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Have you ever known someone that is more concerned with the next move of God or wave of the Spirit rather than reading , understanding, and applying the principles of God into their daily living. I do, there are numerous charismatic signs and wonders chasers being deceived in the Body  of Christ and in the Church today. I can compare it to a surfer trying to catch the ultimate wave, going from beach to beach in search of the ultimate wave but never finding it. The search for the next wave in Charismatic circles  has led believers down a path away from  Jesus instead of towards Him.

Answer: He is the Third Person of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19, II Cor. 13:14)

Personality and deity of the Holy Spirit proven!!!

GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT -three divine persons by richesinchrist.com

Personality and deity of the Holy Spirit proven! by bible.ca

WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?. by bible-truth.org

Why did Jesus not say the Holy Spirit would know or not know? by Tony Capoccia

the Holy Spirit a Distinct Person Apart from the Father and the Son!!!!!!!! by light

Trinity Doctrine: “One God revealed through three distinct Persons” by apologetics for Christian

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Thanks for your interest in How2BecomeAChristian.info.

A “Church of Christ” Member “asked” or rather stated: Does the Church have a name….what is it? I would be a shamed to say I was of any other Church, then the COC. Why? If you are in Christ, you have eternal life. Good Night!! Christ said, he was going to build his Church, did he……….Is it His Church? What name is it? On the day of Pentecost when Peter got up with the twelve, and the same day there were added unto them three thousand souls…..who’s Church were these people added to.

Where in the bible does it name the church as the “Church of Christ”. It doesn’t. Rom 16:16 says “Churches (plural) of Christ” being demonstrative of the differing congregations through out the biblical area. And Paul mentioned this also.

1Co 1:12-13ow this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Paul said there was unity among those “churches (plural) of Christ” in that they are not of Paul, Apollo, or Cephas. No they where “IN” Jesus. Paul the notes that his Christ given mission is not to baptize but to preach the gospel least the cross be made un effective.

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This was written in response to many post (which where basically just links to universalist site material) made in a MSN group by a Universalist named Rodger (associated with tentmakers.org).

If you will listen to what Universalist Rodger says, he says,, “Even though I was and am trusting for my salvation in what Jesus accomplished by His death and resurrection, through the power in the blood of His cross, I was, and still am unable to love a god who would let anyone suffer forever.”

I could not find the quote but he also says that anyone who does not believe “as he does for pardon of sins” is of the hook anyway. So how can he trust in Jesus for his sins and dedicate his life, as he has, to telling others not to do the same because it matters not? He does not realize that when a person steps into the realm of biblical teaching he should so with great discernment because of the higher level of accountability and yes judgment for all teachers of religious or God’s truth.

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christian suicide

These questions where asked in a forum I visit. WHAT ABOUT SUICIDE? Can it be forgiven? Is it not written that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, is the only unpardonable sin? The questionnaire has yet to answer the questions himself, but his questions prompted this response and I would like to share it so that other may share it freely if they so wish. The questionaire advocates salvation by works.
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It always saddens me to see those that advocate “self salvation” to bring up suicide. It is always served with a generous portion of apathy and contempt for those who do commit suicide, and even those who are depressed to the point of considering it. There will always be someone that defines suicide as murder and try to state that murderers cannot be forgiven and end up in God’s heaven. The reasoning goes if you can save yourself you can likewise condemn your self. But the bible says that “all” are condemned already. From that we must be rescued.

But what does the bible say about murderers? It says they shall not have a place in God’s heaven. But when the Spirit of the new law of Christ says that we are ALL murders if we get angry at our brothers for no reason, it kind of levels the playing field huh? Like it or not we are all murderers! Have you not heard that if you break one of Gods laws you have broken them all?

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This question was asked of me, “there are 34,000+ different Christian denominations today. Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘true Christians’?” My responce follows.
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I seen someone else make a similar statement about two weeks ago and have not had time to comment but would like to do so. The post I am commenting on used 19,000+ as the number of Christian denoms.

I would like to postulate a question that I believe statements like this beg to ask! I believe this is what people mean when they make such comments,,, “With between 19 and 34 thousand different Christian denominations,,,is it not ludicrous to think there is anything but confusion among christians as to what christianity is? Why should I consider joining such a confused bunch? Is there really any logical reason to consider Jesus Christ?”

It is my belief that people who make such claims, as there being 19 – 34 thousand denominations of Christianity, in a sense that there are that many different versions are really saying “you guys are fools and can’t even figure out ya’lls own religion”. Some may actually believe that there are many different versions of Christianity but I believe that most prop up such bogus ideas in there head to justify their denial of Jesus Christ.

FALSE TEACHERS, PROPHETS, GOSPELS AND A DIFFERENT JESUS

Every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings against false teachings, false prophets and false gospels that teach a different Jesus and Spirit. Paul said there where false teachers among the Corinthians and Jesus said beware for many come false teachers have come to lead you astray. We are told that there are men who secretly introduce destructive heresies and that Satan and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness. We are even told that there are doctrines of demons.

To the church at Galatia Paul said “you are being thrown into confusion by people trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am astonished that you so quickly turn from the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel”. We are told to not accept any other gospels than the one preached by the apostles, even if they come from angels or the apostles themselves.

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In case you have not noticed I would like to point out to you that universalism is not Christian at all. But rather the one world religion of the coming anti-Christ/pantheist and new age system of religion. And universalism as with all the above stated, is really anti Christian. No matter how much someone may tout tolerance to and for all.

Pantheism is a religious belief in MONISM and the divinity of all things. It seeks to absorb all other religious systems besides biblical Christianity because the two are incompatible. The new age is really a revival of pantheistic paganism from way back to Egypt and Babylon. The NWO is a religious, political and financial system that is currently in place to offer it’s power thrones to the antichrist when he gets here. ( Spare me any debate on the antichrist right now to make this point). They all have the same conclusions and the only real difference is that the one world order religion will replace all these absorbed into universalism and replace it with a luciferian religion of luciferian worship and sacrifice towards the unholy one.. Do yourself a favor and Google “David Spangler, luciferian initiation” and see for yourself that ALL of our governments all the way up to the qausi government of the United nations has waiting for all humans and for us biblical Christians who will not take such and initiation or oath.

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Forty Things God Provides Every Believer at Salvation
Compiled by Lewis Sperry Chafer
Revised by R. B. Thieme, Jr.

The Thirtynine Irrevocable Assets

1. The Christian resides in the eternal plan of God, sharing the destiny of Christ.

o Foreknown by God—Acts 2:23; Romans 8:29; I Peter 1:2
o Elected—Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; I Thessalonians 1:4; Titus 1:1; I Peter 1:2
o Predestined in Christ—Romans 8:29-30 ; Ephesians 1:5, 11
o Chosen—Matthew 22:14; I Peter 2:4
o Called—I Thessalonians 5:24

2. The Christian is reconciled by God to God. The sin barrier that separates man from God is removed.

o By God—II Corinthians 5:1819 ; Colossians 1:20
o To God—Romans 5:10; II Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 2:1417

3. The Christian is redeemed (purchased from the slave market of sin). Romans 3:24; Colossians 1:14; I Peter 1:18

4. The Christian’s condemnation (eternal judgment) is removed. John 3:18; 5:24; Romans 8:1

5. All sins are judged by the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the Cross. Romans 4:25; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 2:24

6. Under grace, every Christian receives propitiation for sins instead of judgment. God is satisfied with the death of His Son on the Cross. Romans 3:2526; I John 2:2; 4:10

7. The Christian is dead to the old life (Old Sin Nature) but alive to God (retroactive positional truth). He is

o Crucified with Christ—Romans 6:8;Galatians 2:20
o Dead with Christ—Romans 6:8; Colossians 3:3; I Peter 2:24
o Buried with Christ—Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12
o Raised with Christ—Romans 6:4; 7:4; Colossians 2:12; 3:1

8. The Christian is free from the Mosaic Law. He is

o Dead to the Law—Romans 7:4
o Delivered—Romans 6:14; 7:6; II Corinthians 3:6−11; Galatians 3:25

9. The Christian is regenerated. John 12:10; I Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5

o Born again—John 3:7; I Peter 1:23
o A child of God—Romans 8:16; Galatians 3:26
o A son of God—John 1:12; II Corinthians 6:18; I John 3:2
o A new creation—II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10

10. The Christian is adopted by God (placed as an adult son through positional truth). Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:5

11. The Christian is made acceptable to God. Ephesians 1:6; I Peter 2:5.
He is

o Made righteous (imputation)—Romans 3:22; I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9
o Sanctified positionally—I Corinthians 1:30, 6:11
o Perfected forever—Hebrews 10:14
o Qualified for inheritance—Colossians 1:12

12. The Christian is justified (vindicated, declared righteous). Romans 3:24, 5:1; 8:30; I Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:7

13. The Christian receives the unique availability of divine power. II Peter 1:3

14. The Christian is guaranteed heavenly citizenship based on reconciliation. Luke 10:20; Ephesians 2:14−19; Philippians 3:20

15. The Christian is delivered from the kingdom of Satan. Colossians 1:13a; 2:15

16. The Christian is transferred into God’s kingdom. Colossians 1:13b

17. The Christian is placed on a secure foundation. I Corinthians 3:11; 10:4; Ephesians 2:20

18. Every Christian is a gift from God the Father to Christ. John 10:29; 17:2, 6, 9, 1112,24

19. The Christian is positionally delivered from the power of the Old Sin Nature. Romans 8:2; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11

20.Every Christian is appointed a priest unto God. He is

o A holy priesthood—I Peter 2:5, 9
o A royal priesthood—I Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6

21. The Christian receives eternal security.
John 10:28−29; Romans 8:32, 3839 ; Galatians 3:26; II Timothy 2:13

22. The Christian is given access to God. Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 4:16; 10:1920

23. The Christian is within the “much more” grace care of God. Romans 5:910. He is the

o Object of His love—Ephesians 2:4; 5:2
o Object of His grace
o For salvation—Ephesians 2:89
o For keeping—Romans 5:2; I Peter 1:5
o For service—John 17:18; Ephesians 4:7
o For instruction—Titus 2:12
o Object of His power—Ephesians 1:19; Philippians 2:13
o Object of His faithfulness—Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5b
o Object of His peace—John 14:27
o Object of His consolation—II Thessalonians 2:16
o Object of His intercession—Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24

24. The Christian is beneficiary of an inheritance as heirs of God and jointheirs with Christ. Romans 8:17; Ephesians 1:14, 18; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 9:15; I Peter 1:4

25. The Christian has a new position in Christ. Ephesians 2:6. He is

o Partner with Christ in life—Colossians 3:4
o Partner with Christ in service—I Corinthians 1:9
o Worker together with God—I Corinthians 3:9; II Corinthians 6:1
o Servant of the New Covenant—

II Corinthians 3:6
o Ambassador—II Corinthians 5:20
o Living epistle—II Corinthians 3:3
o Servant of God—II Corinthians 6:4

26. The Christian is the recipient of eternal life. John 3:15; 10:28; 20:31; I John 5:1112

27. The Christian is created a new spiritual species. II Corinthians 5:17

28.The Christian is a light in the Lord (part of the angelic conflict). Ephesians 5:8; I Thessalonians. 5:45

29. The Christian is united with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is

o In God—I Thessalonians 1:1 (cf. “God in you,”Ephesians 4:6)
o In Christ—John 14:20 (cf. “Christ in you,”Colossians 1:27)
o A member of His Body—I Corinthians 12:13
o A branch in the Vine—John 15:5
o A stone in the Building—Ephesians 2:2122 ;I Peter 2:5
o A sheep in the Flock—John 10:2729
o A portion of His Bride—Ephesians 5:2527 ; Revelation 19:68, 21:9
o A priest of the kingdom of priests—I Peter 2:9
o A new spiritual species—II Corinthians 5:17
o In the Holy Spirit—Romans 8:9 (“The Spirit in you”)

30.The Christian is the recipient of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. He is

o Born of the Spirit—John 3:58
o Baptized with the Spirit—Acts 1:5; I Corinthians 12:13
o Indwelt by the Spirit—John 7:39; Romans 5:5; 8:9; I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Galatians 4:6; I John 3:24

o Sealed by the Spirit—II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30
o Given spiritual gifts by the Spirit— I Corinthians 12:11, 2731

31. The Christian is glorified. Romans 8:30

32. The Christian is complete in Christ. Colossians 2:12

33. The Christian is the possessor of every spiritual blessing granted in eternity past. Ephesians 1:3

34. The Christian receives a human spirit (an integral component of Operation Z, along with the Holy Spirit). I Thessalonians 5:23

35. The Christian has all sins and transgressions blotted out. Isaiah 43:25, 44:22

36. The Christian is the recipient of efficacious grace. Ephesians 1:13

37. The Christian is guaranteed a resurrection body forever. I Corinthians 15:4054

38.The Christian is the beneficiary of unlimited atonement. II Corinthians 5:14, 15, 19; I Timothy 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9; II Peter 2:1;
I John 2:2

39. The Christian has equal privilege and equal opportunity under election and predestination. Romans 12:3; Ephesians 3:1619

The One Revocable Asset
40.The Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. Galatians 3:3.

The filling of the Holy Spirit received at salvation is revoked when the Christian sins. The filling of the Holy Spirit is recovered when the Christian rebounds by acknowledging his sins to God.

http://www.upc-orlando.com/_Assets/pdf/BibleStudies/Women/SimplySoul/fortyThings.pdf

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Five Things You Need To Know About Salvation
(Acts 4:10, 12) Posted by Bro. Jeff Ray

We as Christians need to be so thankful for our salvation in Jesus Christ and you say I know plenty about salvation and have heard so many sermons on it that you could teach it. Well, we need to be reminded so that we can keep a thankful heart and renew the joy of our salvation in our hearts. We need to hear it again so that we can tell others about salvation found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, today we are going to look at five things we need to know about salvation.

I. Salvation and the Two-fold Implication

First we need to define salvation. Salvation means to fully deliver someone from out of danger, harm, or destruction. Now does that have any implications for us? It definitely does. We can get two implications from this.

The first implication is that someone needs to be saved and cannot save themselves. Well I can imply that to myself, in light of what scripture says about mankind ability to save themselves I understand this truth, I am lost and condemned in my sinfulness and I cannot save myself.

The second implication of salvation is this, there is someone who is able to save and is willing to save us. In reading the scriptures we can come to this truth, only Jesus can save us and was willing to save us. From this we have two unchangeable truths, our inability to save ourselves and the one who can save us (Jesus) who is more than willing to save us.

God chose to save us and went to the tremendous task to save us through the sacrifice of the eternal Son of God. The awesome love and grace and mercy poured out on a mere creation. In all rights He could have and should have destroyed us but He did not. What love and kindness and tender mercies He has shown sinful and disobedient mankind (Ps. 69:14-16 says, “Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the water flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.).

The subject of the Bible and the object of God’s love is the redemption of man made possible through Jesus Christ, God the Son.

II. Man is Lost

Rom. 3:9,10 – “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”

If you ever read the book of Romans in just the first 3 chapters we come to these important truths about the nature of man: man is lost in his sins, it is his nature to sin, and that all people are sinful and in need of a savior. The sinfulness of man is called the depravity of mankind. That simply means we are morally and sinfully corrupt and that is our nature.

Every human being ever born or will be born in this world will be born with a sin nature, Rom. 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, we see it doesn’t say some or most but all. All people are equal in this that we are sinful and separated from God (Is. 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you). We can’t let pride say, “I’m not as bad as somebody else”, we are all sinful and in the same spiritual condition without Christ.

III. Man cannot save himself.

Man cannot save himself because he is sinful and cannot come into the presence of a holy God. Because of our inability, we can only fall upon God’s grace to save us. Salvation is by God’s grace and not by any works we do (Eph. 2:8, 9- For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.).

Man-made religions, cults, and philosophies trust in a false hope that somehow good deeds, religious devotion, or self-effort will make us good enough to be accepted by God into His Heaven. The prevalent philosophy is that if one does enough good things that it will outweigh the bad. That is far from the truth, the parable of Jesus about judgment day in Matt. 7, in verses 22 & 23, we see them say to Jesus, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Those in that day that relied on good works and religious rituals but never had a personal relationship with Christ and found themselves deceived and facing the judgment of God. Prov. 14:12 says “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”.

Salvation is not earned by church membership, good deeds, baptism, or by keeping the 10 Commandments. It is by putting your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, recognizing He is the only way of salvation, because mankind cannot save themselves.

IV. What is Salvation?

A. Reconciliation- Salvation is reconciliation with God. Rom 5:10, 11 (NIV) – For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. The suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, He has reconciled us back in right relationship with the God.

B. Redemption- Gal. 3:13- Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. The term redemption in Greek was used of one purchasing a servants at a slave market that gives us the understanding that Christ paid the price to purchase our salvation from the slavery of sin. The redemption price was His blood which was sufficient to purchase everyone sold under sin. The words used to show redemption also mean to purchase and take home, no longer for sale in the slave market, to purchase and give freedom. Christ redeemed us from the slave block of sin and forever given freedom in Christ.

C. Adoption (Gal. 4:4,5- But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.) – we are adopted as sons and daughters of God by and through the person and work of Jesus Christ. We have full rights as children of God through Jesus Christ.

D. Imputation- Christ’s salvation took the penalty for our sin on Himself Is. 53:5- “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” And because He was the substitute for us, He could give vicariously or impute to us His righteousness. So we could be accepted by the Father.

E. Justification (Rom. 3:24,25 – Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.)- Justification is the forgiveness of sin (past, present, and future) and God declaring us righteous through Christ’s righteousness imputed to us and the removal of His judgment.

V. Cost of Salvation – the cross; the suffering, shed blood, and death of Christ on the Cross. Is. 53:4,5 -Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Healed, cleansed, forgiven, and set free from our sins by the mighty work of Jesus Christ. With great love He gave Himself for the salvation of our souls. With great love we need to confess and believe by faith in Christ to be our Lord and Savior. And after He becomes our Lord we need to serve Him and live for Him and witness about Him to all of those who are still lost and blind in their sins.

http://excharismania.blogspot.com/2009/01/five-things-you-need-to-know-about.html

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Healing the economy means going beyond ‘What’s in it for me?’
By Douglas Todd 01-10-2009

Healing the battered economy means going beyond the ‘self’; ‘What’s in it for me?’ is not an attitude that will work in the times we face

Many Pentecostal Christians have been among the hardest-hit victims of the economic meltdown in North America.

“Victims” might not be the best word to describe their fate, though. Followers of the popular “Prosperity gospel” suffered because of their own desperation, naivete and uncontrolled desire.

Prosperity gospel adherents have put too much stock in certain Pentecostal leaders in the United States and Canada who preach that God will provide worldly wealth if you just give your soul to Jesus Christ and your donation to the church.

The most prominent proponent of this theology of cars, boats and houses is Joel Osteen, author of Your Best Life Now.

With virtually no assets, many financially struggling Christians attracted to the Prosperity gospel of Osteen and others were eager to jump at the subprime loans offered by sleazy brokers.

Prominent Pentecostals have admitted that many followers believed God was miraculously answering their prayers when a bank gave them a loan they couldn’t afford. However, it’s not only adherents of the Prosperity gospel who have spiritual and moral lessons to draw from the financial collapse. After all, they haven’t been alone in their struggles.

The larger spiritual themes behind this financial meltdown are those of too much blind optimism about the financial system, too much faith in leaders and too much unacknowledged self-interest.

Which brings us to greed.

There can be benefits from modest amounts of each of the Seven Deadly Sins: anger, lust, envy, sloth, pride, gluttony and greed.

While there is something to be said for moderate self-interest fuelling our lives and the economy, greed has careened beyond control on many economic fronts. In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko was not much of an exaggeration of a real-life financier when he baldly preached, “Greed is good!”

Rebecca Blank, senior economic analyst for the Brookings Institute and co-author of Is the Market Moral?, recently said: “Greed is good to most economists. It’s greed that makes people work harder, be more productive, and helps the economy grow. Greed has certain economic advantages. It’s hard for an economist not to say that.

“But greed is clearly partially responsible for where we are right now. There’s a level beyond which greed can go too far, and . . . being greedy for more goods and to make another buck can make me stop paying attention to the effects of my action on you. That is when greed clearly becomes sinful — even, I think, in economics.”

Moral concerns about our over-avaricious attitudes have even been expressed recently by high-profile evangelical Christian leaders such as Chuck Colson (Richard Nixon’s former right-hand man), who has made a career of praising Jesus Christ in the same breath as free enterprise. Like theologian Michael Novak, Colson believes western democratic capitalism is like a three-legged stool, resting on political freedom, economic freedom and moral restraint. “Take away moral restraint and the stool collapses.”

But Colson’s solution — simply to talk more about morality in churches and elsewhere and to wish for greater moral behaviour — won’t make the economic system more stable or fair. That is what was uncovered through a revealing investigation of the moral behaviour of evangelical leaders by scholar Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite.

Lindsay found precious few evangelical executives were “distinguishing themselves from their secular peers” by taking salaries capped, for instance, at a ratio between the highest- and lowest-paid employees of 20:1. Most tried to justify astonishingly luxurious salaries.

Just as the Communist Soviet Union fell apart because it wasn’t realistic to expect everyone to embrace the principle of equality, the western capitalist system cannot sustain itself just by hoping everyone will embrace justice.

Without regulations to enforce society’s moral ideals, the scoundrels prevail. Now nearly all of us are suffering because we were drawn, knowingly and unknowingly, into their unrestricted avarice.

As Aristotle said, “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”

Spiritual insight into the economic collapse comes from Martin Marty, of the University of Chicago Divinity School, one of the most distinguished religious historians in North America.

Marty believes the economic meltdown grew out of a growing global obsession with the “self.” He points to the way many economists talk about how the “spreading disease” in the global economy will “self-heal.” But Marty believes the modern free world is fixated on terms such as “self-generating,” “self-developing” and “self-correcting.” It’s the kind of thinking that has led many to over-optimistically advocate for an “unfettered” and “unregulated” market that never impinges on the supremacy of the “self.”

But there are crucial limits to the “self.”

Marty suggests Americans (and, I’d add, many Canadians) haven’t been willing to face the dark, shadow aspects of an economic system and foreign policy that focused on serving only the “self” (including that of the nation).

Just as the Iraq war has proved disastrous on human and financial fronts, Marty says the battered economy is making us look at all aspects of what happens when “the self” is glorified as absolute.

“We are well aware of our own virtue, knowledge, power and security, and these are real enough to be celebrated,” he writes.

“But we did not recognize their undersides: vice, ignorance, weakness and insecurity, which overtook us.”

As a Lutheran, Marty responds to the financial crisis with a secular translation of the “body of Christ” theme, which teaches us to reflect on how “we are members one of another.”

Instead of “self-healing,” he wisely suggests the western economic system needs “mutual” healing.

To use the language of other traditions, a Buddhist might say we need economic solutions that recognize we are all interconnected.

In secular terms, the late American political philosopher John Rawls would teach that we need economic policies beneficial to us all, no matter where we find ourselves on the financial ladder.

The simplest way to put one of the spiritual lessons of the economic collapse, however, is simply to make it clear that creating a healthy society has to go much further than asking, “What’s in it for me?”

dtodd@vancouversun.com

http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/thesearch/archive/2009/01/10/healing-the-battered-economy-means-going-beyond-the-self-what-s-in-it-for-me-is-not-an-attitude-that-will-work-in-the-times-we-face.aspx

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Does God Want You To Be Rich?

A growing number of Protestant evangelists raise a joyful Yes! But the idea is poison to other, more mainstream pastors. By DAVID VAN BIEMA, JEFF CHU Posted Sunday, Sep. 10, 2006

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1533448,00.html

When George Adams lost his job at an Ohio tile factory last October, the most practical thing he did, he thinks, was go to a new church, even though he had to move his wife and four preteen boys to Conroe, a suburb of Houston, to do it. Conroe, you see, is not far from Lakewood, the home church of megapastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen.

Osteen’s relentlessly upbeat television sermons had helped Adams, 49, get through the hard times, and now Adams was expecting the smiling, Texas-twanged 43-year-old to help boost him back toward success. And Osteen did. Inspired by the preacher’s insistence that one of God’s top priorities is to shower blessings on Christians in this lifetime–and by the corollary assumption that one of the worst things a person can do is to expect anything less–Adams marched into Gullo Ford in Conroe looking for work. He didn’t have entry-level aspirations: “God has showed me that he doesn’t want me to be a run-of-the-mill person,” he explains. He demanded to know what the dealership’s top salesmen made–and got the job. Banishing all doubt–“You can’t sell a $40,000-to-$50,000 car with menial thoughts”–Adams took four days to retail his first vehicle, a Ford F-150 Lariat with leather interior. He knew that many fellow salesmen don’t notch their first score until their second week. “Right now, I’m above average!” he exclaims. “It’s a new day God has given me! I’m on my way to a six-figure income!” The sales commission will help with this month’s rent, but Adams hates renting. Once that six-figure income has been rolling in for a while, he will buy his dream house: “Twenty-five acres,” he says. “And three bedrooms. We’re going to have a schoolhouse (his children are home schooled). We want horses and ponies for the boys, so a horse barn. And a pond. And maybe some cattle.”

