Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant, and neither should you…

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There is no shortage of heresies these days.

If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift through all the variants and build your own little pet version of the Faith. It’s Ice Cream Social Christianity: make your own sundae! (Or Sunday, as it were.)

And, of all the heretical choices, probably the most common — and possibly the most damaging — is what I’ve come to call the Nice Doctrine.

The propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or fights against evil with any force or conviction at all. As soon as he or she stands and says ‘This is wrong, and I will not compromise,’ the heretics swoop in with their trusty mantras.

They insist that Jesus was a nice man, and that He never would have done anything to upset people. They say that He came down from Heaven to preach tolerance and acceptance, and He wouldn’t have used words that might lead to hurt feelings. They confidently sermonize about a meek and mild Messiah who was born into this Earthly realm on a mission to spark a constructive dialogue.

The believers in Nice Jesus are usually ignorant of Scripture, but they do know that He was ‘friends with prostitutes,’ and once said something about how, like, we shouldn’t get too ticked off about stuff, or whatever. In their minds, he’s essentially a supernatural Cheech Marin.

Read the comments under my previous post about gay rights militants, and you’ll see this heresy illustrated.

That post prompted an especially noteworthy email from someone concerned that I’m not being ‘Christlike,’ because I ‘call people names.’ He said, in part:

“You aren’t spreading Christianity when you talk like that. The whole message of Jesus was that we should be nice to people because we want them to be nice to us. That’s how we can all be happy. Period. It’s that simple.”

Be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you, and we’ll all be happy. This is the ‘whole message’ of Christianity?

Really?

Jesus Christ preached a Truth no deeper or more complex than a slogan on a poster in a Kindergarten classroom?

Really?

A provocative claim, to say the least. I decided to investigate the matter, and sure enough, I found this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount:

“We’re best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too?”

Actually, wait, sorry, that’s from the original Barney theme song.

God help us. We’ve turned the Son of God into a purple dinosaur puppet.

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There’s no way to be certain, but most theologians believe that, despite popular perception, Christ looked nothing like this.

I don’t recognize this Jesus.

This moderate. This pacifist. This nice guy.

He’s not the Jesus I read about in the Bible. I read of a strong, manly, stern, and bold Savior. Compassionate, yes. Forgiving, of course. Loving, always loving. But not particularly nice.

He condemned. He denounced. He caused trouble. He disrupted the established order.

On one occasion — or at least one recorded occasion — He used violence. This Jesus saw the money changers in the temple and how did He respond? He wasn’t polite about it. I’d even say He was downright intolerant. He fashioned a whip (this is what the lawyers would call ‘premeditation’) and physically drove the merchants away. He turned over tables and shouted. He caused a scene. [John 2:15]

Assault with a deadly weapon. Vandalism. Disturbing the peace. Worse still, intolerance.

In two words: not nice.

Not nice at all.

Can you imagine how some moderate, pious, ‘nice’ Christians of today would react to that spectacle in the Temple? Can you envision the proponents of the Nice Doctrine, with their wagging fingers and their passive aggressive sighs? I’m sure they’d send Jesus a patronizing email, perhaps leave a disapproving comment under the news article about the incident, reminding Jesus that Jesus would never do what Jesus just did.

Personally, I’ve studied the New Testament and found not a single instance of Christ calling for a ‘dialogue’ with evil or seeking the middle ground on an issue. I see an absolutist, unafraid of confrontation. I see a man who did not waver or give credence to the other side. I see someone who never once avoided a dispute by saying that He’ll just ‘agree to disagree.’

I see a Christ who calls the Scribes and Pharisees snakes and vipers. He labels them murderers and blind guides, and ridicules them publicly [Matthew 23:33]. He undermines their authority. He insults them. He castigates them. He’s not very nice to them.

Jesus rebukes and condemns. In Matthew 18, He utilizes morbid and violent imagery, saying that it would be better to drown in the sea with a stone around your neck than to harm a child. Had our modern politicians been around two thousand years ago, I’m sure they’d go on the cable news shows and shake their heads and insist that there’s ‘no place for that kind of language.’

No place for the language of God.

Jesus deliberately did and said things that He knew would upset people. He stirred up division and controversy. He provoked. He didn’t have to break from established customs, but He did. He didn’t have to heal that man’s hand on the Sabbath, knowing how it would disturb others and cause them immense irritation, but He did, and He did so with ‘anger’ [Mark 3:5]. He could have gone with the flow a little bit. He could have chilled out and let bygones be bygones, but He didn’t. He could have been diplomatic, but He wasn’t.

He could have told everyone to relax, but instead He made them uncomfortable. He could have put them at ease, but He chose to put them on edge.

He convinced the mob not to stone the adulterer [John 8], and you’ll notice that He then turned to her and told her to stop sinning. Indeed, never once did He encounter sin and corruption and say: “Hey, do your thang, homies. Just have fun. YOLO!”

The followers of Nice Jesus love to quote the ‘throw the first stone’ verse — and for good reason, it’s a beautiful and compelling story — but you rarely hear mention of the exchange that occurs just a few sentences later, in that very same chapter. In John 8:44, Jesus rebukes unbelieving Jews and calls them ‘sons of the Devil.’

Wow.

That wasn’t nice, Jesus.

Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you can catch more flies with honey, Jesus?

Of course, you’d catch even more flies with a mound of garbage, so maybe ‘catching flies’ isn’t the point.

While we’re often reminded that Jesus said, ‘live by the sword, die by the sword,’ we seem to ignore his other sword references. Like when he told his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword [Luke 22], or when He said that He ‘didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword’ [Matthew 10].

Now, It’s true that He is God and we are not. Jesus can say whatever He wants to say. But we are called to be like Christ, which begs the question: what is Christ like?

Well, He is, among other things, uncompromising. He is intolerant of evil. He is disruptive. He is sometimes harsh. He is sometimes impolite. He is sometimes angry.

He is always loving.

Christ was not and is not a cosmic guidance counselor, and He is not mankind’s best friend, nor did He call us to be. He made dogs for that role — our destiny is more substantial, and our path to it is far more challenging and dangerous.

And nice?

Where does nice factor into this?

Nice: affable, peachy, swell.

Nice has nothing to do with Christianity. I’ve got nothing against nice — nice is nice — but even serial killers can be nice to people. They generally are exceptionally affable, except when they’re murdering. That means they’re nice to, like, 97 or 98 percent of everyone they meet.

I guess they’re following Christ almost all of the time, right?

And tolerance?

Tolerance is easy. Any coward can learn to tolerate something. Tolerance is inaction; intolerance is action. We are called to refuse to tolerate evil. We are called to get angry at it and actively work to destroy it.

Who’d have guess it — anger is far more godly than tolerance ever could be.

Obviously I’m not suggesting that anger is automatically, or even usually, justified. Christ exhibited righteous anger; righteous anger is the sort of anger that naturally fills our soul when we confront the depths of depravity and sin. It is wrong to seethe with rage because someone cut us off in traffic or gossips about us behind our back, but it is also wrong to feel no anger when babies are murdered and the institution of the family is undermined and attacked.

Anger is good when it is directed at things that offend not us, but God. Just as Christ’s intolerance, like the intolerance we’re commanded to have, stems from a desire to save souls and defend Truth.

Even when we have righteous anger, we do not have carte blanche to act on it in anyway we please. But, according to the Bible, there are times to use strong language, there aretimes to cause a scene, there are times to hurt people’s feelings, and there are times when we might need to use physical force.

Jesus told us to turn the other cheek when we are personally attacked; He never told us to turn our backs entirely and let lies spread and evil grow.

So, enough with the niceties.

Christians in this country sound too similar to the the Golden Girls song, and not enough like the Battle Hymn of the Republic. There’s too much ‘thank you for being a friend,’ and not enough ‘lightening from His terrible swift sword.’

