Daily Archives: January 8, 2014

Ignorance Is Not an Option: (Justin Peters on Benny Hinn, Dr. Michael Brown and Strange Fire)

 

One of the common criticisms of the Strange Fire conference held this past October was that the speakers (this writer included) painted all charismatic Christians with the same broad brush by lumping them in with the extremes of the Word-Faith/N.A.R./Dominion movement.  Charismatic theologian, author, and radio host Dr. Michael Brown on the eve of the conference posted an open letter to Dr. John MacArthur stating that he “attributes the extreme errors of a tiny minority to countless hundreds of thousands of godly leaders worldwide.”[1]

From this statement it is apparent that Brown does indeed recognize that there are “extreme errors” in the charismatic movement.  Not to worry, however, because those who propagate such error constitute only a “tiny minority” of the mighty charismatic army.

I’m not a social media guy but a few of my more technologically astute friends alerted me to a tweet from Brown dated January 2, 2014 in which he stated that he “just recorded five wonderful TV shows with Benny Hinn.”

Benny HinnReally?

With this tweet, Brown unwittingly proved two of the basic points of the Strange Fire conference: 1) False teachers and charlatans are not the “tiny minority” in the charismatic movement but rather the norm and  2) There is a shocking and rampant lack of discernment within the charismatic ranks.

Brown is considered by many to be one of the “clear thinking” charismatics.  He is one of the movement’s leading theologians and intellectuals.  He is one of the heavyweights of charismaticism.

Benny Hinn is one of, if not the most widely recognized personalities of the charismatic/Word-Faith movement.  He is the world’s most famous (or infamous depending upon your point of view) faith healer.  He attracts large crowds domestically, but the crowds at his international crusades are staggering, often numbering in the hundreds of thousands.  Hinn has been doing “ministry” for some 35 years and in that time has taught some of the most jaw-dropping heresies, offered dozens of demonstrably false prophecies and has made some of the most outlandish claims imaginable:

  • Claims he healed every patient at a hospital in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, Canada[2]
  • Claims his father was the mayor of Jaffa, Israel.  He wasn’t.
  • Of his critics said, “Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun, I’d blow your head off.”
  • Has threatened even the innocent children of his critics.
  • Claims Kathryn Kuhlman visits him from the dead and claims to get an anointing from the tomb of Aimee Semple McPherson.
  • Claimed to have video of Jesus walking around in one of his meetings.  When asked to show the video his staff said that it had been “misplaced.”
  • On Dec. 31, 1989, Hinn went into a “trance” and said that God was giving him (in real time) prophecies about major events in the then upcoming decade of the 1990s.  “God” said these events would include the collapse of the American economy, the East coast being ravaged by earthquakes, a female elected as president, Fidel Castro’s death in office, the rise of a “short man dictator,” the Rapture of the church, and the destruction of the homosexual community in America “in ’94 or ’95, no later than that” – with fire.  This is by no means exhaustive of Hinn’s false prophecies, it is just all he managed on this particular night.
  • Claimed that God told him by divine revelation knowledge that there are actually 9 members in the Godhead.
  • Claimed the Holy Spirit told him that women were originally intended to give birth out of their sides.
  • Claimed that when the Red Sea parted the water froze and it was actually ice that crushed the Egyptian soldiers.
  • Claimed that as a young man he was in his room talking to the Holy Spirit.  When called to supper by the “woman of the house,” he said, “…as I was about to leave, I felt someone take my hand and say, ‘Five more minutes.  Just five more minutes.’  The Holy Spirit longed for my fellowship.”[3]
  • Lives in a $10 million parsonage[4] and is known to stay in hotel rooms costing upwards of $10k per night.  He flies in a private jet and is well known for his lavish spending and opulent lifestyle – all funded by donations to his ministry.
  • Teaches all of the standard Word-Faith doctrines such as Positive Confession, the Little gods doctrine, the Spiritual Death of Jesus (SDJ) doctrine, and guaranteed health and wealth for the believer.
  • Seed-Faith theology is a staple in Hinn’s teaching.  He promises people that if they “sow a seed” (translated, give him money) that God will give them a “harvest.”
  • Claims to have a department that verifies all of his healings.  I have spoken with a former employee of Hinn’s who says that not only are the healings not verified but that such a department does not even exist.

This just scratches the surface with Hinn.  Benny Hinn literally meets each and every biblical criterion as to how to discern a false teacher.  If Benny Hinn is not a false teacher then someone needs to explain to me what one is because I do not know.  If he is not a false teacher then the term truly has no meaning.

