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Tag Archives: Christianity

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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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.
____________________________________________________________________
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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Tired of trying to be a prophet, avatar or visionary but can’t get anyone to blindly follow you? Have you always wanted to know how to manipulate people in the name of any deity, religion or philosophy you want to hide behind so you can advance your OWN agenda of nakedly abusing power? Look no further!

A Debate with Jose Silva Leader of Silva Mind Control ( Dr. George DeSau Psychologist and Graduate of Silva Mind Control) DEBATE John Weldon and Dave Hunt on the John Ankerberg Show.

Silva Mind Control History

Silva began developing the method; formerly known as Silva Mind Control, in the 1940s before launching it commercially in the 1960s.[1][2]. It developed out of Silva’s conviction that the thoughts and actions of 90% of the world’s population were governed by the the left hemisphere of their brain; limiting them using only logical, intellectual, objective means of problem resolution. Silva believed that by training people to think with both the right brain hemisphere as well as their left they could access information stored at a subconscious level. [1][2] According to Skeptical author Robert Carroll, the Silva method appears to be based on the work of Roger Wolcott Sperry, but with Silva’s own twists in it that make it an inaccurate model. [1]

The Rest of the Article on Link Below http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silva_Mi…

Christian or New Age Mind Control Cult ? TAP BELOW FOR ARTICLE http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/C…

What qualifies a group as a cult? Both the sociological and the theological perspectives are examined using nifty, easy to remember visuals.

I think it was February 2005. I was hanging out in WinMX chatrooms and decided to visit some more chat rooms that I used to like to visit. So I was hanging out in the “Biggest Secret” chatroom. Then a guy named ROB REVERE popped in and asked if I have seen an audio copy of Adolf Huxley’s “A Brave New World”. I had not. BUT I had heard of the book so I went to looking, found a copy, contacted ROB and hooked him up with a copy. He had told me he was starting a Patriot/Truth movement radio network. I had just started my very first website (which is not even available on the wayback machine) and I told Rob,, hey I might want to do a radio show, and THUS STARTED MY LOVE OF DOING RADIO.

I love to study up on a topic, select accompanying topical music, and create audio clips from different sources like mixing movie quotes and jokes with music and stuff like that, kinda like a montages. And I had the pleasure of interviewing several people who are way more knowledgeable about certain things than me. It is way cool to get to interview ‘experts” in a field of study. So I have been working to get back into radio and make some entertaining yet educational radio shows,, for Jesus.

After my second show,, another host at Revere Radio Network named Sonny Crack (not his real name) asked me to do a show about how I came to know God. After thinking about it. I made this show, which was my most popular of about 50 shows, especially for another host named REX84. I was the seventh host and Rex and another host liked to call me and Rob Bible Thumpers. And Rex had said he especially hated the Christian Rock band called Stryper. So I made this show (with some Stryper included) as a sort of testimony and invitation for Rex to accept Christ as his Savior. So this radio show is basically a big part of my life,,,told with music,, and words when required. It is a story about me and my God.

DISCLAIMER: There is some cursing from myself on this radio show. It was a common thing there to get called names to get cursed out. We held open round table discussions and it got really heated many times. And since I was the guy on the network mostly giving the biblical aspect of what we talked about, I had to be tough, yet graceful,, while trying to represent the Lord at that radio network. So if you think cursing is bad under any circumstance, even when used to express emotion, you should probably not listen because I do drop a few “F BOMBS”.

Rob Revere ended up telling me that my testimony show here was one of the best radio shows he had ever heard. So I think you will find it worth the time, enjoyable, inspiring, educational and maybe even funny. I tell about some of my experiences with bi-polar/manic depression and mental hospitals. About my near death and “angel experience”. And some of the most deepest and scariest things to ever happen to me. It’s all pretty much right there on my sleeve for you to read. 🙂


THIS IS HOW JESUS RESCUED ME!!!

Click the link below to listen to the show,,, or to download the show. I hope you enjoy

http://www.archive.org/details/RadioBlastFromThePastTheProject86ShowWithDamonWhitsellMyStory

Why Mormons Leave: by Sandra Tanner

From a training session for Christians at the first week of 2009 Manti Pageant.

