29 June 2009
One of the biggest contributors to this movement was Richard Foster, a mystic Quaker who, for some reason, was able to weasel his way into the churches years ago and still silently resides there today. The entire Emergent movement has heartily embraced the dangerous practices of contemplative spirituality and mysticism. But unfortunately, mainstream Evangelicals are also accepting of these.
In college, one of my assigned readings was Richard Foster's "Streams of Living Water." While I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, there was something scarily "touchy-feely" about that book that made me uneasy and reluctant to claim it as Christian. Even my own church sadly and unfortunately includes Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" on their suggested reading list. Not only do these "spiritual disciplines" carry the danger of leading a believer down a road of works-salvation (Foster even calls them a "means of grace"!), but the more mystical disciplines will lead a believer into a search and a conversation with the spirit world under the guise of "speaking to" and "hearing from" God. Our Heavenly Father simply did not make it this complicated to access Him. We don't need a special prayer regimen of breathing and meditation and mind-emptying in order to reach Him. We should not seek to "become one" with Him because God is God and we are not! Our Lord asks only that we come to Him humbly, repenting, in faith and desiring to do His will.
The contemplative spirituality movement is rapidly infiltrating our churches--do you have enough discernment to know when you are being taught a false gospel? Here is a commentary on Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline." If you've heard this name or these practices being tossed around your church or small group or Sunday school, I hope that you will read this and learn the truth. To pique your interest, here is a small excerpt from Foster's book wherein he tells us that we're praying all wrong:
Often people will pray and pray with all the faith in the world, but nothing happens. Naturally, they were not contacting the channel. We begin praying for others by first centering down and listening to the quiet thunder of the Lord of hosts. Attuning ourselves to divine breathings is spiritual work, but without it our praying is vain repetition (Mt. 6:7). Listening to the Lord is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for successful intercession. (Foster: 34)
Hmm, I probably should let God know that I've been praying incorrectly so he can withdraw all of those answered prayers He's given me throughout the years!
Bob Dewaay, the author of the commentary, was actually quite active in the contemplative movement early on in his Christian walk, so his critique and concerns are valid and stem from experience. I do hope you take the time to at least skim his article. By closing your eyes and "shooing" this away, you are only helping to invite heresies like this into the church.
Sola Scriptura - by Scripture alone! Why does man insist on adding to the perfect Word of God?
28 June 2009
I usually spend my time at home with the radio on. This evening was different, though, and as I turned it on at 5:55, I caught the very end of John MacArthur's Grace to You broadcast. They were advertising their latest resource and it caught my attention. It's called "A Nation Abandoned by God" and you can find it here. (This link leads to the transcript. By clicking in the upper right-hand corner, you can also listen and download it for free!). I just finished listening to this amazing message. Ironically, this was not a recently delivered sermon. And yet, through the truth of John MacArthur's words, we can see that God abandoned this country a long time ago. The problem now is that it's time for Christians to pull their heads out of the sand and acknowledge that abandonment.
I won't re-teach the sermon here, as I am assured that Pastor MacArthur is far more eloquent and educated than I and to hear his delivery of this message is necessary. But I want to make some points.
Nothing is more frustrating to me than a Christian who has misplaced optimism. As Christians, we should be the most optimistic people walking around. We have faith in these troubled times that God will provide, that God is in control. And, ultimately, we have the blessed hope, the much-anticipated promise that He will return to gather and deliver His church. Sadly, most Christians do not place their optimism in this ultimate blessed hope. Instead, they smile and say that things will turn around, things will get better. Now tell me, how many more End Times prophecies do you have to see (and I mean see. Through modern technology we can see, hear, know instantly as prophecy is unfolding) fulfilled before you believe--truly believe--that Christ is coming soon? Don't just acknowledge it with your head knowledge and then hope in your heart that it's not true.
That is the danger I see so many followers of Christ falling into. They acknowledge the signs, but in conversation and in their eyes I can see that they really hope and wish that the end is not near. Why? Perhaps fear. God has told us a lot of mysteries but ultimately we cannot fathom eternity. But why in the world would we fear it? If we love God and trust Him, then we have nothing to fear. Nothing earthly, nothing temporal, and most importantly nothing eternal because our eternity is secure and God has promised that it will be wonderful!
Another reason for the (deliberate) blindness of professing Christians--and the most dangerous--is that countless Christians are still wrapped up in this world. They have not fully surrendered their earthly desires. Don't get me wrong, I'm not standing in judgment as the perfect heavenly-minded follower of Christ. Do I have plans and ideas for my future? Yes. But only to an extent. By God's grace He has allowed me to let go of so many earthly desires in exchange for a desire to only follow Him and do His will while I'm still here. But in conversations with so many believers, I still hear the longing in their voice for them to be able to accomplish and experience worldly, temporal ideas of success. Marriage, children, career, travel, exciting exhilarating experiences so that they have a good story to tell to their small group and their coworkers, material gain. In essence, I still hear an intense desire to have that worldly-defined "perfect life." At what point do you concede that, perhaps, that is no longer God's plan for this current generation? At what point do you recognize that God has a greater purpose for His followers in these last days? At what point do we drop our motives in exchange for God's?