“I’m dreaming big–because all of heaven is dreaming big,” Adams continues. “Jesus died for our sins. That was the best gift God could give us,” he says. “But we have something else. Because I want to follow Jesus and do what he ordained, God wants to support us. It’s Joel Osteen’s ministry that told me. Why would an awesome and mighty God want anything less for his children?”

In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to “deny himself” and even “take up his Cross.” In support of this alarming prediction, he forcefully contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: “For what profit is it to a man,” he asks, “if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” It is one of the New Testament’s hardest teachings, yet generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian, on some level, means being ready to sacrifice–money, autonomy or even their lives.

But for a growing number of Christians like George Adams, the question is better restated, “Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?” For several decades, a philosophy has been percolating in the 10 million–strong Pentecostal wing of Christianity that seems to turn the Gospels’ passage on its head: certainly, it allows, Christians should keep one eye on heaven. But the new good news is that God doesn’t want us to wait. Known (or vilified) under a variety of names–Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Theology–its emphasis is on God’s promised generosity in this life and the ability of believers to claim it for themselves. In a nutshell, it suggests that a God who loves you does not want you to be broke. Its signature verse could be John 10: 10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In a TIME poll, 17% of Christians surveyed said they considered themselves part of such a movement, while a full 61% believed that God wants people to be prosperous. And 31%–a far higher percentage than there are Pentecostals in America–agreed that if you give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.

“Prosperity” first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from mainstream view with the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals. But now, after some key modifications (which have inspired some to redub it Prosperity Lite), it has not only recovered but is booming. Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three–Osteen’s Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar’s World Changers near Atlanta–are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits (although Jakes’ ministry has many more facets). While they don’t exclusively teach that God’s riches want to be in believers’ wallets, it is a key part of their doctrine. And propelled by Osteen’s 4 million–selling book, Your Best Life Now, the belief has swept beyond its Pentecostal base into more buttoned-down evangelical churches, and even into congregations in the more liberal Mainline. It is taught in hundreds of non-Pentecostal Bible studies. One Pennsylvania Lutheran pastor even made it the basis for a sermon series for Lent, when Christians usually meditate on why Jesus was having His Worst Life Then. Says the Rev. Chappell Temple, a Methodist minister with the dubious distinction of pastoring Houston’s other Lakewood Church (Lakewood United Methodist), an hour north of Osteen’s: “Prosperity Lite is everywhere in Christian culture. Go into any Christian bookstore, and see what they’re offering.”

The movement’s renaissance has infuriated a number of prominent pastors, theologians and commentators. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen’s by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. “This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?”, he snorts. “There is a word for that: baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?”

The brickbats–both theological and practical (who really gets rich from this?)–come especially thick from Evangelicals like Warren. Evangelicalism is more prominent and influential than ever before. Yet the movement, which has never had a robust theology of money, finds an aggressive philosophy advancing within its ranks that many of its leaders regard as simplistic, possibly heretical and certainly embarrassing.

Prosperity’s defenders claim to be able to match their critics chapter and verse. They caution against broad-brushing a wide spectrum that ranges from pastors who crassly solicit sky’s-the-limit financial offerings from their congregations to those whose services tend more toward God-fueled self-help. Advocates note Prosperity’s racial diversity–a welcome exception to the American norm–and point out that some Prosperity churches engage in significant charity. And they see in it a happy corrective for Christians who are more used to being chastened for their sins than celebrated as God’s children. “Who would want to get in on something where you’re miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?” asks Joyce Meyer, a popular television preacher and author often lumped in the Prosperity Lite camp. “I believe God wants to give us nice things.” If nothing else, Meyer and other new-breed preachers broach a neglected topic that should really be a staple of Sunday messages: Does God want you to be rich?

As with almost any important religious question, the first response of most Christians (especially Protestants) is to ask how Scripture treats the topic. But Scripture is not definitive when it comes to faith and income. Deuteronomy commands believers to “remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth”, and the rest of the Old Testament is dotted with celebrations of God’s bestowal of the good life. On at least one occasion–the so-called parable of the talents (a type of coin)–Jesus holds up savvy business practice (investing rather than saving) as a metaphor for spiritual practice. Yet he spent far more time among the poor than the rich, and a majority of scholars quote two of his most direct comments on wealth: the passage in the Sermon on the Mount in which he warns, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”; and his encounter with the “rich young ruler” who cannot bring himself to part with his money, after which Jesus famously comments, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Both statements can be read as more nuanced than they at first may seem. In each case it is not wealth itself that disqualifies but the inability to understand its relative worthlessness compared with the riches of heaven. The same thing applies to Paul’s famous line, “Money is the root of all evil,” in his first letter to Timothy. The actual quote is, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

So the Bible leaves plenty of room for a discussion on the role, positive or negative, that money should play in the lives of believers. But it’s not a discussion that many pastors are willing to have. “Jesus’ words about money don’t make us very comfortable, and people don’t want to hear about it,” notes Collin Hansen, an editor at the evangelical monthly Christianity Today. Pastors are happy to discuss from the pulpit hot-button topics like sex and even politics. But the relative absence of sermons about money–which the Bible mentions several thousand times–is one of the more stunning omissions in American religion, especially among its white middle-class precincts. Princeton University sociologist Robert Wuthnow says much of the U.S. church “talks about giving but does not talk about the broader financial concerns people have, or the pressures at work. There has long been a taboo on talking candidly about money.”

In addition to personal finances, a lot of evangelical churches have also avoided any pulpit talk about social inequality. When conservative Christianity split from the Mainline in the early 20th century, the latter pursued their commitment to the “social gospel” by working on poverty and other causes such as civil rights and the Vietnam-era peace movement. Evangelicals went the other way: they largely concentrated on issues of individual piety. “We took on personal salvation–we need our sins redeemed, and we need our Saviour,” says Warren. But “some people tended to go too individualistic, and justice and righteousness issues were overlooked.”

A recent Sunday at Lakewood gives some idea of the emphasis on worldly gain that disturbs Warren. Several hundred stage lights flash on, and Osteen, his gigawatt smile matching them, strides onto the stage of what used to be the Compaq Center sports arena but is now his church. “Let’s just celebrate the goodness of the Lord!” Osteen yells. His wife Victoria says, “Our Daddy God is the strongest! He’s the mightiest!”

And so it goes, before 14,000 attendees, a nonstop declaration of God’s love and his intent to show it in the here and now, sometimes verging on the language of an annual report. During prayer, Osteen thanks God for “your unprecedented favor. We believe that 2006 will be our best year so far. We declare it by faith.” Today’s sermon is about how gratitude can “save a marriage, save your job [and] get you a promotion.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever preached a sermon about money,” he says a few hours later. He and Victoria meet with TIME in their pastoral suite, once the Houston Rockets’ locker and shower area but now a zone of overstuffed sofas and imposing oak bookcases. “Does God want us to be rich?” he asks. “When I hear that word rich, I think people say, ‘Well, he’s preaching that everybody’s going to be a millionaire.’ I don’t think that’s it.” Rather, he explains, “I preach that anybody can improve their lives. I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy. To me, you need to have money to pay your bills. I think God wants us to send our kids to college. I think he wants us to be a blessing to other people. But I don’t think I’d say God wants us to be rich. It’s all relative, isn’t it?” The room’s warm lamplight reflects softly off his crocodile shoes.

Osteen is a second-generation Prosperity teacher. His father John Osteen started out Baptist but in 1959 withdrew from that fellowship to found a church in one of Houston’s poorer neighborhoods and explore a new philosophy developing among Pentecostals. If the rest of Protestantism ignored finances, Prosperity placed them center stage, marrying Pentecostalism’s ebullient notion of God’s gifts with an older tradition that stressed the power of positive thinking. Practically, it emphasized hard work and good home economics. But the real heat was in its spiritual premise: that if a believer could establish, through word and deed (usually donation), that he or she was “in Jesus Christ,” then Jesus’ father would respond with paternal gifts of health and wealth in this life. A favorite verse is from Malachi: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse … and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘If I will not for you open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'” (See boxes.)

It is a peculiarly American theology but turbocharged. If Puritanism valued wealth and Benjamin Franklin wrote about doing well by doing good, hard-core Prosperity doctrine, still extremely popular in the hands of pastors like Atlanta megachurch minister Creflo Dollar, reads those Bible verses as a spiritual contract. God will pay back a multiple (often a hundredfold) on offerings by the congregation. “Poor people like Prosperity,” says Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University. “They hear it as aspirant. They hear, ‘You can make it too–buy a car, get a job, get wealthy.’ It can function as a form of liberation.” It can also be exploitative. Outsiders, observes Milmon Harrison of the University of California at Davis, author of the book Righteous Riches, often see it as “another form of the church abusing people so ministers could make money.”

In the past decade, however, the new generation of preachers, like Osteen, Meyer and Houston’s Methodist megapastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, who gave the benediction at both of George W. Bush’s Inaugurals, have repackaged the doctrine. Gone are the divine profit-to-earnings ratios, the requests for offerings far above a normal 10% tithe (although many of the new breed continue to insist that congregants tithe on their pretax rather than their net income). What remains is a materialism framed in a kind of Tony Robbins positivism. No one exemplifies this better than Osteen, who ran his father’s television-production department until John died in 1999. “Joel has learned from his dad, but he has toned it back and tapped into basic, everyday folks’ ways of talking,” says Ben Phillips, a theology professor at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That language is reflected in Your Best Life Now, an extraordinarily accessible exhortation to this-world empowerment through God. “To live your best life now,” it opens, to see “your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams come to pass …” you must “start looking at life through eyes of faith.” Jesus is front and center but not his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement. There are chapters on overcoming trauma and a late chapter on emulating God’s generosity. (And indeed, Osteen’s church gave more than $1 million in relief money after Hurricane Katrina.) But there are many more illustrations of how the Prosperity doctrine has produced personal gain, most memorably, perhaps, for the Osteen family: how Victoria’s “speaking words of faith and victory” eventually brought the couple their dream house; how Joel discerned God’s favor in being bumped from economy to business class.

Confronting such stories, certain more doctrinally traditional Christians go ballistic. Last March, Ben Witherington, an influential evangelical theologian at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, thundered that “we need to renounce the false gospel of wealth and health–it is a disease of our American culture; it is not a solution or answer to life’s problems.” Respected blogger Michael Spencer–known as the Internet Monk–asked, “How many young people are going to be pointed to Osteen as a true shepherd of Jesus Christ? He’s not. He’s not one of us.” Osteen is an irresistible target for experts from right to left on the Christian spectrum who–beyond worrying that he is living too high or inflating the hopes of people with real money problems–think he is dragging people down with a heavy interlocked chain of theological and ethical errors that could amount to heresy.

Most start out by saying that Osteen and his ilk have it “half right”: that God’s goodness is biblical, as is the idea that he means us to enjoy the material world. But while Prosperity claims to be celebrating that goodness, the critics see it as treating God as a celestial ATM. “God becomes a means to an end, not the end in himself,” says Southwestern Baptist’s Phillips. Others are more upset about what it de-emphasizes. “[Prosperity] wants the positive but not the negative,” says another Southern Baptist, Alan Branch of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. “Problem is, we live on this side of Eden. We’re fallen.” That is, Prosperity soft-pedals the consequences of Adam’s fall–sin, pain and death–and their New Testament antidote: Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and the importance of repentance. And social liberals express a related frustration that preachers like Osteen show little interest in battling the ills of society at large. Perhaps appropriately so, since, as Prosperity scholar Harrison explains, “philosophically, their main way of helping the poor is encouraging people not to be one of them.”

Most unnerving for Osteen’s critics is the suspicion that they are fighting not just one idiosyncratic misreading of the gospel but something more daunting: the latest lurch in Protestantism’s ongoing descent into full-blown American materialism. After the eclipse of Calvinist Puritanism, whose respect for money was counterbalanced by a horror of worldliness, much of Protestantism quietly adopted the idea that “you don’t have to give up the American Dream. You just see it as a sign of God’s blessing,” says Edith Blumhofer, director of Wheaton College’s Center for the Study of American Evangelicals. Indeed, a last-gasp resistance to this embrace of wealth and comfort can be observed in the current evangelical brawl over whether comfortable megachurches (like Osteen’s and Warren’s) with pumped-up day-care centers and high-tech amenities represent a slide from glorifying an all-powerful God to asking what custom color you would prefer he paint your pews. “The tragedy is that Christianity has become a yes-man for the culture,” says Boston University’s Prothero.

Non-prosperity parties from both conservative and more progressive evangelical camps recently have been trying to reverse the trend. Eastern University professor Ron Sider’s book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, a fringe classic after its publication in 1977, is selling far more copies now, and some young people are even acting on its rather radical prescriptions: a sprinkling of Protestant groups known loosely as the New Monastics is experimenting with the kind of communal living among the poor that had previously been the province of Catholic orders. Jim Wallis, longtime leader of one such community in Washington and the editor of Sojourners magazine, has achieved immense exposure lately with his pleas that Evangelicals engage in more political activism on behalf of the poor.

And then there is Warren himself, who by virtue of his energy, hypereloquence and example (he’s working in Rwanda with government, business and church sectors) has become a spokesman for church activism. “The church is the largest network in the world,” he says. “If you have 2.3 billion people who claim to be followers of Christ, that’s bigger than China.”

And despite Warren’s disdain for Prosperity’s theological claims, some Prosperity churches have become players in the very faith-based antipoverty world he inhabits, even while maintaining their distinctive theology. Kirbyjon Caldwell, who pastors Windsor Village, the largest (15,000) United Methodist church in the country, can sound as Prosperity as the next pastor: “Jesus did not die and get up off the Cross so we could live lives full of despair and disappointment,” he says. He quotes the “abundant life” verse with all earnestness, even giving it a real estate gloss: “It is unscriptural not to own land,” he announces. But he’s doing more than talk about it. He recently oversaw the building of Corinthian Pointe, a 452-unit affordable-housing project that he claims is the largest residential subdivision ever built by a nonprofit. Most of its inhabitants, he says, are not members of his church.

Caldwell knows that prosperity is a loaded term in evangelical circles. But he insists that “it depends on how you define prosperity. I am not a proponent of saying the Lord’s name three times, clicking your heels and then you get what you ask for. But you cannot give what you do not have. We are fighting what we call the social demons. If I am going to help someone, I am going to have to have something with which to help.”

Caldwell knows that the theology behind this preacherly rhetoric will never be acceptable to Warren or Sider or Witherington. But the man they all follow said, “By their fruits you will know them,” and for some, Corinthian Pointe is a very convincing sort of fruit. Hard-line Prosperity theology may always seem alien to those with enough money to imagine making more without engaging God in a kind of spiritual quid pro quo. And Osteen’s version, while it abandons part of that magical thinking, may strike some as self-centered rather than God centered. But American Protestantism is a dynamic faith. Caldwell’s version reminds us that there is no reason a giving God could not invest even an awkward and needy creed with a mature and generous heart. If God does want us to be rich in this life, no doubt it’s this richness in spirit that he is most eager for us to acquire.

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Did The Prosperity Gospel Play A Role In Suprime Crisis?
Oct.03, 2008 in Commentary, Economy
According to this author, the answer is “Yes”.

Has the so-called Prosperity Gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God would “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, toxic expression during sub-prime boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York state, “The pastor’s not gonna say ‘go down to Wachovia and get a loan’ but I have heard, ‘even if you have a poor credit rating God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house, or that car or that apartment.’” (more…)

When I read the title of this article, admittedly I dismissed it as far-reaching speculation. But after reading it and taking the time to reflect upon my own experiences in the church, I think the author is on to something.

For starters, I think that there is enough blame to go around–STARTING ON MAIN STREET.

My Atlanta Experience

I remember how pastors would tell folks about how the Lord wanted them to move into home ownership–all while steering them to certain brokers and banks. I remember saying to myself “folks are getting broke off over this and the Lord has nothing to do with it. This is just a plain ol’ hustle.” Brokers would be publicly acknowledged in front of the congregation as they would convince the church that all of this was just his/her way of “giving back to the Lord”. No! He was giving back to the pastor as a way of thanking him for sending the business. Again, the Lord had NUTTIN to do with this arrangement. I saw all of this during the early stages of the housing boom.

My wife and I were part of a megachurch where the pastor made it a priority to move all the renters in his congregation into home ownership. He tied the whole thing into how God moved Israel into the promise land. While I agreed with the pastor that far too many of us have been renting too long, the huge influx of moving folks with bad credit into McMansions had me a bit nervous. This took place right at the time we were preparing to move out of state.

All of a sudden, getting approved for a loan with bad credit was seen as a miracle from God–all because of those generous faith offerings folks were told to give earlier.

“I told the Lawd ‘but my credit is too messed up to get a house’. Then I heard pastor preach about taking a step of faith last Sunday. Don’t you know I applied for the loan and now I am the proud owner of a 5 bedroom house…”.

These types of ‘testimonies’ were common in the churches I attended back when the market was getting hot.

I am of the opinion that any pastor who encouraged parishioners to commit to predatory-type loans while cloaking the whole thing as “God’s will for their lives” should be thrown out of office. Part of me is telling me to name names of pastors who I know engaged in this practice. I’ll chill with that idea for now.

Again, I must stress that churches that participated in peddling these loans do share A PART of the blame.

http://www.blackinformant.com/2008/10/03/did-the-prosperity-gospel-play-a-role-in-suprime-crisis

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Prosperity Gospel on Skid Row
Difficulties of high-profile pastors may reorient movement—or reinforce it.
Bobby Ross Jr. | posted 1/15/2009 09:40AM

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/february/2.12.html

Some of the high-flying icons of the prosperity gospel—the belief that God rewards signs of faith with wealth, health, and happiness—have run into financial turbulence.

Not all of their troubles can be blamed on the nation’s economic crisis, say critics of the name-it-and-claim-it theology found in some charismatic churches.

“I believe the charismatic movement, of which I am a part, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul,” said J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine. “God is shaking us.” Grady predicts the movement will look much different in a few years as it refocuses on evangelism and overcoming what he calls the distraction of “materialism, flashy self-promotion, and foolish carnality.” But Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary sociologist who studies megachurches, is not so certain.

“Most clergy who preach a prosperity gospel would interpret for their congregation any conflict, scrutiny, or questioning as an attack of the Devil and proof that they are following God,” he said.

Among recent developments:

• In Fort Worth, Texas, a review board ruled December 7 that Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ $3.6 million jet did not have tax-exempt status. The ruling came after the ministry, whose 1,500-acre campus includes a $6 million church-owned lakefront mansion, refused to release the salaries of Copeland, his wife, and others.

• In suburban Atlanta, Georgia, a sheriff’s deputy served an eviction notice November 14 at Bishop Thomas Weeks III’s Global Destiny Church. Court documents indicate the bishop, the ex-husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum, owed half a million dollars in back rent. The church has lost roughly half of its 3,400 members since Weeks and Bynum’s 2007 fight in a hotel parking lot, in which Weeks was accused of pushing, choking, and beating his then-wife.

• In Tampa, Florida, Without Walls International Church—which once attracted 23,000 worshipers—has shrunk drastically after co-pastors Randy and Paula White announced in 2007 they were divorcing. The church faces an uncertain future after the Evangelical Christian Credit Union began foreclosure proceedings November 4 and demanded repayment of a $12 million loan on the church’s property.

• In suburban Minneapolis on November 18, Living Word Christian Center pastor Mac Hammond won the first stage of a court battle with the Internal Revenue Service to keep his salary private. Yet in 2008, he was forced to put his private jet up for sale and cut Living Word’s hour-long television show in half to save money amid falling contributions.
Meanwhile, Copeland and the Whites are among six televangelists whose large organizations have been targeted in a Senate Finance Committee investigation into allegations of questionable spending and lax financial accountability. All six preach some form of the prosperity gospel.

Could followers of the prosperity gospel—encouraged by pastors to “sow a seed” of faith by spending money, often in the form of a donation to the pastors’ ministries—be turned off by the recent turmoil?

Craig Blomberg, author of a 2001 study of prosperity theology, said he expects the movement to “take a small hit among those who recognize that it can’t deliver on what it promises.”

But many followers could view the financial difficulties as consequences for sin and personal failings—from Weeks’s assault conviction to the Whites’ divorce—and determine to try that much harder to please God and prosper themselves, he suggested.

“Some may well interpret this as judgment on the leaders who have abused their positions or proved immoral in other respects,” said Blomberg, a New Testament professor at Denver Seminary. “And many may simply assume this is the time to call others and themselves to an even truer faith so that the ‘system will work’ as it is supposed to in their minds.”

In Grady’s view, the notion that “God blesses us so we can be a blessing” is biblical. What is needed, he believes, is a shift to a more selfless movement where people “realize that God wants to bless us so that we can feed the poor, lift up the broken, and transform society.

“We need that kind of prosperity,” he said, “and I think that is where things are going.”

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Is the Prosperity Gospel Financial Heresy?
By Mr. ToughMoneyLove | October 5, 2008

Mr. ToughMoneyLove tends to avoid mixing religion and personal finance for a variety of reasons. However, I am going to make a very brief exception to that policy this Sunday.

This week Time ran a story on the possible role of the “prosperity gospel” in the sub-prime mortgage mess that has played a significant role in the current economic crisis. I certainly don’t agree with the premise that God should be blamed for what has happened. But the article makes an interesting anecdotal review of how believers in the prosperity gospel could be led to accept that divine intervention would prevail over their lack of financial resources. According to the prosperity preacher, that belief is enough to put the believer in a home he or she cannot afford. I think we can all agree that there is no logic to that belief. On the other hand, religion is based on faith, not logic.

I submit that are two hard truth takeaways from this story. First, the “prosperity gospel” is really intended to bring economic prosperity to those who preach it, not to those who listen to it. Second, an all too common rationalization offered by broke people when they make yet another discretionary purchase is that they “deserve” that car or gadget or vacation. The prosperity gospel reinforces that misguided rationalization and gives it another dimension. Just as I believe that poor people are not being punished by God, I also believe that wealth on earth is not bestowed based on spiritual merit.

What do you think about the prosperity gospel as a contributor to current economic conditions?

http://toughmoneylove.com/2008/10/05/is-the-prosperity-gospel-financial-heresy/

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Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess
By David Van Biema Friday, Oct. 03, 2008

TIME.com

Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God will “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in Pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York: “The pastor’s not gonna say, ‘Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,’ but I have heard, ‘Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house or that car or that apartment.’ ” Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘If you give this offering, God will give you a house.’ And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.” If so, the situation offers a look at how a native-born faith built partially on American economic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.

Although a type of Pentecostalism, Prosperity theology adds a distinctive layer of supernatural positive thinking. Adherents will reap rewards if they prove their faith to God by contributing heavily to their churches, remaining mentally and verbally upbeat and concentrating on divine promises of worldly bounty supposedly strewn throughout the Bible. Critics call it a thinly disguised pastor-enrichment scam. Other experts, like Walton, note that for all its faults, the theology can empower people who have been taught to see themselves as financially or even culturally useless to feel they are “worthy of having more and doing more and being more.” In some cases the philosophy has matured with its practitioners, encouraging good financial habits and entrepreneurship.

But Walton suggests that a decade’s worth of ever easier credit acted like a drug in Prosperity’s bloodstream. “The economic boom ’90s and financial overextensions of the new millennium contributed to the success of the Prosperity message,” he wrote recently on his personal blog as well as on the website Religion Dispatches. And not positively. “Narratives of how ‘God blessed me with my first house despite my credit’ were common. Sermons declaring ‘It’s your season to overflow’ supplanted messages of economic sobriety,” and “little attention was paid to … the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM to subsidize cars, clothes and vacations.”

With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that Prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and they are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks some of the flashier ministries will shrink along with their congregants’ fortunes. Says Walton: “You would think that the current economic conditions would undercut their theology.” But he predicts they will persevere, since God’s earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.

A recent publicly posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God, near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation — it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on Scriptural promises of God. But the believer’s note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. “Last Sunday,” it read, “You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1,020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace.”

And pray that the credit market doesn’t tighten any further.

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1847053,00.html?cnn=yes

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Understanding Word-Faith Teaching
by Rob Bowman

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Once upon a time, long long ago, on a faraway planet, there lived a good God. . . . Because Jesus was recreated from a satanic being to an incarnation of God, you too can become an incarnation – as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth! And, as an incarnation of God, you can have unlimited health and unlimited wealth – a palace like the Taj Mahal with a Rolls Royce in your driveway. You are a little messiah running around on earth! All it takes is to recognize your own divinity.

Hank Hanegraaff (summarizing the Word-Faith teaching)

It seems our friends, the book writers, have invented an entirely new theology called the “born again Jesus” built upon a conglomeration of quotations taken from 6 or 7 ministers, pulled out of context and combined as though we all believed identically the same thing or were even speaking about the same subject when quoted (which, in some cases, we were not). And the reader is told we all believe this “born again Jesus” theology, believe exactly alike about it, and we’re all heretics. Yet I am diametrically opposed to some of the doctrines held by those who are quoted on the same page as me! Kenneth E. Hagin

He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13

If we are to evaluate the Word-Faith teaching, we first need to understand it. As Solomon counseled, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). We need to grasp the Word-Faith theology as a whole and understand how it all fits together from the perspective of the Word-Faith teachers if we are to make an intelligent decision as to whether it is biblical. Moreover, we need to look at the movement from all sides and consider it from every relevant angle in order to make our assessment as complete and balanced as possible. In this chapter I will set forth an agenda for such a complete assessment and then explain the Word-Faith teaching in order to make its basic message understandable.

