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Archive for the ‘False Teachers’ Category

(Revised 11/19/15)

Today many LGBT proponents of gay marriage are accusing born again Christians of hate crimes. Seems to me they’re confusing the definitions of these supposed transgressions: “bias”, “discrimination”, “bullying”, “persecution”, “hate speech”, “hate literature, and “hate crimes”.

Regarding the traditional definition of “hate crimes”, I have never heard of truly born again, biblically sound, mature, godly Christians causing violent, physical, bodily harm to LGBT people or their property. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Can LGBT people say they have never caused violent, physical, bodily harm to truly born again, biblically sound, mature, godly Christians or their property?

But I digress. The question at hand: does the Bible have hate speech towards LGBT people, as they claim? I say no! And Pastor Jack Wellman concurs. I have taken the liberty of reposting Pastor Wellman’s article below. Click here for the original posting of his article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Jack WellmanArticle by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book  Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.

Does The Bible Have Hate Speech?

Some call what is preached in the Bible hate speech.  Does the Bible actually have hate speech?

What is Hate?

There are laws in Canada that make it a crime to preach against certain things that exist in their society and these laws may soon be coming to the U.S but is there really hate speech in the Bible?  Can we say that with authority?  We know that God hates sin and it is said that God hates divorce but it never says that God hates divorced people.  Psalm 7:11 says that “God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” but the Hebrew doesn’t actually call it “hate” but the Hebrew word “za`am” means “to denounce, express indignation,” or “to be indignant” and it is the wicked because of their sin that God denounces and expresses His indignation against.  For those who have repented and put their trust in God, His anger against sin was satisfied by Jesus Christ at the cross.  Christ “was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” and “upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:5) which is what Paul wrote “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1) so now there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).  God hates sin because sin was very costly…costing Jesus His life and the price for our sins was placed upon Jesus at Calvary in unimaginable torment and suffering that went on for hours.  God loves the Son but He also loves those who have repented and trusted in Him too so Jesus took the wrath of God so that we wouldn’t have to bear it ourselves in hell and it was “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

Does God Hates Sin but Love the Sinner?

If we look at the Bible verses that contain the word sin + hate we can see that it is not always directly pointed toward the person but what the person does.  I hated it when my son or daughter disobeyed me but I never hated them…so in my love I disciplined them.  If I didn’t love them, I would do nothing…that would be apathy.  Regarding the sin and not as much the sinner, God has much to say about it and it’s not good; “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him” (Prov 6:16).  The psalmist added “you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you” (Psalm 5:4).  For the most part, the world is separated from God by their sins (Isaiah 59:2) and if we love the world, then the love of the Father is not in us because whoever has “friendship with the world is at enmity (or hostility) with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).  That’s why those “who love the Lord, hate evil [and] He preserves the lives of his saints” (Psalm 97:10).

What is Love?

If you knew someone who was blind and they were walking toward the edge of a cliff, it would be hateful to not warn them. You could be held legally liable for not warning them.  Just as if you saw a child drowning in a swimming pool and did nothing to save them would be criminally negligent, so it is to not warn people that if they step out of this life without Christ, they face an eternal punishment from which there is no escape.  It is not hateful to warn them of an impending judgment that is coming, on the contrary, it is the most loving thing you can ever do…even if it comes at the expense of their hating you.  It is really the message that they hate and not the messenger.  The message from Jesus’ own lips says “whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18b).  Everyone loves John 3:16 but it means nothing without John 3:18.

Conclusion

The opposite of love is not hate…it is indifference or apathy.  Do we care that people are dying every day without Christ and will suffer in hell for their sins?  Do we not care enough to point them to the One and only way that they can be saved (Acts 4:12)?  I believe if we don’t share the bad news of people’s sins separating them from a Holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and that “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36b) the “good news” of salvation in Jesus Christ alone will mean nothing.  It’s actually a cruel thing to not tell others that they will stand before God and be judged someday apart from Christ (Rev 20:12-15) and that no works will ever be good enough to save them (Eph 2:8-9).  They must repent of (turn away, forsake) their sins and then put their trust in Jesus Christ.  Show them love by telling them the truth; that God is angry at the sinner every day (Psalm 7:11).  Tell them how they can be saved from God’s wrath and after they die and at the judgment (Heb 9:27) they will be saved.  And tell them to their face that it is in their “hard and impenitent heart [that they] are storing up wrath for [themselves] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom 2:5) so they need to repent, believe, and be saved (John 3:16).

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https://i2.wp.com/www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/news_landscape/2014/02/noah_illustration_a_l.jpg

“I was upset — of course,” the director says of Paramount testing alternate versions of the $125 million epic as he and the studio break their silence on efforts to appease a small but vocal segment of the faith-based audience: “Those people can be noisy.”

(source of image and quote: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rough-seas-noah-darren-aronofsky-679315)

Okay, by now many Christians are aware of the “Noah” movie starring Russell Crowe. And probably all of these are aware that the movie is very controversial.

Question is, which religious groups are praising the movie? And which religious groups, on the other hand, are condemning the movie?

Below I’ve provided excerpts from several relevant articles. Besides naming names of various groups, the articles give background concerning how the movie was tested and what reactions it got from various Christian test groups.

Note – I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]. I’m also adding links to endorsements and criticisms by various groups.

ARTICLE #1

Darren Aronofsky floats a fuller version of the Bible’s Noah tale

“… But the real trouble was on the horizon, when Paramount grew anxious that “Noah” might offend some on the religious right and started testing its own cut of the movie while Aronofsky raced to finish his. Franklin said that even with unfinished visual effects and a rough score, Aronofsky’s version tested better than Paramount’s, even though the studio’s had fewer missing pieces and was more polished.

“I think a lot of films of this size go through this. I don’t think it’s singular to us,” Franklin said. “But we were steadfast in our vision for the film. The great thing about the process is that everybody came out agreeing that our version of the movie was the best version of the movie.”

Even so, Paramount again blindsided its filmmakers [including Aronofsky] by agreeing in late February to add a disclaimer to “Noah’s” marketing materials without giving Aronofsky a heads-up.

The move came after several Christian groups [what groups?], including the National Religious Broadcasters, objected to how Aronofsky was interpreting scripture.

On the set: movies and TV

Jerry Johnson, the president and chief executive officer of the NRB, wrote in two blog posts after seeing the film that he found “some” parts of the film to be “commendable,” but his praise was tepid. He was far more vigorous in attacking “Noah,” complaining that a scene about evolution “will be a concern for many” who are creationists, that “secondary biblical details are blurred” and that Aronofsky’s Noah is so dark in some places “that you do not want to like him.”

