Posted in america, christianity, discernment, heresy

The biggest heresy in America

Listening to John MacArthur’s second sermon this morning, on “Why The World Hates Christians, part 2” he mentioned an 11-month-old survey done by Ligonier and LifeWay Research. The research involved identifying the biggest heresy in America. Before MacArthur revealed what it was, I’d thought it might be Prosperity Gospel, or Charismatic errors. Nope.

Here is what Ligonier/LifeWay found: The biggest heresy in America was a denial of human depravity. Human depravity is the concept that after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, all humans from that point on are completely unable to see the things of God, to do any righteous deeds pleasing to God, or to respond in any way to God. We are completely unable. Our inability renders us dead in our sins, and being dead in our sins renders us unable. We need God to draw us to Him, to make us see Him, and to be able to respond to Him. This doctrine means, we as humans prior to repentance and justification, cannot “choose God.” As John MacArthur explains complete inability:

This doctrine has been called “Total Depravity,” but I feel that the “total depravity” is a misleading term.  If you look up “depravity” in the dictionary, it’s a synonym for viciousness.  It’s a synonym for being vile.  In fact, to be depraved, according to the dictionary, is to be degraded, debased, immoral to a dangerous degree like rapists and serial killers.  The word “depraved” sort of connotes a level of evil that’s just not applicable to everybody.  To say someone is totally depraved, you know, you think of Jeffrey Dahmers, or Charles Manson, or somebody who has not a vestige of human goodness, and void of all normal affection and restraint.  To call someone “totally depraved” would set them outside normal people as vicious perverts.  

That is not what is meant when theologians refer to total depravity because not everybody is as bad as they could be, and not everybody is as bad as everybody else.  What we’re talking about here is what I’ve chosen to call “absolute inability.”  What is true of everybody is we have no ability to respond to the gospel.  We are completely unable to raise ourselves out of a state of death.  We are completely unable to give our blind hearts sight.  We are completely unable to free ourselves from slavery to sin.  We are completely unable to turn from ignorance to truth.  We are completely unable to stop rebelling against God, stop being hostile to His Word.  

We are not only unable but we are unwilling to do that, unwilling to repent, unwilling to believe.  And if we are to repent and to believe, then it must be like it was for Lazarus, where God who commands the dead to rise has to also give them the power.

The church I used to attend is just such a church, participating in promoting the biggest heresy in America. From the pulpit and in Sunday School the Calvinist-hating pastor used to promote the notion of “free will” and our ability to choose Jesus as Savior. He would talk about our minds having just a ”flawed rationale’ and ‘clouded thinking’, not the fact that the Bible states we are completely blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) and totally unable to do anything for God. (Romans 3:10). Five minutes into one Sunday School lesson he explained free will and on that same Sunday in a 20 minute sermon he mentioned it again 5 more times. Talk about indoctrination. And this was just a dinky little Southern Baptist Church in a rural county.

Here is a web page listing all the verses which explain man’s incapability to choose God.

With such indoctrination about the false concept from churches from east to west, and on television and in books and in movies that we have freedom to choose Jesus, it’s no wonder that this heresy has grown so monstrously pervasive. I’m glad Ligonier/LifeWay named it a heresy.

Here is an excerpt from their research conclusions-

Thanks to a recent survey by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research we now know the biggest heresy in America. Pushing errors regarding the trinity and the church into second and third place is the denial of the Bible’s teaching about the doctrine of sin, especially in the related areas of human depravity and human inability. I say “related” because what we believe about human depravity impacts what we believe about human ability; what we are determines what we can or cannot do.

Regarding human depravity, the research showed: 

  • 67% agree “Everyone sins at least a little, but most people are by nature good.”
  • 40% agree “God loves me because of the good I do or have done.” 

Regarding human inability, the statistics were: 

  • Only 16% agree with the doctrine that says “people do not have the ability to turn to God on their own initiative.
  • 71% of Americans agree that “an individual must contribute his/her own effort for personal salvation.”
  • 64% of Americans agree “a person obtains peace with God by first taking the initiative to seek God and then God responds with grace.” 

In summary, the vast majority believe that: 

  • Though we sin a little, by nature we are good.
  • We can do good and God rewards our good deeds by loving us.
  • We have the ability to turn to God on our own initiative.
  • Salvation involves us taking the initiative that God then responds to.

Go to the link above for more information and Ligonier’s infographic. Their conclusion was this:

“The future belongs to Christians with conviction.”

Is that you? Do you stand by what you believe? Are you strong on biblical knowledge and exhibiting a practical holiness? Because now is the time to know what you believe, why you believe it, and be ready to defend it- at all costs. Luke 14:28.

Posted in discernment, Eve, heresy, Jesus bible, the shack, william p. young

Eve, an upcoming book by William P. Young of The Shack; The heresy continues

William P. Young is an author of religious stories. You might know him as the author of the runaway bestseller a few years ago, The Shack. (2008). He also wrote Cross Roads in 2012. Young said The Shack was fiction, nonetheless he used biblical theology to twist God’s word and manipulated the “fictional narrative” to present a different Jesus, a different Holy Spirit, a different God, a different view of sin and a totally different view of the atonement. Young’s book harmed Christians by insinuating Young’s aberrant theology into their minds, all under the sensitively emotional flow of ‘fiction.’ You can read a substantive Christian review of The Shack here at Tim Challies’ site.