The Roots, Shoots, and Fruits

A complete evaluation of any movement’s teachings requires that we look at three aspects of the teachings, which may be called the roots, shoots, and fruits of a doctrine.

Exposing the Roots
The roots of a doctrine are the sources or origins of the teachings. Did the ideas come from the Bible? Did they come from the biblically based teaching of a sound Christian teacher? Did they come from a source that is clearly cultic or non-Christian? Or did they come from a mixture of all three types of sources? If certain ideas can be traced to non-Christian or cultic roots, how were these ideas transferred?

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An examination of the “roots” of a teaching is never sufficient by itself, because non-Christians, after all, can express truths and can have genuine insights. It is perfectly fine for a Christian teacher to “plunder the Egyptians” by taking over ideas or formulations found in non-Christian thought and putting them into a soundly Christian context. So we must be careful not to argue that a particular doctrine is false merely because a cultist or other non-Christian advocated it. In logic this is called the genetic fallacy – attempting to dismiss an idea on the basis of its genesis, or origin.

William DeArteaga, in his book defending the Word-Faith movement, claims that Daniel R. McConnell’s critique of the Word-Faith teaching commits the “genetic fallacy” by arguing that “Hagin derived his teachings from Kenyon, who in turn was associated with the Metaphysical movement.” DeArteaga calls this error “the pharisaical objection of origins,” referring to his belief that the Pharisees erred by rejecting any workings of the Spirit that contradicted their theology or which they could not explain. This is an odd theory: the Pharisees never criticized Jesus’ teachings for supposedly deriving from a suspect source (say, that Jesus got his ideas from the pagan Greeks). They did accuse him of having a demon (Matt. 9:34; 12:24; John 7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20), but this is a “genetic” argument of a very different sort! Setting aside this strange reference to the Pharisees, DeArteaga’s criticism overlooks the fact that McConnell explicitly denies trying to discredit the Word-Faith teaching by a simple exposé of its origins:

The historical origins of the Faith movement are not enough, however, to justify the charge of cultism. That would be an example of theological guilt by mere historical association. To prove cultism requires that it be demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the beliefs and practices of the contemporary Faith movement (not just those of Kenyon) are both cultic and heretical.. . . The Faith movement is cubic not just because of where it comes from. but also because of what it teaches.

DeArteaga elsewhere shows that he does take the question of the origins of the Word-Faith teaching to be relevant. In answer to McConnell, he argues that Kenyon’s doctrines of revelation – knowledge and of the Christian life are not really Gnostic at all but are instead rooted in the theology of the apostle Paul.

If the genetic fallacy is to be avoided, then why examine the roots at all? There are two reasons for doing so. First, sometimes teachers will misrepresent the source of their teachings in order to exaggerate their own originality or because the true sources are a potential embarrassment to them. In some cases professing Christian teachers have been known to plagiarize whole sermons or books from various cultic or questionable sources. Obviously, if they pass off as new insights or revelations from God ideas that they actually lifted word for word from a non-Christian or cultic writer, this constitutes a serious problem. Exposing these teachers’ lack of honesty in this area serves its own purpose independent of evaluating the teachings themselves.

Here again, DeArteaga argues that McConnell has criticized Kenneth Hagin unjustly by accusing him of plagiarism. According to DeArteaga, “McConnell also accuses Hagin of passing off his theology as pure ‘revelation knowledge’ without any credits to human sources” (emphasis added). DeArteaga points to the preface of The Name of Jesus in which Hagin acknowledges drawing on Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus as proof that McConnell is wrong. Yet McConnell himself quotes Hagin’s preface and comments, “This is one of the few candid, direct acknowledgments of Kenyon to appear in any of Hagin’s writings.” McConnell also observes that “Hagin demonstrates the ability to give credit where credit is due with regard to the sources that he drew on to develop a particular idea,” except concerning those sources from which he plagiarized extensively. His contention is simply that Hagin’s repeated, massive plagiarism of the writings of Kenyon, along with those of John A. MacMillan, demonstrate that Hagin’s claim to have learned the Word-Faith teaching directly from visitations and revelations from God is patently false. DeArteaga’s criticisms of McConnell in this matter are not cogent.

Second, identifying the source of someone’s questionable doctrines can aid us in pinpointing the real problems in those doctrines. If certain doctrinal errors have been taught before and have been answered by sound Christian teachers, then finding these antecedents can be very helpful in identifying and refuting the errors. Discovering the true roots of the Word-Faith teaching, once it is shown to be unbibilcal and damaging to authentic Christian faith, will then aid us in getting to the core of the problem. It will also enable us to be better on guard against similar errors in the future.

Again, we do not expose the roots of a doctrine to prove it false. We examine the roots to help us diagnose the problems and prescribe a cure.

Examining the Shoots
The second aspect of any doctrine is the substance or idea of the doctrine itself. This is what for convenience I call the shoots, though it would be more precise to talk about the trunk and branches. More technically, the shoots of a doctrine are the doctrine itself as a doctrine – what the doctrine says in theory and the arguments or reasons given in its support.

Most of the time, we identify a tree by its shoots. That is, we can usually tell what sort of a tree it is simply by looking at its overall appearance as shaped primarily by its trunk and branches. A quick glance at the shoots of a fir tree is enough to determine that it is not an oak.

Examining doctrines is often not as easy, of course, because doctrines are not tangible entities that can be perceived with a single glance. What we purpose to do in examining a doctrine, though, is not merely to identify it but also to evaluate its soundness and strength. When examining a tree, for example, we would check various branches to see if they are strong and well connected to the trunk. If there was some doubt about the health of the tree, we might cut through the bark to examine the interior of the wood. When examining a doctrine, we would test its soundness and strength by examining the reasoning used to support the conclusion and seeing if that reasoning is firmly based on the Bible.

Examining the shoots, then, comes down to comparing the contemporary teachings with the teachings of the Bible. The Word-Faith teachers tend to resist this kind of critical examination, offering various reasons why their teachings should not be critiqued. I have evaluated these objections to doctrinal discernment in Orthodoxy and Heresy. Here I will point out simply that this sort of study is strongly encouraged in the Bible itself (see Matt. 22:29; Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:16). It is the basic method used by Christians throughout the centuries to test novel and controversial teachings as they have arisen in the church.

Looking at the Fruits
The third and final aspect of testing a doctrine is to look at its fruit. This test is perhaps the best known because of the words of Jesus regarding false prophets: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Unfortunately these words are among the most abused words in Scripture. They are all too commonly cited to prove that testing someone’s teachings by comparing them with Scripture is either unnecessary or illegitimate. Yet this claim is itself a doctrine that people try to prove by citing Scripture!

What Jesus says here is absolutely true: One can know a false prophet by his or her “fruits.” We need to ask, though, what is included, and what is not, in these fruits. One thing Jesus makes very clear in the context is that prophetic utterances and miracles are not included (Matt. 7:22). This is important because Word-Faith teachers and those who support them often point to stories of healings, apparent supernatural revelations, and other amazing incidents as proof that God has blessed their ministry. But Jesus specifically excludes such things from the “fruits” by which we would be able to tell a false prophet from a true one.

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On the other hand, Jesus does not discourage testing doctrines by comparing them with Scripture. Indeed, his focus is not on the truth or falsity of a particular doctrine but on the divine calling of a professed prophet. The purpose of the test is to tell apart true and false prophets, both of whom seem to speak in the name of the Lord (Matt. 7:21-22). The implication is that a true prophet must represent the Lord truly both in word and in action. Thus the point here is not that true prophets can say anything they want as long as their outward lives are good. Rather, it is that a prophet is false if his fruit is evil, no matter how good or true his words seem to be.

A short while later in the same passage, Jesus contrasts the wise person with the foolish person. The wise person acts on Jesus’ words, while the foolish person fails to do so (Matt. 7:24-27). The implication is that one may and should compare people’s actions to the words of Jesus to see whether their actions are wise or foolish.

One bad fruit that is always produced by false prophets is confusion and division. When false prophets come along and teach false doctrines or make false claims, it is their fault when confusion and division ensue. It is certainly not the fault of those who oppose their unbiblical teachings.

The sum of the matter is this. The test Jesus sets forth in Matthew 7 is intended to expose false prophets. It is not the only such test, but it is a valid and crucial test. It cannot be used to avoid responsibility to teach doctrine that is faithful to the same Bible in which this test appears. False and unsound doctrine always contradicts biblical doctrine and results in bad fruit.

On Defining the Word-Faith Teaching

Before explaining the Word-Faith teaching, I need to say some things about the approach taken here. In discussing this subject with advocates of the Word-Faith teaching and with its critics, I have learned that how one approaches the discussion virtually determines whether communication and understanding will ever take place.

Is There a “Word Faith Teaching”?
Some people object to any critique of the “Word-Faith teaching” on two grounds. First, it is sometimes said that the Word-Faith teachers are evangelists, healers, prophets, or pastors, not teachers or theologians, and that they should not be judged as if they were theologians. Second, it has been argued that the critics of the Word-Faith movement have created a straw-man “Word-Faith teaching” from statements taken out of context or shoe-horned into a theology that none of the Word-Faith teachers espouse. We are told that the Word-Faith teachers differ markedly on a number of doctrinal points, so that the doctrine attributed to them as a group is an artificial construct of the critics’ own imagination.

It is, of course, true that none of the Word-Faith teachers is a systematic theologian or even a methodical teacher whose theological “system” is easily encapsulated from his writings. This does not mean, however, that the Word-Faith leaders are not teachers. Whatever they may see as their primary calling, when they regularly present teaching on matters of Christian belief, they make themselves teachers. It is silly to say that individual – articles, and disseminate video and audiotapes of their messages on doctrinal topics are not teachers.

In any case, at least some of these men do claim to be teachers. Kenneth Hagin, who claims that his primary calling is to the ministry of a prophet, also claims to serve in the ministry of a teacher. Thus it is perfectly appropriate to hold the Word-Faith teachers to a higher standard of doctrinal accuracy than we do persons in ministry who do not presume to teach doctrine (James 3:1).

As for the second objection, it simply is not true that the Word-Faith teachers have no theological system. The lack of a formal Word-Faith “systematic theology” does not mean that there is no structural or thematic unity in their teaching. If a Word-Faith teacher’s teaching is at all coherent or consistent, it should be possible to systematize his teachings in order to bring out its coherence and essential ideas. If such systematization is not possible, it only goes to show that his teaching is chaotic and therefore that he is a poor teacher.

Kenneth Hagin has complained that the theology attributed to him and other Word-Faith teachers is an invention of the critics (see the quotation at the beginning of this chapter). Hagin’s objection has some justice, but the legitimate point he is making should not be exaggerated. There is a core of doctrinal teaching that makes the Word-Faith movement distinctive and identifiable, a core of teaching to which the Word-Faith televangelists generally subscribe and that sets them apart from other Christian traditions. I agree that some of the critics of the Word-Faith teachers have erred in superimposing on the Word-Faith movement a greater degree of unity than is actually there. But the error of this extreme does not justify the opposite extreme of denying any distinctive doctrinal unity in the movement.

In this chapter, then, I will attempt to state that core theology of the Word-Faith movement. It may be that some Word-Faith advocates will disagree somewhat with the way their doctrine is presented here, but I believe that overall this presentation of the Word-Faith theology is accurate and representative of their teachings.

How Shall the Word-Faith Teaching Be Defined?
It is easy to make the Word-Faith doctrine sound silly or absurd. Indeed, one can do so by just stringing together a number of the more colorful statements that have been made by Word-Faith teachers. When critics of the movement do this and then fill in the gaps with their own interpretative embellishments, the result is a caricature.

This is the problem, as I see it, with the way in which the Word-Faith teaching is represented in the section titled “Once Upon a Time . . .” in Hank Hanegraaff’s Christianity in Crisis. Hanegraaff himself makes the following admission in a prefatory note in very small print:

The following tale is a composite of the erroneous teachings of individuals like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederick Price, and many others. While not all the Faith teachers hold to every aspect of this tale, they have all made substantial contributions to both the production and the proliferation of these aberrations and heresies. (emphasis added)
What Hanegraaff fails to acknowledge, unfortunately, is that none of the Word-Faith teachers “holds to every aspect of this tale.” The “composite” fails to represent accurately the views of any of the Word-Faith teachers, because none of them holds to the whole thing. Moreover, some of the elements of this “composite” are not held by any of the Word-Faith teachers but are Hanegraaff’s own imaginative and colorful additions. Hanegraaff describes the Word-Faith teachers’ God as hoping to get “lucky.” He describes the Jesus of the Word-Faith teaching as becoming “a satanic being” when he died. He claims that the Word-Faith teaching asserts that Christians can have “a palace like the Taj Mahal. . . . All it takes is to recognize your own divinity.” These descriptions, however, make the Word-Faith movement sound more akin to Eastern religions or the New Age movement than it really is. In truth none of the Word-Faith teachers ever talk this way.

This way of presenting the Word-Faith teaching, while it has shock value, unnecessarily offends those who embrace the Word-Faith teaching. Just as we would not want our beliefs to be misrepresented, we must be careful not to misrepresent the beliefs of those in the Word-Faith movement (Matt. 7:12). When they hear the views of their favorite televangelists being exaggerated or sensationalized, they use that to dismiss out of hand the many valid criticisms of the Word-Faith teaching that critics offer.

We must never lose sight of the fact that many persons do, after all, find in the Word-Faith doctrine a convincing and coherent message. I will therefore be presenting the teaching in such a form as I think a systematically minded advocate of the Word-Faith teaching might articulate it. What I have attempted to do here is to set forth the Word-Faith teaching in the best possible light, focusing on the most prominent and essential aspects of that teaching. This way, what is being refuted is not the worst possible representation of the teaching but the doctrine at its best.

I hasten to add that the more colorful and extreme ideas that have been taught by Word-Faith teachers are certainly, in and of themselves, fair targets for criticism. I will be critiquing some of them in this book. But these more outlandish ideas need to be placed fairly in the context of the Word-Faith teaching.

In order to be as fair to the Word-Faith movement as possible, I will base my exposition of its teaching solely on the words of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Since these two men are the undisputed leaders of the Word-Faith movement, any doctrine to which both of them subscribe may be safely regarded as part of the Word-Faith teaching. With one important exception, I have avoided mentioning in this summary any doctrine taught by only one, and not the other, of these two men. Persons who acknowledge Hagin or Copeland as teachers and who accept the general ideas of the Word-Faith teaching, even if they deviate in one or a few particulars, may also be regarded as part of the Word-Faith movement.

What follows, then, is a summary of the theology of the Word-Faith movement, including the doctrinal issues that will be explored later in this book.

Human Beings Are Spirits

Basic to the Word-Faith theology is a particular understanding of human nature as spirit, soul, and body. Spirit is more real than the physical, according to the Word-Faith teaching, and therefore the spirit is the real person. It is the spirit that is made in God’s image, allowing the Word-Faith teachers to conclude that human beings are exact duplicates of God, or little gods.

Furthermore, it is the spirit to which God communicates (not the mind), and the spirit that is supposed to control the soul and especially the body. The problem with the human race is that we are allowing our bodies to control our lives, or our reason to dictate to our spirits, rather than having our spirits take control over our whole beings. This is fundamental for the Word-Faith teachers, since in their view we should disbelieve our senses when they tell us we are sick or poor, and disbelieve our reason when it tells us that the Word-Faith teaching is illogical or false (see chapter 6).

God and Humanity

According to the Word-Faith teachers, God is much more like a man than Christians generally have supposed. God is a God of faith; he created the world by faith and accomplishes all that he desires by believing in his heart and speaking the word of faith, thereby bringing things into existence (see chapter 7).

There is another respect in which Word-Faith teaching makes God more like a man than is traditionally thought. Although God is in essence a spirit, the Word-Faith teachers hold that God, like human beings, is spirit, soul, and body – albeit a “spirit body” (see chapter 8).

Likewise, the Word-Faith teachers insist that human beings are much more like God than Christians have usually believed. Our creation in God’s image is interpreted to mean that we exist in God’s “class” as the same kind of being as God, though on a smaller scale (as “little gods”). Moreover, the purpose of the coming of Jesus was to restore humanity to godhood by creating a new race of humans who, like Jesus, would be God incarnate (see chapter 9).

Humanity’s potential as little gods was, according to the Word-Faith teaching, thwarted by the fall. Adam forfeited his status as the god of this world by obeying the devil and thereby making Satan the god of this world. In sinning, Adam gave Satan legal dominion over this world and passed Satan’s nature of death, with its corresponding symptoms of sickness and poverty, down to the rest of humanity (see chapter 10).

Jesus Christ

To correct the situation arising from the fall, God, according to Word-Faith theology, implemented a strategy for reclaiming dominion from the devil. The centerpiece of this strategy was his becoming a man. Although Word-Faith teachers affirm that Jesus Christ was God incarnate, their understanding of what this incarnation meant is in some respects highly unusual.

First, all Word-Faith teachers argue that Christians are just as much “incarnations of God” as was Jesus Christ. This implies that “incarnation” in Word-Faith teaching does not mean the same thing it means in traditional Christian usage. Much of what the Word-Faith teachers say suggests that in their view anyone who is indwelled by the Spirit is an incarnation.

Second, Word-Faith teachers are not altogether clear as to whether it was the preexistent, eternal Son of God who became incarnate. Some Word-Faith teachers, such as Hagin, seem to assume this traditional, biblical view. Others, though, notably Kenneth Copeland and Charles Capps, teach that the Word that became incarnate was God’s Word of promise that he would redeem humanity, and that this Word was “positively confessed” into personal existence by the Virgin Mary (see chapter 11).

The Word-Faith teachers also have a distinctive view of what Christ did to effect our salvation. In their view, what Jesus did that was unique was to die, not merely physically but spiritually as well (thus taking on himself Satan’s nature), and go to hell. There, they say, he was “born again,” rising from the dead with God’s nature (which, it is sometimes implied, he had lost in dying spiritually). By doing so, the Word-Faith teachers argue, Jesus paved the way for us to be born again and exhibit God’s nature in our lives (see chapter 12).

As has already been mentioned, the Word-Faith teachers tend to interpret the incarnation as the prototype of God’s Spirit dwelling in a human being. In this sense, they insist, Christians are as much an incarnation of God as was Jesus Christ. This lends support, in their view, to the claim that all Christians ought to be able to overcome difficulties in their lives and perform miracles in just the same way Jesus did. In principle any of us can do anything that Jesus did on earth (see chapter 13).

Faith, Prayer, and Confession

The distinctive ideas about God and man in Word-Faith theology are the basis for its views on faith and prayer. Faith is not only believing what God says but also believing that we have whatever we say. Prayer is not only speaking to God but also speaking to things and circumstances and commanding them to do as we say. This is the basis for the concept of positive and negative confession, the idea that what we believe and say, whether good or bad, will happen for us (see chapter 14).

On the basis of a positive confession – itself based on faith that we are divine spirits created and redeemed to rule our circumstances by speaking words of faith – Word-Faith theology says we are to obtain health and wealth. Since Christ died to free us from the curse of the law, reason the Word-Faith teachers, this must mean that Christians need no longer accept sickness or poverty in their lives. Christians ought to live in divine health and wealth as testimony to the power of God and as evidence that they are children of God (see chapter 15).

This is the Word-Faith theology to be studied in this book. For the most part, my focus will not be on the personalities who promote these views but on the biblical teachings that are relevant to evaluating the Word-Faith theology. However, in order to understand the teachings fully, we need to consider how they arose and know something about their sources. The next four chapters will deal with just these questions.

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Matthew 9:34 – But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

Matthew 12:24 – But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub,[4] the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

John 7:20 – “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”

John 8:48, 52 – The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” – At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.

John 10:20 – Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

Matthew 22:29 – Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

Acts 17:11 – Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Matthew 7:16, 20 – By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? – Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:21-22 – “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’

Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

James 3:1 – Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Matthew 7:12 – So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

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Taken from The Word-Faith Controversy by Rob Bowman. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright 2001. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company. You can purchase The Word-Faith Controversy for a total of $15 by calling the Issues, Etc. resource line at 1-800-737-0172 .

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Word of Faith: Devastating Impact: Casualties

On a personal level, it seems that – in the long term especially – the WOF is devastating. It is devastating to the WOF believers because they have allowed themselves to be led astray and to be spiritually deceived. The presumption that God does not allow his own children to be deceived is obviously false, because in the Bible, Paul and John and Peter are constantly telling those early Christians to pay attention and to watch out that they would not be deceived – because the presumption is that it could happen, and in some cases was happening.

God has given us his Holy Word so that we can use it, and if we know it well, and if we use it often, and as our minds are renewed through the study of His Word, then When we know the teachings of the Bible, and how to defend our faith and identify false teachings, we are much less likely to be deceived.

But the impact of WOF for those who want to come out of it – is almost just as devastating for those who leave WOF (as it is for those who stayed), especially right after they have just left.

Where can a person go ? WHat Church would you send them to ? Who can they find to talk with, not only who will empathize, but who will actually offer them some seriously Biblical advice and genuine assistance ? And where do they start ?

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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There are many thousands of walking casualties out there who have no idea how to respond to their WOF experiences: the first half seems to be those who thought that WOF was Christianity (Which it is not) – and who then have rejected Christianity because WOF did not work; the second half seems to be those who are Christians and realize that WOF does not work, and is wrong, and is misguided, but they do not have the practice nor enough spiritual understanding – to understand

1) where the problem is or 2) how to fix it and 3) how to go on from there. And the emotional consequences can be very heavy. For many of those involved, their friends and their Churches are still WOF. So they experience additional isolation from their friends, rather than support and comfort. This may be the price for also having friends not spiritually grounded, but that does not really help much either.

The solution should include books and authors that will talk about their own WOF experiences and help to highlight the contrast between 1) what the Bible says and teaches and 2) what the WOF teaches. All this can take a lot of time.

Another part of the solution seems to try to talk it out, work it out, write it out, and let it out, and to make these things part of the process of learning how to come to terms with WOF teachings and reject them, And THEN – replace those teachings with actual Biblical theology.

The “Soft” Cults

Changing your mind to change your master ?

It used to be that Cults were essentially those who operated using an environment of obvious mind-control, where a person was food-deprived, or sleep-deprived as part of their conditioning.

Cults today are much more sophisticated. Part of the dangers of the WOF movement is that its seduction is not so much what it does to you from the exterior – as much as it is what happens to the interior of the person, who has agreed to subject themselves to the same physical environment as the WOF Teacher.

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There are aspects of the WOF movement that resemble more the beauty and seduction of a “mass movement”, than they resemble the old cults or their methods. In fact, in some ways WOF movement is more dangerous because all of its impact is on the brain of the persons being affected.

They change you – by teaching you how to change your own consciousness.
They induce the atmosphere, but it takes the will and the cooperation of the person listening, existing there in that moment, and agreeing to “take it all in” and accept it – in order for them to have the impact that they do.

There are situations where a person can recognize faulty or wrong theology in a conversation in a Coffee place. Somehow, those same people are suddenly incapable of thinking of almost anything else – except to ACCEPT the experience which is offered, in the context of the WOF meetings.

One of the characteristics of God is that He does not require us to put our minds on hold, and experiences that are truly from Him 1) Agree with the Bible and 2) are Consistent with Biblical Teachings.

Its unfortunate to say this, but in many WOF meetings, it is insufficient to suggest that it is merely false teachings which takes place. I believe that in many of those meetings, demonic spirits are looking to control the audience and find people willing to accept the input of those Evil spirits. The Bible says that Satan comes as an Angel of Light. What better place for him to display this, than in the WOF meetings ?

I believe that increasingly – in the WOF meetings, the combination of the professional production, and the work of the Spiritual Enemies of the Cross are too powerful for those who are in the audience to not be affected by them.

We can all debate how long the impact of those meetings will be, but they must be long term: Because people coming out of WOF find it so hard to extricate themselves not only from having attended, but from the experiences that they were involved with.

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In situations like that, I believe that it is important to recognize this for what it is: good old fashioned Spiritual Warfare. This is not the “demon of nail-biting” kind. It is rather simply the Devil making war on the saints, in order to attempt to paralyze us in as many ways as possible.

Praise God that there is a natural antidote called Prayer and Renewing of our Mind through reading the Bible.

Romans 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

It is important to understand that we need to pray for

a) great wisdom and discernment,

b) to pray that we will understand what has happened,

c) to pray that we would understand Which part of our theology and teachings are wrong or have been changed and altered by Word of Faith.

Those of us who do not have a local church should pray that we would find one that has people inside with 1) great spiritual discernment and 2) great spiritual maturity – or that we would be able to find a group of Christian believers who are like that.

It is important to not Stay paralyzed. We do not mean a day or two. we are talking about weeks turning to months. It is important to recognize that God does not abandon us, (even though it can feel that way sometimes) and that He allows things in our lives which will make us stronger, but that there will be times when others hurt us and there will be times when we get burned, even by those who claim to be doing the work of God.

Often, what the Devil knows he may not be able to do anymore with deception, he may try to prevent us from serving Jesus Christ by Confusion or Paralysis. The only way to work out of those feelings is to try and process them, but not allow those bad feelings to become the basis by which we make our new everyday choices.