Several other religious leaders and interested parties have been far kinder to the film, including representatives from the American Bible Society, Catholic Voices USA, the Christian Film and Television Commission and the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Designed to appease people like Johnson and prepare moviegoers for some of Aronofsky’s inventions, Paramount’s disclaimer notes that the film was “inspired by the story of Noah” and that “artistic license has been taken.”

Aronofsky, who is both an atheist and a biblical scholar, knows that no matter how thoroughly he researched his film and for all of his attention to biblical detail — if you look closely there are seven pairs of some “clean animals,” as Genesis has it, in addition to the single pairs of other creatures — some will nevertheless find fault… [ This would be funny if not so tragic – the movie is the very antithesis of biblical accuracy.]

ARTICLE #2

Kim Masters, Rough Seas on ‘Noah’: Darren Aronofsky Opens Up on the Biblical Battle to Woo Christians (and Everyone Else)(The Hollywood Reporter, 2/12/2014)

… The studio is aware that a vocal segment of Christian viewers might reject the film over accuracy. Still, Moore says, “Our anticipation is that the vast majority of the Christian community will embrace it.”

The studio and its faith-based consultant, Grace Hill Media, have reached out to a number of key figures, with some success. Special trailers were screened to positive reactions at U.S. Christian conferences, including Catalyst, the Global Leadership Conference and Women of Faith: Believe God Can Do Anything. In January, Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston of Hillsong, a Pentecostal megachurch based in Australia and with outposts around the world, were invited to a screening on the studio lot. Ben Field, the church’s head of film and television, who was there, says the pastors will support the movie. “If you’re expecting it to be word for word from the Bible, you’re in for a shock,” he says. “There can be an opportunity for Christians to take offense. [But] we were pretty excited that a studio like Paramount would invest in a Bible-themed movie.” On Feb. 4, Pastor Brian, at the church’s Heart and Soul night in Sydney, spoke before a few thousand congregants and joked, “You’ll enjoy the film — if you’re not too religious.”

 Also, Focus on the Family gave a mixed review of  “Noah”, with more favorable comments than I am comfortable with.

 

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(revised 04/02/14)

https://i0.wp.com/godawa.com/movieblog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Noah-Movie-Posters-1.jpg

image source: http://godawa.com/movieblog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Noah-Movie-Posters-1.jpg

Well here we go – once again, secular Hollywood is making a mockery out of biblical accuracy and biblical Truth. Most recently we had Roma Downey and hubby Mark Burnett give us their various “Bible” productions” – 1) refusing to admit that they themselves are not Christians but New Agers, and 2) not addressing the numerous heretical points in their productions.

Now we see similar problems in the “Noah” movie, coming out 03/28/14. The producer 1) describes himself and the other film makers as basically attempting accuracy and Christian ideals, and 2) fails to address the “Noah” movie’s specific heretical and even occult points.

The trailer looked good to me – but looks can be deceiving. Following is the inside scoop – from discernment articles by Amy Spreeman at Stand Up for the Truth, and Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis.

Reading the above two articles, “Noah” looks like another Downey-esque fiasco to me…

I’d like to zero in on specific inaccuracies in the  rough cut of the “Noah” movie, as originally listed by Ken Ham. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets]. Note that Ken Ham’s blog was posted back on 11/19/13 – unfortunately, most of us have been slow in getting out the warnings about “Noah”.

Don’t Be Taken in by the Noah Movie’s Promotion
Ken Ham, 11/19/13

… the main characters of the movie are Noah, his wife, and three sons—and one little girl they rescued after all in her family were murdered by an evil tribe. She was badly injured when they found her, but Noah’s wife placed healing nectar on her stomach and she later grew up to become the eldest son’s wife. For the longest time she was barren in the womb until Noah’s wife convinced Methuselah to bless her womb—against Noah’s wishes.

Noah at first is portrayed as a humble yet strong good man—a father and husband who protected his family from the evil that had come upon the world. But as he helped build the Ark, he was portrayed more like a basket-case who was convinced that his family was the last generation. He repeated over and over again that God would not let them repopulate since God would replant Eden without man and perfection would be reestablished with the “innocent animals” God brought on the Ark. Even when Noah’s eldest son brought news to the family on the Ark that his wife was expecting, the movie’s Noah said essentially, “If it is a male, he shall live. If a girl, I will kill her because it is not God’s will for man to repopulate.”

Here are a few more problem areas seen in the rough cut of the film, most of which I expect to be in the final film:

1) In the film, Noah was robbed of his birthright by Tubal-Cain. The serpent’s body (i.e., Satan), which was shed in Eden, was their “birthright reminder.” It also doubled with magical power that they would wrap around their arm. So weird!

2) Noah’s family only consists of his wife, three sons, and one daughter-in-law, contrary to the Bible.

3) It appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today.

4) “Rocks” (that seem to be fallen angels) build the Ark with Noah!

5) Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather) is a type of witch-doctor, whose mental health is questionable.

6) Tubal-Cain defeats the Rocks who were protecting the finished Ark.

7) A wounded Tubal-Cain axes his way inside the Ark in only about ten minutes and then hides inside. Tubal-Cain then convinces the middle son to lure Noah to the bottom of the Ark in order to murder him (because he was not allowed a wife in the Ark). Tubal-Cain stays alive by eating hibernating lizards. The middle son of Noah has a change of heart and helps kill Tubal-Cain instead.


8) Noah becomes almost crazy as he believes the only purpose to his family’s existence was to help build the Ark for the “innocent” animals (this is a worship of creation).

9) Noah repeatedly tells his family that they were the last generation and were never to procreate. So when his daughter-in-law becomes pregnant, he vows to murder his own grandchild. But he finally has a change of heart.

10) Noah does not have a relationship with God but rather with circumstances and has deadly visions of the Flood.


11) The Ark lands on a cliff next to a beach.


12) After the Flood Noah becomes so distant from his family that he lives in a cave, getting drunk by the beach.

There were many other bizarre, unbiblical aspects in the preview cut. Though it’s possible that some of these elements may not make the final cut (though we suspect most will), compare the above list to the trailer that has just been released! The comparison should be very revealing for you. You wouldn’t get much of a hint of most of the biblical problems in the list above based on watching on this cleverly-put-together trailer. A real con job, to be frank!

By the way, I also read that the name of God is not mentioned in “Noah”. Reminds me of the name of Jesus not being mentioned in the Roma Downey series “Touched by an Angel”. And Christians still think these are Christian productions?

Focus on the Family’s review of  “Noah” details what they see as both bad and good in the movie. Frankly, I have nothing good to say about “Noah”. But I do agree with FOTF’s conclusion regarding the movie:

Long before its release, Noah was deluged in controversy. Some Christians praise the film for its themes of redemption and love winning out over malevolence, others revile it for taking so many liberties with the biblical account.