When Dr. Brown tweeted that he had recorded five television programs with Hinn, many called him out on this and rightly so.  Once the critical tweets began to mount, Brown realized he had to address the burgeoning controversy and said:

We’ve traveled in different circles over the years. Simple. And I don’t watch Christian TV.

This is stunning.  Absolutely stunning.

Undoubtedly realizing that he had created quite the theological dust-up he attempted to defend himself by claiming ignorance of Benny Hinn.  Ignorance?  Of Benny Hinn?   A man in Brown’s position claiming ignorance of Benny Hinn would be tantamount to an Olympic swimmer claiming ignorance of Michael Phelps or for a high level employee of Microsoft claiming ignorance of Bill Gates.  Hinn is one of if not the most widely recognized individuals in all of “Christianity.”  He is a charismatic rock star and with a ministerial track record spanning over three decades Hinn is a well known commodity.  There have been numerous exposés done on Hinn (leave it to the secular media to police the charismatic movement because it will not police itself) documenting his repeated lies, financial improprieties and fallacious healings.  I cannot get inside the mind of Dr. Brown, but this claim stretches credulity in the extreme.

More tweets came in questioning his discernment.  He then muddied the waters even further by tweeting:

Perhaps I did exercise discernment?  Perhaps I know things others don’t and have reasons for what I do?  Is that possible?

Well, yes, that is certainly possible but it seems to be hopelessly incongruent with his tweet shortly before in which he claimed ignorance.  Additionally, Brown’s book Authentic Fire was written as a response to MacArthur’s book Strange Fire.  If Brown by his own admission does not watch Christian television, how is it that he can refute Strange Fire which deals in large part with the content of Christian television?  Further complicating matters is that within the pages of Strange Fire, which Brown presumably would have read in order to offer a critique – or should have, is considerable information documenting Hinn’s lavish lifestyle, blatant heresies, and bogus claims of healings.  If he did indeed read the book which was released in late October 2013, then from it alone he would have had more than enough information to be well informed before his taping with Hinn on January 2, 2014.

Not only have I studied Benny Hinn and the Word-Faith movement at an academic level, but I have also personally attended numerous meetings and conferences of prominent Word-Faith leaders such as Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Rod Parsley, Jerry Savelle, John Hagee,  Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.  I have attended 15 of Benny Hinn’s “Miracle Crusades” and have seen first-hand the devastation that Hinn leaves in his wake.  What the television cameras won’t show you is that in the back are dozens and dozens of sick, crippled and dying people.  Parents bring in their sick and dying children in vain hopes of them being restored.  At one of these crusades I spoke with a young couple whose 6 month old baby girl was dying (she was hooked up to a portable oxygen tank and had a feeding tube inserted into her stomach).  At another I spoke with a mother who told me that her 5 year old boy who she had in a little stroller was born without a brain; he had only a brain stem which kept him breathing and his heart beating.  These are not outlying cases.  Tragic scenes such as this can be found at every one of his meetings.  Hinn confidently asserts that it is always God’s will to be healed and that healing will come to everyone present as long as they have enough faith.

And give enough money.

At every single crusade which I have had to endure, Hinn takes up the “love offering” just before the “healing” begins.  “If you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly. If you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully,” says Hinn.  The not-so-subtle insinuation is that if you have cancer, or if you have a sick or dying child, then you had best dig deeply.  The bigger miracle you need, the bigger seed you had better sow.  And so the poor, the desperate, the sick, and the elderly sow their seeds.  Pictured is a woman I met at the most recent Hinn crusade I attended in 2011.  She is with her son who, a few years prior, skied into a pole.  She sowed her seed.  But the only one who reaped a harvest was Benny Hinn.

This is the man with whom Michael Brown just had fellowship.  This is the man with whom he just broke metaphorical bread.  This is the man to whom he just gave credibility.  This is the man to whom he just gave his implicit endorsement.  This is the reason the Strange Fire conference was so needed.

The stark reality, contrary to the hue and cry from Michael Brown and so many others in the charismatic movement, is that the “extreme errors” are not just coming from a “tiny minority” fringe within its ranks.  The errors are extreme to be sure, but they are coming from and they represent the majority within the charismatic movement. I have been to countries in Europe, South America and Africa and can state with tragic confidence that Word-Faith theology (along with Roman Catholicism) is the face of Christianity in most of the world today.  Word-Faith theology was born in the United States of America  and networks such as TBN, Daystar, INSP, The Word Network, etc., etc. have exported this theological poison to the rest of the world.  And now, indigenous prosperity preachers who have learned the tricks of the trade from watching these networks are fleecing their own flocks even in the poorest of countries.

