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Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

Footprints of a Prophet or Tracks of a Wolf?

I am writing the "inconvenient truth" today. I have been blitzed with e-mails about the Todd Bentley "revival" in Florida.  Before you fall for his stories and "signs and wonders," please allow me to make some comments. I realize this will not be received well by many.

This is a Charismatic happening called the "third wave."  The "first wave" was Toronto, and it fizzled out.  The "second wave" was Pensacola, and it had the same fate. Now Bentley has brought in the "third wave," and folks are coming from around the world for the "anointing."   Even the Charisma Magazine editor Lee Grady, says, sounding a warning, "My inbox has been full of messages from Charismatic leaders who are concerned about everything from Bentley's tattoos and body piercings to his claim that he once interviewed the apostle Paul in Heaven. When I called for scrutiny of some aspects of the Lakeland Revival, I was labeled a Pharisee and a 'religious policeman.'  I had suddenly become the enemy."

Who is Todd Bentley?  He is an ex-Satanist, a pierced and tattooed signs and wonders guy, and a man who gets messages from angels, particularly one named Emma.  He does not open the Bible and preach. When he is "under the anointing" he can cause tumors to explode,'  he says.  The Holy Spirit told him to kick a lady in the face with his biker boot so he did so. If he tries to deal with someone he thinks might be demonized, he gets nothing short of violent, virtually choking a man he is trying to exorcise.  He also gets violent when he use "the word 'bam.'
As Mike Oppenheimer from Let us Reason says, "Instead of people getting saved, they are getting lost by listening to a man's experiences of the supernatural that are unbiblical and untrue."

Oppenheimer continues, "This revival has all the spiritual sensations and activities of the other revivals combined: Roaring, groaning, burning sensations in the body, head, and stomach; shaking, jerking, spiritual drunkenness and uncontrollable laughter and then some new manifestations. People have their eyes rolled back in the back of their heads. There are reports of women gyrating and pulsating like they've been ravaged from behind by some unseen force. Holy or un-holy may still be debated by some but to those of us who are knowledgeable of the previous "revivals" and the power of the occult, the jury is in. The source is not the God of the Bible. This may disturb some but if they will use their Bible, pray, and think it through, they will gain discernment and spiritual understanding."

The shakes, jerks, twitching, frozen stillness, laughter, animal sounds, and more have all been standard in other "revivals."  The Florida Revival is nothing new but it is preying on young and new believers who do not know their Bibles. It is also preying on the desperate: Sick people who can find no medical help.

Critic Jacob Prasch says, "The crowds following Bentley are seen being overcome by ugly spirits of drunkenness and stupor. It reflects the faulty theology of those in 'the river' movement popularized by the so-called 'Toronto Blessing.'  Song lyrics reflect Kingdom-Now visions of the church taking over all the elements of society and setting up a kingdom on earth before the Lord returns which the Bible contradicts."

Todd himself talks about the mad chaos totally uncharacteristic of God. He says, "During a visitation, the pastor's wife got totally whacked by the Holy Ghost. She began running around barking like a dog or squawking like a chicken as a powerful prophetic spirit came on her."

The research site "Lighthouse Trails Research Project?" reports that, "The following information will show Bentley's spiritual resonance with a man named Sundar Singh (1829-1929). At one point in Bentley's ministry, he had a vision of Sundar Singh. This vision influenced Bentley. According to the biographer of Singh, Singh spent much of his life in deep trance-like states communicating with spiritual beings.  Through this he saw the "glories" of the spirit world. He combined East and West in his meditative disciplines.  He had long hours of meditation and days of silence."

Bentley talks about himself being possessed by demons, undergoing a deliverance, his past Satanic worship, his mother levitating, and demons writing 666 on his cupboard in his kitchen.
It is hard to tell the difference between the words of Bentley and those of Satan! Todd says: "You see, I want to be fruitful; I want to be far above. I want to be a conqueror; I want to be a mountain of strength; I want to be greatness. You know, we like that word greatness. Well, he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High automatically comes into everything that the Almighty is. It happens."  Sounds like Isaiah 14:12-14 to me.
Angelology plays a large role here. He talks to an angel named Emma and he says, "So when I need a financial breakthrough, I don't just pray and ask God for my financial breakthrough. I go into intercession and become a partner with the angels by petitioning the Father for the angels that are assigned to getting me money: 'Father, give me the angels in heaven right now that are assigned to get me money and wealth. And let those angels be released on my behalf. Let them go into the four corners of the earth and gather me money."

