Category Archives: Opinion/Commentary

Do you have the ‘spirit of Jezebel’?

Many of us in discernment have been accused by charismatics of having the “spirit of Jezebel” because we attack their error and stand for God and His truth. Glenn Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes tells the story of the wicked Jezebel and discloses the truth of who really possesses the Jezebel spirit. He writes:

Many false teachers and their followers, especially of the Word of Faith cult, rail at those who expose their false teachers by claiming the nay-sayers have “the spirit of Jezebel.”  This supposedly identifies the nay-sayers as false teachers opposing God.  But let’s look at who Jezebel was, what her evil was, and how that applies to today’s claims of having her “spirit.”

Pastor Bob Liichow, of Discernment Ministries International, wrote an article about this issue in his August “Truth Matters” apologetics letter.  The information he provided needs to be spread among believers so as to be able to address the false teachings about “the spirit of Jezebel.”

Advertisements

October 13, 2017 – This ‘n’ That

  • Unsurprisingly, I have a lot of Reformation-themed links to share with you today. Let’s start with this brief bio of Katharina Schutz Zell.
  • The moral of the story? Pigs don’t make good pets.
  • Ever feel a lack of motivation to read your Bible?
  • Here’s a list of books to help you celebrate this 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I can’t vouch for all of these because I haven’t read them and, realizing that this list was compiled by RNS, we may have to take some of the suggestions with a grain of salt.
  • Should Christ be preached from every text of Scripture?
  • The death of Ulrich Zwingli.
  • John MacArthur on the beauty and blessing of forgiveness:

Source: This ‘n’ That

Albert Mohler Blog: “‘An Act of Pure Evil’ — Searching for Meaning in Las Vegas

In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. discusses the horrible events that took place Sunday night in Las Vegas. Mohler writes:

“Evil is a fact, too. And evil is a theological category. The secular worldview cannot use the word with coherence or sense. The acknowledgement of evil requires the affirmation of a moral judgment and a moral reality above human judgment. If we are just accidental beings in an accidental universe, nothing can really be evil. Evil points to a necessary moral judgment made by a moral authority greater than we are — a transcendent and supernatural moral authority, God”

Click Here to Read More

Flag Worship and the Idolatry of American Patriotic Christianity

“This nation is plagued with sin and needs the gospel and the Church is commissioned to take it to the world,” Jeff Maples reminds us. “Yet, we have men like Josh Feuerstein garnering support by the hundreds of thousands to boycott Starbucks because of the color of the cups they use at Christmas and Robert Jeffress running around with false teachers like Paula White and Kenneth Copeland to promote Donald Trump’s patriotic Christianity, virtue signaling, and idolatrous utopian American system of freedom while denying the power of the gospel to change the hearts of the lost (2 Timothy 3:5-7).”

Read more of Maples’ view of “Patriotic Christianity” over at Pulpit & Pen:

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. –2 Timothy 2:23

I must admit it’s been fascinating to watch the hordes of professing Christians get fired up this past week after Donald Trump’s speech calling NFL players who kneeled during the pledge of allegiance or singing of the national anthem “sons of b**ches.” If you’ve been watching the brouhaha brewing over this debacle, it becomes apparent that Christians in America are willing to latch onto any cause that preserves their idols of freedom and entertainment.

On the one hand, you have the black community who, in many cases, believe they have been marginalized and mistreated by society under the American flag and on the other hand, you have the patriotic idolaters of this nation who, under no circumstances, can allow any apparent disrespect to happen to this nation.

View article →

Source: Flag Worship and the Idolatry of American Patriotic Christianity

Benny Hinn Is My Uncle, but Prosperity Preaching Isn’t for Me

As part of the family empire, I lived a life of luxury. Then doubts began to surface.

Growing up in the Hinn family empire was like belonging to some hybrid of the royal family and the mafia. Our lifestyle was lavish, our loyalty was enforced, and our version of the gospel was big business. Though Jesus Christ was still a part of our gospel, he was more of a magic genie than the King of Kings. Rubbing him the right way—by giving money and having enough faith—would unlock your spiritual inheritance.

View Article

UK Speaker: Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Be ‘Proper’ Until Churches Can’t Opt Out

PJ Media reports:

 

In a shocking attack on religious freedom and even property rights, the speaker of Britain’s House of Commons argued that the country won’t have “proper equal marriage” until churches are unable to turn away requests to host a same-sex marriage.

