SCOTUS: Too Much and Too Little
The root of the tragedy of the SCOTUS decision is that sexual orientation as a category of personhood is both too much and too little all at once, too weighty for the soul to bear and not capacious enough to portray God’s power to redeem, transform, lay down his life, and live again in and through His people. We are a Galatians 2:20 people, having been crucified with Christ so that we no longer live, but Christ alone lives in us. We died. We stand only in the risen Christ. This is as true and universal for those among us who struggle with same sex desire as it is for those who struggle with other sinful distortions of the fall, other indwelling sin patterns.
5 Warning Signs for the Church in a “Facebook Culture”
“Surfacey” interactions/artificial relationships. …. people might feel more connected, but they can really be more distant, at least from who they really are. In contrast, true Christian fellowship requires that we engage with people as we really are, so that we can honestly face our sin and grow together in Christ.
The Future of Evangelicalism: Stronger, Smaller, and Stranger
Nominal Christians have long been the church’s “warm market.” They don’t have major obstacles to faith and are the most likely people to become committed believers. Yes, their exodus will purify the church. But, to continue with the marketing terms, when people are rushing to shed your label, it means you have a branding problem. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see this negative public perception lead to greater attrition.
The Calvary Option?
Despised and mocked by all around him, he plods towards death, faithfully doing that to which he has been called. But the Calvary Option is surely too grand a name for just doing my job. So I suggest we call it simply ‘the traditional pastoral work in an ordinary congregation option.’ Inelegantly phrased, I know, but it does seem to capture the essence of the matter rather nicely.
Belief in a Historical Adam: A Call to Courage
Paul ascribes a real transgression to one real man just as he ascribes a real act of righteousness to one real Savior, Jesus (Rom 5:18). Adam is no a mytho-poetic literary construct. If he is then his trespass was not that of a real man and our need for the real obedience of the one man, Jesus, is really unnecessary. Even more, Christ’s resurrection would need no basis in historic fact. A real victory is not needed for an unreal fall. Our theological beliefs are grounded in historical events. If those events did not happen, our faith is false.
The 4 Most Embarrassing Things Cecile Richards Said In Defense Of Planned Parenthood
However, her main talking point — that the footage was edited — is completely refuted by the full release of the footage in question. Her subsequent talking point of straight up character assassination has no substantiating evidence. She may have been caught in a rather obvious false statement about how many clinics are engaged in fetal organ harvesting. And, finally, just because Planned Parenthood is structured as a non-profit does not mean their organ harvesting programs are legal or ethical.
Liberating Christians from Their Cultural Captivity
At the same time, evangelicals must prepare to minister to the wounded, the refugees of the sexual revolution whose relationships have been wrecked by false promises of freedom and autonomy. When people are persuaded that they are free to “come and go” as they please, relationships will grow fragile and fragmented. Those around us will increasingly suffer insecurity and loneliness. The new polarization can be an opportunity for Christian communities to become safe havens where people witness the beauty of relationships reflecting God’s own commitment and faithfulness.
Christians Shouldn’t Be Culture’s Morality Police
If more Christians were eating meals with non-believers, or with believers they didn’t always agree with, the Internet might look nothing like it does. We often replace face-to-face conversations with insensitive, irresponsible use of social media. The toughest discussions are the ones that require slowing down, pulling up a chair and pouring a drink together, because the words we type or affirm from a distance would so rarely come through our lips sitting inches away from another person, looking directly into their eyes.
Would the Discovery of Alien Life Undermine Christian Theology?
by Pastor Brian Chilton
On Thursday, July 23rd, 2015, NASA announced a major discovery. NASA announced that scientists had discovered another Earth-sized planet “orbiting a sun-like star brings us closer than ever to finding a twin of our own watery world” (Brennan 2015). Astronomers have named the planet Kepler-452b. What is especially interesting about the planet is that it is in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone” which is an area from the sun that is just right to allow water on the planet. Too far away from the host star and any potential water would freeze. Too close to the star and any potential water would burn out. NASA said nothing about alien life except that Kepler-452b receives “about 90 percent of the energy we get from the sun. That’s a point in favor of life, if the planet’s atmosphere is something like ours” (Brennan 2015).
