Photobucket

Monday, June 29, 2009

Greek Courseware Supreme!

Hey homeschoolers...hey seminary students...hey anyone that seriously wants to read the New Testament in its original language! Boy have I got one for you. When I was in seminary our professor had us use the Greek textbook written by Dr. William Mounce. It was a great textbook to start Greek training in.

Well...in preparation for going back to seminary I decided to brush up on my Greek skills and came across this awesome package that's pretty complete. If you go to the following website you can buy their "Everything you need to learn Greek" package:

http://www.teknia.com/product/bbg_everything?phpMyAdmin=df13d207930c16e8365a06f9eae8ba72


Here is what you get:

Basics of Biblical Greek Textbook
Bill's lectures over the textbook (CD)
Answers to the exercises in the workbook
Vocabulary Flash Cards
Exercises in the Workbook
Summary of Basics
of Biblical Greek laminated sheets


I'm telling you, this is a great place to start! The textbook is very well written and easy to follow and the lectures are worth the price of the total package- Dr Mounce teaches through every chapter of the book- it's like having your very own Greek professor at home.

The total cost is around $170 including shipping...money well spent! Time to learn Greek!
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Jim Leavenworth at 1 Comments Links to this post

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS - AN UNREGENERATE DENOMINATION?
...a stirring wake up call; a must read

Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 1 Comments Links to this post

Apostle Paul's Tomb


Pope Benedict XVI says bone fragments found in a tomb beneath the floor of Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside-The-Walls are probably remains of the Apostle Paul.

The pontiff announced Sunday that carbon dating tests run on the fragments, which were found inside a stone sarcophagus discovered beneath the floor of the basilica, confirm that they date from first or second century.

"This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul," Benedict said, speaking Sunday at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-The-Walls.

Christians have traditionally believed St. Paul was buried beneath the main altar of the basilica, which was built in the late fourth century. The 8-foot-long sarcophagus containing the bone fragments was discovered in 2002.

The pope's announcement came on the eve of the Feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul, a major feast day for the Roman Catholic Church.

Paul and Peter are regarded by the faithful as the greatest early Christian missionaries.

source: Voice of America
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Counterfeit Revival

The Counterfeit Revival

Rodney Howard Browne and the "Toronto Blessing"
by
Hank Hanegraaff




Summary

Christianity is undergoing a paradigm shift of major proportions — a shift from faith to feelings; from fact to fantasy; and from reason to esoteric revelation. Leaders of this Counterfeit Revival, such as Rodney Howard-Browne and John Arnott, have peppered their preaching and practice with fabrications, fantasies, and frauds, seemingly unaware of the profound consequences. Many of the followers who at first flooded into Counterfeit Revival "power centers" have become disillusioned and have now slipped through the cracks into the kingdom of the cults.

John the Apostle warned, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). This warning is particularly relevant today, as Christianity is undergoing a paradigm shift of major proportions — a shift from faith to feelings; from fact to fantasy; and from reason to esoteric revelation. This paradigm shift is what I call the Counterfeit Revival.

Prophets of the Counterfeit Revival claim that a bloody civil war is going to polarize the entire Christian community. On one side will be those who embrace new revelations. On the other will be those who obstinately cling to reason. One "prophet" went so far as to say, "God is going to renovate the entire understanding of what Christianity is in the nations of the Earth....In twenty years there will be a totally different understanding of Christianity as we know it."1

Some of the most recognizable names in the Christian community are endorsing this paradigm shift with little or no reservation. The appeal is so staggering that churches on every continent are now inviting their people to "experience" God in a brand new way. It is now estimated that seven thousand churches in England2 alone have embraced the Counterfeit Revival. And with each passing day the numbers are escalating dramatically.

Sardonic laughter, spasmodic jerks, signs and wonders, super apostles and prophets, and being "slain in the spirit" are pointed to as empirical evidence of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. The form and function of the church are being so radically rearranged that even the secular world has taken note.

Time magazine, in an article titled "Laughing for the Lord," pointed out that Anglican parishes across England today bear a greater resemblance to "rock concerts" and "rugby matches" than to Christian worship. The article says that sanctuaries throughout the world are littered with bodies as "supplicants sob, shake, roar like lions and strangest of all, laugh uncontrollably."3 Newsweek, in an article titled "The Giggles Are for God," reported that people in churches worldwide were jerking spasmodically, dancing ecstatically, and acting like animals. The article reported that this behavior by Christians has already spread from Canada to "roughly 7,000 congregations in Hong Kong, Norway, South Africa, and Australia, plus scores of churches in the United States."4

Newspapers from the Orlando Sentinel to the Dallas Morning News have written stories on what is termed the "fastest-growing trend within Christianity." According to The New York Times, this trend promotes an "experiential" Christianity that "promises an emotional encounter with God" manifested by "shaking, screaming, fainting and falling into trances."5



THE HOLY GHOST BARTENDER

The scene was surreal. It looked like a bomb had exploded. Bodies were strewn haphazardly throughout the auditorium. Some lay motionless on the ground. Others twitched spasmodically. Behind me a woman shrieked, "I’m hot! I’m hot!" In front of me a girl was shaking violently. A boy standing in the aisle chopped feverishly with his hands at some imaginary object. Next to him a man whirled round and round in a circle. All the while waves of sardonic laughter cascaded eerily throughout the sanctuary.

A boy staggered drunkenly across the platform and collapsed at the feet of a man who called himself the "Holy Ghost Bartender." The "Bartender," Rodney Howard-Browne, screamed, "Git him, Jesus! Git him! Git him! Git him!" Suddenly he spun around and commanded two muscle-bound men to rise. "These men," he said, "are my ‘guardian angels.’" Then, as if on cue, he moved deliberately in my direction. What happened next was best described by a charismatic pastor, who was an eyewitness: "I witnessed a stalking [by] a barroom bully."

When the Holy Ghost Bartender (who also refers to himself as the Holy Ghost Hitman) arrived at my seat, he began threatening to have me thrown out of the sanctuary. "I’m telling you right now," he hissed, "you’ll drop dead if you prohibit what God is doing!"6 Dramatically he gestured toward the crowd and warned them that those like me, who would dare question that what he was doing was of God, had committed the unpardonable sin and would not be forgiven in this world or the next.