Bad things DO happen to Good people. And the fact is that although we like to think of ourselves as Good, we are really sinners saved by the Almighty Grace of a loving God. Having said that, it is important to know and remember that just because God lets us fall does NOT mean that He rejects us. On the contrary, God wants us to know Him better. We can never go faster than God, in His desire for our company, and in HIS desire for us to know Him better and continue to worship Him, in spirit and In Truth.

These times are exiting but they do bring some dark days. We know one of the reasons why things happen to us:

II Cor 1:
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Just to be sure we dont miss it, it says that we have tribulation (Difficult & Hard times)

quote:

that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Other Verses are also helpful:

I Thessalonians 15: 18
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober [minded].

we should remember what Paul said:

II Thessalonians 2:16
Now [may] our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
17 Comfort your hearts, and [e]stablish you in every good word and work.

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/wof_devastation_1.htm

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The Word of Faith Movement and the Capture of the Mind

One of the ways that WOF (Word of Faith) harms people is that it uses their own willingness to believe something which is false – against the person who is doing the “believing”.

Many of these people who are in WOF actually have been in this kind of stuff for their entire lives (some of the WOF teachers started back in the 1950s or before). But many of the people who are in WOF are NEW to the movement. Where did or do these people come from ?

Don’t they come from other churches ? Isn’t there some kind of implication that these churches – from which the WOF converts came – did Not teach people

1) how to rightly divide the Word of God or

2) how to study the Bible or

3) how to identify important doctrines in the Bible or

4) how to spot a cult or identify false teachers ???

We are not proposing that individual believers don’t have a choice, and don’t have a responsibility to educate themselves. Clearly they do, whether someone informs this of that or not, and they are {and will be} held responsible by God, for the doctrine that they believe. The Bible tells all of us to be on our guard and warns about Spiritual deception and also about the need to stay constantly in the Word (the Bible) So That …we will continue to grow spiritually.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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But having said that – the failure of the leaders and teachers in those local churches, would seem to be an indication of the spiritual weakness and sickness of the Church in general, that it would provide an “impression of safety and stability”, while seeming to encourage the Lack of Spiritual grounding and the Lack of development of Spiritual Maturity.

Thank God we should not leave it up to our churches, and that we can find others and good authors to help us grow spiritually. But it remains disappointing to see many people go to church but only find the confirmation of a lack of Biblically grounded and encouraging teaching.

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These implications seem to very serious. In many cases, the original independent local churches (around today) have almost entirely failed in their Biblical duty to educate and thoroughly ground the Christians who attend in the Bible, and especially the new Christians. But now the WOF [Word of Faith Movement] is becoming so large that it will likely continue to absorb those same former “local” churches and get many of those churches to adopt WOF theology and teachings.

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/wof_&_the_mind.htm

 

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JONI A TRUE AND FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN

more about “Testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

Joni Eareckson Tada & Word/Faith [Word of Faith]

A Personal Experience

On December 8, 1999, Joni Eareckson Tada was on the Bible Answer Man, and made the following devastating comments about Word-Faith teachings:

Kenneth Copeland or Kenneth Hagin or Benny Hinn – they’ve never called me and asked me to come on their program.

…I had read some portions of Scripture that seemed to indicate that if God’s Word abided in me, and I abided in Him, I could ask whatever I wished and the request would be fulfilled and my joy would be brighter.

I took that to mean that God wanted me healed. And my sister packed me into her station wagon and a couple of friends, and we drove down to the Washington DC arena and Kathryn Kuhlman swept on stage and praise choruses and testimonies and songs and all of us in the wheelchair section, we kind of like with baited breath were waiting and wondering, and nothing happened. In fact, the ushers came up to all of us in the wheelchair section, about 35 or 40 of us, and said, “Let’s escort you all out early so as not to create a traffic jam, and so there I was, Hank, number 15 in line of 35 people in wheelchairs or on crutches, waiting at the stadium elevator to go up to the parking lot, and we could still hear the distant strains of the organ and piano – Kathryn Kuhlman’s meeting was still going on – and I looked up and down this line of solemn-faced individuals and saw so much disappointment, and I thought “Something’s wrong with this picture.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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Either I wasn’t reading God right in His Word or God is not coming through on His promises.” And I knew that wasn’t true, and so Hank, it was that experience that drove me into God’s Word so deep I started reading people like R. C. Sproul and J. I. Packer and Jeremiah Burrows and John Owen and Jonathan Edwards and other contemporary authors – Dr. John MacArthur, there’s so many. I really dove into God’s Word with both sleeves rolled up to understand the Lord’s perspective on healing and I can say now that I am so grateful for the wisdom of God.

…John 5 talks about where Jesus once visited the Pool of Bethesda, and among all these disabled people He touched and healed a man paralyzed on a straw mat for over 30 years. I remember I was in the dark at night. After my bible was closed I’d picture myself at that same pool. I would imagine me dressed in maybe a rough burlap coat lying on a straw mat, perhaps even near that man that Jesus healed, and I would plead with God in prayer, “Oh, Lord, do not pass me by.” I would even sing to Him that hymn, “Jesus, Jesus, hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” I would pray that, and yet I was never healed.

Well, as you know, years later, and I began to get my spiritual act together with the Lord Jesus and I realized He was using my affliction, my paralysis to push me up against a spiritual wall with my back, getting me to seriously consider His lordship in my life – years later – in fact, just last year my husband Ken and I had a chance to visit Jerusalem, and we chose to do the old city on a hot, dry, dusty day, midday, when we knew no tour buses would be around and we’d have the place pretty much to ourselves.

And Ken was pushing me in my wheelchair down the cobblestone streets and we arrived at the sheepgate, made a lefthand turn, and there, a couple of hundred yards down the path, it opened up into this grand old ruins of – my goodness, it’s the pool of Bethesda. Ken, I said, would you look at this. And although you could not make out the colonnades because the ruins were crumbling and tumbling, and there’s no water in the pool yet, the place was empty, and as I leaned against the guardrail with my elbow, Ken hopped the guardrail to jog down to the bottom of the pool to see if there was any water in one of the cisterns.

And while he was gone and the wind was warm and dry and the sun was hot, tears began cascading down my cheeks as I looked over this pool of Bethesda and I said, “Oh, Lord Jesus, how good of You to wait 30 years, almost as many years as that man laid on his straw mat, You waited this long to bring me to this place, a place where I imagined myself so many years ago, and I’m so grateful that You did not pass me by, because a ‘no’ answer to a request for healing has meant purged sin from my life, and it strengthened my commitment to you, Lord Jesus. It has forced me to depend on Your grace. It has bound me with other believers. It has produced discernment.

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It has disciplined my mind. It has taught me to spend my time wisely. It has given me a hope of heaven. Lord Jesus, You were so good in not healing me.” And I know there are many people listening now who wish to be free of their circumstances – they are looking for an escape hatch, or maybe a quick fix for their affliction, and they think they might find it in a divorce or they are pondering maybe with the idea of suicide, such as one caller mentioned earlier. Or they’re thinking that they’ll find it in pills or medication, or a healing service. But the 32 years that I’ve been in this wheelchair and being at the Pool of Bethesda last year, has taught me that suffering is that good sheepdog, always snapping at my heals and driving me into the arms of the Shepherd. For that, I am so grateful. I am so grateful.

God Is Not a Vending Machine

Who is Joni ?

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/joni’s_story.htm

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What is the Word-Faith Movement ?

The Word-Faith Movement encompasses a number of different philosophical streams, that have coalesced into the false theological perspective that reality can be created not by human action, nor by the intention of our hearts nor by human effort (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit), but rather by the uttering of words from humans.

According to this perspective, humans have the ability to create/re-create matter and direct spiritual energy (& other energy) not by asking God, but rather by speaking words out loud. Speaking words out loud is considered speaking words “into reality”, the premise being that the words magically change the order of the universe and affect the world, or any person or circumstance, in accordance with the will of the one who utters those words. Another way of saying this is that it makes men as Gods.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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This view on speaking words/matter “into reality” has long been at the core of witchcraft and the occult. Under new disguises, this perspective continues to gain converts in Mainstream Christian Churches and Denominations, by those who are eager for a spiritual experience, but disregarding the source of that spiritual experience.

XOFC rejects the Word-Faith movement as contrary to the teachings of the Christian Bible, and as contrary to the teachings that Christians have held since the time of Jesus Christ. (check our books out for the documentation of this point)

Having compared Word of Faith teachings to the Bible, we don’t believe in the Word of Faith movement. Or should we say, we believe in its “reality”, just not its authenticity.

The Word of Faith Movement teaches that one can command God, and that one can do this using Words. The supposed basis for doing this is the Bible. But in Word of Faith, the Bible is treated much more like a book of Magic Incantations where the God of the Book must cooperate with those who have a copy of His
book.

This is comonly called “Word of Faith”. The Bible has another term for this: It is called Witchcraft. The belief that the Words in the Bible “activate” God and that God is compelled to respond because of the way that we pray … is simply an attempt to bend God to our will. It is the exaltation of the self in the Name of God.

But it is not connecting to God in any real sense. Charles Capps, E.W. Kenyon, Branham and Copeland actually are much closer to Charles Manson and Anton LaVey or Judas, than they are to Jesus, at least the Jesus Christ who is the Son of God, the one who died and rose again and is coming back.

The fact is that William Branham claimed to be in fear when interacting with the force that he was calling ” a Spirit”. (He also denied the Doctrine of the Trinity). Branham said that the spirit he was interacting with was threatening him. Oral Roberts also seemed to describe a Jesus who threatened him. It was the 800 or 900 Foot Jesus that had told Oral Roberts that Oral was going to have to die, if Oral could not raise a certain amount of money.

These teachings are not Biblical, and they are Not from God. The Word of Faith movement is full of counterfeit doctrines, that are Anti-Christ. The Word of Faith movement is simply Witchcraft disguised in Christian terms. We wish we could say we’re sorry for saying that, but we’re not.

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Don’t ask yourself if you are offended. Ask yourself if this is true. The teachings of E.W. Kenyon have much more in common with the standard teachings of Witchcraft than they do with the Bible. Additionally, the occultists teach that Satan is the one who will triumph. Not surprisingly, Word of Faith teachers affirm that “Jesus had to let Satan triumph over Jesus by torturing him for 3 days”.

That story is straight from Hell. It does not explain the resurrection. It mocks it ! Word of Faith teachers are simply the prelude to the symphony from an eternally dying being who knows that his own seven years of temporary evil will come to an end. Did you actually think that we are implying that Word of Faith teachings are from the Devil ?

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You Did ? Well that is what we are trying to say – based on the evidence.

Its not the Word of Faith movement we need. Its the Word of Jesus Christ.

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We would encourage all to study the details and the doctrines of the Word-Faith movement.

To that End, we have begin by posting information on one of the Leaders of the Word-Faith Movement – C. Peter Wagner and one of his spiritual disciples Pastor Ted Haggard, the newly elected leader of the National Association of Evangelicals.

We have posted this information below in PDF format. We appreciate those who have provided this information to us. We encourage all to continue to do research which is able to impact many for his True Kingdom.

More Specifics on the Word of Faith Movement

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/word_faith_movement.htm

This article is long but it is very good and answers thoroughly and emphatically the question “Is Christianity and freemasonry compatible, can you be both?

I few years back I did a radio show with this article and some Bill Cooper audio mixes. I will try to find that and get it uploaded soon.

 

“Mixing Oil with Water”
Pastor Harmon Taylor

I’m going to share with you this morning a sermon entitled “Mixing Oil with Water.” You’ll quickly understand the subject, we’ll be using the Word of God, and many selected scripture portions at the very beginning of this message.

The important thing is to lift up to you a statement of Charles G. Finny, one of the foremost preachers of our day. He was a theologian who accepted Christ in 1821 and served Him until his death in 1875. He fulfilled the pastoral role in several churches. He became one of the most renown professors of systematic theology in all of history. But most of all he served his Lord to the very best he knew how to do, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

He said when faced with a challenge you should do this, every local branch of the Church of Christ is bound to examine this subject which I’m going to be talking about this morning, and pronounce upon this institution according to the best light they can get. God does not allow individuals or churches to withhold action and expression of their opinion until the churches are enlightened as themselves.

I have been involved in Freemasonry. I have been involved in the church of Christ. I have been involved in the reading of His Word. I have been involved in the comparison of the Word of God as I see it in Holy Scripture verses the Word of God as it is TOLD me it is in the ritual of the Masonic Fraternity. Invariably there are words changed. So let us look this morning at mixing oil with water.

I want you to know that this message has been bathed in prayer for more than three months now and intensively bathed in the prayers of literally hundreds of Christians and indeed in this hour there are more than a hundred Christians praying for this message to be heard and accepted. This message is being taped and it will be broadcast in the United States and Canada with distribution points in both locations, and it will be in an upcoming issue of an Evangelistic magazine of one of this nations’ greatest evangelists reaching Born-Again Christians literally, around the world. That is how much God wants this message out. I thought none of this, I asked only for prayer and these events came to pass for the glory of God.

(Praise song)

The hour is at hand, the Spirit of God is in this place and we have been called to proclaim His Word. Hallelujah! Before I begin I’m going to ask Hal if you’d pray for me and for this congregation.

Heavenly Father, we come before your mighty thrown as your children in and of Your Word, asking that you bless our Pastor, Bring Your Holy Spirit mightily through him this day in the message that he has for us. Help him say what You want to be said, and bring that message to this congregation that we may hear and learn in our hearts and our minds, and put it to use, what we hear this day, and learn this day in our daily lives. Move Your Holy Spirit this very morning that we may be strengthened O Lord, I ask it all in Jesus Name, Amen

Thank you.

We share from Psalms 118 Vrs.22. We’re going to be sharing several of these and I’ll try and move through them as quickly as possible so maybe its not a good Sunday to pick up your Bible and try and keep up, because I want you to hear the messages. The stone, the very stone which the builder rejected, It has become the capstone. The Lord has done this, it is a marvelous thing in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Then, moving over to Mt. 5, Vrs. 33-37, Jesus is speaking about perjury and retaliation being forbidden. Again you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, do not break your oath, but keep your oaths you have made to the Lord. But I tell you, says Jesus, do not swear at all, Either by heaven, for it is Gods’ thrown, or by the earth for it is His footstool, or by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great king, and do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair either white or black, simply let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything beyond that comes from the evil one.

These are not my words now, these are the words of Jesus.

And then moving over to Mt. 24, Vrs. 1&2. Jesus left the temple and was walking away when His disciples came to Him to call attention to its buildings. Do you see all these things? Jesus asked. I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another. Every one of them will be thrown down. He was speaking of the temple.

Then, moving over to I Timothy, the third chapter and verse sixteen. First Timothy 3:16, You’ve heard of John 3:16, that’s an easy one to remember, I Timothy 3:16, hear the word of scripture, maybe its 2nd Timothy 3:16, Yes, 2 Timothy 3:16. All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. This scripture is saying that its meant for more than just love, love, love. Scripture is God-breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 4, Words that the Lord has laid upon my heart, and reinforced so many times, before I ever spoke them as a section of scripture that the Lord was dealing with me, my daughter placed that scripture in my hand. Just the lettering, 2 Timothy 4, 2 thru 5. No, hers was 1 thru 8, but I’ve selected 2 thru 5. And this is Paul’s message to Timothy, a pastor. And it is a message to every pastor, it is a message that certainly God has for this pastor I know that I know that I know! that this is the scripture verse that God has for me, Preach the Word. Be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instructions for the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an Evangelist, discharge the duties of your ministry. That is Gods’ call upon me and that is what I am trying to do. And then one other scripture verse, again relating back to Mt. 5. This is in James, Chapter 5 and verse 12.

Above all my brothers, do not swear. Not by heaven, nor by earth, nor by anything else. Let your yes, be yes and your no, no—or you will be condemned. God have mercy on us as we share together this morning around these scripture verses.

A little more than a year now we have been together. God has been moving dramatically in my life, He’s moved dramatically just to bring me to Clifton Park United Methodist Church. We have worked together as a pastor and people and in that time one word had stood out above all others in my Christian walk, and it is this; Be careful, Pastor, of deception. As God has moved in my life in these months, I’ve been able to see how easy it is for me and for others to be deceived and drawn away from the Christian walk. It was in October of last year that I shared with you the roots of Halloween and how it was brought into sink with the Christian holiday of All Saints Day.

I shared with you the evil of that; some rebuked it but it was the call of a pastor to preach Gods’ Word. Some of you learned, some of you were surprised. I was even more surprised when, almost a month to the day of that administrative council meeting a brother in Christ came to me, He’d been praying for four months-remember Nehemiah? Remember how I came here through four months of prayer? This brother prayed for four months before he came to me, to talk about my involvement in a cult! Bob, what are you talking about? Me? involved in a cult? I’m in the United Methodist Church! And then we began to share together. I realized that while I was sharing with you that you needed to be careful about dabbling in the occult even if it were just the dressing in a costume, here I was in a full blown cult.

It’s not easy for me to share that with you, for what you might think and how could I be so stupid. I’ve shared with others and actually had Christians laugh at me. Please, don’t laugh. But Listen. As a pastor, as a preacher, as a child of The King, I must preach the word without fear of mans’ criticism. I must preach it with the reverential fear of the love of God for the souls of all men.

This morning we will deal with a topic that may be uncomfortable to some of you. To others, it may tell you something you already suspected. To others, it will confirm what you already knew. At the very start I need to assure you that my object is not to attack or challenge any individual man, woman, or child. What I share with you has little to do with a man or woman or child but it affects the lives of many men, women, and children. And it is that evil that I speak against this day.

I am not attacking a person but I am seeking to lead men and women into a closer walk with the One, True God. The Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I do this in the name of Christ for the glory of God and hopefully with a boldness of a Charles G. Finny, a nineteenth century Evangelist who spoke as God gave him utterance.

First, let’s look at the dictionary definition of Immoral. Webster defines it as conflicting with generally and traditionally held moral principles. Concerning the fraternity of Freemasons my Christian friends, their benevolence, their moral principles in general, Charles G. Finny accurately states the following: “Masonry does not recognize the Bible as any higher authority with Masons than the sacred books of heathen nations nor the Koran of Mohammed or the Verti of Hindu. That Freemasonry recognizes all religions is equally valid. That so far as Masonry is concerned, it matters not at all what the religion of its adherents is, provided they are not Atheists.”

To join the Masonic Fraternity I could ask you to raise your hands as to how many of you think that the Masonic Fraternity is a Christian organization and probably one third of you would raise you hand, until you think about it or remember that there are Jews and many others in that organization, and the reason for that is that it requires a belief in only one god. Any god! Just one.

I’m not the first to stand up and to speak out against it. I’m just, perhaps, the latest. I’m going to share with you the names, of a remarkable list of great Christian men and statesmen who renounce the lodges and opposed them, and this is particularly important to you if you happen to be upset and just waiting to talk to the district superintendent, because one of the most illustrious figures in religion to speak out against Masonry was a man by the name of John Wesley. Yeah, I’m going back to Methodism. Right back to the very root. That man who left his church and preached the salvation message to miners in England. Yes, John Wesley, took a stand against Masonry. Alexander Campbell, Daniel Webster, Wendell Phillips, Chief Justice Charles Marshall, Charles Summner, John Hancock, Horace Greeley, Dwight L. Moody, R. A. Tory, Timothy Dwight, Charles Finny, Charles Blanchard, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Madison, Amos Wells, Simon Peter Long, James M. Gray. A long list of men who spoke out against Masonry.

Listen to the words of Dwight L. Moody to pastors.

“I don’t see how any Christian most of all a Christian Minister can go into these secret lodges with unbelievers. They say they have more influence for good but I say they can have more influence for good by staying out of them and then reproving their evil deeds. Abraham was more influence for good in Sodom than Lot was for good. True reformers separate themselves from the world rather than becoming a part of it. But Dwight L. Moody, some say, if you talk that way you’ll drive out all the members of secret societies out of your meetings and out of your churches, “What if I did?” said Dwight L. Moody, better men will take their places. Give them the truth anyway and if they would rather leave their churches than their lodges the sooner they get out of the churches, the better. Those are the words of an Evangelist, a Prophet, Dwight L. Moody. “I would rather have ten members,” he said, “who are separated from the world than a thousand such members. Come out of your lodges. Better be one with God that a thousand without Him.”

Concerning a Christian as a member of a Masonic society we have this from the very Word of God. Rev. 18:4-5. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying Come out of her my people that Ye not be partakers of her sin and you receive not her plagues for her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

There are many Christians, even ministers of the Gospel of Christ who support the adherence to the teachings of the Masonic lodge. I have been a Mason, I have been a past master of my lodge, I received the Master of the year award in my district for increasing the lodge attendance by 259% over the previous year. Yes, I was committed to it. I’m ashamed of it now. But it took a lot of time from my church, from my family, from my sleep. I did the best job I knew how to do. I was appointed a New York State Grand Chaplain; there’s sixty-some in the state. I was one of them and I was selected personally by the Grand Master because of my leadership and because of my service. Normally it goes thru a district committee where Right Worshipfuls get together, but they were saving me for district deputy Grand Master.

I was out of Gods’ will but I think within His permissive will. I guess if I could have known Gods’ words to me then since I wouldn’t come out of Masonry, was, then I’ll put you in a place where I can use you. And so the Grand Master Personally appointed me to that post. I served him as best I could. But what it says or should say to you is that I speak with the authority of the Word of God and I speak with the full knowledge of the rituals. I have performed the degreed in the blue lodge, two of the three, I have seen them all, observed, and been a part of them. There is a real question of what can be done with the great numbers of professed Christians including Christian pastors who are in the Masonic Fraternity. But I tell you, I pray for them every single day.

Let me just share with you what one pastor said. I wrote an Editorial in the newspaper and some of you heard it and others came to you and said, Well, what’s going on with your pastor, is he off his rocker? All I did was commend my denomination in England. That was August 6 Editorial in the Gazette, and the Roman Catholic church for taking a stand against Masonry and your coverage. I write as one who is well informed and not confused, and in no need of help concerning this matter.

Stanley Maxwell quoted as saying “The lodge honors Jesus Christ as it honors Socrates, Buddha, Mohammed. Christians and others need to know that Masonry honors none of these. They aren’t mentioned in any form of honor in the Fraternity. Their names aren’t mentioned and neither is the name of my Savior Jesus Christ. There is no place in ritual of the Masonic Fraternity where Jesus is acknowledged as “Your Savior”. What was the response by a man who is chairman of a district board of ministry that I answer to, to be able to stand in this Pulpit, a Grand Chaplain, Mr. Taylor has expressed his biased opinion, and his faith seems to have been adversely affected.

What men will do. What men will do in order to protect their fraternity. Even to the putting down of a fellow pastor. Charles G. Finny, and this is his book, he was a Mason, came out of it when he accepted Christ, and he wrote a whole book on it. The air had almost been darkened by the immense number of falsehoods that have been circulated by Freemasonry to destroy the reputation of every man who has renounced Freemasonry. Anybody come to you and criticized you? You know, in Hagemon, somebody came into an insurance office and told a member of my congregation that its a good thing you got rid of that guy when you did. I’ve told you how I got here. She said to him, We didn’t get rid of him, we wanted to keep him. He left. Do you know that a week after I came out of the Fraternity the man who wrote the History of Masonry gathered together the officers of my lodge, told them what a tragic loss it was, reminded them about my year in a back brace, told them that I’d been on some strong medication and evidently it had affected my mind.

Well I’ll tell you what the medication was. It was two Valium prescribed by the Doctor while I was in the Hospital for two weeks, reduced to half that amount when I got out of the hospital, and that was two years before I made the decision to leave Masonry. That medication is awful slow working! I think any Doctor would be able to document that it didn’t come from that medication. But Hallelujah! He spoke to the Master of my lodge, and you know what happened? A week after I left Masonry, Ralph signed my demit. Before the next meeting, I’ve got it here, I’ll share it with you:

To the Secretary;

I am resigning as a member of Welcome Lodge 829. There is a better light, that light is the light of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In His Word (Jn. 8:12) it says: “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness. I have walked in the darkness of Masonry. Today I am ending that darkness and following the One, True, Light, that of God, His Son , and The Holy Spirit.”

Hallelujah! I did more for Jesus Christ by leaving Masonry than I ever did by being in it. and that’s just the beginning, you know what else happened? The next day his son left and gave his testimony! And you know what else happened? That week they had a mid-week prayer meeting in the Church on Wednesday night.

I called up a man who walked by me one day at the Pine View Community Church, and he said to me- “I don’t know how you could be a minister and a Mason.” He was a kind of wimpy kind of guy so I just ignored it, but God didn’t let me forget it. And when I left the Fraternity I came to him, or I called him on the phone and I told him that I’d come out of Masonry and he said “Oh, great! Can I use that as a testimony tonight at worship?”

My gut reaction was no, I want to tell them the next time I get there. But that’s pride Taylor. O.K., you can tell them. He went to that prayer meeting, He shared, there was a guy with his Masonic bible. Big thing like this, has a big Masonic emblem on it. And as he told about this an writing a letter to the Grand Chaplain and leaving Masonry, he pulled the Bible closer to him. Next to him was a dear black lady who learned a long time ago how to really pray. It got to prayer time and she stood up and she started to pray that God would use that letter to lead other men out of the Fraternity by the hundreds. He could take no more of it, He picked up his Bible, he stormed out of the church; This fellow that I’d been talking to saw that Masonic emblem and he said, I’ve offended that brother.

