Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Cult of Cluelessness and Worldliness – CultureWatch

Cluelessness may not be the right word here. That we have all sorts of Christian leaders who do not have a clue about all sorts of things, even though they should, is beyond dispute. But what scares me even more is the fact that many of these leaders do have a clue, but for various reasons still will not do the right thing.

That is, because of the desire to be men-pleasers, to keep people happy, to not rock the boat, to have everything safe, and to ensure the weekly offering keeps rolling in, they will not speak out on the things that matter. Or worse yet, they will promote and endorse that which is clearly unbiblical, dangerous and counter to the gospel.

Examples of this are legion. One recent case in point involves two individuals I have written about previously. One is a big cheese Hillsong pastor and the other is the world’s greatest promoter of diabolical New Age mumbo jumbo. New York pastor Carl Lentz and Oprah Winfrey are whooping it up together, and sadly this is what we expect from both individuals.

They really belong with each other. Just as Rob Bell kept on pushing the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy, rejecting one core biblical teaching after another, until he was well and truly on the road of apostasy, eventually dumping his church and joining up with Oprah, so too we have the same thing happening here it seems.

The ongoing heresy of Bell, including his final acts apostasy, I have documented elsewhere. See here for the most recent piece on this sad saga: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/02/19/the-appalling-apostasy-of-rob-bell/

oprah 3So what are Lentz and Oprah now up to? A recent article spills the beans on their tragic spiritual tryst:

Hipster Hillsong NYC leader Carl Lentz has drawn concerns over the past week after he posted a photograph on social media announcing his upcoming appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” television broadcast. “I really enjoyed my time with @oprah filming for her Super Soul Sunday show,” he wrote on May 18. “She is truly a special woman and a culture changer. To come from absolute poverty in Mississippi and reach the point where she became the first African American multi-billionaire takes a passion and drive that is exceptional and tireless.”
He continued to praise the talk show host, and said that others should emulate Oprah’s practice of thanking Jesus with each new day. “What struck me most about her, was her ease and kindness,” Lentz remarked. “She told me her key was ‘waking up each day and thanking Jesus for loving me and thanking Him for all he has done.’ That practice, in that order, is one to be copied.”

The article goes on to note that many Christians were deeply upset by this. It featured three such individuals and their comments:

-“Oprah is a pagan with New Age beliefs. For many years she has stated that there are ‘many paths to God.’ She denies that Jesus said the way is narrow.”
-“This is very disturbing. I actually am not surprised by Carl Lenz. I am disturbed about the lack of discernment in the Church. … Please Church wake up. Stop following men. Stop looking to be entertained.”
-“Lol c’mon man, do you need us watch-people to talk to you about Oprah, or can you figure out yourself? She openly denies John 14:6 is true, yet you’re claiming she wakes up every day and thanks Jesus, the Jesus of John 14:6 she denied. This is the fruit we’re talking about man. Right here.”

Yet Lentz fully defended himself in a most worrying fashion:

Lentz replied to the comments on Instagram, remarking that he doesn’t like followers arguing about the Bible on his page. “I don’t check these comments often, and the further I read on this thread, I’m reminded to do it less and less!” he said. “I will say that I can no longer allow people to use my comment section as their own personal theology blog! Can’t do it. Wrecks my picture and becomes almost embarrassing. To all those leaving encouraging messages, it is good to read.”

Good grief. He does not like the Word of God to be discussed on his page? Really? He refuses to take correction from concerned believers? He only wants the yes-men to pat him on the back and affirm him in his deception? This is scary as all get out – this is the stuff of cults in fact.

This is just appalling behaviour and utter cluelessness. It is not just men-pleasing, but it is rank compromise, carnality and religious syncretism of the worst sort. In order to get a clearer picture of just how bad this act of surrender and capitulation is, just imagine a few related scenarios:

-Can you imagine Elijah appearing on a Baalist show, praising the Baalists, taking selfies with their big cheeses, and saying what a neat time it was and how much he learned from them?

-Can you imagine John the Baptist appearing on a show with King Herod, praising him, taking selfies with him, and saying what a neat time it was and how much he learned from him?

