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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"What! You believe all that Jesus crap?"

Yes, I do believe "all that Jesus crap."

And to make you even angrier, I know why you don't.

I can't convince anyone that there is a "god," much less "the" God if they aren't convinced of His existence by the evidence of nature. The "New Atheists" deny that a god created all that is. And while believing that there is a god based on one's seeing His hand in creation is great, that's not enough to convince that one that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Savior, Redeemer and to practice everything that comes after "saving faith."

Pagans, New Age disciples, Hindus, spiritists, pantheists, panentheists, etc., etc., all believe in some kind of divine being which may or may not include a nod to Jesus as a divine being. But until the Holy Spirit opens one's heart and mind and soul to believe, it ain't happenin.' I can talk to unbelievers til I'm blue in the face and except the Spirit of God gives them light and life and faith, they cannot and will not believe.

You're dead, spiritually dead, my unbelieving friend, and except God grant you repentance upon hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will remain dead, separated from God. As you stand right now your eternal destiny is to be an eternity in continued separation from your Creator. We call that separation eternal damnation, commonly called "hell." Whatever eternity without God is going to be like it is sure that it will be horrid.

Of course, if one doesn't believe that there is a God then one doesn't believe in hell and one isn't concerned about such nonsense, or "crap," as you called it. You believe that we all die and that's it.

Regardless, let me tell you what the gospel is (it may be that God will grant you repentance that you might escape the snare of the devil that is keeping you spiritually blind). The gospel, the "good news" is that God sent His Son to do for us what we could not do and cannot do for ourselves. And what is that? To keep His law perfectly. To do His will perfectly. To please Him perfectly. Those are the things required by God that you and I do in order to be made right with Him. Else we perish.

We can't do any of those things. Not one blessed one! And God demands that we do them, or believe in the One who did do them. When anyone believes on Him who did all those things as God wanted them done then God Himself accounts all that Jesus did to that one who so believes as though they did all those things themselves. That's why it's such good news.

And should it be that someone reading this should suddenly come to believe and want to know "what must I do to be saved," "Repent (acknowledge the change of mind that you've just gone through about God and Jesus) and be baptized (immersed in water) in the name of Jesus for the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

You will have a million questions that must be answered. Ask me. I can help. Or find a Christian acquaintance and ask them. Or a Bible believing pastor and ask him.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Should Pastors and Christian Teachers teach on the Holy Spirit?

Of course we should. And we must.

When the Charismatic Renewal was at its heyday in the late '60's and up to the mid '70's, many non-charismatic pastors and regular church folk denounced its emphasis on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Threatened as they were by a renewal that they had nothing to do with and knew zilch about, they rather than trying to see what was really going on chose to resist this renewal/movement.

Many denominational pastors did do enough research to find where Jesus said that the work of the Holy Spirit would be to point people to Him, Jesus. So they rested their cases; 'nuff said. However, they rested too soon, and it wasn't "'nuff said."

The Holy Spirit is referred to in the entirety of the Word of God 315 times, most of those occurrences being in the New Testament (76, OT; 239, NT). The New Testament occurrences break down this way:

50 times in the Gospels.
56 times in Acts.
29 times in Romans.
20 times in First Corinthians.
11 times in Second Corinthians.
16 times in Galatians.
12 times in Ephesians.
3 times in Philippians.
1 time in Colossians.
4 times in First Thessalonians.
1 time in Second Thessalonians.
2 times in First Timothy.
1 time in Second Timothy.
1 time in Titus.
0 in Philemon.
7 in Hebrews.
1 time in James.
6 times in First Peter.
1 time in Second Peter.
6 times in First John.
0 times in Second John.
0 times in Third John.
2 times in Jude.
13 in Revelation.

The Holy Spirit first appears in Genesis 1:2 and is last referred to in Revelation 22:17.

I conclude that He is Someone we need to get to know. Denying the centrality of the role, ministry, and work of the Holy Spirit has contributed to and been the downfall of the visible church, and that includes the true church.

 

The Holy Spirit: The Whole Ball of Wax.

God is three Persons, three Persons of the same essence, three individuals. We call that The Trinity. We can say with all conviction that "there is one God" and "God is one." We experience God in the Person of the Holy Spirit. We experience God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit when we are "born again," "born from above."

That is mind-blowing to say the least. But it is supernatural; it's suppose to be mind-blowing. And since all of the above is true, we can understand all the above. Seriously. Denying that we can understand all of the above is exactly what has killed the supernatural in the church. "Aaaa. We cain't understand that stuff. Why bother?" Why bother indeed.

At our new birth we became "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:2-4). And having become partakers of the divine nature we "escaped the corruption that is the world through lust." Or, we can also say "having escaped the corruption that is the world through lust" by the grace of God through faith in Jesus we became "partakers of the divine nature." It all happened at once, simultaneously.

What does Peter mean by that? Have we really and truly become partakers of the divine nature? Well, ya wouldn't know it by observing the modern church, would ya? Read this; it will explain it all.

But now, back to what I mean by "The Whole Ball of Wax."

How in the world can we experience God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all at the same time? Because we in fact do. When you and I were born again our new life was the result of the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit giving us that new life (Jn. 3:3-7; 6:63; 2 Cor. 5:17; 2 Thess. 2:13). And check out the following verses:

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Better, "but the spirit is alive...")

2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.


But as I pointed out in my previous series on the Holy Spirit, Jesus Himself revealed that in the coming of the Holy Spirit He would come ... and the Father.

John 14:15-23 15 " If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever -- 17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 " A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Do you see it? "...and We will come to him and make Our home with him." The "Helper," "Comforter," "the Spirit of truth," is God the Holy Spirit. And God the Holy Spirit is God in us. And God is Triune. He is no less God in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is no less Jesus in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not some watered-down version of God! He is God, God in us.

Receive it, beloved. Own it. Be a Berean and own it for yourself. And then walk in the truth that we have been made partakers of His divine nature. God can do mighty things through His obedient, believing vessels. He can show Himself mighty.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Hey, Bub! Whatdya mean I'm not the center of the universe?!!"

Being a Christian is not about me, it's about Him. It involves me, yes, but it's about the One who involved me. I'm involved by His grace; I live by faith. Not faith in myself but faith in Jesus Christ. "Grace, grace, God's grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin."
 
I live out my daily life thinking a lot about me (I admit, I've got too much time on my hands). In fact, throughout my day I wonder what other people are thinking about me (that may be the definition of paranoia). I'm trying to get rid of that little crowd of people in my head I have known who critique everything single thing I do. They crowd out God Himself. I am so egotistical at times that I actually imagine that people I haven't seen in years walk around everyday thinking about me and watching me do whatever it is I do. This comes from a traumatic childhood, I know, but "greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world." Greater is my experience with God than my experience in this world. But still...
 
When I'm around Christian brothers and sisters I'm concerned with what they think of me. That's spiritually, emotionally and mentally dangerous because it puts me in the worse kind of performance mode. God didn't put me here to perform for human beings. And He certainly didn't put me here to perform for Him. I'm here to serve others and worship Him. Performance pretty much destroys that dual purpose. Performance makes me a phony.
 
