Daily Archives: November 23, 2013

“Catching Fire”- A Christian Reflection on the Film

J.W. Wartick - Reconstructing Faith

the-hunger-games-catching-fire-fan-movie-poster-01“Catching Fire” is likely to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. There are an extraordinary number of things to discuss in this movie. It is filled to the brim with points of interest. Christians would do well to see it and reflect on some of these themes. I have drawn out a number of them below. There will be SPOILERS in what follows.

The Aftermath

Early in the film, Katniss is hunting alongside Gale. They see some wild turkeys, Katniss draws her bow to fire, lets loose and hits… Marvel? Marvel was the young man she killed in the Hunger Games about a year before. How could he be here? How did he get shot? The screen pans in, and Katniss is hyperventilating, struggling to comprehend the horror she has just witnessed. But… it wasn’t real. She comes back to the present. The nightmare, however, is not…

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Questioning Modern Tongues


tonguesPentecostal/charismatics/continuationists (PCC) insist that the extraordinary sign gifts recorded in the NT like tongues and healings are still active in our modern day Church. Not only do PCCs believe those gifts are still active, they also maintain that Christians should experience them, and if they never manifest themselves in your local church or in your life, some how the Holy Spirit is being quenched.

As a sufficientist, I believe that IF the extraordinary sign gifts are still active, any and all manifestations of them will mirror those recorded in the NT. In fact, I would expect nothing less than for those displays of gifts to mirror the signs and wonders recorded in the NT.

The grim reality, however, is that the so-called sign gifts that PCCs claim are manifested in today’s church do not mirror in any fashion the description of those gifts recorded in Scripture. If the spiritual manifestation…

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Strange Fire Conference #9: concluding thoughts

by Dan Phillips
Since this is an issue that hasn’t yet gone away, and since I’ve been writing on it for decades, these are far from my final thoughts on “continumaticism.” But as to the conference, I mean this to be the sum-up.
I gave a verbal sum-up to my church which, to my bafflement, became our most-downloaded recording so far. I would pick other messages I’d much rather see spread all around — like this onethis one, or this one — but what happens, happens, and only God can explain.

Discernment and Disaster – (the apostolic movement)

by Cameron Buettel and Jeremiah Johnson

On June 23, 2008, C. Peter Wagner and sixteen other high-profile charismatics—including many of the big guns of the modern apostolic movement—gathered in Lakeland, Florida, to affirm the Lord’s blessing on the ministry of Todd Bentley, and to commission him as a fellow apostle. Just days later, the wheels would begin to fall off Bentley’s ministry, and the ensuing scandal would expose both his unrepentant immorality and a shocking lack of discernment on the part of several key charismatic leaders.

The whole Bentley fiasco would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic and blasphemous. We’ve previously discussed some of the bizarre claims he made during the Lakeland revival. Even the most casual observers had plenty of reasons for concern about Bentley’s teaching and practice.

How those red flags failed to catch the attention of the New Apostolic Reformation remains a mystery. What is clear is that Wagner and his modern apostles failed to warn God’s people about Bentley’s heresy (Galatians 1:8-9; Ephesians 5:11), and instead were eager to affirm and bless his ministry as a true work of God.

Here are just some of the highlights from Bentley’s “apostolic alignment,” which you can watch in full online: part one, part two, part three, and part four.

  • Peter Wagner is the first speaker during Bentley’s commissioning. He asks three of the other assembled apostles—Bill Johnson (pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California), Che Ahn (pastor of HRock Church in Pasadena, California), and John Arnott (founding pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, home of the notorious Toronto Blessing)—if they “perceive the grace of God given to Todd Bentley as an evangelist to lead the Lakeland outpouring?” Each affirms that they do.
  • Wagner then affirms Bentley through a prophecy regarding the blessings that he claimed the Lord was about to pour out on Bentley’s ministry. His exact words: “I take the apostolic authority God has given me, and I decree to Todd Bentley: Your power will increase. Your authority will increase. Your favor will increase. Your influence will increase. Your revelation will increase. I also decree that a new, supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates for the future.”
  • Wagner then turns the mic over to Che Ahn, who continues to bless Bentley’s ministry. He says, “Recognizing that God has chosen you and appointed you to bear much and lasting fruit at this Lakeland revival and revival around the world; recognizing that He has called you as an Ephesians 4 evangelist and a revivalist moving in signs and wonders, knowing that you have walked in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Jesus in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the intimacy and knowledge of God; we, as your brothers and your friends who have a deep love for you, Shauna, and your whole family, we just esteem you. We are here to stand with you and support you, and we are here to commission you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in the power of Jesus’ name, with special oil from Chuck Pierce.” Pierce is another apostle who could not be on hand for the event, but sent his blessing in the form of some “revival oil.”
  • Ahn then anoints Bentley with oil, knocking him to the ground. Bentley would spend the remainder of the ceremony lying on the platform, “soaking” in the power of the Spirit as Johnson, Arnott, and several of the other apostles delivered prophecies about Bentley’s greatness and his important role in God’s plans to pour out His glory in the church.