In addition, I did some digging and discovered that Young channeled some of The Shack. Channeling is when an author turns off his mind, gives it over to a supernatural entity, and allows that entity to write the book for him. The writer is then simply a vessel used by an entity on the other side (a demon) speaking what the demon wants said. It is an occult practice that is surprisingly prevalent. One example is Beth Moore channeling “When Godly People do Ungodly Things.” An ironic title when a supposedly godly person channels demons to teach about God.

Stay away from The Shack.

Unfortunately, Young is not finished with writing, and he has another book of religious fiction coming out. It’s called “Eve“. Read some of the promotional material describing the upcoming book Eve below-

Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional misconceptions about who we are and how we’re made. As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

I want you to double down and really think about what is being said here. This is a discernment lesson on how to resist language that is designed to get you to succumb to curiosity and read a heretical book. I am going to re-paste the same blurb from above with some words highlighted and then explain why they are highlighted.

Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional misconceptions about who we are and how we’re made. As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

Any time you read that someone has discovered a new way to interpret the biblical narrative, RUN. Key words are “unprecedented” and “breathtaking discoveries.” How can a text be ‘true to centuries of scholarship’ yet yield discoveries no one else has ever noticed? Has the Holy Spirit hidden these new interpretations until now? From everyone except Young? No. Just think of the pride and hubris here. Everyone, just everyone has gotten it wrong about Eve, and Wm. Paul Young as he likes to sign himself, is the one man to find out the real interpretation.

“Challenge traditional misconceptions.” ‘Tradition’ is a loaded word, used by bible twisters to paint Christianity, or the Bible, as irrelevant. It’s another way to say what Young said in The Shack, subtly undermining Christianity, with using the word ‘old’, such as “the old seminary training wasn’t helping” and “he half expected him to pull out a huge old King James Bible…”. When a word is used like that enough times within the story, slowly the reader comes to accept the undermining. And again, the hubris and pride here is evident. We have all been shackled to misconceptions and “faulty interpretations”, and William P. Young is going to “free” us. With a book. Of fiction.

You can have a pretty good idea what these so-called interpretations are that “have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.” All this hyperbole makes it sound like it is another Bible, the book Eve is going to be that startling and powerful. But secondly, given the age of feminism, I am surmising that Young is going to throw out there an egalitarian view under cover of supposed scholarship coated in narrative and then when the blow-back comes coyly say, “It’s just fiction…”

Here is more of the blurb seeming to affirm that indeed, feminism is on the table:

Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained to cultural rules or limitations.

In an interview, Young said of his new book,

Having said that, most of the existing assumptions we have of the Genesis story have been told from an either/or, and dominantly male, viewpoint rather than holistic and human, and I believe that has had a devastating impact on our view of God and our relationships, one with the other. This novel is not intended to add to the existing adversarial divisions but look for something deeper and truer about us as human beings that will bring freedom to us all.

The Genesis story has been told in God’s point of view. If the Word is absent a response or perspective from Eve, that is because God arranged it that way. And yet it isn’t absent. Both their answers to God’s questioning were recorded. Both were – ahem – equally cursed for disobeying. It is not up to Young to re-frame it.

Secondly, there’s that coyness again, dis ingenuousness, or outright lie. The book Eve IS intended to add to the existing adversarial divisions, because in another interview Young said he fully expects his ‘evangelical friends’ to be upset.

Thirdly, there is that hubris and pride again. Young is saying here that his interpretation of the Garden story of sin has found something truer (than the Bible?!) and will “free us all.” Jesus freed us, not Young. His Word frees us, not Young’s new interpretation of it. Wm. Paul Young is going to free us with his new interpretation? RUN.

Young says that for 40 years he has had questions regarding those moments in the Garden. Quite often the false teachers will seek to affirm their piety by placing a lengthy time frame on something. I’ve been studying for 10 years…I prayed for several hours…Beth Moore told a long story about her 21 days of fasting before coming to some sort of epiphany, which she then taught to the audience. Here, Young seeks to buttress his faulty scholarship by placing it within a long time frame because he seeks to give it substance.

I understand his fascination with that moment in the Garden that changed everything. I have read and re-read Genesis 1-3 many times. My favorite places to go in the Bible are the early part of Genesis and all of Revelation, tremendous bookends. There are many questions, some that can be illuminated by the Spirit with proper scholarship and consistent with traditional interpretations for the last 4000 years, and other questions that will not be answered this side of the veil, if ever. God put in His word what He knew would benefit us and what He wanted to put in there. So we wait, and if it still matters to us in heaven, we an ask there. It’s part of submitting to the authority of God and of trusting Him

However, Young’s questions are sad. He said he has for 40 years asked:

–What happened?
–Where did we all go wrong?
–What is it about us as human beings that can produce such great wonder and do such catastrophic damage?

Answers: “What happened” is contained in Genesis 1-3. Period. It is clear and beautiful and enough.
We “all went wrong” when we absorbed Adam’s sin-nature. Biologically, generations subsequent to Adam and Eve changed when disobedience (sin) entered their heart and mind. Witness son of Adam, Cain, who killed his brother, failed to properly worship God, and backtalked Him. At the Fall of Man, God cursed the earth and prophesied about the pain and anguish Adam’s rebellion will bring to all future generations. This is information that is presented clearly in Genesis 3. Anyone having trouble with it means they repudiate the corrupt nature of our biology and the fact that we are all born sinners. (Psalm 51:5, Psalm 14:3, Romans 3:12, Romans 5:12).

