29 April 2013

Feminist Rebellion in a Rebellious System: Kentucky Woman Defies Roman Catholic Church, Is Ordained as Priest

Screenshot: YouTube
In December 2012, a poorly done parody of the pop song, "Call Me Maybe" circulated throughout the blogosphere. "Ordain a Lady" was a production created by the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), which describes itself as "the world's oldest and largest organization working solely for the ordination of women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Catholic Church." Some of the lyrics for the parody tune read as follows:
I had a dream as a girl,
Like Therese of Lisieux,
I need to give this whirl
So I can lead the way.

Woman priest is my call;
Women preaching for all.
Don't listen to St. Paul,
'Cuz I can lead the way.

My ministry is growing.
Excommunication? I'm still glowing.
M.Div, chasuble flowing;
Where you think the Church is going?

Hey, I was baptized, and this is crazy,
But God just called me, so ordain a lady!
Justice doesn't look right, with only male priests,
But God just called me, so ordain a lady!

Four months later, Reuters tells the story of Rosemarie Smead, "a 70-year-old Kentucky woman [who] was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority." Though it has not been reported that Smead is affiliated with the aforementioned WOC, it nevertheless seems obvious that she and the group share similar goals.

Prove It: Todd Bentley Claims 'First Resurrection in Great Awakening' Event

Last week, charlatan Todd Bentley (you know, the man who once claimed that God told him to kick a woman in the face) tweeted the following:
This isn't the first time Bentley has claimed to be responsible for raising the dead. Here is just one other example:

So, this blog would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Bentley: Prove it. Send us the medical report stating that this unborn infant officially was pronounced dead one day and then born alive the next. Put us in contact with the 23-year-old man referenced in the above video who supposedly was brought back to life through his family's possession of some magical 'prayer cloth.' This video was uploaded in 2008, but surely this young man must still eagerly tell his story today. Prove it, Mr. Bentley. And if you cannot, then repent of your false, heretical teaching and turn to the true and living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of even those sins.

Further Reading
Shai Linne Responds to Paula White Ministries
Florida Woman Claims Salty Snack Is Divine Sign
Merchandising 'The Bible'

26 April 2013

This 'n' That

Warning: It is very likely that I am about to offend someone with the following question. No, it has nothing to do with Calvinism vs. Arminianism. It doesn't concern an issue of eschatology. It doesn't even have to do with Chicago elephants. What, then, is this query of mine? Well, if you're ready, here it is: What is the deal with wind chimes?

photo: Jaako via photopin cc
I just do not understand this outdoor decoration that, in reality, is far more than a decoration. The wind chime somewhat rudely and without asking permission imposes itself upon the neighbors of its owner, forcing all within earshot to listen unceasingly to its racket. Further, the noise that the wind chime produces is not even a particularly pretty or soothing one, but rather one that could, over time, incite your neighbor to steal it away in the night so that silence might finally be achieved.

At this juncture I wish that I could effortlessly segue into some deep, theological point. Not only would it demonstrate that I still love my wind chime-owning brethren (I do!), but it also would reveal my amazing ability to concoct really lame sermon illustrations. But, alas, I have no such point to make. What, then, can you take away from these brief paragraphs? This: If you own a wind chime, I can be your friend, but I cannot be your neighbor.

Now that I've lost my wind chime-wielding readers (and I do hope that you'll come back), the rest of you may sit back, listen to whatever may be sounding outside of your own windows, and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

23 April 2013

The Glory of the Providence of God

for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)
John Flavel
It is not the vast bulk of an estate, but the vigilant care of divine providence that guards you from the stroke of ruin. The providence of God around us is the solid basis of all sanctified and durable prosperity. His providence enfolds all who bear his image in everlasting arms. He will advance you higher, and secure you better than any noble birth or estate could ever do.

The delight and pleasure resulting from the observation of divine providence is very great. It will doubtless be a part of our entertainment in heaven to view with transporting delight how the designs and methods were laid to bring us there. Providence not only brings you to heaven, it brings heaven to your soul now. God is providentially steering all to the port of his own praise and his people's happiness, while the whole world is busily employed in managing the sails and tugging at the oars with a quite opposite design and purpose. They promote God's design by opposing it, fulfill his will by resisting it, and enlarge his church by scattering it. They make the saint's rest sweeter by making their condition so restless in the world.

