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I know that I have been posting a lot of articles about this subject, but the current events will have a huge impact on the future of the Church today.

Will the Evangelical Church Sell Out the Gospel for a Dominionist Political Agenda?

A Special Report by Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails

As America is quickly approaching another presidential election year, some interesting things are taking place within evangelical/Protestant Christianity that are connected to next year’s election. Dominionist/Kingdom Now political and religious figures are joining forces with evangelical Christian groups. While having concern for the state of America is more than legitimate, will Christians replace commitment and loyalty to the Gospel for commitment and loyalty to a dominionist agenda? If they do, they will learn the hard way that compromise and a “whatever it takes” attitude will do more harm to the cause of Jesus Christ than good.

This article is not a statement that Christians should not be involved in or concerned about the political state of their countries. Rather, the intention of this article is to exhort believers to use discernment in understanding the times in which we live. It is to show how a present ecumenical, dominionist movement (that is heading toward a one-world religion to “establish the kingdom of God on earth”) is operating and deceiving many Christians. As Christians, we are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ and His Gospel message of salvation to those who believe on Him by faith. But today, many Christians may be on the brink of buying into a plan that will ultimately create a global religion and global government.

The apostle Paul was very clear that we are not to entangle ourselves with those who say they are of the faith but preach “another gospel” (Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10, 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15).

The definition below of dominionism is helpful in understanding the goals of the dominionist movement:

The Gospel of Salvation [according to dominionism] is achieved by setting up the “Kingdom of God” as a literal and physical kingdom to be “advanced” on Earth in the present age. Some dominionists liken the New Testament Kingdom to the Old Testament Israel in ways that justify taking up the sword, or other methods of punitive judgment, to war against enemies of their kingdom. Dominionists teach that men can be coerced or compelled to enter the kingdom. They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus Christ.(1)

Full Article HERE

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/06/seven-mountains.html

                        candlecross

 

How to Know When the Emerging Church

Shows Signs of Emerging in Your Church

Commentary by Roger Oakland

http://understandthetimes.org/

The world is changing. So is the Christian evangelical church. There was a time— not that long ago—when the Bible was considered to be the Word of God by the majority of evangelical Christians. Now that we are well into the third millennium and the post-modern, post-Christian era, the term evangelical can mean almost anything. What has happened? Why is this happening and what is the future for mainstream Christianity?

For the past several years, I have been speaking around the world on current trends that are impacting Christianity. After these presentations, I am approached by Christians who come from many different church backgrounds. Many are expressing their concerns about what is happening in their churches, troubled by the new direction they see their church going. While they may not always be able to discern what is wrong, they know something is wrong and that it needs to be addressed.

Further, many have told me they have attempted to express their concerns with their pastors or church elders. In almost every case, they were told they had a choice to make—get with the new program or get out of the church.

This move towards a reinvented Christianity (one designed to “reach people”) seems to be here for the long haul. It is not just a passing fad. I am often asked by concerned brothers and sisters in Christ to provide an explanation in order to help them understand what they have encountered. They want to know why these changes are underway and what to expect in the future. As well, they want to know what, if anything can be done, to stem this tide. It is for this reason I am writing this commentary—to provide biblical insight regarding the Emerging Church and where it is heading in the future.

The Gospel According to the Scriptures

Throughout church history, various trends have come and gone. While culture changes from place to place, biblical Christianity has always been based upon the central message of the Bible which is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message never changes.

This gospel message is about who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done. A child can understand the gospel message. This message proclaims that life here on planet earth is finite and that life after death is eternal. The good news is that we can be saved from our sins if we will repent and simply ask for forgiveness and follow Him.

How we respond to the gospel message during the time we have on earth determines where we spend eternity—heaven or hell. Jesus, the Creator of the universe, provided a way and the only way we can spend eternity with Him. It is a matter of making a personal decision whether or not we will accept the plan He has provided.