We regularly hear on the news that the Islamic terrorists are not true Muslims.  They represent only a tiny minority of an otherwise peaceful Muslim population.  Some commentators have rightly pointed out that if this were the case then there should be a legion of “moderate” Muslims vociferously speaking out against the radical fringe denouncing them as not true Muslims who have hijacked Islam and distorted the message of its prophet.  And yet, with very rare exception, the only thing heard from this supposed vast majority of peace-loving Muslims and their imams is silence.  Similarly, if the Word-Faith/N.A.R. proponents are but a fringe of the charismatic movement, then there should be a legion of charismatic leaders vociferously calling out Hinn and others of his ilk as the charlatans for which they are.  Charismatic leaders should be shouting from the rooftops that such false teachers have hijacked Christianity and distorted the message of its King.  And yet, with rare exception, the silence from charismatic leaders is deafening.  No, it is not a fringe.  It is mainstream.   It is reasoned and thoughtful charismatics like John Piper and Wayne Grudem who are, sadly, the charismatic fringe.

I tell people that if they want to get an idea of the state of “Christianity” today, all one has to do is turn on Christian television.  All Christian television is is a function of the basic law of Supply and Demand.  Whatever the demand is, that is what Christian television will supply.  So, when we turn on Christian television what do we see?  Solid expositors who study to show themselves approved rightly dividing the Word of Truth?  Hardly.  We see an endless parade of prosperity preachers who do nothing but tickle people’s itching ears.  We hear a cacophony of prosperity preaching emanating from charlatans who exploit the poor, the sick, the desperate, and the widows for personal financial gain.  And the most egregious error and what should be of gravest concern to us is that the Gospel is distorted and God’s Name is blasphemed.

I called in to Dr. Brown’s radio program, Line of Fire, on Friday, January 3 to express my concerns regarding his appearance with Benny Hinn.  He said that he was aware of some controversy over Hinn but that he had never investigated it and that, if true, he would discuss it with him.  It is my hope that he does investigate who this man is and what he teaches.  It is my prayer (literally) that God would grant Benny Hinn and the myriad of Word-Faith preachers genuine repentance.  I, along with the other speakers at the Strange Fire conference, would love nothing more than to wake up one day and see that the Word-Faith preachers have renounced their teachings and practices thereby rendering future conferences such as it completely unnecessary.

In closing, I want to state unequivocally that I am not at all lumping Michael Brown in with false teachers like Benny Hinn.  However, when he, in violation of clear biblical instruction not to do so (Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:11; Titus 1:9), fellowships with false teachers he gives them a level of credibility that they do not deserve, enlarges their following, and exposes even more unsuspecting and undiscerning people to these wolves.

For more from Justin Peters, go to www.justinpeters.org.


[2] Hinn made this claim in his book Welcome Holy Spirit on page 233. His claim was roundly refuted by hospital staff.

[3] Hinn, Good Morning Holy Spirit, pg. 56.

[4] This was in 2003 dollars according to a documentary done by the Canadian Broadcasting Company entitled “Do You Believe in Miracles?”



Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140108     COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You

Albert Mohler Blog: “Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?—An Old Question in a New Age”

In his latest Blog Essay, “Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?—An Old Question in a New Age,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. asks an ever-relevant question to guide our thinking about the battles Christians will face in 2014.

Click here to read why Dr. Mohler urges, “with eternity in view and the gospel at stake, the enemy of our enemy must not be confused to be a friend to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Dispensationalism, Keller, and the poor [reprise]

Several years ago there was a steady push from the “missional church” encouraging other churches to use their material resources to advance God’s kingdom by meeting the physical needs of the poor. For the most part, that movement seems like it ran its course. Kevin DeYoung’s excellent book, “What is the Mission of the Church” probably deserves much of the credit for exposing and confronting the church’s mission creep. Nevertheless, I recently have received several questions about this topic, which makes me think that the misisonal approach to dealing with poverty might be trying to make a comeback. So both today and tomorrow I will rerun two posts from a few years ago that deal with this approach to poverty. The goal is to get the readers to think critically and carefully about what exactly the Scriptures say about the mission of the church as it relates to the poor of the world. These posts are from 2011:

I am becoming increasingly convinced that dispensationalists understand why social justice is outside the realm of the church, and that others—especially and ironically those in the missional movement—are rapidly losing sight of what the church’s mission is. When Tim Keller says, “It’s biblical that we owe the poor as much of our money as we can possibly give away,” Robin Hood ethics gradually eclipse the Great Commission mandate. Others may squirm, but it takes a real dispensationalist to say, “The Bible simply never commands the church to give anything to the poor of the world, other than the gospel.”