What a history we might compile, as we trace the footsteps of providence along the way. Here it prevented, and there it delivered. Here it directed, and there it corrected. Here it grieved, and there it relieved. Here was the poison, and there, the antidote. This providence dispelled a dismal cloud. This one straitened, and that one enlarged. Here a want, and there a supply. Words cannot express the delight we may find in such an employment. O reader, what a life of pleasure you might live by noticing the ways of providence towards you! What a heaven upon earth you may have! Taste and see the glory of the study of providence.

– John Flavel, as quoted in Voices from the Past, ed. Richard Rushing, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009).

Further Reading
Salvation Is a Work of God
Rejecting the Papacy
To Those Who Would Undermine the Headship of Christ: Fall on Your Faces

21 April 2013

Salvation Is a Work of God

There is a difficult but marvelous truth to be found within the pages of Scripture: You, dear Christian, cannot save anyone. Nor can any sinner save himself. No matter how pithily or poetically one asks Jesus to "come into his heart," no matter how many zeroes are written on the check, no matter how piously the Lord's Table is approached, no matter how many Bible studies one participates in, no matter how many sermons one hears, no matter how many Bibles one owns, no man can bring himself to the point of salvation, nor can any man hold himself responsible for saving another. Salvation is a work of God.

Sunday Morning Praise

Psalm 147:1–11

19 April 2013

This 'n' That

Photo: Wikimedia
One of my classes this term is studying the history of Israel, beginning with the patriarchs and moving through the monarchy to the exile and beyond. It's fascinating and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to really sit down and sort through all of the details of the history of this chosen nation. And, please, if you know me personally, feel free to remind me that I said this as I'm grumbling my way through one of the intense writing assignments that is required for this class!

As I study, though, one thing comes to mind that has flitted across my thoughts in the past: what's with these royal names? We start with Saul, which is fine. Next we have David, still not a problem. Then Solomon. Okay, another syllable has been added but nothing too difficult. Not long after that, it starts to go downhill. Oh, sure, the names may still be fairly easy to pronounce, and there may be an easy one thrown in along the way, but so many of these names sound alike that they start to all mesh together inside a wee brain like my own. Toss in the rulers of places like Assyria and Egypt and you have one large tongue twister.

So while those names may have been well and good at the time, I'm thinking they just aren't helpful or relevant to our ultra-hip Christian church today. That is why I am considering pitching the idea to the publishers of The Message so-called 'bible' that they make some alterations to these multisyllabic names in the next edition of their aberrant 'translation.' There is no reason that we can't be reading about King Jack, King Bob or King Brad. The Message already distorts, diminishes and even deletes extremely important portions of the biblical text, that something as minor as changing a few names shouldn't be that big of a deal, right? And if The Message won't do it, then maybe I'll just write up my own bible 'translation.' Hey, if Eugene Peterson can do it, why can't I?

Okay, I suppose instead of altering the biblical text, I could just come up with a clever way to remember all of these interesting names. While I work on that, please sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

Shai Linne Responds to Paula White Ministries

Christian rapper Shai Linne's recently released album, Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology, has drawn the attention of many, and not just for its catchy beats. While each track appears to be filled with theologically rich lyrics, it was Linne’s bold willingness to “name names" in the song "Fal$e Teacher$" that led to many headlines. Calling out twelve prominent preachers, each known for his or her aberrant teaching, Linne was not afraid to denounce the erroneous and dangerous doctrines of these men and women. As previously reported, the ministry of at least one of those ‘false teachers,’ Paula White, responded to Shai Linne’s claims.