The reason some “humans produce great wonder” is that they are energized by the Holy Spirit to do such wonders. And remember, what seems a wonder to us is not a wonder if it is not done in Christ and for Christ. Anything done in the flesh is a filthy rag to God, even what seems a wonder to our innocent or ignorant eyes. (Isaiah 64:6). Others who remain in sin do “catastrophic” damage to each other and to our Holy God, as did Eve and Adam, because satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. That’s what sin does. It is always a catastrophe. These are not difficult concepts.

Questions answered.

Now, I am not totally being flip when I say that. Young is a perfect example of the verse which warns that some are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7). For 40 years Young has been seeking answers to questions that are already answered in the Bible. He continues to ask them because he does not like the answers.

Some, like Young, “… devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.” (1 Timothy 1:4).

CONCLUSION

At some point, a Christian must come to a settled conviction about what they believe. It might seem pious to wonder about why it all went wrong for 40 years, but it actually betrays the heart of an unregenerate person. When one engages in endless speculations, one cannot witness to truth. If Young wondered for 40 years about the origin of sin and its effects, then he does not understand our need for a Savior from that sin. A person who doesn’t understand why we need a Savior is not a Christian.

When I say we must come to a “settled conviction,” I’m not talking about uninformed dogmatism. The Spirit’s ministry is to make scripture clear. Ask Him to help you come to an informed, grace-filled conviction. Once you know what you believe and why, you can witness with power.

I am being tough on Young and advising you my dear sisters and brothers strongly about the language that Book Publishers are using to arouse curiosity regarding this book. Young himself said in an interview that he understands that many of his evangelical friends will be alarmed at the concepts in the book. Therefore Young said to “read first and ask questions later.” That is exactly what the serpent got Eve to do! Eat first, ask questions later. Don’t fall for it. Book promoters are good at whipping up curiosity. If you read “Eve“, you will become frustrated and upset at the twisting going on, or you will succumb to the confusion that endless questions bring and begin to say “yes, maybe he has a point…”

You will also be shocked to see some of your favorite, previously solid bible teachers, friends, pastors, celebrities you admire, extol this book. Apostasy is growing. Like a magnet sweeping up iron filings, the attraction to apostasy is proving irresistible to many. Books like these naturally draw out the serpent’s poison that is already in them. However it is still saddening and discomfiting when we hear and see comments from teachers and leaders we once thought of as discerning suddenly swerve and extol the left path, and not the right one.

It is all for the glory of God however. Whom He allows to be drawn to these false notions about Him and engage in unedifying things (Philippians 4:8) it is for the purpose of showing who the genuine Christians are. Bear fruit, stay the course, pray always, and exalt Jesus with your heart, mind, strength, tongue and heart. These things please our Sovereign. And that is what we are put on earth for.

Shorter Catechism-
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, [a] and to enjoy him for ever. [b]

[a]. Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11
[b]. Ps. 16:5-11; 144:15; Isa. 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil. 4:4; Rev. 21:3-4

Posted in heresy, jesus, prophecy

Apostasy: the church’s carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after enough inhalation of carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is deadly! Now that the heating season is here, we should be careful with woodstoves, gas stoves, and other heaters that incorrectly set or maintained, can emit this deadly gas. So what is carbon monoxide (CO) and how is it produced?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heresy monoxide poisoning occurs after enough inhalation of heretical monoxide (HO). Heresy monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect. Now that Perilous Times are here, (2 Timothy 3:1) we must carefully shepherd our faith, which incorrectly maintained, can succumb this deadly gas.

What is heresy (HO) and how is it produced?

Heresy (HO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various sins, including greed, envy, adultery, gossip, fornication, idolatry, and thievery. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion of false teachers, unsaved pastors, unqualified deacons, vision casters, and power mongers also produce HO. It infiltrates silently on the backs of words containing ideas contrary to what is written in the bible and entertained in the mind for any length of time. What makes it deadly is that it is difficult to detect and initially non-irritating and non-threatening.

What are the symptoms of HO poisoning?

  • Headache from listening to emergent sermons
  • Fatigue from battling false doctrines
  • Shortness of breath from gasping at the loudness of rock and roll “worship”
  • Nausea from platitudes from the pulpit
  • Dizziness from being tossed back and forth over the waves (Eph 4:14)

High level HO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

Mental confusion
Vomiting
Loss of muscular prayer life
Loss of conscience
Ultimately death

To avoid Heresy Poisoning, breathe the pure air of biblical doctrine, congregate with fellow believers, pray constantly, remain vigilant about burning off sins completely, by casting them to the feet of Jesus and repenting of them.

Posted in bible, false teacher, heresy, pope francis

Pope Francis tweets wrong doctrine. Would you know how to refute it?

The Pope is on twitter. He tweets things. Here are two religious thoughts he tweeted today.

Mary was a sinner, in need of a savior, just like the rest of us. (Luke 1:47). She died and went to heaven, and is awaiting her resurrection body, just like the rest of us. She is not queen of heaven nor is she the mother of the church. Praying to her is forbidden as it is forbidden to pray to the dead or commune with the dead. Catholics consider Mary a mediatrix, interceding for us to Jesus. This is the same as a “medium” and it is strictly forbidden.