From the previous point, many sensationalist websites proclaimed that alien life had been found. But a further reading of NASA’s statement indicates that such an announcement is premature since “The planet’s true size and density remain unknown, however, which means it could still turn out to be a gas planet, hostile to like as we know it. And powerful magnetic fluxes also could mean periodic drop-offs in the amount of energy reaching the planet, by as much as 40 percent. These drop-offs could last for months” (Brennan 2015). In addition, the planet is around 500 light years away which would take us around 2,932,848,000,000,000 (2 quadrillion, 932 trillion, 848 billion) years to arrive at Kepler-452b. While life on Kepler-452b is highly unlikely, many have posed the question, “What if alien life is discovered in the universe? Would it affect or destroy Christian theology that holds that human life is made imagio dei (in the image of God)?” While it is highly unlikely that one would discover alien life in the universe, it is not impossible. Such a topic is, at least at the time of this writing, a theological exercise. But if alien life were to be discovered, obviously it would affect everyone—much as Columbus’ discovery of the New World sent shock waves to Europe. However, I do not think that the discovery of alien life would destroy Christianity or religion in general, for the following reasons…
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Watch Biblical Prophecy Unfold
Our Proximity to the Tribulation
We have the necessary technology for “every eye to see Him,” (Revelation 1:7). Equally, we have the technology now for the whole world to witness the preaching of the Two Witnesses and for the whole world to see the Beast confront them and kill them, and then leave them lying in the streets, whilst the whole world looks on in celebration.
by Guest Blogger | 7/30/15
From the LYWB.com team: As we’ve tackled porn this week, we hope you’ve seen what to avoid in the battle for purity. But purity isn’t just about a list of don’ts. That’s why we wanted to pass along this great list of things you can do to protect your purity from Randy Alcorn. You can check out his original post here.
First of all, remember that if you plant purity today, you will reap a rich harvest, free from shame and guilt. And, by the grace of God, you’ll look back on your life not with regret, but with joyful gratitude. Sexual purity is ALWAYS in your best interest. Be smart, not stupid, and you’ll enjoy the best God has for you!
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3).
Putting it under ‘research’ gives us a little bit of an overhang over the whole thing. If you have someone in a really anti state who’s going to be doing this for you, they’re probably going to get caught. —Savita Ginde, MD, Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains VP Medical Director.
When the first of the videos exposing Planned Parenthood came out, I stated that the mainstream media was not giving this issue much notice. I now gladly recant of that opinion. As the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) continues to unveil other videos, each one more telling of the awful practices of the abortion industry than the previous one, the major networks are now having to cover it.
We need to use this opportunity to continue to press the wickedness of murdering the unborn deeper into the consciences of our fellow citizens. Doing so will not be easy, for too many care more for an accidentally killed lion than a wrongly butchered baby. Yet we need to be informed by watching videos such as these below, praying for God to awaken consciences, and being prepared to speak to others. As we do, let us remember to do so humbly as Rosaria Butterfield reminds us in this post.
The second CMP video showing a Planned Parenthood executive discussing pricing:
Fox News report on the third video:
The third CMP video showing workers inside a Planned Parenthood clinic negotiating prices:
Brit Hume’s commentary on Fox News was piercing:
I conclude with George Stephanopoulos’ interview of Planned Parenthood’s President Cecile Richards. Though it is on ABC News and acknowledges the videos, it shows what we are still up against. Notice how Richards uses repeated, chilling lies as she seeks to cast Planned Parenthood as a compassionate, non-profiting company (Note: She reportedly makes over $500K per year). The doublespeak continues.
First, for our international audience, please bear with us as we try to solve problems we are experiencing in our online streaming. You can always catch our podcasts posted later today. More than 80% of the citizens of our nation call themselves “Christians”. But many of them profess beliefs directly contradicted by the Word […]
Simply opening the day’s newspapers, or tuning into the electronic news media outlets, can often reveal rather jarring juxtapositions. Today some of the talking points are lions, the ongoing expose of Planned Parenthood’s, and various reactions to both.
The big one is the story about the lion shot illegally in Africa. Everyone seems to be talking about this one. For those not aware of the story, it goes like this:
Cecil the lion – the most famous creature in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks – was killed by an American hunter who has boasted about shooting a menagerie of animals with his bow and arrow, The Telegraph can reveal.
Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is believed to have paid £35,000 to shoot and kill the much-loved lion with a bow and arrow. The animal was shot on July 1 in Hwange National Park. Two independent sources have confirmed the hunter’s identity to the paper, which has also seen a copy of the relevant hunting permit.
Walter Palmer, the US dentist and big game hunter who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has written a letter to his patients apologising for the disruption to their treatment while the international furore continues….
In the letter, addressed to his “valued patients”, Palmer once again stated that he thought the hunt was legal and that the proper hunting permits had been obtained.
Plenty of people are very concerned about all this. And I certainly am not begrudging the fact that they feel outraged, but I am questioning why it is that once again an animal death generates so much concern and public attention, while the slaughter of innocent babies does not even raise an eyebrow.
As my good friend Kathleen Linger has put it, “People are upset because the lion was supposed to be protected in a safe haven, but what about the unborn babies who are also supposed to be protected in the safe haven of their mothers’ wombs? Just as this lion was lured out of its safe haven, so the abortionists rip the babies out of their safe havens.”