Director Darren Aronofsky offers a spectacular and often moving story, but it’s obviously not the story of Noah. There’s more Tolkien than Torah here, really, and more of Aronofsky himself than both of those. Perhaps this director made the Creator in his own image—full of mercy, magic and environmental sobriety. If you uncouple the movie from the Bible and take Noah as imaginative, fantastic fiction, it can begin to work. But hooked as it is to such a sacred narrative, well, let’s just say it’ll be hard for some Christians to swallow whole this fractious fable.

Harry Potter fans expect Harry Potter movies to stay mostly true to the book. History buffs are known to require historical dramas to follow actual history. I think it’s reasonable, then, for Christians to ask that the stories most precious to them be treated with faithfulness—and that movies based on them would, y’know, stay at least in the ballpark. But Mr. Aronofsky has chosen a different tack, and so the ancient truth about Noah becomes more of a pretext for Middle-earth rock monsters and a tormented, half-mad Noah ready to kill his own kin.

Here’s a secular editorial that criticizes Christians (such as the National Religious Broadcasters) for wanting to criticize and boycott “Noah”.  Hmm, I wonder why the NRB didn’t also call for a boycott of the Downey-Burnett Bible productions? After all, they too strayed far afield from biblical accuracy.

Speaking of biblical accuracy, there are many “Christians”, etc. who do not take the first eleven chapters of Genesis as being historically literal. With these eleven chapters being “myths” to them, no wonder they have no problem with the serious errors in “Noah”. Consider the following quotes, found here:

Rabbi John Spitzer, associate professor of Jewish studies at Walsh University, said the movie is the interpretation of its director, writers and actors.

 “Once the words go off the page and go on the screen you’re already getting an interpretation, and I think interpretations are fine as long as you know they’re not final,” he said.

“If you don’t believe the movie is telling you the quote, ‘truth’, small t, you have an opportunity to use the movie as a way of discovering the capital T, ‘truth,’ ” Spitzer said. “I’m not afraid of the movie — I believe the Noah story is an important myth in the Bible and as such each of us … we have to be able to take it into our hearts and souls and find the meaning that is relevant.”

“We often think that a myth is something that’s just not true, and that’s not true,” he added. “It describes a truth that can be told best through a story.”

Nicole Johnson, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies at the University of Mount Union, said “the story of Noah can be reinterpreted and retold in interesting ways — in my perspective (it) doesn’t necessarily do a disservice to the understanding of that event.”

Johnson said that “we tend to put a scientific standard on (the Bible) — I’m not sure that’s the right way to interpret something that was supposed to last (for all ages).”

FOR FURTHER READING

Opposing the movie “Noah”

Beginning and End, Russell Crowe’s ‘Noah’ Film – A Warning For Christians (updated 11/13/13)

Brian Godawa, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah: Environmentalist Wacko
(revised version, originally posted 10/29/12)

Brian Godawa,   The Noah Movie: How To Watch It with Wisdom and Discernment (Godawa blog, 03/27/14)

Brian Godawa, The Noah Movie: Deconstructing Noah’s Ark; Godawful Storytelling (Christian Post, 03/28/14)

Brian Mariani, Reviewing “Noah”: Bible-based Entertainment or Deceptive Heresy? (March 26, 2014)

Pastor Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries, The Noah Movie Deception (a YouTube video)

Amy Spreeman, Kaballah, Mysticism and Noah (a Stand Up for the Truth podcast by Dr. Brian Mattson)

Why Hollywood’s Noah falls short (Stand Up for the Truth interview with Jan Markell)(03/27/14)

For the movie “Noah”

‘Noah’ Star Russell Crowe Breaks His Silence About Meeting the Pope (Variety, 03/27/14)

Russell Crowe calls ‘Noah’ criticism ‘irrational’ (USA Today, 03/27/14)

Eliana Dockterman, Russell Crowe Says Flood of Noah Complaints Not Drowning Him (TIME, March 27, 2014)

Alissa Wilkinson, Noah (Christianity Today, March 27, 2014)

For the graphic novel “Noah”, which accompanies the movie

Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel on Their New NOAH Graphic Novel

Articles listing religious organizations for and against “Noah”

Kim Masters, Rough Seas on ‘Noah’: Darren Aronofsky Opens Up on the Biblical Battle to Woo Christians (and Everyone Else) (The Hollywood Reporter, 2/12/2014) – gives background on religious test viewers, and names Christian groups supporting the Noah movie

A Godly, biblically sound movie on Noah, by Ray Comfort

Movie Review and Interview with Ray Comfort on ‘Noah’, the Biblically Accurate Version

 

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In spite of much documentation to the contrary, many Christians still believe New Agers Roma Downey and hubby Mark Burnett are born again Christians. Below is one such comment from a reader, with my response attempting yet again to prove Downey and Burnett are not born again Christians but deceptive New Agers.

JAMIE WROTE:

If Roma Downey is not a Christian, but a “New Ager”, why is she encouraging Christians to read their Bibles? Why is she constantly talking about a relationship with God? I don’t think that Roma and her husband are trying to deceive people. On the contrary, I think they have been deceived somewhat. They have made it clear that they embrace Jesus and the Gospel message. Roma is good friends with Kathie-Lee Gifford, who is a strong evangelical Christian [frankly Gifford is not a very consistent Christian witness nowadays IMHO – DM]. However, she is also good friends and kind of a surrogate daughter to Della Reese, who runs a New Age church. In short, I think Roma and her husband lack discernment in these matters, and have adopted New Age philosophies coupled with true Christian teachings. I pray that God would give them discernment to realize these teachings are dangerous and go against the Word of God.

MY REPLY

Thanks for giving your opinion, Jamie.  I know Roma Downey has said things akin to “I want people to read their Bible.” The statement I heard was “the movie ‘Son of God’ will help people fall in love with Jesus all over again.” But I am perplexed as to why Downey and hubby Mark Burnett would say these things; I still believe they must have some hidden New Age agenda. Read on…

What is the CORE worldview of Downey and Burnett? Is their core belief a born again, biblically sound stance, with peripheral beliefs of Catholicism, Celtic traditions, New Age practices, etc.? Or are born again, biblically sound teachings (if they even hold to any) somewhere in the periphery of their potpourri of beliefs? I would have to say it’s the latter.

I have never heard Downey and Burnett renounce their Catholic, Celtic and New Age practices. And, I have never heard Downey or Burnett say anything like: “I was in bondage to Catholic and Celtic false teachings and New Age practices. Then I repented of my sins, of these false teachings, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, accepted Him as my Saviour, and now I’m pleading with others to leave these false teachings.”

What does it mean to be a born again Christian? Several “signs” come to mind:

1) Having experienced a “crisis conversion experience”: hearing a gospel presentation, being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, repenting of sin, believing in Christ, accepting Him as Saviour, then following Him sincerely and wholeheartedly, abandoning all nonchristian “faith traditions”. (See John Chapter 3, particularly verse 16.)