GotQuestions: Praying to the dead is strictly forbidden in the Bible. Deuteronomy 18:11 tells us that anyone who “consults with the dead” is “detestable to the Lord.” The story of Saul consulting a medium to bring up the spirit of the dead Samuel resulted in his death “because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance” (1 Samuel 28:1-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14). Clearly, God has declared that such things are not to be done.

In addition, the bible says we have many mothers and none of us is an orphan!

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:29-30)

And once again, the bible refutes the pope’s comment: the bible tells us who our spiritual mother is: the heavenly Jerusalem.

But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. (Galatians 4:26).

Commentary: “Believers are children of the heavenly Jerusalem, the ‘mother-city’ of heaven”. (J MacArthur). So you see, we are all set for mothers. Mary need not apply.

We have to “let” Him? What if we don’t? Can we stop Him? Of course not.

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3)

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

Did you know that Catholics are taught that all redemption of mankind was up to Mary? Here is from a Catholic Apologetics site. The mediator they are talking about is Jesus.

God permitted the Redemption of mankind to depend on the free-will decision of a human being. Whether or not we would have a mediator was dependent on Mary’s “yes.” Had there been no “yes” from Mary, there would have been no mediator.

You can readily see that the above verses regarding God’s sovereignty in His plans and purposes have no meaning for a Catholic, including Pope Francis.

Know your bible by reading it. This will allow us to be able to refute these comments when we come across them. Neither will you be confused, if you know what the bible actually says.

Read it today. It does a body-mind-soul-spirit good!

Posted in heresy, history channel, the bible series, tolerance

The Bible series: what can we expect?

David Nilson at The Gospel Coalition put his punctuation on the History Channel’s The Bible series with a concluding essay. Here is how he ended his piece:

“The Bible might not excel as an education tool, at least it isn’t brazenly heretical. For an American cable TV drama, that’s probably the best we can expect.”

That’s just sad.

There are three thoughts in that sentence that I want to pursue a bit further.

–not excel as an education tool
–brazenly heretical
–the best we can expect

Let’s look at the stance that the tv series does “not excel” as an education tool. The opposite of excel is “bad, failing, imperfect, indistinguished, inferior, poor, second-class, second-rate, unnoteworthy, unworthy”. So if we plug any of the antonyms in his sentence we can say of the series instead , 

‘The Bible might be unworthy as an education tool.’
‘The Bible might be inferior as an education tool.’
‘The Bible might be bad as an education tool.’

Then there is the notion that ‘At least it’s not brazenly heretical.’ CARM defines heresy as “A doctrinal view that deviates from the truth, a false teaching.”

Brazen means bold and without shame. So we can translate his phrase by saying, “At least the false teaching is not too bold.” That’s like saying, ‘at least the manure I’m eating is not too pungent.’ Not too brazen? Like, we can mange living with its discomfort, as opposed to something that would really anger  Jesus?

Too often we forget how devastating false doctrine is. It is an infection that destroys. It is a lion who devours and kills, not a cuddly kitten who accidentally scratches us as it reaches for the yarn.

And the best we can expect? I might agree with that, as long as he understands that none of the front-people involved with developing the series are saved. In that case, we can say with certainty that we never expect the world to present biblical truths with integrity or correctly. I think of James 4:4 here-

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

If he believes the people offering theological oversight such as TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren and the producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are saved, then saying “at least it’s the best we can expect” is a sad indictment on our expectations of the glory and beauty of Jesus. Even in this polluted world, especially because the world is polluted, Jesus shines through His ambassadors, missionaries, witnesses, people. For any Christian who submits to His will and works, we can expect great things, because He is great.

In the same essay, the author states that the production values were great. The movie looked good. And the music was pleasing too! It sounded good.

Words like these help us lower our standards on the height and majesty of Jesus. It sinks us into a pit of slime we eventually become used to. People, don’t become used to it. Satan is the master of incrementally lowering our standards. Just a little bit here and there, flash over substance. I’m reminded of the pivotal scene in the 1987 movie Broadcast News, where Albert Brooks tries to convince Holly Hunter that the important moment in her life had arrived. The moment where we make a choice to accept a little bit of flash to satisfy the flesh, or to sacrifice and stick with substance.

It’s the scene where Brooks, playing Aaron, tells Hunter that the object of her affection (Tom) represents everything that concerns her about the journalism profession’s downward slide. He says, “Tom, while being a very nice guy, is the Devil. He will be attractive. He will be nice and helpful. He will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation. He will never do an evil thing. He will never deliberately hurt a living thing. He will just bit by little bit lower our standards where they are important. Just a tiny little bit, coax along, flash over substance.”

Looking good and sounding good are not enough. IS it good? It is only Good if Jesus is in it.

So, did the series “The Bible” meet your expectations? It depends on where your standards are.

Posted in discernment, false, gnostic, heresy, jesus culture, kim walker smith, passion 2013

Part 1- Discerning a Gnostic conference called "Passion 2013," Jesus Culture and Kim Walker-Smith

A major ‘Christian’ conference at the Georgia Dome was just concluded this week. It was called Passion 2013 and 60,000 youths attended.

Joining founder and leader Louie Giglio at the conference were the band Jesus Culture, Judah Smith, Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, Francis Chan, John Piper and Beth Moore, plus several other speakers and singers.