And it is strange, but big-name folks like Ernest Hemmingway or James Joyce were famous for hunting lions in Africa and adorning the walls or floors of their homes with their skins. And of course how many millions of carnivores depend upon others to do the killing for them every day of the year?
Already zillions of hours of media time have been devoted to this story, yet the mainstream media is barely even talking about something far worse: the gruesome killing of babies and the harvesting and selling of their body parts. Why no media coverage about this? Why no international outrage about this?
While a few brave and responsible media outlets like Fox News have covered the PP story, most are not. This story is surely of far greater moral weight, and cuts deep into the very basic values of any civilised society. Yet it is mostly met with silence.
That tells me a lot about the moral meltdown that is so characteristic of the West. Any society that can remain silent about the wholesale destruction of millions of babies, and not even bat an eyelash over a menu of body parts for sale is a society that no longer can claim to be part of the civilised world.
Another news item which is utterly shocking concerns a recent judicial decision. A judged has weighed into the PP mess and said it has to stop. The killing of babies and selling of parts? Um no, the video exposes of this. Yes you heard me right. As one report states:
The California Superior Court has issued a narrow temporary restraining order preventing the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a pro-life group, from releasing further undercover video footage taken of three top-level staff of StemExpress.
CMP is the organization behind the series of three videos released over the past three weeks exposing the alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood – body parts that are then purchased by StemExpress.
CMP has alleged that the fees paid by StemExpress to Planned Parenthood violate federal law prohibiting the sale and trafficking of human tissue.
While Planned Parenthood has claimed that the fees paid to them by StemExpress merely cover their costs, and fall within the bounds of the law, the video footage released so far has appeared to show Planned Parenthood employees seeking profit as part of the transaction.
In the most recent video, released Tuesday, a Planned Parenthood affiliate vice president was caught on video describing how the abortion organization can maximize profit. “I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it,” Dr. Savita Sinde said of the aborted baby.
The Associated Press, which broke the news about the court order, reports that the undercover videos of the Stem Express staff were filmed at a restaurant in May.
It is unclear just how significant an impact the court order will have on the release of subsequent videos in the series. David Daleiden, the lead researcher with CMP, has said that at least nine more videos are slated for release.
The restraining order reportedly only pertains to the footage of the Stem Express employees, meaning that any other footage, including that featuring Planned Parenthood employees, can still be released as planned.
In an exclusive comment to LifeSiteNews after the release of the court order, Daleiden said that, at the end of the day, what happened in the courtroom may actually be a victory for the pro-life group.
“The ruling is very narrow, concerning only one specific meeting, and it is temporary and contingent pending further litigation,” he said. “The judge actually threw out completely the part of StemExpress’ case where they were asking to suppress the documents on their baby parts sales.”
“It was a much better day for us than it was for them and Planned Parenthood.”
As Kathleen also pointed out, why does this sound familiar? Surely courts in Germany in the 30s and 40s would also have blocked any attempts by concerned citizens to expose the nasty secrets of the Nazi killing machine. Hitler and his colleagues literally got away with murder in part by covering up what they were doing and silencing the critics.
So on it goes. We have fighting in the courts as to which is worse: the evil trade of PP, or the exposure of their dastardly deeds by concerned organisations. Incredible. But most of the media is utterly fixated on some poor lion. Again, don’t get me wrong: I am no fan of any unnecessary animal cruelty or killing.
But some folks are calling for the dentist to be hanged! Really. Sorry, but when these same folks start calling for the money-making mass murderers at PP to be hanged, then I might start to take them more seriously. Otherwise their selective moral outrage does not impress me one lousy bit.
The fourth video exposing Planned Parenthood has just been released. It is hard to believe that the revelations could get any worse, but they do. In this video, you will witness Planned Parenthood doctors picking through the mangled remains of a human baby trying to find parts to sell. You will also hear Planned Parenthood doctors say “It’s a baby” and “Another boy!” They know what they are doing. We know what they are doing. This is the face of evil, and it has to stop.
If you haven’t done so already, it is time for you to act. You need to send an email or a letter to your representatives in Congress. Here are instructions for finding and contacting your Senators. Here are instructions for finding and contacting your Representative.
For those who live in Kentucky like me, you can contact Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul here and here. For those who live in Louisville, you can contact Representative John Yarmuth here. Below is the letter that I sent to each of them. Feel free to copy and paste this into your own letter. Whatever you do, contact them now. It’s time. It’s past time.
Dear Senator McConnell,
I am appalled at the recent revelations of barbarism taking place at Planned Parenthood every day. As a nation, we are better than this. This daily destruction of human life should not even be legal, much less subsidized by the federal government.
So I am asking you to do everything within your power to defund Planned Parenthood. I’m also asking you to support any legislation that would protect human life at its earliest stages.
