30 June 2012

Louie Giglio to Join Word Faith Lineup at 2012 Hillsong Conference

The 2012 Hillsong Conference kicks off on Monday, 2 July in Sydney, Australia. What is the Hillsong Conference and what do they strive to accomplish?
Hillsong Conference is about you and your Church; it’s about seeing nations changed through the power of the local Church. It’s about personal devotion and hearing from God, it’s about administering justice and loving others. It’s about stepping back, being REFRESHED and inspired... and it’s about doing it, together. (Source)
This is the 26th such conference, and most of the scheduled speakers from outside of the Hillsong family are not strangers to the event. Headlining this year are Joyce Meyer, Joseph Prince, Steven Furtick and Louie Giglio. Three of these names have appeared at past Hillsong Conferences. Only Steven Furtick is new to the event in Sydney, although he has preached at Hillsong in New York City.

These names, especially Meyer and Prince, are synonymous with the Word Faith heresy. Both were speakers at the 2008 Hillsong Conference and both are quite adept at propagating heretical Word Faith doctrines. Below, Joyce Meyer can be heard mishandling Psalm 82 and teaching the common WF doctrine that we are "little gods".


Here, Meyer is heard teaching positive confession:


Joseph Prince, another talented prosperity preacher, is the pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore. According to his church website, God has informed Prince that 2012 is the "Year of Unceasing Fruitfulness."
God spoke to Pastor Joseph Prince many years ago that every year, He would give pastor His rhema word for the year for our church. It is not a list of do’s and don’ts, but it is a declaration of what God will do for the church in that year. On the very first Sunday of this year, it was revealed that 2012 will be a year of unceasing fruitfulness. Beloved, God wants you blessed and fruitful every day of this year like a tree planted by the waters! (Jeremiah 17:7–8, Psalm 1:3)
(Source


Prince is also the author of such books as Destined to Reign, wherein he expresses his thankfulness for the influence of Word Faith greats in his life and ministry. On page 271 of the book, Prince writes,
I give thanks to God for my roots in the Word of Faith teachings. It is truly on the shoulders of great men of God like Brother Kenneth E. Hagin that we are able to see further into the Word of God today. Growing up, I learned a lot about faith from Brother Hagin, who truly  had a special revelation of faith from the Lord. I deeply honor and respect him for all that he has taught me.
(Joseph Prince, Destined to Reign, [Harrison House Publishers: 2007], 217)
For those who are not aware, Kenneth Hagin was one of the earliest and most influential leaders of the Word Faith movement. As John MacArthur demonstrates in his book, Charismatic Chaos, Hagin's influence can be found behind such blasphemous doctrines as the "little gods" doctrine, as well as the idea that Jesus Christ had to be born again. Quoting Hagin, MacArthur writes,
Kenneth Hagin writes, "You can have what you say. You can write your own ticket with God. And the first step in writing your own ticket with God is: Say it." He adds later, "If you talk about your trials, your difficulties, your lack of faith, your lack of money–your faith will shrivel and dry up. But, bless God, if you talk about the Word of God, your lovely Heavenly Father and what He can do–your faith will grow by leaps and bounds."
(John MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, [Zondervan: 1992], 342–343)
Over time, Steven Furtick also has demonstrated that he is easily and perhaps eagerly wriggling his way into the WF camp. At Apprising Ministries, Ken Silva has demonstrated in pieces like Steven Furtick and "Prophet" Brian Carn that Furtick is seeking to bring the Word Faith heresy into the mainstream.

We also know that Furtick has toured, and appeared to be quite impressed with, Joyce Meyer's ministry headquarters:
Source
Steven Furtick has also shown his affinity for Word Faith preachers in his exaltation of T.D. Jakes as his "favorite preacher in the world."



Additionally, Steven Furtick has declared that Joel Osteen is a "great man of God."


Interestingly, Joel and Victoria Osteen were special guests at the 2009 Hillsong Conference along with Jentezen Franklin, Craig Groeschel and 2012 returning speaker Louie Giglio.


So we know, then, that Louie Giglio is not unfamiliar with the Osteens. Not only did he appear with them at Hillsong 2009, but as recently as 27 May 2012, Giglio was preaching at Osteen's Lakewood Church.


When this speaking engagement at Lakewood was reported, we were reminded of a strange thing that happened back in January 2012 at Giglio's Passion conference. As Giglio stood on stage with leaders such as John Piper and Beth Moore, we witnessed a type of "Lectio Divina Lite" taking over the stadium. Perhaps even more curious, though, were the words Giglio shared at the close of this session:



How many of you heard the voice of God speak specifically, clearly, directly, and personally, to you? Can you just put a hand up? I’d like you to share it. Can you put a hand up for a minute? 
Just want you to look around; that’s people saying, “God Almighty (pause) the Maker of heaven (pause) the one Who’s sitting on the only throne (pause) that’s not under threat (long pause, audience cheers)—He spoke to me. He spoke to me.” 
“God spoke to me.” (long pause) Don’t let the voice of the darkness, tell you that you are not (pause) worth (pause) that God would not speak to you. (pause) Don’t let him tell you, you don’t matter. (pause) God spoke to you.
It is the opinion of this writer that it seems a bit presumptuous to seek for outside revelation when God has graciously, clearly, and perfectly spoken in His Word. We have no need to listen for His voice outside of Scripture. He has not stuttered. He has not stammered. He has not whispered. To hear from God Almighty, all one must do is open the Bible and read.

