in everything I see.”2 Lesson #61 tells each person to repeat the affirmation “I am the light of the world.” 3 Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe “My salvation comes from me.”4
By the end of the year, “Oprah & Friends” listeners will have completed all of the lessons laid out in the Course in Miracles Workbook. Those who finish the Course will have a wholly redefined spiritual mindset — a New Age worldview that includes the belief that there is no sin, no evil, no devil, and that God is “in” everyone and everything. A Course in Miracles teaches its students to rethink everything they believe about God and life. The Course Workbook bluntly states: “This is a course in mind training”5 and is dedicated to “thought reversal.”6
Teaching A Course in Miracles will be Oprah’s longtime friend and special XM Satellite Radio reporter Marianne Williamson, who also happens to be one of today’s premier New Age leaders. She and Conversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch co-founded the American Renaissance Alliance in 1997, that later became the Global Renaissance Alliance of New Age leaders, that changed its name again in 2005 to the Peace Alliance . This Peace Alliance seeks to usher in an era of global peace founded on the principles of a New Age/New Spirituality that they are now referring to as a “civil rights movement for the soul.”7 They all agree that the principles of this New Age/New Spirituality are clearly articulated in A Course in Miracles, which is fast becoming the New Age Bible. So what is A Course in Miracles and what does it teach?
A Course in Miracles is allegedly “new revelation” from “Jesus” to help humanity work through these troubled times. This “Jesus” — who bears no doctrinal resemblance to the Bible’s Jesus Christ — began delivering his channeled teachings in 1965 to a Columbia University Professor of Medical Psychology by the name of Helen Schucman. One day Schucman heard an “inner voice” stating, “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”8 For seven years she diligently took spiritual dictation from this inner voice that described himself as “Jesus.” A Course in Miracles was quietly published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace. For many years “the Course” was an underground cult classic for New Age seekers who studied “the Course” individually, with friends, or in small study groups.
As a former New Age follower and devoted student of A Course in Miracles , I eventually discovered that the Course in Miracles was, in reality, the truth of the Bible turned upside down. Not having a true understanding of the Bible at the time of my involvement, I was led to believe that A Course in Miracles was “a gift form God” to help everyone understand the “real” meaning of the Bible and to help bring peace to the world. Little did I know that the New Age “Christ” and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles were everything the real Jesus Christ warned us to watch out for. In Matthew 24 Jesus warned about false teachers, false teachings and the false “Christs” who would pretend to be Him.
When I left the New Age “Christ” to follow the Bible’s Jesus Christ, I had come to understand that the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles was a false “Christ,” and that his Course in Miracles was dangerously deceptive. Here are some quotes from the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles:
“There is no sin. . . “9
A “slain Christ has no meaning.” 10
“The journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.'”11
“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.'”12
“The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. . . . It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.” 13
“God is in everything I see.”14
“The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.”15
“The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power.” 16
“The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.”17
Most Christians recognize that these teachings are the opposite of what the Bible teaches. In the Bible, Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross of Calvary was hardly a “useless journey.” His triumph on the cross provides salvation to all those who confess their sin, accept Him and follow Him as their Lord and Saviour. His victory on the cross rings throughout the New Testament. It has been gloriously sung about in beloved hymns through the ages and is at the heart of our Christian testimony. I found the Jesus of the Bible to be wholly believable as He taught God’s truth and warned about the spiritual deception that would come in His name. The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles reveals himself to be an imposter when he blasphemes the true Jesus Christ by saying that a “slain Christ has no meaning” and that we are all “God” and that we are all “Christ.” It was by reading the Bible’s true teachings of Jesus Christ that I came to understand how deceived I had been by A Course in Miracles and my other New Age teachings.
I was introduced to A Course in Miracles by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky’s book Love is Letting Go of Fear. Jampolsky declared in his easy-to-read book how the teachings of A Course in Miracles had changed his life. As an ambassador for A Course in Miracles over the years, Jampolsky has been featured not only in New Age circles but at least twice on Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. While Schuller introduced Jampolsky and his “fabulous” 18 Course in Miracles-based books to his worldwide television audience, it was Marianne Williamson’s appearance on a 1992 Oprah Winfrey Show that really shook the rafters.