Thank you for receiving this letter and for serving Kentucky.
Shocking Gender Indoctrination in California
Stand Up For The Truth reports:
Do not be surprised, but young children are being taught that they can choose to be a boy or a girl — or both. Boys, for example, should be comfortable wearing girls’ clothes and nail polish, etc. And there aren’t just two genders, there can be a range. And, of course, the school does not allow parents to opt their kids out.
Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland, CA has hired a “gender coach” from “Gender Spectrum,” a radical gender group, to go into the classrooms. As Fox News observed, Gender Spectrum’s mission is to “create more gender-sensitive environments for kids.”
As the San Jose Mercury News reported
On Monday morning, children in Cynthia Bagby’s kindergarten class discussed whether there were, in fact, “girl colors” and “boy colors.” Some giggled when Joel Baum, the trainer from Gender Spectrum, read “My Princess Boy,” a nonfiction children’s book by Cheryl Kilodavis about her son who liked to wear dresses and a tiara.
Not surprisingly, in these tough economic times the program is being paid for by the California Teachers Association (CTA).
Destination America is taking the reality television genre to a place it’s never been before, by airing an exorcism live on TV, with “Exorcism: Live!” in October.
“And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” Revelation 9:6 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Over the past few years, America has become obsessed with dark things, even Pope Francis can’t stop talking about performing exorcisms. Just last weekend, an 8 foot high statue of Baphomet was unveiled and hundreds bowed down to worship it. The Age of Grace is nearly at an end now, and what is waiting in the wings is truly frightening. But if you know Jesus as your Saviour, you can miss the coming time of Great Tribulation.
“Exorcism: Live!” will air in October, just in time for Halloween, and to commemorate the 66th anniversary of “The Exorcist.” The event will follow the Tennessee Wraith Chasers, as well as the psychic medium Chip Coffey as they search through the Exorcist House, using state of the art technology to do daytime and nighttime investigations, documenting as much evidence as they can of demonic entities on live TV.
“As we step into one of the most haunted and well-known spirit destinations in America, ‘Exorcism: Live!” will show exactly what is inside this infamous, highly dangerous and possessed home.” said Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America, in a statement. “By actually exorcising this iconic house live, Destination America will do what it does best — bringing never before seen experiences to television.”
HOW TO PRAY
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
As a shepherd, probably the most common prayer request I receive from God’s people is to pray that they would pray more and accelerate their prayer lives. How can we pray? Many people can relate to the request of the disciples: Lord, teach us to pray. This certainly isn’t exhaustive, but this brief essay will provide 5 helps to aid you in your times of meeting with God.
1. FELLOWSHIP WITH YOUR GOD.
Think of prayer as an intimate relationship with your Abba, Father. Consider that prayer is you crawling into the lap of your Father in heaven and adoring Him, thanking Him, confessing your sins to Him, and petitioning Him. His tender eye is upon you. His affections are kindled toward you. And He, like a Father, loves to fellowship with, commune with, share this time together with you, His beloved, blood-bought child.
2. PRIORITIZE PRAYER IN YOUR DAY.
You are no good till you meet with God. Resolve in your heart to meet with God before you meet with men. Warm your heart with the precious glories of Scripture before you face the onslaught of the dark world. Prioritize prayer. If you don’t, it won’t happen. At least, if you don’t plan to pray and prioritize it, you may push it aside till a more opportune time later in the day until you realize that you’re just too tired, can’t focus, and have too many distractions. So, believer, wake up early, meet with God. Awaken the dawn with your praises and seek God early! If anything has to give each day, let it be something other than your prayer time. Are you busy? Then pray more!
3. PRAY WITH YOUR BIBLE OPEN.
Prayer is talking with God. Talking to God is wonderful and essential but don’t forget that conversations best occur when there is a two-way dialogue. So, hear God speak through the written Word. Daniel prayed as he read Jeremiah’s prophecy. Let God’s people open the Bible and pray through the psalms — verse by verse — and through Paul’s prayers in the Epistles. Are your prayers rote, boring, mindless and heartless? Do you pray the same thing every day and feel tired of not having enough to pray for? Then, open your Bible and turn God’s promises into prayers. Take your Father’s written Word and turn them into prayers. A Father can’t refuse His own promises! Make a case & build the argument with God.Take His Word and His promises & turn them into prayers.This is how you pray according to the will of God so that He cannot refuse His own Words. Make the case, stand and watch, see God answer far beyond your expectations!
4. SPECIFICALLY PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS.
Rather than praying that God would ‘be with them’ and that ‘God would bless America’ and that ‘God would go with them’, perhaps consider praying more specifically, more thoughtfully, more intentionally and more biblically. Paul said that he thanked God for all the believers in Thessalonica (1 Thess 1:2). Pray for revival, pray for God’s strengthening of the weak, pray for those who evangelize, pray for God to revive your soul, pray specifically and watch God answer.