Yet Giglio and the others on stage that day appeared to advocate listening for the voice of God in the silence. Of course, according to the description above, the Hillsong Conference does profess to be about "hearing from God," so perhaps it ought not surprise that Giglio seems to be a frequent speaker at this event.

Among the Christian leaders on the platform with Giglio at Passion 2012 was Bible teacher Beth Moore, who is herself no stranger to contemplative spirituality. As Ken Silva shares in his article, Beth Moore the Mystic, Moore apparently has claimed to receive direct revelation from God:



What God began to say to me about five years ago, and I’m telling you it sent me on such a trek with Him, that my head is still whirling over it. 
He began to say to me, ‘I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth, and boy you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it: 
“My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief.” And He said, “Startin’ with you.”
(Source
Beyond the "revelation" described above, Apprising Ministries also has documented that Beth Moore claims that God gave her a vision of the church "as Jesus sees it," and that this divinely revealed church includes the apostate Roman Catholic Church. It seems that popular pastor Louie Giglio is not bothered by such teaching, however, as he apparently has invited Beth Moore to fill his pulpit at Passion City Church on Sunday, 1 July, while he travels to Australia for the 2012 Hillsong Conference.
Source
It sounds as though both Beth Moore and Louie Giglio are looking forward to her being able to teach at his church:
Source
Thus far there has been no indication that Sunday's services will be for women only. It seems, then, that Giglio has invited a woman into his pulpit to preach and teach a mixed audience, in spite of the admonition of 1 Timothy 2:12.

Perhaps if Louie Giglio were appearing for the first time at the Hillsong Conference, he could be given a pass for being unaware of the environment that he is walking into. As has been demonstrated, however, he is not a stranger to these events. He has also quite recently placed himself in the pulpit of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, one of the largest temples of the Word Faith heresy. Further, he has invited a woman to fill his own pulpit. Yet over the years, Giglio has generally been held in high regard. One wonders how this might be in light of the evidence before us. 
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
(Jude 1:3, 4)

Further Reading
Steven Furtick and the Presence 2012 Conference
Louie Giglio to Preach at Osteen's Lakewood Church
Steven Furtick is Lookin' for the Favor
Biblical Silence vs. Mystical Silence and What Really Went on at Passion 2012?

29 June 2012

This 'n' That

Does Sunday morning church just, well, get in the way? Would you much rather stay home, sleep in and share a big breakfast with the family before heading over to the pool to catch some rays? If so, your troubles are over! It seems that advertisement for Elevation Church's recently concluded sermon series, How to Hug a Vampire, was both extensive and creative. A friend sent me the following pictures of an Elevation door hanger that was making the neighborhood rounds a few weeks back. I expected that it might say, "Do Not Disturb...Church Service in Progress." Then one could simply hang it on the door, turn on Elevation Network, and never attend church again.

Beyond simply advertising the sermon series, this door hanger alerts recipients to Elevation's Sunday evening service. Now you can "experience the same engaging music and powerful preaching" that is offered on Sunday mornings "without missing any of the things you love about Sundays!" Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with attending church on Sunday evening. It is unfortunate, however, that this was advertised such that it seemed to imply that what a Christian should "love about Sunday" is not first and foremost worship of the Lord and fellowship with the brethren. Let's face it, we all have Sundays when we're not all that excited about going to church. If we are in a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Gospel-proclaiming church, however, let's hope that's not the norm.

The good news is that your weekly This 'n' That doesn't have to get in the way of your previously scheduled activities. So please hang up your "Do Not Disturb My This 'n' That" door hanger, sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • Personally, I'm not a fan of Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Now we find that she recently recommended the work of mystic Richard Foster.
  • C'mon, did you really think Phillips would say it all in one post? Here's part two.
  • I'm glad the Muslim Brotherhood isn't anti-Semitic. Oh, wait...
  • All sessions from Resolved 2012 are now available online. This one from Steve Lawson has been popular online this week, and is definitely worth a listen.
  • Personally, I'm partial to this message that was preached by John MacArthur at the first session of Resolved. I recently heard him preach it elsewhere, but he seemed to have an extra infusion of zeal when he preached it last week:

28 June 2012

Implications of The Harbinger

Yesterday I said that I would not pontificate regarding my concerns with The Harbinger. Well, that promise didn't last long. My two cents can be found at Christian Research Network.

Megachurch Pastor Kong Hee Now Accused of Misusing Over $50m in Church Funds

On 26 June it was reported that Kong Hee, founder and pastor of Singapore’s City Harvest Church, had been arrested along with four others for allegedly misusing church funds. The five accused appeared in court on Wednesday, 27 June, to face charges. Original accusations from a two-year investigation indicated that over $24 million in funds had been siphoned from church funds and used to finance the music career of Hee's wife, Ho Yeow Sun, whose most well-known song, "China Wine," boasts a decidedly sensual and inappropriate music video.