Though he currently is traveling on Clear Sight Music’s Black Out Circuit Tour, Shai Linne took the time to graciously address the open letter that was addressed to him and was penned by Paula White's son, Bradley Knight. In his response, Linne looks biblically at three of the false teachings that permeate the ministry and preaching of Paula White. Concluding his letter, Linne writes:
This is getting long, so I’ll bring it to a close. I know you love your mother, Brad. I love mine as well. I made Fal$e Teacher$ because there are many other sons out there whose mothers have had their lives greatly damaged by the false teachings of Paula White and the others mentioned in the song. I would love to hear that Paula White has repented and renounced the many false things that she has taught. I am praying to that end. But until she does that, I must soberly maintain that the Biblical category of “False Teacher” does, in fact, apply her. And those who follow her must be warned.
This response of Shai Linne to Paula White Ministries is a letter not to be missed. Christians can learn and grow from the gracious and godly example that Linne has modeled in these few paragraphs. Read Linne's response here.

Further Reading
Paula White Ministries Responds to Rapper's Claim That Paula White Is a 'False Teacher'
Merchandising 'The Bible'
Joel Osteen and a Tale of Two Hoaxes

16 April 2013

Merchandising 'The Bible'

*This article originally appeared here at Christian Research Network.

Photo: TheBibleMiniseries.com
It has been over two weeks since the popular miniseries, 'The Bible,' finished airing on The History Channel. The show, which was produced by Roman Catholic Roma Downey (of the series 'Touched By an Angel') and her husband Mark Burnett (producer of 'Survivor'), garnered the praise of many professing evangelical Christians in spite of its gross historical and theological inaccuracies. While not all denied the existence of these inconsistencies, supporters of the series argued that the production caused people to open their own Bibles and thus helped to renew an interest in the sacred text.

If this truly was a goal and purpose for the miniseries, however, then one cannot help but wonder why there would be a need to merchandise 'The Bible.' Perhaps the numerous errors contained in the production could have been redeemed at least in part if, upon conclusion of the series on television, viewers were urged to open a copy of God's Word. Instead, throughout the five weeks the series aired and in the days following, a merchandising campaign began that promoted this hopelessly inadequate small-screen rendition of 'The Bible' and accompanying resources.

14 April 2013

Paula White Ministries Responds to Rapper's Claim That Paula White Is a 'False Teacher'

Photo: Lampmode Recordings
Christian rapper Shai Linne recently released his newest album, Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology. It wasn't long before one track on that album, "Fal$e Teacher$," began drawing the attention of many due to Linne's bold willingness to "name names." Linne called out twelve prominent preachers, each known for his or her aberrant teaching. The ministry of at least one of those 'false teachers,' Paula White, has responded to Shai Linne's claims.

Sunday Morning Praise

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

12 April 2013

This 'n' That

Well, it's Friday. Again. It's been a bit of a dreary week for this blogger, but perhaps it's just the rain and soggy grass that's lowering my fickle spirits. Rainy days and Mondays always do seem to get me down. Go ahead, sing the song. I know you want to now.

There is no need to regale you with my various worries. After all, they are no different than what many of you may be facing right now. For the Christian especially, life in this world is not a rose garden, and in spite of what Joel Osteen would teach, such a thing never was promised to us  (yes, I'm trying to see how many book and music references I can make in one short blog post). It is times like these, then, when fleeting but temporarily overwhelming trials and gloom loom ominously, that I return once again to what has long been my favorite passage/command/promise of Scripture:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
(Matt. 6:25–34) 
There are so many riches contained in these verses that to begin to reflect on them would no doubt mean that your weekly review would be postponed. This week, I am striving and praying that I would be reminded that worry is a sin—and not a trivial one. To worry is to demonstrate a lack of trust in God when He has promised to care for His own. How gracious of our God that, in the midst of commanding us not to be anxious, He offers hope and the precious promise that, as we obediently seek Him first, He will indeed offer His perfect provision of all that we need. We serve a magnificent God.

Okay, that's enough soul-baring for today. With that, please enjoy your week in review (kind of):

10 April 2013

Creator of Osteen Hoax: "My Intent Was Not to Defame"

As previously reported, megachurch prosperity preacher Joel Osteen recently found himself the victim of an elaborate hoax, wherein counterfeit websites and social media accounts were created to announce that Osteen had renounced his Christian faith and was resigning from his position as pastor of Lakewood Church. The false websites further declared that Osteen had decided to donate many of his millions of dollars to charity and environmental causes. In an email to NPR, the mastermind behind this scam has spoken out and shared his true intentions.