5. INTERCEDE FOR YOUR CHURCH FAMILY.
Do you not know what to pray for? Do you need revitalization in your prayer times? Then take your church’s membership role and begin praying for each person by name. Pray specifically? Do you not know how to pray for them? Then seek them, pursue them, ask them, pray for them, and follow up. Pray for your preachers and teachers. Pray for their wives and for spiritual protection. Pray for the families, for sexual purity, for the youth, for the young children, for every ministry in the church (specifically), for every missionary (by name), and for every elder (by name). Pray for the Spirit’s power. Pray for many conversions and for holiness. Intercede and see God mightily work.
Download the pdf article.
So what hope does God offer to Christians in the pain of breakups?
The question came from a young man who recently asked John Piper in what will become a future episode in the Ask Pastor John podcast.
What follows is an edited transcript of Piper’s response.
Let me begin with a few examples of painful breakups.
- You are a thirteen-year-old girl, and you get a note from your best friend at school: “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.”
- You are dating, and you develop a sense that this could be going into something beautiful and lasting, and your girlfriend says, “I don’t think we should keep seeing each other.”
- You are engaged, and two months before the wedding, when everything is in full swing, your fiancé says, “I just can’t do it. I can’t go forward. I don’t think this is going to work.”
- You have tried over and over again to be a part of various groups at church or work, and nobody ever reaches out to you. Nobody ever follows up. All of your initiatives at friendship lead nowhere. And you are alone most of the time. Nobody calls. Nobody invites you to go anywhere or to do anything.
Now, in their own ways, those are each incredibly painful experiences of rejection.
Six Bad Breakup Responses
So let me mention six possible responses that are not addressing the issue. They are escapes. And so I hope and pray that people will hear these and say, There is another way forward.
Number one. We might experience thoughts of suicide. We have invested that much in this relationship, that without it, life simply doesn’t look worth living. (Piper addresses suicide in greater detail here.)
Number two. We might express our pain with anger: “What a jerk. Who needs her anyway?”
Number three. We might retreat into utter reclusiveness, become a social hermit, and never risk that kind of relationship again.
Number four. We might try to medicate our sorrow by drinking alcohol, or by overeating, or by throwing ourselves totally into our work with no attention to people at all anymore.
Number five. We might respond with self-hatred that expresses itself in anorexic extremes or cutting ourselves. I knew a young woman who was cutting her stomach every few months to get to the hospital to get stitches. I asked her, “What can you share with me — anything that would help me understand what this means?” And she said, “I enjoy the attention I get in the emergency room.” So you could go to that extreme of cutting yourself or starving yourself.
Number six. We might double down on external improvement, so that we can finally earn somebody’s admiration. So she is going to work on her figure. She is going to work on her hair. She is going to work on her wardrobe. And he is going to work out more, and he is going to take some classes. I want to be a good conversationalist, and I am going to fix my outward person, so that somebody will finally like me.
Now all of those responses leave pretty much untouched the core issue, the huge painful question mark that this breakup caused. None of those six responses addresses my core identity or my core relationship or my core joy.
So here is where Jesus, the Lord of the universe, the Savior of the world, is absolutely essential in addressing those things. He does four things for us.
1. A God Who Created Us
God created us so that we would trust in his wisdom and sovereignty and goodness, and so that we would not throw ourselves away as defective and worthless. If we do, we are not trusting him. He made us with our basic intelligence, our basic personality, and our basic body. And if we make the judgment that we can’t be redeemed, we can’t be loved, or we can’t be useful, we are lying about him. We are not trusting him. So first, he gives us our basic significance on the earth, since he makes no mistakes in what he creates. That is number one. He created us.
2. A God Who Loves Us
God accepts us, and forgives us, and loves us, in spite of all the effects or defects that may push others away. If we will trust him, he justifies us freely. This is the great precious doctrine of justification by faith alone. We don’t first measure up and then get accepted with God. We may with others, but not with God. We are accepted because of Christ, because of Christ and his perfections, not our perfections. And we tap into that through faith alone. That is the rock bottom fact of our existence and identity. That is our core relationship, and it is a gift, and it outweighs in preciousness all other relationships.
3. A God to Satisfy Us
He satisfies us. Christ satisfies us with something infinitely greater than a good self-image; namely, himself.
The greatest happiness is not standing in front of a mirror and liking what we see.
The greatest happiness is not standing in front of the world or your girlfriend and having them or her like what they see.
The greatest happiness is not even standing in front of God and having him like what he sees. I admit, that is spectacular and I want that, and I am going to get that, Lord willing, because faith is tapped into Christ.