“I still feel we’ll only have proper equal marriage when you can bloody well get married in a church if you want to do so, without having to fight the church for the equality that should be your right,” John Bercow, the Commons speaker, declared at a PinkNews reception in July.

Britain legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, but Bercow suggested that the LGBT issue will not be settled until churches are unable to refuse to host such weddings. “We don’t want to behave like it’s all over, everything’s been done and nothing remains, because that isn’t true,” he added.

View article →

Source: UK Speaker: Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Be ‘Proper’ Until Churches Can’t Opt Out

September 22, 2017 – This ‘n’ That

  • Conrad Mbewe shares some reflections on pastoring his church for 30 years.
  • Prepackaged sermons are like a mediocre mug of cocoa.
  • Proclaim the gospel and leave the saving work to God.
  • A brief biographical sketch of John Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the Reformation.
  • What are angels really like?
  • These types of questions are definitely not helpful ones to ask in small group Bible study.
  • Squirrels may be organizing their nutty finds, but are they able to locate them later?
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable. Warning: this may make your eyes water.
  • I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but you are not amazingly awesome.
  • Can someone please give Rick a copy of Galatians?
  • I don’t normally recommend reading Christianity Today, but this article by Costi Hinn is an exception.
  • What is the origin of bad theology?
  • A little background on John Calvin.
  • Christian yoga is an oxymoron.
  • Visit one of these Christmas towns and live your own Hallmark movie.
  • This is from a series of lectures about the Reformation that Dr. Carl Trueman delivered at The Master’s Seminary. You can find the rest of the lectures here.

Source: This ‘n’ That

Defining Orthodoxy in Our Modern World

Recently a manifesto was released by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhoodknown as the Nashville Statement (NS). The manifesto proclaims that traditional sexual morality is based on the clear teaching of Scripture, not on the whims of an ever changing culture.  Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a signatory to NS, declared that the statement was released by “Christians who believe that it is our responsibility to speak clearly to issues of gender and sex and sexuality and biblical morality in a time when these issues are commonly confused.”

Peter Jones, Executive Director of truthxchange, also signed NS. He believes the manifesto raises two crucial questions: 1. What is God-honoring sexuality? and 2. Who is truly Christian?

Dr. Jones tells us that Progressive Christians accuse evangelical orthodoxy of resisting the Spirit’s leading and clinging to the dogmas and traditions that, in their view (which is decidedly liberal), God is calling us to rethink and reform Christianity.  “For these ‘Christians’” says Jones, “’Evangelical orthodoxy’ is a heresy.”

Dr. Jones has no problem naming names and lists several progressive “Christians” who deny the authority of Scripture; moreover, they twist Scripture into a pretzel so that it fits a very “progressive” (liberal) agenda. Jones writes:

This is the oddest time for me to be writing a book that warns the church that the affirmation of homosexuality will lead many Evangelicals into liberalism. The recent Nashville Statement on Sexuality (made public August 25, 2017), has, oddly enough, provoked an embarrassment of riches for my research into the decline of evangelicalism.

The internet is rocking with responses of “Christians” denouncing with righteous anger the Scripture-honoring Nashville Statement. Written and endorsed by leading evangelical theologians (such as J. I. Packer and Al Mohler) this statement is dismissed by “Christian” movements as a hateful attack on people with variant sexual identities. So the Nashville Statement raises two crucial questions: 1. What is God-honoring sexuality? and 2. Who is truly Christian?

View article →

Source: Defining Orthodoxy in Our Modern World

What to Do When Singleness Lasts Longer than You Expected

The Suffering of Singleness

Singleness brings its own suffering, a kind of misery many married people simply don’t understand anymore. I wonder what the hardest days are for you? Maybe it’s been a breakup (or several). Or maybe it’s been that nothing’s ever gotten that far. There’s never been a real boyfriend or girlfriend who might break up with you. Maybe you gave up and started experimenting sexually—in relationships or online—looking for love, pleasure, and control, and instead finding shame, regret, and slavery. Maybe you’ve wanted to be a mom or a dad since you were old enough to know what one was. You’ve dreamed and dreamed about having little boys and girls of your own. You love your friends’ kids, but bitterness creeps in sometimes. Maybe you’re just longing for friendship or companionship, someone to laugh and cry with.