When Jesus said, “The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have me” (Matt 26:11Mark 14:7John 12:8), he raises a pressing question: What is the church’s role and responsibility when confronted with poverty? It is not debated that poverty has existed on earth since Cain’s banishment. What is debated is the reason for this, and then by implication the role the church has in ministering to the poor.

Read More: http://thecripplegate.com/dispensationalism-keller-and-the-poor-reprise/

How Mark Dever Passes Out Authority

Over the years Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., has seen plenty of opportunities to accrue authority, some of which he keeps, many of which he passes out. And the way he passes out authority has shaped the culture of our church in countless ways.

Here are 20 ways he distributes authority, followed by 10 ways this shapes our church culture. Some apply just to lead pastors; many apply to all of us.

Read More: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2014/01/07/how-mark-dever-passes-out-authority/

DNA discovery illustrates creation’s complexity

Researchers have found a second layer of information embedded in DNA, refueling a debate between proponents of Darwinism and intelligent design.

Since the 1960s, scientists recognized that the order of molecules in DNA represented a particular code that governs the development of gene-forming proteins. Now, researchers from the University of Washington have discovered a second set of instructions in DNA that governs how those genes function.

Read More: http://www.worldmag.com/2014/01/dna_discovery_illustrates_creation_s_complexity

Reported Christian ‘Martyr’ Deaths Double in 2013

ICC Note: A newly released study documents that more than 2,100 Christians were killed as “martyr’s” in 2013. The greatest increase was seen in Syria. With a reported 1,213 deaths, Syria alone eclipsed the global total of 1,201 from 2012. The report is intentionally narrow in its definition of “martyr” and tries to distinguish between Christians killed in the midst of broader conflict and those killed explicitly for their faith. Nine of the ten worst persecuting countries are Muslim-majority states. As a whole, the report finds that “Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the worldwide church.”

Read More: http://www.persecution.org/2014/01/08/reported-christian-martyr-deaths-double-in-2013/

Scripture Alone

Possessing the Treasure

by Michael Kruger

We live in a world filled with competing truth claims. Every day, we are bombarded with declarations that something is true and that something else is false. We are told what to believe and what not to believe. We are asked to behave one way but not another way. In her monthly column “What I Know for Sure,” Oprah Winfrey tells us how to handle our lives and our relationships. The New York Times editorial page regularly tells us what approach we should take to the big moral, legal, or public-policy issues of our day. Richard Dawkins, the British atheist and evolutionist, tells us how to think of our historical origins and our place in this universe.

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In scathing memoir, former SecDef Bob Gates describes his “seething” anger against the President & his approach towards leadership and Mideast wars.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

bobgates-book(Washington, D.C.) — “In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president ‘doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out,'”  reports Bob Woodward in the Washington Post.

What’s striking to me about the excerpts that Woodward pulls from the book — Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War — is how angry Gates, 70, describes himself as being at President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the White House inner circle over their muddled, dysfunctional, confused and condescending approach towards leadership generally and towards national security policy in particular, especially  the wars in the Middle East.

At various points Gates — widely seen a calm, unflappable, non-ideological, bipartisan advisor to presidents going back to the Nixon administration — writes…

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The Pastor as Theologian – Free eBook (Albert Mohler Jr.)

“Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to some pastors, who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians — teaching, preaching, defending and applying the great doctrines of the faith.”