The supreme satisfaction of our souls is that we stand in front of God and are thrilled by the beauty of God outside of us. He is all at that moment, and he is our highest joy. The highest joys are self-forgetful joys in the presence of infinite beauty.
4. A God to Strengthen Us
Because we have a core identity created by God, and a core relationship as accepted and loved by God through Christ on the basis of Christ, and a core satisfaction because we see God as supremely beautiful on the basis of all of that, we now have the inner strength to move out into the world. We no longer need to crave other people’s acceptance, but we delight to pour ourselves out to serve other people. All our relationships, then, are not rooted in craving, but in serving, which may or may not have the spin off effect of people wanting to be with us. But that is not the point. That is spin off.
So I am not saying that life is without relational pain. Every one of those losses I described can happen to Christians. They are going to happen. And they will hurt. What I am saying is that in Christ we have all we need to live useful and joyful lives through that kind of rejection and pain.
Listen to the full ten-minute audio recording of John Piper’s answer here:
It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the Popery in the Church of Rome, there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. . .It wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Savior and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Spirit and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the Vicar of Christ on earth. If we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls though we loathe and detest their dogmas. And so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened because we turn our faces toward Christ when we pray.
– Charles H. Spurgeon 1
By far, the greatest evil in the church are the works of darkness that creep in unaware to dilute the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, while building a false church that serves the interest of man. One of the major players in these days of iniquitous works is the world-wide organization known as Hillsong Church. Hillsong has fed much to the evangelical church in the way of wickedness through it’s many programs, especially its music production program. Hillsong’s music is played in nearly every evangelical church in the world, as well as many Roman Catholic churches. The purchase of every piece of “worshipful art” from them goes to support their works and pays homage to their apostasy.
Does your church worship service include Hillsong’s music?
Hillsong church is a breeding ground for false converts. Some of their New York campus’ flagship products include the homosexual couple, Reed Kelly and Josh Canfield, in which Canfield volunteers as a choir director 2 and Justin Bieber, who has continual run-ins with the law. 3
Hillsong Australia’s former worship pastrix, Darlene Zschech, has taken the apostate nature of Hillsong’s artisanship to the highest level.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. – Eph 5:11
Zschech has chosen instead to bear false witness to the world, blaspheming the Holy Spirit by attributing evil deeds to Him that he did not do. 4 In a recent blog post, she wrote,
I am writing this mid-air on my way home from Singapore after an amazing time away speaking, leading worship, writing songs, being with dear friends. It has been wonderful. And, to see what the Holy Spirit is doing around the earth is completely breathtaking. Even in all the expressions that make us different as God’s colourful church, its incredible to me that when the Holy Spirit draws near, His role in our experience of following Jesus makes us so very similar.
What is she referring to? Her recent capitulation to Rome–the Vatican, at an ecumenical worship event lead by the Roman Catholic Church. Don Moen, an American “worship leader” with close ties to Zschech and Hillsong 5, who also participated in the event was quoted as saying in an article at Christianity Today,
This ecumenical event brings Protestants, Catholics, and Jews together as we pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being martyred and persecuted all over the world today 6
I find it extremely difficult to reconcile this mindset, the acceptance that contradictory beliefs can all be from the same God, as a work of the Holy Spirit. She refers to it as “different characteristics, faces, tastes and giftings.. yet a DNA running through our veins that draw us together.” In Philippians 2:2, Paul teaches us to be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” True Christians can only be united around the truth because God is truth. She goes on to say,
A few months ago a very interesting email turned up in my office inviting me to sing at a beautiful event called the ‘Catholic charismatic renewal’ at St Peters Square, to actually lead songs of worship with others as the Pope called people to prayer and unity…Most invites I receive, I am unable to say yes to, but when Mark and I feel a peace about it, I go…This invite to Rome was about many different denominations coming together to pray for the world…
The Holy Spirit does not lead Christians into an ecumenical, multi-god “praise and worship” event put on by the ancient enemy of the Gospel, the Roman Catholic Church. It’s quite the opposite. The Holy Spirit leads people out of Rome, and out of apostasy (Revelation 18:4). The Holy Spirit finds what Zschech claims she was led to do by Him as totally unacceptable (Eph 5:11).
Zschech has been deceived, as many from Hillsong have, that doctrine is of no importance in the Christian life 7, and that all who name the name of Christ–Roman Catholics, homosexuals, unrepentant sinners–as long as you name Christ, we are all united in that confession. She goes on to say,
I was not there to judge, I was not there to become a Catholic, I was not there to sightsee. But I WAS there to lift up the name of Jesus.. without any hesitation or compromise.. for as I have learned over many years, that once Jesus is the centre.. anything can happen.