History of the canon and how we got our bible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCLLCYyVWYQ

http://www.youtube.com/user/Knowwhere…

Thanks to Chris White of http://nowheretorunradio.com for making all his videos available for download and re-distribution here http://conspiracyclothes.com/nowheret…

If you have not checked out Chris’s ministry, your missing out. See all the revelation radio guys radio shows here http://www.revelationsradionetwork.com/ and here http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Revelati… and their video channel here http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Revelati…

 

This video basically discusses how witchcraft is being pushed on children in America and all around the world through the media, entertainment and education. This is something every parent should take a long look at to make themselves aware of the truth of a Pagan Agenda that is targeting today’s children.

This is one of the best debates I have ever heard. I did not know anything about brother keith until yesterday. He is freinds with Chris White from Nowheretorun Radio, and Frankie Lordie from Revelation Radio so I suspected his work would be good. I WAS NOT LET DOWN. TY bro Keith

Is Christianity a religion of peace?

Representing the Christians side:
Keith Thompson
-www.keithtruth.blogspot.com
– has debated Nadir Ahmed and Rich Rodriguez

Representing the Muslim side is Sami Zaatari
-www.muslim-responses.com
-has debated Dr. James White, Sam Shamoun, David Wood

At the end of this debate, the Muslim moderators did not allow Keith to finish and allowed the Muslim debator to continue. In this video, Keith refutes some additional assertions made.

 

GOD’S GENERALS: The Legacy (includes Todd Bentley, Jim Goll, Benny Hinn, Roberts Liardon, and more)

 

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more about “The Logic of the Plan of Salvation“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

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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The Doctrine of Autonomous Self: A Hidden Idolatry
By A. Sutono

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven,

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:11-15)

I. Background

In this text, Isaiah describes the fall of Lucifer, as well as the cause and effect of it. We learn the cause of him being eternally condemned by God from v.13 and 14 is that he is so filled with pride and self-adoration that he declares himself to be worthy to ascend into heaven and be exalted above the stars of God. He considers himself to be as equally valuable, as equally worthy, if not more valuable and more worthy than God himself that he should be like the Most High. In response, God removed him from his original state and declares that his splendor be nullified and brought down to shame, and he himself be brought down to hell, to a place of eternal torment which is the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) forever as his eternal destiny. When Lucifer was removed from heaven, his name became Satan, and was cast to the earth. In the account of the Fall in Gen 3, after which God offered the promise of deliverance through the atoning work of the LORD Jesus Christ on the cross implied in v. 15, we may observe the correlation between Satan’s sinful ambition to what he tempted Adam and Eve with, which eventually led the couple to sin against God and caused the entire humanity to be totally and hopelessly depraved and under the same condemnation that Lucifer has as a result. The correlation is clearly seen in Gen 3:5, when Satan, disguised as a serpent, said to Eve, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Here are the double lies being offered to Eve springing out of the same principle behind his botched coup attempt; first, that she would be like gods, and thus independent, able to rule over herself apart from God, and secondly, there is not one God, but many gods; each is sovereign over himself or herself.

From here, I would like to state the thesis of this article before expounding further:

1. That the doctrine of autonomous-self, or often referred to as “free-will”, whether it be “Christian” or non-Christian one, though may not appear explicitly, originates from the same spirit by which Lucifer rebelled against God, that is, the spirit of self-idolatry.

2. That the doctrine of autonomous-self is indeed a non-Christian doctrine because there is nowhere in the Bible that teaches such a doctrine and therefore, should be rejected by all true Christians.

I would like to first define what an autonomous self is. I would then attempt, by the use of the first thesis, refute the free-will Arminian argument to defend this false doctrine, particularly in regard to the Fall, salvation, and all the affairs of the world. Finally, I would close with the Biblical basis of my refutation with the exhortation given in the second thesis.

II. Definition of Autonomous Self

Throughout history, there are many who teach the doctrine of autonomous self, among whom is Pelagius. I would now quote from John Owen [1] on what Pelagianism teaches about the autonomous self:

“According to Pelagianism, God gives grace to all who hear the law and the gospel preached. Those who do this are persuaded to repent and believe by the promises of the gospel and the threatenings of the law. The things taught and commanded in the law and gospel are seen to be not only good in themselves, but so utterly reasonable that anyone would gladly receive them if they were not so prejudiced ( i.e., men can themselves respond favorably to the gospel preached by believing in the message without any regenerating work of the Holy Spirit), or deliberately chose to continue with their sinful life. Man has only to consider these promises of the gospel and threatenings of the law to remove these prejudices and so reform himself. When man believes the gospel and obeys it of his own free will and choice (again, no external divine influence at work to convince him of the truth of the gospel, on the contrary, this conviction comes out within himself), then he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, enters into all the privileges of the New Testament, and has a right and title to all the promises concerning both the present and the future life. So say the Pelagians. Thus man converts himself, and the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit are both excluded. All that is needed is the ability to persuade him to repent of his sin and believe and obey the gospel.”