Wednesday's court appearance revealed, however, that an additional $26.6 million was misappropriated. The Straits Times reports further details:
The prosecution said: 'These further monies were circulated... to create the false appearance that the purported sham bond investments had been redeemed, when in fact the 'redemption' had been financed using these further monies misappropriated from church funds.' 
This 'round-tripping' meant that more of City Harvest's building fund cash was used to repay the sums owed to itself. 
The total sum of $50.6 million that the five conspired to cheat the church of makes the City Harvest case the biggest financial scandal involving a registered charity. (Source)
The Straits Times also reports that City Harvest Church is standing behind its pastor:
Mr Aries Zulkarnain [executive pastor] said in a statement on Thursday evening that the church stands by the five, which includes founding pastor Kong Hee, 47. 
He added that Kong, who faces three charges of criminal breach of trust as an agent, and deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng, 39, who faces similar charges, will continue to preach at the church. (Source)
The five accused are scheduled to appear in court on July 25. If found guilty, megachurch pastor Kong Hee could face life imprisonment.

*This article has been republished and originally appears here at Christian Research Network.

Further Reading
Singapore Pastor Kong Hee Arrested for Alleged Misuse of Church Funds
Steven Furtick Twists Scripture, Claims to Hear from God at Presence 2012

27 June 2012

The Harbinger: Fact, Fiction or Folly?

The Harbinger. It's the latest craze and yet, at the same time it seems to be flying under the radar. After listening to countless hours worth of radio and television interviews with the author, Jonathan Cahn, as well as reading numerous reviews both favorable and unfavorable, I have more than a few thoughts on the book. To voice all of those thoughts would take pages, however, and so I'll sum it up and advise Christians to avoid this book.

In an article entitled, "When Christians Engage in Blood Sport," on World Net Daily, Jan Markell, host of Understanding the Times Radio, stated:
Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jew, is a 21st century John or Jeremiah but in the right sense! He is not some out-of-order “prophet.” He got stuck with unraveling a code given to him by God.1
If this is true, that "the Harbinger is a 2,500 year old mystery that lies behind everything"2 that is happening in America, and that the mystery has only now been revealed to Jonathan Cahn, who has decided to announce it in the form of a novel, then Christians have only one option. We must find a glue stick, open to the back of our Bibles, and paste in The Harbinger.Unless you are prepared to do this, you cannot promote this book. Personally, I'd like to leave my Bible as it is, with Revelation 22:21 as the final word.

With that, I want to point the reader to an article written by pastor-teacher Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries entitled, "The Harbinger: Prophetic Fact or Fickle Fiction?" Silva pinpoints one of the biggest problems lying behind The Harbinger phenomenon:
This brings me to the critical issue I spoke of earlier: Is Jonathan Cahn trying to have his cake and eat it too? In other words, is TH really prophecy or is it fiction? He cannot have it both ways, which it appears to me he is trying to do. Allowing himself to be portrayed a prophet but leaving an escape hatch open by also claiming fiction.4
Silva's article may be read in its entirety here.

__________________________

Footnotes:
1. Jan Markell, "When Christians Engage in Blood Sport," World Net Daily, 7 June 2012.
2. Jonathan Cahn makes this statement approximately 45 seconds in to his 26 June 2012 appearance on Glenn Beck TV.
3. At approximately the 18:35 mark of the 20 April 2012 Web Bonus episode of Understanding the Times, Cahn begins to describe the timeline of when he received a "second wave of revelation of these mysteries."
4. Ken Silva, "The Harbinger: Prophetic Fact or Fickle Fiction?" Apprising Ministries, 26 June 2012.

Additional Resources:
When God Abandons a Nation (sermon by John MacArthur)
The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? (A review by David James of Prophecy Today)
Worldview Weekend, aired 22 June 2012
Worldview Weekend, aired 26 June 2012
The Harbinger (Gary Gilley)
The Harbinger: A Review and Commentary (Larry DeBruyn)

The False Convert's Approach to Scripture

The book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is a rich examination of the text of Matthew 5–7. As he discusses the characteristics of the ‘false professor’ or false convert, Lloyd-Jones reminds that the Christian must always seek to examine himself by the shining light of the Word of God. It is not uncommon for the false convert to avoid reading the Word, or to choose to read and acknowledge only those select passages which do not convict. Lloyd-Jones warns against such a practice. Continue reading 

26 June 2012

Singapore Pastor Kong Hee Arrested for Alleged Misuse of Church Funds

Agence France-Presse reports:
The founder of one of Singapore's richest churches was arrested Tuesday on allegations of misusing at least $18 million in donations from his congregation of more than 30,000, police said.
Pastor Kong Hee and four senior executives of the City Harvest Church -- a Christian group registered as a charity -- were arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department, a police unit set up to fight financial crime.
Officials said they were suspected of diverting at least Sg$23 million earmarked for charitable projects and spent money on a bid by the pastor's wife, Ho Yeow Sun, to launch an evangelical music career in the United States.
The church, which has affiliates in neighboring Malaysia and other countries, is famous for services that resemble pop concerts.
"It's confirmed that five persons were arrested and Kong Hee is one of them," a police spokesman told AFP.
(Source)
Apparently this investigation has been ongoing since 2010, and the above article concludes by noting:
The five will be charged in court on Wednesday and if convicted, each of them could face life imprisonment as well as a fine. (Source)
Kong Hee has been mentioned previously here before, most recently due to his appearance as a speaker at the Presence 2012 conference in Sydney, Australia, hosted by Phil Pringle of C3 Church. Hee is the founder and pastor of City Harvest Church, whose website notes,
In 2002, Kong received a personal revelation on engaging society fully. He brought the Cultural Mandate teachings all over Asia and the world. To live out the principles of what he preaches, he personally withdrew himself from CHC's staff payroll in 1 November 2005 and started his own business.
Today, he is highly sought after by churches and corporations around the world to speak in their congregation and conferences. Known for his style of candor and wit, his messages carry pertinence and strong conviction.
(Source
Hee was joined at Presence 2012 by such men as Steven Furtick and John Bevere. In fact, it was at this conference that Steven Furtick claimed that he had received direct revelation from God.