God’s adversary does not want mankind to understand the simple message. His plan is to deceive the world. If he can blind people from the gospel or convince them that they believe the gospel when indeed they do not, his plan has been successful. Throughout the ages, countless billions have been duped, either rejecting the truth, or believing that they had believed the truth when instead they had been deceived.

The Gospel According to Postmoderism

Times change! However, the gospel must remain the same no matter what else changes. We are now living in the postmodern era. In a sincere attempt to reach the postmodern generation with the gospel, it seems many Christians have become postmodern in their thinking.

Perhaps the term postmodern is new to you. Let’s examine what it means.

First, the modern era was characterized by a time of rational thinking based on factual observation. Many claim the modern era ended in the mid 1900s.

The postmodern mindset moves beyond the rational and the factual to the experiential and the mystical. In other words, in the past it was possible to know right from wrong and black from white. In the postmodern era all things are relative to the beholder. What may be right for you may be wrong for someone else. There is no such thing as absolute truth. The only thing that is absolute is that there is no absolute.

We now live in a time in history that is characterized as postmodern. Professors at universities teach students there is no right or wrong. All things are relative. The gospel message to the postmodern mindset is far too dogmatic and arrogant. They say it is necessary to find a more moderate gospel that can be accepted by the masses.

Many church leaders are now looking for ways to reach the postmodern generation. They believe they can find the appropriate methods to do so without changing the message. However, in their attempt to reach this postmodern generation, they have become postmodern themselves and have changed the message. As the gospel is fixed upon the Scriptures, the gospel cannot change, unless of course it becomes another gospel. I believe this is what is happening in the Emerging Church.

He Didn’t Come

Many have noticed that since the turn of the millennium, their churches have changed positions on Bible prophecy and the Second Coming of Jesus. Many have given up on the return of Jesus. From the ‘60s on there was an excitement about the imminent return of Jesus. The Jesus People were excited about Bible prophecy and could see signs that Jesus would descend from the heavens for His Bride at any moment.

The year 2000 was of particular importance. When Jesus didn’t show up, it seems many were apparently disappointed. “Perhaps Jesus has delayed His coming,” some have said. Others are even taking the position that He may not be coming at all, at least not in the manner we have been taught. They are now convinced that we need to be busy about “building His Kingdom” here on earth by “whatever human effort is required.”

The Gospel of the Kingdom

One of the main indicators that something has changed can be seen in the way the future is perceived. Rather than urgently proclaiming the gospel according to the Scriptures and believing the time to do so is short, the emphasis has now shifted. No longer are “signs of the times” significant. The battle cry is very different. A major emphasis among evangelicals is the idea that the world can be radically improved through social programs.

This concept, while on the surface may sound very good, has some serious biblical implications. According to the Scriptures, there will be no kingdom of God until the King arrives. All the human effort man can muster up will fall short of bringing utopia. In fact, according to the Scriptures, fallen man will lead us further down the road to a society of despair and lawlessness just like it was in the days of Noah.

Thus, this purpose-driven view of establishing global utopia may be a plan, but it is “driven” by humanistic reasoning and not led by the Holy Spirit. While it is of course good to do good unto others, all the goodness that we can do will not be good enough. Pastors and church leaders who get involved in such man-driven programs can usually be identified by certain characteristics:

Sound biblical doctrine is dangerous and divisive, and the experiential (i.e.,mystical) is given a greater role than doctrine.

Bible prophecy is no longer taught and is considered a waste of time

Israel becomes less and less important and has no biblical significance

Eventually the promises for Israel are applied to the church and not Israel (Replacement Theology).

Bible study is replaced by studying someone’s book and his methods

Church health is evaluated on the quantity of people who attend.

The truth of God’s Word becomes less and less important

God’s Word, especially concepts like hell, sin and repentance, is eventually downplayed so the unbeliever is not offended.

Spiritual Formation and Transformation

Much of what I have described provides the formula for a dumbing-down of Christianity that paves the way for an apostasy that will only intensify in the future. This trend away from the authority of God’s Word to the reinvented form of Christianity has overcome all evangelical denominations like an avalanche. Few Bible teachers saw this avalanche coming. Now that it is underway, few realize it has even happened.