2) Believing in born again, biblically sound doctrinal statements and creeds (not just mouthing them as so many mainline/liberal denominations do, but truly believing them). Here are a few examples of Christian creeds and confessions: http://carm.org/creeds-and-confessions

3) Believing in the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas

4) Believing in The Fundamentals of 1910-1915, which were written in opposition to the Modernists in the the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fundamentals

A truly born again, biblically sound Christian would believe in all four of the above positions. And in my mind, Downey and Burnett fail on all four of these.

Note – Click here for a recent blog of mine, in which I described a March 2014 article re: Downey. Here Downey uses a great deal of New Age terminology. As of this writing, she still has not renounced these practices.

On another note, so many evangelicals today are incorporating Roman Catholic, ecumenical, interfaith, contemplative, postmodern (Emerging/ Emergent), and yes – even New Age – teachings. Once evangelicals strayed off the straight and narrow path of born again, bibically sound doctrine, I believe they began falling into apostasy. And yes, I believe born again Christians can “lose” their salvation – making shipwreck of their faith as the Apostle Paul put it.

Hope that helps clarify my position on Roma Downey and hubby Mark Burnett.  God bless you – Dave

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(revised 01/30/15)

Well we endured the very popular “The Bible” TV miniseries, and now “The Son of God” movie. I wonder how many evangelicals have been deceived into believing Roma Downey has become a born again Christian. Truth is, Downey is still a New Ager, in spite of many public statements by her and hubby Mark Burnett that they are Christians.

It angers me when New Agers are so deceptive, deluding born again Christians into thinking they are Christians (Oprah Winfrey and other New Agers are also trying to deceive us in this way). Following is a March 2014 First for Women article I came across with New Age quotes from Roma Downey. (I realize there may be copyright issues concerning the posting of this article – for now at least, I am leaving the article online primarily for other discernment ministries to access and quote.) Here’s the article:

Downey001
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In the above March 2014 issue of First for Women magazine, Downey said, “I think we all have a responsibility to see God in each other. That’s how I’ve raised my children – that no matter whose face they look into, they’re looking into the face of God, who’s in all of us.”
(First for Women magazine, 03/31/14, p. 45)

Other New Age buzzwords in the above article,  quoting Downey:

“light, peace and happiness”
“doing work that spreads the message of God’s love”
“rituals she relies on to stay centered”
[candlelight] “promotes mindfulness”
[I light a candle and it] “calls in the light”

Also, in the article Downey says she is reading the book The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman sounds New Age to me. Even if Hoffman isn’t New Age, Downey apparently likes her occultic themes. Check out this info from Wikipedia:

“Many of her works fall into the genre of magic realism and contain elements of magic, irony, and non-standard romances and relationships.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Hoffman

FOR FURTHER RESEARCH

Apparently Downey is a darling of the following yoga website, which lists many of her online video interviews about “The Son of God” movie.
http://yogasanas.net/index.php/component/relatedvideos/?vid=Jq90uQnP5ko

A 2013 Lighthouse Trails discernment article on Downey, with links for further research:  http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=12323

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Back in 2010, I came across the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group. It was through this Group that I ended up corresponding with Aaron Wright. Aaron, along with his brother Adam and their dad Troy, have a discernment ministry called Foundations Research Group.

Interestingly, Aaron, Adam and Troy had been attending the Evangelical Friends church in which I grew up. This church (as well as many churches in the Evangelical Friends denomination) is increasingly following the postmodern/ Emerging/Emergent teachings of heretics Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. etc. Aaron, Adam and Troy attempted to “wake people up” in this Evangelical Friends church. Unfortunately, their efforts failed.

Aaron, Adam and Troy now attend a Grace Brethren Church in North Canton, Ohio along with their families. Eric Barger’s 2010 seminar was held at this church.

Troy has written various discernment articles. My Concerned Nazarene friend Manny Silva posted one of these – an article by Troy entitled “Falling Away”. Click here for the original posting of this article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Falling Away
March 29, 2012 by reformednazarene

[Introductory comments by Manny Silva (reformednazarene)]:
The following is from a brother in the Lord, Troy Wright, of Foundations Research Group.  With his sons Aaron and Adam, they work diligently at providing information, as well as teaching, about the many dangers that have come into the evangelical church.  I met them finally last year at an Eric Barger conference in Canton, Ohio.  If you are in Ohio and you need resources or any kind of help in dealing with false teaching, please contact them.

Falling Away
(Troy Wright)

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2: 1-2)

The Bible predicts a “Great falling away from the faith” in the last days shortly before the return of Christ to earth to establish His earthly kingdom. Foundations Research Group is an apologetics/discernment ministry of under-shepherds (sheepdogs) committed to the protection and guarding of the sheep. We seek to support local pastors (shepherds) by providing research and support tools that time prohibits them from gathering on their own.

Our prayer is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and heart to the apostasy that is prophetically sweeping over the church in these last days. May He give you unashamed courage to stand up for Biblical truth in your own church and to expose these false teachings wherever they pop up.

Do not be naïve about the reception you will encounter. You would think that in light of Paul’s instructions throughout his letters to call out and expose deceivers and Christ’s example with the religious leaders during His ministry, committed Christians would have unashamedly cried out the truth long before these teachings established their footholds in our churches. But in the name of Christian unity, love, and meekness the silence has been deafening. But let one small voice boldly speak truth in the face of the deception and suddenly all the Christians grow vocal chords and are emboldened with courage to shout their disapproval…….not at the false teachings……..but at their Christian brother for voicing his “mean-spirited” judgment and stirring up dissension in the church. Thanks to the “seeker friendly” mentality they don’t want to offend anyone by disagreeing openly and suggesting absolute truth. That would appear too “narrow” and would be disrespectful to the heretics……….and we are talking about heresy. The teachers of these apostate movements attack the very foundations of historic, apostolic Christianity as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

Those of us who have been serving Christ for a generation or more remember when the Bible was revered as the very Words of God Himself throughout the pulpits all across America. We knew that a day was soon coming when the world would forsake the God of the Bible and swear their allegiance to a one-world ecumenical religious system. We recognized through Bible prophesy that we were living in the last days of men’s rebellion against their creator and that the soon return of Christ for His church was right at the door. We assumed that the “great apostasy” preceding His return referred to all those liberal churches of the last 2 centuries and of course Roman Catholicism. Because of the Biblical foundation of our faith, it was easy to discern false doctrine and heresy.