The following day he crowed, "The last time I had a confrontation like that...was...with a bunch of Mormons... you could see their spirit, y’know...just a really religious, pharisaical spirit, that’s what it is. Amen?...And I smelt it — y’know, I can smell them religious devils from about a hundred yards —- I could smell them blindfolded, man....You could see, last night we meant business."7 He labeled his critics "idiots" and warned that they were about to experience either "riot or revival."8



The Fire Falls

What Rodney Howard-Browne refers to as "revival" had its genesis in July of 1979. At the age of 17, he says he gave God Almighty an ultimatum: "Either You come down here and touch me or I am going to come up there and touch You."9 He began to shout over and over again, "God, I want your power!"10 He shouted until he was hoarse, frightening nearly everyone present. Rodney recounts that suddenly:

The fire of God came on me. It started on my head and went right down to my feet. His power burned in my body and stayed like that for four days. I thought I was going to die. I thought He was going to kill me....My whole body was on fire from the top of my head to the soles of my feet and out of my belly began to flow a river of living water. I began to laugh uncontrollably and then I began to weep and then speak with other tongues....I was so intoxicated on the wine of the Holy Ghost that I was beside myself. The fire of God was coursing through my whole being and it didn’t quit....Because of this encounter with the Lord, my life was radically changed from that day on.11

Although Rodney experienced a few subsequent manifestations of divine power, it was not until 1990 that this anointing returned to stay. By this time Rodney had moved from South Africa to America, and by his own admission had a ministry that was nothing to write home about. Despite that fact, when the unusual manifestations resurfaced, Rodney became indignant. Speaking to the Almighty, he said, "God, You’re ruining my meetings!"12 God retorted, "Son, the way your meetings are going, they’re worth ruining."13

And ruin them He did! As the story goes, in Albany, New York, two people were merely walking down a church aisle when God enveloped them in a "thick fog or mist" and they "fell out under the power."14 In a meeting in New Jersey people began to "jump out of wheelchairs without anyone touching them."15 At times the anointing of the Holy Spirit would blow into buildings so powerfully that Rodney had to hold onto the podium, "because it nearly blew me flat on the floor."16 One time the power of God hit a whole row of people, causing them to fall on their backs "before the ushers could catch them."17

Rodney says that even he was "amazed" at what happened when he prayed for people. At times they would be "picked up and thrown over three rows of chairs like a piece of rag."18 On one occasion, while Rodney was praying for a man, the power of God allegedly came over his shoulder like a whirlwind. The man saw it coming and tried to duck, but it was too late. The whirlwind "picked him up off the ground, level with my waist," said Rodney, and "then it struck him to the ground....I was shocked. As the power hit him, the first couple of rows all went out. It was like a Holy Ghost tornado came in there."19

That was only the beginning of the unusual manifestations. In addition to becoming drunk in the Spirit, being knocked down by the Spirit, and getting enveloped in the mist of the Spirit, suddenly people were subjected to the "glue" of the Spirit.

One of Rodney’s books has a section titled "Holy Ghost Glue."20 In it he recounts the story of a wealthy woman who got "stuck" in the Spirit. As Rodney tells it: "She was lying there from noon until 1:30....At 1:30, she tried to get up. She wanted to get up. She couldn’t. All she could do was flap her hands. So she was lying there flapping away — flap, flap, flap, flap....2:30, 3:30, 4:30....At 4:30 the woman was still saying, ‘I can’t get up. I’m stuck to the floor.’"21

She flapped so long that, as Rodney put it, he ended up "walking out on the Holy Spirit":

I turned to the pastor and said, "Look, I haven’t had either breakfast or lunch. It’s 4:30. I’m not stuck and you’re not stuck. These people are going to stay here with her, so let’s go have a meal before the night service." The ushers told us later that at 6 o’clock the woman finally peeled herself off the carpet. Then it took her an hour to crawl from the center of the church auditorium to the side wall. She had been stuck to the floor for six hours! By 7 o’clock she couldn’t talk in English anymore. She tried to talk, but only tongues came out of her mouth. She couldn’t help it. She was totally filled — and totally inebriated, saturated, and drunk in the Holy Ghost! The ushers put her in the back row thinking that she wouldn’t disturb anyone, but she interfered with everyone who came through the door.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Five women were sitting around her, were struck dumb — they couldn’t talk — Their husbands were rejoicing.22



The Big Time

The "big break" that would propel Rodney into international visibility happened in the spring of 1993.23 Charisma magazine reported that Rodney’s "rise to fame began...during a watershed meeting at Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland, Florida."24 Laughter in the Spirit caught on there, "jetting Howard-Browne, 33, out of obscurity, whisking him from Alaska to the Pentagon."25

Assemblies of God pastor Karl Strader invited Rodney to preach and perform at Carpenter’s Home Church in its ten-thousand-seat auditorium. At the time Strader was struggling professionally through the trauma of a church split.26 In addition he was struggling personally with what Charisma magazine reported as his son’s arrest for racketeering charges "stemming from an alleged pyramid scheme involving more than $3.7 million."27 Rodney’s revival rhetoric provided Strader with just the release he thought he needed. According to Strader’s friends, Charles and Frances Hunter (popular charismatic leaders known as the Happy Hunters), "he had spent six weeks on the floor of his church laughing, having the most wonderful time of his life."28

While Rodney apparently provided Strader with a chance to laugh at his problems, Strader provided Rodney with the opportunity to finally capture his claims on camera. As thousands looked on, however, Rodney’s claims of the miraculous did not materialize. No mighty, rushing wind blew into the auditorium, causing Rodney to hold onto the podium so that he would not be blown flat on the floor. No one was picked up and thrown over three rows of chairs like a piece of rag. People did not "jump out of wheelchairs without anyone touching them,"29 and no one was raised from the dead. Instead, Rodney was relegated to resuscitating tales of bygone miracles as well as delivering a litany of well-rehearsed jokes.

One thing Rodney did produce, however, was an epidemic of "spiritual drunkenness." In response to his cries of "Fill, fill, fill! More, more, more!" or "Git ‘em, Jesus, git ‘em, git ‘em, git ‘em!" a growing number of people began to manifest signs of intoxication. Some fell to the floor in uncontrollable laughter while others got stuck in "Holy Ghost Glue." As Rodney commanded God to give people double and triple doses of His "New Wine," some even went "dumb in the Spirit." Most notable among them was Pastor Strader himself, who struggled pathetically to speak but could emit only unintelligible grunts.

News of the laughter that erupted in Lakeland "spread quickly on the charismatic grapevine,"30 drawing thousands of spiritually starved saints to the church sanctuary. What was originally scheduled to be a week’s worth of meetings eventually stretched into three months.31

Lakeland had suddenly become the spiritual destination of choice. Christian leaders from America, Africa, Australia, Argentina, and elsewhere began to make pilgrimages to Florida to witness the "bizarre emotional displays"32 firsthand. Among them was Richard Roberts, the President of Oral Roberts University (ORU), who was struggling under the weight of a 40 million dollar debt inherited from his father, Oral. After his introduction to Lakeland’s laughter, "Roberts says he ended up on the floor laughing at every Howard-Browne meeting as have members of his family."33

Oral Roberts, who also attended the Lakeland meetings, was so enamored with Rodney Howard-Browne that he proclaimed that Rodney’s ministry signaled the arrival of "another level in the Holy Spirit."34 Oral said that Rodney was "raised up from a new kind of seed, with a new kind of revelation...yet a fresh wave."35

After seeing Rodney perform in Lakeland, Richard and Oral invited him to come to Tulsa for a series of meetings at Oral Roberts University. The response was so overwhelming that classes had to be canceled as students fell to the floor and laughed.