However, there is another big piece to the puzzle that must be identified in order to understand what is emerging in the Emerging Church. While biblical Christianity has been dumbed-down and the light of God’s Word diminished, another avalanche of deception is underway that is equally devastating.

This is best described by the Word of God giving way to experiences that God’s Word forbids. The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during the Dark Ages when the Bible became the “forbidden book.” Until the Reformers translated the Bible into the language of the common person, the people were in darkness. When the light of God’s Word became available, the gospel according to the Scriptures was once again understood.

This trend, which is underway today, shows us that history is in the process of repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise of mystical experiences is alarming and these experiences are being presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for the fostering of what is called “spiritual formation.” This teaching suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite.

These teachings, while actually rooted in ancient wisdom (the occult), were presented to Christendom post-New Testament and not found in the Word of God. The spiritual formation movement is based upon experiences promoted by desert monks and Roman Catholic mystics – these mystics encouraged the use of rituals and practices, that if performed would bring the practitioner closer to God (or come into God’s presence). The premise was that if one went into the silence or sacred space, then the mind was emptied of distractions and the voice of God could be heard. In truth, these hypnotic, mantric style practices were leading these monks into altered states of consciousness. The methods they used are the same that Buddhists and the Hindus use as a means of encountering the spiritual realm

Such methods are dangerous, and are not sanctioned in the Bible – God gives no instruction for this. On the contrary, he warns severely against divination, which is practicing a ritual or method in order to obtain information from a spiritual source. While proponents of spiritual formation (like Richard Foster) say these methods show that the Holy Spirit is doing something new to refresh Christianity, I would suggest that what is happening is not new and is not the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual formation movement is being widely promoted at colleges and seminaries as the latest and the greatest way to become a spiritual leader in these days. These ideas are then being exported from seminaries to churches by graduates who have been primed to take Christianity to a new level of enlightenment.

As well, these contemplative practices are being promoted by emergent leaders such as Brian McLaren, Robert Webber, Dallas Willard and others. Publishers like NavPress, InterVarsity and Zondervan are flooding the market with books promoting contemplative practices based on Eastern mysticism. Pastors and church leaders read these books and then promote the ideas as if they were the scriptural answer to drawing close to God.

Signs the Emerging Church is Emerging

There are specific warning signs that are symptomatic that a church may be headed down the emergent/contemplative road. In some cases a pastor may not be aware that he is on this road nor understand where the road ends up.

Here are some of the warning signs:

Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.

The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.

More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.

The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.

The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.

The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past

An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.

Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.

The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.

While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.

These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.

There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.

Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.

What does the Future Hold?

If the Emerging Church continues unfolding at the present pace, mainstream evangelical Christianity will be reinvented and the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures will be considered too narrow and too restrictive. In other words, the narrow way to heaven that Jesus proclaimed will eventually be abandoned for a wider way that embraces pagan experiential practices. I call this reinvented, re-imagined form of Christianity that is unfolding—“Christian Babylonianism”.

This new form of Christianity will replace biblical faith with a faith that says man can establish the kingdom of God here on earth. The Word will continue to become secondary to a system of works driven by experiences.

An ecumenical pattern towards unity with Rome will become more apparent. Those who refuse to embrace this direction will be considered spiritual oddballs that need to be reprimanded. Those who stand up for biblical faith will be considered the obstructions to the one world spirituality that is promoted as the answer for peace.

The best way to be prepared for what is coming is to gain an understanding of what is happening now. While there are not many who seem to discern the trend underway, there are some. Without the Bible and the Holy Spirit as our guide, the darkness that is coming would be overwhelming. However, the light of God’s Word penetrates the darkness and there are those who are being delivered from deception and see what is taking place.

I am convinced we are seeing apostasy underway, exactly as the Scriptures have forewarned. This means that this current trend is not likely to disappear. We must continue to proclaim the truth in the midst of deception with love. As Paul instructed Timothy:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2: 24-26).