What is so alarming to all of us is that in just three short decades or so, we have watched one Bible-believing church after another fall into disbelief and even paganism until now it’s difficult to find anyone who is willing to stand up for truth in our pulpits. Our fundamental denominations are caving in to ecumenical pressures as their seminaries are filled with liberal professors and new age thought. Due to the feel-good-gospel and the you-can-have-it-now message, our churches are full of false converts who are oblivious to Bible truth and are offended when they hear it. Since they are clueless about Bible prophesy and what’s really going on around them, anyone who sounds a warning is considered a nut, not to mention politically incorrect and socially despicable.

Our war is with the lies of the enemy of our souls. We aren’t directly fighting the wolves who are attacking the flock with their false teachings and books. Our main battles in this war are with the goats……..those church members and leadership who God has permitted to live among us until he separates us at the rapture. They sit in our pews with us and sing our songs. They like hanging out with sheep. Though never really surrendered or regenerated, they intellectually and logically ascent to the same beliefs as we do. They do all the same stuff as sheep but without a life or death commitment to Biblical truth. They actually think they are sheep because of the great works they do…..sheep stuff. They even try to convince the Lord at the resurrection that they are sheep but He tells them “I never knew you.”

Because goats have not surrendered lordship over to Jesus, they are very possessive of their environments. They don’t want anyone messing with their territory. If you try to spiritually take a goat where he doesn’t want to go he will buck you. Goats aren’t concerned about the welfare of the flock but only with the comfort of their own stall. Doctrine is of no importance to goats. You see, sheep eat sheep food…….the pure milk of the gospel of truth. They feed from the hand of the Good Shepherd. They know His voice and eat of The Word. Goats, “on the other hand,” will eat anything. They even eat garbage. They don’t care where it comes from or how clean it is. If they can get it down, they will eat it. Goats especially like goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is that watered-down, low-fat gospel fit for goats who are lactose “intolerant” of the nutritious, pure milk of the gospel. When a pastor offers sheep food from the pulpit, he will fill his church with sheep. If he offers goat’s milk he will fill his church with goats.

I cannot stress enough how lonely this battle is for most people. Most of your friends and relatives will encourage you to keep quiet if you disagree with the church’s new teaching and simply leave the church without a controversy. They always bring up Matthew 18:15-17 instructing you to go to the person privately and not to bring reproach on the church. This scripture is for a brother in sin or for someone personally offended and is out of context when used for false teachers in the church. We are never instructed to be quiet or understanding toward wolves attacking the flock in scripture. As Paul, we are to lovingly and with all truthfulness expose, correct, call out by name, print, and warn the other churches about unrepentant heretics as his letters did in the early church and were passed around to the entire body of Christ. God’s Word is offensive to all who love not the truth whether in the church or out and THEY WILL LET YOU KNOW IT.

Make no mistake about it, these movements have leaked into every seminary and every church to some degree in the form of books, videos, study courses, worship seminars, pastoral retreats, small groups and  youth leaders.

Don’t be discouraged. There are thousands of Christians in churches all over the country fighting this same truth war with these last-days false teachers. We and many other good ministries across America have lots of materials available for you. You can contact us by internet through our e-mail at frgsheepdogs@hotmail.com. The scriptures warn us to “come out of her” in Revelation 18 referring to the apostate church. If you don’t feel equipped to fight this battle, find another church that stands for Biblical truth. But first find a warrior in your church who you can share this material with who feels compelled to stay and fight for the flock. Pray, pray, pray for our pastors and leaders in these last days. Behold….He comes quickly!

Troy Wright
co-researcher / Foundations Research Group
Canton, Ohio
on FaceBook

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Back in 2010, I happened to chance across the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group. It was through this Group that I met Concerned Nazarene Manny Silva. And it was not long before we found something in common – Manny had recently attended a local seminar here in Ohio, led by counter-Emergent speaker Eric Barger. Small world!

I am reposting a blog by Manny, in which he recounts Eric Barger’s seminar. Click here for the original posting. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

1 Timothy 1:18-20  This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

By tonight, I will have returned from Canton, Ohio, where Eric Barger of Take A Stand Ministries, spent two days at Grace Brethren Church.  Eric is a Christian apologist who has been traveling all around the country for over 27 years now, warning the body of Christ of false movements, such as the New Age, the emergent church, and many more.  On Saturday, he spoke in the morning on the dangers of the emerging church, and in the afternoon session, the topic was about how the popular novel, The Shack, is deceiving so many Christians today, even though it is a book filled with heresies and blasphemous doctrine.  On Sunday, he preached in the morning on the truth and reliability of the Bible, and finished in the evening with a talk on the “real Jesus vs. the counterfeits.”  Eric is a true soldier in the fight for the true gospel. Eric spent three days with us at the Nazarene General Assembly last June, helping Concerned Nazarenes to expose the heresies being introduced to the Nazarene denomination by way of the emergent church.  Please pray for him and his ministry, as Christians who do what he does are constantly under vicious attack by the enemy from within.  I am hoping that he can soon be invited by someone to speak in New England, where he has never spoken yet.

There were several more reasons to come to Ohio.  In the past two years, I have found many new brothers and sisters in Christ who are true Christian soldiers, while I was undertaking whatever efforts I could to fight false teachings in the church.  And it seems that for every friend I have lost because of standing for the truth, I have gained at least one or two more.  My list is long, but every single person who has joined me in this fight, via emails and the phone, has been a blessing and an encouragement, and in turn, I have also been able to help some of them as well, and I thank God for that, and nothing else.

A few of these soldiers is a small group of men in Canton, Ohio, who helped organize Eric’s seminar.  I met Aaron Wright about a year or so ago via email, and along with his father Troy, and Aaron’s brother, Adam, they have a ministry called Foundations Research Group in the Northern Ohio area. When Aaron and his family encountered false teachings of the emergent church in their former church, they did not close their eyes to it and pretend it did not exist.  They did not say, oh well, we’ll just have to live with it.  No, they boldly confronted the purveyors of false teaching and tried to show them the truth of God’s word.  The end result was that they made the decision to leave, rather than stick around and tolerate false teaching.

Their faithfulness has been rewarded with a ministry that is now helping Christians at their new church and in the community to equip themselves with knowledge of the emergent church, and at the same time, equipping and reinforcing others with a love for the scriptures, which is the best way to combat false teaching.  Grace Brethren Church, led by Pastor Joe Cosentino, is a shining light in this town where there does not seem to be much light, or much of a desire to fight false doctrines.  If you live in the Northern Ohio area, and are looking for a strong, Bible believing church, perhaps you should pay a visit to Grace Brethren.  These kinds of churches are becoming rare in the midst of all this apostasy.

And so God blessed the faithfulness of Aaron and his family, and led them to a solid Bible believing, Bible preaching church whose pastor and leadership will not put up with the nonsense of emergent heresy or any other gospel except the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  So one of the reasons I went to Canton was to finally meet Aaron and his family, who are truly another new addition to my eternal family, the family of God.  We have shared information over the past year and helped each other with our ministries, and they have already made a big impact in their community and church.