Read More

Why I am Leaving the Church Growth Movement

Church growth is all the rage. For pastors, the focus is on leadership. For laymen, on “reaching people.” In the church world, church-growth is the standard of success. If a church “reaches people,” and the pastor is a “visionary leader,” then the church will be considered a success. If a church makes it into somebody’s bogus “Fastest Growing Church” list, then the growth frenzy continues with the sheep flocking to check out what innovation has been initiated to reach the masses for Christ. Personally, I think the Emperor has no clothes. For at least four reasons, I reject the church-growth and church-health principles taught at almost every pastor’s conference, and expressed in almost every church. Our church will be different, because I reject these principles. Although different will likely mean odd, behind-the-times, and shrinking in size, I go there anyway. – See more at: http://www.randywhiteministries.org/2014/01/02/leaving-church-growth-movement/

Bible Summary / Survey: Book of 2 Samuel

 

Author: The Book of 2 Samuel does not identify its author. It could not be the Prophet Samuel, since he died in 1 Samuel. Possible writers include Nathan and Gad (see 1 Chronicles 29:29).

Date of Writing: Originally, the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were one book. The translators of the Septuagint separated them, and we have retained that separation ever since. The events of 1 Samuel span approximately 100 years, from c. 1100 B.C. to c. 1000 B.C. The events of 2 Samuel cover another 40 years. The date of writing, then, would be sometime after 960 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: 2 Samuel is the record of King David’s reign. This book places the Davidic Covenant in its historical context.

Key Verses: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16).

“But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 19:4).

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent men you save me. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies” (2 Samuel 22:2–4).

Brief Summary: The book of 2 Samuel can be divided into two main sections—David’s triumphs (chapters 1–10) and David’s troubles (chapters 11–20). The last part of the book (chapters 21–24) is a non-chronological appendix which contains further details of David’s reign.

The book begins with David receiving news of the death of Saul and his sons. He proclaims a time of mourning. Soon afterward, David is crowned king over Judah, while Ish-bosheth, one of Saul’s surviving sons, is crowned king over Israel (chapter 2). A civil war follows, but Ish-bosheth is murdered, and the Israelites ask David to reign over them as well (chapters 4–5).

David moves the country’s capital from Hebron to Jerusalem and later moves the Ark of the Covenant (chapters 5–6). David’s plan to build a temple in Jerusalem is vetoed by God, who then promises David the following things: 1) David would have a son to rule after him; 2) David’s son would build the temple; 3) the throne occupied by David’s lineage would be established forever; and 4) God would never take His mercy from David’s house (2 Samuel 7:4–16).

David leads Israel to victory over many of the enemy nations which surrounded them. He also shows kindness to the family of Jonathan by taking in Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son (chapters 8–10).

Then David falls. He lusts for a beautiful woman named Bathsheba, commits adultery with her, and then has her husband murdered (chapter 11). When Nathan the prophet confronts David with his sin, David confesses, and God graciously forgives. However, the Lord tells David that trouble would arise from within his own household.

Trouble does come when David’s firstborn son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. In retaliation, Tamar’s brother Absalom kills Amnon. Absalom then flees Jerusalem rather than face his father’s anger. Later, Absalom leads a revolt against David, and some of David’s former associates join the rebellion (chapters 15–16). David is forced out of Jerusalem, and Absalom sets himself up as king for a short time. The usurper is overthrown, however, and—against David’s wishes—is killed. David mourns his fallen son.

A general feeling of unrest plagues the remainder of David’s reign. The men of Israel threaten to split from Judah, and David must suppress another uprising (chapter 20).

The book’s appendix includes information concerning a three-year famine in the land (chapter 21), a song of David (chapter 22), a record of the exploits of David’s bravest warriors (chapter 23), and David’s sinful census and the ensuing plague (chapter 24).

Foreshadowings: The Lord Jesus Christ is seen primarily in two parts of 2 Samuel. First, the Davidic Covenant as outlined in 2 Samuel 7:16: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” and reiterated in Luke 1:31–33 in the words of the angel who appeared to Mary to announce Jesus’ birth to her: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Christ is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant; He is the Son of God in the line of David who will reign forever.

Second, Jesus is seen in the song of David at the end of his life (2 Samuel 22:2–51). He sings of his rock, fortress and deliverer, his refuge and savior. Jesus is our Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:7–9), the Deliverer of Israel (Romans 11:25–27), the fortress to whom we “have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18 KJV), and our only Savior (Luke 2:11; 2 Timothy 1:10).

Practical Application: Anyone can fall. Even a man like David, who truly desired to follow God and who was richly blessed by God, was susceptible to temptation. David’s sin with Bathsheba should be a warning to all of us to guard our hearts, our eyes and our minds. Pride over our spiritual maturity and our ability to withstand temptation in our own strength is the first step to a downfall (1 Corinthians 10:12).