Karl Strader was so enthusiastic over the dramatic changes in the lives of these Christian superstars that he called the Happy Hunters and encouraged them "to come down and participate in this."36 After doing so, the Hunters were impressed enough to label "Holy" Laughter an "End-Time Revival."37 They concluded that in this revival "the Spirit of God is swiftly moving in breathtaking and sometimes startling new ways, and people of every tongue and every nation are letting out what is on the inside of them. People of all races and denominations are radically falling in love with Jesus in a brand new way! They are running at a fast pace to ‘Joel’s Bar’ where the drinks are free and there is no hangover."38



The Vatican of the Faith Movement

After their visit in Lakeland the Happy Hunters went on to spread "Holy" Laughter throughout Europe. Back home in America, "Holy" Laughter was to get a powerful shot in the arm as well. Events that ultimately would lead to a worldwide laughing revival were precipitated when Howard-Browne, himself a former associate pastor of a Word of Faith church in South Africa, was summoned to speak at the "Vatican" of Faith theology — Kenneth Hagin’s Rhema Bible Training Center (located near Tulsa, Oklahoma).

Rodney Howard-Browne was tailor-made for Rhema. The parallels between his preaching and practice and those of Rhema’s founder, Kenneth Hagin, are striking. Like Rodney, Hagin is quick to pronounce divine judgment on those who dare to question his prophetic ministry. Hagin has gone so far as to predict the untimely death of a pastor who doubted his false doctrine. According to Hagin, "The pastor fell dead in the pulpit...because he didn’t accept the message that God gave me to give him from the Holy Spirit."39

Years before Rodney began popularizing "Holy" Laughter, Hagin preached and practiced "Holy" Laughter at Rhema. Thus, when Rodney Howard-Browne came to this "Mecca" of faith theology in August 1993, most of the people were well prepared for what he brought. One person, however, was not.



THE VINEYARD CONNECTION

Randy Clark had traveled to Rhema discouraged, disillusioned, and close to a complete breakdown. He was a burned-out pastor from the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Saint Louis who, over the 24 years of his ministry, had gradually lost the fervency of his faith. The Bible no longer spoke to him; he no longer wanted to pray; and he did not like going to church. He was at Rhema for Rodney’s appearances only because of the persistent urging of a friend "who moved in power" and in "the gift of discernment."40

Reluctantly, Randy Clark gave in and decided to attend Rodney’s next appearance. He was dismayed when he found out it was to be at Rhema. Clark was passionately opposed to the Faith movement and agreeing to go to Rhema was like Daniel’s asking to be thrown into the lion’s den.

Randy now says that in the midst of his spiritual disillusionment, God rebuked him, saying, "You have a...denominational spirit if you think you can only drink of the well of your own...group."41 God then asked Randy a very pertinent question: "How badly do you want me?"42 Thus chastened by the Almighty, Randy made his pilgrimage to Rhema.



Randy, Rodney, and Rhema

To his own amazement, at Rhema he "fell under the power" as Rodney prayed for him. At first he doubted that the experience was real because he was not "shaking" and "hurting from electricity"43 as he had during a similar experience at a Vineyard in 1989. However, the accompanying phenomena convinced Randy that this was a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit. While he was "pinned to the floor," says Randy, "two bodies down from me there was somebody oinking!"44 Randy immediately began laughing in the spirit and then got drunk in the spirit. In time, Randy got so drunk that he was actually afraid the police would arrest him on his way home.45

Randy’s associate pastor, Bill Mares, who had accompanied him and received the blessing as well, couldn’t wait to bring the Rhema experience back home. Randy, however, did not want to bring the manifestations into his church until he had spent six months preparing his people. When Bill said, "I can’t wait that long," Randy pulled rank and countered, "I’m the senior pastor." God allegedly intervened then by impressing Randy with the words, "I’m God and I’ll do it when I want."46



We All Fall Down

And do it He did. Their first Sunday back, while his congregation was worshiping God, a woman on the worship team fell, knocked over a guitar stand, and began to laugh uncontrollably. As Randy points out, "She just didn’t fall and lie still, she’s laying there, doing this — Laughing! — Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! All the way through forty-five minutes of worship, just continues to do this."47 Although none of his people had ever fallen in church before, by the end of the service virtually everyone enthusiastically rushed forward to be touched by Randy, who recounted later, "WHOOOMP! Wall to wall people.... BOOOM! Boy, this is fun! BOOOM! BOOOM! BOOOM!"48 As Rodney had touched Randy, Randy now touched his people, and they all fell down.

The initial impact of Randy’s visit to Rhema was merely a harbinger of things to come. A woman, who had been touched in Randy’s church, received a vision in which she saw Toronto, Canada. In her vision Toronto was "on fire and little blades of fire [were] going three hundred-sixty degrees all over Canada."49 Sure enough, not long after this vision, Randy received a call from a Vineyard pastor named John Arnott, whose church was located in Toronto, Canada.50

Arnott had heard about Randy’s participation in a regional meeting of Vineyard churches in which every pastor, as well as all of their wives (except one) were touched by "drunkenness and partying."51 Arnott wanted Randy to export these experiences to Canada.



A Wing and a Prayer

Pastor Randy, however, was afraid to step out as a guest leader because, as he put it, he had only "a testimony and maybe one other sermon." Once again God intervened. This time, instead of speaking directly to Randy, God sent him a prophetic pronouncement through a Baptist friend named Richard Holcomb, whose record of prophetic accuracy in the past was allegedly one hundred percent.

Repeating himself three times, presumably for emphasis, God said (through Holcomb), "Test me now. Test me now. Test me now. Do not be afraid. I will back you up. I want your eyes to be opened to see my spiritual resources in the heavenlies for you just as Elijah prayed that Gehazi’s eyes would be opened. And do not become anxious because when you become anxious you can’t hear me."52

Randy later pronounced "that prophetic word" to be the very thing that "changed my life." Randy is now convinced that without this prophecy, he would not have made the transition from being an emotionally disturbed pastor to becoming the conduit through which the new wine of the Spirit would be dispensed to people who until now had never even conceived of Holy Ghost Glue or divine drunkenness. Within hours of the prophecy, Randy was in a van, headed to the airport. It was a mission that would forever change not only his life, but also the lives of multiplied millions of other people later touched by what has come to be known as the "Toronto Blessing."



The Toronto Blessing

Long before Randy Clark’s January 1994 trip to Canada, Toronto Airport Vineyard pastor John Arnott was being conditioned for what was to follow. As his wife, Carol Arnott, explains, "God also spoke to John and said, ‘I want you to hang around people that have an anointing.’"53

According to Carol, God directed them back to an old friend named Benny Hinn.54 When Benny would get through ministering to them backstage, Carol would be so drunk that John would have to carry her home.55 John, however, did not "feel anything."56

In June of 1993 Rodney Howard-Browne prayed for John Arnott, but the results were the same. In November of that year he embarked on an expedition to Argentina, where he was prayed over by a Pentecostal pastor named Claudio Freidzon, who himself had undertaken a spiritual pilgrimage through which he received "an impartation of spiritual anointing from both Benny Hinn and Rodney Howard-Browne."57 Freidzon’s ministry was now characterized by manifestations of "uncontrollable laughter."58

Claudio Freidzon asked Arnott "if he wanted this new empowerment, and if so to take it." While Carol, as John puts it, "went flying,"59 John didn’t know whether "to stand, fall, roll or forget it."60 John fell down, but he suspected that he was just "going along with it" as he had many times before. When John got up from the floor, Claudio walked over to him and said, "Do you want it?"61 Claudio then slapped John on both of his hands and immediately Arnott felt God prompt him with the message, "For goodness sake will you take this? It’s yours."62 With those words Arnott finally gave in and received the breakthrough he had been seeking so desperately.