But there were other soldiers that I just knew I had to meet when I came to Ohio.  There was Becky, her husband and young daughter, who came to the seminar.  I had met Becky over the internet as she was also finding herself and her family being thrown into turmoil, and again, the usual suspects were the purveyors of emergent church heresy. Their eyes were opened to the truth, and they had to walk away from their church as well.

Then there was Angie, and her friend Wendy.  These ladies are true soldiers as well, and for staying true to God, have also paid a price for it.  The tenacity and the determination of these two women, is an inspiration to me.  They will not be moved, they will not be pushed around or bullied by any false teacher.  Not even by the high-minded intellectuals with multiple PHds, nor by the smooth words of deceived pastors or anyone else.  They just want to faithfully compare and contrast everything they hear with the scriptures, and like the Bereans, prove that what they hear is faithful to the word of God.  They are solid sisters in Christ, and I am glad I got to finally see them personally.

There was also my good friend and brother in the Lord, Tim Wirth and his wife Donna, and I thank God for their friendship.  Tim started the Concerned Nazarenes website a few years ago, and was instrumental in helping get the DVD put together about the emerging church.  He was the first person that I actually made contact with when I first started stepping into the emergent mess, and has been a trustworthy friend who has given me solid advice, friendship, and encouragement.  Tim is also not well liked by a lot of emergents, which to me is a badge of honor for him, because he has a knack for exposing their false ideology, just by using the sharp-edged sword of God’s word against them.  I value his friendship; and the impact he has made in this battle as a missionary to the Nazarene denomination is immeasureable, and only God knows.  He and Donna are true and courageous soldiers in the fight against the apostasy of this age.

Finally, the only regret that I had was that there at least a few other soldiers from the Ohio area who could not make it to the seminar.  There was Brenda, who I have known also since the past year and a half.  She and her family chose to leave a Nazarene church because of emergent ideology, rather than stay and tolerate false teaching.  She has been a source of encouragement and advice and a real sister in the Lord.  And Beverly Turner could not make it this time, but I had hoped to see her as well.  She is a very brave Christian lady and evangelist who is not afraid to speak the truth about what has poisoned our denomination.  And then Rick Headley is also in Ohio, but I was not able to see him this time.  But he also has been an example of standing for God first, above anything else, including his own denomination.  He would not compromise, and like Brenda and Beverly, is a true soldier in this battle as well.  Finally, I thank God for a wife who has been behind me all the way, put up with my long hours of writing on some nights, was okay with me going on this trip, and who has also refused to compromise in any way her faith in Christ.  She knows the price that she has paid, but she would not change her mind if she could.  Her support has made this job I am doing a lot easier to do.  She is a soldier in this battle.

Folks, there are many more soldiers in this battle.  I only mention these friends now because of the Ohio connection and my trip there to see them.  There are so many more around this country and even around the world, who I have met, who are standing up for the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  Someday, I will write about many more of them (with permission) and tell you how they have chosen to stand for the truth, and how they have blessed my life with their example.  This is why I call them soldiers.  A true soldier of Jesus Christ is someone who refuses to sit quietly on the sidelines while multitudes of young people and adults walk down the wide path of destruction towards hell, following a different Jesus.  And it does not take too many requirements to be a “true soldier”: just be faithful to Jesus Christ- completely faithful; and trust only in the word of God that is revealed in the Holy Bible.  It does not mean you have to write a blog like I do; it does not mean that you have to be a preacher or evangelist; or that you have to have a ministry like the one Aaron and his family has.  No, all it means is that you are willing to stand up for the truth, with whatever gifts God has given you, and be faithful to Jesus Christ and defend the gospel once for all delivered to the saints.

You see, if you had not noticed, there is a great apostasy spreading throughout the Christian world, dressed in the robes of a false Jesus. It does not matter what denomination: Nazarene, Brethren, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Salvation Army, Calvary Chapel, you name it.

It is here, it is deadly, and it is leading countless people down the road to hell with a false gospel, with another Jesus which is not of the Bible.  Don’t you see it yet?  And if you have seen it, what are you doing?  Are you going to be walking through the narrow gate, or have you been diverted to the wide path?

Are you willing to stand for the truth… no matter what the cost, and be a true soldier for Christ, like these friends decided to do?

2 Timothy 3:12-14 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,

2 Tim 4: 1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

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Manny, Aaron Wright, Eric Barger, Pastor Joe Cosentino

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Eric, Adam Wright, Aaron Wright

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Troy Wright, Eric

* Note to all emergents and New Agers and other false movements reading this: we will not let up in our battle for the truth.

FOR FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH

Canton event notice on Facebook

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Plain and simple, I like lists. Lists of cults, lists of false teachings, even lists of lists. So I was intrigued to come across a “list” article reposted here by our friends Amy and Mike on the Stand Up for the Truth website. In this article, a diehard postmodern lists and discusses “6 things [that he thinks] Christians should just stop saying”. Be forewarned – his list is extremely liberal/ Emergent and anti-Christian. This, my friend, is a look inside the minds of today’s postmoderns – sick.

Amazingly, this is the garbage many evangelical churches and colleges today are entertaining, in clinging eagerly to the teachings of Emergents Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, and a myriad of other heretics. (Some of these postmodern/Emergent leaders hold to just a few of the six anti-Christian views below; most hold to all six anti-Christian views.)

Now on to the article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

Six ways Progressive theology is destroying Christianity

Jesus is So Cool

[Introductory comments by Stand Up for the Truth]:

First they asked you to think outside the box of Truth; now they’re asking you to stop speaking Truth altogether.  The Progressive wing of the Church has been able to grow and thrive, thanks in part to the re-surging Emergent movement that has long been taking the doctrines of Christianity apart. Here’s how contributor to the extreme leftist publication Huffington Post (a site from which I share frequently about the activities of the Christian Left), is trying to re-shape the Bride of Christ into the harlot of Babylon.  How influential is this guy? Steve is celebrated as the “Voice of the SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious),” as well as author, speaker, thought leader and spiritual teacher.  His latest article is getting thunderous applause. Gird your loins:

6 Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

It is time. No, it is past time. Christians must stop saying the following things.