There are still pastors and churches who are dedicated to proclaiming the truth. Find out where they are and support them. If you are in a location where this does not seem to be possible, seek out materials that are available from solid Bible-based Christian ministries and hold Bible studies in your own home.

And keep looking up! Jesus is coming soon.

Understand The Times
Radio Commentary
 by Roger Oakland

www.understandthetimes.org

WHY WITNESS

When it comes to being a witness for Jesus Christ, the Bible gives us valuable principles and guidelines. It is also important to recognize that the keys to successful evangelism are not held in our human hands. A witness is someone who partners with God. What does it mean to be a partner?

……………………………………………………………

There are two major factors to consider when it comes to evangelism: one involves human effort, the other depends totally on the sovereignty of God. Do you recall what Jesus said? “No one can come to me, unless the Father which hath sent me draws him.” [1]

This statement that Jesus made does not require any explanation. The “how to” aspect of witnessing refers only to the human factor in Christian witnessing. The rest is up to God’s sovereign plan that unfolds according to His will. God uses human vessels to be messengers of the gospel, but the blinds of deception can only be lifted by Him.

When discussing the subject of how to be an effective witness it is important to note that the Bible teaches there are only two categories of people – those who are perishing and those who are not. The apostle Paul, when writing to the people of Corinth could not have made it clearer: “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” [2]

It is not a pleasant thought to think about friends, relatives and loved ones who belong to the category of the “perishing.” The decision they make about Jesus’ finished work on the cross, will determine where they spend eternity.

When writing to the believers in Thessalonica, Paul created a vivid description of what would happen to those who willingly rejected God’s plan of salvation for man. He wrote:

The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”.[3]

Perhaps we need to be reminded that there are people all around us that are perishing. Although they may think that their life is in order and that they are on their way to heaven, they are living in a world of deception. A witness is someone who is willing to make an effort to be a messenger of the good news so that people can hear about God’s saving grace.

Do you know someone who has never asked Jesus Christ to forgive them for their sins? If you do, then that person is perishing? Have you taken the time to consider the consequences they will eventually and inevitably face? Take a moment right now and ask God what you can do to share the “good news” of our Lord Jesus with them or with others like them. How wonderful it is to be a vehicle to share the message of salvation that will guide a lost soul into eternal life! 

I am Roger Oakland. This has been a biblical perspective to help understand the times.

2660

source:

http://understandthetimes.org/transcripts/jan2009/2660.shtml


[1]  John 6:44

[2]  1 Corinthians 1:18

[3]  2Thessalinians 1: 7-10

Tony Blair Promotes Ecumenism in Effort to Eradicate Malaria

 Submitted by Craig “Lee” Dorsheimer

Thanks to Roger Oakland from Understand The Times, author of the book Faith Undone, for sending me this link on this newsworthy item:

 

http://www.understandthetimes.org/inthenews/13_owlyt.shtml

 

Here’s the video/audio:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksnMx6l4T64

 

After Tony Blair’s recent conversion from the Anglican Church to Catholicism he went one step further into blatant ecumenism with his Faith Foundation.  Now, with his new Faiths Act which he rolled out on June 10, he goes it one more.

 

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was initiated in May 2008 with one of its goals to work toward increased understanding between the major faiths of the world.  His new Faiths Act outlines a plan to eradicate malaria promoting an interfaith effort toward this cause.  A complete transcript of the audio from the above video follows this article.

 

My first question regarding this is: Why the need for an interfaith effort to help in the fight against malaria when Blair could just as well promote his cause without using religion as a vehicle?  Why not send aid to local governmental officials directly who could then disburse it?  Surely, governmental approval would be necessary before such an interfaith outreach as proposed by Blair could be enacted anyway.

 

“Faiths Act will mobilize global faith communities to come together and achieve multi-faith action on issues of crucial importance in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals.  Our first goal is to end deaths caused by malaria.  Put simply, between one and three million people die of malaria each year most of them children under five and pregnant mothers living in sub-Saharan Africa.  Their deaths are preventable.  In Africa 40% of the victims are Muslim.  But across much of Asia malaria continues to strike and combating it is a huge opportunity for people across the faiths to act in unison: Hindus, Sikh, Buddhists as well as the Abrahamic faiths.  We call, therefore, on the four billion people of faith in the world to help do more to end the scourge of malaria.”