We’re all hugging and singing Kumbaya, when we should be marching and shouting Hallelujah.

We’re nice Christians with our nice Jesus, and we are trampled on without protest.

Enough, already.

I think it’s time that Christianity regain its fighting spirit; the spirit of Christ.

I think it’s time we ask that question: ‘What would Jesus do?’

And I think it’s time we answer it truthfully: Jesus would flip tables and yell.

Maybe we ought to follow suit.

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Asker Portrait
bluephoenixrising asked:What is the Biblical view on women pastors?

No they cannot. There is perhaps no more hotly debated issue in the church today than the issue of women serving as pastors. As a result, it is very important to not see this issue as men versus women. There are women who believe women should not serve as pastors and that the Bible places restrictions on the ministry of women, and there are men who believe women can serve as preachers and that there are no restrictions on women in ministry. This is not an issue of chauvinism or discrimination. It is an issue of biblical interpretation.

The Word of God proclaims, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). In the church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world (1 Timothy 2:13-14). God, through the apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors over men, which definitely includes preaching to, teaching, and having spiritual authority.

There are many “objections” to this view of women in ministry. A common one is that Paul restricts women from teaching because in the first century, women were typically uneducated. However, 1 Timothy 2:11-14 nowhere mentions educational status. If education were a qualification for ministry, the majority of Jesus’ disciples would not have been qualified. A second common objection is that Paul only restricted the women of Ephesus from teaching (1 Timothy was written to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus). The city of Ephesus was known for its temple to Artemis, a false Greek/Roman goddess. Women were the authority in the worship of Artemis. However, the book of 1 Timothy nowhere mentions Artemis, nor does Paul mention Artemis worship as a reason for the restrictions in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

A third common objection is that Paul is only referring to husbands and wives, not men and women in general. The Greek words in the passage could refer to husbands and wives; however, the basic meaning of the words refers to men and women. Further, the same Greek words are used in verses 8-10. Are only husbands to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger and disputing (verse 8)? Are only wives to dress modestly, have good deeds, and worship God (verses 9-10)? Of course not. Verses 8-10 clearly refer to all men and women, not only husbands and wives. There is nothing in the context that would indicate a switch to husbands and wives in verses 11-14.

Yet another frequent objection to this interpretation of women in ministry is in relation to women who held positions of leadership in the Bible, specifically Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah in the Old Testament. This objection fails to note some significant factors. First, Deborah was the only female judge among 13 male judges. Huldah was the only female prophet among dozens of male prophets mentioned in the Bible. Miriam’s only connection to leadership was being the sister of Moses and Aaron. The two most prominent women in the times of the Kings were Athaliah and Jezebel—hardly examples of godly female leadership. Most significantly, though, the authority of women in the Old Testament is not relevant to the issue. The book of 1 Timothy and the other Pastoral Epistles present a new paradigm for the church—the body of Christ—and that paradigm involves the authority structure for the church, not for the nation of Israel or any other Old Testament entity.

Similar arguments are made using Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament. In Acts 18, Priscilla and Aquila are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla’s name is mentioned first, perhaps indicating that she was more “prominent” in ministry than her husband. However, Priscilla is nowhere described as participating in a ministry activity that is in contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Priscilla and Aquila brought Apollos into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately (Acts 18:26).

In Romans 16:1, even if Phoebe is considered a “deaconess” instead of a “servant,” that does not indicate that Phoebe was a teacher in the church. “Able to teach” is given as a qualification for elders, but not deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). Elders/bishops/deacons are described as the “husband of one wife,” “a man whose children believe,” and “men worthy of respect.” Clearly the indication is that these qualifications refer to men. In addition, in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9, masculine pronouns are used exclusively to refer to elders/bishops/deacons.

The structure of 1 Timothy 2:11-14 makes the “reason” perfectly clear. Verse 13 begins with “for” and gives the “cause” of Paul’s statement in verses 11-12. Why should women not teach or have authority over men? Because “Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived.” God created Adam first and then created Eve to be a “helper” for Adam. This order of creation has universal application in the family (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the church. The fact that Eve was deceived is also given as a reason for women not serving as pastors or having spiritual authority over men. This leads some to believe that women should not teach because they are more easily deceived. That concept is debatable, but if women are more easily deceived, why should they be allowed to teach children (who are easily deceived) and other women (who are supposedly more easily deceived)? That is not what the text says. Women are not to teach men or have spiritual authority over men because Eve was deceived. As a result, God has given men the primary teaching authority in the church.

Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, evangelism, and helps. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).

God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions Pastor in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men. This logically would preclude women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them. I believe that it has to do a lot with the duties of the wife in the home. She teaches the children and runs her household and I can tell you from personal experience to do the job you are on cal 24/7. That leaves little to no time to run a church. Remember that in the family of God there is no confusion and that is why I believe that the Lord set it up this way.
As a woman I believe that we have it much better than men do. We can travel the world as an evangelist preaching the Gospel, we can lead music and worship ministry and we can teach children and women. We have all of the best of ministry without all of the headaches. The Lord is not now nor has He ever claimed to be “Politically Correct” He is God. The bible tells us: “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” – Job 40:2
I always have people ask me about Beth Moore and Anne Graham Lotz and the many women who are out there preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.. They are not pastors they are evangelists. God bless you!!!  God bless you and Maranatha!!! :):):)

Steven Furtick Elevation Church False Teacher….

Steven Furtick (born Feb. 19, 1980) is the founder and pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He “attended North Greenville University, received a B.A. in communications and went on to complete a Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.” His church has over 10,000 attendees on a weekly basis.

He has experienced rapid church growth, and he is building various campuses where church services are expanding.  His church started with 19 people in 2006 and is now at over 9,000 as of 2012.  He attributes the growth to “the jars.”  As he says, “the oil is something only God can give.  It represents his spirit, his presence, his power…”, etc.   He is right to give God the glory.  He promotes Christ, has positive messages about what God wants for his people, and reaches out in faith to expand the kingdom for God.  This is admirable and we should applaud him for it. He is a part of the G-12 movement.

Steven Furtick says that he wants Elevation Church to be…

"…a church for the overlooked, for the unloved…we preach Jesus so people far from God can know Jesus. And then we train them up so that others can know Jesus. It is called Kingdom multiplication.  It is what Elevation Church is all about."

This is fine.  Preaching Jesus so people can come to know him is admirable and is one of the things the Christian church is supposed to do.

Mocking the doctrines of grace

However, shortly after the above quote in the same video and after speaking of multiple conversions occuring at his church, he said…

 ”…if that doesn’t get you excited and you need the doctrines of grace as defined by John Calvin to excite you, you in the wrong church. Let me get a phone book. There are 720 churches in Charlotte. I am sure we can find one where you can stuff your face until you’re so obese spiritually that you can’t even move.”

The problem with Mr. Furtick’s comments are both subtle and profound.  The Doctrines of Grace are often described by the acronym TULIP.  Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.  This is often called Calvinism.  In other words, the doctrines of grace affirm that man is completely lost in his sin and it is only by the grace of God through the person of Jesus that salvation is possible.  It is not up to man’s sinful free will, but God’s sovereignty over his creation (Rom. 9:22-23; Eph. 1:4-5).  It further states that because of man’s enslavement to sin he is unable to freely choose God (1 Cor. 2:14).  Therefore, the doctrines of grace include God’s electing and predestining people to salvation (2 Thess. 2:13), which is by God’s choice, not man’s (John 1:13; Rom. 9:16), and that the saved are eternally secure because their salvation rests in Christ’s work, not man’s faithfulness (John 10:27-28).  Now, whether or not you agree with these doctrines, the truth is that they affirm the greatness of God and his sovereign work of saving people.  They are held by millions of Christians all over the world.