On that program, Oprah enthusiastically endorsed Williamson’s book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. Oprah told her television audience that Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles was one of her favorite books, and that she had already bought a thousand copies and would be handing them out to everyone in her studio audience. Oprah’s endorsement skyrocketed Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Ironically, all of this was happening after I had left the Course and the New Age. In fact, I was doing the final editing on my book The Light That Was Dark that warned about the dangers of the New Age, and in particular A Course in Miracles.
After being introduced to the world on Oprah, Marianne Williamson has continued to grow in popularity and, as previously mentioned, has become one of today’s foremost New Age leaders. Williamson credits Winfrey for bringing her book about A Course in Miracles before the world: “For that, my deepest thanks to Oprah Winfrey. Her enthusiasm and generosity have given the book, and me, an audience we would never otherwise have had.”19 In her 2004 book, The Gift of Change, Williamson wrote: “Twenty years ago, I saw the guidance of the Course as key to changing one’s personal life; today, I see its guidance as key to changing the world. More than anything else, I see how deeply the two are connected.”20Thus the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles are about to be taught by Marianne Williamson to millions of listeners on Oprah’s XM Satellite Radio program. Listeners are encouraged to buy A Course in Miracles for the year-long course. An audio version of A Course in Miracles recited by Richard (John Boy Walton) Thomas is also available on compact disc. Popular author Wayne Dyer told his PBS television audience that the “brilliant writing” of A Course in Miracles would produce more peace in the world.21 Williamson’s New Age colleague, Neale Donald Walsch, said his “God” stated that “the era of the Single Saviour is over”22 and that he (“God”) was responsible for authoring the teachings of A Course in Miracles.23 Meanwhile, Gerald Jampolsky’s Course in Miracles-based book, Forgiveness, continues to be sold in Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral bookstore as Schuller prepares to host a January 17-19, 2008, “Rethink Conference” at his Crystal Cathedral.24
At this critical time in the history of the world, the New Gospel/New Spirituality is coming right at the world and the church with its New Age teachings and its New Age Peace Plan. But this New Age Peace Plan has at its deceptive core the bottom-line teaching from A Course in Miracles that “we are all one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. But the Bible is clear that we are not God (Ezekiel 28:2; Hosea 11:9). And per Galatians 3:26-28, our only oneness is in Jesus Christ, not in ourselves as “God” and “Christ.” What Oprah and Marianne Williamson and the world will learn one day is that humanity’s only real and lasting peace is with the true Jesus Christ who is described and quoted in the Holy Bible (Romans 5:1).
Oprah Winfrey’s misplaced faith in Marianne Williamson and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles is a sure sign of the times. But an even surer sign of the times is that most Christians are not taking heed to what is happening in the world and in the church. We are not contending for the faith as the Bible admonishes us to do (Jude 3). It is time for all of our Purpose-Driven and Emerging church pastors to address the real issue of the day. Our true Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is being reinvented, redefined, and blasphemed right in front of our eyes and hardly anyone seems to notice or care. If we want the world to know who Jesus Christ is, we need to also warn them about who He is not. There is a false New Age “Christ” making huge inroads into the world and into the church. The Apostle Paul said that “it is a shame” we have to even talk about these things, but talk about them we must (Ephesians 5:12-16).
If people want to follow Oprah Winfrey and the New Age “Christ” of A Course in Miracles they certainly have that right. But let them be warned that the New Age “Christ” they are following is not the same Jesus Christ who is so clearly and authoritatively presented in the pages of the Bible.
Warren Smith is a former New Age follower who at one time was deeply involved in the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles. He is the author of The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church. His book Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel is available free online at www.reinventingjesuschrist.com
2. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, California: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975), (Workbook), p. 45.
3. Ibid., p. 102.
4. Ibid., p. 119.
5. Ibid., (Text), p. 16.
6. Ibid., (Preface), p. ix.
7. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York: Atria Books, Simon & Schuster, 2004), pp. 262-263.
8. Robert Skutch, Journey Without Distance: The Story behind “A Course in Miracles” (Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1984), p. 54.
9. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, (Workbook), p. 183.