More people probably want to be married because of loneliness than because of sex and children combined. That’s my guess anyway. Maybe married people have made a few too many insensitive comments, encouraging you to enjoy “dating Jesus,” or reminding you how great it is to wait, or trying to hook you up with their uncle’s daughter’s friend’s sister. Maybe it has nothing to do with dating or marriage for you. Maybe it’s your parents’ relationship or divorce, or losing someone you loved too soon, or getting diagnosed with a life-threatening or life-altering condition or disease. Like everyone else, every not-yet-married person will experience pain, but pain will be magnified in some ways by singleness.

From Where Does Joy Come?

The pain of disappointment we feel in the not-yet-married life falls from trees filled with our expectations. Our dreams grow and get more beautiful over years and years in our young imaginations, and then reality reaps a harvest, almost indiscriminately plucking fruit that we want to taste for ourselves. I felt that way, anyway, after years of wanting marriage. We tend to define our life based on our perception of our progress. Am I where I thought I would be at this age? Have I achieved what I thought I would? Are my dreams more or less real today?

Our plans and dreams can become idols. Marriage is a good gift and a terrible god. Most of my grief in my teenage years and even into my twenties came from giving more of my heart to my future marriage than to God. It’s easy to anchor our hope and happiness in a wife or husband and to define our growth, maturity, and worth by our marital status. And when we worship love, romance, sex, or marriage—and not God—we welcome the pain and disappointment.

If we are married in this life, it will only be for a brief moment, and we won’t regret that brevity ten thousand years from now. We really won’t. No one will say, “I really wish I was married,” much less, “I really wish I had been married for five or ten more years.” Those years will seem like seconds compared with all the gloriously, thoroughly happy time we will have after every marriage ends.

We need to think about that as we weigh the intensity of our desperation to have it now. We need to ask if we have made marriage a qualification for a happy and meaningful life. Am I undone and miserable by the prospect of never being married? Do I think of myself as incomplete or insignificant as an unmarried believer? These questions might reveal red flags that warn us marriage has become an idol. Ultimately, we will all be single forever, and it will be gloriously good. Marriage truly is a small and short thing compared with all we have in Christ forever. And I’m writing that as someone who spent more than a decade longing for the temporary this-life experience.

God’s Better Story

Is the life you’re currently living the one you always wanted for yourself? Did you think you’d be married by now? What about your job—not what you hoped for? Do you feel like your gifts are being wasted? Do you dream about doing something different with your life? Maybe you wish you were living somewhere else. You long to be closer to home (or farther away).

The reality is that all of us can imagine something better for ourselves than our circumstances today. The greater reality is that if you love and follow Jesus, God always writes a better story for you than you would write for yourself. The “better” is based on this: God himself is the best, most satisfying thing you could ever have or experience, and, therefore, fullness of life is ultimately found not in any earthly success, relationship, or accomplishment but in your proximity to God through faith.

The dark side of this good news is that you may have to walk through pain, disappointment, rejection, and suffering for seven or eight (or seventy or eighty) years. The brighter (and prevailing) side says God never makes a mistake in choosing good for you. Everything you experience—expected or unexpected, wanted or unwanted, pleasing or painful—is God’s good plan to make you his own (John 10:27–29), to give you himself forever (Ps. 16:11), and to use your life to reveal himself and his glory to the world around you (Isa. 43:25; 1 Cor. 10:31).


Marshall Segal (MDiv, Bethlehem College & Seminary) serves as the executive assistant to John Piper and is a popular contributor to desiringGod.org.

This post is adapted from Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating by Marshall Segal. Originally appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.

Check out the infographic based on a survey sent to 7,000 readers highlighting some common trends when it comes to how singleness, dating, and marriage is viewed today.