Mr. Furtick is entitled to not agree with the doctrines of grace, but to mock them as he did is uncalled for and is potentially a serious spiritual error on his part.  It seems that he is not only ridiculing those who hold to the doctrines of grace, but that he is also mocking the very doctrines which the scriptures teach.  Is not God a God of grace?  Of course he is (Rom. 3:24; 11:6, Eph. 2:8; 2 Thess. 1:12).  Mr. Furtick’s mockery divides the body of Christ, helps to create a holier-than-thou attitude and potentially risks a direct violation of scripture.

Furtick supports a woman pastor

Steven Furtick introduced Pastix Christine Caine to preach on a Sunday morning at Elevation Church.

Women pastors in the church have been debated for many years.  However, just because something is debated doesn’t mean that both sides have valid arguments.  The issue is not if a woman is an international speaker, great musician, great parent, etc.  Instead, we must ask if having a woman preacher is what the Bible affirms.  It is not.

"But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet, 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve." (1 Tim. 2:12-13).7

"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion," (Titus 1:5-7).  (Literally in Greek, the phrase "husband of one wife" is "a man of one woman.")

A woman pastor is, by definition, in the place of authority when she is preaching on a Sunday morning.  She is violating what the scriptures teach concerning such teaching (1 Tim. 2:12-13) and, as Titus 1:5-7 says, the elder (a pastor is an elder, see 1 Tim. 5:17) is to be a male.  Furtick contradicts God’s word when he supports a woman pastor by having her preach in his church.  His intentions might be in line with political correctness, liberal thinking, and contemporary applications of the “needs of the church,” but they are not biblical.8  I recommend that the reader do a serious study of the issue and see exactly what is biblical.

T.D. Jakes

There has been a lot of controversy around the preacher T. D. Jakes, and for good reason.  He denies the Trinity.  At his church’s website thepottershouse.org in the Belief Statement it says,

There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

This is typical oneness terminology and it is heresy.  God does not exist in three manifestations.  Instead, God is a Trinity of three distinct persons.  The term “three manifestations” is used in the heresy of oneness theology to state that God is one person who “manifests” in different ways - the one person of God manifests himself as the Father, and at another time as the Son, and another time as the Holy Spirit.  It is a denial of the distinction of the persons in the Godhead, a denial of the eternal sonship of Christ, and ultimately is an attack on the vicarious atonement of Christ on the cross since it risks a true incarnation of the person of the divine word (John 1:1,14).

No one who denies the Trinity should be allowed to preach in a Christian church. However, pastor Furtick does not seem too concerned with having someone at his pulpit who denies the Trinity.  In fact, he wholeheartedly

approves of Mr. Jakes by having him preach in his church and encouraging his congregation to be taught by a heretic.  This is what Furtick has to say about T.D. Jakes…

"I want you to stand up on your feet right now and let’s welcome to the stage the greatest preacher of our time bishop T.D. Jakes.  Come on and show him some embarrassing love."  (The Video will be put up as well)

How can Furtick say that T.D. Jakes is the “greatest preacher of our time,” considering that T.D. Jakes denies one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith?  It shows that Furtick is not concerned with the integrity of the pulpit.

Conclusion

I am not here looking for something to complain about.  I’m not a “hater” or a “heresy hunter.”  I take no pleasure in writting critically of a pastor who, for the most part, seems to be doing a lot of good.  However, there are serious problems that must be addressed and pastors should be held to a higher standard than laity.

First of all, Furtick is not very doctrinally minded; otherwise, he wouldn’t allow a heretic such as T. D. Jakes (who denies the Trinity) to preach in his church.  Furtick affirms the Trinity and the deity of Christ11, but as a pastor he is required to uphold orthodoxy and not promote preachers who deny even one essential christian doctrine.  This is a very serious issue.

Second, he violates scripture in his promotion of women pastors.  This is also a serious issue, and I politely offer to publicly debate Pastor Furtick on this topic.12  My goal is promote God’s truth, not man’s opinions.

Third, his mockery of the doctrines of grace is shameful.  We are not saying he must affirm the doctrines of grace as found in Calvinism, but his disdainful attack upon them and those who hold to those doctrines is a serious concern.  It shows a lack of pastoral care for Christians who don’t agree with him on these issues, and it risks violating Scripture.

I Have To Agree With Franklin Graham….

Franklin Graham: Putin Is Better on Gay Issues Than Obama

9:00AM EDT 3/17/2014 KEVIN ECKSTROM/RNS

Franklin GrahamFranklin Graham

Evangelist Franklin Graham is praising Russian President Vladimir Putin for his aggressive crackdown on homosexuality, saying his record on protecting children from gay “propaganda” is better than President Obama’s “shameful” embrace ofgay rights.

Graham, who now heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association started by his famous father, praises Putin in the March issue of the group’s Decision magazine for signing a bill that imposes fines for adults who promote “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.”

The Russian law came under heavy criticism from gay rights activists, and from Obama, ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In response, Obama included openly gay athletes as part of the official U.S. delegation to Sochi.

“In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues,” Graham writes. “Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”

“Our president and his attorney general have turned their backs on God and His standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful.”

With the caveat that “I am not endorsing President Putin,” Graham nonetheless praised Russia’s get-tough approach toward gay rights.

“Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue—protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda—Russia’s standard is higher than our own?”

Graham also implicitly seems to side with Putin’s ally, embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the ongoing civil war that has claimed more than 140,000 lives. Syria’s small Christian population has largely sided with the Assad regime throughout the three-year conflict.

“Syria, for all its problems, at least has a constitution that guarantees equal protection of citizens,” Graham writes. “Around the world, we have seen that this is essential where Christians are a minority and are not protected. … Christians in Syria know that if the radicals overthrow Assad, there will be widespread persecution and wholesale slaughter of Christians.”

Graham’s father was a virulent anti-Communist in his early years; in 1949 he called communism “a religion that is inspired, directed, and motivated by the Devil himself who has declared war against Almighty God.” But as he took his message around the world, he softened his rhetoric on a host of issues, including politics and hot-button fronts in the culture wars.

“If I had it to do over again, I would avoid any semblance of involvement in partisan politics,” the elder Graham, now 95, wrote in his 1997 autobiography, “Just As I Am.”

For years, Billy Graham sought to take his gospel behind the Iron Curtain, ultimately preaching to huge crowds in Moscow in 1982. At the time, Putin was a young agent in the KGB. “In fact, he was in charge of monitoring foreigners in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) when my father preached there in 1984,” the younger Graham wrote. “If he was eavesdropping on our meeting, which I hope he was, he heard the gospel!”

Since Franklin Graham took over in 2001, he has steered the Graham franchise in a more political direction by openly questioning President Obama’s faithendorsing a North Carolina measure that banned gay marriage, calling Islam an “evil and wicked religion” and implicitly endorsing Mitt Romney’s 2012 White House bid.

Michael Hamilton, who has studied the Graham legacy as a historian at Seattle Pacific University, said both father and son have been known to wade into controversy, but Franklin Graham responds differently.

“When the firestorm would hit, Billy Graham would always backtrack or walk back his comments in some way,” Hamilton said. “But when the firestorm hits Franklin, he doesn’t seem to really care.”

Hamilton also questioned why Franklin Graham—who has received wide praise for his relief work through his organization Samaritan’s Purse—didn’t approach Syria through the lens of “its enormous humanitarian crisis.”

A spokeswoman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said Friday (March 14) that Franklin Graham was traveling and unavailable for comment. A statement from BGEA noted his article went to press before the current crisis in Ukraine that’s pitted Putin and Russia against the West.

“Franklin Graham consistently encourages Christians to be informed and take a stand for biblical values and biblical truth,” the statement said. “The Putin cover article was a way to provoke engagement of readers on this important issue and encourage further thought, prayer, and action.”