When I got home I was up here in Ministry, didn’t get in until late, my wife knew I wouldn’t be in until late, He said, “Have him call me whatever time he gets in.” I called him, it was after 12:00, now in the morning of the next day, and he said I hear that your Grand Chaplain and you got a letter from a guy that’s leaving Masonry. Do you know anything about it? I said Yeah, I know all about it, I wrote the letter. I gotta talk to you. And so we went down and we ate at the Hilton Hotel. The same place where a brother talked to me, the same exact table. We sat there and we prayed and he told me his testimony. He wanted to know how to get out and what to do. You know, in that week eight men came out of the Fraternity and every single one of them gave a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ I’ve got four of them here with me today. Hallelujah!

What’s happening is that people don’t know. You know why the Masonic Fraternity is a secret organization? Because if they ever showed me that ritual before I went through the door of that lodge, I would have laughed. Then I would have gone home.

I don’t know how other men get into Masonry, I’ll tell you how I got in. I was a pastor to my people in Hagemon, and I slipped up bad. I let the men of my church lead me in an area where I should have been leading them. When I looked out in the congregation there were Masonic lapel pins on all but one of the men in my congregation. I couldn’t get a mens’ group started in my church and now I know why, they were all involved in Masonry, they didn’t have time for another meeting a week. Since I couldn’t get them to join a group, I joined the one they had listed. I asked them and oh, were they thrilled. Were they happy, their minister was going to join.

I had a lady in that church, Marion Campbell, She didn’t like my involvement in Masonry, but I didn’t have to worry about that you see, every time she spoke up these men put her down. When there were some tough times in the church some of those Masons who disagreed with what I was saying supported me because I was a Mason. Now that’s not the reason to support your pastor. It’s easy to get led in.

Finney challenges men like myself. Let Christian men labor with these Masons, Plead with them and endeavor to make them see it is to be their duty to abandon it. He continues; The morality inculcated by Masons is an exclusive, one-sided, selfish affair. In its best estate it is only partiality, and the doing in a very slovenly manner the work of a mutual insurance company.

You see, if you get involved the first person that a Masons’ going to help (and some of you who are Masons can attest to this) If you’re given a choice between giving help to a Mason and somebody else, you help that Mason first, even if the other one is in more need. Let no man deceive you by any means, Masonry claims for itself the power to conduct its disciples to heaven. You do it by your good works, and if you are good in your works, you will get there.

In many places in the ritual it teaches the candidate the observance of Masonic law, principles, and usage’s that will secure for him his salvation. I put a lot of those things in a corner. You ever done that in your house? You put a lot of things in a corner and the house looks pretty neat? But when you pull all that stuff out of the corner, what a mess! That’s what happened with me and Masonry. I stuck the salvation by works in a corner. I stuck some scripture that wasn’t quite right in a corner.

And as I sat down with a Christian brother who prayed for me for four months without my even knowing it, you know one of his prayer partners moved all the way to Carolina?, He called her every week to pray with her for me? That’s the kind of commitment that came to me by a brother and a sister in Christ, that I be led out. Do you know that brother and that woman came to my sons’ graduation because they couldn’t believe that a Mason would be allowed in the Laudenville Community Church pulpit.

Do you know when we met five months later He gave me a copy of that bulletin, wrote down everything, and a little Masonic symbol with a question mark wherever what I said didn’t line up with Masonic ritual. A lot of time, a lot of effort, and that’s what I’m trying to do with others. And I prayed over this message for nearly four months now. “Let no man deceive you for that day shall not come except there come a falling away, first of that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition who opposeth and exhalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that as he as god sitteth in the temple of God showing himself that he is god.”

Not only is Freemasonry a religion, it offers salvation by works. But it also claim the position of God thru its very rituals. In the seventh degree of the Royal Arch Masons there is a representative of the burning bush. I’ll tell you how deep I got into this. I went thru the Scottish Rite, the 4th thru the 32nd degree in Masonry. Some of you may know about the 32nd degree of Masonry, maybe your Dad was a 32nd degree Mason, and you think that’s a pretty good thing.

You know what it takes to be a 32nd degree Mason? Over a Mason? In Albany, $135, and all day Saturday watching six plays performed and maybe you’re selected to participate in one. That’s all it takes. But praise a man for being a 32nd degree Mason and he’s not going to tell you that. I never told anybody that when I was a Mason. The 7th degree of Royal Arch Masons there’s a representation of the burning bush. The candidate is told to take off his shoes for the place where he stands is holy ground. And then the Master of the lodge claims to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What an awful, profane, blasphemous thing this is.

It is my most sincere prayer that our time together today, even though it is running fast, will help you to receive in a spirit of love and compassion what I endeavor to convince you concerning the dangers of the Masonic fraternity. I’ve been there! And I’ll tell you, it is only by the grace of God that I am out of there today!

You ever hear the story of the frog in the water? The frog sits in a pan of water, very content. You put the pan on a hot plate, and begin to turn up the temperature very slowly; and the frog sits there very contentedly-as the temperature rises from 68 to 75 to 80 to 100 to 140 to 180 to 212. You know that that frog will never jump out of that water?

And that’s the way it is with Christians-when they get involved with the wrong things, just a little bit at a time. Then you can get in, and when the water is boiling, you are still there. In my first degree, I wanted OUT! And I knew why I wanted out. Within four years I was doing that degree and bringing another man into Masonry.

The frog-that’s who I was! But God kissed me with His Word, and now I am a child of the King! Does that make me a prince (chuckle)?

What am I trying NOT to do this morning? I am not trying to have any quarrel or controversy with any man, woman or child who happens to be involved in Masonry. I am not disregarding the sensibility of any Mason regarding their pet institution. I do not want to assail them. I only want to point out that there come times in the church when we have the sacrament of Holy Communion and you will find that if Masons have a conflict, that they don’t come to Holy Communion, they go to their Lodge meeting.

There’s a mixed up priority, and it’s that frog syndrome.

What would I wish to do, if possible? I would wish to stop the spread of this great evil in the Church of Jesus Christ! I wish to give you some information, because I have heard from others that you said somebody came to you. But do you know that the two editorials I have put in the newspaper about Freemasonry? Not one member of the church has come to me and asked me about Freemasonry! They go to somebody else who knows nothing and ask “What do you think about that?” Or they go to another Mason and they ask “What do you think about that?”-a Mason to a Mason.

No man has come to me, nor woman, nor child; and asked me, “Why did you say that?” If you’ve got a question, go to your pastor and ask him!

What would I wish to do, if possible? I would wish to stop the spread of this great evil in our church-in the whole church. I wish to arouse young men who are Masons to understand the horrible consequences of their dealings in these solemn oaths. I wish to arouse young men who are not Freemasons to look before they leap. The church, and the Christians have been remiss in suffering a whole generation, including me, to grow up in ignorance of the character of Freemasonry.

No minister ever told me about that.

In the 1800’s Masonry was exposed; and Masons abandoned their lodges for the shame of it. It cost one man, William Morgan, his very life. But for me to lay down my life is gain. That holds no threat to me. This man wrote all of the rituals of Masonry in a book, and you know what Masons did? They kidnapped him from Batavia, NY; moved him out to Niagara; stored him in Ft. Niagara for three days, and then they took him out in a boat. They tied a rope-the Masons would call it a cabletow-around his waist (not quite Masonically) with a weight on it; and gave him one half hour to make his peace with his God. And he pleaded that he might be spared so that he might be able to care for his wife and his children.

These aren’t rumors. This is the deathbed testimony of a man named Howard Vallance; the man who pushed William Morgan off the bow of that boat.

In Masonic history, you know what they call that event, which I see your faces shuddering at? “The Morgan excitement.” How does that get you? They said if he were a drinking man, he’d be a drunk. See, they try to defame and disgrace everybody who doesn’t agree with them.

Oh! And the theme of Masonry is “Tolerance!” We must tolerate one another. Ah, dear brother, you know when you say that prayer as Grand Chaplain, you can’t end it in the name of Jesus because you might offend the Jewish brother. Where’s your tolerance, brothers?

Where’s your tolerance to the fact that the scripture tells us that we come to God the Father through Christ, His Son. You’re telling me to pray an empty prayer! And I remember saying to the Jewish brother-who was eating his ham dinner at the time, and who told me not to pray in Jesus’ name-I told him that I would pray in Jesus’ name, and that when he heard the brief silence after my prayer before I said “Amen” that he could rest assured that I was saying, under my breath, “In Jesus’ name.”

Isn’t that awful? See how far-how hot they had gotten the water around the frog? That he’d say the name of Jesus under his breath? Well, I’m not saying it under my breath anymore! Jesus Christ is my Savior and I’m serving him! That’s why I’m sharing with you!

Masonry claims the souls of men.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Henry Vallance. He was never arrested, never tried for the crime-and in that you find something about Masonry. The justices, the law enforcement officials-they took great pains to conceal, to deceive themselves. John Quincy Adams was president of the United States of America at the time, and he gave a scathing attack against Masonry, when he investigated the events behind it after leaving the presidency.

They even established two false editions of Morgan’s book, and they circulated the false editions and they would bring that false edition over to a Mason who had never read the true book, and show it to him; and he would say, “Why these rituals aren’t correct!” And then he would become the spokesman to prove that the Morgan book was a lie.

Charles G. Finney, as he wrote his book, had a copy of the real book. The Masons could now rightly claim that the book was not correct; but they did not have all the information. They’d been deceived by their own brothers.

But the good news was that following that incident, 45,000 of the 50,000 Masons in this country left their lodges, when the facts became known, to enter it no more. While Christians have slept, the fraternity has once again reared its ugly head; and taken unto itself Christians and ministers of the gospel.

Now how is this public to know what Freemasonry is? How are you to know? First, negatively, you are not going to find out what it is by reading most of the books written by adhering Masons. Because they are not going to tell you the truth-they are not going to tell you their ritual-or the history of their ritual. A couple of men made the mistake and did that. If you call the Grand Lodge of the state of*** on **** in *** and ask them, they’ll give you the names, unless of course they realize that I’ve been using them.

Secondly, you cannot learn about Masonry from the oral testimony of adhering Masons. They’ll tell you anything but the truth, because they need to protect that secret of their society.

Thirdly, Masons who are under an oath not to reveal any of its secrets will not reveal that. Their testimony, therefore, cannot be trusted, and is of no value on the subject of Freemasonry.

How then, are you positively to know about Masonry as the church? Positively, you can learn it from the published and oral testimonies of those who have taken the degrees, such as myself; and have afterwards renounced them, and confessed the error and publicly renounced Masonry.

You can know from these renouncing Masons that they are competent witnesses, they are credible witnesses, when they testify against themselves. And anyone who testifies against himself does not do it lightly. It is given with a certainty of incurring an unrelenting persecution.

Now I ask you, you have heard Masons speak to you about me. What have Masons said to you about me since I have left the fraternity? And the question is answered… They will trample over a man or woman of God to defend their institution.

I told you of the brother who said I was on drugs. What I didn’t tell you is that the police came to his door one night. They’d arrested his son-also a Mason-for peddling drugs. I didn’t tell you that the Masons got together and got him completely off the hook, and he is still a member of the Masonic lodge!

I didn’t tell you about another Mason in Scenectady who spent two months in jail while a 33o Mason while they looked for a Masonic judge to get him off, and then all the records are done away with. He forged money orders, and bounced checks on closed accounts! He’s still a Mason today. You see, Masons are bound to do more than help a brother; they’re to help a brother in distress, and it doesn’t say what kind of distress.

It could be that you’re a little bit out of money and need some food; or it could be that you’ve committed a crime. It really makes no difference. And as you get higher up in the degrees, even treason is allowed!

That means if you’re a Mason and a policeman, and if you abide by the oath of the fraternity; and you’re told to go and arrest another Mason; you call him on the phone and tell him to get out of town before you get to his door. It means that if you’re mugged and before the court and your lawyer is a Mason; and the accused gives the Grand Masonic Hailing Sign of Distress, your lawyer is under oath to flaw your case so that the brother goes free.

If you find a Mason on a jury, and that Grand Masonic Hailing Sign were given, you are going to have a hung jury, if that Mason carries out his oath; and many do!

Adhering Masons have persecuted and still do persecute those who reveal their secrets, just as far as they dare.

Dear Christian friends, I submit to you that this is the highest degree of INtolerance! Witnesses who testify under such circumstances as I have been under are entitled to credit; especially as they could have had no conceivable motive for deceiving the public. When someone asks you the next time, “What’s the matter with your minister?”, you tell them he’s been in the Word of God, okay?

He’s been in the ritual, but that was wrong and God has forgiven him.

Look at the Master Mason degree for a moment; and I’m going to share a little bit about the first degree, too. The Third degree, like those that have gone before, have taken the candidates in blindfolded; their eyes are covered. They can’t see. A rope around their neck! You ever been blindfolded? With a rope around your neck? Close your eyes for a minute and imagine that you don’t know anything that’s going on the other side of the door. What do you think? Comfort and joy?

I went to that Masonic lodge room dressed like I’m dressed today, in a business suit The members of my church were there! Masons! They went into the lodge room and I was told to go into the other room. I get in there, & they closed the door, they told me to take off all my clothes, and put on this cape and this pants that was missing one leg. And the brother stayed there, I didn’t even know that man’s name! And he’s in this small room with me about the size of this platform that I’m on. Then he blindfolded me and put a cabletow, a rope, around my neck.

Then there was a knock on the door, he asked who was there, and the man said that I was a poor, blind, candidate. Desirous of having and receiving a part in the rites, light & benefit of this lodge.

Masons ought to pay attention to the ritual that comes afterwards because I never did. I knew it, I learned it, I memorized it, but I didn’t know what it said.

Dear friend, you know what they were saying about your pastor? a born-again Christian pastor? They were saying as he came through the door of that lodge that he was spiritually blind and they say that about every Christian coming thru the door of that lodge.

They weren’t talking about the blindfold. The Masons sit on the sidelines, new members come in, the blindfold is on, they assume its physical blindness, but the ritual, the words themselves, are talking about spiritual blindness.

I was led to the end of the back of the lodge room, and I know there’s some Masons here, and you can testify to the truth of this, blindfolded, cabletow, and your heart may even be beating a little more rapidly as you hear that senior deacon say that he’s about to apply a sharp instrument to your naked right breast. And you are waiting to get shot with a needle, or feel a knife, you don’t know, but in a split second that feels like an eternity you feel the point of a compass, you know, the kind you make circles with, and then they lead you on! and you are scared!

You don’t think much of any of your friends that are there now. About all you can remember is that you’ve lived thru it. And then you’re told to kneel for the benefit of prayer & they say a prayer, a Godless prayer, and then they ask you in whom you put your trust.

You sure don’t put your trust in any of your congregation there who were Masons and that you know are in that place. You’d like to run out but you don’t know where the door is because they’ve moved you around a couple times and you were blindfolded. And you tell them the only thing you can, in God. They say, your trust being in God is well-founded. Rise, follow your conductor, & fear no danger.

Whew! That felt good! You know what that was? That was the lamb being led to the slaughter.

So I went from there following the ritual very comfortable, a member of my church escorted me thru this, was brought up to the altar and told to kneel, and I was told just how to place my hand on the Bible, Gods’ holy Word, and the oath began.

Are you still willing to take the obligations, say “I”. I did. Pronounce your name in full, and I did.

And repeat after me “In the presence of Almighty God, in this worshipful lodge, of entered apprentice…” and it goes on saying I do promise and swear that I won’t reveal the secrets, that I will help aid and assist a brother & then it gets to all of which, and remember, every person that’s a Mason has done this, every single one, First degree. Your pastor did it too but God forgive me. Hand on the Bible, he said under the ancient penalty having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out and buried in the sand of the sea where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, if I ever reveal the secrets of this lodge. I got secrets greater than that! And I want to make them known.

Jesus Christ is Lord and I’m not bound by any oath that is in violation of His law, and His law says let your yes be yes and do not take any oath lest you come under condemnation!

Now I really don’t care if Masons get upset by that. as long as my God does not condemn me. And every Mason ought to know that too.

The candidates’ hands placed on the Bible in Third degree, binding myself under no less a penalty than having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken thence and burned to ashes & scattered to the four winds of heaven that there might not remain tract, trace, or remembrance of so vile and perfect a wretch if I should violate this, my obligation.

Would you have let me come into this church if you knew I took that oath? Only the Masons would have. God forgive me. And He has. That’s why I speak out! You tell your friends as they come to you and want to know why your pastor has gone off his rocker.

And you can find out and verify everything I’m saying. You think its a secret society. Down in your library you can get the ritual book, you can get the information about Masonry. Here’s a book right here that you can get Freemasonry, the Invisible Cult in our Midst.

Here’s another one, The AntiChrist: The Masonic Society, it’s available. Praise God, shortly there going to be available right here in your Christian bookstore.

Dear Friends, do you think this is a Christian institution? Do you really think your pastor ought to be involved in it? Are you going to be proud to tell others that your pastor was a Mason? Or , are you going to be proud to tell them that he got out?

Dear Mason, are you proud to be a Mason now? As you consider, outside of the lodge room the rituals you’ve taken part in? Do you know the Junior Warden says that he observes the Summit Meridian? That’s sun worship, the Senior Warden observes the sun as it sets in the West at the close of day, and the Worshipful Master observes the sun in the East, there are three candles around the altar, one for the Master of the lodge, one for the sun god, and one for the moon god!

Do you know that one of the passwords to get into one of the York rite bodies is “I AM THAT I AM”!

Do you know who “I AM” is? “I AM” is JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF!!!

Do you know that in the Knights’ Templar degree, one of their degrees has a Bible on the altar, a skull on top of that and wine in the skull; and you take a sip. Only one person does this for everybody. Took a sip of the wine, and then part of the obligation was that if he violated that obligation, not only your sins but the sins of the person whose brain resided in the skull, and the sins of Judas Iscariot would be upon you.

No Christian should be a Mason.

I just want to deal with one scripture, the prayer of the Chaplain. I’m going to close in five minutes, I know its been long and I do appreciate, and I hope you understand what I’m saying.

Masonic ritual, the Chaplains’ prayer says “Most Holy and Glorious Lord God, Great Architect of the Universe”, So that’s who you’re talking to, right? “Thou hast promised where two or three are gathered in Thy name, Thou wilt be in the midst.” Does that sound scriptural to you? Well, almost.

The Scripture is, “Where two or three are gathered in MY NAME, I will be in their midst”. And the difference is “Thy” refers to the most holy and glorious lord god, and “MY” refers to JESUS CHRIST!

There’s a big difference. You see, the name of JESUS can’t be mentioned in the lodge room. Not even by a Grand Chaplain to end his prayer.

Dear Christian, is you’re a Mason, I plead with you to hear my words. Run from Freemasonry to save your own soul.

And women, if you’re in a Masonic-related body, the Amaranth, the Eastern Star, the White Shrine, RUN FROM THEM!

If the base and the foundation of Masonry is rotten, you don’t want to be on the fourteenth floor of a building with a crumbling foundation, do you?

Well, let me tell you, its not just the foundation that crumbling, the structure is too.

Did you know that the Eastern Star symbol is the Five-pointed star? You see the Bethlehem star like this. The Masonic symbol, in every other place in the world to my knowledge, certainly in the United States, except New York state, it is like that, two points up. Now I’m going to share with you about this star.

One of the founders of the Eastern Star, the man who wrote all the ritual, Rob Morris, chose that find-pointed star. He selected it for a specific reason out of Mythology; it is the Goat of Mendez! And ladies did you know that the Goat of Mendez is the god of lust? What a jokester that Mason was. How blasphemous! That he would choose a symbol for his wife and his children to be a part of that is the Goat of Mendez, the god of lust.

Well, they don’t think of it that way. Let me show you. In extended debate, in the mid-west, in Michigan, yielded this result on whether or not to change the symbol. This emblem, which has been our symbol, although evil, has been redeemed by the good works of its members. This symbol, although evil, Who said its evil? The Grand Chapter of the State of Michigan! …Has been redeemed by the good works of its members. Salvation mind you is thru Christ alone, NOT THRU GOOD WORKS!

I’m not going to give any altar call this morning, because some people get upset by altar calls in churches too.

I’m not going to give an altar call this morning. I’m going to do it just the reverse. I’m going to call you to run FROM an altar this morning. If you’re a Mason, I’m calling you to run from that Masonic altar.

I’m going to call women in the Eastern Star and the Amaranth to run from their Masonic meeting place, from that altar, get out! Don’t stay for a friend, Don’t stay for a relative. Don’t stay for a Masonic funeral.

Continuance in this cultic, demonic diversion from the Christian walk WILL sentence you to HELL! That’s according to Gods’ Word, not mine. You may not have another day.

If you’re not in, stay out! You see, salvation is not by works as Masons claim. Salvation is only by Gods’ grace through JESUS CHRIST and HIS shed blood. And if you don’t believe that, you’re not a Christian! And if you do believe it, Dear Friend, You should NOT be a Mason!

I really thank you for taking the time & for letting me unburden my heart this morning on this subject. To let you know why I came out of Masonry. I hope you understand the love and concern that compelled me to do that. Yes, at the risk of my very life.

Charles G. Finny documents is his book seven men who have lost their lives. Mark was at the meeting with me at the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association Saturday and he told me he was concerned about a person that was there. Because he was afraid of what might happen.

He doesn’t want to lose his father, but he knows that if, if I should die, I win.

He knows where the Masons are in this congregation this morning. Praise God for it. And he’s been praying all during this service.

You know, when I came out of Masonry, I called my son as he got home from school and told him that I’d left the Masonic Fraternity.

One year after I was elected Grand Chaplain and he stood in the highest place of honor, and placed on my neck the Grand Chaplains jewel, You know what he said? You know what he told me? Dad, I’ve been praying for that for two years.

A son of mine had been praying that I’d come out of Masonry! He even had a video tape to explain Masonry in the house! But because it wasn’t the right time, he let it go.

I called my daughter. I told her that night that I came out of Masonry. You know what she said? I’m glad, Dad. Praise The Lord! I’ve been praying for that for four years! I didn’t come out easy. But I came out with a lot of friends!

Dear Christian Friends, don’t be upset if a member of your family is in Masonry. You pray. If you’re a Mason, hear my words and come out, so the people don’t have to continue to pray for you, year after year after year!

And the people of God said: Amen

http://saintsalive.com/freemasonry/mixingoilwater.html

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 LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND RELIGIOUS

SEND ME YOUR $$$$$’S  And YOU TOO can operate in the BILLION DOLLOR FLOW

SEND ME YOUR $$$$$’S And YOU TOO can operate in the BILLION DOLLOR FLOW

 

OUR EXPERIENCES WITH KENNETH COPELAND by Tom Killingsworth  @ exwordoffaith.blogspot.com

I would have left the Word of Faith on the basis of that denomination’s Gnosticism and the abuses of the Prosperity Gospel. But I would have parted peacefully. The abuses of human beings that I saw at the hands of leaders in the Word of Faith, particularly Kenneth Copeland, his daughter Terri Pearsons, and other leaders at Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) and Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC) are the reasons that I am blogging all this. Copeland needs to be exposed as a tyrant and a fraud!

Let me tell you what happened and you can judge for yourself.

My wife and I had been followers of Kenneth Copeland since 1990. We believed everything he said. While not members of Eagle Mountain International Church (the church affiliated with KCM and pastored by Copeland’s son in law), we did go there. We always wanted to work for KCM, and in August of 2003, we both got our chance. We were so excited! This was the opportunity of a lifetiime — to be able to help Brother Copeland put legs to his vision and help expand the Kingdom of God!

Yeah. We were in for a rude awakening! It was one thing to see KCM and EMIC from the outside. It was quite another to be insiders.

What we saw was nothing short of spiritual abuse and Shepherding. Remember, in a previous article, I mentioned two separate sources that prove that Kenneth Copeland married the Word of Faith with Shepherding. Keep that in mind as you read our experiences.

While I was at KCM, a nationally famous minister came in to encourage us at one of our staff “chapels.” He said “Don’t ask questions. Just do what you’re told. If you ask questions, then you aren’t in faith.” If we were going to do our job, didn’t we need to know what we were doing, and didn’t that mean we had to ask questions? This was nothing less than Shepherding, a restatement of “Don’t touch the anointed!”

A friend of mine who attended EMIC, began to become concerned about the direction the church was headed. It seemed all he heard were sermons on prosperity. So, he wrote the pastor a letter outlining his concerns. The next week, the pastor stood up and held up my friend’s letter and said “I have received a letter from a member outlining some concerns with our church. These are legitimate concerns and questions and I want to answer them. So, next week, I will answer this letter, question by question.”

The following week, the senior pastor remained seated, in a very submissive manner. His wife, Terri Pearsons, the senior associate pastor and Copeland’s daughter, stood up and took the microphone. In front of a congregation of 3,500 people, she said “Some of you have questioned what is taught in this church. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go find another church that you can more easily manipulate, because it won’t happen here.” My friend said that his blood ran cold because he knew the pastor’s wife was talking about him. Then the pastor’s wife led the congregation in an oath of allegiance to the pastor. I was there that day. I refused to take the oath, and I never returned after that Sunday. Oddly enough, KCM did not have a job requirement commanding employees to be members of EMIC, so we left and went elsewhere. An oath of allegiance? Total obedience to the pastor is a concept of Shepherding. I no longer ask myself why this woman said what she said. If Shepherding is a part of the official doctrine of KCM/EMIC, then she was just doing what she thought she was supposed to do.