God is gracious to forgive even the most heinous sins when we truly repent. However, healing the wound caused by sin does not always erase the scar. Sin has natural consequences, and even after he was forgiven, David reaped what he had sown. His son from the illicit union with another man’s wife was taken from him (2 Samuel 12:14–24) and David suffered the misery of a break in his loving relationship with his heavenly Father (Psalms 32 and 51). How much better to avoid sin in the first place, rather than having to seek forgiveness later![1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Cults and Religions: Who Was Joseph Smith?

 

Joseph Smith is widely known as the founder of the Mormon Church also known as Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith from an early age was thought to have certain occult powers. He was known at a young age as a seer and reportedly used a seer stone to tell him where he could find such precious metals as silver. Both he and his father were known “treasure seekers” and used divination and magic to carry out treasure seeking excursions. This of course brought him a name and a reputation. To this day, he is considered by some a saint and by others a complete charlatan.

Joseph Smith grew up during a time of spiritual revival in America known as restorationism. It was at this time, 1820, that Joseph Smith claimed to have received a marvelous vision in which God the Father and God the Son materialized and spoke to him as he was praying in the woods. He reportedly said that the two “personages” took a rather dim view of the Christian church and for that matter the world at large, and announced that a restoration of Christianity was needed, and that Smith had been chosen to launch the new dispensation. Since its beginnings until the present day, the Mormon Church holds the position that they alone represent true Christianity.

Mormon leaders have consistently taught that after the death of the Apostles, true Christianity had fallen into complete apostasy, making it necessary for a “restoration”. But even after the supposed heavenly visitation, Joseph Smith and friends continued to dig for treasure using occult methods. These methods were illegal in that day, and Smith was convicted of “glasslooking” in 1826. But before that conviction in Chenango County New York, the new “prophet of the Lord” continued to stir up controversy with yet another amazing close encounter with heaven. In 1823, Smith claimed to have been contacted by an angel named Moroni who revealed that there were golden plates at a certain location near Palmyra, New York. On the golden plates was a history of an ancient man named Mormon and his fabled ancient Hebrew tribe, who were said to be a new revelation, “another witness” to the truth of the Christian gospel. It was recorded in Mormon historical documents that the angel had provided special spectacles needed to help Smith translate the writings from the golden plates. It was also reported that during the translation, the man who was helping him had the privilege of having John the Baptist, accompanied by Peter, James and John, come to Pennsylvania on that day May 15, 1829 to confer upon the men the “Aaronic Priesthood”. These and other amazing stories are recorded in Smith’s book, Pearl of Great Price.

Joseph Smith claimed to have special visions and an incredible opening up of heaven to him. But a statement signed by sixty-two residents of Palmyra, New York, who wanted others to know that they had known him, his family, his beliefs, and his occultic excursions to find treasure declared him to be “entirely destitute of moral character and addicted to vicious habits.” Yet, he claimed to be God’s mouthpiece, and when he spoke, he claimed that God was speaking. This powerful position was taken seriously by many followers, and when Smith had a vision it was to be taken seriously, no matter if it flew in the face of “Christian” moral standards. His new “revelation from God” on polygamy is but one example.

Popular or not, his pronouncements “from God” took him quite a ways for quite a few years. His highly imaginative stories always read like science fiction, mixing and twisting Biblical truth with imagination. He was always careful to imitate Biblical truth, and many times he rewrites the Bible. To many, his theology is a twisted mirror image of real theology. It tempts by using a smattering of the real thing, the things that people know as Bible truth.

Joseph Smith met his end at the hands of an angry mob. Having attempted to quiet the polygamy issue after the church had settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, Smith and his followers destroyed an anti-Mormon newspaper building and consequently were arrested and in a jail awaiting trial. The jail was stormed by an angry mob of two hundred people and Joseph Smith and his brother were murdered. After his untimely death, there was a split in the “church”. The church he established remains centralized today both in Missouri, (the Community of Christ-RLDS) and in Utah, where many Mormons had followed their new leader, Brigham Young.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the End Times: What Are the Times of the Gentiles?

 

In Luke 21:24, Jesus speaks of future events, including the destruction of Jerusalem and His return. He says that “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (ESV). A similar phrase is found in Romans 11:25, which says “a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (ESV). Does the Bible tell us what the phrase “times of the Gentiles” means?