I spend a lot of time in the word of God each day, not because I have to but because I want to; I love the word of God; I do love God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But that little crowd of people I have nurtured inside my head still has a detrimental effect on my daily living.
 
I haven't yet perfected thinking "on these things" as the word commands in order to be free from what I think others think about me.
 
In my head it's still much about me. I'm glad God is patient and kind and merciful and full of grace and truth. I need all that.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Everyone in Christ has "become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ)"

"Check for yourself. It says right there on my account."

That's what I can say to the devil when he comes to me and accuses me of some sin(s) I have committed. "I resist you, Satan, because I am the righteousness of God in Christ. So put that in your pipe and smoke it." Remember, beloved, the devil isn't your judge, just your accuser.

If you have been made the righteousness of God in Christ then God has Himself declared you righteous. So now in Christ you possess the gift of righteousness. But more than that, you are the righteousness of God. All of this is involved in the imputation of righteousness Paul speaks of in Romans 4:21-25.

It is a logical argument that Jesus Christ is righteous and all who are in Him are righteous on account of being in Him. How could anyone be in Christ, who is righteous, and not be righteous themselves? And now the fact is as declared by God the Father Himself, we are His righteousness. Imagine that. We are His righteousness.

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).

To.n ga.r mh. gno,nta a`marti,an( u`pe.r h`mw/n a`marti,an evpoi,hsen( i[na h`mei/j genw,meqa dikaiosu,nh qeou/ evn auvtw/|Å

"For the One who did not know sin, was made sin on our behalf, in order that we might become God's righteousness in Him."
Ok, I'm convinced. I am God's righteousness. And I boast in the Lord for this, not in and of myself.
 
Do you realize that you and I who are in Christ and are now God's righteousness can't lose that righteousness? It has to do with the nature of God and His make-up. Anyone who is "in" an eternal being is an eternal being himself. What endures for the host eternal being endures for those who are in that eternal being. We are in God, the One who is eternal. That means we are eternal; we have eternal life. What endures for God endures for those who are in Him. And guess what endures in God? That's right. His righteousness. His righteousness is eternal just like His life is eternal, His love and grace and mercy and justice and light and holiness are eternal; they all endure forever.
 
Psalm 111:3 His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever.
Psalm 112:3 Wealth and riches will be in his house, And his righteousness endures forever.
Psalm 112:9
He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor.
We who are in Christ endure forever just as He endures forever.
 
John 8:35 "And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.
1 Peter 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

As I said, all that is in God, all who are in God abide forever. We cannot and will not lose His righteousness.





 


 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

False prophets, politicians and man: Random thoughts


RT #1
Man belives he is like the old kid's show on tv, the "master of the universe." News flash! We are not. Those outside of Christ don't realize it but they are manipulated by "the god of this world," they are at his beck and call (2 Cor. 4:1-4). So now what? "Repent! And be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Seriously! As I was listening to El Rushbo a few minutes ago I was reminded of how powerless we really are. Politicians are not god. Washington is not heaven. The Constitution is not the Bible. I love our nation but it is not my god.




 
RT #2
When Kenneth and Gloria Copeland came on the scene during the mid '70's and gained popularity so quickly, I began warning some of my brothers and sisters of his blatant and damnable heresies; some listened, some didn't. The false teachings of the Copelands and their ilk will not register in the ears of Jesus' sheep. Their teachings are the "voice of strangers" (Jn. 10:1-6). Check this out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A subtle, damnable deceit. 2 Peter 2:1-3

THE HOLLYWOOD FORMULA FOR SUCCESS: MIX A FEW LIES IN WITH TRUTH

Sometime ago I rented the Denzel Washington movie "Unstoppable" and loved it. Denzel is by far one of Hollywood's best actors. This particular movie is based on actual events. Note that word "based." The fact that a train was involved is about the only truth in the movie. But that's just it; it is a movie. And it was a fun and very entertaining movie.

Recently I went with a friend to see two other movies based on historical events, "Argo," and "Lincoln." I thoroughly enjoyed Argo. Lincoln was ok, I guess. But in both movies the producers and screen writers took liberties with history in order to make the movies more interesting. Some folks are complaining against the liberties in these movies that were taken for the sake of entertainment. There is enough historical accuracy in both movies to reflect the gist of what actually happened but just the same to find out where the inaccuracies are in them took a little of the pleasure I experienced while watching them down a couple of notches. A mixture of truth and fiction coming out of Hollywood? I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

I am a little disappointed in myself for sitting in the theaters thinking "wow, this actually happened!" only to find out that there are some exaggerations in them. My readers, in the sphere of Christianity as portrayed and broadcast over the media, there is a mixture of fiction and truth that the word of God says is damnable. Christians, true Christians, who listen and watch these purveyors of heresy and love them should be more than a little disappointed in themselves, they should be ashamed and repent of this partaking of darkness. But it's understandable considering the trickery involved.

PETER'S PROPHECIES: 2 Peter 2:1-3

The apostles' lives after Pentecost were lived in relationship to the Holy Spirit. For the most part after being baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ and gifted by the Spirit to do whatever He led them to do, being filled with the Spirit was "the normal Christian life." And one of the outstanding aspects of living in and by the Spirit is having the "mind of Christ" and hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd (Jn.10; 1 Cor. 2). Those who are indeed His sheep have the guarantee that they will not follow false shepherds but will recognize false voices, false teachings. Because we have the Holy Spirit we have the mind of Christ. That is the lesson of 1 Corinthians 2 and John 10. It is also the key to understanding 2 Peter.

"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. But there were 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. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." (1:20-2:3).

The Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ, is actively involved in the hearts, minds, and souls of Christ's sheep discerning the voices of false prophets and false teachers from the voice of the true Shepherd. False preachers always interpret Scripture by their "private," what-they-think (meaning without the Holy Spirit's leading) interpretations and always give man-sourced prophecies. Only men "moved by the Holy Spirit," gifted by the Holy Spirit, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit give true prophecies, true teachings, and true interpretations of Scripture.

This is where it gets tricky. Peter's prophecy concerning these coming false teachers, men and women, points out specifically that they will come from "among you," the true church (2:1). And they will garner a great following. "And many will follow" them (v.2). And why will they be so popular?

First, their false teachings sound Biblical. "Who will secretly bring in destructive heresies..." Those 7 words come from 3 Greek words that inform us that the deceit taught by these false teachers will be interwoven with enough truth that the unregenerate in the church and probably the lost but religiously inclined and "unchurched" will find something irresistible about them. pareisa,xousin ai`re,seij avpwlei,aj

Second, there will be no exaltation of the "Lord who bought them." In fact, Jesus will be denied in a sublte manner, probably by preaching feel-good, get prosperous talks that tag Jesus as an afterthought, not as the Son of God and the exclusive way to the Father. The name of the Lord Jesus is used only in order to give these false teachers an appearance of orthodoxy.
 
Third, "by covetousness," meaning through their love of money, they make merchandise of  souls.Their motivation is to get rich. And in seeking wealth and fame and earthly glory they promise the same for those who will support them financially. Their motto is "I get mine from you; you get yours from God." And how can this possibly work on "believers"? By their using "deceptive words," or as one has put it, "by making up stuff, by making up grand stories of God blessing them when they gave to another ministry ... or their own." They tell their dupes that God has made them rich because of their giving; "He'll do the same for you. If you give to us."
 