Of course, that’s not what happened. Not long after his commissioning, Bentley was exposed as an adulterer, a liar, and an occasional drunk. The facts of Bentley’s sin are matters of public record, and the point here is not to revisit the gory details of his immorality. Instead, the point is that the modern apostles—who claim to hear from and speak on behalf of God—could not have been more wrong about Bentley, his spiritual condition, or where his ministry was headed. It’s not clear where their prophecies of blessing came from—but they clearly did not come from God.

The fallout from Bentley’s moral failure has been telling. Peter Wagner wrote a lengthy and fascinating explanation of his involvement with Bentley. In his version of events, he went to Lakeland not for Bentley, but for the sake of God’s people—to “bring order to the chaos and confusion sweeping through the Body of Christ worldwide because of the television.”

Wagner confesses that he didn’t know Bentley prior to his commissioning, and claims that the apostolic alignment was his attempt to bring Bentley under the authority of other apostles. But compare that with Wagner’s words of unequivocal praise and blessing during the alignment ceremony. In fact, apostle after apostle proclaimed nothing but blessing and favor for Bentley. If they truly were speaking on behalf of God—the same God who was about to reveal Bentley’s immorality—how did they all manage to get the message so wrong?

Worse still, it seems Wagner had heard rumors of corruption and ungodly activity at Lakeland. But he says he ignored advice from others to address those issues privately before the alignment, a choice he defends by saying, “I had to follow God’s leading for me personally.” In effect, then, his explanation of the whole debacle is, If you don’t like the way I handled it, blame God.

That kind of blame shifting has gone on since sin first entered the world (Genesis 3:12), and it still doesn’t hold any water. The fact is, Wagner and his fellow apostles usurped authority that doesn’t belong to them. And that for people who supposedly speak for God, they show an alarming lack of biblical discernment and understanding.

And some of them have yet to learn the folly of their ways. Rick Joyner is the head of MorningStar ministries and was one of the apostles who spoke during Todd Bentley’s commissioning ceremony. He’s also the man who ushered Bentley back into ministry, writing in 2010:

I felt that it was time to release Todd into limited ministry in our church because I had the leading of the Lord to do this. To me, this always trumps every other reason, but I had some other reasons, too.

In just a few lines, Rick Joyner summarizes everything that’s wrong with the modern apostolic movement. Personal intuition is not the same as direct revelation, and it cannot be allowed to trump biblical truth. And if a shipwreck like the Todd Bentley fiasco isn’t enough to alert everyone in the charismatic movement to the need for careful, biblical discernment, it’s frightening to think what it will take.

As for the modern apostles, their track record is unimpressive to say the least. Fallible prophecy, inaccurate spiritual impressions, and dangerously poor discernment were not characteristic of the New Testament apostles, and neither should they be hallmarks of church leaders today. In fact, the greatest argument against the modern continuation of the apostolic gifts and the office of the apostle might be the modern apostles themselves.

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131121     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

12 reasons not to fall for the Noah Movie hype

If you’re hoping that next April’s release of the “Noah” film is the next Christian blockbuster that will inspire people to seek God, you might want to hold your wallet – not your breath.

A rough cut of the movie, starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma “Hermoine Granger” Watson, has been held up to the light of Scripture and has been found to be grossly different.

Read More Here: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/11/12-reasons-not-to-fall-for-the-noah-movie-hype/

“Duck Dynasty” Family to Be Featured in Poignant “I Am Second” Video

The Robertson family from the hugely popular Duck Dynasty series will be featured in a special 30-minute video in the I Am Second series in which they reveal their family’s struggles and how faith helped them overcome. In the video trailer, three generations of the Robertson family talk about their poor choices and how Christ intervened. Regardless of what you think of the series, the testimony of this high-profile family should be pretty interesting.

UPDATE: The video is now released on the I Am Second site.

Source: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/171507-duck-dynasty-family-to-be-featured-in-poignant-i-am-second-video.html

Don’t Be Taken in by the Noah Movie’s Promotion – Ken Ham

Is the movie trailer promoting the blockbuster film Noah—to be released in March—part of a Hollywood con?

Why would I even suggest that? Well, if you watch the movie’s trailer, it seems that the film might be compatible with the biblical account of the Flood and Ark of Noah. But I believe the trailer was put together very carefully and cleverly to attract Christians and Jews—those who might be inclined to pay to see the film and not speak out against it. In fact, many Christians and Christian organizations have already come out publicly to say they can’t wait to see this movie. But what will Noah, with movie star Russell Crowe, really show? Should Christians promote this movie just based on what Hollywood is letting them see?