As reported by Jacob Prasch, "Bentley refers to his angel as 'the angel of the Lord' and also waits upon Emma for the signs and wonders to manifest. However, according to Bible scholars, the term 'the angel of the Lord' is an Old Testament reference to the pre-incarnate Christ, also called a Theophany. It seems that Emma is really overstepping her bounds to be referred to as 'the angel of the Lord."  She is most likely a demon.

Bentley and his close friend, the exposed false prophet Paul Cain, look to disgraced-prophet, William Branham.  Pentecostal pastor Bill Randles says, "The only problem was Branham's teaching. He had a few quirks, such as his belief that the doctrine of the Trinity was of the devil, his belief that the zodiac was as valid as the Word of God, and his unfortunate belief that he was the angel of the Church of Laodicea! When he died in a head-on auto crash in 1965, his followers were so obsessed with his 'works of power,' they delayed burying him for several months, hoping that he would be resurrected the following Easter! He was that GREAT!"

We are warned in the Bible that the devil will "transform himself into an angel of light," and that in the last days will come "lying signs and wonders" that will deceive, if possible, the very elect" (II Thess. 2:9). Doesn't the Bible tell us that the devil is capable of the supposed "miracles" at the Bentley meetings? Tragically, many pastors are having 'hands laid on them to receive this Florida anointing' and further spread this chaos.

So what started April 2, 2008, at Ignited Church in Lakeland, Florida, is now spreading everywhere.  With today's death of discernment, guys like Bentley flourish and prosper. We are in a season of weak gospel-preaching as well. This longing for the signs and wonders of one man is but paving the way for the "man of sin,"  the "lawless one," the Antichrist. What many believe is the anointing of the Holy Spirit is really nothing but "kundalini power" which in sanskrit means coiled as a snake. You can watch Todd exercising that power at the above link. You can learn much more in Caryl Matrisciana's brilliant film, "Yoga Uncoiled" as well as her film "Supernatural Powers" which deals with God's angels and fallen angels. You can also learn more about "kundalini power" at this link.

It says in II Timothy 3 that in the last days evil will wax worse and worse with men seducing, deceiving, and being deceived. Todd Bentley is a deceiver who is himself deceived. He will likely stand before the Lord some day and say, "But Lord, I did this all in Your Name."  But he is exercising serpent-power, not Holy Spirit power.
Pray for Todd and the legions following him and believing every word out of his mouth. Pray that their eyes would be opened before they are further spiritually damaged. We are not trying to demonize Todd; rather, we hope to protect some sheep, which our pastors should be doing but many are not.

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

Can These Bones Live? Israel at 60

The miracle of miracles spanning millenia and overlapping all the way to May of 2008 is overlooked by most people. It is the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948. It is the most significant and inconceivable event in history. Yet the geopolitical gurus around the world would never admit that.

This event was orchestrated by God, but what is that to an unbelieving world?  He states, "For thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all nations of the earth" (Deuteronomy 14:2). Because God is a covenant keeper, not just a covenant maker, He did not do away with that covenant when Israel failed her assignment to be a godly people and a light to the world. One day she will do that.

God's "blueprint" is in Ezekiel 37 -- those old "dry bones." God takes Ezekiel to a valley overlooking old, dry bones that start to move and join together! God says to the shocked prophet, "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel is too stunned to say anything but, "God, only you know because this is too bizarre for me!" How would you like to see dead bones walking?! So God reveals the mystery by saying, "These bones represent the whole house of Israel." He goes on to say a scattered people will be restored in every sense of the word. That's the outline written thousands of years ago. It took awhile to be sure, but then it seems God is never in a hurry!

