Posted in theology

Phil Johnson factually debunks recent negative assertions against John MacArthur. Interview with Justin Peters

By Elizabeth Prata

Two of my favorite people in the faith, Justin Peters and Phil Johnson, speak about the recent criticisms against another of my favorite man of the faith, John MacArthur. These criticisms have been asserted by self-professed reporter Julie Roys and others, (some anonymously) who persistently try to damage the reputation of the church of which MacArthur is leading and the people who work and minister there. In a particular case with one detractor, he crafts his vague accusations in the worst way possible and intimates darkly there may be more, without offering evidence. This is the downside of the internet. A craven underbelly of which we should all beware of/

For the people who have questioned this situation and wondered of the character of John MacArthur is really all that it seems, please refer to this interview which sheds light on and offers facts from a person knowledgeable of the situation. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

I am grateful for these three men, standing for the faith with such grace and patience and for such a long time.

The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)

John MacArthur’s Lavish Lifestyle? An Interview With Phil Johnson,

Posted in discernment, theology

Justin Peters update: Thoughts on discernment, and an upcoming video

By Elizabeth Prata

I appreciate Justin Peters’ Ministry so much, I can’t even tell you. His years-long, steady push-back against the false teaching in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and against the Word-Faith Movement, and his willingness to evangelize and teach all over the globe, wherever he is called to go, is an inspiration to me.

He is most well-known for his teachings on discernment, for one, a series called Clouds Without Water. The Lord is surely keeping him, and Mr Peters is surely continually submitting, because his demeanor even though having to spend time in researching these false teachings and review these people to formulate his incisive critiques, is a testament to the Spirit. Why?

In having to thoroughly research these false teachers, we have to watch them, take notes, spend time involved with what they teach and how they teach it. For some people, it’s inevitable that their mind becomes darkened a bit with the mud that infiltrates. Their hearts become critical, or bitter, or cynical with the weeds that grow there. We might know or have seen ‘discernment ministries’ like that. Not Mr Peters. His constant sensitive delivery of these teachings and his obvious grace toward both the deceived and those teaching deception adds mountains to his credibility.

This video was published yesterday. In it, Mr Peters makes two points, One is to alert viewers to the fact that he is completing a video critiquing the Word-Faith Charismatic movement and the most prominent people in it who have made prophecies about the Coronavrus. With the pandemic abounding here in the US and in the world, these false prophets have made many statements lately pronouncing and declaring things from God- that He did not say. Mr Peters will demonstrate why it’s possible to know that God did not speak to these false prophets. He will name many of the false prophets in this movement and compare their words to the Bible.

Secondly, he spoke briefly about why discernment is important. It’s important for all of us, biblically, we’re all called to be discerning.

There are two ways a person could go in how they regard discernment. They could ignore it completely Mr Peters said, or they could become so focused on it that they begin to demonstrate a wrongful glee in pointing it out. Both are dangers to be avoided.

He said that he has received angry emails and letters claiming that it’s none of our business to discern, call out against, and expose these charlatans. Recently he even received a very angry phone call from an irate person. These people claim that it’s God’s business to judge, not ours. And so on.

Anyone with the gift of discernment who employs it correctly will receive these comments. I do, all the time. At the height of the popularity of the HGTV Fixer Upper program, I wrote about negatively Joanna Gaines, her testimony of claiming to hear directly from God, and her lifestyle, and compared it to the Bible. I received heated push-back. It lasted for years. Years. Whenever I write anything about Beth Moore in the negative, I receive the same. I’m not complaining, it’s expected. I believe the Lord prepared me for this ministry (of which discernment is a part, not the whole) by His leading me to be a conservative newspaper editor in a Democrat stronghold of a town. I developed thick skin. By the Spirit’s grace after salvation I also developed a soft heart for people who are so deluded by satan they cannot see the purity of His right doctrines and who follow people like Beth Moore or Kenneth Copeland.

So it’s OK. But the negative comments are a fact of a discernment ministry. I look to people like Mr Peters who are a steady constant in keeping Jesus central and the heart aimed toward helping the people deluded by false teaching as a good example.

Below is his 11-minute video explaining these things. And please do watch out for his upcoming video comparing the false teachers’ prophecies about COVID-19 to the Bible, Lord willing, out later today or tomorrow.

Because, Matthew 7:21-13 is one of the most devastating set of verses in the entire Bible. I would be crushed to know, on the Day, that the Spirit had given me a spiritual gift of discernment and if I hadn’t used it to the maximum and best use to do what I could to reach any sisters caught up in a false doctrine. I do what I can to bring light to those whose eyes are closed and ears won’t hear. So does Mr Peters, and others. It’s just that simple.

