Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chris Rosebrough Looks At Rick Warren Opening Mouth To Exchange Feet On Homosexuality

The online apologetics and discernment ministry (OADM) Apprising Ministries has warned you of the recent resurgence of General of the Seeker Driven Army Rick Warren ever since John Piper asked him to be a keynote speaker for the Desiring God Conference 2010.

As I said before, in my opinion, this tragic event was grievous enough in and of itself. Unfortunately, Piper would then go on to make the dangerous and detrimental decision to actually pronounce the sinfully ecumenical megapastor “doctrinal and sound.”

So as Warren begins his media blitz again pushing his magnum opus The Purpose Driven Life he has more support backing him in Christian circles than ever before. Piper’s regrettable gaffe promoting Rick Warren has now propelled him even into Reformed circles.

Apprising Ministries now brings you a clip from the Christian apologist’s program yesterday where he deconstructs a couple of Warren’s recent media appearances on secular media, including Piers Morgan.

http://apprising.org/2012/11/30/chris-rosebrough-looks-at-rick-warren-opening-mouth-to-exchange-feet-on-homosexuality/

Is the popular Alpha Course leading people astray?

Many people have been greatly impressed by the Alpha course. Designed to be an introduction to the Christian faith through talks, video presentations, small-group discussions and a special weekend-away, lots of churches are now employing it as part of their outreach.

In the eyes of many it has been a run-away-success and its fame has spread far beyond the UK, and Holy Trinity Brompton, the London church where it originated.

It is no exaggeration to say it has spread right across the world and is now finding friends in several continents. It has been adapted so as to be accessible to young people and has also proved versatile enough to be used in prisons, schools and places of work.

Churches in inner cities and rural areas have found it sufficiently flexible for their needs. Future plans for expansion suggest that Alpha is very much here to stay. What is more, many people claim to have been helped through going on the Alpha course and believe it has ought them an understanding of God and how to respond to Him. Testimonies and accounts of wonderful things that have happened to individuals abound; In the light of all this, surely there cannot be anything wrong with it?

With so many in today’s society gripped by materialism and atheism, can Alpha be anything other than a good thing? As young people become hopelessly enmeshed in a godless culture, should we not applaud the efforts of Alpha and help make it a success?

We wished that the answers to these questions could be an emphatic Yes. But closer examination of Alpha prevents such a clean bill of health being given to it. Why this concern? There are six vital reasons we would like to bring to your attention.

Read More Here

What’s Done for Christ Will Last

What is your motivation for living your life? What drives you? Wait. Before you answer, I don’t want you to give me the answer you think I want to hear. I want you to give me the answer that is true of you as best you know yourself today. Examine yourself and be perfectly honest. I’ll never know the answer. But Jesus already knows it.

If you have your answer in mind, let me now share with you what Paul wrote to the Corinthians about his motivation for living: “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again,” (II Cor. 5:14-15). Paul said that our Lord’s love for him compelled him — drove him — to live for the Savior rather than for himself.

The Bible speaks of a day when each of us will stand before Jesus Christ and be judged not for our sin — because a Christian has already been completely forgiven of his or her sin — but for how we lived in light of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The event of this judgment is known in Scripture as the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom. 14:12; II Cor. 5:9-10).

You’ve heard of the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, the mark of the beast, and other prophetic topics, but do you know how they fit together? Dr. Rhodes has compiled a wealth of information on any part of end-times prophecy you need to research in this easy-to-understand 227-page paperback!

In his new book, The End Times in Chronological Order, Dr. Ron Rhodes contemplates the fire that Paul says will test the quality of the life we’ve lived for our Savior and the service we’ve rendered to Him: “Fire in Scripture often symbolizes the holiness of God and His judgment upon that which His holiness has condemned . . . Perhaps the figure [of fire] is intended to communicate that those works performed with a view to glorifying God are the works that will stand. Those works performed with a view to glorifying self, performed in the flesh, are those that will be burned up.”

Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “In that day, the full truth about their lives, character, and deeds will be made clear to each believer. Each will discover the real verdict on his or her ministry, service, and motives. All hypocrisy and pretense will be stripped away; all temporal matters with no eternal significance will vanish like wood, hay, and stubble, and only what is to be rewarded as eternally valuable will be left.”

It is easy for us to begin to think of the Judgment Seat of Christ as a place of punishment. We’re conditioned to think like that. If we’ve done a good job, we expect a reward or commendation; if we’ve done a poor job, we expect to be chastised for it. So when Paul tells the Corinthians that we will each receive what we are due for what we have done here on Earth, whether it be good or bad, it is easy for us to drift back into the thought that we are being judged and punished for wrong behavior. Not so.

First of all, the words “good” and “bad” in that context don’t have moral connotations. The word for “bad,” for example, actually could be translated, “worthless” or “valueless.” It’s not wrong or sin we’re being judged for — it’s whether what we did or said had eternal value from a divine point of view.

Besides that, in I Corinthians 4:5, Paul says that when God makes known the secret purposes of our hearts, “the praise each person should get will come from God.” Note: Paul says each man’s praise will come to him from God. He says nothing about condemnation or punishment. To quote Dr. MacArthur, “God gives rewards to the victors; He does not whip the losers.”

And Dr. Rhodes concurs: “This judgment rather has to do with the reception or loss of rewards . . . [it] will focus on [a Christian’s] personal stewardship of the gifts, talents, opportunities, and responsibilities given to him in this life.”

But Dr. MacArthur explains: “At the same time, while we won’t be condemned for our sins, our present lives do affect what will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Here’s how:
Sin and indifference in this life rob us of our present desire for serving the Lord. That in turn means a loss of rewards, because we will not have used our time to His glory.
Sin and indifference result in a loss of power in our lives because sin grieves the Holy Spirit.
Sin and indifference cause us to pass up opportunities for service, which we would otherwise perform and be rewarded for.”
Though we won’t be punished or condemned for our valueless service, behaviors, and motives, we will not be rewarded for them, either. We will simply receive nothing for them. This reminds me of a poem I learned in college:

When I stand at the judgment seat of Christ
And He shows me His plan for me;
The plan for my life as it might have been
Had He had His way, and I see
How I blocked Him here and I checked Him there
And I would not yield my will,
Will there be grief in my Savior’s eyes;
Grief, though He loves me still?

He would have me rich, but I stand there poor,
Stripped of all but His grace,
While memory runs like a hunted thing
Down paths I cannot retrace.
Then my desolate heart will well-nigh break
With tears that I cannot shed.
I’ll cover my face with my empty hands
And bow my uncrowned head.

Lord of the years that are left to me
I yield them to Thy hand.
Take me, make me, mold me
To the pattern Thou hast planned.

Once questioned on this whole topic, Dr. MacArthur shared this poignant insight: “The greatest consequence of unfaithfulness here on earth is that it disappoints Christ.” I John 2:28 says, And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

So let me ask you, again: What is your motivation for living your life? What drives you? May we each consider this question and come before our Father pleading for His Spirit’s power to live a life that fully pleases Him each day.

It is a sobering thought to consider that we could be ashamed one day as we stand before our loving Savior. On the other hand, the prospect of receiving His lavish rewards if we serve Him faithfully during our time here on Earth should inspire us each to live with purpose and passion for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs138/1101818841456/archive/1111700594323.html

Consider Skipping ‘Christmas Season’ This Year

Advent means “coming.” It’s a time for us to celebrate the first coming of Christ, but also to anticipate his return. When we sing, “O come, o come, Emmanuel; To ransom captive Israel” we’re not just taking a sentimental journey back in time. We’re reminding each other of God’s faithfulness in the past, and we’re expressing our own longing for Jesus to come back and put an end to injustice, hatred, sin, and fear.

Jesus repeatedly told his followers to watch and pray for his return. The season of Advent is an opportunity for us to reorient our thinking and to corporately express our fervent hope in the Second Coming of Christ. Our Lord wants us to be an expectant people.