Heresy Before Our Eyes.. Does the Christian and The Muslim serve the Same God? Shocking statement from Brian Houston ….

So, do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? A better question is, “Do Christians and Muslims both have a correct understanding of who God is?” To this question, the answer is definitely no. Because of crucial differences between the Christian and Muslim concepts of God, the two faiths cannot both be true. The biblical God alone addresses and solves the problem of sin by giving His Son.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).

8223276205_69db3e52df_bThis video has not been edited but is played in full context of the statement. Actual Insert is Below: 

“How do you view God? In a desert there’s two types of birds: there’s vultures and there’s hummingbirds. One lives off dead carcasses, rotting meat. The other lives off the beautiful, sweet nectar in a particular flower on a particular desert plant. In the same desert, they both find what they’re looking for.

Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God. And of course through history, those views have changed greatly. But lets make sure that we view God through the eyes of Jesus, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the beauty of a Saviour, the loving open inclusive arms of a loving God. And that way we’ll lead out of that and you’ll be purposeful about your leadership and you’ll draw people just like the Lord Jesus always does through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

This is a really great teaching from my Pastor!!! I hope that you enjoy it!!!

LOUIE GIGLIO IS NO HERO TO BE ADMIRED….

By  on Jan 10, 2013 in AM MissivesCurrent IssuesFeatures

Giglio

Apprising Ministries first covered Louis Giglio in Beth Moore And John Piper Lead Lectio Divina-Lite At Passion 2012 where I shared concerns about Giglio’s emphasis upon direct encounters with God.

That was bad enough, but it got even worse this year, as I showed in Louie Giglio, Passion 2013, And Jesus Culture. Now Giglio appears to be marrying his Passion youth movement to that of Jesus Culture.

It needs to be understood that reputed Calvinist Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church (PCC) in Atlanta, is influencing scores of teens and college age youth as the leader of this so-called new breed Jesus Generation.

With this in mind Christian researcher Sarah Leslie brought out yesterday in The Significance of Youth-Filled Stadiums:

Lou Giglio is scheduled to give the benediction* at the Obama Presidential Inauguration on January 21. The official announcement describes him as “the Rev. Louie Giglio, the pastor of the Passion City Church in Atlanta” and says he “is considered one of the highest-profile evangelical Christian pastors. He has been prominent in efforts to end human trafficking.”1

This invitation is significant because Lou Giglio is currently under a great deal of fire in some quadrants of the evangelical world for his controversial association with New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) leader Bill Johnson and a music group/ministry called Jesus Culture. (source)

Today that changed. So, in Louie Giglio Out Of Obama Inaguation Over “Anti-Gay Comments” I drew together a few of the sources covering Giglio’s announcement he would no longer be part of inauguration after all.

One of these sources was a letter to his congregation from Louie Giglio called Change of Plans, which will be the focus of the rest of this article. However, first I’ll tell you many began implying that Giglio was now a martyr.

Already we have seen e.g. Christians Respond to Giglio’s Withdrawal by Christian Post reporter Lillian Kwon, The Giglio Imbroglio from Al Mohler and then Ed Stetzer chimed in with The Louie Giglio Moment.

Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition offers Pastor Disinvited from Giving Inaugural Prayer Because of Sermon on Homosexuality. And we have the below from the Facebook page of the Family Research Council.

Under a picture of Louie Giglio with the caption Don’t Silence Pastors we find (click to enlarge):

LG
(source)

This tweet below from his friend John Piper, where he said that Giglio is suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ, is another glaring example:

JP
(source)

I have no idea what Piper means by refining for freedom, but it is clear that he’s saying Giglio is suffering for his faith in Jesus Christ. Far from suffering, Louie Giglio’s largely being lauded as a hero in the right wing media.2

People have been asking my opinion and I have told them that Giglio’s first mistake was agreeing to be part of the inauguration; his second mistake was to then merely resign when his words about homosexuality surfaced.

This brings us back to Louie Giglio’s Change of Plans and around to why you’ll see that Giglio is no hero and not to be admired at all in this mess. Giglio begins by telling his PCC:

I was invited by the President of the United States to pray at his upcoming inauguration, after conversations between our team and the White House I am no longer serving in that role. (source)

He then quotes from the “statement to the White House” Giglio had sent today explaining why he was no longer “serving in” the inauguration. Turns out it was:

Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.

Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ. (source, emphasis his)

As a pastor-teacher myself what immediately jumped out at me is Giglio, pastor of a megachurch and leader of a huge youth movement, admits “speaking on this issue,” i.e. the sin of homosexuality:

has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. (source)

That’s a very telling, but not surprising, admission considering Inaugural Benediction To Be Delivered By Pastor Who Gave Vehemently Anti-Gay Sermon yesterday by Josh Israel of the pro-homosexual websiteThink Progress.

He quotes from Giglio’s In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality, which Israel tells us is:

a mid-1990s sermon identified as Giglio’s, available online on a Christian training website, he preached rabidly anti-LGBT views. (source)

Now a key point: Josh Israel posted five quotes from Giglio’s sermon about homosexuality from nearly two decades ago and just one day later Giglio has already caved in. There’s nothing to be admired in that.

From where I stand, Louie Giglio has made no public effort to defend the truth of God’s Word concerning the deviant and sinful lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexuality.

Moreover, pastor Louis Giglio admits that warning young LGBT people, for whom Christ died, of their sin hasn’t even been something he considered a priority. Well, I offer Homoppression Is At Least As Bad As Homophobia.

The homoppression to which I refer here would be not telling the truth to someone who self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT); and thereby, leaving them under oppression trapped in their sin.

And what of his public testimony to the Obama administration when Giglio tells them, as well as his own PCC:

Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ. (source, emphasis his)

Where’s the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins? Answer: It’s not there. Instead pastor Giglio tells these unbelievers his goal is that people will have “ultimate significance.” Frankly, Giglio sounds likes Joel Osteen.

Then Louie Giglio plays the piety card as he tells his PCC:

As a pastor, my mission is to love people, and lead them well, while lifting up the name of Jesus above anything else. (source)

Sure, there’s truth within his statement; all Christians are to love people, so this becomes a red herring. The rest of the story, as the noted philosopher Paul Harvey was wont to say, is the pastor-teacher must also:

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)

You may recognize that’s not a position that’s going to be popular with this politically correct, and pouty postmodern, world because reproving, rebuking, and even exhorting, happens to be well out of season.

In other words, out of favor; to do so will bring you into confrontation. This then, would actually be to suffer for Christ’s sake. Instead, pastor Giglio turns to another red herring:

I’m confident that anyone who knows me or has listened to the multitude of messages I have given in the last decade would most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to people—any people. (source)

However to offer the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners, whether homosexual or not, isn’t opposing them as people in the first place. In fact, it’s being willing to even risk their wrath as you show them the love of God.

For you see, this is how the Christian points “them to Jesus.” The truth is, this is the only way that “people in [any] city come to know Jesus.” This is truly “speaking up for the last and least of these throughout the world.”

Pastor Giglio should have said, go ahead; do whatever you want to me publicly. That would bring liberals into the open and he could then preach the real Gospel, which would have been headlines in secular news sources.

I agree with Chris Rosebrough who said today on his F4F program that Louie Giglio is a straight-up coward. Sadly, when confrontation appeared he placed his tail between his legs and scamped off the battlefield.

False Prophets Before Our Eyes… INDIAN HOLY MAN SADHU SUNDAR SELVARAJ’S..

Sundar is the founder of Jesus Ministries

On a sermon tape called “ Strategic positioning in the end times “ he says:
“Meeting one night Jesus came and stood by me and pointed his finger at this sister and asked her to stand up …………(again )…..Jesus Christ appeared before me, and now I am going to test their hearts (youth who had came forward) …….. Angel of the Lord appeared before me. Angel of the Lord appeared before me (again) reveal word for his TV station.”