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That was not the only occasion, either. We later learned that the pastor’s wife also publicly humiliated and eviscerated the head of the greeter department, simply because the head greeter refused to require all her ladies to wear dresses, and allowed a few to wear pants suits. In other words, the pastor’s wife, a member of the Copeland family, enacted the Shepherding practice of telling someone how to dress.

I have a friend who worked at KCM at the same time I did. While she worked there, her mother “came out of the closet” and declared herself to be a lesbian. A coworker took my friend aside and said that her mother couldn’t be her family anymore because she was going to Hell. Her coworkers were her family now. This cut my friend to her core! I don’t know the motivations of the woman who said this to my friend, but the end result was spiritual abuse. This is a sign of Shepherding, a belief that they have the right to tell us who our friends and family ought to be.

During my tenure at that ministry, I experienced quite a bit of indirect Shepherding. I say indirect, because these were rules that were hinted at, not given to me directly in writing or as a verbal warning. The appearance of what was appropriate was more important to leadership than our spiritual walk with God. So I knew I had to wear a mask of correct behavior and not admit to liking things that were frowned upon by the Copeland family (in my case, comic books, science fiction stories, unbridled sex for pleasure with my wife, and the theological works of non-Charismatic ministers). If any of us employees did mention these “unspeakables” in public, it was not uncommon for us to be silenced and told that if management found out, we could be fired. It grew wearying after a while, and I felt dehumanized after working there for four months. I was told that it was a great honor to work at that ministry, yet I felt totally dishonored as a person.

Shortly before my wife left KCM, it imposed a gag order. In a rather stridently written memo, management said that employees were not to talk to anyone, including family members, because they never knew who they would be talking to. That person could be a news reporter. I should think that an employee would know if his or her spouse or child is a reporter! This memo did nothing to help build marriages and strong families. Instead, if taken literally, it would build suspicion, distrust and paranoia within the families of employees. I’m sorry, but to me, this is Shepherding; management by fear and coercion, putting loyalty to the church above loyalty to family.

Parties are meant to be fun, to be celebrations of accomplishment, a holiday season, or just for the heck of it. But it is difficult to celebrate when your invitation to the party pretty much says “you are required to attend, required to have fun, and if you don’t, you will be fired.” While not putting it in exactly those terms, we knew that when the ministry invited its employees to a party, that if we valued our jobs, we should go. This is not just a rhetorical reading of the memo, either. Another friend of mine who worked at that ministry, decided to not attend the Christmas party one year. They were serving barbeque beef, something he doesn’t care for, so he went off site for a sandwich. When he returned, he was hauled into his supervisor’s office, given a written reprimand, and told me that the only reason he wasn’t fired was that he was too good at his job. His supervisor told him that when the ministry invites you to a party, it is a high honor and privilege so he better go!

Invitations to special conventions and teaching engagements were treated the same way. Like it or not, we knew we had to go, or lose our jobs.

That kind of action did nothing to enhance our spirituality or walk with God. If anything, that kind of action tore it down.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes? 

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I was a licensed Word of Faith minister for several years, and during that time I had a friend who was a pastor at EMIC. At one time, we were very close. But when I became a minister, things changed. He began to take it upon himself to mentor me, without my permission. At the time, I had a ministry to Goths, and he would tell me to teach prosperity to the Goths, tell them to stop wearing black, tell them to stop reading poetry, and go get jobs in the corporate world. I was trying to reconcile Goths to Jesus; if I had done what he said, I would have alienated them further. When I didn’t do what he said, he called me rebellious. Uh … I was licensed by a totally different church, so he was not part of my ecclesiastical chain of command, so how could I be rebelling? When I found out that KCM/EMIC was merged with Shepherding, I saw his actions for what they were – part of the theological platform that made up his job.

I left KCM as part of a massive layoff in 2004. My wife was fired in late 2007 … for posting a photo of her Halloween costume online. Before you go and scream at us for celebrating Halloween, I have to point out that she and I are old theatre people and take any opportunity to put on costumes. To us, it’s a reason to “dress up.” If we could do it in April and July, we would. We weren’t engaging in any sorcery or fright fests. Yet, a Halloween costume photo, on my wife’s personal blog, was a reason for this ministry to fire her. They were actually looking for a reason to fire her; her opposition to the Prosperity Gospel was becoming well known. My wife did something that was against the written and spoken doctrines of the church. Shepherding allows no independent thought or feelings by congregation members.

As soon as my wife was fired, I began to be stalked on my Xanga blog by employees of KCM. As many as 50 anonymous “footprints” (ISP addresses) would appear on my blog daily. Through Xanga’s footprint tracking system, I could easily tell that they originiated inside KCM. This lasted from mid-October, 2007 until early 2008. I guess they grew weary of me after I made my blog private. Stalking of ex-members is a Shepherding technique. I was perceived as a threat and had to be monitored.

Six friends left me. Two were very close, and I considered them to be two of my best friends. These friends left me, not just because of a theological dispute, but because they chose loyalty to the doctrines of men and to EMIC over loyalty to a human being. This was shunning in action.

The day after my wife was fired, several of our friends who worked at KCM at the time were hauled into their superiors’ offices and grilled about their connection with my wife and me. They were told that KCM had checked out their background thoroughly … one can only ponder what THAT meant! Most were given a “clean bill of health.” Two of these friends had restrictions placed on them by the pastors of EMIC, preventing them from having any future contact with us. I did not hear what the consequences would be if they ever ran into us in Wal-Mart. Shepherdists dare to tread only where our mothers did … in believing that they have the right to tell people who their friends will be. Some people are gullible enough to believe they have to obey.

Since our departure from KCM and the Word of Faith, we have found out more about Kenneth Copeland and his true nature. The way he is behaving is so much like a Shepherding preacher, or a cult leader, that I can’t tell the difference.

First, Senator Grassley launched an investigation into six televangelists. I’ve read the questions Grassley sent them. The questions to Copeland are the most extensive and the most damning. To read them yourself, click here.  Why did Copeland use a church owned airplane to fly to Colorado on a vacation? Why is there a for-profit cattle company operating on ministry land? What happened to the funds donated for investment in the Revival Capital of the World theme park, which shows no signs of being built? These are legitimate questions, and Grassley would not be investigating if there were not some evidence of wrong doing by Copeland. Did Copeland answer Grassley? No. He refused. What he sent as an answer to the Senator was a mere pie chart, their IRS statement, and the address to the IRS. In other words, KCM gives the appareance of having much to hide. If they had nothing to hide, then why not tell all to the Senator? Maybe that’s why KCM erected a wrought iron fence, complete with lockable gates, around the ministry property … to keep IRS and ATF agents out. They place does look more and more like the Branch Davidian compound.

Following an impromptu interview by a local reporter, Copeland attended what was supposed to be the dedication ceremony for KCM’s new Partner Services Building. Instead of reading the Bible or praying, Copeland spent half an hour blasting the reporter and calling him names. Gloria Copeland had to publicly remind him that he was there to pray for the building.

Two friends of mine, who are also ex-KCM employees, and now ex Word of Faith, agreed to be interviewed for a news broadcast in which they pretty much called Copeland a liar. The day after the local news broadcast (to read the transcript, click here;  to see the actual broadcast, click here), which was also two days after Senator Grassley launched his investigation into KCM, Copeland convened a “chapel,” which is more of a business propaganda meeting than any spiritual event. During the “chapel,” Terri Pearsons called Grassley, the local news reporter, and my two friends, Nazis and possessed of the anti-christ. Her rant was published on the KCM website, and everyone that I know who saw it all said the same thing; “She’s demon possessed!” The hatred and terror at someone catching her father’s hand in the cookie jar was palpable.To see her rant for yourself, click here.

In late November, Copeland had presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on the Believer’s Voice of Victory broadcast, giving a politician a week’s worth of free publicity. This is from a man who demands that Senator Grassley respect the separation of church and state, but is unwilling to recognize that same separation where an Evangelical candidate is concerned. That was just blatant hypocrisy. To see them for yourself, click here. You won’t have to scroll down very far. The dates are November 26 – 30, 2007.

It gets better!

Copeland revealed his true colors at his Ministers Conference, held January 22 through 24, 2008, at EMIC. He didn’t appear as a Shepherdist, but he did use the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper.

First, he turned the conference into a fund raiser for Huckabee. It was supposed to be a conference for ministers and by ministers. Instead, he turned it into a political platform, raising $111,000 in cash for Huckabee, and a million dollars in pledges. Oh, sure, the KCM spin doctors are saying Copeland did everything right. They say that Copeland never endorsed Huckabee, and that he dismissed the conference (early), and said that if anyone wanted to come back, they could. So, it was a private meeting. They also say that Copeland rented a room at EMIC to Huckabee, and that the fundraising happened there. The KCM spin masters say that EMIC has a tradition of renting rooms to ministers at the conference. Well … my wife was responsible for the Ministers Conference from 2004 through 2007, and began to set up for 2008. She told me that at no time did Copeland, KCM or EMIC rent rooms to anyone, especially during the Ministers Conference. The conference is tightly controlled, and KCM does not want a lesser known party trying to sell books behind the scenes. So, the publicly stated habit of renting rooms is a bold faced lie! This is total political pandering, using a religious meeting to garner money for a political candidate, and a violation of the U.S. Constitution. If this fund raising had happened in a hotel room after the conference, there would be no problem. But it happened inside a church, during the dates set for a ministers’ conference. That is a total violation of the separation of church and state. To read one news article on this, click here.

As if that wasn’t enough, during the Ministers’ Conference, Copeland declared war on the U.S. Senate. First, he said that his reply to Senator Grassley was “a six page lesson in ‘no!’,” meaning Copeland didn’t reply to Grassley’s request for information. Copeland said that the ministry’s finances belonged to God and that Grassley had no business looking at them. Furthermore, Copeland said that he could tell Grassley the truth, but wouldn’t, because Grassley didn’t know the truth. Finally, Copeland dared Grassley to subpoena him, throw him in jail, or execute him. That is sheer arrogance, and total hypocrisy from a man who for decades has preached patriotism and obedience to Romans 13:1-7. The website, Wittenburgdoor.com, has posted clips from Copeland’s rant. To see them for yourself, click here.

Now, CBS Evening News thinks Copeland has gone too far and has accused him of fraud, finding two more ex-employees who spoke out about their former boss. To see CBS’ video, click here.

So … Kenneth Copeland. Preacher of the Gospel, or Shepherdist madman? You decide.

Some of you may not like what I said about Copeland. You know what? I don’t care! What I wrote is the truth. I suffered much abuse from the hands of this man, and I owe it to Jesus to expose the apostasy in KCM. I do not want revenge, but like any rape victim, I do want to see justice and see the rapist go to prison. So does God.

You have to decide what the truth is for yourself. If you can continue to follow Kenneth Copeland with a clear conscience, then please do so. But I cannot. My conscience demands that I stand up, say something, and oppose what I see as a Gnostic-Shepherding preacher who is leading many sheep into destruction.

http://exwordoffaith.blogspot.com/2008/02/our-experiences-with-kenneth-copeland.html

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Eight reasons why we need apologetics

 
There are several reasons why we need apologetics. The first and most obvious is because we are commanded to defend the faith: 1 Peter 3:15 says, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Second, we need apologetics because it helps Christians know their faith. This is something that is sadly lacking among believers. Most don’t know much about their faith, let alone be able to describe the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, His physical resurrection, or even be able to tell the difference between justification and sanctification. Apologetics helps to define and defend what the truth of the gospel is.

Third, apologetics is an attempt to keep people out of hell. God takes sin very seriously, and He will punish those who have rebelled against Him and are not covered in the blood of Christ. As Christians, we should be motivated to present the truth of salvation in Jesus. We should not sit idly by and ignore the dilemma of the unbeliever. We need to tell them that sin is real because God is real, and that breaking God’s law has a consequence. Since we have all sinned, we cannot keep God’s Law perfectly. Also, we cannot undo the offense to an infinitely holy God because we are not infinite or holy, so the only thing left for us is to fall under the judgment of God. But God has provided a way for us to escape that judgment. That is why God became man in Jesus. He claimed to be God, (John 8:24,58; compare with Exodus 3:14). Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross, (1 Pet. 2:24). By trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we will be spared from the rightful judgment of God upon the sinner. Salvation is not found in Buddhism, Islam, relativism, or in one’s self. It is only found in Jesus and we need to not only defend God’s word and truth, but also to present the gospel to all people so they can escape the judgment to come.

Fourth, we need apologetics to counter the bad image that Christianity has received in the media and in culture. Televangelists and their scandals, both sexually and monetarily, are a disgrace to Christianity. The Catholic church hasn’t helped with its scandals involving priests. On top of that, a media is very biased against Christianity and you will see negative opinions of Christianity promoted everywhere.

Fifth, we need apologetics because there is a constant threat of apostasy in the visible Christian church. Such is the case with the Metropolitan Community Church denomination, which openly advocates the support of homosexuality in violation of scripture (Rom. 1:18-32). Also, as of 2002, the Evangelical Lutheran church is in risk of apostasy by entertaining the idea of accepting homosexual relationships into church. “The United Church of Christ set up a $500,000 scholarship fund for gay and lesbian seminarians Friday and urged wider acceptance of homosexuals by other denominations.” (United Church Makes Gay Scholarship, CLEVELAND, June 16, 2000, AP Online via COMTEX). Or “The supreme court of the United Methodist Church was asked Thursday to reconsider the denomination’s ban on gay clergy. (Church court of United Methodists asked to decide on gay clergy ban, NASHVILLE, Tennessee, Oct. 25, 2001, AP WorldStream via COMTEX). Such examples are demonstrations of the incredible need for defending biblical truth within those churches that claim to be Christian.

Sixth, another reason we need apologetics is because of the many false teachings out there. Mormonism teaches that God used to be a man on another world, that he brought one of his goddess wives with him to this world, that they produce spirit offspring that are born into human babies, and that you have the potential of becoming a god of your own world. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that there is no Trinity, that Jesus is Michael the Archangel, that there is no hell, and that only 144,000 people will go to heaven. Atheism denies God’s existence, openly attacks Christianity and is gaining ground in public life and schools. Islam teaches that Jesus was not God in flesh, that Jesus did not rise from the dead, and that He did not atone for our sins. It teaches that salvation is partly based on one’s works and partly based on Allah’s grace. It teaches that the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel (Surah 2:97; 16:102); that Jinn are unseen beings, created (51:56) from fire (15:27; 55:15); and that Muhammed was greater than Jesus. Even within the Christian church, there are false teachings. We can see that from both within the Christian church and from outside of it, false teachings are bombarding believers (and non believers) all over the world.

Seventh, the rise of immorality in America is a threat not only to society but also to Christianity. This is a serious issue because an immoral society cannot last long. The Barna Research group statistics show that 64% of adults and 83% of teenagers said moral truth depends on the situation that you are in. 19% of the adult population believes that “the whole idea of sin is outdated.” 51% believe that “if a person is generally good, or does enough good, he will earn a place in Heaven.”

When a society’s morals fail, the society fails. Just look at history and think of Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece or present day Enron, Watergate, and White House interns. Immorality seeps down into all areas of our culture. Consider this: In the New York Times, online, of May 12, 2002, in the article “With Games of Havoc, Men Will Be Boys,” the author, Warren St. John, interviews some players of what he says is a very popular video game. One young man says, “What I like to do is get in the car and drive around and do drive-by shootings. You can haul someone out of their car and beat on them and steal their money and their car. It’s kind of amusing that you have that ability.” …. A publicist from Long Island says the game’s allure comes down to “just going on killing sprees.” Not all video games are violent, but the fact that it is so popular and that the youth are being trained up by them is very disturbing.

I am not advocating a theocratic socio-political rule administered by stern Christians wearing black-and-white outfits and tall hats. But these kinds of social trends are disturbing, and they reflect a moral decline in America, where what is good is called evil and what is evil is called good. God tells us in Phil. 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. We cannot ignore God’s word without a consequence.

The eighth reason we need apologetics is because schools are not friendly to Christianity. My own experience in non-Christian schools was a strong awakening to the unprovoked hostility that exists in school, where the philosophy teachers, history teacher, and even the art teacher all took shots at Christianity. Don Feder in the Conservative Chronicle, in his article of Sept. 22, 1993, titled “Fighting Censorship, PAW Does it Its Way,” said that in some junior high libraries, book titles included The Joy of Gay Sex and How to Make Love to a Single Woman. There is an impressions series for grades one to six which promote the New Age and the occult; a controversial drug education program called Quest, which tells students that they alone can decide whether or not it’s OK to use drugs; as well as texts that direct students to fantasize about suicide, attack religion and undermine family authority. Following is an email I received that represents the hostility of secular schools.

Our daughter had acquired an atheist’s heart since leaving home and attending college. It seems that the books in college breed atheists, because they are full of the philosophy of anti-God thinking. She has been in college for four years now, and one of the last times we had a chance to talk to her, she said that she doesn’t think about sin, or heaven, or hell anymore because, according to her, they do not exist. She said that when she was young and asked the Lord to come into her heart, she did not know what she was doing because children do what they are told.

The fact is that Christianity is under attack in the world and we need to fight the good fight of the faith without shrinking back. We need apologetics to give rational, intelligent, and relevant explanations of Christian viability to the critics and the prejudiced who would seek to undermine the teachings of our Lord Jesus.

If there was ever a time that apologetics is needed, it is now.

http://www.carm.org/apologetics/need.htm

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Is Universalism Biblical?

Universalism states that sooner or later all people will be saved. This position holds that the concepts of hell and punishment are inconsistent with a loving God. The older form of universalism, originating in the second century, taught that salvation would come after a temporary period of punishment. The newer form of universalism declares that all men are now saved, though all do not realize it. Therefore the job of the preacher and the missionary is to tell people they are already saved. Certain passages – John 12:32, Philippians 2:11, and 1 Timothy 2:4 – are typically twisted out of context in support of universalism.

Such passages, interpreted properly, do not support universalism:

  • John 12:32 says that Christ’s work on the cross makes possible the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles. Notice, however, that the Lord – in the same passage – warned of judgment of those who reject Christ (v. 48).
  • Philippians 2:10-11 assures us that someday all people will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, but not necessarily as Savior. (Even those in hell will have to acknowledge Christ’s Lordship.)
  • First Timothy 2:4 expresses God’s desire that all be saved, but does not promise that all will be. This divine desire is only realized in those who exercise faith in Christ.

The Scriptures consistently categorize people into one of two classes (saved/unsaved, also called believers/unbelievers), and portray the final destiny of every person as being one of two realities (heaven or hell).

  • In Matthew 13:30 Jesus in a parable said, “Let both [tares and wheat] grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” Here unbelievers and believers are spoken of as tares and wheat. Two classes!
  • In Matthew 13:49 Jesus said, “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous.” Again, two classes are mentioned – unbelievers and believers spoken of as the wicked and the righteous.
  • In Matthew 25:32 Jesus said that following His second coming, “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” Here believers and unbelievers are differentiated by the terms “sheep” and “goats.” The sheep will enter into God’s kingdom (vs. 34) and inherit eternal life (vs. 46). The goats go into eternal punishment (vs. 46).
  • In Luke 16:26 we find Abraham in the afterlife telling the unsaved rich man: “Between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” Hades apparently had two compartments: “paradise” for the saved, and “torments” for the unsaved – and these compartments were separated by a great chasm or gulf.

Clearly, then, the Scriptures speak of two classes of people (the saved and the unsaved) and two possible destinies (heaven for the saved; hell for the unsaved). And each respective person ends up in one of these places based upon whether or not he or she placed saving faith in Christ during his or her time on earth (Acts 16:31).

http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Universalism.html

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A LIST OF NEW WORLD ORDER EVENTS IN THE YEAR 2000
MINI-DESPATCH, February 12, 2000.
From W.B. Howard, editor of Despatch magazine.

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Year 2000 Calendar of Events

This calendar represents only a partial listing of the most significant one world events scheduled for next year. New events may be announced. (Permission to copy this calendar and the attached letter is granted and encouraged.)

December 24, 1999 – December 31, 2000: “Holy Year 2000”

Where: Rome, Italy

From Christmas 1999 to 2000, the Vatican is expecting millions of tourists to visit the basilicas of Rome in celebration of Catholicism’s Great Jubilee. Throughout the year, a multitude of events and announcements will take place. There will be interfaith meetings promoting religious unity, as well as proposals to eliminate world debt through new economic structures.

December 31, 1999 – January 2, 2000: “72 Hours”

Where: Global

“72 Hours” is an interfaith bridge building project of the United Religions Initiative – the UN associated world interfaith body. Throughout these 3 days, groups of people from around the world will engage in inter religious peace and unity initiatives.

December 31, 1999 – January 1, 2000: “Millennium Celebrations at the Great Pyramids of Giza”

Where: Egypt

This massive celebration, involving many of the world’s top political and economic leaders, will feature a spectacular multimedia sound and light show designed to welcome in the “golden age” of the new millennium. To cement this New Year’s Eve party, a gold covered capstone will be air-lifted and placed on top of the now-capless Great Pyramid of Cheops, symbolizing the dawn of the new occult order. This event hicks off the Millennium Symposium.

January 1-3, 2000: “Millennium Symposium on Great Challenges of Our Time”

Where: Egypt, Great Pyramids of Giza

The Millennium Symposium is a three-day event sponsored by UNESCO and produced by the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations IJniversity. During these three days a host of speakers and workshops will focus on the upcoming global changes facing humanity, including issues of world governance, the creation of a global sustainable society, and the shaping of new planetary security strategies.

January 25,26: “North American Regional Hearings for the Millennium”

Where: Chicago, IL

Convened by the Gorbachev Foundation’s State of the World Forum at the behest of Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations. This Chicago based event will focus on “Strengthening the U.N. for the Challenges of the 215′ Century. ” The goal of the event is to provide direction and prepare for the up-coming UN Millennium Assembly.

March: “Pope John Paul II Trip to the Middle East”

Where: Israel & Other Nations to be Announced

This historic event will publicly place Pope John Paul in an unprecedented position of influence within the Middle East peace process. Vatican officials have already met with Palestinian and Israeli authorities to work out the details of the Pontiff s visit. The Pope’s mission: to bring peace and religious unity to the region and the world.

March 20: “World Citizenship Day”

Where: San Francisco, CA

On the first day of spring, the Association of World Citizens will host the first annual world citizenship event, which is intended to foster planetary allegiance and promote global government. As San Francisco was the founding city of the United Nations, so too it will be the home city of this expected-to-be annual world event.

March 24-26: “United Religions Initiative European Conference”

Where: Budapest, Hungary

The URI European Conference will be held with the aim of furthering the URI global interfaith program. It will pave the way for bold new religious initiatives to be presented later in the year.

April 3-7: “First Global People’s Assembly”

Where: Apia, Samoa

Hosted by the Samoa United Nations Association, this event is intended to regionally pave the way for the UN Millennium Assembly.

April 22: “Earth Day 2000″

Where: Global

“More than 300 million people in 150 nations are expected to participate in the largest Earth Day ever. It will also be the 30th anniversary of Earth Day.” Thousands of local and regional events are being planned to honor “Earth” at this time.

May 22-24: “Millennium International Children’s Conference”

Where: Eastbourne, United Kingdom

Organized by the United Nations, this global event is expected to bring together one thousand children to participate in discussions on “Sharing the Planet,” “Water is Life,” and other earth centered themes. Participants will approve an environmental plan of action to be presented to governments and people worldwide.

May 22-26: “NGO Millennium Forum”

Where: New York, NY

Non Government Organizations (NGOs) from around the world will gather at the United Nations to strategize for the Fall United Nations Millennium Assembly. The NGO Millennium Forum will seek to establish a new world vision and a global decision making process.

June 1-October 31: “Expo 2000”

Where: Hannover, Germany

This international conference will analyze the progress of the United Nations Agenda 21 program for world change. It will examine the Agenda’s affect on global society and determine what new steps need to be taken.

June 26: “United Religions Initiative Global Assembly”

Where: San Francisco, CA

This “Global Assembly” will witness the signing of the official URI Charter. It is anticipated that 60 million signatures will be obtained from people around the world in support of the URI and its Charter, leading to the birth of the United Religions Organization.

July 23-25: “FutureFocus 2000: Changes, Challenges & Choices”

Where: Houston, TX

This annual meeting of the World Future Society will examine the latest developments and trends shaping the new world civilization. Recommendations will be given.

August 24: “Meta-Nation 2000”

Where: Denver, CO

Meta-Nation 2000 is a “citizen initiative” aimed at establishing a “meta-nation” in which all of society can live and work in the new millennium. Towards this end, a “Constitutional Convention” is planned to be held in Denver to form a “space governance entity” and to raise massive private funds to accomplish this feat

August 12-15: “Humanity 3000 Symposium”

Where: Seattle, WA

“This will be an international symposium of approximately 100 of the world’s most prominent scholars, scientists, philosophers, humanists, historians, technologists and futurists, who will be brought together in the first of a series of international symposia. ” The purpose of this symposium is to review and identify the most important factors that affect global society and develop ideas and methods to address these issues.