Source: What to Do When Singleness Lasts Longer than You Expected

The ‘Progressive Christian’ Charade

From Berean Research:

Five years ago I penned a series of articles entitled “Liberals Created the Culture of Evil and Death.” Due to the aggressive tactics of the “fake news” media and counterfeit Christians, I decided to dust off part three and re-post a portion of it on Berean Research.  One of the liberals who has been masquerading as a Christian is founder and editor of Sojourners magazine, Jim Wallis. He is one of those who profess Christianity, but adheres to “politically entrenched concepts of equality and redistribution of wealth.” In other words, Marxism.  These ideas are rooted in Wallis’ “Christian” beliefs. And thanks to progressive clergy who hold the same Socialist views, these ideas are firmly entrenched in American churches. Even though Rev. Wallis is no longer serving as Barack Obama’s “spiritual adviser” he’s still in the spotlight. What he’d like us to think is that when it comes to what makes for an authentic Christian, look no further than Jim Wallis. As an aside, it may surprise you to learn that Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church, is a columnist for Sojourners magazine.

In 2009 the Barna Research Group released a study on the religious practices of liberals and Christians. According to the report:

The research…discovered that liberals are more likely than conservatives to develop their own set of religious beliefs rather than adopt those proposed by a church or other entity. A greater percentage of liberals also indicated they are very open to accepting different moral views than those they presently possess.”

Eight years ago I stated that,

Liberal “Christians” abhor “fundamentalist” Christianity. So they cast it aside and adopt their own set of religious beliefs and values. Times have changed, after all, so they feel it’s incumbent upon them to bring Christianity out of the Dark Ages into our postmodern world. Christianity must shed its traditional, orthodox beliefs to blend in with the popular culture.” (Source)

So now that I’ve set the stage, here’s why Progressive Christianity is a charade:

By far the biggest obstacle the Church faces is the infiltration of ubiquitous, aggressive liberals, many of whom are renowned pastors, authors, conference speakers, missionaries, televangelists, radio hosts, and CEOs of Christian organizations.  As of late, even some of our most beloved evangelical leaders appear to be morphing into theological liberals.  The extent of movement to liberal ideology varies with each individual, but in certain cases they have gone completely off the rails. False doctrine abounds in books, Bible studies and Bibles authored by notable Christians and promoted by so-called Christian publishers and book sellers.  We have been duly warned about this sort of thing happening:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1).

That, brothers and sisters, is a pretty severe warning!

View article →

Source: The ‘Progressive Christian’ Charade

Barna Update | Does School Violence Begin in the Home?

Mass shootings in schools may get the most coverage, but violence at school is happening everyday. Why are our sanctuaries of learning often unsafe for students? Barna asked American adults what they believe leads to school violence. Findings show that most point to the home as the source—but there are notable differences among ethnicities and faith groups.

Read more

Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 1)

“U.S. Protestants also are split on another issue that played a key role in the Reformation: 46% say the Bible is the sole source of religious authority for Christians – a traditionally Protestant belief known as sola scriptura. Meanwhile, 52% say Christians should look both to the Bible and to the church’s official teachings and tradition for guidance, the position held by the Catholic Church during the time of the Reformation and today.”

Mark Twain once quipped, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Ah statistics.  They can be very helpful. Or very misleading.  And much of it depends on how the questions are asked.

Last week it was announced that a new Pew foundation study demonstrated that modern Protestants are a lot less like Martin Luther and a lot more like Roman Catholics than people might think.

When it comes to the two main issues of sola scriptura (Scripture alone) and sola fide (faith alone) apparently Protestants aren’t so Protestant after all.  The study conclusions state:

For example, nearly half of U.S. Protestants today (46%) say faith alone is needed to attain salvation (a belief held by Protestant reformers in the 16th century, known in Latin as sola fide). But about half (52%) say both good deeds and faith are needed to get into heaven, a historically Catholic belief.

U.S. Protestants also are split on another issue that played a key role in the Reformation: 46% say the Bible is the sole source of religious authority for Christians – a traditionally Protestant belief known as sola scriptura. Meanwhile, 52% say Christians should look both to the Bible and to the church’s official teachings and tradition for guidance, the position held by the Catholic Church during the time of the Reformation and today.

When these two questions are combined, the survey shows that just three-in-ten U.S. Protestants believe in both sola fide and sola scriptura.

These stats, if true, would certainly be stunning.  Indeed, even depressing.  And given the low-level of theological knowledge among most self-identified evangelicals, we might easily believe these stats are right on the mark.

But, I think there are reasons to doubt them.  And those reasons are centered upon the very definition of sola scriptura and sola fide in the questions asked.

Read More

The post Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 1) appeared first on The Aquila Report.