So we have a reference that Jesus on two separate occasions came and stood next to him. The main theme of the sermon is being in the right place at the right time.

John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; IT IS EXPEDIENT FOR YOU THAT I GO AWAY: FOR IF I GO NOT AWAY, THE COMFORTER WILL NOT COME UNTO YOU; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

The strategy is that Jesus in going back to the father made it possible for us to receive the Holy Spirit. If Jesus did not go then the Holy Spirit would not come. The Holy Spirit continues the Ministry Jesus left behind. This means that Jesus cannot come back physically for it would undermine the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was only physically in one place whilst the Holy Spirit is everywhere. So he is able to minister far more effectively than Jesus did.

Acts 1:11” Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN.”

All who were present saw Jesus ascend. Openly testified by angels and seen by men. So in THIS MANNER WILL HE RETURN? No rocket science there. Yet we are to believe Jesus casually throws aside his word to make some invisible weekend trips. When he ascended he was seen by a few, when he returns HE WILL BE SEEN BY ALL. If someone claims that Jesus had visited and you have not seen him, then he has not returned.

Rev 1:7” Behold, he cometh WITH CLOUDS; AND EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, and they [also] which pierced him: and ALL KINDREDS OF THE EARTH SHALL WAIL BECAUSE OF HIM. Even so, Amen.”

This is the fulfilment of that promise return. Scripture tells us clearly his departure and his return. Now Jesus warns us about any intermediate return.

Matt 24:23-26 “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; BELIEVE [IT] NOT.”

Jesus speaks about a future end times when false Christ’s and False prophets will arise. One of those signs will be those who will claim that Jesus has manifested himself to some special prophet or apostle. Jesus clearly says “DO NOT BELIEVE IT”. This means I have Jesus own word on this matter. Otherwise any secret return cannot be accepted.

When the apostle John saw Jesus his reaction was to fall down before him.
John 1:17” And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last”
Yet we have testimonies of Jesus appearing before people with the causality of an Asda shopper. The fact that there is no reaction as we see with John surely must make it suspect.
Now the interesting thing about Sundar is how he writes himself into prophecy as the fulfilment of prophecy. On the same tape he speaks about the angel of Revelation 4

Rev 14:8 “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Sundar calls his TV Station ANGEL TV, and believes that the scripture reference has nothing to do with an actual angelic angel but his TV station. He goes on to say :
“Two witnesses to speak to the Jews specifically. Whole world will see them. How will he do that unless God has his own TV CHANNEL?…. do you think channel 8 will do that. “
(That idea comes with numerous problems. Who says that the atheistic none believing world will want to watch his TV station? )
Small article on his television ministry titled “Angels”!
“In heaven, the apostle John saw three angels flying around and proclaiming to the people of the earth about God (Revelation 14:6-8). Proclaiming the gospel over the airwaves is similar to those angelic proclamation. Interestingly one of the meanings for the WORD ‘ANGEL’ IN GREEK IS ‘WIND’. AND AIRWAVES ARE ALSO WIND, ISN’T IT?”

I have tried to find this reference in the Greek and I cannot find it
Angel in the Greek is Aggelos ) a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God There is not one word about being translated as wind.

Strategic positioning in the end times sermon: While he believes he has a divine mandate to start this TV station with signs and visits from Jesus he goes on to push for donations to fund the project. Now Sundar does not simply get visits from just any angels but TOP angels and is attacked by TOP demons. He says “He had to fight some High ranking Demons of large continent demons” Sundar makes even Todd Bentley sound positively trivial when it comes to the shear number of angelic visitations. Even God the Father booms down from heaven to the waiting Sundar
“God’s TV Station “for India & the East to win souls for Jesus” : “Angel Satellite TV”
“On 01/01, 2003, while waiting upon God, the authoritative voice of the heavenly Father God thundered from the heavens: ‘This is My Channel. This will be My Voice to speak to the nations”
God’s voice to the nations is in fact the Holy Spirit. He is now Gods spokesman, and it is he that will reveal Gods will through scripture to the nations.

Angel TV was inaugurated successfully in December 2005……… “the founder of Angel TV, Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj announced that the channel is going to be closed soon. Hearing this, the entire spiritual fraternity of Tamil Nadu stood shocked and I was no exception”! 2006 http://www.tamilchristiantv.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=78&Itemid=224
While I have no ability to check on this report other than what it says. It does seem strange that a God that can speak so clear would then have allowed a problem to arise that would have his voice to the nations close down. However knowing how these TV evangelists work the likelihood is he received a large contribution from somewhere to keep it going.

A reported article titled “Satellite Television: A Fulfilment of Prophecy” quotes Zech 5:1 which is about a flying scroll flying in the heavens. Apparently this is also reference to Sundar satellite.http://evensocomelordjesus.org/watchman/2008/07/29/angel-satellite-tv/

Yet when you actually read this chapter the scroll is in fact a curse. Strange that anyone would refer to their own TV channel as a curse?

Zech 5:4 (American Standard Version) “I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.”

On his “Healing love” Newsletter Jan –march 2010 vol 18:vol 1 titled “GOD WILL DO A NEW THING”

Page 4“During the process of dying a mysterious work of purification takes place. What I know reveal only pertains to believers. For some lying on the bed of affliction and for others undergo prolong illness. A WORK OF SANCTIFICATION (BODY AND SOUL PURIFICATION) IS ACTUALLY BEING DONE TO PERFECT THEM”

Does this mean at the last hurdle we are then made perfect through suffering rather than the finish work of the cross? Scripture says we are already made perfect not because of our own works but the finish work of Calvary. How then can any suffering make us perfect? If that was the case then suffering would make everyone ready for heaven.

Page 5 “Even the SPIRITS OF JUST MEN WHO VISIT THE EARTH ON ANGEL LIKE ASSIGNMENT are protected too by angels to prevent them from contamination

Scripture Please. Spirits of Just men are with God. There is no evidence of them being sent on assignments on the earth! This sounds more like spiritualism to me.

Page 8 “My BELIEF IS NOT CONTRARY TO WHAT IS SAID IN THE VEDAS. The Vedas is confirm to every Brahmin and Hindu that Christ is the universal saviour”

The Vedas are the oldest religious texts in Hinduism. This teaches that Hindus believe in a universal soul or God called Brahman. Brahman takes on many forms that some Hindus worship as gods or goddesses in their own right. Hindus believe that there is a part of Brahman (This is called Pantheism)in everyone and this is called the Atman. This tells us that the God of the Hindus is not the God of the Bible. One is some universal Soul While God is a triune being who is separate and distinct from his creation.

Page 6 Titled “ On how to inherit the blessings….he says “Not all the blessings are automatically granted” (6 things are mentioned) The 6 says “ FORGET THE OLD WAYS OF SEEKING GOD AND SEEING GOD DO HIS WORKS . IS 43:18 is quoted as proof “Remember ye not the former things neither consider the things of old”

This is a clear practice of ripping scripture out of context. The Old ways was the Law and the Old Testament Covenant, and the New Ways is the New Covenant. God is not doing a new NEW thing. No where are we told to forget the gospel.

Hebrews 1:1- 2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”
People want to go back to those old days were God spoke to people in different ways. Today God has spoken through his son. As long as we are in the same dispensation that Jesus died there can be NO knew thing outside of the gospel.

Page 6 ”This is the company of the MANIFEST SONS OF GOD that the earth has been waiting for”
Page 16 “ The days have come for this NEW BREED of people to arise

This is the language of the latter / manifest sons of God terminology. While there are certainly plenty of issues we can debate. I will leave it for those who read this to debate the issue and hopefully add extras as and when it is posted. I propose that while Sundar clearly holds to elements of these doctrines, he runs with his own peculiar slant on them.