August 28,29: “Millennium Summit of Religious Leaders”

Where: New York, NY

World religious leaders will discuss and celebrate global interfaithism in light of the new millennium.

September “Middle East Peace Signing”

Where: Israel

This is the month that a comprehensive peace agreement is to be signed, moving the entire region, specifically Israel, to embrace proposed dispute settlements. President Bill Clinton has already “vowed to do everything he can to broker a comprehensive regional settlement by the time he leaves office. ” Keep watch as the continuing bid for Israel and the city of Jerusalem unfolds.

September 5-9: “State of the World Forum”

Where: New York, NY

Gorbachev’s State of the World Forum, in conjunction with a host of UN agencies, will convene its annual gathering of world leaders to correspond with the UN Millennium Assembly. Discussions will focus on the future of the United Nations and increasing its authority through world law.

September 6: “United Nations Millennium Assembly and Summit”

Where: New York, NY

One of the most important events of the year. Thousands of leaders from around the world will gather in New York City to take part in the UN Millennium Assembly and Summit. It is at this point that solid new directions on the implementation of global government are expected, including possible UN Charter revisions. It is hoped that a parallel People’s Assembly (a People’s World Parliament) will become a permanent feature at the United Nations, where Non Governmental Organizations from around the world would have a voice in the creation of a new world civilization.

December 1-6: “Social Transformation In The Asia Pacific Region”

Where: University of Wollongong and the University of Newcastle, Australia

This conference, organized by the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies and UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations Programme, will be aimed at globalizing and transforming the world’s geo-political regions. The producer of this event, the American Council for the United Nations University, is working in cooperation with Egypt’s United Nations Resident Coordinator, the World Future Society, the Millennium Society, the Smithsonian Institute, Futures Group International, Cairo University, and the UNESCO Regional Office. Funding for the event is coming from General Motors, The Foundation for the Future, the Alan F. Kay and Hazel Henderson Foundation for Social Innovation, Deloite & Touche, the United Nations University, and the U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute. Event speakers include Ismail Serageldin, VP of the World Bank and Chairman of the World Water Commission; Hans van Ginkel, Undersecretary General of the United Nations and Rector of the UN University; and Kennedy Graham, Director of the United Nations University International Leadership Academy.

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P.O. Box 899
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317-290-HOPE (4673)
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This video and this article have the same name but are from different sources. The video IS a must see. It is 120 minutes in length but well worth the time.

 

By George Stamm

Global Warming or Global Governance

 

 

 

 

If you were to ask ten people on the street if mankind’s activities are causing global warming, my guess is that a majority would say yes. In fact, a Gallup poll conducted July 23-26, 2007 found that 63% believed that global warming is caused mostly by human activities. But is this perception of global warming based on fact or just misguided opinion?

 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These organizations shared the 2007 Noble Peace Prize with former Vice President of the United States Al Gore. These two U.N. organizations form a scientific body given the task of evaluating the risk of climate change caused by human activity. In 2005 the IPCC released a report saying that since the mid-twentieth century, the surface temperature of the earth has been rising steadily.

Mr. Gore and his colleagues at the IPCC maintain that there is an increase in global average temperatures, due to man-made intervention resulting in a “greenhouse effect.” They also say that natural phenomena, such as solar variation, combined with volcanoes, had little effect on global warming from pre-industrial times until 1950, and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.

These conclusions have been endorsed by at least thirty scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. However, there are many scientists, some who have served on the IPCC panel, who have voiced disagreement with many of the findings of the IPCC. One noted biologist and ecologist Dr. Michael Coffman, Executive Director of Environmental Perspectives, Inc. and CEO of Sovereignty International, said in his presentation, Global Warming or Global Governance, “The global warming climate change issue is so important that people on both sides of the issue, including policymakers should be fully informed before policy is actually formulated. Tragically, that’s not happening in the global warming issue.” Coffman further says that what is being proposed by Al Gore and his colleagues is that man is primarily causing a global warming effect, but there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary put forth by prominent scientists from around the world.

What Does the Scientific Evidence Show?
There is evidence that many parts of the globe have experienced record cold temperatures dating back over one hundred years. According to Professor Tim Patterson, of the Dept. of Earth Sciences at Carlton University, “Many things we thought we knew about the climate system just a few years ago are now proving to be uncertain or quite mistaken.” Also, Dr. Robert Balling, Former Director of the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University, “It’s become quite news worthy to go out and tell people that we are about to have an apocalyptic climate change. And the moment you make that announcement, it’s easy to go around the world and find things to support that viewpoint.” Dr. Vincent Gray, chemist and one of the original chief IPCC researchers, says “The IPCC is a political organization setup by the UN to provide evidence to support the framework convention on climate change; it’s entirely political. They made up what they were going to do beforehand and choose whatever science they (IPCC) could find to support their theory.”

According to Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb) on the Foreign Relations Committee, “This cuts at the heart of national sovereignty of the U.S. We would be saying that we would allow an international body to come in and dictate to our industries, our businesses, our people, what they can do and what they can’t do; the use of what energy, the sources of energy, the cost of energy, etc.”

These concerns about the policymaking of such international organizations like the IPCC have led many to question whether this is an issue of global warming or global governance.

The major premise of “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore is that carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas that drives the temperature of the earth.” According to scientific data studied by scientists such as Dr. Ian Clark, “Carbon dioxide gas (CO2) lags behind temperature changes in history by 800 years; CO2 doesn’t cause temperature change.” And according to Professor Tim Ball, Dept. of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg, “Based on the evidence of ice core studies at the polar ice caps, it shows that CO2 follows temperature, not the opposite. So the fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change by human intervention of CO2 emissions causing temperature changes is wrong.”

Dr. John Christy, Atmospheric Physicist at the University of Alabama and leading author of IPCC report now says “human intervention accounts for a small fraction of CO2 of the atmospheric gases in the atmosphere; that water vapor accounts for about 97% of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. CO2 accounts for 1.9%. Therefore, man is responsible for less than 3% of all greenhouse effect in the atmosphere globally.”

Also highlighted in Al Gore’s “an Inconvenient Truth” presentation is a temperature study report using the MBH Report of 1998, showing significant temperatures rising in the last century like never before in history. What Mr. Gore’s presentation does not show is that the MBH report, named after the authors, Mann, Bradley, Hughes, was wrong and incomplete according to another report that was subsequently released revealing flaws in Geophysical Research Letters by Professors McIntyre and McKitrick in 2006.

In August, Khabibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist who heads the space research sector for the Russian Academy of Sciences, predicted long-term global cooling may be on the horizon due to a projected decrease in the sun’s output. There have also been recent findings in peer-reviewed literature over the last few years showing that the Antarctic is getting colder and the ice is growing, and a 2006 study in Geophysical Research Letters found that the sun was responsible for up to 50% of 20th Century warming. According to data released on July 14, 2006 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the January through June Alaska statewide average temperature was “0.55F (0.30C) cooler than the 1971-2000 average.”

A Need for Clear Thinking 

“My concern is that we may be moving away from an irrational lack of concern about climate change to an equally irrational panic about it,” said Daniel Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at U.C. Santa Barbara. He is the author of Discordant Harmonies: ANew Ecology for the Twenty-First Century. “Many of my colleagues ask, ‘What’s the problem? Hasn’t it been a good thing to raise public concern?’”

According to Botkin, “The problem is that in this panic, we are going to spend our money unwisely, we will take actions that are counterproductive, and we will fail to do many of those things that will benefit the environment and ourselves. For example, right now the clearest threat to many species is habitat destruction. Take the orangutans, for instance, one of those charismatic species that people are often fascinated by and concerned about. They are endangered because of deforestation. In our fear of global warming, it would be sad if we fail to find funds to purchase those forests before they are destroyed, and thus let this species go extinct. At the heart of the matter is how much faith we decide to put in science, even how much faith scientists put in science. Our times have benefited from clear-thinking, science-based rationality. I hope this prevails as we try to deal with our changing climate.”

Global Warming Hysteria and the Role of Al Gore 

So what is behind the hysteria to promote global warming as a reality?

Matthew Vadum, Senior Editor and former CRC research fellow, veteran journalist and editor of “Organization Trends and Foundation Watch” spent seven years at the Washington bureau of “The Bond Buyer,” a daily Wall Street financial newspaper.

In a commentary on April 1, 2008, Mr. Vadum said, “Co-founder of IPCC Al Gore is trying to be a climate change profiteer. Essentially, he wants to make a fortune by creating a new market for a product that he is attempting to create by legislative fiat. If he succeeds and carbon emissions trading comes to the United States, Al Gore will be uniquely positioned to cash in. He’s made sure of that.”

According to Vadum, “Gore himself is chairman and founder of a private equity firm called Generation Investment Management (GIM). He says the London-based firm invests money from institutions and wealthy investors in companies that are becoming environmentally friendly, to use green parlance. GIM appears to have considerable influence over major carbon credit trading firms: the U.S.-based Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and the U.K.-based Carbon Neutral Company (CNC). CCX appears to be the only firm in the U.S. that claims to trade carbon credits. As a politician, Gore speaks warmly of transparency. But as GIM chairman, Gore has not been forthcoming. Little is known about his shadowy firm’s finances, where it gets funding and what projects it supports.”

As reported in the August 2007 issue of Foundation Watch (“Al Gore’s Carbon Crusade: The Money and Connections Behind It,” by Deborah Corey Barnes), with help from friends at Goldman Sachs, including U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and the investment bank’s former CEO Hank Paulson, Gore has created a web of organizations to promote the so-called climate crisis. Meanwhile, Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection is pushing for tougher environmental regulations on the private sector. It wants “cap-and-trade” legislation enacted so that companies will be forced to lower their greenhouse gas emissions and buy carbon credits. Untold billions of dollars could be generated in a brand new U.S. carbon market. When Gore’s potential for immense profits is factored in, the $300 million outlay for ads (some of which is likely to come from donations to the Alliance’s “We Campaign”) seems like a drop in the bucket. If Gore can keep up the pressure for carbon emissions restrictions, he could end up a very wealthy man.”

Why does Al Gore use this Madison Ave. means to instill fear to ratify the Kyoto Protocol of the IPCC to impose international solutions to stop global warming?

Don Young of Alaska, Former Chairman of the House Resource Committee, says that the environment is being used as a power struggle, to cause the U.S. to submit to a one world government. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md) US House of Representative says he’s troubled that there is a tendency now to submerge the sovereignty of the U.S. to the will of the United Nations Organizations.

Bill Clinton appointed a long time friend and colleague Nelson Strobridge “Strobe” Talbott, as a personal advisor on foreign policy, particularly in connection with Russian policy. Talbott also served at the Yale Center for Studies in Globalization. Talbott also wrote an article in Time magazine in July 20, 1992 called “The Birth of the Global Nation.” In this article Talbott predicted US relinquishing its authority to a single global authority. For that he received an award from the World Federalist Association, a group committed to world government, as well as a congratulatory letter from Bill Clinton.

As Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum, a conservative activist group in US since 1967, said concerning Strobe Talbott, that he knew that Americans would never vote for a world government, so instead Talbott and others like him, talk about global governance, a global village, a global economy. They talk about reforming the UN and expanding NATO. Their answer always lies in more international agencies such as the IPCC wielding more control and power over U.S. citizens. And all of these international agencies are gaining their controls and powers from the UN, an international agency with its own agenda and not always in the best interests of the U.S.

Schlafly further contends that “The consensus in Kyoto as outlined in the IPCC report will bind America to reduce energy consumption by 25%, which will have a devastating effect on the American standard of living and the U.S. economy. It will continue to drive more industries out of America for a more global economy.”

The record shows that presently $4 Billion per year is being spent on global warming research. Much of the funding for these research projects have been put together by “Public-Private-Partnerships” composed of multi-national corporations and NGO’s promoting the one world government concept. Since none of these entities are elected, there is little to no accountability to the electorate of the U.S. These partnerships then are free to impose their will on people with no punitive measures. Partnerships like this, which Al Gore is part of, have given them the platform to introduce such entities as the IPCC and the Kyoto Protocol on environmental studies as a stepping stone to control the national and local economy of the U.S., such as the carbon tax put before congress at this time.

Is Global Warming Being Used to Impose Global Governance? 

This is the essence of Global Governance and strategies for a New World Order. Perhaps this is what people like Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank had in mind when he introduced the new business organization “Association of American Free Trade Agreements” before President Bush in 2006. The AAFTA is a separate “non-government” entity to develop a common market and common deregulations for the benefit of the multi-national corporations involved; all sanctioned by top government officials and all supporting and promoting the IPCC Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially nations like India and China. This has resulted in many of the business entities realizing profits as high as 45% while wages for average Americans have dropped significantly.

This information is in the public domain and begs the question; is Global Warming an established fact as some globalists promote or does the evidence indicate that globalists are using tools like the IPCC and global warming to impose global governance in the U.S.? Let the reader decide.

http://en.epochtimes.com/n2/opinion/golbal-warming-governance-2343.html

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This Seminar video by Justin Peters @ http://www.justinpeters.org/ is the best video I have seen on the Word of Faith movement. Since the seminar is available on you tube. I will be doing a series on the Word Faith Movement. Each one with a video clip from Justin’s seminar.

This FOURTH POST is an article on the word faith and OCCULT groups teachings about positive confession.

I hope you will visit his site and consider buying the whole CD set to show your friends and family, or will consider asking your church about having Justin and his seminar at your church. I am going to buy the series and just may send it to a family member who is a word faith preacher. I only wish that those in the word faith movement would see that the WoF teachings are occultic and not from God. Damon Whitsell

A 30 minute DEMO video of the seminar is @ justins site here http://www.justinpeters.org/demo.htm

Positive Confession BY WATCHAMAN.ORG
Positive Confession is the belief that if a believer speaks “spiritual” or “faith-filled” words then he can have what he says. Unfortunately, this influence has invaded the church and continues to cause much turmoil and confusion.

Many of the teachers of the word-faith movement believe that words are so powerful that they can influence the physical and spiritual worlds. For example:

In The Tongue, a Creative Force (1976), positive confessionist Charles Capps, teaches that there are powerful “spiritual” words. Such words, which are ordinary words, can under certain circumstances, become vehicles for creative or supernatural power.

When “faith-filled” spiritual words are spoken (as words of power), they can alter the physical and spiritual world. Capps says, “You see there is more to it than just saying it. The words must originate from the inner man where spiritual power is released through words.”

He goes on to state that “spirit words can control both the spirit world and the physical world. Because the words themselves have power, they will work for either God or man in the same manner.” He goes on:

“The spirit of man is not of this world, it is of the spirit world. The creative ability of man comes through his spirit. He speaks spirit words that work in the world of the spirit. They will also dominate the physical world. He breathes spirit life into God’s Word and it becomes a living substance, working for him as it worked for God in the beginning. These spirit words dominate the natural world” (p. 117-118).

What Capps is alluding to in the above statement is his teaching that since God, “by His faith” (using words) spoke this physical world into existence; the believer, using faith, can do the same. That is, the believer can speak things into existence. However, God’s word is already “quick and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12), and it is referred to as the “Word of Life” (Phillipians 2:16). It is not necessary to activate it by speaking words of faith as though it were asleep or dead! Rather, it is by hearing the “living” word that one is brought to salvation through faith in Christ. (Romans 10:17)

A number of the prosperity teachers believe that the spiritual world controls and continually forms the physical world. So, if one can learn to control the spiritual world, then he can learn to control the physical world as well. This teaching then becomes the foundation for securing individual prosperity.

That is why in Releasing the Ability of God, Capps states, “You can have what you say! (because) the powerful force of the spiritual world that creates the circumstances around us is controlled by the words of the mouth. This force comes from inside us; the confession of our mouth will cause you to possess it” (pp. 98-99, parenthesis mine). This is why he teaches, “Discipline your vocabulary,” and “today your word is god over your circumstances” (pp. 101-104).

Capps also teaches that the power within a Christian, within one’s spirit, functions according to unchangeable laws. He says “These principles of faith are based on spiritual laws. They work for whosoever will apply these laws” (The Tongue, p. 103).

D. R. McConnell, in his book, A Different Gospel, directly traces the origin the spiritual laws taught in positive confession to the metaphysics of E.W. Kenyon, a man of 50-60 years ago whose theology was that of Pentecostal Christian Science (A Different Gospel, pp. 3-56).

McConnell records Kenneth Copeland in The Laws of Prosperity (p. 98, 101) as saying, “You can have what you say! In fact, what you are saying is exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack and want, change what you are saying. It will change what you have. Discipline your vocabulary. God will be obligated to meet your needs because of His word. If you stand firmly on this, your needs will be met” (Ibid., p. 173).

McConnell further states, that E.W. Kenyon’s New Thought classmate, Ralph Waldo Trine, attributes the confession of prosperity to “Occult power.” He says that “Trine believed that thought is a force, and it has Occult power of unknown proportions when rightly used and wisely directed” (Ibid., p. 174).

The usage of Occult powers is, of course, a practice that the Word-Faith teachers would publicly reject. Of course, this is not to say that those offering these teachings are Occultists. They are teachers who may never have thought through the implications of the practices they advocate. They may be unaware of the similarities between certain aspects of positive confession and Occulict practices. Nevertheless, the similarities do exist, and these practices are neither Biblical nor Christian.

John Ankerberg’s issue of News and Views, June 1988, p. 1, reports that these words are used in religious rituals to influence both the spirit world and the material world. The report quotes Occult magician David Conway discussing the power of magical words to affect these worlds:

“Unseparable from magical speculation about words is the theory of vibrations, which supposes that certain sounds have a powerful acoustic impact on both the spiritual and astral worlds. Like the spiritual world and astral plane can in some circumstances be affected by sound, so that verbal magic may be said to derive its power not only from the idea contained in certain words, but from the peculiar vibrations these words create when spoken” (Magic: an Occult Primer, pp. 74-75).

Occultists, of course, have long claimed the true inner nature of man is powerful, capable of exercising divine ability. This is why New Ager Benjamin Creme says, for example, “One doesn’t pray to oneself, one prays to the God within. The thing is to learn to invoke that energy which is the energy of God. Prayer and worship as we know it today will gradually die out and men will be trained to invoke the (inner) power of deity” (The Reappearance of Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, pp. 135-136, parenthesis mine).

The reason that positive confessionists can place so much emphasis on the inner man and his divine power is that they think the believer is a god. Kenneth Copeland says, “You don’t have a god in you, you are one” (Copeland’s sermon tape The Force of Love). And Kenneth Hagin says, “The believer is as much an incarnation of God as Jesus Christ” (Hagin, Word of Faith, p. 14).

To the positive confessionist, scripture passages such as Proverbs 18:21, “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue;” and James 3:8-10 are taken as proof of this doctrine, because they believe as “little gods” they have the same power as God through their own words.

Is it any wonder that Charles Capps says “The confession of your mouth even after you have prayed correctly will determine whether or not you receive. You can release the ability of God through the words of your mouth” (Releasing the Ability of God, 1978, pp. 93, 96).

For Christians words and faith are important, but there is a limit to what words can do.

It can help or hurt a close friend or a total stranger by what one says, but to treat words as if they were some “star wars” type weapon by which one alters or manipulates reality is not biblical, but Occultic. If one could change reality by the power of words spoken, then that would put man on the same level with God. This is exactly what teachers of the “positive confession,” or word-faith movement, claim.

We are told by God Himself that He spoke the creation into existence (Genesis 1). He has not given that power to anyone else!

http://www.watchman.org/reltop/posconf.htm

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This Seminar video by Justin Peters @ http://www.justinpeters.org/ is the best video I have seen on the Word of Faith movement. Since the seminar is available on you tube. I will be doing a series on the Word Faith Movement. Each one with a video clip from Justin’s seminar.

This THIRD POST is an article from Let Us reason.org on the word faith and other groups teachings about MEN BEING GODS.

I hope you will visit his site and consider buying the whole CD set to show your friends and family, or will consider asking your church about having Justin and his seminar at your church. I am going to buy the series and just may send it to a family member who is a word faith preacher. I only wish that those in the word faith movement would see that the WoF teachings are occultic and not from God. Damon Whitsell

A 30 minute DEMO video of the seminar is @ justins site here http://www.justinpeters.org/demo.htm

Who Wants to be a god? by LetUsReason.org

So many people seem to be convinced that the Bible teaches that we are gods. The Mormons, the New Agers and yes, there are a growing number of Christians that believe this as well. Each of these have a different variation on what this means. The Christian view comes from the influence of heretical word/faith teachers that distort the Scripture.

We would be surprised how many people actually say this or insinuate it indirectly. They point to Jesus, who said in John 10 “I said ye are gods.” Many use this statement Jesus said as a Bible doctrine for believers. Let’s look at several famous Bible teachers statements on this Scripture.

“We want to be gods. Jesus said, ‘I said ye are gods’ (John 10:34). It is with the attitude of gods in the world that Jesus wants the Christian to live.” (John G. Lake: His Life His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith, Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1995, p. 13).
Is this the attitude Jesus wants? Not according to Scripture, he wants us to be dependent upon God and deny self and walk humbly, hardly a prerequisite for a god.
Lake also says “I want you to hear what Jesus said about himself. God was in Christ, wasn’t He? An incarnation. God is in you, an incarnation, if you were born again. You are incarnate. “ (ibid p. 196).

The mistake is-born again does not mean incarnate; it means to be regenerated. To go from something that has no life to being alive, to something that had no relationship with God to having one.

It’s not surprising that Kenneth Copeland would publish Lakes statements like these since he agrees with it. As he has stated: “You don’t have a god in you, you are one,” “We are a class of gods.” “Every Christian is a god.” Benny Hinn also agrees and states unequivocally “you are god” “Christians are little gods.” “I’m a God-Man.” With well known men like these teaching this its not surprising so many who listen to them have picked this up.

The fact that Gurus, New Agers, Mormons and some who claim Christianity all claim we are gods and have godlike powers is strikingly similar to what Maharishi Mahesh yogi says “When you know that you are God, YOU WILL BEGIN TO LIVE GODHOOD…”’ Margo Adler a witch says, “We are gods and might as well get good at it.” Anton LaVey explains the core of Satanism “here is one of the essential points of Satanism, attain his own godhead in accordance with his own potential. Therefore, each man, each woman, is a god or goddess in Satanism.” J.Z. Knight who Channeled the fallen spirit Ramtha pointedly says through her “You are God.” Sung Myung Moon leader of the Moonie cult says this, as do so many others. Maitreya the false new age Christ (one of many) says “May this manifestation lead you to see each other as the gods you are.”

What manifestation is this? It’s called the mystery of iniquity that has been in the world since the fall. As David Spangler puts it– “Lucifer prepares man in all ways for the EXPERIENCE OF CHRISTHOOD (Burns: Jay Gary, The Millennium Doctor http://www.cth.com/au/corp/despatch/JayGarybk3.htm, p. 2,3, quoting David Spangler). In new age language it means Christ is the way-shower.

It should be obvious to any Christian familiar with the Scripture that to call oneself a god is a doctrine of fallen spirits, what the Bible calls demons.

Helena Blavatsky in her “the secret Doctrine” wrote: “It is claimed that there exists, for untold ages, a body of supermen”… these according to her view were initiates, the Brotherhood of the Great White Lodge and light. They are known to Theosophists as ‘the Masters.’ The teaching of Theosophy, therefore, consists of information either directly imparted by them” (E.R.Mcneil Theosophy to Christian faith pp.1-2) Blavatsky wrote further “Satan is the door-keeper of the Temple of the King; he standeth in Solomon’s porch; he holdeth the key of the Sanctuary, that no man enter therein, save the Anointed having the arcanum of Hermes” (v. 20 and 21). [Vol. 2, Page 233). She is explaining the Luciferic initiation of those who have realized they are more than man- but supermen.

The Latter Rain movement still growing in its influence has similar affections. In the book the Pattern Son Bill Britton writes at Jesus was the “Firstfruits among many brethren and the PATTERN for many more “sons” to come. He calls this group the Manchild Company – they are the anointed ones and have the right to be called Christ. These are the ones who have reached a “very high level of anointings.” It is the same spirit that is moving these people and many others today to this realization that they are god. It does not matter whether one calls it the divine spark” or self-realization or the higher self, or “god” within every man, it all leads to the same place. Or as Neale Donald Walsch, in his bestseller book “Conversations with God” writes “You are already a God. You simply do not know it.” Isn’t it Interesting how so many spiritual diversities can agree.

Creflo Dollar who claims he is a teacher of Christianity sums it up for everyone believing this, quoting Jn.10:34 and Ps.82:6 he states “Now, notice what He says here, “Ye are gods” small g. You are gods? Somebody says “You trying to say we’re gods?” No, I’m not trying to say we’re gods. He already said it. But what I want to know is Lord, how can we be gods? And He answers it in the next phrase. Because you are the children of the Most High. See if you are truly a child of God, if you were born out of God, you got to be a part of the God class. I know I’m not God. But I’m a child of the Most High…I’m a part of the God class…. But then the next verse says, “Because you did not believe you were gods, you’re going to die like men.” But it says you’re gods. And I said now, Lord, wait a minute here. How we going to prove this? Because I kept hearing over and over again all this week, we need to have a God training class for Christians. So they can start acting … “(Our equality with God through righteousness 1/21/2001)

Notice he says Because you did not believe you were gods you will die like men. Is this what the Scripture is actually saying? It only takes a few extra words to confuse and change the meaning.