Justin Peters videos

Justin Peters website

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

The Duty and Delights of Discernment

I watched Pastor Justin Peters last night at Grace Community Church’s live stream of the introduction to his conference Clouds Without Water: A Biblical Critique of the Word-Faith Movement. That introductory hour of the two day conference was helpful in laying the ground work for the remainder of his lessons, because he explained what discernment is, and why it is important to practice, even for Christians who do not possess the gift of distinguishing of of spirits. (1 Corinthians 12:10).

Though Peters adds new video clips and updates the details over time, the overarching topics remain the same. Therefore if you are ever in a position to attend or watch it online as a video-conference, please do. I haven’t found a better series of lessons in which discernment is explained and then the audience is shown how to apply it to today’s Christian landscape. This link brings you to the conference outline and the topics specifically covered.

Providentially, as I read my Bible this morning, my reading brought me to John 7:17.

If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

The context of that verse is Jesus is teaching at the Feast of Tabernacles. The audience is amazed that He teaches with such insight and authority. They wondered where Jesus obtained this insight and knowledge and the above verse is part of His answer. Now…what does it mean? Matthew Henry explains the first part of the verse:

That the most competent judges of the truth and divine authority of Christ’s doctrine are those that with a sincere and upright heart desire and endeavour to do the will of God (v. 17): If any man be willing to do the will of God, have his will melted into the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.

Observe here, First, What the question is, concerning the doctrine of Christ, whether it be of God or no; whether the gospel be a divine revelation or an imposture. Christ himself was willing to have his doctrine enquired into, whether it were of God or no, much more should his ministers; and we are concerned to examine what grounds we go upon, for, if we be deceived, we are miserably deceived. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume

Walvoord continues with an explanation for the rest of the verse-

The religious authorities figured that either a person studied in a traditional school or else he was self-taught. But Jesus’ reply pointed to a third alternative. His teaching was from God who had commissioned Him (cf. 12:49–50; 14:11, 24). Jesus was God-taught, and to know Jesus properly one must be God-taught (6:45). In order to evaluate Jesus’ claim, one must desire to do God’s will. Since Jesus is God’s will for man, people must believe in Him (6:29). Faith is the prerequisite for understanding. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). If Jesus were only self-taught (speaking on His own) or a genius, then His ministry would be self-exalting. But He did not seek honor for Himself. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, Walvoord, Blum

John MacArthur finishes us off. Remember, the verse is that if anyone’s will is to do God’s will then he will know if the teaching is from God. The first cause is that the person desires to do God’s will. THEN he will be able to discern the teaching.

There’s a beautiful analogy to this in Proverbs Chapter 1 where wisdom is personified and is an analogy to Christ.  Chapter 1, verse 20, “Wisdom shouts in the street, even as Jesus did; lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: ‘How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?  And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing?  And fools hate knowledge? Turn from your folly, from your simple mindedness, from your scoffing, and I will pour out my spirit on you and will make my words known to you.'”

Do you see? You turn, and then it becomes known to you. Repentance comes first. God does not grant light on his truth unless a man is anxious to walk according to that light. He doesn’t grant an understanding of truth until a man is willing to obey that truth. John MacArthur, Embracing the Claims of Christ

Are you willing to walk in His light? Are you desirous of understanding truth, discerning right from wrong and truth from error? Jesus was the only man on earth ever to perfectly represent the Father. Though we cannot represent Him perfectly, our our task is to strive for a better representation of Him each day, and we do this by obeying His will, delving into His truth, and discerning truth from error. Discernment is part of the mix in striving to represent the Father. He grants it all to us, the desire of His will, repentance, and discernment, so let’s praise Him that He drew us out of darkness and depravity so we could represent Him at all! He gave us the wonderful gift, He poured out His spirit on us and has made His words known to us.

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Further reading

Todd Friel’s Drive By Discernment. While Mr Peters’ conference covers the Health/Wealth and NAR movements and teaches how to discern them, Friel’s series has a wider range and covers discernment itself as a biblical topic.

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Discernment Video Bites: Heaven Tourism, Revelation v. Illumination, Jesus Calling, more

There are three videos recently released, in which Pastor Justin Peters speaks on various discernment topics. Known for his lessons on discerning the Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel movement, through leading conferences and producing DVDs, such as a recent one titled “Clouds Without Water,” in these short but in-depth video bites Mr Peters discusses-

  • Heaven Tourism,
  • The inherent dangers of Jesus Calling,
  • The difference between Revelation and Illumination,
  • The responsibility of the Christian Bookstore (yet to be released).