-Can you imagine Paul appearing on a Judaiser show, praising the Judaisers, taking selfies with their big cheeses, and saying what a neat time it was and how much he learned from them?

But none of this should surprise us. Both have well-earned reputations of dishonour by now. As to Lentz, he has been on this popularity bandwagon for quite some time now, refusing to speak up about some of the most pressing moral challenges of our day, such as the war on God’s intentions for human sexuality, marriage and family, and the like. I have documented this elsewhere:

As to Oprah, she is the queen of mass deception, and her anti-Christian beliefs and practices are sending millions of people to a lost eternity. That is a very serious matter indeed. I have written often about this, eg.:

Not only is she leading millions astray, but a number of big cheese Christian leaders have been quite happy to jump in the spiritual bed with her and partake of her adulteries and idolatry. Not only Bell and Lentz, but folks like Joel Osteen have also gone all soft and mushy when around her.

Indeed, as I have shared before, the sad truth is their messages are often hardly distinguishable from one another. Both are leading folks away from the biblical gospel and both are doing this unapologetically: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/06/08/osteen-once-more/

Christian leaders are meant to be standing strong on truth and the clear teachings of the Word of God. They are never to seek to be high up in the popularity grandstand, cosying up to known frauds, deceivers and false prophets. This kind of diabolical syncretism is always condemned in the strongest of terms in Scripture.

Elijah would never have stood for it. John the Baptist would never have stood for it. Paul would never have stood for it. And neither would have Jesus. He was uncompromising with truth and did not coddle false teachers and false prophets. Instead he challenged them forcefully and firmly.

But here we have the logical conclusion to a “gospel” that has been stripped of all its solid biblical elements, replaced with worldly entertainment, celebrity worship, feel good sermons, men-pleasing advice, a never-ending desire to be “relevant’ and liked, and a refusal to say any hard words or step on anyone’s toes.

This is a religion by and for men-pleasers, but it is one that reeks to the high heavens. Millions of Christians have and still are giving their very lives for the cause of the gospel, while all these charlatans can do is make friends with the world, idolise its false shepherds, and ramble on about being nice and positive and acceptable.

They will one day stand before their Lord and deal with their abandonment of the gospel and their embrace of the world.

http://christiannews.net/2016/05/28/concerns-raised-as-hillsongs-carl-lentz-praises-oprah-winfrey-after-appearance-on-super-soul-sunday/

Source: The Cult of Cluelessness and Worldliness

Tech Giants Vow to Tackle Online Hate Speech Within 24 Hours

Stephanie Bodoni of Bloomberg has the story:

U.S. Internet giants Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp. pledged to tackle online hate speech in less than 24 hours as part of a joint commitment with the European Union to combat the use of social media by terrorists.

Beyond national laws that criminalize hate speech, there is a need to ensure such activity by Internet users is “expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame,” the companies and the European Commission said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The code of conduct arrives as Europe comes to terms with the bloody attacks in Paris and Brussels by Islamic State, which has used the Web and social media to spread its message of hate against its enemies. The companies said it remains a “challenge” to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and hate speech in the self-generated content on online platforms.

Read more

FREE SPEECH BIG CHILL: EU And Tech Giants Team Up To Banish ‘Illegal Hate Speech’ Online

The European Union reached an agreement Tuesday with some of the world’s biggest social media firms, including Facebook and Twitter, on ways to combat the spread of hate speech online.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While removing speech that directly calls for violence is a good thing, the definition of what ‘hate speech’ is remains a little murky. For example, will it be considered hate speech for the Bible believing Christian to say that homosexuality is wrong and that transgender men should not be in the ladies bathroom? Something tells me this is exactly where we are headed. 

Under the terms of a code of conduct, the firms, which also include YouTube and Microsoft, have committed to “quickly and efficiently” tackle illegal hate speech directed against anyone over issues of race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. The sites have often been used by terrorist organizations to relay messages and entice hatred against certain individuals or groups.

Among the measures agreed with the EU’s executive arm, the firms have said they will establish internal procedures and staff training to guarantee that a majority of illegal content is assessed and, where necessary, removed within 24 hours. They have also agreed to strengthen their partnerships with civil society organizations who often flag content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct. The European Commission and the firms have also agreed to support civil society organizations to deliver “anti-hate campaigns.”