As with any large “movement”, or sellout venue that says it features Jesus as its centerpiece, we wish to rejoice. Our hearts want revival. We want to see many come to know Jesus to the salvation of their souls. We love to praise Him in large numbers. But being a discerning Berean, I know that the bible says that the end time will be rife with false movements, false Jesuses being proclaimed and that they will not endure sound doctrine and will heap up teachers to themselves who tell them what they want to hear. So where does Passion 2013 stand in terms of doctrinal purity, safe  absorption of its proclamations and general joy in corporate praise?

Sorely lacking.

The alert-meter is off the charts on this one and I am sad to say that from the many hours I’ve invested in listening to what came out of it I have more tears than applause. I will write a series of blog entries addressing some of the major speakers and singers doctrines. I do this so that we can be warned and so that we can begin a rescue operation toward those whom we know who attended or who are influenced by these people. I do this because I love the Jesus of the bible as He has revealed Himself- not as the one experienced by others in visions and signs. I do this because I love my brothers and sisters and do not want to see them stumble over this obstruction satan has put in their way.

Which Jesus was preached at Passion 2013? Let’s find out by looking at what its participants said at the conference and prior in other venues. So who are these people? Let’s begin by looking at a band called “Jesus Culture”

Source Do Not Be Surprised via Twitter/Giglio

In my first essay reacting to what was taught at Passion 2013, I want to take a look at Jesus Culture’s lead singer, Kim Walker-Smith. After that in subsequent entries I’ll look at Louie Giglio and Judah Smith before concluding.

Kim Walker-Smith [Notice her hyphenated name, and read Genesis 2:24] is a part of the Jesus Culture Band. She is part of a home church called Bethel Church in Redding CA. Smith is a worship leader and/or a “worship pastor” at that same church, which teaches heresies. On her church page she is listed as as “a passionate worship leader with an anointing to bring an entire generation into an encounter with God.” I’m impressed. The Apostles didn’t even have such an anointing.

At a conference called ‘Awakening 2011’ Smith shared with the audience a vision she said she had. It was an experience of cuddling with Jesus, and God was nearby too. She said her vision buoyed her and she lives off it, explaining, “I live off of the encounter … until the next one.” Yet the bible says “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4). This means we don’t live just in the flesh and for the flesh (having adrenaline rushed encounters) but we live by His word.

The problem that comes from living from encounter to encounter is three-fold: first, we live by His word as the bible commands, not by experiences. Second, human nature requires ever bigger rushes. The last one has to be topped. It is the Law of Diminishing returns for an adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline junkies seek encounters or experiences in which a high is produced by epinephrine released by the adrenal gland. It produces a fight-or-flight response (one which Ms Smith admits she felt during each of the encounters she described). The problem is that each ‘high’ has to be succeeded by one with more oomph in order to achieve the same effect. It seems like it would be an upward spiral but it is really a downward one. Third, what happens when the encounters stop? They do and they will. After each high, there is a low. What will sustain her faith then? If you live by the word, it will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35).

Here is a bit of what Mrs Smith said regarding her encounter with Jesus and God:

“This is not a normal thing for me, to have these encounters.” But then later she said “I live off of the encounter … until the next one.” We know from the bible that several righteous men encountered Jesus as He is glorified, but they are few. Few. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John were lifted up and saw Him in heaven. Of those four, three were allowed to relate a small bit of what they saw and Paul was commanded not to speak of it at all. Peter saw a transfigured Christ on earth, Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and Moses encountered God atop Mt Sinai.

In comparing her experience with the ones above from the bible, the two experiences are dramatically different. I’ll summarize what Mrs Walker-Smith has said in her video testimony. Then we will compare her experience to those who experienced God from the bible’s record:

In her vision, she said she saw Jesus and God behind Him. God beckoned for her to come closer. When she did, two questions popped into her mind that she wanted to ask Jesus. One was “How much do you love me, and the other was “What were you thinking when you created me?”

In answering her question as to how much Jesus loved her, Smith said he started stretching out his arms, and it looked like Stretch Armstrong, the superhero cartoon character “whose arms and legs could stretch out like spaghetti noodles. And He’s laughing hysterically.”

A person entering the presence of God and Jesus would become immediately insensate & insensible. But Mrs Smith remained conscious enough in her own flesh to ask Jesus to ‘tell me about me.’ Then she likens him to a cartoon character, and says he laughed hysterically. Hysterical laughter is out-of-control laughter, and Jesus is never out of control.

The bible tells us that if you were one of the FEW men to have seen heaven while still alive that what you see is unlawful to express. (2 Corinthians 12:4). But if directed to tell, the visionary must use many symbols and metaphors to try and get the point across because the scene is so incomprehensible. The writer uses exalted metaphors to convey the inexpressible beauty and holiness of the scene. The writers did not use everyday toys and cartoon characters to convey the scene, in no way is that appropriate. The metaphors themselves that John or Ezekiel used for example were ‘hair white like wool, eyes like a flame, feet like bronze’, (Revelation 1) ‘a brightness all around Him…like a bow in the sky.’ (Ezekiel 1:27-28).

After Daniel’s visions of the Ancient of Days, he became “distressed, alarmed and dismayed.” (Daniel 7:15). That sounds bad enough, but the Hebrew says the word alarmed means active suffering and piercing grief. (Strong’s). Yet in Mrs Smith’s visions she giggled like a schoolgirl and cuddled in Jesus’ arms while God roamed around nearby.

Mrs Smith said that she had wanted to ask Jesus two questions but in that first vision had only asked one. She continued in her sharing of her now second vision in which the unasked question was answered: “What were you thinking when you made me”. She said that a few months later she was watching the sun come up early in the morning. “I like to watch the sun come up, which is a miracle in itself … because I am not a morning person.” Oh wait, I thought she was going to praise the creator.