NoCo90: Christ's Federal Headship

For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:17)

If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio on their Facebook page or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Further Reading
Rejecting the Papacy
Affirming Sola Scriptura
Joel Osteen and a Tale of Two Hoaxes

Rejecting the Papacy

When Pope Francis I was elected last month as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the response was staggering. The world loves this new pope, and his demeanor and social justice endeavors have earned him the praise and adoration even of professing Christians. Perhaps it is easier to compromise the truth in favor of unity so long as the poor are being kissed and prisoners' feet are being washed.

The call of the Christian, however, is to uphold the truth and authority of God and His Word in spite of, and even in opposition to, ecumenical interfaith efforts, no matter how socially wonderful they appear. The first concern of the Christian must be the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ. If that must be compromised in order to achieve a goal, then that goal must be abandoned.

This necessarily means that the Christian simply cannot offer any praise or laud to the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church, and especially to the human leader of its deception, the pope. The very idea and office of pope stands in direct contradiction to God's Word. Further, the scriptural arguments offered in support of the papal office are based upon lies, misinterpretations and misapplications of the biblical text.

Not long after Francis I was named as pope, Dr. John MacArthur boldly took the opportunity to expose the dangers and lies of the papacy. His message is well worth one's time, especially as professing Christians appear more and more willing to compromise in regard to the Roman Catholic Church.

The transcript for Dr. MacArthur's message is available here.

The true Christian who has been saved by grace and who trusts in God’s infallible Word as found in the Bible must reject and even condemn the Roman Catholic Church’s office of pope and the teachings regarding this office. Let us not shy away from defending and upholding the sovereign authority of the only true God and His perfect Word.

Further Reading
Affirming Sola Scriptura
On Praying for the Papal Vote with Rick Warren
Rick Warren 'Fully Supports' Evangelization Project and Book 'Catholics Come Home'

09 April 2013

Joel Osteen and a Tale of Two Hoaxes

*This article originally appeared here at Christian Research Network.

Photo: ABCNews.com
By now most have learned that smiling prosperity preacher Joel Osteen became the target of an elaborate internet hoax in recent days. Christian News Network offers details:
The yet unidentified entity behind the hoax appears to have set up a Blogger account, run by Google, within the past few days. While the URL of the blog uses the name “Christianity News Texas,” the “about me” section of the site falsely utilizes the logo and identity of Christian News Network in an attempt to legitimize the fabricated news story. (Source)
The articles posted on this website claimed that Osteen had renounced his 'Christian' faith and was resigning from Lakewood Church. The first of these articles, which was written to appear as though it originated from CNN (Ted Turner's Cable News Network), "alleged that Osteen stated that God was a 'fictional character' and that he would rather focus on 'immediate issues,' such as the environment."

06 April 2013

Florida Woman Claims Salty Snack Is Divine Sign

*This article originally appeared here at Christian Research Network.

Some would say that only 'boring' Christians seek to hear from God through His written Word, the Bible. Then there are those who look for warm-fuzzy feelings, 'still, small voices,' or the face of Jesus in their grilled cheese sandwich. Melbourne, Florida woman Patti Burke, however, claims that her 'sign from God' was found in a bag of cheddar cheese flavored Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers.

05 April 2013

This 'n' That

It's been awhile since we've given an update here on Escalator Church. With Easter now behind us, it seemed like a good time to boast share what God is doing.

Escalator Church really has grown over the past couple of years. This Easter, we held 65 services over the course of 4 days on 19 different campuses. 978,864 people 'made a decision' for Jesus. We're not sure which Jesus it was—we were just thrilled they signed the card so we can hit 'em up later for their tithe. After all, no cash = cursed cash.

Pastor Bobby really outdid himself this year. We decided to hold our Egg Drop simultaneously with our outdoor services, so when the eggs dropped out of the helicopter, so did Pastor Bobby! The rabbit suit made it that much more fun and Easter-y.