Not long before Presence 2012 took place, Kong Hee also appeared alongside prominent Word Faith pastors Brian Houston and T.D. Jakes at the  Vision 2012 Spiritual Life Conference, hosted by pastor Casey and his wife, pastrix Wendy Treat of Christian Faith Center.

It would seem, then, that Kong Hee tends to run with a prosperity gospel preaching crowd. But then, little else may be expected of someone who has preached a message entitled, "Nine Reasons Why Jesus Was Not Poor."


Presumably, then, it is the effects of this type of abuse of Scripture that has led to this investigation and subsequent arrest.


Regarding this situation, City Harvest Church has released the following statement on its website:
Source

Perhaps God will use this situation to bring Kong Hee to repentance and true faith in Christ. As believers, we can most certainly pray for such an outcome.


Further Reading
Interview with [Phil] Pringle Offers Insight Into His Relationship with Kong Hee (C3 Church Watch)
T.D. Jakes Joins Fellow Word Faith-ers at Vision 2012
Steven Furtick and the Presence 2012 Conference
Steven Furtick Twists Scripture, Claims to Hear from God at Presence 2012

25 June 2012

Ed Young, Jr.: "Reformed is Deformed"

Texas megachurch pastor Ed Young, Jr. took to Twitter to attack Reformed theology with the following remark:
Source
Since Young is an SBC pastor, one almost wonders if he was offering his response to the controversial SBC document, A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation, which speaks rather critically of Calvinism. After a few hours of feedback and responses, Young posted this:
Source
Well, who's going to pass up that invitation? The relevant portion of Young's sermon from Part 4 of his series, "Cool-Aid," is below. Note that when Young speaks of "Reformed theology" or "Calvinism," it is evident that he is referring specifically to the 5 points of Calvinism, or the Doctrines of Grace.


Now, there is far too much contained in this clip to respond to all of it. Suffice it to say that Young has clearly demonstrated that he is utterly ignorant of what Reformed theology actually teaches. The problem lies not in the fact that Ed Young has chosen to attack Reformed theology, but that he has provided a bizarre, inaccurate caricature of it. 

That Ed Young, Jr. would preach such nonsense, and then advertise and boast about it is a sad reflection of the state of the church today. It is an egregious and disheartening thought to know that this man, this "pastor", is leading countless numbers astray.

*Note: In the above clip, Ed Young, Jr. speaks about bloggers, and in true seeker-driven pastor fashion (no pun intended), characterizes them as Basement Living Opinion Givers who compose their blog posts from their parents' basement. Well, Ed, just to let you know, I am writing this from my very own desk chair on my very own computer in my very own house that I pay for with my very own money every month. I just thought you should know.
**Special thanks to Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries for the creation of this video clip.

22 June 2012

This 'n' That


Source
The other day, I was pondering the existence of what has come to be known as the "tablet." It started with the iPad, but now every other company has jumped on the bandwagon with their own version of the device. And I thought to myself, "All of these are evil. What we need is a purely Christian tablet. Otherwise every Christian who touches one of these pagan tablets surely will instantly lose his or her salvation."

Okay, I confess, I never thought that at all. But it does make me wonder what the motivation was behind Family Christian's newly released tablet device: edifi.
Our touch display tablet is much more than an e-reader! It's easy to use and loaded with family-friendly features and FREE apps including Safe Search Wi-Fi web browsing, 27 Bible translations and Christian internet radio. Plus, check email, social network, watch movies, display photos and download ebooks with our Family Christian Reader app preloaded. (Source)
This device is only comparable to, say, the Nook or the Kindle Fire, so if you want to do much beyond what those allow you to, you'll still have to fork over the money for an iPad or its equivalent. Of course, I acknowledge that there's nothing inherently wrong with the edifi. I'm sure it's a perfectly pleasant device. I'm just amazed at how it often seems that Christians feel they must "Christianize" everything just to get their own piece of the pie.

Ah, well, while you search for that 30% off coupon for Family Christian, please enjoy your hopefully edifying week in review (kind of):
  • Tim Challies shares a few thoughts on all of those "I went to Heaven and came back to tell you about it, but I swear I didn't write this book for money" books. He followed up that post with one discussing what the Bible says about these types of books.
  • The final Resolved Conference ever is being held this weekend in Palm Springs. I hear there won't be a live stream this year, but there will be same-day downloads available of each session.
  • Rick Warren is redesigning his Purpose Driven Life for its 10th anniversary. He's also adding four more chapters. Great, maybe this time he'll actually include the Gospel. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, but I'm trying to be optimistic.
  • There's a new film coming that claims Jesus was a product of His mother being raped by a Roman soldier.
  • BACON is the new TULIP. Now I'm conflicted because I like both bacon and tulips, but for different reasons, obviously. I never knew an acronym could cause such a dilemma!
  • Pastors rapping to advertise "Back to Church Sunday." *Sigh*.
  • Recently Drs. John MacArthur, Steve Lawson and R.C. Sproul gathered in Seattle for the Ligonier 2012 West Coast Conference. They've now made the audio and video of each session available for free. I haven't had a chance to listen to all of them yet, but don't let that stop you!
  • Here's one of the sessions from the Ligionier conference that I have listened to, and highly recommend. Steve Lawson preaches on "Against Our Own Sin":