“Again, I felt the presence of the Lord, and I felt like He wanted me to ask that question. Jesus is like, ‘Please, please ask me that question.’ And again he said, ‘Please, please ask me that question.”

The scene she describes here is of a begging Jesus. It continues:

Smith said she’s now standing with Jesus. In front of her is God the father. Jesus’s got a table, and He reaches into His body and clutches his heart and rips a chunk off His heart and throws it on the table… he fashions her out of a clay or play-dough like substance, puts her into a ballerina music box where she begins dancing, and then Jesus begins shouting “who hooooo” while running around with his arms up, continually going around, “woo hoo!” in circles, running around a bunch of times. Smith said he looked like a jack in the box.

“Then I’m in the palm of the Father’s hand…and I see His heart and the outline of his heart and the outline is the chunk he ripped out and he slides me into His heart like a puzzle piece and it’s a perfect fit. Smith said Jesus told her, “I made you because you make me happy.”

A few days ago, I wrote about the Therapeutic Gospel. I noted how the Gnostic changes the emphasis of the Gospel from the work of Jesus to our own worth. I’d said:

The Therapeutic Gospel does something else that’s devastating. It leads us to believe that it is our worth that motivates God’s action to save us. The thinking is, Jesus came to save us because we are so valuable to God. … A good example comes from comparing two parables.
Pastor Wax compares the subtle shift in a counterfeit Gospel from being Christ-centered to man-centered, by comparing the parable of the sheep as they are presented in Luke and in the false Gospel of Thomas. Here is the Gospel of Luke:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:4-7)

The other is from the non-canonical, false Gospel of Thomas.

“Jesus said, “The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine sheep and looked for that one until he found it. When he had gone to such trouble, he said to the sheep, ‘I care for you more than the ninety-nine.'” (FALSE, NON-CANONICAL “Gospel of Thomas”)

What has happened here, said Pr. Wax, is that in the counterfeit Gnostic gospel the point of the parable in the counterfeit is about the worth of the sheep, instead of the work of the Shepherd.

Jesus did not create us because it made Him happy. He made humans so as to bring HIM glory. (Romans 11:36). Do you see the exact Gnostic emphasis that is present in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas is also in Smith’s vision? It was the worth of Kim Walker-Smith that caused Jesus to make her? And in so doing brought Jesus a measure of happiness he had not had before?

This is not possible. It does not line up with the scriptures and if it does not line up with scripture, it is false.

In looking at the biblical record of people who were lifted to heaven or saw Jesus glorified, we compare their reactions with Kim Walker-Smith’s. For example, Isaiah-

Isaiah said, “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5)

“Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:28b)

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” (Revelation 1:17). The Greek word “dead” in that verse means literally ‘one that has breathed his last, lifeless‘.

The point is, when men encounter the Christ in all His glory, you become insensate with fear and dumb in the face of His holiness. Even the ones who encountered Him in human form prior to His appearing (Hagar, Jacob, for ex.) were relieved they did not drop down dead. After Hagar’s encounter with Him, she asked (in the Hebrew), “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Of Jacob, it is written, “So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (Genesis 32:30)

Just seeing His light, never mind His glorified holy body, caused Paul to fall straight to the ground (Acts 9:3). In Exodus 34:30 the people saw the shining visage of Moses of the glory of God reflected on his face and they were so afraid that Moses had to put a veil over it. The bible consistently records that the first and only reaction of these people who had direct and indirect encounters with God were that they were: a. terrified and b. struck dumb as if dead. So what are we to think of Mrs Smith’s encounter where she cuddled, talked about herself and learned that Jesus wasn’t happy before He made her?

It varies completely from all biblical records of anyone who directly or indirectly encountered the holiness of God. Therefore is it only logical to conclude that her visions are false.

We have become so inured to the notion of sin and by contrast His holiness, that we accept a ridiculous story such as Mrs Smith’s as inspiring or uplifting.

The problem with destructive heresies are that many are brought secretly. 2 Peter 2:1 says

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

Mrs Smith isn’t saying outright that “I deny the Master.” That is not how false teachers work. Don’t expect the most subtle creature in the garden to cause his minions to outright deny the Master. How she does it is that in her vision description, she is denying the Master by telling us that we can expect encounters like these and that we live off them. She is denying the Master because He is the Word, not the experience– but she exalts the experience and not the Word. The word confirms the word, (2 Timothy 3:16) the experience does not confirm the word. (2 Peter 1:19). If in that verse Peter wouldn’t even use his experience to confirm a truth nor would Paul (2 Corinthians 12:6) then what are we to say of Mrs Smith? Everything she does and says implicitly and explicitly denies the sufficiency of Scripture- and that denies the Master.

Additionally, the heresies she holds in her heart are secret because of 2 Timothy 3:5. Outwardly the Jesus Culture songs appear to have a form of godliness via their lyrics, but they deny God’s power by being sung from a heart that does not rest on the knowledge of this same Jesus we know through His word. If you hadn’t googled about her and watched this testimony of her vision, you would think that the song I linked to above, “Where you go I’ll go” was good. Its outward form of godliness seems OK but inwardly there is a ravenous wolf waiting to spring. That wolf is the exaltation of personal experience as a validation of the word to the exclusion of the word itself by the person who wrote it and sings it. The filter of flesh that the song comes from has been polluted with leaven.