We have heard from various sources—including two close friends of AiG who watched a rough cut of the film—that it is not at all faithful to the biblical account in Genesis. The final movie will probably be very unbiblical in some bizarre and shocking ways.

Read More here: http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2013/11/19/dont-be-taken-in-by-the-noah-movies-promotion/

Twelve Things to Do In Times of Trouble

Mind Renewers

I said on Sunday that Psalm 61 is an “every-trouble” Psalm.  The Psalm’s title has nothing to tell us of the circumstances that triggered it.  And David says in the second verse that he can cry to God “from the ends of the earth” — wherever he may be, whatever the situation.  In addition, he says he can cry to the Lord when his heart is “overwhelmed.”

David was not an overwhelmed-heart kind of guy.  As a shepherd, he faced down a lion, and a bear.  As a youth, he faced Goliath.  He faced Saul’s treachery with courage, dealt with the opposition of the Philistines, and even in old age he kept going out to battle until his men wouldn’t let him go any longer.  So when someone like that is talking about problems that overwhelm the heart, you know he’s talking about great trouble.  As we look at Psalm…

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Thanksgiving Day Devotional 2013

Settled In Heaven Blog

SIH HALTAL ICON“Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Say So”

1) O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
2) Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3) And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4) They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
5) Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6) Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses.
7) And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8) Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

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Mark Steyn and Thomas Sowell on “the knockout game”


First, Mark Steyn writing in National Review. (H/T Jay Richards)


In his book The Abolition of Man, he writes of “men without chests” — the chest being “the indispensable liaison” between the head and the gut, between “cerebral man” and “visceral man.” In the chest beat what Lewis calls “the trained emotions.” Without them there is no honor or virtue, but only “intellect” and/or “appetite.”

Speaking of appetite, have you played the “Knockout” game yet? Groups of black youths roam the streets looking for a solitary pedestrian, preferably white (hence the alternate name “polar-bearing”) but Asian or Hispanic will do. The trick is to knock him to the ground with a single punch. There’s a virtually limitless supply of targets: In New York, a 78-year-old woman was selected, and went down nice and easy, as near-octogenarian biddies tend to when sucker-punched. But, when you’re really rockin’, you…

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‘Largest massacre of Christians in Syria’ ignored in the West

[Via RaymondIbrahim.com, where all links appear]

The worst Christian massacre—complete with mass graves, tortured-to-death women and children, and destroyed churches—recently took place in Syria, at the hands of the U.S.-supported jihadi “rebels”; and the U.S. government and its “mainstream media” mouthpiece are, as usual, silent.

7 Things the Bible Says about Wisdom

Scripture, and Proverbs in particular, offers wisdom about a wide range of subjects, from finance to relationships and everything in between. Some of its most prevalent wisdom, though, is framed around the subject of wisdom itself—what it is, how it acts, and how to get it.

A quick Logos Bible search led me to 106 verses in the book of Proverbs that contained the words “wise” or “wisdom.” Here are seven that jumped out to me:

  • Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 1:7)
  • It’s foolish to think yourself wise. (Proverbs 3:7)
  • A wise person reads the instructions. (Proverbs 9:9)
  • In an argument, the quieter person is probably the wiser one. (Proverbs 29:9)
  • A wise person doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. (Proverbs 29:11)
  • Wisdom is contagious. (Proverbs 13:20)
  • God gives out wisdom generously to anyone who asks for it. (James 1:5)

Read More Here: http://blog.faithlife.com/blog/2013/11/7-things-the-bible-says-about-wisdom/

Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That (22 November 2013)

  • Carl Trueman doesn’t have people.
  • The pope does have people, though.
  • Speaking of the pope, he says he’s a sinner, too. There is so much horrendous theology in this article that it actually makes me want to cry thinking about the millions of people who are deceived by Roman Catholicism.
  • Grace to You has run a series of articles about the New Apostolic Reformation’s ‘apostles who don’t do anything.’ Written by Jeremiah Johnson and my friend Cameron Buettel, these posts expose some of the atrocities being perpetuated by the modern charismatic movement. Start with that first link, then go here and here.
  • This holiday season, why not “talk to your loved ones about health insurance“? Oh, brother.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Mark Dever shares five things often mistaken for evangelism.
  • I like this picture. Too bad Lake Shore Drive no longer looks anything like this.
  • Stop asking Jesus into your heart.
  • Lots of folks got pretty twitchy this week when a pastor tweeted out a picture of a Bible in Costco labeled as fiction. Personally, I was wondering what was worse: the label on the Bible, or the fact that the pastor was at Costco to buy a present for his wife. But I digress. Costco apologized and explained.
  • Selfie‘ is the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2013. Is anyone else really, really ashamed to have English as their first language? (By the way, other than this instance, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘selfie.’ By God’s grace I’ll be able to maintain that record until He calls me home.)
  • Here’s the audio from the Q&A between Phil Johnson and John MacArthur regarding the Strange Fire conference.
  • Do you agree with MacArthur on this point? (I do.)
  • Five signs you need to stop blogging.
  • Good thoughts from the housewife theologian.
  • I’d like these for breakfast tomorrow. So if someone wants to go ahead and make them, just let me know what time I should be there.
  • Providence is remarkable:


Read More Here: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/11/this-n-that_22.html

Common Core and you


You won’t hear the Common Core happenings in mainstream media – but we cover it quite a bit and we’ve ammassed quite a few programs, guests, articles and resources on our website to try to help people make sense out of a curriculum and standards that seemingly don’t make a lot of sense, especially when you see and hear about the consequences.

Read More Here: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/11/common-core-and-you/

When your world caves in

Recently I’ve spent some time with two friends who were in ministry but have fallen morally and so now find themselves out of a job that they loved, separated from their families and, in all honesty, struggling. I’ve showed what I’ve written to them and I wouldn’t say they were overjoyed at what I had to say but both agreed I could put this on here.
There’s a number of things that need to be said but, first of all, we need to recognise how fragile we are. These men were more gifted and more able than I ever will be. They are bright guys who were, in lots of our eyes, ‘successful’ in ministry. I’ve prayed with these men and shared in ministry with them.  After meeting with them I came away upset and sad and slightly afraid; the reason being it could have been me. No one who has met with people who’ve just seen their lives implode and the speed at which sin can destroy a man can ever be proud. You can be angry with them and what they’ve done but you’ll be more aware of the fact that it could so easily have been me. ‘Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall’. 1 Corinthians 10:12
Some thoughts……
He offers several helpful thoughts in the following categories:
  • online life is a killer
  • success in ministry is a dangerous thing
  • accountability doesn’t work
  • marriage
  • the temptation to rehabilitate yourself
  • forgiveness is possible

Bible Secrets Revealed? A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 1)

Bible Secrets Revealed

This past week, the History Channel premiered a new series on the Bible entitled, Bible Secrets Revealed.  The first full episode was called Lost in Translation, and can be viewed here.

Now, let me say that I really do enjoy documentaries on the Bible.  They are usually done with very high quality, contain interviews of some of the world’s top scholars, and often raising intriguing and important questions.  But, there are also dangers.  Such documentaries run the risk of being overly sensationalistic, one-sided, and ultimately misleading.

Unfortunately, this new documentary from the History Channel tends to falter at precisely these points.  While there are many positives–great production quality and intriguing content–this documentary quickly spins itself into some problem areas.

Thus, I am starting a new series here on my blog where I will review each new episode of Bible Secrets Revealed as it comes out.  In regard to the first episode, Lost in Transmission, it is marked by the following characteristics.

Read More Here: http://michaeljkruger.com/bible-secrets-revealed-a-response-to-the-new-history-channel-series-part-1/

Debunking ‘Bible Secrets’ Television Shows

Every year before Christmas and Easter, the media turns to stories about  religion to try and boost their audiences. Like clockwork, the History Channel has just  begun a series titled “Bible Secrets Discovered”. This is the latest in a genre  (including “The Bible’s Buried Secrets,” “Jesus Family Tomb” and others) that  seeks to publicize some novel scriptural understanding that undermines the Bible’s credibility. Are their charges true?
Below is a four-part audio series plus a two page downloadable PDF outline where I show how these ‘Bible Secrets’  shows engage ins a bit of misdirection to achieve their goals. More P.T. Barnum  than true scholarship, when examining the facts thoughtfully, one can quickly  see why these shows present an emperor who has no clothes.

Source: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2013/11/debunking-bible-secrets-television-shows.html

China Announces That It Is Going To Stop Stockpiling U.S. Dollars

China just dropped an absolute bombshell, but it was almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media in the United States. The central bank of China has decided that it is “no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves”. During the third quarter of 2013, China’s foreign-exchange reserves were valued at approximately $3.66 trillion. And of course the biggest chunk of that was made up of U.S. dollars. For years, China has been accumulating dollars and working hard to keep the value of the dollar up and the value of the yuan down. One of the goals has been to make Chinese products less expensive in the international marketplace. But now China has announced that the time has come for it to stop stockpiling U.S. dollars. And if that does indeed turn out to be the case, than many U.S. analysts are suggesting that China could also soon stop buying any more U.S. debt. Needless to say, all of this would be very bad for the United States. (Read More….)