21 June 2012

Christine Caine "Honored" to Speak at Lakewood Church Youth Conference

Christine Caine, director of Equip & Empower Ministries, founder of the A21 Campaign, and a worship leader at Hillsong Church, led by pastor Brian and pastrix Bobbie Houston, is quickly growing in popularity. Ever since her appearance at Steven Furtick's Code Orange Revival, (which was followed by preaching a Sunday service at Furtick's Elevation Church), Caine has grown to become quite a recognizable name among the seeker-driven crowd. Her obvious bubbly personality and charismatic speaking style make it easy to see why she has become so popular.


Caine also is an ordained minister (as documented here), and is the author of such works as A Life Unleashed: Giving Birth to Your DreamsThe product description reads as follows:
Gifted communicator and Bible teacher Christine Caine reveals the steps to unleashing the potential in each of us. God has divinely created each of us with incredible potential--seeds that can grow into something significant. However, the past, current circumstances, or social conditions can cause us to forsake these seeds or allow them to lay dormant. During her 40-week pregnancy, Christine Caine discovered that conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to her daughter has much in common with actualizing our potential and realizing our dreams. In A LIFE UNLEASHED, she uses this metaphor of pregnancy to walk readers through the journey that will ultimately result in experiencing the fulfillment of our own God-given dreams. It*s a journey of both excitement and pain. In the same way women encounter nausea, restrictive dietary habits, and contractions during pregnancy, there will be challenges to overcome while giving birth to our dreams. But in due time we will see the fruit of that original seed of potential. Christine encourages readers that with continued trust in God--regardless of the obstacles--His plans and purposes will come to pass. (Source)
This language is typical Word Faith sentiment, teaching people to "give birth" to their dreams and "unleash the potential" inside. Unfortunately for these types of teachers, apart from Christ, the only potential anybody has is the potential to sin.

Nevertheless, the name of Christine Caine is becoming more common place. She even has become rather good friends with Southern Baptist preacher Jack Graham and fellow Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore.
Source
She also says that she loves Word Faith preacher Joyce Meyer, and has declared that Sheryl Brady, pastrix of The Potter's House North Dallas (and a woman T.D. Jakes considers to be "one of my daughters"), is "flat out the best chick PREACHER of the word!"
Source

Source
From her own roots at Hillsong Church, to her preaching at the Code Orange Revival, to her exaltation of Joyce Meyer and Sheryl Brady, it seems evident that Christine Caine is quite comfortable in Word Faith circles. As demonstrated above, Caine herself is proficient in the teachings of Word Faith. In fact, as pastor-teacher Ken Silva points out, when Caine preached the Sunday service during Steven Furtick's Code Orange Revival, she
confesses “God is birthing out a revival” through Elevation Church and its great leader Steven Furtick who “sees what God sees.” Unfortunately though, many of us Christians never in our whole Christian lives ever get to see such wonders because we have “weights” keeping us from “breakthrough.” As pastrix Caine continues her narcigesis she does hold out hope though because Elevation Church brings revival when they show up.
O, we are so very blessed, indeed. For you see, as she shifts into Kingdom Now dominionism, pastrix Caine tells us we’ll be okay because Elevation Church knows how “to go in and possess what [they've] already inherited,” even if we mere mortals don’t. That’s because God has apparently given Elevation Church a “possession mentality” so they know how to grab hold of God’s promises, which keeps them “moving into what God has.”
In classic Word Faith-speak, for those “believing God for financial breakthrough,” pastrix Caine also tells us how to get rid of the weight keeping us from it. Who’d a-thunk; give more, sow a bigger seed. You also watch her using narcigesis to allegorize Joshua and the Israelites at Jericho into God wanting us to look “beyond the natural into the supernatural.”
(Source
The video below shares some of the lowlights of Caine's Sunday morning sermon during the Code Orange Revival at Elevation Church:

Perhaps it is this type of spirited Word Faith preaching that earned Caine an invitation to speak at Lakewood Church's Hope & Life Conference on 21 June 2012:
Source
According to the Lakewood Church blog and website, the Hope & Life Conference is held each year for the youth of Lakewood. The Osteens explain further:
Source

Caine will be joined at this event by Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in New York, Robert Madu and John Gray. According to his website, Gray is a minister, actor, comedian, playwright, author and singer. Evangelist Robert Madu's work "is more than a ministry" but also is "a mandate from God."
Source
Madu's biographical information indicates that he has a "powerful anointing" and a "sensitivity to the Holy Spirit" that makes him a "sought after communicator." It certainly seems, then, that the youth who attend the Hope & Life Conference will be inundated with dynamic speakers. In fact, Caine says that she has a "word seriously burning" for the event:
Source
With Christine Caine becoming increasingly popular among mainstream evangelicals such as Beth Moore and Jack Graham, her apparent affinity for the Word Faith crowd ought to cause concern. Who knows, perhaps Elephant Room 3 will finally welcome women to the panel. If so, we would not be surprised to find Caine at the top of the list.