Jesus said, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ (Matthew 15:18)

In 2011 John MacArthur preached about the Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. He was not referring specifically to Smith and Jesus Culture, and their songs but was in general preaching against the incorrect attribution of things of satan to the Spirit. There are too many false visions and signs plaguing the church today.

MacArthur said

“…and mostly this comes in the professing church from Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly. How do they do it? By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit. Endless human experiences, emotional experiences, bizarre experiences and demonic experiences are said to come from the Holy Spirit…visions, revelations, voices from heaven, messages from the Spirit through transcendental means, dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out of body experiences, trips to heaven, anointings, miracles. All false, all lies, all deceptions attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit.”

Satan is alive and well and the work of Satan is being attributed to the Holy Spirit, that is a serious blasphemy just as attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit is a serious blasphemy.”

The tongue corrupts the whole person.

“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6)

Like any invasive species, the invasion is first undetectable (secretly brought in). For example, zebra mussels. The invasive species may attach to a large container ship which appears mighty and powerful but undetected the mussel colony grows and eventually the prop and the rudder will be frozen in a mass of mussels as solid as cement.

Before you know it, your pipe or prop is clogged and the water will not flow. If the living water does not flow, the machine or the organism it’s attached to dies.

Paul used the metaphor of gangrene, and Jesus used the example of leaven spoiling the whole loaf and the tares choking out the wheat. In all cases, the invading organism chokes off the life supply of the home organism and the home organism dies.

Are you getting my theme? Untreated false leaven brings death.

That is what accepting a song does that’s written from a heart that obviously does not understand who Jesus is. It may seem innocuous to the church body but it is in actuality brought by an invading organism bent on your destruction. It is not just a song like a tare is not just a tare.

The heartbreak is that people like the folks in Jesus Culture are probably not cackling vultures twirling their mustaches like Snidely Whiplash in back rooms and applauding their satanic success. They may not even know they are bringing destructive heresies. They are like the container ship that under its waterline had some zebra mussels clinging to it, unbenownst to them. “Human beings who pro­mote paganism, the occult, and various other ungodly and immoral movements and programs are but the dupes of Satan and his demons. They are trapped by their sins and weaknesses into unwittingly helping to fulfill his schemes.” (source)

But if they go too far down this path, extricating them will be a hard go. They will be trapped. Here is what you need to do, as do I:

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-3)

On a personal note, I found this entire exercise difficult. I watched hours of the conference at Passion, read reactions to it and  listened to interviews. It is hard to see so many of our children being drawn away. It physically hurts. My laptop is covered in tears. I take no glee in bringing this message out. All those youths and youth pastors and speakers and bands need rescuing. They need to be rescued, cared for back in the doctrinally sanitary hospital of their home church, but the sanitation of each home church is increasingly compromised these days. I fear for those kids and I mourn the blasphemies done to the Spirit when calling the devil’s work His work.

I look at the photo above of the 60,000 in attendance and I faint at the knowledge at how insidiously satan has infiltrated poisonous leaven into our churches via the youth. Each youth and youth pastor and person attending carries back to their home church (if they have one) a tiny zebra mussel nestled in their bilge, waiting to multiply and then choke the flow of water through the veins of the church.

I plan a few more blog entries reacting to the Passion 2013 conference. One will focus on Louie Giglio. Another on Judah Smith and also be a summary conclusion. Pray that eyes will be opened to the heresies and blasphemies being done to our precious Jesus and in the name of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is more powerful than satan and His Holy Spirit destroys strongholds! Pray, people!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part 2: Discerning a Gnostic conference called “Passion 2013,” Louie Giglio 
Part 3: Conclusion

Posted in heresy, osteen

Stop coddling heresy

I am heartbroken every day at the increasing encroachment of apostasy in Christians. I saw on Erin Benzinger’s blog Do Not Be Surprised, this clip from WretchedTV called “Stop Coddling Heresy“. It is about 4 minutes, and features Pastor Steve Lawson preaching about John Knox’s stand for the Gospel to Mary Queen of Scots. He explains that it is the standing on the Word that pierces the heart, not accommodating culture, building bridges, or diluting the message. It is understanding of our wretched state of total depravity that allows us to see the grace of God and our need for Jesus.

Knox stood up to the Queen, and remember this one was called Bloody Mary because her usual response to people challenging her was to chop off their head. Lawson explains the power of the Gospel and how it pierces sinning hearts, and how desperately we need the truth proclaimed from the pulpit. Mary’s response to Knox was a knee-swooning, heart wrenching praise to the Lord. This climactic moment in Lawson’s clip where Mary capitulates is then juxtaposed with some words from Joel Osteen. I won’t transcribe the piece because the power is in hearing. Faith comes by hearing doesn’t it? (Romans 10:17). I urge you to take a moment to listen, it isonly and when it gets to 4 minutes. Osteen, the juxtaposition of the two men, Knox and Osteen, one right after another, is devastating. Please, please, listen to “Stop Coddling Heresy.”

I was at a place the other day where I saw an Osteen book on the table with a bookmark in it. And next to it a little ways away was another Osteen book, this one also with a bookmark in it. Osteen presents a different Gospel. He touts a different god who is no god. Osteen’s god is not the God of sin and judgment and repentance. He is the coach in the sky who will give you a good parking place at the mall as you go in to spend money Osteen’s god has sent you because you are “favored” to have your best life now.