There has been fulfillment of Peter's prophecy since his day but never so abundantly as in the last 50 years or so. And it isn't only through the "health and wealth" heretics that Peter's words have come to pass. We see it plainly coming to pass in the mainline denominations where basically every Biblical truth has been denied. False teachers, false prophets, false apostles and bishops and evangelists abound. But we will not follow them. We do not hear the Good Shepherd's voice when they speak.

 

"God wants us to experience the power of the Holy Spirit." Part 4

The designation "Holy Spirit" occurs 106 times in the New Testament. Referring to the Holy Spirit, the word "Spirit" occurs 239 times. Out of the 349 occurrences of "spirit" in the New Testament, 239 refer to the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament the word referring to the Holy Spirit occurs 76 times.

The first reference to the Holy Spirit is Genesis 1:2, the last, Revelation 22:17. From Genesis to Revelation this Person of the Godhead, the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is, of course, active in all the affairs of creation and man. Why would one ever entertain the notion that He is not involved in the affairs of the people of God in the 21st century? And why would anyone ever propose that He had ceased His gracious activities of creating and giving light and life and faith and gifts to His chosen vessels? That notion is absurd and utterly contrary to the word of God and the eternal nature of God Himself.

It seems to be the general feeling of the church that God told the Holy Spirit to take a break after He was poured out on the original disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Once the apostles died out the Spirit was told to cease His work in the church. He is indeed in us and He gave us life, but that's it. Now that we're born again and have the Bible we have all we need. We can handle it from here on out. Yeah, right.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to first draw the ungodly to Christ (Jn. 6:44; 2 Thess. 2:13-14) and then to point them always to Jesus Christ and His finished work of justification and reconciliation. The Holy Spirit always turns our hearts and minds and spirits to Jesus and His finished work at Calvary. The Holy Spirit reminds us when we are beating ourselves up over our sins and trying to somehow make things right with God again that Jesus did that for us. His once for all sacrifice and priesthood saw to that.

The Holy Spirit doesn't come to merely take up residence in the saints and then settle down doing nothing else. And in spite of evidence to the contrary, His ministry has never ceased; He really is very active in us, desiring to do more than we allow Him to do (Phil. 2:13).

What does the visible church make of Paul's imperative in Ephesians 5:18, "Be being filled with the Spirit?" Or his imperative in Galatians 5:16, "Walk in the Spirit?" Or his prayers in Ephesians where he prays that the believers in that church might be strengthened by the Spirit that they might know all that they had in Christ? If those letters were written for and about only those original audiences then God has done the 21st century church (and every body of believers since the time of the apostles) an egregious disfavor. And if a believer observes so-called "Christian goings-on," it will become evident that the 21st century church does in fact see man as God's final movement in the body of Christ with the Person of the Holy Spirit as his sidekick.
 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Predestined? Some to heaven? Some to hell? Conclusion(?)

For comfort, not controversy.

Without exception, every time we come across words in the New Testament epistles like "predestined," "foreknown," "called," or "elect," as they pertain to believers, they are meant for our assurance and comfort. We need to know as human beings living in corrupt and corruptible flesh and blood mortal bodies in a world "with devils filled" that God has us eternally in His eternal hands. That's why Paul, filled and led by the Holy Spirit, penned his letter to the Romans. And chapter 8 of that great work is the most comforting of all.

"No condemnation" 8:1
"No rejection" 8:31
"No final defeat" 8:37
"No separation" 8:38-39

These truths are sealed in our hearts and minds and spirits by the "unbreakable chain "of 8:28-30.

You and I, beloved, "love God" (only because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:19, and gave us His love by giving us the Holy Spirit, Rom. 5:5) and "are called according to His purpose" and were foreknown and predestined and are now being conformed to the image of His Son and called and justified and glorified.

I tell my hearers this, "God is with us; God is in us; And God is for us." Our heavenly Father is not against us! He is for us. In our darkest hour He is there and He is on our side. When we fail (a euphemism for "sin") He is still not against us, He is for us! Our Father never gives permission to sin. He planned all that we're going through, spiritually speaking and some other things that would amaze us, from before the beginning of time, before the foundation of the world including our justification in Christ. That's why Jesus' sacrifice is so essential. Not only did it pay for our sins it also made provision for our present and future sins. So while He never gives permission to sin He has made glorious and gracious provision for our sins (too many Scripture verses to list here).

Set Romans 8 against the "before time began" Scriptures and the "before the foundation of the world" Scriptures and see what you get. I end up with a big "Wow!" I am continually comforted and assured and filled with praise unto the glory of His grace when I read His word (Eph. 1:3-6).

Do I ever doubt? Sure I do. Sometimes I can't believe that He saved me. Sometimes I don't "feel" saved. That's when I turn to His written word in prayer, asking Him to show me great and wonderful and deep things, confessing my sins, accepting His forgiveness and cleansing, those wonderful and glorious and gracious provisions for my sins. After all, we now walk (live) by faith, not by sight.

Be blessed, beloved. Be comforted. Be assured. And give Him all the glory for your justification.




 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Predestined? Some to heaven? Some to hell? Part 2

And there ain't nothin' you can do about it. Really?

For some poor souls it's true. They will not be and cannot be saved. Blame God.

Some people are on earth for no other reason than to glorify God by being really evil. It's not that God makes them really evil, they are really evil all by themselves, God uses them as they are, raising them up in His time for His purposes.

Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved." 26 "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God." 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth."

And,
2 Peter 2:12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,

And,
Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. 12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

Remember that while there may be millions of such brute beasts throughout all time whom God will destroy, they perish of their own accord and because they deserve whatever God sends their way. But don't we all. But God doesn't turn us all over to do as we wish; He saves billions, an innumerable number.

If you have read through the Old Testament you probably remember how God's chosen people, the Hebrews, rebelled against Him continuously. And yet Yahweh continuously called them back offering to heal them and restore them. But they refused. That's why God says that out of all the Jews who have ever lived, only a remnant will be saved. This was the Jews decision to make and God's to respond to. This is free will at its best. This is how all men would go if God left us to our own devices. And God still has mercy on the ungodly. Those who don't receive God's grace and mercy simply get what they deserve. And that is free will at its best. 

 





 

 

Predestined? Some to heaven? Some to hell? Part 1

Ya can't deny it, predestined is in the English Bible and comes from a Greek word that's in the Greek New Testament. proori,zw

Go figure.

That word means "to determine beforehand," to determine that something will happen before it actually happens and to work out all the details necessary to bring it to pass. That's what God does; that's what God did.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Besides reminding us that God is Sovereign over all His creation, we also see in this passage that our salvation/justification is all of God and none of us.


Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, *Note the Isaiah passage below.

And, no, it's not just in the KJV. It is in every major English translation.


In the following two verses the same word is translated thusly:

Acts 4:28 "to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done."

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,


Now consider this:

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.

And this:
Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know -- 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it."

And this:
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." 

And these as well:
Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Titus 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,


 

That's a lot to put in one's pipe.