The Arnotts traveled back from Argentina with great expectations. When they heard that, like them, Randy Clark had been touched, they invited him to speak. On January 20, 1994, he gave his testimony before 120 attendees at the Toronto Airport Vineyard. In short order "almost 80 percent of the people were on the floor."63 As John tells the story, "It was like an explosion. We saw people literally being knocked off their feet by the Spirit of God....Others shook and jerked. Some danced, some laughed. Some lay on the floor as if dead for hours. People cried and shouted."64

Like the congregation, the staff of the Toronto Airport Vineyard was dramatically impacted. Arnott reported that the sound man got "drunk, drunk, drunk."65 The church receptionist could not speak for three days and after that, "could only speak in tongues."66 Delighted, Arnott described how "our staff loves to get me on the floor, you know, they all run over, ‘Hey he’s down,’ you know. They come ‘More, Lord!’ [and] they try to get me to shake or jerk or something. It just makes their day."67



Party Now, Check the Fruit Later

As news of the strange goings on in Toronto spread, spiritually starved seekers from across North America and abroad began flocking to Toronto. Many have brought the experience back with them to their churches (e.g., Holy Trinity Brompton, an Anglican church in London), causing the "laughing revival" to become a truly global phenomenon.

Not everyone who has come seeking the Spirit in Toronto has been filled, however. John believes many frustrated seekers simply would not let go of their emotions. The reason John himself had such a hard time getting drunk and falling in the Spirit was, as Carol clarified, "You control your emotions. You control your responses."68

Controlling emotions is not only harmful to an individual, but doing so can also have a significant impact on others. John explains, "Many times Carol and I will be praying for people, we’re soakin’ ‘em, soakin’ ‘em, soakin’ ‘em, feel the anointing going in. Next thing you know the guy that’s supposed to be catching goes flying back ‘cause it just kind of, it’s got to go somewhere. If the person doesn’t take it, it goes to the catcher, or it rebounds back on the person praying, or something where they can’t take it." This dilemma can be solved, John says, if he and the other leaders "break those controls off of people and boom, they’ll take it just like that."69

Another reason for failing to receive is people’s fear of deception. The antidote, says Arnott, is not to become a good discerner, but instead, when one comes "asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, I don’t want you to even entertain the thought that you might get a counterfeit."70 John notes that, in the past, Vineyard leaders made mistakes regarding the supernatural: "We used to think when people shook, shouted, flopped, rolled, etc., that it was a demonic thing manifesting and we needed to take them out of the room. That was our grid, that’s what our experience had taught us, that demons could be powerful."71 Now John thinks these kinds of situations should be handled simply by enjoying the experiences and checking the "fruit" later. He explains, "Why would we focus, then, on ‘Yeah, but I don’t like the way he fell and shook and got stuck to the floor and everything!’ Listen! Who cares whether he did or he didn’t? Who cares? If he thinks it’s God and he likes it, let him enjoy it! Because you can test the fruit later."72 Caution would be a big mistake: "If you play it safe with this thing, the Holy Spirit, you know what? You’re never going to get anywhere."73

Arnott is quick to admit that in the beginning he had no "theological framework for parties."74 He adds, "I had no desire for Christians to fall down, roll around and laugh." Instead he says he wanted God to "save the lost, heal the sick, and expand the kingdom."75 Today, however, he proudly promotes parties during which Christians get "thoroughly blasted" while "Jesus picks up the tab."76

While he is happy to "marinate"77 Christians in the Holy Spirit, he complained when God began bringing "animal sounds" and "strange prophecy"78 to the party. When the Almighty allegedly asked, "Would you like Me to take it away?" Arnott quickly acquiesced.79

Arnott’s assumption that God was more interested in evangelism than experiences led to another unexpected revelation as well. As he preached salvation messages, he began to sense a "quenching of the Spirit." He went to the Lord in prayer and asked, "Well, why, why is this hard, like I would have thought you would have liked it if I’d have preached on that." To his astonishment, the Lord replied, "It’s because you’re pushing Me." And then God said, "Is it all right with you if I just love up on My church for a while?"80

John not only discussed this issue with God but he also discussed it with Randy Clark. Randy, like John, came to the conviction that, rather than giving people "the heavy message of holiness to start with,"81 it was wise for God to throw "a party first."82 Randy later elaborated: if God had not first thrown a party, "the church couldn’t even have responded" because "most of the people in church already feel so icky about themselves."83



No Laughing Matter

As attractive as they believe the "party" is, Laughing Revival leaders seem convinced that the day is coming when critics will polarize in opposition to those who know how to enjoy the party. Vineyard prophets Wes and Stacey Campbell point out that after people "throughout the entire Christian community of the world" find out about the party, "there will come a polarization."84 The Campbells warn that this is "no laughing matter."85 A horrendous "time of bloodshed" is coming in which "there won’t be a house that escapes weeping."86 God Himself (using Stacey Campbell as His mouthpiece) called upon those gathered at the Toronto Airport Vineyard:

Grab all you can while you can get it. Take what you can while you can have it. For the days are coming, says the Lord, when a great division will begin in the church, and a man's enemies will be those of his own household. And your parents will criticize you, and speak evil of you and say they have lost you to a cult. And your sons and daughters will say, "My parents have gone crazy." And there will be mourning in the house of God.

And I tell you there are those even among you now who are here simply to spread discord among the brethren. . . . And for the one who comes to bring division, to divide the Church of Christ, to cut off His arms and His legs, and the toes from His feet, the Lord says it would be better for Sodom and Gommorah than it will be for that one on that day. But I tell you, nonetheless, that division will come, and it is even now brewing like a leaven in the church.

For the Lord calls you right now, this day, seeing what you are seeing, hearing of the miracles you are hearing of, seeing the fruit of God that you are seeing, to call it God, endure to the end and be saved, or to follow after human wisdom and reasoning that kills the word of faith and brings division and justifies in self-righteousness the dividing of the church.

The Lord wants you to purpose in your heart this night, is it God or isn't it, and to stand by your commitment as you are called to stand by your confession of faith.87

God Almighty then summed up his sentiments in just three words — "Choose! Choose! Choose!"88

John Arnott likens the choice God is calling for to that which faced the Israelites while they were wandering in the desert three thousand years ago. Says Arnott, "God came along with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." However, "due to fear and unbelief," the Israelites failed "to possess the kingdom of God."89 According to Arnott, God is once again giving us an opportunity to "enter the promised land." The question is, will we be "radical enough to go for it"?90



THE FATAL FRUIT

The promised land described by John Arnott, Rodney Howard-Browne, and other proponents of this Counterfeit Revival is a utopia in which Christians will be "the head and not the tail," "the lender, not the borrower." They will dominate the sociopolitical systems of the day, and their leaders will be the greatest in the history of humanity.