1. The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. It isn’t inerrant and not likely even in the “original manuscripts.” But then, I cannot say that with absolute certainty, anymore than anyone else can either. Why? Because no such “original” manuscripts even exists. That’s like saying, “We believe there are aliens on other planets!” Good for you. Now, prove it. As we have it, no matter what translation you favor, the Bible is replete with errors. To pretend otherwise is your right. To say otherwise is a lie. You are entitled to your opinions, your assumptions, even your beliefs. What you are not entitled to is a misrepresentation of the facts. A corollary to this that Christians should stop saying is this:

2. We just believe the Bible. That, too, is false. What you really believe is your interpretation of the Bible. And the last I checked, the history of the Christian church is the history of disagreement over “interpretation.” How else do you explain the scores of denominations within Christianity alone? It would be patently more honest of Christians to say, “The following represents our understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures, but we are also aware there are many equally sincere Christians who interpret the Scriptures differently from us.” A third thing Christians should stop saying:

3. Jesus is the only way to heaven. What you are really saying is, “The way we interpret John 14:6 is that Jesus was clearly drawing a line in the sand and telling his hearers and the world: ‘If you do not believe in Me, you won’t go to the Father when you die.’” For this, I refer back to No. 2 above: what you and your group of believers really mean to say is, “It is our interpretation of John 14:6 that Jesus is saying that He is the only way to heaven.” There are scores of Christians, however, and I am one of them, who do not interpret Jesus’ words in John 14 the same way. Just because I do not makes me no less Christian than you are. So stop drawing lines in the sand, please, between equally sincere followers of Jesus. When I read the 14th chapter of John, I see a context that yields an alternative reading of the text. Instead of Jesus starting some new religion here and saying, “OK, fellas, I’m going to go away soon” — referring to his death — “but, before I go, you should know that where I’m going you, and others who believe just like you, will one day be, too — that is, of course, if they believe like you believe that I am the only way to heaven. That is to say, if the people around you and who come after you don’t believe that I am the only way to heaven, then, of course, they’ll have to go to hell. Is all that clear?” I offer an alternative interpretation: When Jesus spoke to them about leaving them, they were understandably shaken. How could they not be? After all, they had left everything to follow him. Now, just a year, or two, or three years later, Jesus is saying he’s getting ready to leave them? But, of course, they’re upset. So Thomas, speaking on behalf of the others, asks, “But where are you going and why can’t we go with you? Furthermore, how will we know the way?” Jesus responds in tender, reassuring ways. Sensing the fragility of their faith, seeing the anxiety on their faces, he reassures them that, in God’s house are many rooms, “mansions” or places. Yes, He’s going away but where He’s going they, too, will go. Just as He has led them this far, He will lead them further still (and what follows in the latter part of John 14 is the beautiful reassurance of the on-going presence of God in the Holy Spirit). So, for me personally, and many other Christians, too, Jesus is no more pointing to himself as the “one-and-only-way” to God than Thomas is expressing in his question concern for Hindus, Muslims or Buddhists and whether they’ll go to heaven? I can assure you that Thomas, and the others, were only concerned about themselves. And yet, even at that point, Jesus is tender in His care of them and seeks to reassure them that, just as He and the Father were one, and just as they had trusted the things He had been saying to them during his time with them, so they could trust him and what he was saying at this time, too. Yes, he was leaving them. But no, they would not be left alone. Where he was, they would be. He had shown them the way to the Father. But, even after He’s gone from them, they will know the way then, too. The Comforter would guide them. And so, the Church is here today. But not because Christians declare, “There is no way to go to heaven if you don’t believe in Jesus.” The Church is here today because when people do trust the things Jesus said about Himself, about His relationship to the Father…when people believe and so live the teachings of Jesus they, too, are changed — they, too, become “new creations in Christ,” as Saint Paul put it (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now, I took longer with this one thing Christians need to stop saying because many Christians seem stuck here, thinking that there’s only one way to interpret Jesus’ words about being the way. It is my hope these Christians will know there are equally sincere Christians like myself and others who do not believe Jesus was drawing a line in the sand between him and some new religion he was creating and all the other religions of the world. Again, it’s your right to “believe” or, more accurately, interpret Scripture as you wish. You do not, however, have permission to arrogantly assume your way of interpreting the words of Jesus are the only way to understand His words. Last I checked, no one’s interpretation of anything is infallible. Not yours. Not mine. A fourth thing Christians need to stop saying:

4. The rapture of Jesus is imminent. Again, if you want to believe in some secret rapture of Christians from the earth just before the Tribulation, if you want to believe in and carry around in your hip pocket detailed charts and graphs of how its all going to happen, then so be it. But do the rest of us a favor and stop saying so in public. So far, your record of correctly predicting the future earns a flunking grade. And I and scores of other Christians are frankly tired of apologizing for your arrogant — and so far, absolutely wrong — predictions as to when it’ll happen. My recommendation? Burn up your charts and go live like Christ. Quit masking your real fears by calling them faith. It isn’t faith that leads you to sell all you have, give the proceeds to some wacko, and go camp out on Mount Horeb as you await the rapture. It’s stupidity instead. It’s embarrassing, too. It makes thoughtful Christians have to apologize to the world and explain that we’re not all off-our-rockers, at least, not yet, anyway. So, please, please. If you want to believe in the charts that Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye and other “get-rich-off-the-stupidity-of-Christians” have duped scores into believing, then have at it. Just stay out of the news please! Go quietly to your campsites and do your waiting.:

5. Homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle and it is a sin against God. This one issue, my friend, is on the outs. If you don’t know that, you are more blind than the Republicans were in the last election. They misinterpreted the political environment and so completely blew it when it came to getting their candidate elected. And you, my friend, are misinterpreting the moral, spiritual and religious environment — and the changes that are coming. My son said it well the other day. We were discussing homosexuality and same-sex marriage and he observed, “Dad, it’s your generation that’s hung up on these issues. Once you guys get out of the way and the younger generation moves into the decision-making arena, these issues will disappear. The day will come when, just as slavery is unthinkable in our consciousness today, it will be equally unthinkable to deny anyone the right to be who they are or the right to same-sex marriage.” You can still revere the Bible, my friend, but move beyond the prejudice of Paul or anyone else. You don’t need to make Saint Paul infallible to treat the Bible as important. Finally, please, please Christians stop insisting that…

6. The earth is less than 10,000 years old. If you want to believe that Genesis is a scientific description of the origins of the universe, then have at it. Just stop insisting that those myths be taught in our public schools. You do no service to the Bible nor to the morality of this country by demanding school administrators include textbooks that teach that nonsense or by demanding courts hang the Ten Commandments on chamber walls or classroom walls. If this democracy is going to survive, get over your silly, misinformed notions that our forefathers were all Bible-believing, Bible thumping, Genesis-affirming Christians who came to this country to establish your kind of Christian nation and then expect everyone else to conform to your misguided assumptions. Whew! I feel better. Thanks for letting me get a few things off my chest. Now, there is one thing I think all Christians, including me, should remember — no, should practice (and we should practice this between ourselves first, too) — and that is the one simple thing Jesus once said would be the one-and-only thing the world would know us by… Not our beliefs. Not our doctrines. Not our denomination’s distinctions. Not even our declarations. Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love” (John 13:35). When we love, what more needs to be said?