“The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech,” said Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner responsible for justice, consumers and gender equality. She added that the code of conduct, which will be regularly reviewed in terms of its scope and its impact, will ensure that public incitement to violence to hatred has “no place online.”

The firms themselves say there’s no conflict between their mission statements to promote the freedom of expression and clamping down on hate speech.

Twitter, which has been at the center of much of the hate speech that’s spread online over the past few years, says it will continue to tackle the issue “head-on” along with partners in industry and civil society.

“We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow,” said Twitter’s European head of public policy Karen White. “However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”

And Facebook’s head of global policy management Monika Bickert urged the company’s 1.6 billion users to use the site’s in-built reporting tools in the event they find content they consider unacceptable.

“Our teams around the world review these reports around the clock and take swift action,” she said. source

Source: FREE SPEECH BIG CHILL: EU And Tech Giants Team Up To Banish ‘Illegal Hate Speech’ Online

Manipulative Ministers

Daily Devotions

In recent days, Jesus has shown his compassion, power, and glory. Lazarus has been healed of his disease and publicly raised from the grave. As a result, Mary and Martha have been healed of their doubt and unbelief; their faith has been improved. Meanwhile, the disciples who have been watching, they have grown in their amazement of the Son of God who brings men from death to life.

Jesus is back in Bethany, and it is time for men and women to glorify and enjoy the Lord. Jesus is in town; he is in the house; it is time to worship, fellowship, and celebrate. Mary and Martha are hosting a dinner for their beloved friend. They are thrilled to serve Jesus and then sit at his feet to hear his words of grace and wisdom. Lazarus and several other men are privileged to sit with Jesus and commune at the table. There is an air of reverential excitement and happiness in the room. There he is, the promised Messiah. There…

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“High-Conflict People” Drive Disputes at Home, Work, and School

Happy Living!

upset-weird-manSome people make life miserable for others. They blame you for their own problems, have no empathy, and always seem to be conjuring up trouble. A subset of them is called “high-conflict people” (HCP) and they often have some kind of personality disorder – usually borderline personality disorder (BPD) or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Some high-conflict people have some maladaptive personality traits, but not enough to have a full-blown personality disorder.

Avoiding Responsibility

HCP have a life-long personality pattern of distorted thoughts, emotions, and actions. Time after time, they avoid taking responsibility for their problems. They repeatedly argue against feedback, regardless of how helpful and truthful it may be. And over and over again, they try to persuade others to agree with their rigid points of view and help them attack their targets of blame.

HCP consider themselves as an injured party; a victim, even, of the shortcomings of others. The…

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Bible Q&A: Are We Commanded to Read the Bible in One Year? – Unlocking the Bible

Question: I know how important it is to read God’s Word on a regular basis, but why the push to read through the Bible in one year? I have tried so many times, but have failed to do so. Is there a Scripture that commands doing this? Is there a reason why folks are so strongly encouraged to do so? Just curious. Thank you again. -Radio Listener from Pennsylvania

Answer: 

Your instincts on this question are very good. We’re never actually commanded in Scripture to read through the entire Bible. But we are encouraged, as you said, to read the Bible and meditate on it.

I suspect the reason there is so much encouragement out there to “read through the Bible in a year” is that there are many Christians who know only a few stories from the Bible, but who do not adequately see the “big picture” of the Bible. The thinking goes something like this: If we can get people to read through the Bible in a year, then they’ll begin to see how it all fits together.

Unfortunately, what you’ve experienced is something that many Christians have painfully discovered. Not only is it very difficult to read through the Bible in a year, but for many people, they get so anxious about getting behind, that it’s not very worshipful, and it defeats the very purpose of reading the Bible: to grow in love for the Lord and for others!

That goes without mentioning, many (if not most) people who attempt to read through the Bible get discouraged and quit along the way (anecdotally speaking, I have no scientific evidence to back that up). Trying to read through the Bible in a year is probably not the most profitable thing for every Christian to pursue. That’s why, instead of a big push to read through the Bible, we provide resources that help people grasp the “big picture” of the Bible, like the book 10 Keys for Unlocking the Bible.