Leaders of the Counterfeit Revival claim Christianity is in the embryonic stages of a new Pentecost more potent and powerful than the New Testament Pentecost. Arnott says, "We are currently in a time similar to the ministry of John the Baptist, which is preparing the way for a soon-coming time resembling the ministry of Jesus where powerful signs, wonders and miracles will take place."91



"The Best One So Far"

Of all the miracles claimed by the Counterfeit Revival, Arnott calls the healing of Sarah Lilliman "the best one so far." Arnott not only tells his unsuspecting audience that the healing was "documented," but also he makes a point to chide those who may not have had the kind of faith it took to facilitate the miracle.92

Sarah, says Arnott, was "like a vegetable...totally incapacitated, paralyzed, and blind." Her friend, "out under the power [at the Toronto Airport Vineyard] has a vision: Jesus said, ‘Go pray for Sarah, your friend, I’m going to heal her.’" To enthusiastic applause, Arnott continues, "That girl, totally incapacitated, paralyzed and blind, after two and a half hours of soaking prayer, got up seeing."

Sadly, however, Arnott’s story plays fast and loose with the truth. An examination of the facts shows just how wildly Arnott has embellished his story:

• Sarah was not totally incapacitated, paralyzed, and blind; Sarah’s doctors had diagnosed significant psychosomatic emotional problems underlying her physical problems.

• Jesus did not heal Sarah as He supposedly promised her friend He would.

• When Arnott’s associate (who allegedly documented the case) was interviewed, he confessed that he had not done any investigation.

Two months later, during a visit to the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Sarah’s friend claimed that God once again had a word for her. This time the Almighty told Sarah (through her friend) that if she "would go to the front of the church and testify, He would heal her eyes."93 An Arnott associate then promised Sarah that God was not only going to heal her eyes, but would heal her emotions as well.

Today, despite the broad circulation of this story by Arnott and his associates as evidence of God’s power in the Toronto Blessing, Sarah is still, as before, legally blind. Unfortunately, just as before, she and her family are continuing to struggle with her physical and psychosomatic disorders.

As will become painfully clear in Parts Two and Three of this series, this fabrication on the part of John Arnott is not unique. Fellow Counterfeit Revivalists pepper their appearances with fabrications, fantasies, and frauds, seemingly unaware of the disastrous consequences. Followers who at first crowded through the front doors of their churches often become disillusioned and fall out the back doors, some even into the kingdom of the cults. They no longer know what to believe and secretly fear that the untrustworthiness of those who claim to be God’s representatives may indicate the untrustworthiness of God Himself.



The Story of Kristy

I will close this installment with the story of one such disillusioned follower, who called me on the Bible Answer Man broadcast May 1, 1996. Just before signing off that day, I squeezed in one last phone call. The female voice on the other end of the line was obviously shaken and scared. She told me that her pastor had traveled to the Toronto Airport Vineyard and had "brought this thing back with him." While he had gone a skeptic, he returned a believer, persuaded that the power he had personally encountered was real. He convinced his parishioners to let him pray over them and they, too, began to experience what he had experienced. Kristy, however, did not experience anything but frustration.

If this was from God as her pastor claimed, she desperately needed His touch. "Why, God?" she pleaded, "Why are you leaving me out?" She sat down on the floor and began to cry bitterly as people all around her continued to laugh, shake, and be slain in the spirit. Suddenly, she realized she was flat on the floor, unable to move. Instantly her frustration turned to fear.

Although she recounted this to me more than a year later, I could still hear the fear in her voice. I was convinced she needed to understand exactly what had happened to her. I began by explaining why the experience she had been subjected to was unbiblical and dangerous. I described some of the common consequences of such behavior: wild swings of emotion, depression, anxiety, anger, irrational outbursts, prolonged trances, feelings of alienation, and confusion. As I spoke, she began to weep.

"That’s what happened to me!" she said between sobs. As she struggled to regain her composure, Kristy confessed that she was still reeling from the effects of her experience. She said that after she had finally gotten up off the ground, she felt as though she had "just run a one hundred mile marathon." In fact, the physical effects of her depression became so severe that her physician had to place her on antidepressant medication.

The spiritual consequences were equally severe. She began to question Christianity altogether. The happiness she had sought so desperately through an esoteric experience had turned into a living hell:

My relationship with the Lord is totally turned upside down. I am afraid to pray. I am afraid to find out what that experience really was, because I know it wasn’t of the Lord. I’m afraid to go to church, afraid of God. I’ve seen things that go against every good thing I learned in the Bible as a new Christian. It terrifies me. It’s so scary to me. I’m afraid this has done something to my husband and me forever.

It has taken both of us so long to get back into the discipline of Bible study and prayer. It’s almost like we don’t understand salvation anymore. I remember days when it was so clear, and now it seems so confusing. I'm still scared. We read and we pray, but still the relationship we had just doesn't seem to be what it used to be. I don't call this a "blessing!" It was a nightmare that is just now beginning to lift from me, my husband, and our marriage. It makes me so angry to see how much this has hurt our family and messed up our relationships.

I can’t believe where I’m at now spiritually. I have no desire for the Lord. I am now so critical and so skeptical that I don’t know who to trust.

I know there are so many believers like me who don’t know. It was so gradual. When the leadership you’ve trusted, the leadership that seemed to be so grounded in the Word endorses this stuff, you feel guilty going against it.

As I continued to talk with Kristy, she began to understand how she, like her pastor, had succumbed to the sociopsychological manipulation tactics that will be described in Part Three of this series. She also began to comprehend that these manipulation techniques provided the fertile soil in which satanic and spiritual deception grow.

Understanding brought closure, and suddenly she began to see the silver lining in this ominous cloud. "My story has to help others," she said, "otherwise it is a waste. I can speak from both sides now. I experienced the numbness in my body, but now I know it wasn't from God. If I can help someone, then it will be worth all the pain. I know the experience was real; now I also know how it was produced. Now more than ever, I know it wasn't from God."


*This article is adapted from Hank Hanegraaff's book, Counterfeit Revival, published by Word Publishing, April 1997.