Even 100 years ago the land looked like a moonscape. Many pioneers perished in the malarial swamp lands or desert heat. And they loved the land back to life! Many were secular Jews doing the "Zionist thing" -- nonetheless, they had it in their hearts to "go home." Bit by bit they turned the area into a "blossoming rose" (Isaiah 35:1). They removed sand, dirt and swamps, by hand if necessary. Few non-Jews could believe it. But, she showed her might against Arab protest in a bitter War of Independence after she became a nation in 1948.

God calls the land of Israel, "My land" in Leviticus 25. About the size of New Jersey, she has become "the mouse that roared." When huge military arsenals come against her, they fail to move her off the land God has given her. God is still at work! All that has been or is yet to be accomplished will be done in accordance with His design or purpose.

Zechariah 14 says that some day the whole world will curse this tiny nation, and that Jerusalem will spark Armageddon. As an Israeli Knesset member said recently in The Jerusalem Post, "We find ourselves in a situation where even if we sneeze, people might concede that it is legal, but we would still be told it is provocative."

Mark Twain said over 100 years ago, "All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but they remain. What is the secret of their immortality?" The key is to remember that God is a covenant keeper. God will not allow His precious "promised land" to fall into the hands of the wicked. And His chosen people's eyes will not be blinded forever.

And so kings, pharaohs, fuhrers, Moslem extremists, the united European Economic Community, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department have all tried to put an end to her either militarily or diplomatically, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 12:3. Her most bitter enemies in the Moslem world chant the chorus of Psalm 83:4: "Come and let us wipe them [Israel] out as a nation that the name of Israel be remembered no more." I say to the mullahs and terrorists, "Dream on. You don't stand a chance!"

She was 60 years young May 8 on the Jewish calendar and May 14 on the secular calendar. Ravaged by the Roman Empire 2000 years ago she has been revived and restored as a nation as predicted in Ezekiel 37. But over those 2,000 years she was shunned, persecuted, expelled, gassed, and shuffled from country to country. To this day she is surrounded by nations sworn by their charters and oaths to destroy her while these enemies pose for pictures signing "peace treaties." It is the biggest lie of the 21st century; that is, that a Palestinian State will bring about world peace.

I leave you with just one question: If Israel were an unimportant development without any biblical or prophetic significance (a position that is gaining considerable credibility within the church these days), why would Satan be spending so much time creating confusion, deception, and conflict within both the church and the world today regarding it?  If you believe that, would you at least acknowledge that she is our only ally in a crazy part of the world that would like to take over the world!

But remember, "He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps" (Psalm 121). And He who watches over you neither slumbers nor sleeps either.

Linda Harvey writes in World Net Daily that Christian churches should have caught on to the quasi-Christianity of Jim Wallis and Sojourners by now. Unfortunately, a "Social Justice Revival" came to her church recently. But sadly, the gospel was hard to find on the podium.
The election year faith posturing could not have been more transparent, yet many young attendees were misled to believe that this might be authentic "revived" Christianity.

She states, "What was on the menu? Perhaps how religion can prop up left-wing priorities like race divisiveness, perpetual poverty, and America-bashing as the important issues 'real' believers should care about, rather than fighting homosexual marriage and abortion."

Wallis states in his new book The Great Awakening that the right is obsessed with fighting abortion laws and stopping "gay rights." Both are way too divisive and not nearly as important as programs for the poor, climate change, and giving away American sovereignty, preferably to illegal immigrants. The Christian right does not care about the poor and many other social issues, according to Jim Wallis.

Wallis, his associate Tony Campolo, and many others who emphasize the social gospel are sadly now called "evangelicals" or "progressive evangelicals." These advocates for social justice go beyond the antics of the religious left and suggest that the kingdom of God on earth will come about through big government. They stress the "red letters of the Bible," and are often called "red letter Christians."

They would advocate some of the following:
- Christians are too war-like when we should love our enemies.

- Universal health care should be provided by the government.

- The U.S. should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and address the real problem of terrorism by creating a Palestinian state and addressing the root cause, poverty.