After Adam and Eve blew it in the garden for all of us, we were all predestined to hell.










 



 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"God wants us to experience the power of the Holy Spirit: Part 3

I know, I know. I brought this idea to a conclusion in my last post. But...

Most of the Christian life happens away from the Bible. By that I mean we go to school or work or shopping without our Bibles. So what do we do when confronted during these times with an opportunity to proclaim the gospel to an unbeliever? What do we do when we're talking with a brother or sister in Christ who need a word of encouragement or correction and we don't have a copy of the word with us? We seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And He is really there, in us to guide us.

The Holy Spirit's guidance doesn't mean we will always quote Scripture to someone. There is "the word of wisdom" and the "word of knowledge" and words of comfort that the believer is often given on the spot that are not straight from the Bible (1 Cor. 12:4-11). The Holy Spirit also gives prophetic words to His people to give to others who need to hear it. For example,
 
Acts 21:10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.' "

11:27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.
And just how does one know when he or she has "a word from the Spirit?" You know; it's just something you know.

Years ago I was with a ministry group and one night when we had gathered for our weekly meeting, the leader came in to the room and looked directly at me and pointed at me and said "Brother, don't you go back with that rock band you were with that called you today." And that's exactly what had happened. That morning at work the leader of the band I played drums with for years before becoming a Christian called me and asked me if I would come back. It was uncanny. And to this day the leader of that ministry group doesn't recall having said that to me. And I have experienced that same kind of "knowing" by the Holy Spirit with a word for some folks I know.

We are instructed in the word of God "do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thess. 5:20-21). And that is the rule. Don't despise what someone says is a prophecy but test it. Does it come to pass? Do you know when the prophecy is given that it is true? Does it violate any Biblical truths?

The same goes with the words of knowledge and wisdom. They're either seen to be true immediately or not valid immediately. If a brother or sister in Christ wants to impress those around them by giving a word of wisdom or knowledge or prophecy but those words are purely from their wanting to impress, there will be those who know them to be of the flesh and no more. It happens often in certain circles.

But a word of caution is in order. The world is running over with false prophets, false teachers, false apostles, false evangelists, and false pastors. And this is where belonging to the Good Shepherd provides a safeguard. Jesus said in John 10 that His sheep know His voice and the voice (teaching, prophesying, etc.) of another, the false leaders, they will not follow. That's a guarantee from the Shepherd Himself.

So let the Holy Spirit speak, lambs of the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not despise His voice. But test what you hear. Be a Berean. Be quick to hear and slow to speak. You just may be hearing from the Holy Spirit while you're on the job or at school, in traffic or shopping ... or in church.





 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"God wants us to experience the power of the Holy Spirit." Conclusion

Lets look at Eph. 1:15-19 once again and see just what it is that the apostle prayed the believers throughout all time would know.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

 
The first thing that I notice about this passage is the genuine faith of the believers to whom Paul was writing. Paul was overjoyed at the good news coming out of this church and he could not "cease to give thanks" for them and taking them to the Father in his prayers. His prayer was prayed in faith and confidence on account of this good report of their faith and love. The absence of faith is one thing; the lack of faith among believers is another. The church is equipped to deal with both. We can discern between the two and know how to pray for both.

This is our Father's will for all believers. We need to know that.

The second truth that comes out of Paul's prayer is that he let the Ephesians know how he was praying. I believe that he did this in order to prepare them to receive from God. He wanted them to live expectantly, expecting to receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation with all the knowledge that comes with it. "I'm praying this way for all of you so be ready and recognize the hand of God in your midst."


The third truth is that it is centered on the new mind. The prayer is this, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. We can know this. We can know in an experiential way "the hope of His calling," "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," and "the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe."

*Note the "mind words" in this passage, "the spirit of wisdom and revelation," "knowledge," "your understanding," "that you may know."

The fourth truth I take away from Paul's prayer is that Paul isn't praying that something new and extraordinary happen in the lives of the Christians but that they know and grasp and own what is true in them now. What we can ask our Father for is that "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of" Christ. We desperately need this spirit of wisdom and revelation today that reveals to us what we already possess. We need to have "the eyes of our understanding enlightened." And we really, really need to recognize the "exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe." And since all that has already been given to us in the written word of God and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have only ourselves to blame for the lukewarmness and sin that fills the church in our day (1:7-10).

 

Monday, February 11, 2013

"God wants us to experience the power of the Holy Spirit." Part 1

If you have ever studied the life of the apostle Paul you know what an amazing man he was. If there was ever a Christian man who lived and walked in the power of the Holy Spirit it was Paul. The truths the man knew were mind-boggling. His faith was far beyond that of anyone I have ever personally known. And Paul never wanted to be superior to any other believer. In fact, the apostle wanted us to know what he knew and to be equipped to live as he lived. Paul never wanted to keep the good stuff to himself or for himself.

This is what Paul prayed God would make known to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

3:14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height --19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


Why did Paul ask this for the Ephesians? He wanted them to know what he knew; to experience what he had experienced; to be intimately acquainted with what he was intimately acquainted with; to live by faith as he lived by faith; to know the power of the Holy Spirit that he knew; to love as he loved; to minister as he ministered; and that they "may be filled with all the fullness of God."

This is what we can know and experience. Can you imagine in your wildest dreams living this way? Beloved, this is ours for the owning. Lets own this experience.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?"

It's a legitimate question. If it offends anyone, that one may be too sensitive and a bit insecure for whatever reasons. Or it may be that that one has not received the Holy Spirit.

It becomes clear from Scripture that not all "believers" have received the Holy Spirit and that they are the last ones to know (Acts 19:1-7).

Those who have the Holy Spirit sometimes discern those who do not have the Holy Spirit but are called believers. Sometimes the not-born again-church goers are easy to spot. Sometimes it's not so easy; they put on a good front. Not always maliciously either. There are "good" folk in church every Sunday who are spiritually dead and have never called upon the name of the Lord, repented and been baptized in His name (Acts 2:37-39). They have not received the Holy Spirit since they believed in whatever it was they believed in.

They may have been baptized in the name of their denomination in order to "join" a church. Many of such were "sprinkled" as an infant or "immersed at the age of accountability" or as an adult who "walked the aisle" during an "altar call." And that's there only testimony. But the question "have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed" will never be asked of them by those who have had the same experience, will it?

When Paul asked this question in Ephesus, he obviously had observed enough in these "disciples" to know that the Holy Spirit was not in them. We don't know what that was that he saw but the Spirit moved him to ask them that life-changing question.

Church-goers in our day really get offended and angry when asked this question. That may or not be because they aren't saved. But the gift of discernment is the deciding factor, not one's feelings (1 Cor. 12:10).

Paul asked the disciples in Ephesus two diagnostic questions, first, "have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Second, "Into what then were you baptized?" Pretty good questions, wouldn't you say?

But then having heard what he already knew to be the truth from these disciples, he proclaimed the gospel to them. Then they received the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, we are charged with the same responsibility today as Paul had and some are gifted with the same gift of discernment Paul had. Be bold. Ask and ye shall find out.