For our musical guests, we invited the inimitable and mellow singing group The Way. Sure, it seems like a bit of a mismatch with the rest of the exciting events, but after paying for Pastor Bobby's parachuting lessons, we were a little strapped for cash (perhaps if more of you were tithing...). Nevertheless, The Way really helped us see and feel God. I know, I know, you're thinking to yourself, "But aren't they part of a cult?" Hey, as long as they're making a joyful noise, who are we to judge, am I right? Here's a sampling of some of their performance:

Funky, huh? That's how we roll here at Escalator Church. Come join us some weekend. We'd be delighted to have you. And please, don't forget to bring your wallet.

Okay, for those of you who are newer to the blog and are completely confused right now, please see hereherehere and here. Oh, and here, here and most recently here to learn more about Escalator Church. Once you've caught up on all of that silliness, please sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

02 April 2013

Rick Warren 'Fully Supports' Evangelization Project and Book 'Catholics Come Home'

Rick Warren tipped his ecumenical hand long ago. Most recently, this was demonstrated when the purpose-driven pastor called on Christians to join him in "fasting and prayer for the 115 Cardinals seeking God's Will in a new leader." In response to that call of Warren's, this blog responded as follows:
If the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals truly are seeking the will of God as they meet together this week, then perhaps God, in His grace, will bring them to a full realization of the true Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. Perhaps God, in His great mercy, will bring them, or some of them, to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. One can only hope with great optimism that this is the type of prayer Rick Warren would like for Christians to be praying. Of course, with his history of "building bridges" between faiths, the realistic Christian suspects that the true meaning of Warren's tweet is not so cleverly concealed. (Source)
Indeed, it seems quite apparent that Warren was not cleverly asking Christians to pray that the Cardinals and Pope might come to repentance and faith in Christ alone. If he were, he would not have glowingly endorsed the book, Catholics Come Home, by Tom Peterson.

Steven Furtick: It Is 'Dangerous' to Elevate God's Sovereignty at the Expense of Human Initiative

As at least one person noted on Twitter, Pelagius would be proud:
Oh yes, perish the thought of elevating the sovereignty of the Creator, the Savior, the Redeemer, the righteous and thrice-holy God of the universe. Never mind the fact that all things sit in subjection to Him (Eph. 1:21–22). Who are you, oh Steven Furtick, to speak back to God (Rom. 9:20–24)?

01 April 2013

April Fool's Day Marks First Broadcast of Rick Warren's 'Daily Hope' Radio Program

*This article originally appeared here at Christian Research Network.

Screenshot: RickWarren.org
Purpose-driven pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has resisted taking his ministry to the radio for the term of his career—until now. As previously reported, this first week of April 2013 marks the launch of Warren's new radio program, 'Daily Hope.'

In a promotional video appearing on his website, Warren explains why he has not previously pursued a radio ministry, including the fact that he "did not want to become a celebrity." In the first two minutes of the video, Warren boasts about his own ministry success, using the words "I," "me" and "my" and failing to mention Jesus Christ, Who must be the focus of every Christian pastor's ministry (1 Cor. 1:23, 9:16).

Wisdom and Folly

photo credit: swamysk via photopin cc
The book of Proverbs offers only two paths to its reader: the way of wisdom or the way of folly. While folly often will try to disguise itself as wisdom, wisdom never will dress herself up as foolishness. Perhaps that is why it is so ridiculous and grievous to see seeker-driven churches attempt to cloak themselves in the world's garb in their efforts to grow larger and more popular. The Christian should seek to be separate from the foolishness of this world.

Thankfully, God's wisdom does not need to wear a worldly mask to be attractive. In fact, the wisdom of God shouts in the streets (Prov. 1:20). The wise man fears the Lord and desires to seek and obey His will.

Throughout Proverbs, the fool and the wise man are contrasted. It is madness to pursue the false wisdom of this world and he who does rejects God, apparently content to exist as His enemy (Ps. 14:1). Wisdom loves, fears and obeys the Lord, who is the very giver of that wisdom. He who follows the way of wisdom will never find himself wanting.