- Christians should be offering sanctuary to all illegal aliens.

- The U.S. should cut the military budget and expand wealth-redistribution programs.

In other words, since such concepts and issues are the red letters of Jesus brought into the 21st century, "red letter Christians" have just about made Jesus a socialist. Jesus also said that we must be born again (John 3:7) but you likely won't ever hear this crowd talk about that.

Apparently at Harvey's church, money, guaranteed jobs, and worldly goods better be part of the package or else Jesus can just pack up and go right back to Israel - whoops, I mean "Palestine." So the pastor of the church and Wallis suggest that the church today has "failed." Harvey states, "Well, next time there's a Katrina or a tsunami, we conservative Christians might want to boycott the relief efforts, stay home from mission trips, and let's just see if the deficit is made up from the 'social justice left' or, perhaps, a coming Democratic administration's expanded social programs."

While Wallis gets standing ovations on college campuses including my alma mater, Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, there are many who join me in saying that the religious left doesn't frame my priorities, my gospel, or my vote.

Jesus' perspective pervades the entire Bible, not just the red letters. There is nothing in the red letters that is at odds with the rest of the Bible. There is no contradiction between the red letters and the black letters -- but not to "red letter Christians."

When one of these men visits your church, would you ask them about spreading the good news of sacrifice, repentance, forgiveness of sins, spiritual renewal, and rebirth? Ask them to tone down the news of redistributing the wealth, faith in government, the gospel of global warming, and moral relativism.

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

Of Fences and Double Standards

We are in pretty strange times where double standards abound.  A fence is going up.  You'd love to hear that it is across our southern border.  It isn't.  Your tax dollars instead are going to a fence that the U.S. is helping to build to create a better Egypt-Gaza boundary.

As for progress on a fence in America, Congress passed the Secure Fence Act two years ago requiring nearly 800 miles of double fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, and Congress further appropriated (on a bipartisan vote) the money to build it. Benchmarks in the Act required 670 miles of the double fence to be completed by now. To date, less than 10 miles of the double fence have been built.

As Roger Hedgecock says in World Net Daily, "Recently, the State Department announced that the U.S would allocate $23 million dollars (your money) to Egypt to help build a border fence between Egypt and Gaza!  Wait, there's more -- the announcement committed the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with new tunnel detecting technology to help stop Palestinian smugglers from crossing underneath that border."

As a recent immigration official said on my radio program, "Understanding the Times," we need high technology along our southern border as well as fence. Also in World Net Daily, press accounts described new tunnel detection technology deployed on a UAV, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which in an August 2006 test successfully detected a known smuggler's tunnel under the border near Douglas, Ariz. This technology has not been seen since then on the U.S.-Mexico border, but apparently will now be deployed to the Egypt-Gaza border.  This falls under the category of "where is the outrage?"

While many who love Israel are not opposed to this fence that will work in Israel's favor in the long run, it should also be mentioned that Israel has had a fence (or wall) to protect itself from homicide bombers. She has gotten world pressure to tear it down. Why this double standard? Homicide bombing is down enormously since the construction of this fence/wall.

Additionally, Egypt countered that it did not have the capability to "detect" tunnels under the border with Gaza, whereupon the Bush administration committed $23 million of military assistance money to deploy cutting-edge tunnel detection technology only recently developed by the U.S. military.

As Hedgecock states, "So, desperate taxpayers, the good news is that the Bush administration is finally exhibiting the will to control a border and developing the technology to 'detect and destroy' border smuggling tunnels. The bad news is it's on the Egypt-Gaza border and not also along our own open border with Mexico."
There is enormous turmoil in the Middle East region as this is written. Rumors of war abound. There are drills, gas masks, warnings, and all signs of impending war. Please keep this all in prayer.  The term "nuclear war" is even being used.

How about some progress on the fence on the U.S. border and how about backing off of Israel and condemning her for protecting her citizens particularly at this time of extreme tension?

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

Gloom and Doom or Our Blessed Hope?