Finally, yes, it was the apostle Paul who asked these questions. Yes, it was the apostle Paul who then laid hands on the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit "and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." But none of this was because it was the apostle Paul. It was God working through His obedient servant. Has God changed?


 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Ah, nope, I don't b'lieve all that Holy Spirit stuff."

And it's the truth.

Millions of church-goers refuse to discuss the Holy Spirit for fear of letting the wrong kind of people in their midsts. And letting the wrong kind of stuff happen in "their" churches. "We ain't havin' none o' that speakin' in tongues or healin' in this church." And they're right. They "ain't havin' none o'" that kinda stuff in their churches.

Therefore, the only time the Holy Spirit is brought up in these congregations is when there's a baptism. As long as the name is used only in the water baptism service without any expectation of the Holy Spirit actually doing anything, He ("it") can be referred to.

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is still attributing to Satan the work of the Spirit. And it's being done a lot in our day (Mt. 12:22-37; Mk. 3:22-29; Lu. 11:17-23).

This will blow your mind.

In Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus, ch. 1, vv.15-21, and again in ch. 3:14-21, and ch. 5:18-21, Paul prays that the church (people, not buildings) might know who they are and what they have as the children of God. It's remarkable. It's unbelieveable...not. These are blessings (1:3) that belong to and are possessed by every one "in Christ" and "sealed with the Holy Spirit" (1:13-14). Not potentially but at the present. Procured by the Lord Jesus for His body and poured out from heaven with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Note: The giving of the Holy Spirit has no end (Acts 2:38-39).

Paul prayed and wrote down his prayers that every generation of the regenerate to ever live on this planet might: #1, know what He knew; #2, experience what he had experienced; #3, be intimately acquainted with what he was intimately acquainted with; #4, walk as he walked; #5, minister as he ministered; #6, be gifted as he was gifted; and #7, know experientially the power that raised Jesus from the dead that he knew; #8, know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; #9, and be filled with all the fullness of God.

The power of the Holy Spirit should be as common place in the true church as fried chicken is at a Baptist covered dish.

We should be on our knees praying without ceasing that these blessings of the Holy Spirit be realized in our midst, both individually and corporately.

There is no church without the Holy Spirit. Explains a lot, doesn't it?





 

Friday, February 8, 2013

An open letter to the SBC concerning their presence on TBN

An open letter to the SBC concerning their presence on TBN


*This letter was written in '07

To whom it may concern,


Recently on TBN, the president and founder, Paul Crouch, celebrated his birthday. A friend of mine sent me the video of the event over the internet. Two or three leading SBC pastors were featured offering praise to Paul Crouch for spreading the gospel around the world. I have been watching TBN for years now in order to keep on top of what is going on in the world of the word faith movement and other movements that identify themselves with the Christian church. So seeing men such as Charles Stanley and Ed Young and James Merritt was not really a surprise, I have seen them on TBN for years. The thing that bothered me on this occasion was that it was the first time I have seen them thanking this man and praising him for the great work he is doing. I was absolutely disgusted with what they were saying about TBN and Paul Crouch.

Clearly, the SBC does not know what takes place on TBN (or perhaps, worse, they just don’t care). If they did I would think that they would want to disassociate themselves with it immediately. Surely, men of God such as Dr. Stanley would have the spiritual discernment to recognize the blatant heresies that continually parade across the screen portraying themselves as Biblical, Christian, orthodox, and sound. The historical Christian faith has always had its heretics claiming to be a part of the family, but when we can see them lined up on the television one after the other, we must recognize the new danger brought to the world by this media. The false teachers and false prophets of the 21st century are able to spread their teachings to more people (and at the simple click of a remote button) than has ever been possible before. So, just in case the SBC and its pastors who have chosen to pay large amounts of money to air their services on TBN are not familiar with the people with whom they are sharing the platform, I have provided a brief overview. I pray that you will bear with me and examine the following facts.

(I know that one of the aspects of SBC life that we are proud of is the “autonomy of the local church.” The SBC has no say so or influence over the local pastor’s decision as to which network he will broadcast over).


OUR LORD’S WARNING
Our Lord Jesus, as you know, said in Matthew 24 that many false christs, false prophets, and false teachers will come and will deceive many. But He did more than just tell us that they were coming and what they would do, He commanded us to “take heed that no one deceives you.” The phrase “take heed” comes from a single Greek word meaning to “watch,” “look out for.” This warning or commandment was not meant solely for the disciples with Christ at the time He spoke these words, but also for all those who would be taught by these disciples and all who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ throughout time. The responsibility for taking heed and watching out for false teachers falls to all Christians of all times but especially to Christian leaders.


THE PASTOR’S RESPONSIBILITY
In the book of Acts and chapter 20, we read the true, historical account of the apostle Paul calling for the “elders of the church” in Ephesus as he was preparing to depart for his return to Jerusalem (v.17). There were matters to be taken care of and Paul did not want to leave until he was sure that the elders understood the seriousness of the tasks at hand and the life and death struggle facing the church.
 
He begins where every pastor should be able to begin and that is with a reminder to the elders of the exemplary life he had lived while he was among them. He could say this with confidence and the elders knew it was so. There were no lingering doubts among them as to whether or not this man had taken their money by fraudulent means or had been inappropriate with any of their women. In our day and time this might be difficult for some pastors to do and difficult for some elders to believe should their pastor say such things about himself.

The apostle reminds the elders that he “kept nothing back that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you” concerning “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (vv.18-21). And why? Why did the apostle give his life for the Ephesians in such a manner that it cost him in great suffering? Was he getting paid well for his services? Did he do it because it brought him fame? In verse 24 he says, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” And in verse 26 he could say with all confidence, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.”

My brothers in the Lord, will there come a day when you will know without a doubt that you can stand before all the souls you have spoken to in your churches and over television and say to them without flinching that you are innocent of all blood? While you taught and preached in the company of false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, false bishops, false believers and false leaders of all manner, will you confidently say that your association with these people did no harm to your people? “Guilt by association” is sometimes not a just charge, but will it be a just charge against you as you preach side by side with the worse deceivers the church has ever witnessed?

Paul continues speaking to the elders, the leaders of the church, to warn them of the “ravenous, savage wolves” who will “come in among you, not sparing the flock.” He tells them to beware because “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” He tells them twice with the same word the Lord Jesus used, v.28, “Therefore take heed to yourselves,” but not only to yourselves, “and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His won blood.” And v.31, “Therefore watch.” Paul warned the Ephesians and therefore the church in the 21st century, that there would come enemies from without and from within. Peter declares the same truth in his second letter (2:1-3). And the pastors and leaders of the 21st century local church are given the same responsibility to guard the flock from these predatory mongrels.

Brethren, you are standing in the midst of these “savage wolves,” these enemies from without and from within, and not only are you not warning the blood bought church of the dangers, you are giving the appearance of your approval to their damnable heresies. You “congratulated” one of the leading false teachers and false prophets and false leaders in the world today for his hard work in “spreading the gospel!” Unbelievable! Are your hands “innocent of the blood of all men?” Are you taking heed over the church to which the Holy Spirit has given you charge? Do you not realize that now through your television broadcasts you have taken upon yourselves the responsibility of millions of souls who are watching you preach along side the likes of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Joel Osteen, and other notorious liars? Are you taking heed for these souls as well as your individual congregations?