But what if we’re not? What if we live as if this present world order will go on forever? What if we ignore the lessons of Advent? What can we expect when we’re no longer expecting God to reconcile all things to himself and create a new heaven and a new earth, wherein all righteousness dwells?

1. No Passion for Evangelism or Mission

Regardless of what our church statement of faith says, if we practically live as if this present world will roll on forever, why work for the kingdom?

Do you not say, “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?” Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. (John 4:35-36)

2. ‘Your Best Life Now’ Heresies

Many nominal Christians reduce Christianity to a set of healthy, rational principles for feeling good about yourself, staying in shape, balancing your checkbook and doing good deeds.

Why not? If this life is all there is, we may as well make ourselves comfortable.

What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)

3. Dangerous Church Leadership

When churches finally become hardened enough to the truth of Christ’s return, they lay the groundwork for wolves to enter, dressed as sheep.

And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, “My master is delayed in coming,” and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. (Luke 12:42-46)

Our Proposal: Skip ‘Christmas Season’

Or better yet, celebrate the birth of Christ when our church fathers intended, during the 12 days between Christmas Day and Epiphany. But first, let Advent be Advent. In doing so, your Christmas celebration will be even more joyous.

Advent season begins each year on the fourth Sunday before December 25 (December 2, 2012). While “Christmas season” is often marked by greed, gluttony, and (if you’re lucky) a few warm fuzzy feelings as you stand under the mistletoe or drink hot cocoa by the fire, Advent stirs our hearts for the return of the king.

We acknowledge the already/not yet tension that Christ has come, and that Christ will come again—that he is the one “who is and who was and who is to come” spoken of in Revelation 1:8. We re-enact the yearning of those Old Testament saints who longed to see Messiah. And in doing so, we let the Spirit of God stir our hearts in anticipation of our own deliverance, and Christ’s promise (Revelation 21:5) to make all things new.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/11/29/consider-skipping-christmas-season-this-year/

Purity After Impurity

Editors’ Note: A reader recently wrote The Gospel Coalition an honest, heart-wrenching comment concerning impurity before marriage. She said:

I know from experience that it is quite impossible to remain pure when you date someone whose heart is not longing for Jesus. And as a woman, I made that man my “ultimate joy” for a time and thus, fell into sin. I wish I could take it back. I feel ashamed whenever I think about it. I know that forgiveness is found in Jesus. It still wrecks me when I think about the fact that I will have to tell my future spouse of my past indiscretions and sin. I have confessed my sin to God, but I guess I still have to deal with the fact that I sinned against my future spouse.

Julia Huisman (Director of Communications at Bethel Church in Crown Point, Indiana) and Tammy Johnston (Director of Women’s Ministries at Bethel Church) share their response to this post.

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Shame resulting from sexual sin can be great, especially for Christian women. We’re supposed to be good girls. We’re supposed to push men away (and coyly, mind you) when they make advances at us. It’s part of our moral and cultural DNA. So when we stray from that expectation, we feel weak, dirty, and unworthy. And we fear that other people, particularly our future husband, will see us that way as well.

The two of us (Tammy and Julia) were Christians when we each fell into sexual sin. We both engaged in premarital sex, and we both became pregnant because of it. Our sin was broadcasted to those around us in a very visual way and would live with us for the rest of our lives. We couldn’t hide from our sin; we had to accept the consequences that came from it. Doing so required humility and daily acceptance of God’s grace.

We have learned, through our experiences and through God’s Word, that the way to combat remorse and shame in this area is to:

Accept God’s forgiveness. Confessed sexual sin is forgiven in Christ. If you have turned from sexual sin in honest confession, it cannot wreck you, because you are forgiven by the only one who truly matters: God. In reference to sexual immorality specifically, Paul says, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

God has forgiven you! He has removed your transgression “as far as the east is from the west”! (Psalm 103:12) Now you must accept that forgiveness. Learn from your sin and aim never to repeat it, yes, but view yourself in the eyes of Christ, who sees you as pure and holy through his grace.