I can say, confidently, that God does not expect every Christian to read through the Bible every year. There is no command to do this! So, feel free to read your Bible, mediate on the Word, but not read through the entire Bible this year. By the way, our devotional, The One Year Unlocking the Bible Devotionalis not a read-through-the-Bible devotional.

This devotional shows you how the Bible is actually one story that begins in a garden with two people, ends in a city with too many people to count, and all the way through points to Jesus Christ. It provides a daily verse and “for further reading” section, but you don’t actually read through the entire Bible.

I hope this has been helpful to you,

Pastor Tim

Have you read through the Bible in one year? What books have helped you?

RELATED POSTS:

The post Bible Q&A: Are We Commanded to Read the Bible in One Year? appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

The Daily Discovery (May 31, 2016) – Entreating Favor

headerImage-dailyDiscovery

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

The Transgender Conversation You Need to Have With Your Family – “A friend of mine told me about her recent experience in an airport security line. She was dutifully passing through the metal detector when she heard a beep and was told she would need the pat-down procedure. It is the right of the traveler to have that procedure performed by someone of the same gender and so, as per protocol, the call went out for a female officer to assist. But as the pat-down began, my friend realized that the officer was undeniably biologically male though identifying as female. She did not know what to do or say, so simply allowed the pat-down to proceed. As she walked away, she realized that she was more surprised than offended. It had just never occurred to her that she might unexpectedly find herself being frisked by a man whom she had been told was a woman.”

God Loves Humans more than Animals – “Let there be no confusion, God loves people more than animals. Two events this last year have set social media on fire. First, a lion’s death floated around social media creating ire and more political debates. Then over the weekend a gorilla was killed to protect a child. This is not intended to be a response or political comment. My attempt, should I succeed, is to answer one key question, ‘Are animals more important than humans to God?’ Answer: no. God made humans as the pinnacle of creation and He made us in His image. No animal on earth is made in His image. I would even argue humans are not animals, we’re human beings, made in the image of God.”

How to Speak to Your Pastor before His Sermon – “Sunday is the big day when the church assembles for worship, but it’s also a day for fellowship. Spending time with one another is important, and there isn’t an app for that. In other words, there is no shortcut to genuine fellowship. Not only does that involve the church body, but it likewise involves the pastors who lead the church. Pastors are not called to a life of seclusion. Like the rest of the church, pastors are called to engage in meaningful and genuine fellowship with the church family. However, there are some really poor habits that you should consider avoiding when speaking to your pastor on Sunday.”

Awkward Gospel Conversations – “What keeps you from sharing the Gospel? For many the main answer to that question comes down to awkwardness. Awkwardness is defined as causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience. And while with most things it is probably helpful to have a keen sense of when awkwardness is on the horizon, we must remember what is at stake when we think about the eternal destiny of those around us. I’d like to encourage you to rethink the common thought that it is better not to share the Gospel than to do it awkwardly. So here are five reasons why it’s ok to share the Gospel awkwardly.”

Soldiers of Christ – “On June 12, 1944, just six days after D-Day in World War II, a young lieutenant named Richard Winters led his men to the outskirts of Carentan. As the officer in charge of Easy Company, of the 101st Airborne, he was tasked to clear the large French town of its German defenders. It would be a small battle, but it played a significant role in the massive effort to rid the world of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Nate Pickowicz – Finding Rest in the Lord (Matt. 11:25-30)


VIDEOS:

Steve Lawson preaches the Gospel…to pastors.

This is a brave young man who should serve as a role model.


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur

The post The Daily Discovery (May 31, 2016) appeared first on Entreating Favor.

What Is Your Self-Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center

Self-identity: With all the talk of self identity and gender nowadays, you may think this article is about bathroom choice. It’s not. Guest writer Joshua Waulk of Baylight Counseling in Tampa, FL, zeroes in on the “I am” statements we Christians often make about ourselves and suggests a better self-identity. His article appeared first here and is used with permission.

BCC logoI am ADHD.

I am bipolar.

I am depressed.

I am an addict.

I am [fill in the blank].