I played a clip on my radio show last weekend (March 8,) which you can hear early in hour 2 at "Radio Archives."
In part the young woman states:

"The end-times are here, the end-times are here. Gloom and doom, doom and gloom! You hear about it all the time (yes, because we're in them).  I am so sick about hearing about the end-times when we have a job to do. I talked to a friend and she said the Bible said certain things were going to happen.  I couldn't believe it.  So we are just to sit back and drop the ball and don't do anything?

'We have radio and TV shows just talking about the end-times.  People actually make a living out of this. Instead of having a meeting as to how the end-times are upon us, shouldn't we be redeeming the time for the days are evil?  We have a whole generation of forgotten kids-forgotten by the church so they can have their meetings on the end-times."

I wish we DID have a whole lot of churches having meetings on Bible prophecy rather than tossing it out of the church 20 years ago!  She couldn't be more wrong.

She continues:
"If we truly believe these are the end-times, shouldn't we be saving souls?  Your gloom and doom meetings are depressing and there is no life in them.  I might as well just go kill myself because there is no hope. It's just gloom and doom from you people."

This young woman's statements came from a radio program, so it is hard to say how many people heard them.  She virtually plastered everyone in two generations above her as having a morbid pre-occupation with the glorious news that the King is coming!  I couldn't make it through a lot of days without knowing that. It's the most positive, uplifting message out there.

Yet, this is how many in the younger generation (thankfully not all) consider eschatology that is the theme of one-third of the Bible! There is a special crown for those who long for His appearing (II Tim. 4:8).  Jesus chastised the religious rulers of His day for knowing the signs of the weather but not the signs of the times (His first coming.)

This gal went on to say all we need is to focus on winning the lost. I have to ask, What better tool is there for that than eschatology which reminds us that the hour is late?

Yes, Peter said there would be such scoffers in the last days but in spite of her claim to really know the Bible, she doesn't know that she is partially fulfilling it.

Studying prophecy is a faith-builder. We see how Jesus fulfilled all His first coming verses and believe there is no reason why He would not fulfill the verses for His return.  Eschatology reminds us that God has a glorious future for us! He is our "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13).  His return is hardly gloom and doom.

Of concern is if the Lord should tarry, in another 20 years Bible prophecy will be an ancient relic set on the shelf by most everyone as even today the lovers of it are primarily over age 50.

But nothing energizes me more than the simple phrase, "The King is coming!"  And thankfully, I talk to a lot of people who feel the same! This is all that offers us hope in perilous times.
To learn more, visit the category of "Prophecy Watch" at my Web site.

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

Did Jesus Live in Occupied Territory?

The United Methodist Church (UMC) is at it again, although other denominations have engaged in this abysmal behavior as well. Their 225-page report, "Israel-Palestine: A 2007-2008 Mission Study," likens Jews to "monsters" and compares the actions of Israelis to Nazis.

Strange, indeed, when Hamas TV is currently running a kids' special suggesting that they "eat Danes, not Danish pastries." The UMC uses "terrorism" to describe Israeli actions while the actions of Palestinian Arabs are described as "activism." The desire to strap explosives onto oneself has dropped to that level, I guess, in the eyes of the UMC.

The 11 million-member church is expected to take up the issue of divesting stock from companies that do business with Israel at its quadrennial national conference in April. And those behind the effort are asking for the following:

1) That Israel end its "occupation" and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle her security wall which has reduced homicide bombing by 95%. Here's a note to the UMC: Israel didn't "occupy" or "colonize" anything. She has seized land since 1948 only to take territory that would defend her from further attack. She got her God-given land back very officially in 1948. But at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s, tens of thousands of Jews died in malarial swamplands in Israel so she could have a homeland of her own far away from Russian pogroms (which my grandparents fled) and Nazi Holocausts.

2) The UMC asks for recognition of the full equality and rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel. They have it! Arab residents of Israel even serve in her parliament known as the Knesset! This serves as a springboard to launch legislation against Israel but Israel treats her Arab citizens well. In a recent poll, 90% of Palestinians wanted to stay under Israeli rule and not the rule of Hamas or Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah.