NOTES

1Mike Bickle, Overview of Corporate Long Term Vision (n.p.), 5 January 1986; audiotape.
2Figures given by both news sources and leaders of the Counterfeit Revival are not always consistent.
3Richard Ostling, "Laughing for the Lord" in Time, 15 August 1994, 38.
4Kenneth L. Woodward, Jeanne Gordon, Carol Hall, and Barry Brown, "The Giggles Are for God," Newsweek, 20 February 1995, 54.
5Walter Goodman, "About Churches, Souls, and Show-Biz Methods," The New York Times, 16 March 1995, B4.
6Rodney Howard-Browne, 17 January 1995, meeting at Melodyland Christian Center, Anaheim, CA.
7Ibid.
8Rodney Howard-Browne, 16 and 17 January 1995, meeting at Melodyland Christian Center, Anaheim, CA.
9Rodney Howard-Browne, Fresh Oil from Heaven (Louisville, KY: RHBEA Publications, 1992), 28; see also his The Touch of God (Louisville, KY: RHBEA Publications, 1992), 73; Manifesting the Holy Ghost (Louisville, KY: RHBEA Publications, 1992), 14; and related in Charisma magazine, August 1994, 22-23.
10Rodney Howard-Browne, Flowing in the Holy Ghost (Louisville, KY: RHBEA Publications, 1991), 15. In other booklets such as Manifesting the Holy Ghost (14), Howard-Browne says he shouted, "God, I want your fire! Let the fire fall here tonight like it did at Pentecost!"
11Howard-Browne, Fresh Oil from Heaven, 27-28. In some renditions of this story, Howard-Browne says the fire burned in his body for three rather than for four days (such as in his The Touch of God, 74).
12Howard-Browne, Manifesting the Holy Ghost, 29.
13Ibid.
14Howard-Browne, The Touch of God, 100.
15Howard-Browne, Manifesting the Holy Ghost, 22.
16Ibid., 25.
17Ibid.
18Howard-Browne, The Touch of God, 133-34.
19Ibid., 134.
20Howard-Browne, Manifesting the Holy Ghost, 25.
21Ibid., 26-27.
22Ibid.
23Julia Duin, "Praise the Lord and Pass the New Wine," Charisma, August 1994, 23.
24Ibid., 21.
25Ibid.
26Dave Roberts, The "Toronto" Blessing (Eastbourne, England: Kingsway Publications, 1994), 87.
27"News Briefs," Charisma, August 1994, 62.
28Charles and Frances Hunter, Holy Laughter (Kingwood, TX: Hunter Books, 1994), 35.
29Howard-Browne, Manifesting the Holy Ghost, 22, 25; Howard-Browne, The Touch of God, 134.
30Duin, 24.
31Richard M. Riss, in A History of the Worldwide Awakening of 1992-1995, 11th ed. (self-published, 15 October 1995), 10, says it was 13 weeks.
32J. Lee Grady, "Laughter in Lakeland," Charisma, August 1995, 61-62.
33Duin, 24.
34Ibid.
35Riss, 12.
36Hunters, 35.
37Ibid., front cover copy.
38Ibid., 5.
39Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), 336.
40Randy Clark, Catch the Fire ‘94, Test Me Now...I Will Back You Up. Toronto Airport Vineyard, 13 October 1994; audiotape.
41Ibid.
42Ibid.
43Ibid.
44Riss, 22.
45Clark.
46Riss, 22; and Clark.
47Riss, 22; and Clark.
48Clark. Although this is the consistent story found in most of Randy's messages and recounted in Riss as well (22), Guy Chevreau tells a different story, perhaps about a subsequent event, or perhaps he is confused about when the revival began in Randy’s church. Chevreau says, "Five months later, at a Browne meeting Randy attended in Lakeland, Florida, Rodney discerned a powerful anointing being released in Randy’s life — he came over to him and said, ‘This is the fire of God in your hands; go home and pray for everyone in your church.’ The first Sunday of Randy’s return, he did as instructed, and saw a similar outbreak of the Spirit as he ministered" (Guy Chevreau, Catch the Fire: The Toronto Blessing — An Experience of Renewal and Revival [London: Marshall Pickering, 1994], 24-25).
49Clark.
50At the beginning of 1996 the Toronto Airport Vineyard changed its name to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship after the church was no longer accepted as a member of the Association of Vineyard Churches. Since in this article most of the comments quoted from Toronto leaders were said before the name change, in most instances I have retained the name Toronto Airport Vineyard.
51Clark.
52Clark. There is a slightly different version of this message recounted by Chevreau in Catch the Fire, 25.
53Riss, 23.
54Ibid.
55John Arnott and Guy Chevreau, Pastor’s Conference, Toronto Airport Vineyard, 19 October 1994; audiotape transcript.
56John Arnott, Discovery Church, Orlando, Florida, 29 January 1995; audiotape transcript.
57Roberts, 64.
58Ibid., 15.
59Chevreau, 23.
60Ibid.
61Ibid., 24.
62Ibid.
63John Arnott, The Father’s Blessing (Orlando: Creation House Publishers, 1995), 20.
64Ibid., 71-72.
65Quoted in Riss, 26.
66Ibid.
67John Arnott, Discovery Church.
68Ibid.
69Ibid.
70John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, 16 December 1994; audiotape transcript.
71John Arnott, Dynamics of Receiving Spiritual Experiences, Toronto Airport Vineyard, 18 November 1994; audiotape transcript.
72Ibid.
73John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, 16 December 1994.
74John Arnott, The Father's Blessing, 210.
75Ibid., 206.
76Ibid., 224 and 209-10.
77Ibid., 167.
78Ibid., 183.
79Ibid.
80Arnott and Chevreau.
81Clark.
82Ibid.
83Ibid.
84Wes Campbell, Toronto Airport Vineyard, 14 October 1994; audiotape transcript.
85Ibid.
86Ibid.
87Ibid.
88Ibid.
89John Arnott, The Father’s Blessing, 204.
90Ibid., 205.
91Spread the Fire, May/June 1995, vol. 1, no. 3, 2.
92John Arnott, "Valuing the Anointing," Toronto Airport Vineyard, 15 October 1994; audiotape.
93Chevreau, 148; see also, James A. Beverley, Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 115-20.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Rodney Howard-Browne

Rodney Howard-Browne, another Word-Faith proponent, is the
man responsible for the Laughing Revival of the Toronto Airport Vineyard. Subsequently,the revival was taken from Toronto to Brownsville by the leadership of the Brownsville Assembly of God.

Rodney Howard-Browne teaches that Jesus was not God while here on earth. In his
book, The Touch of God, Howard-Browne says, Nothing Jesus did was because He was the Son of God. The Bible says He laid aside His royal robes of deity and when He walked the earth He did so as a prophet under the Abrahamic Covenant. This statement, claiming that Jesus laid aside His deity while on earth, is a denial of the deity of Christ, which is heresy. Thus, Howard-Browne, a man directly responsible for the current Brownsville revival movement, also teaches a
false Jesus.

This quote from Rodney Howard-Brown is attributed to this book The Touch of God, Pages 13-14. I will order the book to conform this quote is in the book.
Until I receive the book, I can only say that this is a very serious charge and all Christians should research the matter for themselves to see if Rodney Howard-Browne actually wrote that.


more to come...
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 5 Comments Links to this post

A Critique Of Rodney Howard Browne

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6


Part 7


Part 8


Part 9


Part 10
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

New Hope Church Abilene TX

It looks like New Hope Church in Abilene, TX is continuing to show a lack of spiritual discernment. Before we look at an upcoming event that New Hope is hosting lets look back in time.


Ignite 2009
Igniting the Flame of Revival Through Prayer
January 2 @ 7 pm
January 3 @ 10 am, 2 pm, and 7 pm
Wesley & Stacey Campbell are founders of Revival Now! Ministries and 'Praying the Bible International', and a mercy organization for children at risk called 'Be A Hero' (www.beahero.org). They are producers of the "Praying the Bible" CDs and co-authors of several Praying the Bible books.


New Hope brought this woman to Abilene:






I wonder if there was a meeting to talk about who they should bring to Abilene? Did they ask, can we find a woman who hisses like a snake as she gives words that are supposedly from God?


I posted a long article about Stacy Campbell. You can read it at this link: IS NEW HOPE CHURCH DECEIVED?


Today as I was at church preparing to preach, a member of my church handed me a flyer that someone had gave them yesterday while they were at a store.

It now appears that New Hope is bringing people who are associated with the Ministry of this man:

Rodney Howard Browne!