Ps. 82:6-8 ‘I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ Lets set the record straight, this Scripture does not mention little gods. Nowhere in Scripture is there a teaching of little gods along with big God, but false Gods verses the true God. So in reality to claim to be a little god is to put one in the category of a false God.

Lets go back to the beginning, when Lucifer a fallen angel shows up in the garden. Speaking to Eve he says “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). When both she and Adam ate of the tree that God told them not to, they knew what evil was experientially, by believing that this fruit would make them like God it caused them to lose their righteousness God originally gave them.

After the fall Adam begot his first son Cain and other sons and daughters in his own image and likeness. All those after are in this same image. This is why the Only true God became a man. When a Christian accepts the heretical teaching of subordinate gods to a greater god they are aligned with the originator of this lie, the teaching of the occult and those who incorporate its message. They are on their way to a great deception, the very one that Paul warns in 2 Thess.2, those who refuse the truth will believe THE LIE!

Anything created disqualifies it from being God. Adam was not a god (as Kenneth Copeland and the Mormons say), and Satan is not a god. Satan is called the “god of this age” because he is worshipped, not because he really is a god by nature.

He has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.(2 Cor. 4:4). In other words he blinds people to see Christ alone is God. Satan did not tell the truth but lied to Eve when he said, “You shall be like God,” and he continues to use the same lie to people today.

Paul taught that Christ (2 Cor. 4:4) ALONE ‘is the express image of God (his person) (Heb.1). No prophet ever thought of them-self as the express image of the invisible God, or that if you have seen them you have seen the father, they knew better. There are too many today who are exalting mans nature to be something the Scripture says it is not. Only Jesus is the exact image of God in man. Man has the image of God but this does not make a creature God, godlike, or in the same class. There is only one God and he always existed, this is why no creature can ever be equal to its eternal creator.

The Hebrew word for “likeness” (demuth) simply means similarity or resemblance, not identity. The term itself actually “defines and limits” the word “image” (Hebrew: tselem) in order “to avoid the implication that man is a precise copy of God, albeit miniature” (R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981, 1:192.)

God never said man is a god or in a god class as some claim. In fact, if we look at past and future history we can identify the ones who claim this.

The past- Isa. 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

It was Lucifer who through the king said he would be like God in the past. Ezek 28:2-6 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ yet you are a man, and not a god, though you set your heart as the heart of a god (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god…” v:9 “Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, in the hand of him who slays you.”

The future- 2 Thess. 2:3-4 “the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

Everyone who claims to be a god, the true God shows they are not, by bringing death to them. Jesus will slay the antichrist, the man of sin who will be worshipped as god by the word from his mouth. Zeph. 2:11 “The LORD will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth”

Let’s not forget in our modern time one of the worst collective murders in history. It was Jim Jones who let the idea of being a god completely deceive him and near 1,000 people were affected by going to their deaths with him. He said “It is written that ye are gods. I’m a god and you’re a god” (Jim Jones, quoted in J. Reston, Jr. and N. Adams, “Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown” program on National Public Radio, 23 April, 1981.)

Satan’s methodology is to lower Jesus’ nature and exalt man’s to be equal to Christ using the same lie he deceived himself with. We should understand from the Scripture that to claim to be a God, big or small is what Lucifer did to himself and influenced man into sin.

With this background lets to the passage that people are using to prove they are little gods.

John 10:32-39 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),”do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;” but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

Notice Jesus answered them by pointing to the Old Testament, and is using it to argue His exclusive deity as the Son of God, having a unique relationship to the Father that no other has. Jesus is responding to the Jewish leaders who had accused Him of blasphemy. In Jn.10 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees. Are the Pharisees gods? Would someone that did not believe in Christ being the Son of God and were his enemies be considered a little god by Jesus?

To understand him further we must go to a context of a passage quoted by Jesus to see what he was trying to convey. Psalm 82:1-8 “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are unstable. I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.”

In its context it can only mean something that is not flattering. Jesus in John 10 is mocking them as if to say, You all think you’re gods yourselves (rulers) and rightly so (this is a tongue and cheek expression). But you do not recognize THE God among you. The Pharisees were blinded to who Jesus truly was.

Ps. 82:6-8 ‘I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ This was addressed to the judges of Israel they were called gods not because they were divine but because they represented God when they judged the people. The word Elohim is used for God, men and angels, but it is never used for man or the angels to imply they are God but as rulers of certain positions in the world. The word here is Elohim, it is applied to an aspect of God, as God was also to be ruler and judge over the people so He installed human rulers to do the same (see Deut.19:17-18). God called the unrighteous judges of Israel “gods” (Elohim). The Psalm Jesus is quoting is a put-down of corrupt judges and leaders who were abusing their authority and it has a lot of irony in it. The word Judges is found in Ex.21:22; 22:8-9 it is Ha Elohim (other scriptures of how the acted are found in Deut.1:16;16:18; 25:1; 2 Sam.11:7).

As with any verse we need to read it in its complete context to get the whole meaning the author is writing. Then we are to go to other passages that may relate to it. Remember this is God’s word and will not contradict itself. Isa. 3:13-15 “The LORD stands up to plead, and stands to judge the people. The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders of His people and His princes: “For you have eaten up the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the faces of the poor?” Says the Lord GOD of hosts.

Jesus uses this to pronounce sentence on leaders who were not ruling over the people correctly. Instead they were showing partiality to the wicked and neglected defending the weak. They are wicked in that they do, they do not champion the cause of the poor or helpless. This is what Jesus is referring to in John 10 when he reminds them by quoting Ps.82. They are rulers with the authority God gave in this office. Considering this quote is in the gospel of John that upholds the deity of Christ, it makes this even more severe that certain men would take this out of the context and apply it to themselves. As v.5 says “They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.”

He is conveying that if unjust judges are called to rule with power and authority, how much more the Son of God whose authority they willfully rejected. Jesus is being sarcastic in a way only those familiar with the Scripture would understand. They accused the only man who ever could legitimately call Himself “God” of blasphemy. And Jesus’ response is if God called men “gods,” (rulers) then Jesus is not blaspheming if indeed He is God.Jesus’ point is that the word of God cannot be broken (v.35) and then points out he was sent into the world by the Father and called himself the Son of God. So He could not be blaspheming. This was all done according to the Scripture. They were given authority to rule by God but they would not bow to his authority. They did not recognize the true God was among them who called himself the Son of God.

Notice Ps.82:6 also says they ‘will die as mere men and fall as one of the princes’, the prince that fell was Satan. This is sarcasm. Jesus is saying ‘the scripture cannot be broken’ referring to the Psalm. They thought they were like God but they will die as mere men. Then they will know the difference between the true God and their own mortality of man. Ps.82 ends with verse 8 ‘Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.’ This points to only true God who can be called God, who eventually will judge and rule over everyone justly.

Let us go elsewhere in Scripture to see if the New Testament supports the teaching of men being gods. Paul and Barnabas were mistakenly called gods: “And when the multitudes saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker … But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth….” (Acts 14:11-15). Paul did not say, “we are not Zeus and Hermes but you are right, we are gods.” He said we are of the same NATURE as you and He turned them to the only true God, the creator. Here Paul and Barnabus unequivocally denied they were divine or any type of god. Were they ignorant of their new nature? No, not at all. They knew the true God and knew their relationship to him as men; so they could never claim to be more than they really were.

If the little god theory was true Paul would not have said this but he did not believe what some men teach today and would certainly identify it as a teaching not from God but from the devil.

To imagine that we are gods when we are saved is to misunderstand our condition, even though we are new creatures in Christ. Even though the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives, it does not mean that we have been deified! If man is deified, surely we also have to accept the doctrine that we are sinless! Yet, the Scriptures deny that we are sinless, even after our salvation (1 John 1:9).We are still sinners waiting for the full redemption of the body that has the sin nature.

There is something spiritually and fundamentally wrong with people who say they are gods.

And what is the affect of those who call themselves little gods? They believe they can call things into existence, they will be rich and successful like the big god they serve.

Isa. 41:21-24 “Present your case, says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons, says the King of Jacob. “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination.”

Here God challenges those who claim they are in control like God, and those who listen to them instead of the true God are disgusting to him. For he began his challenge to them all so they can come to a true understanding of God.
V.20 “That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Ps. 86:8 “Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord” Ps. 95:3 “For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods.” The Scripture says there exists ONLY ONE GOD; therefore any other that is called god is false by its nature. Genesis 1 says “In the beginning God.” If you were not there with him as him, then you are not God or a god.

As Paul clarifies in1 Cor. 8:5-6 “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”

The greatest evil is to call oneself God when they are not. Since there is only one true God no one can ever be in the same class as a creature created by God. This is a delusion of unprecedented proportions to call oneself a god, it is the height of arrogance. It is the same sin in the beginning that caused Lucifer, the greatest creature God created to fall. And it is this same deception that will be rampant in the end.

Here’s what the God of the Universe says in Jer.10:11: “The God’s that have not made heaven and earth will perish.” This means any who claims to be God [god] are in the same category according to the one true God. This certainly means all Gods with a small g or a big G. Nowhere in Scripture is there a teaching of little gods verses big God, but instead false Gods verses the true God. In reality, to claim to be a little god is to put one in the category of a false God. All those who say this will find themselves sharing the same fate of false gods. If you are one of those who believes this, its time to reconsider. You may well receive the same punishment as those other false gods who are not the one true creator.

http://letusreason.org/Wf36.htm

There are several steps to becoming Born Again, listed below:

1. Understand that ALL men ever born are sinners. Romans 3:23, says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This message that all men are sinners is amply repeated through Scripture . This means you are a sinner in the eyes of an angry God, Who must punish all sin. Do you believe you are a sinner?

2. Since man is an imperfect sinner, and God is a perfect God, no man can save himself. Jesus made this fact very plain in Matthew 5:48, when He said, “Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”!!!
If we all have to be perfect in God’s eyes, how can there be anyone in Heaven, especially since the Bible declares, repeatedly, that ALL people are sinners? Obviously, no one is going to get to Heaven this way, by trying to be ‘good enough’ to merit Heaven. Since the Bible says there are going to be untold millions of people in Heaven, there must be some other way to get there, other than by trying to be ‘good enough’.

You must also be very sorry for your sins, and want to have them forgiven. This is known as Repentance. The word Repent means to both be very sorry for your sins, and to want to not sin anymore. Repentance means the desire to turn your life around 180 degrees. This does not mean you will never sin again, but it does mean that sin will become the exception in your life, not the rule.

3. When the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary, He died for the sins of His people in their place as a sacrificial substitute. And in doing so, He suffered the wrath of God the Father upon their sin. He paid the penalty for that sin in His own body and purchased their eternal redemption. This enables Him to give as a free gift His own holiness and righteousness to those who believe in Him and trust Him for salvation. making them absolutely perfect in God. s sight! Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” None of us deserve to be saved; in His love and mercy God extends grace to those who will believe. Grace is defined as “undeserved favor” and perhaps this little acrostic will help you to remember its meaning: G od. s Riches At Christ. s Expense. [The true meaning of GRACE]

4. In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul reiterates this teaching that eternal life with God is a free gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” No man can stand before God in eternity, and boast that they ‘earned’ their way to Heaven. All people in Heaven will be there only because of Jesus’ FREE Gift, which He obtained from God because of His substitutionary death sacrifice on the Cross. Rather than punishing each person’s individual sins, God heaped all those sins on Jesus on the Cross Isaiah 53:2-12]

Now, you are probably thinking, ‘How can I obtain this free gift of eternal life’? Again, the Bible is not silent. In Acts 16:25-33, the jailer anxiously asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved”? Paul answered “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved …” verse 31″. You must BELIEVE on Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. To truly believe, you must place your complete faith and trust in Christ and rely upon Him as your only hope of salvation and eternal life. This is a matter of the heart and you cannot hope to deceive God by putting on an act because He knows everything about you. Many people mistakenly think that by merely believing the facts concerning Jesus Christ. s death, burial, and resurrection, they will be automatically be given the gift of eternal life. But such is not the case. Preachers call that a “head knowledge and not a heart knowledge.” Salvation is freely given, but only to those who are genuine believers.

5. In John 1:1, 14, we see that Jesus Christ is God, equal with God, present with God from before the beginning of time, and the actual Creator of the Universe. He is 100% God and 100% human at the same time, which is why He used both titles during His ministry, Son of God and Son of Man. To become Born Again, you must believe this doctrine about Jesus Christ.

Verse 14 is most important, the teaching that Jesus God became man. This teaching becomes a point of separation between the followers of Christ and Antichrist. In 1 John 4:1-3, we see that anyone who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh is the spirit of antichrist. That is just what the Gnostics of that day were saying, i.e., that Jesus the human was not God Messiah come in the flesh; rather, the ‘Christ Consciousness’ the ‘Messiah’ Consciousness, came on Jesus at His baptism and left Him on the Cross; they believe Jesus was not God and Man. The New Age Movement and Freemasonry have resurrected this blasphemy with a vengeance.

6. Isaiah 53:6 foretells exactly what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross; “the Lord [God the Father] has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Praise God!! Only the Wisdom, Grace, and Power of God Almighty could conceive of such a gracious Plan of Salvation!! God’s Nature is such that sin must be punished. Period! But, God set up a Plan whereby an innocent substitute was to be punished instead of the guilty person. In the Old Testament, God allowed the lamb to be the substitute sacrifice for sin; Jesus then became the ultimate substitute sacrifice, for all the sins of the world. His was the Perfect sacrifice, that never needs to be repeated, and that saves all people forever more.

You must believe in, and understand, this principle of Substitute Punishment, before you can become Born Again. And, you must believe that Jesus Christ became the Perfect Substitute Punishment for YOU, before you can become Born Again.

Now that you understand these Truths, and believe them for your life, you now need to understand how you can obtain this FREE Gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. After all, if I were to attempt to give you a FREE gift, that gift would not become yours if you were to refuse to reach out and take that gift from my hand. So it is here. You must reach out and take this FREE Gift of Eternal Life from the hand of Jesus Christ. How is this done?

Through Saving Faith .

Notice I said Saving Faith . There are types of faith that will not get you saved. You may have ‘head knowledge’ faith that merely intellectually assents to the facts of Jesus Christ’s person, but that is not Saving Faith. You may be in a ‘church’ or a cult that teaches many truths about Jesus Christ, but who teach that you must do many things to earn your way to Heaven. This is not Saving Faith.

Saving Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for your Salvation.

If you think you need to do anything for Salvation except trust in Jesus work on the cross, you are guilty of violating Ephesians 2:8-9 and Isaiah 53:6b. Most cults and false Christian religions err at this point; they add things that are “necessary” for Salvation, or they offer a counterfeit way to Heaven, i.e., Salvation by Baptism.

Do you want this Gift of Eternal Life that Jesus left Heaven and died on a cross to give you? If your answer is, ‘Yes’, you can immediately have Eternal Life.

Let me clarify exactly what this involves. First, you are going to transfer your trust, your hope of eternal life from what you have been doing to what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross. Jesus will take your sin and transfer TO YOU His right standing with God the Father, what we call His righteousness . This means that though we have failed repeatedly to keep God’s commandments, Christ perfectly obeyed all the laws of God. He lived the perfect life, so He could be the perfect, innocent substitutionary sacrifice that God would accept for your sins, and the sin of the entire world, for all who will believe.

http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/salvation.html !!!!!!!!

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more about “The Plan of Salvation from the Bible …“, posted with vodpod

 

 

The video and video page commentary that goes with the video, is below this article from religioustolerance.org (a religiously neutral site), The article is titled “THE AFTERLIFE: BELIEFS OF INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS” But in reality,,, all the groups proclaimed by them to be “Christian denominations” are really aberrant Pseudo/Christian CULTS.
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This is THEIR summary statements about these CULTS afterlife belief.
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Christadelphians: Only those who have heard the Gospel will be resurrected from the grave and be judged. The rest will remain dead, without consciousness, forever.

Christian science: Hell is mental anguish, not a place of separation from God. Heaven is harmony and bliss, not a place of reward.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Hell does not exist; the unsaved simply die and are no more. The earth will become a paradise after Jesus returns.

Mormons: There are 3 levels to Heaven. Hell exists, but very few go there.
Seventh Day Adventists: Heaven exists. Hell is not a place of eternal torment; it is a place where annihilation occurs; people who go there cease to exist.

Twelve Tribes Communities (a.k.a. the Messianic Communities): There are three possible destinations after death: eternal death, God’s eternal kingdom or the Holy City, New Jerusalem. One’s destination depends upon one’s behavior while alive on earth.
Unity School of Christianity: Heaven and hell do not exist as places, but as states of consciousness while we are alive on earth.
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Now we will look at the MORE FULL ASSESSMANT of 4 of these groups and their beliefs on Heaven and Hell (you can read religioustolerance.org assessment of the other groups at the link below). Then we will delve into the motives for these non biblical views of the after life and some logical reasons that hell is real and eternal.

Like the atheist or Reincarnationist, Cult members and cult groups have the physcological need to “re-interpret” the biblical view of eternity and divine judgment. Their souls have not been laid to rest by the doctrine of Grace and total, efficacious sufficiency of that Divine Judgment being poured out on Jesus Christ to make complete atonement for our personal sins.

IN the Cults, the doctrines of redemption and propitiation have been removed. And the atonement is minimized as NOT THE WAY but merely a stepping stone to salvation by works. Therefore, everlasting punishment for sin has to be rejected and removed for sake of the consciences of the Cult members, and potential converts, to bear.
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The Christadelphians
Their name is taken from the Greek in Hebrews 2:11 which translates to “brethren of Christ.” They believe that individuals who have died without hearing the Gospel will remain dead, without consciousness forever. They are to be annihilated at death. There is a division within the group:

The Amended Group of Christadelphians believe that the dead who are “in Christ” will be resurrected and judged at the time of the Second Coming of Christ. Those who have tried to pattern their lives after Christ’s example will be granted immortality. They will live on Earth, restored to its Eden-like state. The wicked will consigned to the “second death.” They will be annihilated and cease to exist.

The Unamended group believe that all of the dead who had been saved will be resurrected and automatically have eternal life in a restored Earth.

Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, repentance and baptism are all required to be saved.
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Jehovah’s Witnesses
Members of The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (WTS) believe that Hell does not exist. They interpret Hell symbolically as the “common grave of mankind.” Most people simply cease to exist at death; they are annihilated, and do not continue to exist in any form.

The Heavenly Kingdom was established in 1914 CE. A “little flock” or “Anointed Class” of about 135,400 people currently inhabits Heaven. Another 8,600 are still alive at the present time; will also spend eternity with God at a later date. The battle of Armageddon will start soon. Jesus, under Jehovah’s divine rage, will execute vengeance upon the rest of Christendom and followers of “Babylon the Great” (other religions). After the world is purified, a theocracy “God’s Kingdom” will be established on earth for 1000 years. Those who survive Armageddon, the “other sheep,” will live in peace in the newly created utopia — a paradise on earth. They will be joined by the worthy dead who have been resurrected. After 1000 years of God’s Kingdom, Satan, his demon forces and all those rebellious ones who turn against God will be finally destroyed.

In order to be saved, a person should:

accept the doctrines formulated by the WTS Governing Body,
be baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, and
follow the program of works as laid out by the Governing Body. 6,7,8
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Mormons
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that not one, but three heavens exist:

The highest levels of the Celestial Kingdom are reserved for Mormon couples who have been married in a Mormon temple and thus have had their marriage sealed for eternity. The couples can eventually become a God and Goddess; the husband will then be in control of an entire universe. Christians who are non-Mormons and have led truly exceptional lives will also spend eternity in the Celestial Kingdom.
The Terrestrial Kingdom, is the destination for most individuals.
The Telestial Kingdom is for “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers” (D&C 76:102).

Individuals will learn and progress within the Kingdom to which they are assigned at death. However, with the exception of those in Hell, they are not allowed to transfer to the next higher level. (D&C 76:70-107) Couples who are not sealed (married in a Mormon temple) will be automatically divorced at death and spend eternity as single individuals.
Hell exists, but very few people will stay there forever. Most will eventually “pass into the telestial kingdom; the balance, cursed as ‘sons of perdition’, will be consigned to partake of endless wo [sic] with the devil and his [fallen] angels.” (Doctrines and Covenants”, 76:84). Sons of perdition have been defined as once devout Mormons who have become apostates by rejecting God’s truth and have left the LDS church. This appears to be the official teaching of the church. Other Mormons have a broader definition and include persons who have knowingly committed a very serious sins and have not repented and sought God’s forgiveness — sins like murder and pre-marital sex.

All will be resurrected. Their belief in Universal Resurrection states that “the unbeliever, the heathen and the child who dies before reaching the years of discretion” will all be brought back to life. (Articles of Faith, Page 85).

Additional benefits beyond simple resurrection will be gained by those who do good works.
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Seventh Day Adventists:
The Seventy-Day Adventists believe in the traditional concept of Heaven and Hell. However, they do not believe that Hell is a place of eternal punishment “with sinners screaming in agony without end.” They view Hell as a place where the unsaved will be burned up, reduced to ashes, and annihilated.

They cite Biblical verses to show that the “‘everlasting’ in ‘everlasting hell’ means ‘as long as there is something to burn in hell.’ Our God is a loving God and to portray sinners as screaming in agony forever and ever does not portray God in such light.” 1
Here is the link to the article. http://www.religioustolerance.org/heav_hel3.htm
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Now we will hear from a friend (Tommy) at a MSN group that I visit. Here is his moderate sized post on the subject @ http://groups.msn.com/ChristianDiscussion/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=1&ID_Message=97222

The horrors of hell are such that they cause us to instinctively recoil in disbelief and doubt. Yet, there are compelling reasons that should cause us to erase such doubt from our minds.

First, Christ, the creator of the cosmos, clearly communicated hell’s irrevocable reality. He spent more time talking about hell than he did about heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount alone (Matthew 5-7), he explicitly warned his followers about the dangers of hell a half a dozen or more times. In the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), Christ repeatedly warned his followers of the judgement that is to come. And, in his famous story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16), Christ graphically portrayed the finality of eternal torment in hell.
Furthermore, the concept of choice demands that we believe in hell. Without hell, there is no choice. And without choice, heaven would not be heaven; heaven would be hell. The righteous would inherit a counterfeit heaven, and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in heaven against their wills, which would be a torture worse than hell. Imagine spending a lifetime voluntarily distanced from God only to find yourself involuntarily dragged into his loving presence for all eternity; the alternatve to hell is worse than hell itself in that humans made in the image of God would be stripped of freedom to worship God against their will.

Finally, common sense dictates that there must be a hell. Without hell, the wrongs of Hitler’s Holocaust will never be righted. Justice would be impugned if, after slaughtering six million Jews, Hitler merely died in the arms of his mistress with no eternal consequences. The ancients knew better than to think such a thing. David knew that for a time it might seem as though the wicked prosper in spite of their deeds, but in the end justice will be served.

Common sense also dictates that without a hell there is no need for a Savior. Little needs to be said about the absurdity of suggesting that the Creator should suffer more than the cumulative sufferings of all mankind, if there were no hell to save us from. Without hell, there is no need for salvation. Without salvation, there is no need for a Savior. As much as we may wish to think that all will be saved, common sense precludes the possibility.
Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”
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So Why do Cults say that hell is not an eternal pace of everlasting punishment???

Wouldn’t you if you where not RESTING in Jesus and his death on the Cross as God’s sacrifice for your sins.

Damon Whitsell
How2BecomeAChristian.info.
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WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT…HELL?

HELL IS A REALITY

An earmark of cultic religions is their views about hell. If they do not use the fear of going to hell to bring people into bondage, then they try to discount hell altogether. One of Satan’s favorite lies is to try to convince people that they suffer their hell on earth and that there is none hereafter. He also tries to get them to believe the lie that death only brings a state of sleep or rest. Another doctrine teaches that hell is only temporary and eventually after being in the fires of hell people become cleansed and purified to the degree that they will then be accepted into heaven. These terrible heresies are believed by many Christians who are ignorant of what God’s Word has to say about it. Cults also teach that hell is a place where souls are simply annihilated and therefore no longer exist. Some teach reincarnation, giving people another chance to be born on this earth for as many times as it takes to become purified, progressing to higher forms each time they return. Others say hell is only a place away from God, but it is not a literal burning fiery hell. All of these are lies of Satan to cause people to minimize the reality of hell.

What does the Bible say about hell? To make a point, Jesus described this place as such a place of horror that it would be better to sever a member of our body that would lead us there, than to end up in that place of torments.

“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).
We don’t have to cut our limbs or pluck out our eyes to be free from hell, Jesus made a way for us to escape this evil through our repentance and acceptance of what He did for us on the cross when He died for the sins of our flesh. However, we see clearly that His statement signifies the exclusion of the hope of restoration and that punishment is eternal once a person is there. He repeats the words, “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,” three times for emphasis.

Another account of the torments of hell is found in Luke 16:19-26:”There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Hell is described not only as a fiery place of torment, but also as a separation from God and His saints, a place where there is continual torment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ker6uxWRTg0

A FEW RELATED POST 

What is a (Pseudo/Christian) Cult? by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart  

What are the Characteristics of Cults? by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart

The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

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