Further Reading
"Code Orange" Speaker Christine Caine
Word Faith Pastrix Christine Caine Preaches Sunday Morning Sermon for Steven Furtick
Vice-Prelate T.D. Jakes to Speak at 'Holy Convocation' of Oneness Pentecostal Organization

20 June 2012

John MacArthur: "The Biggest Problem in the Church is Lack of Discernment"

Well, I may have been blessed with a 10 minute interview with John MacArthur, but Brannon Howse had an entire hour! Today on Worldview Weekend, Brannon Howse interviewed Dr. MacArthur and, as you can imagine, they covered a lot of ground. As usual, John MacArthur pulled no punches as the two discussed the seeker-sensitive movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, mysticism, ecumenicalism, and many other topics. Listen to the show here.



Further Reading
Ten Minutes with John MacArthur
John MacArthur Comments on Linking with NAR Heretics to Reclaim America (Apprising Ministries)

Rick Warren Warns Saddleback Staff Who Not to Tweet

Apprising Ministries has reportedly received the following email.

Of course, few would argue with the fact that vulgar accounts should be blocked and reported. What is interesting is the example Warren provides. From all appearances, John Downey's Twitter account is far from threatening. And now, with the publication of this email, it seems that Mr. Downey has gained a few new followers.

**UPDATE 20 JUNE 8:30 pm**
Rick Warren has responded to the original posting of this email here.

**UPDATE 21 JUNE 9:20 am**
John Downey has responded to the original email sent by Rick Warren. Read John's response here.

19 June 2012

Unleashing Perry Noble

Perry Noble, pastor of Newspring Church, finally is releasing his first book. Unleash! is due out in September of 2012 and it promises to deliver. Deliver what, exactly? Well, according to the website,
God doesn't want you to be a spectator of what He has done. He wants you to be a participant in what He is doing.
Embrace the promises that will define your future. Unleash the life that is more than you could possibly imagine.
(Source
Sounds like there have been some mysteries hidden to Christians that have prevented them from reaching their full potential. This is precisely why God has sent Perry Noble to reveal and explain how to "embrace" God's promises and "unleash" an unimaginable life.

Unleash! already boasts quite a list of purpose-driven endorsements:



For the sake of time and space, let us look a bit more closely only at Robert Morris' endorsement above:
Perry Noble is one of the most gifted communicators I know with a true pastor’s heart. In Unleash!, he uncompromisingly deals with common life struggles while constantly emphasizing that we can only build God’s kingdom through His grace and His power. I am blessed to know Perry, and you will be blessed by the message the Lord has given him. (Source)
First, Morris states that "we can only build God's kingdom through His grace and His power." So, he's saying that we need God's help to build God's kingdom. Yet, who is it who builds God's kingdom? Is it you? Is it me? Is it Perry Noble or Robert Morris? Or is it God?

Also interesting is that Robert Morris here affirms that the Lord has spoken directly to Perry Noble to deliver the message of Unleash! Consequently, if anyone disagrees with or opposes anything in this book, then that one is opposing God Himself.

The Unleash! website provides a free sample of chapter 1, and it helps to quickly and clearly set the tone for this book. This one chapter alone provides a litany of misapplied and misused verses, each designed to convince the reader that God desires for him (or her) to live an "unleashed," abundant, exciting, exhilarating life.
God has called each one of us to embrace life, not merely to endure it. He wants us to have overwhelming victory (see Romans 8:37), to conquer sin and death (see 1 Corinthians 15:57), to not get tired of doing the right thing (see Galatians 6:9), and to make a difference rather than make excuses (see Acts 22:16). (Source)
Again, for the sake of time and space, let us look at only one of the above out-of-context verses. Noble says that God has called us to conquer sin and death, and then refers to 1 Corinthians 15:57, which reads:
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Most are probably familiar with the broader passage here, which speaks joyously of resurrection and of Christ's victory over death. Noble similarly has twisted Romans 8:37, implying that it is the Christian who is a conqueror, when the text clearly teaches that it is through Christ that the believer has victory, and that His work ensures that the powers of Satan and this world will not prevail.

By page 7, Perry Noble finally reveals the inspiration for this book, and that is the story of David. Of course, this is a favorite tale among the seeker-driven crowd, as hardly a year passes without each seeker-driven pastor delivering a revitalized sermon encouraging the crowd to be like David. The fact that the story of David is historical narrative and not a story to be allegorized and spiritualized matters little. Scripture is not nearly as fun if one cannot attempt to read himself back into the biblical text, after all.

About David, Noble says:
God knew that David’s life was filled with tremendous potential—David just needed to be unleashed from taking care of sheep so he could transition to leading a nation of people. (Source)
No, God chose to use David as an instrument for His purposes and glory. It had nothing to do with the "tremendous potential" that God supposedly saw inside of the young man.
The Lord was seeking to unleash David so he could do greater things than he ever could have imagined. The same is true for us.
(Source
Noble's choice of topics tends to make one wonder if he heard the message delivered by fellow Code Orange Revival speaker, Matt Chandler at the COR event in January. In his message, Chandler warned against preaching oneself into the biblical text and declared, "You're not David!" Perhaps Noble missed that evening of preaching.

But then, why should we be content with a dull, hum drum existence when we could be out slaying giants and ruling nations? Why settle for a quiet, peaceful life when you can be unleashed?