In other words, the doctrine of autonomous self teaches that men in both unregenerate and regenerate states is completely independent and capable of self-determination of what is good and bad for him (hence the term autonomous) and from which make decision without any external divine influence or swaying to a particular direction.

To understand what autonomous-self is more clearly, let us look at Sproul’s definition of autonomy [2]:

“To be autonomous means to be a law unto oneself. An autonomous creature would be answerable to no one. He would have no governor, least of all a sovereign governor. It is logically impossible to have a sovereign God existing at the same time as an autonomous creature. The two concepts are utterly incompatible. To think of their coexistence would be like imagining the meeting of an immovable object and an irresistible force. What would happen? If the object moved, then it could no longer be considered immovable. If it failed to move, then the irresistible force would no longer be irresistible.”

Then for the definition of autonomous self, I would borrow from David Wells [3], defining the autonomy generation as:

“…those who belonged in this outlook saw themselves as being at the center of life, as being responsible only to themselves, as having the sole hand in deciding what beliefs to hold and what behaviors to follow.”

And therefore, continuing to quote Wells [3]:

“… the self becomes the main form of reality and the pursuit of its rights and unique intuitions, even in the face of others, is what life is about.”

My comment to Prof. Well’s definition is this. Isn’t the autonomous-self then the essence of prosperity gospel, where Christ has been reduced to a lackey or a genie to serve us to accomplish our agenda whether that be family, or money, or career, or, self-healing, self-improvement or anything other than Christ himself? Some may say they don’t believe in prosperity gospel but believe in free-will in the autonomous sense. This, in my view, is an implicit endorsement of the prosperity gospel.

II. Refutation of the Arminian Argument of Autonomous Self

Now I desire to refute biblically a familiar argument in regard to God’s sovereignty in salvation and all events throughout the course of history. In addition, I would also attempt to show the spirit behind all these arguments tends to resemble that of Lucifer as written in Isaiah 14:13-14. Before I go on doing so, however, I would like to point out ‘the goal of the commandment is love’. I can understand new Christians who believe in autonomous self, because I was like that. I tend to think it is natural for new Christians to have such an understanding of how salvation and all the affairs in the world work. I acknowledge I need the humility to understand those who are slow to grasp the truth in the sovereignty of God over all things. The fact is the LORD had mercy on me to reveal what I consider a precious biblical truth of his sovereignty that I have come to love, embrace, and desire to defend with hopefully a holy zeal, holy motive, yet with humility as well in this article. And may the LORD grant the grace to change and transform hearts and minds into ones that acknowledge and submit joyfully under his supremacy over all things (Col 1:18).

The argument that I would like to refute (though there has been many more qualified pastors and theologians than me, past and present who have done this, but I would try to do it from hopefully a different point of view), is a common free-will Arminian / Pelagian argument which was the first Arminian article in their remonstrance brought by Johannes Uitenbogaard and Simon Episcopious in 1610, which was refuted by the Calvinists’ Counter Remonstrance at the Synod of Dort in 1618-1619, in regard to how salvation works as follows. This first article stated the following: “God’s foreknowledge, that is, divine election was conditiond on foreseen or foreknown faith”. In other words, it says “faith is the cause of election” the basis of which is for example in Rom 8:29, refers to God knowing in advance of who is going to believe by their own free will and who is not, and from there God elects them to be saved. Thus man’s faith existing apart from God’s will but from the man himself is the cause of God’s election. In other words, it all starts with man’s free will to choose to be saved. Men are the Alpha, the beginning, not God. Then based on each independent isolated individual’s decision to believe or to desire to be saved where God has nothing to do with because this comes out completely and independently from man and not God, God is obliged to save them because they have faith to believe. Here men call God to account and demand that because they initiated to believe the Gospel, God is required to save them. So God’s sovereignty consists in submitting himself to and making sure the wills of men are carried out. God is not free in ordaining anything because He is subject to the will of men that he values very much even more important and above himself. Here is the worst kind, the most blatant, the most arrogant, and the most blasphemous of man-centered doctrine that is nowhere taught in the Bible, and an example how the Scripture like Rom 8:29 is distorted to serve man’s needs or if I may borrow John Piper’s quote[4], the gospel has been abused for ‘psychological form of mind control’. I regard this Arminian stand on the free agency of man and God as the most self-centered among man-centered doctrines, even more man-centered than opentheism.