I believe that Christians who are blessed enough to be watching God's great and awesome plan unfold in these last days have a very special mission. I believe we are to be watchmen on the wall, crying out to the unbelieving, unrepentant souls that time is desperately short. I believe we are called to be more discerning than ever of what enters our churches instead of being accepting and tolerant of every new fad that comes along. I believe we are being called back to the True Gospel and it's black and white, no gray, no fuzz, no compromise, no maybes. It's not taught with fancy lights and loud music and "cool" pastors. It's not "unoffensive" and it's not weak and it's not warm and cuddly. But it's truth. And it saves. And it's the most beautiful, blessed, loving thing we can do for another person to present to them the stark Gospel as God presents it in His Word. Man is depraved, sinful, fallen, and damned. Christ lowered Himself to this earth and lived and died and rose for all who will believe in Him. He was beaten, tortured, humiliated, pierced, He BLED and DIED so that you would never have to. And without acknowledging this, without acknowledging your complete and utter depravity and sinfulness. Without acknowledging that Christ is the only way to true freedom, sanctification, salvation, you are condemned to Hell. That's it. That's the truth. And you deserve it. I deserve it. Every person who ever lived on this fallen earth deserves to burn eternally in Hell in unfathomable pain and torment and sin. But we don't have to. Our debt to God has been paid. What message could possibly be more loving than that of our Savior?
And yet our churches dumb-down the Gospel. They suppress the Truth. They make it warm and fuzzy and all marshmallows and pink butterflies. They twist and turn and hem and haw and reject and compromise the Truth of the Gospel because they don't want to offend anybody. Well guess what? You may not be upsetting those people now, but I venture to say they'll be a tad angry when they wind up in the pit of Hell for eternity because you brought them a false gospel!
Okay, at this point I've wandered a bit from the central point of MacArthur's sermon. Bottom line: our country is depraved. God has given us over to our passions. He has abandoned us. So do we pray that God will come back and bless our country? No. Instead, we pray that the church will rise up and teach the True Gospel. We pray that the church will spread the Word of God while we're still legally allowed to do so. And once we can no longer safely preach God's Word, we preach it anyway. And we risk suffering and punishment because no earthly condemnation can compare to what will await us when we reach eternity with Christ. We pray that the church would stand boldly, unashamedly for Christ. We pray that the church would proclaim Christ before mere men just as we know that Christ will proclaim us as children before God. We pray for discernment. We pray for wisdom. We pray for courage. We pray.
27 June 2009
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND ISLAM REALLY DO WORSHIP THE SAME GOD
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24 June 2009
14 June 2009
Here is another example of an attempt to discredit Jesus Christ. Professor James Tabor is now claiming that Jesus never claimed to be God and he says he has historical evidence to prove it. I guess he never read Isaiah 9:6 or John 1. Unfortunately, it seems that much of what Tabor is arguing against are mis-taught truths of the Catholic faith. In that case, we merely have one heretic arguing another. But also unfortunate is that the article states that "Tabor has already received intense support and interest from Christian pastors." What Christian pastors? I don't know about you, but I'd love to get some names on that! As Christians, we should not entertain the ideas of men like this. While I admit that part of me would like to read his book if for no other reason than to give myself a good laugh, in the end I refuse to spend the money that God has entrusted to me on anything so heretical. Perhaps one of the most unfortunate things about this man and his latest work is that James Tabor is Chair of the Department of Religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Chair of the Department of Religious studies and you're publishing a book that denies the deity of Christ? But then, why am I surprised? We live in an upside-down world. Only the return of Jesus Christ will flip the world right-side-up again. And when that happens, oh boy would I love to see the look on the faces of men like James Tabor! Those who focus on the historical Jesus are so intent on disproving his deity, that they are researching their way to eternal torment. But they will have no argument when Jesus says to them, "I never knew you," because they clearly never cared about getting to know Him.
13 June 2009
07 June 2009
Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. Daniel 11:31
And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Daniel 12:11
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. Matthew 24:15-21
So what is this "abomination of desolation" that is predicted and spoken of in the Bible, even by Christ Himself? In short, this is the time at the end of days when the Antichrist will sit in the temple in Jerusalem and will blaspheme the name of God Almighty.
The temple? But there is no temple! Oh, but there will be! The Bible tells us that the temple will be rebuilt: Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. Revelation 11:1,2
The best part about all of this? IT'S HAPPENING NOW! With all of the talks of compromise and a "two-state solution" in Israel and the sharing of Jerusalem, this prophecy (the rebuilding and the perversion of the temple) will very soon become a reality. The Jews have been working for decades to recreate every component of the temple! Watch the video below and read this article for more information. And do not be fearful or anxious...this is amazing news--it means that Christ is coming, and He's coming SOON!
03 June 2009
I by no means condone the violent murder of George Tiller this past Sunday. At the same time, I absolutely condemn Tiller's chosen profession while he walked the earth. A profession that resulted in the senseless murder of over 60,000 innocent babies.
Here is a website that has pictures of one of the babies that George Tiller murdered. Apparently, he used to allow the parents to pose for photos with the corpse in a sort of "memorial service" setting before he tossed the baby in the incinerator. Just a warning that these pictures are fairly graphic.
Please pray for the mother of this child. While it sounds as though she is remorseful--and even repenting--she will still have an incredibly difficult burden to bear for the rest of her life. Pray that she turns to Christ to lift that burden so that she may see her child again one day in Heaven.
One really has to wonder: how much lower can we sink?
Keep looking up, for surely Christ is coming soon!