 

Persecution Before Our Eyes…. ARIZONA HEADING OFF FIGHTS OVER HOMOSEXUAL WEDDINGS

ARIZONA HEADING OFF FIGHTS OVER HOMOSEXUAL WEDDINGS

Law would clarify business owners can’t be forced to violate faith

Published: 12 hours ago

Lawmakers in Arizona say a religious-freedom bill is supposed to address religious freedom, so their plan this year to close down a loophole is no more than affirming what’s already the law.

The issue is whether, as has happened in several other states, Christians can be sued or penalized for abiding by their faith while they do their business.

Specifically, in Washington and Colorado, bakeries have been sued for refusing to use their artistry to promote same-sex marriage. A photographer in New Mexico was put in the bull’s-eye by homosexual activists for the same reason.

Now Arizona’s House Bill 2153 is headed for Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk, after it was approved by the state Legislature.

It allows individuals to use their faith as a defense against a lawsuit. It would expand the state’s definition of the exercise of religion to include the practice and observance, and allow for legal claims of free exercise regardless whether the government is a party to any proceeding.

It also would protect “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization” and allow them to establish a free exercise defense by affirming that an action is motivated by a religious belief, that belief is sincerely held it is substantially burdened.

“We are trying to protect people’s religious liberties,” Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, told the Arizona Republic. “We don’t want the government coming in and forcing somebody to act against their religious sacred faith beliefs or having to sell out if you are a small-business owner.”

Arizona appears to be the first state to take such action, even though disputes already have developed in several other states.

Similar legislative efforts in Kansas, South Dakota and several other states were proposed, but apparently have stalled in the process.

Oregon interests are trying to handle their situation with a ballot initiative.

Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, told the Republic the bill would result in discrimination.

“This bill is going to hurt the LGBT community,” he said.

But sponsor Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, pointed out that the state has no law providing special class protection for the homosexual community.

“You guys are trying to make this something that doesn’t exist. These are small changes,” he charged.

The Center for Arizona Policy, which has endorsed the idea being assembled in the legislation, said it was a change that was needed.

“Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been on the books since 1999. This bill seeks to simply close loopholes within this law that might jeopardize a person’s free exercise of religion in Arizona,” the organization explains.

“It clarifies that a person may assert a RFRA claim if his/her religious exercise is likely to be burdened. A person should not have to wait to assert a claim if there is a strong likelihood that that person’s religious exercise will be burdened by a state action.”

Josh Kredit, the center’s legal counsel, told the Republic the state is just trying to ensure people “are able to live and work according to their faith.”

WND has reported the most recent fight to develop over religious rights was in Colorado, where a state appointee overruled a business owner’s religious faith and ordered him to provide a wedding cake to a same-sex duo.

The state’s constitution doesn’t recognize “same-sex marriage,” but officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom said it simply was the government imposing “a new belief system upon [bakery owner] Jack [Phillips], one that is fundamentally at odds with his conscience and his liberty.”

The complaint to the state’s Civil Rights Division was filed by two homosexuals who wanted Phillips to provide them with a wedding cake.

Phillips offered to provide other products but, citing his own Christian beliefs, declined to produce a message on a wedding cake that conflicted with his faith.

Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer, however, ordered Phillips, on pain of fines or even jail time, to violate his faith and provide the wedding cake to homosexuals Charlie Craig and David Mullins.

Now ADF has asked the state to correct the “erroneous” ruling, filing a notice of appeal and petition for review to the commission.

Spencer was wrong, ADF contends, because “the ALJ’s recommendation that respondents ‘[c]ease and desist from discriminating against complainants and other same-sex couples by refusing to sell them wedding cakes or any other product respondents would provide to heterosexual couples’ is overbroad and exceeds the scope of relief authorized [under state law.].”

ADF said the issue in the case cuts to the basics of freedom in America.

“America was founded on the fundamental freedom of all citizens to live and work without fear of government punishment,” said Nicolle Martin, lead counsel in the case.

Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., cited conflicting religious beliefs when he declined in July 2012 to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception. Photo/Denver Post

Phillips explained to WND there are cakes for other circumstances he also would refuse to make.

“If a couple were to come in and ask me to do an erotic cake for a wedding, I would refuse to do that as well,” he said. “These are my personal standards taken from Jesus Christ and the Bible.”

Spencer’s ruling said Phillips’ constitutional rights are secondary, because otherwise the “cost to society” isn’t considered. He granted homosexuals a special standard.

But the ACLU, which is representing the duo, said the same standard should not be used in other circumstances, such as asking a Muslim baker to make a cake criticizing his faith or asking a black cake maker to make a cake for the KKK.

Those bakers, because of their beliefs, would be allowed to refuse service, Spencer said.

Spencer bluntly offered cake makers an alternative to doing his will: They can quit.

“If … respondents choose to quit making wedding cakes altogether to avoid future violations of the law, that is a matter of personal choice and not a result compelled by the state,” he wrote.

Special rights for homosexuals have been the subject of several cases in recent years. In New Mexico, judges ruled that a Christian wedding photographer must surrender her religious beliefs as the price of good citizenship, in a case that remains on appeal.

And in Washington state, another baker shut down operations after being accused of discrimination under that state’s rules that provide special consideration for homosexuals.

 


Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/02/arizona-heading-off-fights-over-homosexual-weddings/#l83ySwLH6XTF1ePb.99

PROPHECY BEFORE OUR EYES…. The Rapture (Part 20)

Andy Woods

By Dr. Andy Woods 
Sugar Land Bible Church 

My previous articles commenced a series on the rapture of the church. We began with the question, “What is the Rapture?” This question can best be answered by noting ten truths about the rapture from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. In previous articles from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, we saw that the rapture is an important doctrine and not something that can be marginalized or explained away as a secondary doctrine. We also noted that the rapture is an event that is distinct from the Second Advent of Christ. We further observed that the rapture will involve thecatching up of every believer to meet the Lord in the air, and that therapture will involve a reunion between living and deceased Church-Age believers. We then began to examine several more points from 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. We noted that the rapture will be a resurrection, willexempt an entire generation of believers from death, will be aninstantaneous event, is a mystery, is an imminent event, and is also atraditional doctrine now being recovered.

We then moved to a second main question, namely, when will the rapture take place relative to the coming seven-year Tribulation period? We offered the contention that believers can develop certainty that they will be raptured before the Tribulation period occurs for at least seven reasons. First, theTribulation period’s purpose concerns Israel rather than the church. Second, there is no reference to the church as being on the earth in Revelation 4–19. Third, the church has been promised an exemption from divine wrath. The fourth reason is that the rapture is an imminent event and only the pretribulation view is in harmony with this doctrine. The fifth reason is that only pretribulationalism is in harmony with the New Testament’s presentation of the rapture as a comforting event. The sixth reason that the rapture will take place before the Tribulation period begins is because the Antichrist cannot even come forward until the Holy Spirit’s restraining ministry through the church is first removed. The seventh and final reason that the rapture will take place before the Tribulation period begins relates to the fact that the symbolic parallels of the days of Noah and Lot mandate that God’s people must first be taken out of harm’s way before the pouring out of divine judgment.