Right Darlene, let’s not judge, let’s just jump on the bandwagon of feel-good music, man-centered pep talks and motivational speaking, all while we judge those who truly want to hold to sound doctrine and see people come to a true saving faith in Jesus Christ. “Once Jesus is the center, anything can happen,” she says. The center of what? Your blasphemous, idolatrous event that mocks who he is, and what he has done? Jesus will not be mocked (Gal 6:7). You can rest assured that the Jesus of the Bible was not the center of that event–rather he was looking down at you, calling you to repent. You have more than compromised his name, you have outright denied him.
Nonetheless, she believes that the Holy Spirit has brought her together with the Pope, the Roman Catholic Church, to lead thousands of lost people in an ecumenical worship service, united under a false Gospel, and a false Jesus. But this isn’t surprising considering apostasy coming out of the church she was brought up in. Hillsong has focused on a works-based gospel–a social gospel, nearly identical to that of Rome 8 9. She continues,
A message was preached about the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our midst, and about the great grace of God which we are all dependent. Pope Francis asked the crowd to declare loudly,’Jesus is Lord’ three times and each time it grew in confidence and intention. Worship was lifted up which had the many thousands of people who attended all singing in free-flowing moments which to be honest, was reminiscent of a time I sang on a John Wimber crusade in New Zealand many years ago.
So the Pope asks the crowd to repeat a mantra, and their “confidence and intention” grew with each repetition? Strangely, this sounds a lot closer to Eastern Mysticism than to Christianity. Besides the fact that vain repetitions are forbidden in Scripture (Matthew 6:7), we are taught to humble ourselves before the Lord. We don’t use him as a wishing well. However, this practice is nonetheless rooted in the heretical Word of Faith movement that teaches that our words have the power to speak things into being. Proponents of this heresy, such as Kenneth Copeland, have argued that since God was able to speak things into existence, that man has been endowed with the ability to do the same, equating faith to a “creative force.” 10
She closes her blog with some very troubling statements–statements that are indicative of the lost state of her soul, as well as many others. She says:
It all comes down to a seeking heart. And a God, who is seeking us, is NOT defined or intimidated by denomination, liturgy, age or preferences… the TRUTH of our hearts toward Him is what He is after. Not controlled or manufactured, outside in expressions of lives trying to present a Holy life. Jesus, only Jesus is the answer. He takes us as He finds us. He works with us every day, from the inside out, patient and kind in His love for us and His ultimate work in our lives, leading us daily in our life’s purpose.
She’s right that Jesus is the only answer, but which Jesus? The Jesus of the Roman Catholic Church is not the same Jesus of the Bible. The Roman Catholic Jesus is a Jesus who is summoned by a priest, and dwells within the body of a wafer during his repeated sacrifice on the altar of the Satanic temple daily.
So yes, I did meet Pope Francis. And yes, I did witness something truly miraculous…Change is happening all over the planet. There is a hunger for the truth of being a Christ follower, and so Christ followers need to be found EVERYWHERE.. that we will be a witness BY OUR LOVE.
Change is certainly happening all over the planet, but it’s not for the truth. The Bible teaches there will be a great falling away, a rebellion against God in the last days (2 Thes 2:3), and we see it happening right in front of our eyes. The apostate church of Rome is leading the way, andZschech, and Hillsong are right behind them. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says that people like Zschech are “false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” Zschech, is following a false path, and teaching a false Gospel. Her ends will correspond to her deeds.
Finally, she has this to say,
C’mon church. Isaiah 60 says to ARISE SHINE Thy light has come that even as the earth grows darker, Christ’s light in us shines brighter. Let’s not be dulled down by a lack of understanding, or a judgmental attitude. I had to continually remind myself that I was there to announce and declare the Kingdom of God and not to fault find but to be aware and awake to something very precious. And so on we go, hearts and hands ready for all God is calling us into.
Folks, this lady is totally, and completely lost. She has absolutely no idea who Jesus Christ is, what he has done, or why he has done it. Yet, her music is played in solid churches and listened to by faithful people all around the world. Why do our churches continue to promote and support the rank heresy that comes out of Hillsong Church? Is it because we don’t any better? Arguably, most evangelical churches are on the same page as Zschech, but some would openly reject this false doctrine, and preach it back to the pits of Hell where it belongs, yet they are completely blind to the fact that they are supporting it, and feeding it, by purchasing the rights to this music to lead their faithful congregations in worship of the one true God. Can we not see the absolute hypocrisy here? Why?
For an explanation of the true Gospel, see here.
- (quoted in: The Pope and the Papacy, a sermon preached by John MacArthur on May 01, 2005)
- Kenneth Copeland, The Force of Faith, (KCP Publications, 1989)
Would you like to know how to move forward and stop living in the past? Who doesn’t? Today’s guest blogger is Julie Ganschow, a biblical counselor and director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center in Kansas City, Mo, who shares how to move past the past and go forward. Read the original post here. Reprinted with permission.