Why? Because everyone one of us is not a David or a Paul. Yet not one Christian ought to feel that he is missing out if his life is seemingly boring and colorless. God calls each one to a different task, a different place, a different status. Live your life and do your work unto the Lord and He will bless you as He chooses.
But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thess. 4:10-12)
FURTHER READING
Which One of These is Just Like the Other?
"Code Orange" Speaker Perry Noble
Perry Noble Unleashed

18 June 2012

Treehouse Church Built By Order of the 'Spirit of God'

This story couldn't be fabricated if one tried. Roadside America reports:
In the early 1990s, landscaper Horace Burgess bought some wooded land on the outskirts of Crossville, Tennessee. One of the bigger trees, next to a dirt road, caught his eye. He decided to build the world's largest tree house in its branches.
But Horace had a job and a family. After spending a couple of years on the project, he ran out of lumber and enthusiasm.
"Then I turned my life over to God," Horace recalled. "And the spirit of God said, 'If you build Me a tree house, I'll never let you run out of material.'"
God doesn't make housing offers every day. Horace got himself ordained as a minister and went back to work. God showed Horace what the tree house would look like ("It was like a vision") but didn't tell Horace how big it would be. "If He had," Horace said, "I would've tried to talk Him out of it."
"It's only started, really," Horace said of the tree house. "I want to go back and finish what it looks like in my head."
(Source)

16 June 2012

This Blog Does Have a Comment Policy

Well, it seems that having a comment policy doesn't actually ensure that people will read it, much less adhere to it, prior to leaving comments. This has been a noticeable problem this week especially, with multiple comments being left on posts that are quite old. So, I thought this might be a good time to refresh everyone's memory as to the comment policy for this blog. For future reference, these points are posted under the "Comment Policy" tab (amazing, right?) at the top of the page. And, just to be a bit ironic, I've decided to close comments for this post.

COMMENT POLICY
  • All comments will be reviewed prior to publication. I reserve the right to approve or delete the comments of my choosing. In the history of commenting on this blog, there are only a handful that I have refused to post (that also did not violate other terms listed here), so the reader may rest assured that I am not screening comments and only posting those which agree and/or compliment the article.
  • Opposing viewpoints are welcome, but will not be published if the argument is something to the effect of, "You're a meanie." If you disagree with what I have said, please present your argument respectfully and from Scripture.
  • I understand and respect your right to post anonymously. However, for ease of responding and dialogue, it would be greatly appreciated if you would post under some name, any name! Post as Bob, Becky, Biff, or Barney, I don't care, but please give us something to call you by! (Note that I'll still post 'Anonymous' comments, this is just a request).
  • Disrespectful or profane comments will not be published.
  • I do not necessarily endorse any churches, books, or individuals mentioned by others within the comment string. If I do endorse something, you will know it.
  • If you post a comment linking back to your own site, YouTube video, etc., with the obvious intent of generating additional traffic for yourself, your comment will not be posted.
  • There are over 1,000 posts on this blog, written over the course of 3 years. I do not have time to go back and close comments on every past post. Thus, if you post a comment to an article that is more than two weeks old, I cannot promise that it will be published. Even less can I promise that I (or anybody else) will actually respond. 
  • While I would love to be able to reply personally to each and every comment, it is not always possible for me to actively engage in the string. It is my hope that readers will create a dialogue with one another. Of course, if something is addressed specifically to me, I will do my best to reply.
  • I truly do appreciate each and every comment (except the inappropriate ones), so please comment freely and frequently!

15 June 2012

This 'n' That

Photo: YouTube
Are you tired of passing the offering plate in church? Do you find yourself wondering how many germs you've inherited simply from touching that brass-colored plastic bowl or basket? Do you wish that your "tithe and offering" experience could be more like a trip to the local Wal-Mart? Then say hello to GivingKIOSK, helping the church to keep up with "the next generation of tithing."
Too many Church organizations do not have the convenience of paying by credit card or debit and losing the ability to capture Tithes and Offerings that the church may not have otherwise received. Checks are on the decline and the Church community needs a way to keep up with the changing landscape of the younger generation. GivingKIOSK was developed and designed to meet this need. (Source)
For those who are wondering, at this time Escalator Church does not have the funds to install GivingKIOSK. However, if you would still like to give via credit or debit card, feel free to toss your card into the offering plate as it passes. We'll run the transaction during the service and return your card to you in Sunday School. And don't worry, if you're not up-to-date on your tithe, we'll be happy to take care of that for you. It's our aim to make your cheerful giving of your mandatory 10% as simple as possible.

Speaking of cheerful giving, it's my pleasure to present you with your week in review (kind of):
  • Apparently only Planned Parenthood is allowed to use the Bible in schools.
  • Last week on Christian Research Network, I compiled this summary of the latest controversy in the SBC. Of course, there's been additional discussion since then, but nothing significant has been added to the conversation. So if you're not up to date on what all the hullabaloo is about, check it out.
  • Archaeologists found the bones of John the Baptist. Maybe. Well, they were found near another box that reads 'St. John,' so do with that what you will.
  • Good news for those of you who are unsure about this whole 'humans evolved from monkeys' thing. Turns out that at some point, we may also have been sharks.
  • Watch a real-life Wisconsin drama queen. Um, I mean king. Can someone please collect this guy's man card?
  • Want a little "at a glance" info about contemplative prayer? Here you go.
  • Last week, prosperity preacher Creflo Dollar was arrested for allegedly attacking his daughter. He made bail in time to preach on Sunday and declared his innocence from the pulpit. Now, Ken Silva has the latest update.
  • Speaking of Phil, here he teaches about the outpouring of divine wrath:

14 June 2012

LifeWay pulls 'Blind Side' Movie from Stores, but What's Still on the Shelves?