[Note – the reposting of the above article here on the Stand Up for the Truth website is followed by a number of insightful reader comments.]

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In the early 1970s, I noticed a shift in the emphasis of many evangelical churches. They increasingly incorporated methods such as “easy to understand” Bible versions and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) to “draw in the youth”. Today, over forty years later, many evangelical churches are postmodern and youth oriented, lacking the leadership of the elder generations. Many attenders (particularly the young people) in evangelical churches have not even had a born again “crisis conversion experience”. Tragic!

Concerned Nazarene John Henderson posted a more detailed article about this shift in youth ministries, here in the Concerned Nazarene Facebook Group. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Reaching Today’s Youth
By John Henderson

Life has spanned enough years for me to observe the different modes leaders in the church have used to reach the youth of our generation. My wife and I are products of the youth outreach of our time. There has been a noticeable change in the approach to reaching the young people from that time to this.

Even before our own time, there was the YMCA and YWCA. Those were actually evangelistic arms of the church. We have seen now that not only has evangelism ceased in them but any real semblance of Christ or Christianity exists except for smatterings of some sort of general morality. Even that is not all that much emphasized.

We were exposed to Youth for Christ and came to Christ and grew spiritually under its banner. Churches had Sunday evening youth services that have now gone from what they once were to being hardly noticeable, if at all. Not much is heard of YFC these days. It, Campus Crusade for Christ, and others seem to have faded and some have taken on the identity and mission of the emergent church movement.

Somehow and gradually, the notion arose that assumed young people should be reached in their own sub-culture. That sub-culture was largely identified by the worldly influences in vogue at the time, especially in the “music” of that sub-culture. The choruses and gospel songs were soon replaced with rock-and-roll sounds that contained hints of being gospel in some way. That was further enhanced by “worship” music set to shallow ditties that were justified because they somehow alluded to something Christian. Gone were the youth songs and choruses of the past that always supplemented the major hymns and songs of Christ and the entire shebang was replaced by this new music.

Music has always been a teacher of theology and so it still is. It is just that the theology changed to suit the music or else the music was changed to reflect the new theology. We may sometimes call it contemporary but [it] is far from contemporary. It is just rehashed out of the world into a veneer of gospel.

Frankly, we have it all wrong. We shall never reach young people for Christ by giving them amended worldliness. If nothing has changed over the years, it is the simplicity of the gospel. It is like a beautiful girl and when we gaudily dress it up like a floozy, we ruin the beauty that is there by nature. I have peered into areas used for youth activities and saw what resembled night clubs more than places for prayer. Add to that the stage performances—and the stages themselves—and there is no doubt as to what is being learned.

We should be bringing our youth into environments that more resemble the church as it should be. They should be exposed to learning the Bible and memorizing the Scriptures. They should be trained in praying and in witnessing so that they can actually pray with a fellow young person until that person meets Christ in repentance and faith. Their music doesn’t have to sound like it is from the Middle Ages but it should have the same depth of message in it that they should be hearing in regular church. In other words, they should be in training for taking the leadership when they become responsible adults. If they remain trained in shallowness that is what they will carry into the church’s leadership when it is their turn to lead. That is, those who hang around long enough to actually take the reins of leadership.

I can fondly remember the experiences [in] the youth services of my day. I loved walking into a meeting being conducted by youth and hearing gospel songs being sung and a young person preaching as well as many adults I ever heard. I loved standing around a [bonfire] on the beach at night while we shared memory verses and testimonies of the saving grace of Christ and the struggles we were having at school because of our testimonies. I recall youth camps that were reflections of the old-fashioned camp meetings the adults were running. In fact, there were no serious differences between youth and adult services except perhaps ours were more youthfully vibrant. The content was just as deep biblically.

By the way! Good marriages were bred in those environments. Calls to the ministry and the mission field were answered there. Lives I still know about were rooted in Christ there and are still grounded in Him. Time never changes anything. The only thing that ever changes is commitment to Christ and the Word of God.

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All around us we see the so-called “culture wars”. In the media, born again “far right” Christians are often stereotyped as “narrow minded”, “religious bigots”, “homophobic”, etc. The truth is, we are just trying to follow God’s Word, to hold a truly Christian worldview.

Concerned Nazarene John Henderson posted an excellent article discussing the Christian worldview. Click here for the original source of his article, in Facebook’s Concerned Nazarenes Group.

I have reposted John’s article below. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

The Christian Worldview
By John Henderson

The Christian world view is a phrase that helps to identify the biblically-based “thought sets” of Christians struggling with cultural engagement as they seek to maintain steadiness in biblical Christianity in the midst of all that would oppose and distort it. It is confronted with the demands of compromise, to embrace a notion of a secular-sacred divide that proposes a secular “truth” that will ultimately undermine and supplant biblical truth. In other words, it is a tension between so-called relevant or situational truth and absolute truth.

The Christian worldview does not deviate from the conviction that not only is absolute truth necessary in the message of salvation but it is also the very foundation of everything that is known as reality. It is all founded upon the guiding light of the inerrant Scriptures that are themselves “the foundational principles for bringing every part of our lives under the Lordship of Christ, to glorify Him and cultivate His creation.”

The weakening of the Church begins and develops as Christians and groups of Christians surrender their “truth claims.” They buy into the deception that all compromise is good at all times and abandons the exception that compromise is never possible when it comes to biblical truth—and there still be biblical truth. The only thing that can happen in compromise is that truth is abandoned.

For example, if we think that secular science ultimately defines the origins of what exists, we will temper the Scriptures to suit science (falsely so-called as Paul would say) and embrace the fables of atheistic philosophy over divine revelation. Some will foolishly try to promote the silly idea that God created through an evolutionary process and make themselves a laughing stock of both creationists and secular evolutionists. This holds true about any critical doctrine of the Scriptures, whether it is about the divinity of Christ, the disparaging notions about the nature of God, sin, eternal punishment, and salvation itself.

Once the surrender is completed, the conquered former believer (or whatever that person or organization was) is under the mastery of God’s arch-enemy. It or he will now do Satan’s bidding to the fullest.
Watch any news outlet. You will begin to see the pattern of compromise everywhere and about anything. It can be about homosexuality, abortion, adultery, lying, theft, murder, the environment, family, divorce, law and justice, and on and on. Seldom, if ever, will you hear anyone on those programs take a genuine biblical stand on those questions. It never gets beyond opinion about some socio-political agenda! The Christian worldview is not being heard there.

The Christian worldview is not something you argue. It is a principle upon which you stand. Whatever is the issue, the Christian worldview is the one answer that is totally correct. It does not need help from the truth-distorters of secular worldviews. It will not endear you to those who are proud of their own ideas based on their internal explorations rather than biblical exploration. But God will be there with you. What else matters?

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