Now that we have dealt with these two questions, we will begin to explore some of the weaknesses associated with the other competing views that seek to answer the question, “when will the rapture take place relative to the coming Tribulation period?” Recall the various views on the timing of the rapture relative to the impending Tribulation period. At least five differing perspectives exist. Firstpre-tribulation rapturism holds that the rapture will occur before the Tribulation period even begins. This is the position that has been defended in this series. Secondmid-tribulation rapture theory asserts that the rapture will take place in the middle of the coming Tribulation period. Thirdpost-tribulationalism contends that the rapture will take place at the end of the coming Tribulation period. This view typically sees no distinction between the rapture and the Second Advent and thus seeks to harmonize all references to Christ’s return as taking place at the end of the future Tribulation period. Fourthpre-wrathrapturism maintains that, because the wrath of God does not begin until the final twenty-five percent of the Tribulation period, the church will be present for the first three quarters of the Tribulation period only to be raptured to heaven just before the wrath of God is poured out during the Tribulation’s final quarter. Fifthpartial rapturism maintains that only those believers who are truly living for Christ at the time of the rapture will actually participate in the rapture by being removed from the earth at that time, thereby leaving behind the carnal or backslidden believers to experience the events of the Tribulation period.

At the onset, it is important to understand that all of the non-pre-tribulation positions have a difficult time handling the seven arguments favoring pre-tribulationalism previously discussed in this series. In other words, mid and post-tribulationalism as well as pre-wrath rapturism fail to explain how the church could be a placed in a future time period where God is primarily dealing with Israel rather than the church, where the church is never mentioned or even alluded to, and when God’s wrath is directly being poured out. They also do not acknowledge the New Testament teaching on imminence or that the rapture is the very next event to occur on the prophetic horizon rather than some other eschatological occurrence. Nor do they consider that the doctrine of the rapture is a comfort. They also fail to explain how the church could still be present after the Holy Spirit’s restraining ministry is removed. They also do not harmonize well with the symbolic parallels concerning the days of Noah and Lot. Beyond these initial problems, the competing positions also contain several other weaknesses and inadequacies. Let’s begin our discussion with mid-tribulationalism.

Four Horsemen

MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

Mid-tribulation rapture theory asserts that the rapture will take place in the middle of the coming Tribulation period. Those adhering to the mid-tribulation rapture typically rely on at least one of the following three arguments to support their position. Let us now enumerate and briefly respond to each of the three arguments used to justify the mid-tribulation rapture position.

1. Although the church is exempted from God’s wrath, the church will be on the earth during the first half of the tribulation period because God’s wrath will not actually begin until the second half of the tribulation period. While conceding that the church is exempted from God’s wrath, the mid-tribulation rapture view assumes that God’s wrath will not begin until the second half of the Tribulation period. This assumption exists in the minds of some on the grounds that the Antichrist will rule the world in peace and prosperity for the first half of the Tribulation period, and the rest of the apocalyptic judgments will not come upon the world until the second half of the Tribulation period.

However, God’s wrath will take place during the first half as well as the second half of the Tribulation period. During the first half of the Tribulation period, the Antichrist will be unveiled. Consequently, his coming will be just as much a judgment upon the world as will be the remaining judgments, many of which will take place during the second half of the Tribulation period. The revelation of the Antichrist will be a spiritual judgment sent by God for the purpose of deceiving many of those who have rejected the gospel. Second Thessalonians 2:9-12 says,

"that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

This text makes it clear that the Antichrist will be sent as divine spiritual judgment to deceive many who have rejected Christ. While many will be saved during this awful time period (Rev. 7:9-17), many others who reject the gospel will be blinded by God Himself to its truth during the Tribulation period. They will be judicially blinded with the revelation of the Antichrist, who is the rider on the white horse (Rev. 6:1-2). Although not identically akin to the type of physical judgment which will take place during the subsequent aspects of the Tribulation period, this spiritual form of judgment will actually be far worse because it will eternally damn souls. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Just as the opening of seals 2 through 7 will bring horrific judgments upon the world, the opening of the first seal, which will reveal the Antichrist, will also bring forth horrible divine judgment upon the world. The only difference between seals 2 through 7 and the first seal will be the nature of the judgment. Physical judgment will come upon the world with the opening of seals 2 through 7 and spiritual judgment will come upon the world with the opening of the first seal. Thus, God’s wrath as manifested through spiritual judgment will actually be manifested at the very beginning of the Tribulation period. This notion of continuity of wrath coming forth through all seven seal judgments, including the first seal, is strengthened when it is understood that all of the seal judgments are connected to Christ in heaven opening the seven sealed scroll (Rev. 5:1-7). Consistency seems to dictate that if the physical judgment contained in seals 2 through 7 are manifestations of divine wrath, then the spiritual judgment contained in the first seal judgment must also be a manifestation of divine wrath.

Moreover, with the opening of the sixth seal, Revelation 6:16-17 says,

"and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?’"

Interestingly, this verse looks backward upon all of the prior six seal judgments and categorizes them as divine wrath. These seal judgments are manifested early on in the Tribulation period and most likely take place in the first half. Thomas explains:

The verb ēlethen (“has come”) is aorist indicative, referring to a previous arrival of wrath, not something that is about to take place. Men see the arrival of this day at least as early as the cosmic upheavals that characterize the sixth seal (6:12-14), but upon reflection they probably recognize that it was already in effect with the death of one-fourth of the population (6:7-8), the worldwide famine (6:5-6), and the global warfare (6:3-4). The rapid sequence of all of these events could not escape notice, but the light of their true explanation does not dawn upon human consciousness until the severe phenomena of the sixth seal arrive. [1]

Thus, contrary to the belief of mid-tribulationalism, the wrath of God is a phenomenon that appears at the earliest part of the Tribulation period.

Even if the premise is granted, as mid-tribulationalism maintains, that the wrath of God encompasses only a portion of the Tribulation period, theChurch-Age believer still cannot experience any of this Tribulation time period. Christ in Revelation 3:10 makes the following promise to the church at Philadelphia:

"Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

Notice that in Revelation 3:10, Christ promises the believer not just an exemption from divine wrath, but rather a removal from the very hour of testing itself. Rhodes explains the significance of this promise as a refutation to non-pretribulational perspectives:

This means the church will go through the time of judgment prophesied in the book of Revelation, but believers will be kept from Satan’s wrath during the tribulation (Revelation 3:10). Pretribulationalists (such as myself) respond, however, thatRevelation 3:10 indicates that believers will be saved out of or separated from (Greek: ek) the actual time period of the tribulation. [2]

Regarding the promise of Revelation 3:10, Geisler similarly observes,

"In context, the statement about being saved ‘out of’ (Gk: ek) the time of trial does mean saved from it (not through it). One cannot be saved from an entire hour by being in any part of it.” [3]

In sum, having previously answered the question, “what is the rapture?”, we noted at least seven reasons that affirm the pretribulational rapture view. We then began interacting with the other positions on the timing of the rapture. Starting with mid-tribulationism, we noted the first of at least three deficiencies with this position. Mid-tribulationism errs in failing to consider that the wrath of God begins early on in the Tribulation period.

(To Be Continued…)

Asker Portrait
Anonymous asked:What does the seven churches mean?

The seven churches described in Revelation 2-3 are seven literal churches at the time that John the apostle was writing Revelation. Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. The first purpose of the letters was to communicate with the literal churches and meet their needs at that time. The second purpose is to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history and instruct them in God’s truth.

A possible third purpose is to use the seven churches to foreshadow seven different periods in the history of the Church. The problem with this view is that each of the seven churches describes issues that could fit the Church in any time in its history. So, although there may be some truth to the seven churches representing seven eras, there is far too much speculation in this regard. Our focus should be on what message God is giving us through the seven churches. The seven churches are

(1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) - the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4).

(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) - the church that would suffer persecution (2:10).

(3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) - the church that needed to repent (2:16).

(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) - the church that had a false prophetess (2:20).

(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) - the church that had fallen asleep (3:2).

(6) Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) - the church that had endured patiently (3:10).

(7) Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) - the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16).


God bless you!!! :):)

Asker Portrait
Anonymous asked:Thoughts on Joyce Meyers?

 is not someone that I would follow.  

What does Joyce Meyer teach?