Within the context of counseling, it’s common to hear people use these types of phrases to describe themselves. To be sure, there’s a sense in which they’re simply using a modern style of communication in order to say that they struggle, actively, with this thing or that thing.

Self-Identity: Do Your Words Describe or Define?

But, my concern is that, too often, embedded deep within the heart of the person, is this subtle notion that, in fact, the thing they’re describing defines who they are. In other words, my concern for some people I meet with in counseling is that their language is not merely descriptive, but is definitive.

My concern is even greater when working with followers of Jesus.

One of my favorite verses in all of the Bible is found in John 8:58. There, Jesus said to the religious rulers of the day, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am [emphasis added].” This statement enraged the men who were persecuting Him, because they understood that Jesus was hearkening back to God’s self-identification in Exodus 3:14
 

Jesus wasn’t simply identifying himself with God, but was defining, or declaring himself to be God.

When we pause to listen to our own “I am” statements, and compare them with the words of Christ, might we reconsider how we use these seemingly self-defining statements? Do we mean to say, when we use them, that who we are is all that the thing, or the struggle, or the condition is? If not, then perhaps we ought to abandon our use of this language altogether.

How Does Jesus Define You?

The point is, in light of who we are in Christ, it would be helpful to temper our use of  “I am” statements, especially those used in connection with our particular sin or suffering. Too often, they simply do not square with our new identity in Christ according to Scripture, but find their roots in the disease models of secular psychology.

As Christians, as people who have died with Christ, and through whom Christ presently and  actively lives, we are no longer defined by the sins and struggles of this world alone, even though we continue to be affected by them.

If Paul’s words are true when he says in Galatians 2:20,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And again in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Then we should carefully inspect how we make use of descriptive language.
How we define and describe ourselves should always be in keeping with Scripture. Sometimes, there will be tension. For example, it would be true for me to say, “I am a sinner.” But, because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, I cannot leave the conversation there.

Because of Christ, I am no longer defined by my sin or suffering, but am defined by Him. I am a sinner, yes, but I am also eternally forgiven, justified, and redeemed (1 John 1:8-9).

I may struggle with this thing or that, but that struggle no longer defines me. Like all things of this world, they are passing away, and who God is making us to be will one day be revealed in Christ (1 John 2:17; Hebrews 10:14).

Join the Discussion

  1. What is your self-identity?
  2. How have your own “I am” statements affected your understanding of who you are in Christ?
  3. Can you think of any adjustments you need to make to better reflect a biblical understanding of your identity in Christ?

 

The post What Is Your Self-Identity? appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.

Trying to make Christianity entertaining makes people think that it’s fake

WINTERY KNIGHT

Church sucks, that's why men are bored there Church sucks, that’s why men are bored there

My friend Bruce shared this article from the leftist The Atlantic on Facebook. It’s written by Larry Taunton of Fixed Point Foundation.  Larry surveyed some people who had left the church, and I thought it was worth it to look at this case of Phil.

Larry writes:

“Church became all about ceremony, handholding, and kumbaya,” Phil said with a look of disgust. “I missed my old youth pastor. He actually knew the Bible.”

[…]Phil was in my office as part of a project that began last year. Over the course of my career, I have met many students like Phil. It has been my privilege to address college students all over the world, usually as one defending the Christian worldview. These events typically attract large numbers of atheists. I like that. I find talking to people who disagree with me much more…

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Dominion Theology: Is It Biblical?

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

dominion-theology-288

During the primaries, we heard so much about Christian Dominion Theology. Ted Cruz was accused of believing in Dominion Theology; and his father (a pastor) does preach this form of theology.

I thought that it would be helpful to research Dominion Theology, which I will call “DT” for the rest of this piece. As with everything else, we must compare teachings against Scripture. If it does not line up with the Word, it is false teaching, and we should completely avoid it.

I honestly do not know where those who adhere to DT find anything in the Word of God that supports these views. Let’s look at the definition of DT from gotquestions.org:

Question: “What is dominion theology / theonomy / Christian reconstructionism?”

Answer: Dominion theology refers to a line of theological interpretation and thought with regard to the role of the church in contemporary society. Dominion theology is…

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