Opentheism at least admits the future is unknown, even God has no control over it and anybody could change it. The Arminian doctrine in regard to the free-will of men as we have discussed is worse than open-theism because it teaches the future is already known, at least in regard to salvation, who is saved and who is not, and who makes this decision before the foundations of the world is men. Then God responds to each individual decision either by saving or condemning. Here is the kind of abomination that I dread has been prevailing in the minds of many Christians, because this is how they were taught by man-centered, world-loving, money-loving preachers. Those who teach this doctrine usually insist that God is still sovereign and omnipotent. But I sense this is simply a futile attempt to cover up their self-centeredness and thus, self-idolatry. God, despite his omnipotence, has been domesticated to serve man’s needs. His omnipotence has become subordinate to man’s will and it is his to use for his benefit. Man makes the call first independently out of his own self-determination of good and bad. Then it is God’s turn to follow up on man’s actions and decisions, whether to clean them up if they are sinful, or to bless them if they are good.

As Mark Talbot says [5] (he explains it in the context of opentheism, but I believe it is applicable here as well) that the doctrine of autonomous self teaches that God values man’s free will so much that he is willing to pay any price. God is really good in cleaning things up to the point that the alternative plan B that he executes looks even better, more perfect than the botched plan A that man has frustrated. So in a way, the doctrine of autonomous self treats God like a lackey or a genie in a bottle whom man can stir as he pleases and wills. Everything God does is for the benefits of man, and here is man, the center of the universe and God’s idol. Therefore, men are not only the Alpha, the beginning, but also the Omega, the end of everything God does and the whole entire universe work for. This, I fear, may God forbid, is the desire behind those who embrace the doctrine of autonomous self which is nothing but the very ambition of Lucifer to be exalted above God (Isa 14:13-14) because the resemblance between the two is striking. It is all about desire for control, as Dave Wells pointed out behind autonomous self [6]:

“This preoccupation with the future is really about control. At least, it is about our attempts at controlling the future as it crests into the present by being able to position ourselves to avoid what is disagreeable and to capitalize on what is advantageous. Indeed, we even go further. We imagine that the future begins in our minds and we can actually create it.”

At this point, I would point to Scripture texts (that I also included somewhere else [7]) that I hope the LORD uses to show the fallacy of the doctrine of autonomous-self, to humble its proponents and exhort them to embrace the doctrine of absolute sovereignty of God over all things. While these texts tend to be self-explanatory in themselves but I shall attempt to expound a little on each:

– “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13). John says the decisive power to become the sons of God ( v.12), i.e., to be saved, does not come from man’s will power, but God’s (v.13). Therefore, contrary to what the first remonstrance article says that faith is the cause of election, John says election is the cause of faith. God initiates salvation, not men. Men are dead in their trepasses (Eph 2:1). Physically dead people do not and can not have any desire (inclination) and ability to eat, drink, work, because they are dead, their brain is dead, their heart is dead, their digestive system is dead, and there is no way for them to revive themselves. So also dead Lazarus was unable to revive himself until Jesus called him and infused life to his body to revive him. (John 11). Lazarus did not revive himself. Jesus did. And thus Lazarus couldn’t brag he was alive because of his free will to be alive. Likewise, it is impossible for spiritually dead people to have any desire for God. Their heart is ‘desperately’ or ‘hopelessly’ wicked as Jer 17:9 says. St. Paul affirms the total depravity of humanity apart unless God changes this heart of stone with the heart of flesh (Ez 36:26-27) because “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law. Nor can it do so.” (Rom 8:7). Notice the last part that says “Nor can it do so.” So let us not brag that we have the free will to be christians or we in our sovereignty “decided” to be christians. Let us not think of ourselves more highly than we should (Rom 12:3) but with sober judgment, I’d say, of who we were, and what we are now, and who God is. Do not rob God of something He did and claim we did it. The faith, the willingness to believe, to embrace Christ as our treasure, our LORD does not come from our self-determination, but He purchased it on the cross.