For the most part Joyce Meyer preaches a positive, biblical message that is of great value to many people. We applaud her desire to be biblical, to point women to godly submission and humility, to trusting God, being loving, to have value based in what Christ has done for us, etc. These are all good. However, there are some very significant errors that need to be addressed. Some of them are so bad that she is outside of biblical orthodoxy and must be considered a false teacher. Let’s take a look at what Joyce Meyer has said. Following is a list of quotes from Joyce Meyer, along with responses.

1. Jesus stopped being the Son of God: “He could have helped himself up until the point where he said I commend my spirit into your hands, at that point he couldn’t do nothing for himself anymore. He had become sin, he was no longer the Son of God. He was sin.”

(http://storage.carm.org/joycemeyer/joyce-meyer-Jesus-became-sin-stopped-being-son-of-God.mp3)


A. Response: This is heresy. Jesus did not ever stop becoming the son of God. Essentially what she is saying is that Jesus stopped being divine, the eternal son, second person of the Trinity. This is an attack on the very nature of Christ and it is a dangerous false teaching. Joyce Meyer needs to repent and retract this statement. There is no place in Scripture that says Jesus stopped being the son of God. She’s adding to the word of God and placing in the hearts and minds of listeners false doctrine.


2. Jesus was born again: “The minute that blood sacrifice was accepted Jesus was the first human being that was ever born again,” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neKsa_74w7k&feature=related)
A. Response: This is just plain wrong. Being born again means to be saved from the wrath of God for a person’s sins (Eph. 2:1-3), to have a new birth (John 3:3), and to be regenerated (2 Cor. 5:17). Mrs. Meyer is simply wrong biblically. Why does she teach this? It can only be because she has bought into many of the errors of the Positive Confession movement where it is sometimes said that Jesus lost his divine nature, went to hell, finished the atonement in hell, and was born again! This is a serious error since it implies that Jesus needed to be changed…


3. Jesus paid for our sins in hell: “He became our sacrifice and died on the cross. He did not stay dead. He was in the grave three days. During that time he entered hell, where you and I deserve to go (legally) because of our sin. He paid the price there.” (The most important decision you’ll ever make, by Joyce Meyer, second printing, may 1993, page 35)


• Response: This is blatantly wrong. Jesus did not pay the price of our redemption in hell. He paid the price on the cross. It was finished on the cross when he said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Also, consider the following verses:


• Col. 1:20, “and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”


• Col. 2:14, “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”


• 1 Pet. 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”


4. Jesus went to hell in our place and was tormented: “Jesus paid on the cross and went to hell in my place. Then as God had promised, on the third day Jesus rose from the dead. The scene in the spirit realm went something like this: God rose up from his throne and said to demon powers tormenting the sinless son of God, ‘let him go.’ Then the resurrection power of Almighty God went through hell and filled Jesus. On earth his grave where they had buried him was filled with light as the power of God filled his body. He was resurrected from the dead — the first born again man.” (The most important decision you’ll ever make, by Joyce Meyer, second printing, may 1993, page 36)


• Response: Where does she get this completely fictitious dialogue between God and the demon powers? It is made up, not founded in scripture, and mistakenly assumes that Jesus went to hell, the place of torment and suffering after he died on the cross. The Bible does not teach any such thing. However, it does say that Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:9). This can mean that Jesus was physically buried, or that Jesus went to Hades to inform those who had already died about who he was and what he did on the cross, or it can be referring to his incarnation as is contrasted with his ascending into heaven (Eph. 4:10). But there is simply no reason to believe that Jesus suffered in hell and finished the atonement there. See response to Quote 1.


5. If you don’t believe Jesus went to hell, you cannot be saved: “His spirit went to hell because that is where we deserve to go… There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth.” (The most important decision you’ll ever make, by Joyce Meyer, second printing, may 1993, page 37)


. Response: This is an amazingly bad statement on her part. She is saying that you cannot be saved from your sins unless you believe that Jesus went to the hell where we deserve to go. This is a modification of the gospel message that saves, as is found in 1 Cor. 15:1-4 that states it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Nowhere in scripture are we told to believe that Jesus suffered for us in hell or that he went there, where we deserve to go. This is very wrong and is heretical.


6. We are called little gods: “I was listening to a set of tapes by one man and he explained it like this..this kind of gets the point across…he said why do people have such a fit about God calling his creation, his creation, his man not his whole creation, but his man, little gods? If he’s God what’s he going to call them but the God kind? I mean if you as a human being have a baby you call it a human kind. If if [sic] cattle has another cattle they call it cattle kind. I mean what is God supposed to call ‘em? Doesn’t the Bible say we are created in his image? Now you understand I am not saying you are god with a capital G. That is not the issue here so don’t go trying to stone me or yell blasphemy at me.” “The Bible says right here John 10:34…’and Jesus answered is it not written in your law I say we are gods.’ So men are called God’s by the law…”(Joyce Meyer). (www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrP3OLCH9GI&feature=related)
. Response: In this clip she goes on to quote John 10:34 where Jesus says to the Pharisees “you are gods,” which is a quote from Psalm 82:6, which is an imprecatory Psalm of condemnation for the unrighteous judges. Psalm 82:7 says, nevertheless you will die like men. She then turned to Psalm 82 and went through it. The video stopped so I do not know what she would have said about the next, all important verse.


7. Joyce Meyer said she is not a sinner: “I am not poor. I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I were and if I still was then Jesus died in vain. I’m going to tell you something folks. I didn’t stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn’t a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that’s heresy and they want to hang you for it. But the Bible says that I am righteous and I can’t be righteous and be a sinner at the same time.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dmHJdM63hk)


. Response: Mrs. Meyer needs a lesson in basic Bible. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Notice that John the apostle says “we.” He is including himself with sinners. Also, Paul said in Rom. 7:19-20,24, “For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me…24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Is Joyce Meyer better in Christian character than John and Paul? I think not. Mrs. Meyer fails to recognize her own sinfulness, and so mistakenly denies her own sinfulness. I can only conclude that this false teaching comes from pride because it certainly isn’t biblical.


8. The host of hell were literally on Jesus and were laughing: “They were having the biggest party that had ever been had. They had my Jesus in the floor and they were standing on his back jumping up and down laughing. And he had become sin. Don’t you think that God was pacing, wanting to put a stop to what was going on? All the host of hell were upon him. Upon him. Up on him. The angels were in agony. All the creation is groaning. All the host of hell was upon him. Up on him. They got on him. They got him down in the floor and got on him and they were laughing and mocking. Ha ha ha ha. You trusted God and look where you ended up. You thought he’d save you and get you off that cross. He didn’t, ha ha ha.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=SwNfOaxIcOMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwNfOaxIcOM)
. Response: Where did she get this - in the sacred Book of Joycemeyeronomy? It is certainly not in the Bible, and yet she has no problem teaching it as an authoritative truth. Does she not know that the Bible says not to exceed what is written (1 Cor. 4:6)? Yet, she has done exactly this. She is in grave error and has violated God’s word that says that Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and finished the atonement on the cross (John 19:30) - not in hell at the hands of demons! There is no way demons were literally standing ‘on’ Jesus. Meyer is in gross error!


9. Joyce Meyer gets revelation knowledge: “The Bible can’t even find any way to explain this. Not really that is why you have got to get it by revelation. There are no words to explain what I am telling you. I have got to just trust God that he is putting it into your spirit like he put it into mine.” (http://storage.carm.org/joycemeyer/joyce-meyer-revelation-knowledge.mp3)


. Response: Revelation knowledge? Is she on par with the apostles who received revelation knowledge from God himself? Or how about the Old Testament prophets? Does she, like them, also receive revelation knowledge from God? If so, how would we know if it were true or not? The answer is simple: we test what she says against Scripture, and it is obvious that she is getting a lot of things from somewhere else that contradict the word of God.  God bless you!!! :):)




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