The Old Testament does not contain this exact phrase, but there are references which seem to match up. Ezekiel 30:3 points to “a time of doom for the nations” in connection with the Day of the Lord. Daniel’s series of visions deals with Gentile world powers and their role in God’s plan for the earth. Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay (Dan 2:31–45) represents successive Gentile kingdoms which will dominate until Christ returns and establishes His reign. Daniel’s vision of the four beasts (7:1–27) likewise speaks of four kings, or nations, which will dominate for a time, until Christ comes to rule forever. The vision of the ram and the goat (Dan 8:1–26) gives more detail about these Gentile rulers and the time involved in their dominion. In each of these passages, the Gentiles have dominion over the world, including the Jewish people, for a time, but God will ultimately subdue them all and establish His own kingdom once and for all. Each prophecy culminates with a reference to Christ’s kingdom, so the “times” of these Gentile rulers would be all the years between the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar and the glorious return of Christ to establish His kingdom. We are now living in “the times of the Gentiles,” that is, in the era of Gentile domination.

When we examine the book of Revelation, we find similar references to the time of Gentile dominion ending with the return of Christ. In Revelation 11:2, John indicates that Jerusalem will be under Gentile rule, even though the temple has been restored. The armies of the Beast are destroyed by the Lord in Revelation 19:17–19, just before the millennial reign of Christ is initiated.

Looking again at Luke 21:24, we see that Jesus mentions a time in which Jerusalem is under the dominion of Gentile authority. Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 588 B.C. began that period, and it has continued through the present time. Romans 11:25 gives us a hint as to God’s purpose in the times of the Gentiles: the spread of the gospel throughout the whole world. The organization and inventions of the pagan world powers have actually aided the evangelism of the world. For example, in the first century, it was the widespread use of the Greek language and the network of Roman roads that allowed many people in far-off lands to hear the gospel.

One theme of Romans 11 is that, when the Jewish people rejected Christ, they were temporarily cut off from the blessings of a relationship with God. As a result, the gospel was given to the Gentiles, and they gladly received it. This partial hardening of heart for Israel doesn’t preclude individual Jews from being saved, but it prevents the nation from accepting Christ as Messiah until His plans are finished. When the time is right, God will restore the entire nation, and they will come to faith in Him once again, ending “the times of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 17:7; 62:11–12; Romans 11:26).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Why Is Radioactive Snow Falling In Missouri?

If radioactive snow is falling in Missouri, is it safe to assume that much of the snow that is falling on the rest of the country is also radioactive? What you are about to see is absolutely shocking. A highly respected YouTube personality known as DutchSinse has released video of himself measuring radiation levels of the snow falling on St. Louis, Missouri. What he discovered was that he got a reading that was about twice as high as he did on a sunny day when there is no precipitation. So what in the world could be causing this? Could Fukushima be to blame? Is radioactive water originally from Fukushima being picked up in the Pacific and dumped all across the country? If so, there would seem to be no way to stop this from happening. Now that highly radioactive water from Fukushima is spreading throughout the entire Pacific Ocean, it is simply impossible to put the “genie back in the bottle” again. So could (Read More…)

Employment Recovery? 1,600 Workers Apply For Just 36 Jobs At An Ice Cream Plant In Maryland

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12 Signs Of Extreme Social Decay In America That Are Almost Too Horrible To Talk About

Hearts in America are getting colder even faster than the weather is. Sometimes it is hard to believe how twisted and deranged many Americans have become. In order for a society to function efficiently, people need to be able to have a basic level of trust in one another. Unfortunately, we are rapidly getting to the point in America where it is becoming very difficult to trust anyone that you do not know personally. As you will see below, the United States is rapidly becoming a cesspool of liars, thieves, murderers, perverts and psychopaths. Please do not allow any young children to read this article. All of this material is from mainstream news reports, but a lot of it is too disturbing for young kids to be exposed to. The reason why I write about this stuff is because there is never going to be any hope of a turnaround in this country until we take a good, long look in the mirror and admit how far we have fallen. Yes, a lot of these things are almost too horrible to talk about, but as a nation we must understand how bad things have become. There is evidence of extreme social decay all around us, and it is steadily eating away at the very foundations of our Republic. (Read More…..)

Carmakers keep data on drivers’ locations

A government report finds that major automakers are keeping information about where drivers have been – collected from onboard navigation systems – for varying lengths of time. Owners of those cars can’t demand that the information be destroyed. And, says the U.S. senator requesting the investigation, that raises questions about driver privacy….[view article]

Be Aware! Facial recognition app matches strangers to online profiles

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