So why this call to action? The UMC says, "For one, it works. Two, it's moral (you've got to be kidding). Three, it's non-violent. Four, churches actually have years of experience in morally responsible investing/divesting." They conclude, "For most of the 1990s under the Oslo so-called peace process, the world lived in naive hope that things were improving, and shifted sentiment from the harsh realities of occupation, oppression and brutal Israeli repression of nonviolent Palestinian resistance during the intifadas."

It wasn't the Israelis who were brutal during the intifadas (Palestinian uprisings in Israel.) The Palestinians even purged all of their brethren who may have sided with Israel and continue to do so to this day. And it wasn't a pretty sight. They bring new meaning to the word "brutality." They even strap explosives to mentally retarded people, children, and willing women who aren't even promised sensual glories in "paradise."

Since Oslo I in 1993, Israel has offered to give away the candy and the candy store! World leaders have been racing towards a "two-state solution" ever since but it is the Palestinian side of the deal who continues to lob rockets into Israeli cities as this is being written and have threatened all-out war since Oslo began. Israel is restraining from a full attack against these rocket-launching terrorists, mainly in Gaza, for reasons unknown.

But the United Methodist Church and other denominations participating in such things, present or past, write, "As the apartheid moved into the towns by the barrel of the gun, a number of people of faith sought a response that would be most appropriate." The barrel of a gun is only needed when one side is under siege and Israel has been under siege by one Arab/Muslim group after another, even after Oslo I talks began years ago. But protecting herself and her citizens results in the comparison to Nazis and monsters.

One has to wonder how much stronger delusion can get in the region where Jesus walked, taught, and died. Did He live in occupied territory? I encourage the Methodist Church and others who think like they do to go after the REAL monsters. There are multitudes to choose from including the leaders in Sudan, North Korea, China, Kenya, Communist regimes, Muslim leaders, other African nations, and a number of other barbarians who deserve the term "monster." Divest in those nations, UMC, and not America's ally, a democracy, and a nation created by God, inhabited by Jews with Western and humanitarian values.

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

Why Must Christianity be Re-Invented?

I, personally, don't believe it needs to be, but Robert Schuller and friends spent a few days in late January planning how to do it.  On my February 9 radio program, "Understanding the Times," Roger Oakland reported on the event as he was able to attend. He stated that the prominent view from most in attendance was that Christianity as we have known it has run its course and must change. It must be re-invented or it won't survive.  Really?

As Oakland said, focusing on a relationship and not religiosity is what is important; however, true Christianity has survived just about everything including mass slaughter in Sudan. But the faith isn't being made stronger by such events as Schuller's "Re-Think" last month. Christianity and the church need not "re-think" and compromise their God-given biblical doctrines to accommodate the world and churches with "straying" theology.

The Schuller "Re-Think" event was co-hosted by Emergent leader Erwin McManus. Many Christian and secular leaders were invited, and it begs the question, Why are secular people speaking about "re-inventing Christianity?"

Perhaps it cannot be determined if all in attendance or invited were in agreement with this event. Roger Oakland reported that most seemed to be receiving all the information positively. Several pulled out and did not show.

Just a few of the participants included Emergent Dan Kimball, Larry King, Gary Smalley, George Barna, Lee Strobel, Kay Warren (wife of Rick), George H.W. Bush, Rupert Murdoch, Henry Cloud, and of course, co-host Erwin McManus.

Roger Oakland states, "I hope and pray that Erwin McManus, Robert Schuller, and others will 're-think' the direction in which they are heading. I pray they will start proclaiming the gospel according to the Scriptures. I pray they will begin to warn about the many unbiblical ideas that are driving the unsuspecting toward an apostate church. The potential for Christians to be led astray by a strong delusion as Paul warned in II Thessalonians is not only a real possibility-it is happening now."

The overall view at "Re-Think" was that Christianity as we have known it has run its course and must be replaced or re-invented. We're seeing a paradigm shift. Speakers insisted that Christianity must be re-thought and re-invented if the Name of Jesus Christ is going to survive here on planet earth now that we are in the 21st century.  Jesus Christ needs no foot soldiers to keep His Name alive, His message alive, His purpose alive, and the church alive!  The pompous nature of this event defies credulity.