Year after year this man makes claims and promises:




Still waiting for that revival!


more to come...
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 6 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Church History

I am a student of Church history and read as much as I can as often as I can. Today my reading has been on the Synod of Elvira. Sometimes is is referred to as, The Council of Elvira. There is some debate on the year the Council occurred. Most think it was somewhere between 303 and 314 A.D.


Let's step back in time and read the Canons of the Council of Elvira:

CANONS



1. A baptized adult who commits the capital crime of sacrificing to the idols is not to receive communion even when death approaches.

2. Flamens (a priest in a temple) who have been baptized but who then offer sacrifices will double their guilt by adding murder (if they organize public games) or even triple it with sexual immorality, and they cannot receive communion even when death approaches.

3. Flamens who have not offered sacrifices but who have presided at public games have kept themselves from complete destruction and may receive communion when death approaches if they have done the required penance. If they commit sexual offenses after completing the penance, they shall be denied any further communion since receiving communion would make a mockery of the Sunday communion.

4. Flamens who have been catechumens for three years and who have abstained from sacrifices may be baptized.

5. If a woman beats her servant and causes death within three days, she shall undergo seven years' penance if the injury was inflicted on purpose and five years' if it was accidental. She shall not receive communion during this penance unless she becomes ill. If so, she may receive communion.

6. If someone kills another by sorcery or magic, that person shall not receive communion, even at the time of death, for this action is a form of idolatry.

7. If a Christian completes penance for a sexual offense and then again commits fornication, he or she may not receive communion even when death approaches.

8. Women who without acceptable cause leave their husbands and join another man may not receive communion even when death approaches.

9. A baptized woman who leaves an adulterous husband who has been baptized, for another man, may not marry him. If she does, she may not receive communion until her former husband dies, unless she is seriously ill.

10. If an unbaptized woman marries another man after being deserted by her husband who was a catechumen, she may still be baptized. This is also true for female catechumens. If a Christian woman marries a man in the knowledge that he deserted his former wife without cause, she may receive communion only at the time of her death.

11. If a female catechumen marries a man in the knowledge that he deserted his former wife without cause, she may not be baptized for five years unless she becomes seriously ill.

12. Parents and other Christians who give up their children to sexual abuse are selling others' bodies, and if they do so or sell their own bodies, they shall not receive communion even at death.

13. Virgins who have been consecrated to God shall not commune even as death approaches if they have broken the vow of virginity and do not repent. If, however, they repent and do not engage in intercourse again, they may commune when death approaches.

14 If a virgin does not preserve her virginity but then marries the man, she may commune after one year, without doing penance, for she only broke the laws of marriage. If she has been sexually active with other men, she must complete a penance of five years before being readmitted to communion.

15. Christian girls are not to marry pagans, no matter how few eligible men there are, for such marriages lead to adultery of the soul.

16. Heretics shall not be joined in marriage with Catholic girls unless they accept the Catholic faith. Catholic girls may not marry Jews or heretics, because they cannot find a unity when the faithful and the unfaithful are joined. Parents who allow this to happen shall not commune for five years.

17. If parents allow their daughter to marry a pagan priest, they shall not receive communion even at the time of death.

18. Bishops, presbyters, and deacons, once they have taken their place in the ministry, shall not be given communion even at the time of death if they are guilty of sexual immorality. Such scandal is a serious offense.

19. Bishops, presbyters, and deacons shall not leave the area where they work, or travel in the provinces, in order to engage in profitable ventures. If it is an economic necessity, let them send a son, a freedman, an employee, a friend, or someone else. They should engage only in business activities within their own area.

20. If any clergy are found engaged in usury, let them be censured and dismissed. If a layman is caught practicing usury, he may be pardoned if he promises to stop the practice. If he continues this evil practice, let him be expelled from the church.

21. If anyone who lives in the city does not attend church services for three Sundays, let that person be expelled for a brief time in order to make the reproach public.

22. If people fall from the Catholic church into heresy and then return, let them not be denied penance, since they have acknowledged their sin. Let them be given communion after ten years' penance. If children have been led into heresy, it is not their own fault, and they should be received back immediately.

23. In order to help those who are weak, the rigorous fasting that requires no eating for a whole day shall be dropped during the months of July and August.

24. Individuals shall not be admitted as clergy in a province other than the one where they were baptized. Otherwise their life would not be known by those who examine them.

25. Those who have letters of recommendation referring to them as "confessors" should obtain new letters affirming them as “communicants" instead. Simple people are deceived by the honored title of "confessor."

26. The rigorous form of fasting is to be followed every Saturday. This will correct a mistake in our present practice.

27. A bishop or other cleric may have only a sister or a daughter who is a virgin consecrated to God living with him. No other woman who is unrelated to him may remain.

28. A bishop may not receive the offerings of those who are not allowed to receive communion.

29. Persons who have an erratic spirit shall not have their name added to the list of those making offerings, nor shall they be allowed to exercise any form of ministry in the congregation.

30. Those who sinned sexually as youth may not be ordained as subdeacons. This will guard against their being promoted to higher offices later on. If they have already been ordained, they shall be removed from their office.

31. Young men who have been baptized and then are involved in sexual immorality may be admitted to communion when they marry if they have fulfilled the required penance.

32. Anyone who has fallen into mortal ruin because of sin must seek penance from the bishop and not a presbyter. In extreme illness a presbyter may offer communion or may direct a deacon to do so.

33. Bishops, presbyters, deacons, and others with a position in the ministry are to abstain completely from sexual intercourse with their wives and from the procreation of children. If anyone disobeys, he shall be removed from the clerical office.

34. Candles are not to be burned in a cemetery during the day. This practice is related to paganism and is harmful to Christians. Those who do this are to be denied the communion of the church.

35. Women are not to remain in a cemetery during the night. Some engage in wickedness rather than prayer.

36. Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration.

37. Those who have suffered from an evil spirit may be baptized as death approaches. If they have been baptized, they may be given communion. Such people are not, however, to light the church candles in public. If they do so, they are to be denied communion.

38. A baptized Christian who has not rejected the faith nor committed bigamy may baptize a catechumen who is in danger of death, if they are on a sea voyage or if there is no church nearby. If the person survives, he or she shall go to the bishop for the laying on of hands.

39. A pagan who requests the laying on of hands at a time of illness, may receive the imposition of hands and become a Christian if his or her life has been reasonably honest.

40. Landlords may not receive as rent anything that has already been offered to idols. If they do so, they shall be excluded from communion for five years.

41. Christians are to prohibit their slaves from keeping idols in their houses. If this is impossible to enforce, they must at least avoid the idols and remain pure. If this does not happen, they are alienated from the church.

42. Those with a good reputation who seek to become Christians shall remain as catechumens for two years before being baptized. Should they become seriously ill, they may request and receive baptism earlier.

43. In accordance with the Scripture we shall celebrate Pentecost and not continue the false practice [of celebrating the fortieth day after Easter rather than the fiftieth]. If one does not accept this practice, it will be considered a new heresy.

44. A former prostitute who has married and who seeks admission to the Christian faith shall be received without delay.

45. A catechumen who has stayed away from the church for a long time may be baptized if one of the clergy supports his or her claim to be a Christian, or if some of the faithful attest to this, and it appears that the person has reformed.