When the Lord Jesus warned us that many of these false leaders would come, and when Paul and Peter and John and Jude followed in the Holy Spirit with the same warnings, they revealed a progression in the unfolding of these events plainly declaring that times would get more difficult as we draw closer to the end of times (2 Tim.3:-4:5; 2 Pet.1:19-2:3; 1 Jn.2:18-19). We, my brothers, are not ministering the gospel in easy times, in spite of the fact that America has many “megachurches” and the "health and wealth feel good gospel" is popular. We minister the gospel of grace, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the last days.


THEY ARE HERE NOW

Many deceivers are with us now, those from without and those from within, and they have all found a home on TBN, both the deceivers and the deceived. My concern is, does your presence on TBN in any way, give legitimacy to their activities? Paul and Jan Crouch, the president and founder of TBN and his wife, like to frequently mention Billy Graham on their programs just to give the audience the feeling that everything is perfectly orthodox. Just as Robert Schuller has a statue of Mr. Graham in front of his “crystal cathedral.” Dr. Oral Roberts used to drop Mr. Graham’s name occasionally for the same purpose. It helps to cover up the bizarre by presenting a familiar face. “Surely, if Billy Graham endorses these people, they are okay.”

But Paul wrote to the Galatians and told them that if he or an angel preached another gospel, let them be accursed. If Billy Graham (and he in fact has, as has Dr. Stanley, James Merritt, Ed Young, Ronnie Floyd, and of all people, Dr. D. James Kennedy) gives approval to these people, that does not by any means equate to God’s approval. It does say something about those who give their approval. Will these other preachers follow in the steps of Mr. Graham and visit Jan and Paul in order to express their appreciation the way Mr. Graham did also with Oprah? Is there no spiritual discernment among any of you? A four year old child could see the heresies so blatantly portrayed on TBN.


MORE WAYS THAN ONE

In May or June of 2004, Paul Crouch announced that anyone, including Muslims, could get saved just by reading the Qur’an. I had been tuning in to keep up with current events on TBN and had witnessed him holding a copy of the Qur’an and making various flattering remarks about Islam. He referred to Muslims as “our brothers.” This only makes sense since Crouch also refers to theology as “doctrinal doo-doo.” His theology apparently does not need Jesus Christ dying on the cross and rising again because Muslims deny the incarnation, the deity, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of the stated goals of Islam is to destroy this belief (The Beliefnet Guide to Islam, pp.19, 147). If they can be saved through Islam, then Crouch has found a “new Way” to heaven.

LITTLE GODS

In a broadcast featuring Kenneth Copeland, Crouch affirms, “I have his name. I’m one with him. I’m in a covenant relationship. I am a little god.” This is certainly good company to be in, isn’t it? What would you do, SBC, if Charles Stanley or Page Patterson claimed to be little gods? And Copeland gave what was received as a “prophecy” saying, “They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me.” Later as Copeland explains this he says, “He hadn’t come to earth as God, He’d come as man. He’d set aside His divine power.” There are numerous sources where one can find the videos and audios that record this transaction between Copeland and Crouch and more (see Hank Hannegraff’s “Christianity in Crisis,” and “Counterfeit Revival” and any number of sites on the web).

Something to think about: Crouch and Copeland can proclaim themselves to be little gods (along with many others) while denying the deity of Jesus Christ. In other words, “Jesus was not God, but I am.” This may be innocuous to you but it is deadly to me. If we are all “little gods” and can do as the word faith teachers proclaim, then we actually don’t need the “big” God. After all, as Joel Osteen teaches, “our words prophesy our future.” We can “create” our own reality. We can “name it and claim it.” We can be like Abraham and “confess things into being that are not” (a very gross misreading of Romans 4:16-18).


NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

Brethren, as I have already stated, these heresies are not new. These contemporary false teachers did not invent them; Satan did. But in the early years of the developing theology of the church they would have been promptly, and rightfully so, condemned by men of God who gathered in a “counsel” to put a stop to such absolute nonsense. What the early church fathers sought to do was, as Barney Fife would suggest, “nip it in the bud.” Remember Arius? What the church needs today is a “new reformation.” One that stands for Biblical truth and against the darkness that it has so lovingly embraced.

Heresy is a cancer in the body of Christ; a cancer that can be stopped by the proper treatment administered at the right time. While the brethren are preaching ear-scratching “cotton candy” sermons (as someone described Osteen’s “talks”), their congregations are starving to death as a result of the cancerous growth that is destroying the body. Believers will not tolerate cotton candy for long. This cancer removes the desire and appetite for the real and substantial meat of the Word of God. And it is the meat of the Word that will heal this festering illness. The congregations that are listening to this “fluff” that passes for preaching, are so lively and “happy clappy” (to use a phrase used by Dr. MacArthur), yet they are “whited sepulchers, full of dead men’s bones” and unaware of the diagnosis of their true condition.

BAD COMPANY RUINS GOOD MORALS

A brief reading of TBN preachers reads like an advertisement from a “Heretics Are Us” store: Benny Hinn, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Rod Parsley, Jesse Duplantis, R.W. Schambach, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Robert Schuller, Eddie Long, Frederick K.C. Price, Creflo Dollar, Tommy Tenney, Clarence McClendon, John Hagee, Juanita Byrum, Joseph Prince, and Mark Cherona. There are others, but this should suffice. What astounds me about the so-called “ministries” of these people is that they can say literally anything and no one is bothered by it. Do truth and integrity matter to anyone? Does anyone care? Apparently the “no one” includes the so-called evangelicals who broadcast over TBN.

BENNY HINN

In the early 90’s Benny Hinn prophesied “by the Spirit of the Lord” that Fidel Castro would die in 1994 or 1995, the mid-nineties; I guess the Holy Spirit wasn’t quite sure about an exact date. During that same period Hinn again prophesied by the Spirit that the entire homosexual community in America would be destroyed by fire sent from God in the mid-nineties. Did anyone notice that neither prophecy came to pass? Apparently not. Did he lose his following? Absolutely not. Does this matter to the SBC?

I was watching with my son-in-law and my wife one night when Hinn stopped a conversation and said, “Wait a minute! The Holy Spirit is telling me something. Now, I don’t know if this is true or not.” And he continued with something that I couldn’t hear for the laughter coming from my family. How can a man say such bizarre things and no one protest? How can a man who is so clearly deceived continue to influence millions over the airways and in packed auditoriums around the world? Does anyone care?

On another occasion we were watching when Hinn announced that a woman had prophesied that Jesus Christ Himself would appear on stage with brother Benny when he went to preach in Africa. Benny later made the prophecy his own on the same broadcast that night saying very boldly, “I tell you by the Spirit of the Lord that this will come to pass.”

(The woman died weeks later and Jesus never made an appearance). Paul Crouch and the studio were overcome with excitement, Paul, beside himself, declaring that they would have “footage” of Christ on stage with Hinn. Now there’s a video I would buy. (and the video of this broadcast can be found just by going to Google and typing in “Benny Hinn”). *Many of these broadcasts have unfortunately been removed. I wonder why.