New ways of doing church need not replace "that old-time religion." The gospel message has never changed over thousands of years! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  "Re-think" participants should "re-think" themselves, and those who are believers should just stick to preaching a solid gospel rather than trying to re-invent something God never intended to change to "keep up with the culture."

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

The Twisted World of Oprah and Friends

If you haven't heard of "A Course in Miracles" or the proposed "Peace Alliance," then please pay attention. "New Age" queen Oprah Winfrey is promoting both, and it seems that what Oprah wants she gets due to her financial status and her loyal fans.

Starting January 1, 2008, she began a daily feature on XM Satellite Radio featuring "A Course in Miracles," one lesson a day. And also this year, she will have her own television network.

Marianne Williamson has picked up and run with the "Miracles" course, which was channeled to a woman back in the 1960s. In 1965 Helen Schucman heard an "inner voice" saying, "This is a course in miracles, please take note."  For seven years she took spiritual dictation from a demon who said he was "Jesus."  "A Course in Miracles" has now become the "New Age" bible.

Here are a few statements from the course:
* There is no sin.
* The journey to the cross should be the last "useless journey."
* Do not make the pathetic error of "clinging to the old rugged cross."
* The Name of "Jesus" is just symbolic of all the gods to which you pray.
* The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.
* The "atonement" is the final lesson man needs to learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.

This should come as no surprise in these latter days as the Bible is clear that some will not give heed to sound doctrine but rather listen to the doctrine of demons (II Tim. 4:3,4).

But the story of Oprah's and Williamson's push for all things unusual and unrighteous does not stop here. Williamson is trying to get a Cabinet level seat as a part of the "Peace Alliance" push by the two women. Check out the U.S. Department of Peacewebsite.

Think about what the Bible has to say about peace apart from the Prince of Peace. It says it will be a futile effort and even bring destruction (I Thess. 5:3). The Antichrist will play off of peace, but Daniel says "by peace he shall destroy many" (Dan. 8:25). Yet Oprah and friends believe this "Peace Alliance" will usher in an era of global peace founded on "New Age" spirituality. They refer to it as a "civil rights movement of the soul."
We live in strange and deceptive times so to sharpen your discernment, visit our "Spiritual Deception" category at the Web site. As believers, let us thank God for the real course in miracles. It's called the Bible.

Radio Note: Warren Smith is one of the best expounders on these issues for when he was a "New Ager," he was caught up in such things, particularly "A Course in Miracles."  Hear my hour with him on "Radio Archives" for February 2, 2008, hour one. He outlines his story in his book, "From the New Age to Amazing Grace" available in my print newsletter and soon on my Web site.

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

The Cost of Contending

Last weekend on my radio program, "Understanding the Times," I dealt with the topic of contending for the faith.  I had three guests: Pastor Bob DeWaay and two who had "contended" and run into some bumpy roads. (The two-hour program is posted at "Radio Archives" for January 26.) There is a cost to contending for the faith; one will never win a popularity contest.

Why is it necessary today?  Because false theologies and teachers with skewed theology are so admired!  Just visit a Christian bookstore. Which authors are prominently featured?  Most likely those with the weakest or most incorrect theology.  Why? Because publishing houses know they will be the big sellers!  I should know.  I have been in book publishing a number of years but in the last 10 to 12 years I have had to conclude that major publishing houses will not accept a manuscript of mine in the 21stcentury.  Twenty years ago they took one after another.

What has happened in the last 20 years is like the frog in the kettle. Wolves in sheep's clothing have slowly crept into the church.  Bad theology worsened but little by little. Because it didn't happen overnight, many did not notice. Soon, they adjusted to the "new ways of doing church," be it "seeker-sensitive," Emergent, etc.

Church leaders "widened the door."  In other words, they furthered the issue with weak preaching and targeting the unsaved rather than feeding true believers eager to grow.