Continue reading “Discernment Video Bites: Heaven Tourism, Revelation v. Illumination, Jesus Calling, more”

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Jesus Calling and The Battle for Sola Scriptura

The Protestant Reformation began almost 500 years ago (in 1517) after Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses,” which proposed two central beliefs—that the Bible is the central religious authority – (not the Catholic Church) – and that humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their works. By the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church had been teaching that one could attain salvation by one’s own meritorious works that they alone were the authority, and darkness had settled over the land. Luther’s act sparked the Reformation. To this day the Catholic Church maintains that sola scriptura is a “blueprint for anarchy“.

Those two central tenets posted by Martin Luther were later expanded to become known as the Five Solas, as Theopedia explains here,

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged from the Protestant Reformation intended to summarize the Reformers’ basic theological principles in contrast to certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. “Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only” and the corresponding phrases are:
Sola Fide, by faith alone.
Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Sola Scriptura is the tenet I’m looking at today. Theopedia explains sola scriptura further-

The inerrant Scripture (the Bible) is the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. It is denied that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

And here we have the point. Currently, Scripture alone is the sole point of intersection of God’s personal revelation of Himself to man. (Hebrews 1:1-2). ‘Personal experience can never be a vehicle of revelation.’ Never ever.

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, (2 Peter 1:19).

Satan battles the above five points at every turn. The battle for sola scriptura has been extremely pitched in our era. Book after book published from Christian publishers purport to show how to commune with God by doing certain things that will enhance one’s antenna for receiving His personal revelation. People claim visits from Jesus and visits to Jesus in heaven. They claim to have heard Him speak to them and have received personally tailored career advice or new theological commands or projects to engage in (Joanna Gaines of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” and Beth Moore, are two examples). Book after book emerge from someone claiming to have had a heavenly visit and personal tour of heaven (or hell). Claiming a personal divine word is the new mantra.

Last year’s Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church was titled the “Inerrancy Summit” and worked to teach attendee pastors the importance of defending truth against all those who seek to undermine the authority of scripture. John MacArthur opened the Summit by listing four reasons why such a summit is needed, one of which is that Scripture is authoritative and pastors and teachers are called to declare it. In his speech, MacArthur gave a quick overview of the progress of the undermining of scripture in our era-

In the 1960s and ‘70s, experientialism began to infiltrate the mainline denominations. This movement tempted the church to define truth on the basis of emotional experience. Biblical interpretation was no longer based on the clear teaching of the text; but rather upon feelings and subjective, unverifiable experiences, such as supposed revelations, visions, prophecies, and intuition.

The Third Wave movement of the 1980s continued the growth of mysticism within the church, convincing people to look for signs and wonders and to listen for paranormal words from God rather than seeking out truth in the written Word of God.

The New Apostolic Reformation [NAR] is the latest in these kinds of movements.

FMI on NAR, go here or here

One attack on Sola Scriptura that has persisted for 12 years and is now its own cottage industry, is the book Jesus CallingJesus Calling is a book written by Sarah Young. Ms Young was restless with the Bible and wanted more. She actively sought out hearing from God and these supposed divine utterings were captured by her pen and made into a book. In the book, Ms Young puts the utterings from a “Jesus” into first person.

Being dissatisfied with the complete revelation of God to man in His word is attack #1 on sola scriptura. And there are soldiers who continue to stand on this important point, such as Justin Peters. Here is a short video speaking about the importance of sola scriptura and warning to avoid the Jesus Calling book.

Jesus Calling: The Battle for Sola Scriptura

Where the battle is really being fought today is over whether or not God’s word is sufficient, and evangelicals are losing that battle.” ~Justin Peters

If you read, listen to, or follow any teacher who professes Jesus and yet also claims to have personally heard from God or uses personal revelations of teachings they say they’ve received from God, avoid them. What they are doing is undermining the sufficiency of scripture. The Bible says,

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Bible does not say, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, plus what I told Beth Moore last week and including what I mentioned to Sarah Young and…

For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

It is through the scriptures that we gain our instruction and have hope. Scripture alone.

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Further Reading-

Theopedia: Sola Scriptura

Shepherds Conference Inerrancy Summit: all the sermons

Ligonier: What does Sola Scriptura mean?