The watering down of the Word and of His doctrines and of a solid Christian life makes me shake my head. Bending my knees I ask the Lord to sweep us up to Him, because the faithlessness in His name is unbearable.
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Posted in beth moore, bible, bible jesus, discernment, heresy, the shack

Discernment lesson: The Shack and Beth Moore’s treatment of Paul. Part 1

Writers live with words. We are immersed in them, basking in their variety and understanding their power. I have been a journalist, so I know this intimately. A reporter chooses words consciously because we are limited to short article lengths. We must be precise, knowing that each word must convey a certain meaning in a short amount of space. I’ve been a grant writer, and have been even more restricted to limiting the number of words we are allowed to use. I know that each word counts and is consciously placed on the technical document to convey a certain thought. I’ve been an academic researcher, overlaying words to express what the numbers are saying. When I read a book I know that the author has chosen each word, and in some cases likely has fought with an editor over them.

Therefore when I read a book like William P. Young’s “The Shack” or Beth Moore’s “To Live Is Christ: a Study of Paul’s Life and Ministry,” I know that each word is on the page consciously and for an author-chosen reason. I also know that most readers absorb information unconsciously. The most dangerous heresies come from books, in my opinion, because a speaker could possibly be forgiven for misspeaking (once or twice). An author cannot. Writing takes time, and as noted above, each word is chosen purposely.

Most people read books without thinking of the words, but they are absorbed into the mind and certain emotions the author wanted to evoke will be created in the reader’s heart. So please take note carefully when I say that discerning either Christian novels such as The Shack, or biblical non-fiction theological books as the ones Beth Moore writes have an intent. They are sharing a point of view in which the author desires to present a point and often that point is made without you even noticing it. Let’s take a look at exactly what I mean when I say words count and they shade meaning.

I wrote a few years ago in a blog entry on The Quiet Life that “The Shack is a devilish Deception. I’d said about The Shack,  “A concern is also in the sly ways the book chips away at solid biblical principles with craftily written statements such as, “the dusty old King James Bible” or church attendance is “religious conditioning” or that the term “Christian” is “outdated”, as uttered by in the book by the character “Jesus”, saying,  “Who said anything about being a Christian? I am not a Christian.” People may not even be consciously aware of having read negative intent against the bible or Jesus but they are influenced by them anyway.”

Pastor Walter Henegar at the blog byFaith wrote of the sly craftiness of Young’s choice of words in The Shack, and their cumulative effect: “[D]isdain is conveyed early on: “God’s voice had been reduced to paper. … Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (p. 65-67). … More significant, when Mack [the main character] mentions biblical events or concepts (often in gross caricature), “God” promptly brushes them off and glibly explains how it really is. Unlike the biblical Jesus, who constantly quoted the Old Testament and spent many post-resurrection hours “opening their minds to understand the scriptures,” The Shack’s Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu turn Mack’s attention away from Scripture, coaxing him to trust instead their simplistic lessons set in idyllic, Thomas Kinkade-like scenes and delivered in the familiar therapeutic language of our age. … The result? To the extent that you trust The Shack, you will distrust your Bible—including huge chunks of the Old Testament and at least half of the red letters. Few errors are more corrosive to vigorous Christian faith. Some will plead that there is enough meat for careful readers to spit out the bones, but sadly, this yeast leavens the whole loaf.”

Mr Henegar makes a good point about the leaven. A leavening agent is used in recipes where the desired outcome lightens and softens the entire batch. Yeast is a common leavening agent. The dough rises upon foaming bubbles as carbon dioxide is released, making air pockets. However, since leaven is an ingredient, it is mixed thoroughly in the batch, and no part of the batch is left untouched by it. If the leaven is bad, the whole loaf will be spoiled.

That is a good metaphor for bad doctrine. No part of the church will be left untouched by heresy coming from the pulpit. No part of the mind will be left untouched by a false doctrine when reading it in a book. Such use of sly language is highly corrosive. Avoid The Shack. And when reading any book that alleges affiliation with Christianity, be mindful of the words the author chooses. Young says the bible is dusty, old, and outdated. I say the bible is fresh, living, and inspired. The difference in the words we choose reveals a point of view. Don’t absorb Young’s.

To those who dismiss any criticism of The Shack because it is ‘just’ a novel, Mr Henegar explains, “Of course, not every detail is worth dissecting; a novel is not systematic theology. Yet it’s clearly more than just fiction. Mack’s conversations with Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu make up the bulk of the book, with his questions serving as little more than prompts for their extended divine speeches. Though never citing Scripture directly, the characters make enough allusions to biblical content to imply fidelity to orthodox Christianity.”

Of course if Young has written, “Don’t believe the bible because it is old and outdated” you would spot the heresy easily. The craftiest heresy doesn’t announce itself. It lays lurking in the negative words authors use to describe holy things.

I feel so strongly that The Shack contains crafty heresy, that not only did I write about it on my secular blog, but also on this blog, The End Time. Four times in all.

Burning Down The Shack

Why Christians Should Not Read The Shack

The Shack is a Doctrine of Demons

In the next blog entry coming up momentarily, let’s take a look at a book that is not a Christian novel but a biblical exploration of the life of Paul from Christian speaker Beth Moore. We’ll look at how Mrs Moore uses words to shape your perspective of Paul away from the biblical presentation of his character and toward her own skewed and emotional point of view of the man.
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