Accept the consequences. Forgiven sin still has consequences, some more serious than others. You did give yourself to someone else, and at times that will be disheartening for you and your spouse. The consequences of sin are sometimes painful, but the recognition of that pain helps protect you from perpetuating a sinful lifestyle. Allow the consequences to fuel your desire to be pure from here on out.

Fight against condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). If God doesn’t condemn you, then your future spouse cannot condemn you either. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?” (Romans 8:33-34)

After learning of our pregnancies, we both struggled with what to do in terms of future relationships. Tammy ended up marrying the father of her child and is still married to him after 26 years. Julia did not marry the father and instead dated a few men (some of whom were very judgmental about her past) until she finally married a true man of God.

We both knew that our husbands were the ones God intended for us because they never condemned us for our past transgressions. They knew they were equally guilty, whether they participated in sexual sin themselves or any other sin. Our spouses understood that “none is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), that we are all forsaken without God’s grace. Our spouses saw us as Christ does, as sinners made clean through his death on the cross.

It’s easy to think that a real Christian man wouldn’t settle for a “tainted” woman, that he’ll only marry a woman who’s pure and perfect just like him. On the contrary, a man who strives to be like Christ will love and treasure you despite your past. A man who strives to be like Christ will forgive you once and forever.

Recommit yourself to purity. You can’t change the past, but you can commit to a future of purity. Part of repenting is maintaining the fervent desire to never repeat the sin. This certainly is made easier when you date only “highly committed Christians,” as Steve DeWitt says in his sermon “The Bachelor Pastor.”

Remember, however, that even godly men struggle with sexual boundaries, and it might be even more difficult for him to resist, knowing that you’ve already gone there. Don’t rely on the man alone to be the strong one, and don’t let him rely on you to always say no. Establish boundaries together, from the beginning, and hold each other accountable to them. You are each equally responsible for the sanctity of your own body. To put the responsibility of self-control solely on the other is unfair and unwise.

Purity is a daily choice. Even when you’re in a solid, God-honoring relationship—even when you’re married, in fact—purity is an ongoing challenge. Humble yourself before the Lord daily and ask for his help in resisting temptation. He will be honored by both your purity and your acceptance of his grace.

May God receive the glory as you seek love, forgiveness, and holiness. Stay strong, stand tall, and know that you are treasured by your Creator in Christ.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/11/29/purity-after-impurity/

James MacDonald Was A Bit Late In Mainstreaming T.D. Jakes

Apprising Ministries takes a look at a 2005 Pastors.com article that actually sheds a lot of light upon the later to come Elephant Room 2.

http://apprising.org/2012/11/29/james-macdonald-was-a-bit-late-in-mainstreaming-t-d-jakes/

One Month After President Delivers Prayer of Repentance, Ugandan Parliament Set to Criminalize Homosexuality

By now many have heard the words spoken by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last month as he delivered a prayer of national repentance. Confessing sins of idolatry, witchcraft, sexual immorality, debauchery and many others, Museveni asked the Lord’s forgiveness on behalf of his nation. One month later, legislators in Uganda appear poised to criminalize homosexuality.

http://christiannews.net/2012/11/29/uganda-parliament-set-to-criminalize-homosexuality-month-after-president-leads-prayer-of-repentance/

Rick Warren, Dr. Oz rile the left and right over homosexuality

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback is making news again, this time the secular media and the progressive Christian blogs are jumping on comments he is making about homosexuality. I’ll let Erin Benziger over at Do Not Be Surprised start us off:

http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/11/rick-warren-dr-oz-rile-the-left-and-right-over-homosexuality/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+standupwi+%28Stand+Up+for+the+Truth+%7C+All+Feeds%29

The Influence of Christian Mystics Morton Kelsey and John Wimber on The Alpha Course

The Alpha Course can be found in 169 countries with nearly 19 million people having attended over the years. It is advertised as a non-threatening, non-confrontational approach to evangelism. Alpha swept across the UK with great fervor years ago and continues to gain popularity worldwide. It is not without its critics, however, as CRN has demonstrated in the articles, “The Alpha Course Receives Praise from Moody Radio’s Janet Parshall,” and “The Ecumenical Compromise of The Alpha Course.”