The Associated Baptist Press reports:
The Florida Baptist Witness reported June 11 that officials at LifeWay Christian Resources decided to pull the movie, an inspirational film starring Sandra Bullock that tells the true story of a white Christian family that adopted a homeless black teenager who went on to play in the NFL, to avoid controversy at the June 19-20 SBC annual meeting in New Orleans.
The decision came after Rodney Baker, pastor of Hopeful Baptist Church in Lake City, Fla., submitted a resolution to the SBC Resolutions Committee voicing concerns he first raised with LifeWay two years ago. Baker, who got a similar resolution passed at the Florida Baptist Convention last fall, said there is much about the film to be commended, but there is no place in a Christian bookstore for a movie that includes explicit language that includes taking God’s name in vain.
(Source
While this article states that LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, ceased selling the movie in order "to avoid controversy," it is difficult to argue against this decision. A film that makes use of coarse language and blasphemy does not have a place in a "Christian" bookstore. So now it seems that LifeWay stores have a small, empty space on their shelves.

Still, what about the numerous other resources that remain, purport to be Christian, and yet propagate teachings that are contrary to the Word of God? What about those items on the LifeWay shelves that blaspheme God, not by misusing His name, but by mishandling His Scriptures? What about those resources that are damaging the Body of Christ by their false teachings?

(For the purposes of illustration, the following examples are taken from the LifeWay online store.)

First, consider the Bible study series Believing God by Beth Moore. This series, though recorded 10 years ago, is still being sold and promoted by LifeWay. It was in one of the videos for this Bible study series that Beth Moore shared a personal revelation and vision that she claims was given to her by God. In this vision, Moore shares that God showed her the Church "as Jesus sees it." Interestingly, this Church includes the apostate Roman Catholic Church (see transcription below):


to beg to differ with people that are ten times smarter than I am. But I want to say to you I see something different than that. I see God doing something huge in the body of Christ. I do not know why I have had the privilege to get to travel around, see one church after another…one group of believers after another, interdenominationally, all over this country, but I have gotten to see something that I think is huge. 
And I’ll also suggest to you I am not the only one. And tonight I’m going to do my absolute best to illustrate to you something that God showed me out on that back porch. He put a picture…I’ve explained to you before I am a very visual person…so He speaks to me very often of putting a picture in my head. 
And it was as if I was raised up looking down on a community, as I saw the Church in that particular dimension- certainly not all dimensions, not even in many, but in what we will discuss tonight, the church, as Jesus sees it, in a particular dimension.” 
(Source)
Are we to believe that the true Church, "as Jesus sees it," includes a faith that teaches a different Gospel and denies salvation by grace alone through faith alone? This is a direct contradiction of Scripture, it is a form of blasphemy, and yet this product continues to be sold by LifeWay.

Wandering over to the music aisle, it seems that LifeWay sells quite a few albums by the once-popular Christian group, Phillips, Craig & Dean (PCD). Yet, there has been a longstanding controversy surrounding PCD's view of the Trinity, namely their adherence to the heresy of modalism. (For helpful discussion on this topic see this article at Here I Blog and this article by Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries [AOM]).
Source
PCD issued the following statement some time ago and, to this writer's knowledge, has not rescinded or amended it:
We believe in one God who is eternal in His existence, Triune in His manifestation, being both Father, Son and Holy Ghost AND that He is Sovereign and Absolute in His authority.
Yet, as Dr. James White points out, "this is not the doctrine of the Trinity." Writing for AOM, Eric Nielsen explains,
PCD is willing to use words like “Triune” of God, but only in the sense that God has three different roles that he performs throughout Scripture; three different manifestations. This is a key concept that differentiates PCD’s god from the God of the Bible. Although this god manifests Himself in these three roles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, these manifestations are not eternal, but temporary. Additionally, there are no relationships of a personal kind between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Source)
While we're on the topic of modalism, LifeWay also stocks several products by "Bishop" T.D. Jakes. Of course, it is argued that Jakes affirmed his belief in the biblical doctrine of the Trinity earlier this year in the Elephant Room 2, but the outcome of that is debatable. Modalistic heresy aside, Jakes is still a prolific preacher of heretical Word Faith teachings.


LifeWay also carries books such as Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage, Heaven is for Real, and books by Sarah Young, including Jesus Calling, wherein Young claims to have written words given to her directly by God.

To be sure, there are many good, theologically sound products also carried by LifeWay. Yet, if they are willing to pull a product off of their shelves due to crude language and blasphemy, perhaps they also ought to consider revisiting some of the other authors and artists they are promoting. 

Vulgarity has no place among Christians, but neither does false teaching. If LifeWay can be commended for removing The Blind Side from its stock, they would be applauded even more if they would cease promoting false teachers and heretics.


FURTHER READING
WF Pastrix Paula White: As Paul is to Timothy, So T.D. Jakes is to Me (Apprising Ministries)
Beth Moore the Mystic (Apprising Ministries)
Beth Moore Recommends 'Jesus Calling' Book Claiming Direct Divine Revelation (Apprising Ministries)
The 'Jesus Calling' Devotional Bible