Did Hinn’s ministry diminish after this? No, his crusades are as popular as ever. And what about his prophecy on a broadcast with Paul Crouch that people would be raised from the dead while Hinn’s broadcast was on the air? Hinn said that people would bring their dead loved ones into their homes, “in their coffins,” and sit them in front of the tv and they would be raised from the dead during a Benny Hinn show. Now that would make headline news around the world! Did anybody check to see how many cemeteries had been vandalized due to relatives digging up loved ones and carrying them home to watch a little tv? Did anyone really believe this and follow through on what Hinn said was a word from the Lord? Probably not. Do they still follow Hinn whenever he is in town? Yes, they do. Do believers care? Do Christian leaders care? Apparently not.

Benny Hinn is by far the most bizarre of the false prophets on TBN, but just a few steps behind him are the Copelands and their traveling companion, Jesse Duplantis. Copeland and several other word faith teachers including Joyce Meyers teach that Jesus was “born again in hell” after he had gone there and suffered for our sins and “whipped Satan.” According to the Copelands, Jesus was killed by the demons of hell as they tormented Him but God came through and raised Him up by the Holy Spirit, thus making Jesus the “first born again man.” It doesn’t concern the word faith teachers that this has no basis in Scripture, but comes from the demented minds of such people as Kenneth Hagin and E. W. Kenyon.

In my early years as a believer a friend of mine was “really into Kenyon” and persuaded me to buy a couple of his books. It did not take long for me, a babe in Christ, to recognize the horrible heresy I was holding in my hands. How could I catch that truth at such an early stage in my faith? I was devouring the Word of God instead of this garbage like so many of my charismatic friends were doing. Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice….”

KENNETH COPELAND

Kenneth Copeland adds a little twist to the born again Jesus theology in a story he has related on his broadcast several times. On a Sunday morning broadcast of the “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” Copeland says that one morning while he was shaving Jesus (or “God”) came to see him in his bathroom. Ken, of course, was not shocked, scared, terrified, or humbled by his buddy’s appearance, he just kept on shaving. During their conversation Jesus told Ken that He was able to defeat Satan because He was a “born again man.” Ken said, “What! You don’t mean to tell me.” And Jesus said, “Yes, that’s right. You could have done the same thing.” So Copeland concludes that he could have done the same thing Jesus did because he is also a born again man. And that was the point of Jesus’ visit. Not only does Copeland conclude this but he says that Jesus confirmed his conclusion. Does anyone care that this nonsense is being passed as truth?

Now follow Copeland’s line of thought here as we also follow it to its logical conclusion. Everything that the Lord Jesus Christ did for us was planned before the foundation of the earth, before time began. All of the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament point to Jesus, the Messiah. Does Copeland understand that what his jesus told him means that the prophecies pointing to the Messiah could have pointed to him just as well. All God had to do apparently was wait. The coming of Jesus then, was to do something that anyone could have done, if it is true that Copeland could have done the same thing? This is nonsense at its worst. This may very well be what Peter had in mind when he wrote his second letter saying that false teachers would come “even denying the Lord who bought them” (2:1-3).

Why did God even bother? Kenneth Copeland (and Jesse Duplantis) could have done the same thing Jesus did. All that was needed was a born again man. Copeland is saying to jesus as jesus has just said to him, “If I had been around back then I could have done the same thing. I could have whipped Satan. And, if Satan needed whippin’ right now, I could do it.” “Yes,” said Copeland’s jesus, you could.”

Herein lies a three-fold problem with Copeland’s story. First, the Bible never says that Jesus was “born again.” This theology is the creation of twentieth century deceivers. Jesus Christ is the “God-man,” “Immanuel, God with us.” John tells us that “in Him there is no darkness at all.” The writer of Hebrews says that He faced temptation “yet without sin.” Jesus did not have to be born again. Second, Copeland’s story is absolutely absurd, asinine, ludicrous and impossible! Has anyone considered the obvious fact that Jesus had to do what He did in order for it to be possible for anyone to be born again in the first place? Unless Copeland was born two thousand years ago as the only begotten of the Father, he could not have done what Jesus did because in fact, Jesus did what He did two thousand years ago and Copeland did not. It is that screwy! Jesus did it first…and only. What Copeland’s jesus was suggesting is completely and utterly irrational!

Furthermore, and third, in the land of fruits and nuts, this story begs the question, “Jesus (or “God,” the story changes with the telling), told Copeland that he could have done the same thing that Jesus did? Jesus or God told Copeland this?

Was this the same God who told Joseph that Jesus would save His people from their sins?

Was this the same God who spoke from heaven on the Mount of Transfiguration and said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him?”

Was this the same God who, through the prophets, gave hundreds of prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God?

Was this the same God who promised the “seed” to Abraham that Paul tells us was indeed Jesus?

Was this the same God who through the prophet Isaiah foretold and described the suffering of the One who was to come?

Was this the same God who through the prophet John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world?”

Was this the same God who revealed to Peter that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God?”

Was this the same God who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life?”

Was the God that Copeland says spoke the God of the Bible? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

If this was Jesus, was he the same Jesus who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me?” And should Copeland say “yes, this was the God of the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible who told me these things,” then the church has a few matters that it must consider concerning the person of Kenneth Copeland and all of his kind.

Before Jesus Christ could overcome the devil, death, hell and the grave, He had to “suffer many things” (Mt.16:21). Before Jesus could redeem us from sin and save us from eternal damnation He had to (dei, “it was necessary”) suffer the rejection of His own people and be betrayed into the hands of the Jewish leaders and the Gentiles. AND, before God could offer Jesus on the cross Jesus had to be without sin, the “spotless Lamb of God.” Can any of this be said of Kenneth Copeland? Setting aside just for the moment the insanity of Copeland’s obvious lie, does this deceiver consider himself just as qualified as Jesus to do these things?

Who receives the glory when Copeland says that God told him that he could have done the same thing that Jesus did? And if a born again man was all that was required, then Copeland’s followers must necessarily believe that they also could have done the same thing. Imagine, a world full of born again “Satan whippers.” What a wonderful world this would be. So why hasn’t Copeland put Satan in his place? Maybe because he doesn’t want to hurt his father. Maybe because he can’t.

Was Copeland virgin born? Did God prophesy about Copeland? Has Copeland suffered the things that were necessary for the Messiah to suffer before going to the cross? Is Copeland qualified to whip satan by being sinless? Do Copeland and all who follow him not realize that innocent and pure blood had to be offered, sacrificed, in order to defeat Satan and death and the grave and hell and eternal damnation? Do they not see that being “born again” does not qualify anyone for Messiahship? And far and above all that, do they not realize that Jesus came to do more than just defeat Satan; He came to forgive sin. Does the blood of Jesus Christ which bought the church mean absolutely nothing to these people? And does anyone care?

To paraphrase John Owen; Whatever man thinks that he can do on his own that God hath required is to make nothing of the cross of Jesus Christ.