In a recent teleconference with leaders of The Alpha Course entitled, “Handling the Healing Night,” Jeff Kirby, who is a Teaching Pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas and who has been involved with Alpha as a leader for 17 years, discussed the nuances of and offered advice for the Alpha Course Healing Night. This event typically occurs during Alpha’s Holy Spirit Weekend, and apparently at times brings with it questions and even anxiety from leaders and participants alike.

Below is a brief clip of the first five minutes of this teleconference. Though short, these few minutes provide insight into some of the teachings that are influencing the Alpha Course and its leader, Nicky Gumbel.

http://christianresearchnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Alpha-Healing-Audio-music-mp3.mp3

There is one particular aspect of this clip that serves the interests of this article. Namely, that of the book and author recommendations offered by Pastor Kirby. Since these books and their authors appear to be of great importance in the minds of Alpha’s leaders, it behooves the discerning Christian to learn more about these men and to examine their teachings. This article will look at two names in particular, the two that were most stressed by Mr. Kirby: Morton Kelsey and John Wimber.

Read more of this post

Warren Discusses Homosexuality, Says It’s Not a Sin to Love Somebody, “It Might Be a Sin to Have Sex with Them”

Wow, two Rick Warren posts in a row. Well, he is out on a publicity tour this week, so I’m happy to oblige.

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2012/11/warren-discusses-homosexuality-says-its.html?m=1

Sovereign Grace Ministries to lose flagship church? Joshua Harris Asks Covenant Life Church to Leave Sovereign Grace Ministries Over Ungodly Leadership Culture

The pastors of Covenant Life Church have asked their members to vote in favor of severing ties with Sovereign Grace Ministries due to “a fundamental difference on how leadership and pastoral ministry should be practiced and applied.” The focus of the pastors has finally shifted to ethics and away from polity after 15 months of repeated abuse. The proud authoritarian culture created and sustained by C.J. has forced his friends and home church of 35 year to leave the ministry in all probability.

What follows is the transcript of Joshua Harris’ comments at the recent meeting for church members. I’ve add commentary.

http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2012/11/28/joshua-harris-asks-covenant-life-church-to-leave-sovereign-g.html

Discernment for these times

Today we are talking about discernment ministries and the role of the “watchman.” Ezekiel 33 speaks of the watchman, and we know we are to test the spirits in all things:

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

If you haven’t checked out our Resources Page with links to many of the hundreds of discernment research sites available today, here is the link. We believe that the duty of Watchmen and Discernment Ministries to point out error or potential problems without being vicious. Interestingly, not all discernment ministries agree on every point. How then can we as discernment ministries stand for the truth in love, without attacking one another when disagreements come up?

Joining us for the discussion today is long time radio talk show host Jan Markell, founder and president of Olive Tree Ministries, a non-profit organization has been watching the times in the Church since 1982. Her nationally-syndicated radio program “Understanding The Times” is heard around the world.

Jan will also discuss how the growth of Replacement Theology has lead many churches to not discuss end times prophecy.

http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/11/discernment-for-these-times/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+standupwi+%28Stand+Up+for+the+Truth+%7C+All+Feeds%29

Rick Warren Once Again Questioned about His Views on Homosexuality

Rick Warren, author and pastor of Saddleback Church, has in recent days been making the media rounds in promotion of the 10th anniversary of his popular book, The Purpose Driven Life. In an interview with the Huffington Post yesterday, Warren was approached regarding his views on homosexuality. Some are arguing that the megachurch pastor appeared uncertain as to whether homosexual behavior actually is sinful. Read more of this post