10. Ibid., (Text), p. 425.
11. Ibid., p. 52.
13. Ibid., (Teachers Manual), p. 58.
14. Ibid., (Workbook), p. 45.
15. Ibid., (Text), p. 147.
16. Ibid., p. 125.
17. Ibid., p. 237.
19. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles A Course in Miracles (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. ix.
20. Marianne Williamson, The Gift Of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), p. 5.
21. Wayne Dyer, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem,” Public Broadcasting System broadcast in 2001.
22. Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (New York: Atria Books, 2002), p. 157.
23. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1 (New York: G.P . Putnam’s Sons, 1996), p. 90.
24. http://www.rethinkconference.com (See also WorldNetDaily.com 10/30/07 “What is Robert Schuller ‘rethinking’?” by Joseph Farah and “Rethinking Robert Schuller” by Warren Smith. See also Herescope: “Rethinking Culture” and “Rethinking and Reinventing
WILLIAMSON HAS EARNED A SPOT ON THIS APOLOGECTICS SITE: READ ABOUT HER HERE!
AND ON HERESCOPE:
A Rotten Apple
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.
What an interesting study….
Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you. He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
The Pharisees brought Jesus a demon-possessed man who was blind and could not speak. Jesus healed this man. The people were amazed at this and wondered if Jesus was the Son of David, which meant that he would be the one that God had sent to deliver them. This agitated the Pharisees and so accused Jesus of using the power of Satan rather than the power of God. Jesus knew their thoughts. Jesus answered in three ways. First, why would Satan use demons to defeat his own demons. Second, Jews had cast out demons and they did not question them, and third, Jesus was driving out the demons by the Spirit of God. They had made a terrible accusation that the work of the Holy Spirit was done by Satan. To deny the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Jesus as Christ and the promised Savior is not forgivable.
The words that the Pharisees spoke showed the evil in their hearts, and they were told that men will be judged for their careless words. Jesus warned that on the Day of Judgment our words will either acquit us or condemn us because they express the condition of our heart. The mouth is the overflow of our attitude.
Even though the Pharisees saw and heard, they did not want to believe. Jesus has power and authority over everything and is greater than Satan. The Pharisees had seen Jesus’ miracles and heard the evidence that Jesus was Lord. Yet they ask:
38 “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.”
39 He answered ” A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign. But none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Are we a wicked and unfaithful generation asking for a miraculous sign? Are we not content with walking in faith anymore? Do we need the experience of signs and wonders to fulfill a need of power in us?
The simplicity and and complexity of this one single thought! Jesus is the miraculous sign and wonder, till He returns to earth. What else is there to ask for? To ask for more than Jesus is unbelief. If ones receives anything beyond the Holy Spirit, He is deceiving himself.
Because of Jonah, Nineveh initially repented and God shows a remarkable display of compassion. Yet, Nineveh eventually was totally destroyed for her oppression, idolatry and wickedness.
Nahum 1:14…I will destroy the carved images and cast idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave for you are vile.
Matthew 12:43 says When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.
The Jews had rid themselves of idols, but they never replaced their idol worship with the worship of Jesus Christ.
If you have believed and then become unfaithful to the Lord by worshiping other idols, whether it be power, money, authority, or worship of another spirit, evil may return 7-fold and completely destroy you.
The Pharisees had seen the miracles that Jesus performed and they had heard the evidence that Jesus is Lord, yet they refused to believe. “We want to see a miraculous sign.”
Jesus promised the wicked sign-seekers that the only sign they would get would be the Sign of Jonah. Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a whale before being coughed up onto the land. Jesus spent three days and three night in the tomb before he was resurrected. Those listening to Jonah repented. Jesus is greater than Jonah, so the wicked sign-seekers should repent.
Are we a wicked generation asking for signs and wonders? Do we need more than the written word? Jesus, is all the sign we need, but a wicked generation, asks for “more…more..Lord…more”. Jesus then goes on to say what will happen to those who repent but do not follow Him. Evil will return 7-fold. If you ask for a miraculous sign you may get one, but it may not come from the Holy One.
Jesus is THE sign and He is the miracle. He is all we need. To ask for more…is wicked. So if you are thinking of going down that road, you are going the wrong way.