Why People Get Stuck in the Past
Let me explain by way of example. Imagine a person who was a drunk and enjoyed being a drunk has sobered up. They have not had a drink for about a year but the thoughts of all that fun they had while drinking and partying are with them daily. They may have distanced themselves from the participation in drunkenness but they have not truly forsaken it.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13 (NASB)
Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly. Proverbs 26:11 (NASB)
The Problem: Idols of the Heart
A part of the process of growth and change is to stop the behavior and learn and practice new and godly behavior, but more importantly to renew the mind with thoughts that are true, honest, and of good report (Philippians 4:8). This means learning the critical place of the heart and understanding that the problem is not the “problem.” It is not simply the drinking, the shopping, the overspending, the semi-pornographic television or whatever action we are talking about. The problem is the heart, the idols of the heart and how powerful the desires are and what a critical place they have in your growth, or lack of it.
Another reason for wallowing in the past is when you equate being forgiven with having forgotten.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NASB)
… For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will already know me,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness and will never again remember their sins. Jeremiah 31:34 (NLT)
AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE. Hebrews 10:17 (NASB)
You can choose not to dwell on the things of your past and get stuck in misery.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NASB)
Choose Your Thoughts
This is not going to come automatically, you must deliberately choose to take every thought captive according to the commands of the Lord. You must choose to obey.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NASB)
Your thoughts will be taken captive and changed as you choose to obey Philippians 4:4-6 and Romans 12:1-2.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7 (NASB)
Believing God Is the Way Forward
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NASB)
BCC Resources for YOU!
Sometimes It’s Just Easier To Care About Dead Lions Than Dead People
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: I suppose I need to be honest here. Sometimes believers, beginning with me, go through the motions of Christianity more than truly live Christianity. Such was the situation for the Hebrews in Isaiah 58. God told Isaiah to announce their sin like a trumpet blaring (Isaiah 58:1) — apparently because they needed a loud wake up call. Listen to His words to them:
2. But, their religious rituals — particularly, fasting, were only that: religious rituals. The people were inauthentic in their faith, assuming they could manipulate God by going through their motions.
Isaiah 58:3-4 “Why have we fasted, but You have not seen? We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed!” “Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast, and oppress all your workers. You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist. You cannot fast as you do today, hoping to make your voice heard on high.”
In essence, the people thought their religion was a means to an end: if they followed the right rituals, God would be obligated to do their bidding. What they failed to realize is that God cannot be manipulated. He will not be used by a people who talk religious lingo and do religious stuff, but who then live in such a way that they oppress others and cause dissension. The God of the Bible expects our faith to be genuine, evident, and life-transforming. A true relationship with Him recognizes that rituals are not enough.
These texts remind me that one way to evaluate my walk with God is to ask, “Do I get frustrated with God when I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but still He does not respond to me?” If so, it might be that I’m depending more on rituals than on a relationship. I might need a trumpet-blaring wake up call.
PRAYER: Let’s pray together today for an honest evaluation of our Christian walk. Pray that our relationship with God would be genuine and deep — so deep, in fact, that we could trust Him even when He seems not to respond to our faithful observance of our rituals.
Commentary by Jack Kelley
The combination of the Rapture and the Battle of Ezekiel 38 will fill the world with anguish and uncertainty as Daniel’s 70th Week begins. Where did all those people go? How did Israel so utterly destroy that massive invasion force all by itself? How did all these things happen so suddenly? Why didn’t somebody see this coming and do something to prevent it?
So Will His Righteousness – Your sin will eventually find you out, but so will Christ’s righteousness.
The Lost World of Adam and Eve – Steve Ham of Answers in Genesis has written a long and thorough response to John Walton’s The Lost World of Adam and Eve.
The Speechwriter – The New York Times did a review of a book I read recently and really enjoyed: The Speechwriter by Barton Swaim. It’s an inside look at working for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.
The Spanish Inquisition – Stephen Nichols offers a brief history of the infamous Spanish Inquisition.
Why Planned Parenthood Can’t Donate Tissue Harvested From Babies – I continue to pray that this situation serves as the tipping point in culture’s view of abortion.
The Tragedy of iTunes – I don’t have as much classical music as I’d like, but I completely agree with this author that Apple’s new music service is utterly appalling. And I say that as a committed Apple fanboy.
Only Two Religions!
I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.
You might say I’m nuts. There are hundreds if not thousands!
But there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.
You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.
The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.
Of course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”
And that’s where the only other religion comes in.
The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.
You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human. It must be God Himself.
Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?
The Greatest Story Ever Told
What is The Gospel?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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