Church members began to speak up but what happened? I have heard of the many who were lectured, asked to leave, called troublemakers and divisive. Unity has become all-important. But how can true believers be united around false or weak preaching and teaching?  Solid Christians are being told that they must be tolerant for the sake of unity.
Yes, the Bible told us a day was coming when people would not give heed to sound doctrine (II Timothy 2:3, 4). People would want their ears tickled. New ways of doing church today do just that. But following the biblical example, Paul still told Timothy to "preach the Word," and not "tickle the ears."

I have been following denominational annual meetings for several years and our once-solid denominations now feature some speakers who will lead their members astray. The churches may be intrigued with the Emergent Church or Emergent-friendly speakers, but they are wolves in sheep's clothing who will do harm to the sheep. What is blinding our shepherds?

This is one of the battles of the ages, and yet you will likely be told that "tolerance" is a virtue and "contending" is a vice. One of my radio guests this past weekend was told that her church did not observe the Lord's Supper as the blood was offensive to "seekers." One has to ask, are these churches more worried about what man thinks than what God thinks? The answer is yes. As stated earlier, false doctrine is lucrative and telling people what they want to hear is lucrative.

While it may be a tough road, God will always honor a love for the truth and your "contending." To keep silent when such things are going on today is not an option. Eternity may be at stake for some. If you have a passion for the truth and for contending for it, others who are like-minded will come into your life. You are not asked to go on this journey alone. If you do nothing, you are helping the enemy. If you remain silent, you allow the spiritual destruction to continue.

I am asking you to be a part of a solution and not just be a part of discussing the problem.  Will you count the cost of contending and go for it? You will some day be held accountable for what you choose to do.

Friday, 04 September 2009 19:00

The Truth War

The prophet Isaiah said in his day that truth had fallen in the street (Isa. 59:14). The situation has intensified in the late 20thand early 21st centuries.  That is why John MacArthur's book, The Truth War, is one of the most important items to have in your possession today.

Every believer should know and have a love for the truth.  We are in a generation where for convenience, personal gain, and deception-related issues, it is being ignored by many. I am reminded of the verse, "they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Thus, Solomon's wise words, "Buy truth, and do not sell it" (Proverbs 23:23).

As MacArthur states about our climate today, "Contemporary Christians are determined to get the world to like them, and of course in the process they also want to have as much fun as possible. They are so obsessed with making the church seem 'cool' to unbelievers that they can't be bothered with questions about whether another person's doctrine is sound or not. In a climate like that, the thought of even identifying someone else's teaching as false, (much less 'contending earnestly' for the faith) is a distasteful and a dangerously countercultural suggestion."

MacArthur concludes, "But Christians ought to be the most willing to live and die for truth. Remember, we know the truth, and the truth has set us free (John 8:32). And if called upon to sacrifice for the truth's sake, we need to be willing and prepared to give our lives."

Yet today many so-called evangelicals are openly questioning whether such a thing as truth exists.  Others will say that we can't be sure what it is.  Thus some Christian leaders today-many of them highly respected-just refuse to stand for anything because they have decided that even Scripture isn't clear enough to debate about.  And yet absolute truth is what the Word of God is all about!

Since the onset of the "seeker" movement, the Emergent Church movement, and postmodern thinking of the last 15 years, the sacrificial lamb has been truth.  Again quoting MacArthur, "We cannot sit by and do nothing while worldly, revisionist, and skeptical attitudes about truth are infiltrating the church. We must not embrace such confusion in the name of charity, collegiality, or unity. We have to stand and fight for the truth-and be prepared to die for it-as faithful Christians always have."

He concludes, "Church leaders are obsessed with style and methodology, losing interest in the glory of God, and becoming grossly apathetic about truth and sound doctrine. For the moment, at least, the battle appears to be turning in the enemy's favor."

The truth war is, indeed, a war. Warfare is serious. It requires diligence. It requires paying a price. It will cost you. You may not be popular.  And many of today's believers have no taste for conflict and contention. Enemies of the truth are relentless. Casualties abound.

So, will you stand for truth, or go the way of many today--including some evangelical leaders--and opt for compromise?
Since you are called for such a time as this, you are called to stand for truth in today's deceptive world and church.  Please report for duty.

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