 

Please note that these “Millennium Development Goals” were outlined by the United Nations which has shown itself to be anti-Semitic and not exactly friendly towards Christianity [excepting Roman Catholicism] as well.  In fact, the UN has become increasingly pro-Islam.  With this in mind, it is curious that Blair would make reference to Judaism, Christianity and Islam as “the Abrahamic faiths” as if there is much in common between the three.  Why didn’t he refer to Hindus, Sikh and Buddhists as simply ‘the eastern faiths?’

 

“…Churches, mosques, other places of worship are ideally placed to be centers for distribution networks and community-based health education initiatives.”

 

Blair’s plan sounds remarkably similar to Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E plan with respect to Warren’s fight against AIDS/HIV.  This is not surprising as Warren, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and Oxford Anayltica, is on the Advisory Council of Blair’s Faith Foundation.  Could this be a step toward the redistribution of wealth and one world religion as outlined by the channeled writings of Theosophist Alice Bailey among others and as prophesied in the Bible?

 

16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.  [Revelation 13:16-17 NIV] 

 

Time will tell.  What do you think?  Is this yet another push for a one world religion/government under the guise of philanthropy?

 

************************************************************************

 

Following is the complete transcript:

 

“Welcome to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation Faiths Act Campaign.  Faiths Act will mobilize global faith communities to come together and achieve multi-faith action on issues of crucial importance in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals.  Our first goal is to end deaths caused by malaria.  Put simply, between one and three million people die of malaria each year most of them children under five and pregnant mothers living in sub-Saharan Africa.  Their deaths are preventable.  In Africa 40% of the victims are Muslim.  But across much of Asia malaria continues to strike and combating it is a huge opportunity for people across the faiths to act in unison: Hindus, Sikh, Buddhists as well as the Abrahamic faiths.  We call, therefore, on the four billion people of faith in the world to help do more to end the scourge of malaria.

 

“We can prevent such catastrophic losses with just a few simple steps.  One ten dollar [US $10.00] or five pound [GBP £5.00] insecticide treated bed net can protect an entire household.  Medications that treat malaria and prevent it from causing death are well established and could be made readily available to even the most remote infected communities.  Churches, mosques, other places of worship are ideally placed to be centers for distribution networks and community-based health education initiatives.

 

“So, the foundation is working to bring people of all faiths – and none – together to respond the UN Security General’s urgent call for universal bed net coverage by 2010.  And, our media campaign is a drive to raise one million bed nets by September the 25th, 2008, the date of the next UN General Assembly and the midway point to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

 

“It’s been one month since the Faiths Act campaign was launched and in that short time we’ve received thousands of emails from people from all over the world including the UK, US, Spain, Pakistan, Kenya, Turkey, Uganda, India, Tanzania and Chile – all people who support this cause and want to know how they can help.

 

“On our website you will find toolkits and resources that explain how you can get involved with our efforts.  Please download them and share them with your friends and family and your own in other faith communities.  Create multi-faith events and raise awareness for malaria prevention.  Become an activist for the good that faith can do in the world. 

 

“To those of you who have already begun to work, I would like to say, ‘Thank you.’  It’s only with your help that we can accomplish the tasks that are set out before us.  But, secondly, I would like to ask you to send us examples of what you’re doing within your own faith communities and those of others to help end deaths caused by malaria so that then we can share them here on the website and let others around the world be inspired by your activism. 

 

“I’ve been so impressed by many of the emails we have received detailing your individual efforts.  It’s my hope, therefore, that in sharing your ideas and stories here on the website we can motivate others as well.  Malaria doesn’t discriminate between religions and so we have to come together across faith lines to fight it.  So, please, join us to fund a million bed nets by September the 25th.  Go to www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org to find out more. Thank you.”

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