– “All the plans of the LORD stands firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11). God has written down the course of history from the beginning to the end. All his plans will happen, stand firm forever. Everything originates from Christ and returning to Christ, and the details for everything on its way returning to him is fixed and unchangeable (see also Heb 1:2-3, Rom 11:36). God does not make mistakes. God is not a God who is good in cleaning up mess created by men and coming up with plan B. Nobody can frustrate nor thwart nor prevent God from doing anything he wants, Dan 4:35, “All the people of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand, or say to him, ‘What have you done?'”

– “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) God has written down not only the entire course of history before the foundations of the world, but also the scenario of each individual who ever lives, past present and future. This is good for believers for two reasons (but may cause free-willers to feel dejected because they don’t desire God to make the call for them, they desire to make the call themselves). First, it teaches humility that you and I are creatures and God is God. We have absolutely no right over ourselves because we don’t own ourselves, God does. Secondly, this is good news because God knows you and me better than we know ourselves. Therefore whatever plans he has for us can be guaranteed to be the most absolute best for our good and the magnifying his name first and most importantly (see Rom 8:28).

– “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isa 46:10-11). God is free to do anything he wants according to the pleasure of his will. His decision making is not constrained by anything, not by the will of men, not by the wills of angels, not by the will of the devil. He is absolutely free in making any calls. Isn’t this what it means to be God? If God has to submit beforehand in his foreknowledge to men’s decision to be saved or not to be saved, then men are gods, and God is their lackey.

A question then arises, “How, despite crystal clear words from the apostle that believers are slaves of Christ (e.g., Rom 6:18,22), can there be such an arrogant doctrine as the autonomous self in Christian churches?” The answer is because the LORD Jesus Christ is an infinitely good, gracious, merciful, patient, loving Master. He is not a hard Master at all. Men, seizing this opportunity arising from their deep-rooted corruption inherited from the Fall, reinforced by the temptation of the old serpent, abuse the kindness of Christ for their own glory. Men, out of their odious mind resulting from the stench infected to them from the Fall, distort the grace of the Savior to serve their own vanity, and so distort the message of the gospel, that is the pursue of God’s (not men’s) glory in salvation through Christ. Since Christ is so patient, then it is their opportunity to question him, to hold him accountable to them, and thus, what John Piper pointed out [8], that men placing themselves on the bench and putting God in the dock, instead of the other way around (he actually quoted this from C.S. Lewis). I sense free-willers would feel uncomfortable in hearing what God’s goal is in everything he does in Eph 1:5-6, “… he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasures and will, to the praise of his glorious grace.” that God saves men not because he makes so much of them, but for the praise of his glorious grace, that his name may be magnified, cherished, worshipped for his great mercy upon mankind, “…that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Rom 15:9). The only way to cure this discomfort is to acknowledge and repent of the pride and the self-idolatrous spirit behind the doctrine of autonomous self, renounce it, and embrace the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God who causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called, those he called he also justified, and those he justified, he also glorified. Amen.

References
1. J. Owen, “The Holy Spirit,” The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998, p. 76-77.

2. R.C. Sproul, “Chosen by God,” Tyndale House Publishers, October 1986, Ch. 3, p.?

3. D. F. Wells, “Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World,” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, p. 234, 153.

4. J. Piper, “Woe to Those who Trample the Son of God,” Desiring God Ministries (audio), April 13, 1997, http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL…he_Son_of_God/

5. M. Talbot, “All the Good that is Ours in Christ: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do Us,” Desiring God National Conference, Minneapolis, MN, October 7-9, 2005.

6. D. F. Wells, “Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World,” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, p. 239.

7. A. Sutono, “The Defense for the Sovereignty of God in the Fall of Man,” Nov 25, 2006.

8. J. Piper, “Pastoral Thoughts on the Doctrine of Election,” Desiring God Ministries, Nov 30, 2003, ttp://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL…e_of_Election/

ttp://www.christianchatforum.com/articles/elect.shtml

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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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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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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.

——————————————————————————–

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.

——————————————————————————–

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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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.

====

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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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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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes?  <- link LIVE RADIO TUESDAY 10pm on BlogTalkRadio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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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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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes?  <- link LIVE RADIO TUESDAY 10pm on BlogTalkRadio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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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

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