THE HOLY SPIRIT: A PARTNER IN ADULTERY

According to Charisma magazine, Bishop Clarence McClendon is one of those lucky brothers who has heard from the Holy Spirit concerning his marriage. He left his wife for a younger woman because the Spirit told him to. Now isn’t that convenient? Read the article made available on the web; it is a hoot. Arthur Blessitt had the same word from God while carrying the cross around the world, Richard Roberts had the same word while vacationing by himself in Florida, and the list could probably go on and on. That’s typical of the Holy Spirit, isn’t it? If the Holy Spirit tells you to leave your wife for a newer model then it can’t possibly be adultery. And if God can not only condone but suggest adulterous behavior why not gay marriage? Does anyone care that these men with flourishing ministries are living in adultery and idolatry and teaching others to do the same by their lifestyles?

When challenged by “brothers in Christ” (?) concerning his doctrine and the doctrine of the majority of those who preach alongside him, Paul Crouch angrily responded that these people are hung up on doctrine, referring to doctrine as “doctrinal doo doo.” I heard this with my own ears, brothers. Is your doctrine “doo doo?” Is the warning of Jesus Christ about false teachers and false prophets doctrinal doo doo? Are Paul’s many warnings about deceivers and false apostles and false teachers and false prophets doctrinal doo doo? Is the incarnation doctrinal doo doo? Is the doctrine about the Trinity doctrinal doo doo? When these people take the “holy” out of Holy Spirit and the holy out of their daily lives and rob God of his infinite holiness by making Him partner in adultery, does it bother you that you are standing shoulder to shoulder with these liars?

THE WORD OF GOD: NO LONGER IMPORTANT

Southern Baptists have always stood up for the inerrancy of the Bible. The written word of God in its original manuscripts was flawless, without error of any kind from Genesis to Revelation. The ancient manuscripts that exist now provide us with a completely reliable record of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The canon of Scripture is closed. The Word of God is complete. God has gifted his people with the person of the Holy Spirit to guide us as we study and preach and teach from His word. Yet in this very area that is so vital and precious to us, TBN again shows its disdain for truth. And we are sharing the platform with them.

TOMMY TENNEY

One of the best selling authors in America and for a while at least on TBN is Tommy Tenney. Tenney wrote a blockbuster book entitled “The God Chasers.” It was on the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. He has since come out with a “God Chasers For Youth” edition as well as several other books. In his book “The God Chasers,” Tenney writes that the Bible is “dusty old love letters” and that no one wants to hear from them anymore. He writes that “the Bible is where God was, revelation is where he is now.” Not biblical revelation, but direct revelation from God, separate from the Bible. If revelation is where God is now then anyone can claim to have a “revelation” and who is there to question it? Is it any wonder that false teachers, prophets, and so-called “apostles” can say the most outlandish things and have their audience jump up and down and whoop and holler? They have just heard a word directly from God. And a “new, fresh word” I might add.

I saw a lady I know only as an acquaintance carrying Tenney’s book and I asked her if she knew that Tenney was going to be in town that weekend. She said that she was so disappointed to hear that and that Tenney was her “man.” “I just love him so much.” Tenney has lulled the undiscerning into believing that they no longer need to read the Bible for God’s guidance but can be led by inner voices and feelings and “words” from anyone who comes to town in a nice suit and great fanfare. Reading his book was one of the most disturbing experiences I have had as a Christian. I not only read it, I re-read it taking notes and studying Tenney’s theology (doctrinal doo-doo). Does it matter? Does anyone care? I pity the church fathers who died while trying to spread this boring old collection of “dusty love letters.” Don’t you? *Since this post was originally published, Tenney has more or less been kicked to the curb.

Does anyone care that the Word of God is being perverted around the world by the likes of Tenney, Hinn, Copeland, Osteen, and that idiot Jesse Duplantis? Does it matter at all that men such as Copeland and Crouch are antichrist? Yes, they deny the deity of Jesus Christ, which means by necessity that they deny that He has come in the flesh (1 Jn.4:1-3; see www.equip.org, “What’s wrong with the faith movement? Part two). Do our SBC leaders who actually believe in the risen Lord Jesus Christ and his substitutionary atonement think that these people are harmless? Does it matter to anyone that the most influential people on TBN are blatant heretics. Or that the loudest voices in our nation supposedly representing Christianity are those of televised heretics? (T.D. Jakes was presented to America as our “next Billy Graham?”)

THE DECEIVED AMONG US

Do we realize that many of our Southern Baptist members believe that these people are wonderful, God-called preachers? Does it matter that the names and faces of the most prominent leaders in the SBC are blended in with the likes of these false teachers? Does it matter to anyone that the reason so many believers think that TBN is legitimate Christian television is because of the presence of a few SBC pastors? Does it matter that people who are followers of Charles Stanley hear absolute garbage after his broadcast and never miss a beat in their admiration of these “men of God?”

I have talked with many people in our churches over the last thirty years who think Robert Schuller is wonderful. They think that Benny Hinn is a little unusual but nothing more than that. Our people go to Hinn crusades, Copeland crusades, Joyce Meyer meetings, T.D. Jakes rallies, and give generously to them. Does anyone care? They buy their tapes and books and other products they sell at their meetings while giving to the local church continues to fall.

False prophecy after false prophecy! False teaching after false teaching. Bizarre antics! Bizarre stories! And a constant emphasis on money instead of the holiness of God, the blood of Jesus, the Word of God, evangelism, discipleship, suffering for the cause of Christ, living for the glory of God rather than the pleasures of this world. And we are sharing the platform with them. We are possibly and very likely, legitimizing the very people of whom Christ said that on that day he will say to them, “Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.”

My brothers, just a few years ago you voted to disassociate with the World Baptist Alliance citing its liberal tendencies and whatever. I have asked several Baptists folk if they are familiar with the WBA and not one, not one could tell me anything about this organization because not one had heard about it until I brought it up. It does not make any sense that you would be so concerned about being aligned with the WBA, an organization that our people have never even heard of, when you are partnered with the greatest purveyor of heresy in the history of the world, next to the Roman church., and which most of our members are all too familiar with, TBN. Why?

I hope someone in the SBC has bothered to read this letter. I hope that you will prayerfully consider separating yourselves from this abomination called TBN. You really need to ask yourselves if it is worth it. As many times as we read in the Bible “do not be deceived,” and “do not let anyone deceive you,” we should understand the ease with which our people can be deceived. We also need to view this network as an enemy of the cross, an enemy of the truth, over running with false and damnable theology.

I know you stand to lose viewers and money. But there are viable alternatives that I am sure you are more aware of than I. And you may think you have a perfectly good argument as to why you should stay on TBN (“we’re reaching more people with the Good News”). But to be associated with this network that is now being rightly referred to as a “circus” is to make nothing more than clowns out of our brethren who supposedly love the truth of God’s word, His Son, and who seek His glory and not their own. Paul Crouch is the “ringmaster” and our people are jumping through his hoops.

Perhaps you should take some time to watch TBN (I hate to think you already do) around the time your program airs. If you can still feel clean of other men’s blood then …



In Christ and for His glory,



Johnny T. Helms

SEBTS ‘94



P.S. I can hear some of you now pointing to Paul in jail as he wrote to the church in Philippi, 1:15-18. Please! Do you for one moment think that there is any similarity between men who for whatever reason were actually preaching the gospel and the heretics who are not actually preaching the gospel on TBN?