46. If a Christian gives up the faith and stays away from the church for a long time, provided he or she has not become an idolater, he or she may be received back and commune after ten years of penance.

47. If a baptized married man commits adultery repeatedly, he is to be asked as he nears death whether or not he will reform should he recover. If he so promises, he may receive communion. If he recovers and commits adultery again, he may not commune again, even as death approaches.

48. Those being baptized are not to place money in the baptismal shell since it seems to indicate that the priest is selling what is a free gift. The feet of the newly baptized are not to be washed by the priests or clerics.

49. Landlords are not to allow Jews to bless the crops they have received from God and for which they have offered thanks. Such an action would make our blessing invalid and meaningless. Anyone who continues this practice is to be expelled completely from the church.

50. If any cleric or layperson eats with Jews, he or she shall be kept from communion as a way of correction.

51. If a baptized person has come from heresy, he must not become a cleric. One who has already been ordained is to be removed from office immediately.

52. Anyone who writes scandalous graffiti in a church is to be condemned.

53. A person who has been excluded from communion for an offense can be readmitted only by the bishop who ordered the excommunication. Another bishop who readmits him or her without obtaining the consent of the first bishop is liable to bring tension among his brothers and may be removed from office.

54. Parents who fail to keep the betrothal agreement and who break their child's engagement are to be kept from communion for three years. If the bride or groom has committed a serious crime, the parents are justified in such an action. If both the bride and groom are involved in the sin, the first rule applies and the parents may not interfere.

55. Priests who continue to wear the secular wreath [as former flamens] but who do not perform sacrifices or make offerings to idols may receive communion after two years.

56. Magistrates are not to enter the church during the year in which they serve as duumvir [the government official who presides at public occasions and national feasts].

57. Women and men who willingly allow their clothing to be used in secular spectacles and processions shall be denied communion for three years.

58. In all places, and especially where the bishop resides, those who bring letters indicating their right to commune shall be examined to affirm the testimony.

59. A Christian may not go to the capitol and watch the pagans offer their sacrifices. If a Christian does, he or she is guilty of the same sin and may not commune before completing ten years of penance.

60. If someone smashes an idol and is then punished by death, he or she may not be placed in the list of martyrs, since such action is not sanctioned by the Scriptures or by the apostles.

61. A man who, after his wife's death, marries her baptized sister may not commune for five years unless illness requires that reconciliation be offered sooner.

62. Chariot racers or pantomimes must first renounce their profession and promise not to resume it before they may become Christians. If they fail to keep this promise, they shall be expelled from the church.

63. If a woman conceives in adultery and then has an abortion, she may not commune again, even as death approaches, because she has sinned twice.

64. A woman who remains in adultery to the time of her death may not commune. If she breaks the relationship, she must complete ten years' penance before communing.

65. If a cleric knows of his wife's adultery and continues to live with her, he shall not receive communion even before death in order not to let it appear that one who is to exemplify a good life has condoned sin.

66. A man who marries his stepdaughter is guilty of incest and may not commune even before death.

67. A woman who is baptized or is a catechumen must not associate with hairdressers or men with long hair. If she does this, she is to be denied communion.

68. A catechumen who conceives in adultery and then suffocates the child may be baptized only when death approaches.

69. A married person who commits adultery once may be reconciled after five years' penance unless illness necessitates an earlier reconciliation.

70. A husband who knows of his wife's adultery and who remains with her may not commune even prior to death. If he lived with his wife for a period of time after her adultery and then left her, he may not commune for ten years.

71. Those who sexually abuse boys may not commune even when death approaches.

72. If a widow has intercourse and then marries the man, she may only commune after five years' penance. If she marries another man instead, she is excluded from communion even at the time of death. If the man she marries is a Christian, she may not receive communion until completing ten years' penance, unless illness makes earlier communion advisable.

73. A Christian who denounces someone who is then ostracized or put to death may not commune even as death approaches. If the case was less severe, he or she may commune in less than five years. If the informer was a catechumen, he or she may be baptized after five years.

74. Those who are false witnesses commit a crime and are to be excluded. If their action did not bring about death, and they explain the reasons for their testimony, they shall be excluded for two years. If their explanation is not accepted by the assembled clergy, they are excluded for five years.

75. If someone falsely accuses a bishop, presbyter, or deacon of a crime and cannot offer evidence, he or she is excluded from communion even at the time of death.

76. If a deacon confesses that he had committed a mortal crime before ordination, he is excluded from communion and must complete three years' penance. If, however, the sin is disclosed by someone else, he must complete five years' penance before being accepted as a layman to receive communion.

77. If a deacon serving a community without a bishop or presbyter baptizes, the bishop shall then give his blessing to those baptized. If someone dies before receiving the blessing, that person is to be regarded as justified by his or her faith.

78. If a Christian confesses adultery with a Jewish or pagan woman, he is denied communion for some time. If his sin is exposed by someone else, he must complete five years' penance before receiving the Sunday communion.

79. Christians who play dice for money are to be excluded from receiving communion. If they amend their ways and cease, they may receive communion after one year.

80. Slaves who have been freed but whose former masters are yet alive may not be ordained as clergy.

81. A woman may not write to other lay Christians without her husband's consent. A woman may not receive letters of friendship addressed to her only and not to her husband as well.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Moment That Made Him The King Of Pop

Following from NPR:

I don't think there's ever been anyone harder to write about than Michael Jackson. On the one hand, he was brilliantly talented. On the other hand, he gave every appearance of having destroyed himself.

On the one hand, there were allegations about him that were horrifying. On the other hand, he did nonsense things that were hard not to find amusingly bizarre. (The chimp, and so forth.)

I'm not sure this is one where, in remembering his life, there's such a thing as "putting aside what he did offstage" — simply because his offstage life has so thoroughly dominated his performing career for so many years, in such powerful ways.

So for me, there is just this.

Jackson's performance of "Billie Jean" on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, the 1983 television special, caught him precisely at the moment when he was at his most amazing, his most otherworldly in a good way, his most lithe and eye-popping and wonderfully alien. Still recognizably the kid who sang "The Love You Save," but recognizably something entirely new as well. It was six months after the release of Thriller.

For many, many people, this was the first opportunity they had to see this incarnation of him. This is where everyone I knew first saw the moonwalk, and if you weren't there or didn't watch it or maybe weren't a kid at the time, you cannot imagine what a big deal it was. I was in middle school, and I think we all tried it. You can hear the crowd scream when he does it here — it's not a scream of recognition, like it would be when he did it later. It's a scream of shock.

Before YouTube allowed people to actually relive a performance like this at will and en masse, this was the sort of thing that spread as legend more than as reality. Watch this, though, and you can see that it was entirely real:









Here are my comments:


Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Facebook

Join us at our Facebook page.

Just search for Reformed Church and become our friend. We post a lot of thing their and you can chat with us in real time. We look forward to becoming friends.

www.facebook.com
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Young Arminians Attack

Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Birth of St. John the Baptist









The Nativity of St. John the Baptist (or Birth of John the Baptist, or Nativity of the Forerunner) is a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of Jesus’ cousin, Saint John the Baptist.


The Nativity of St John the Baptist is one of the oldest festivals of the Christian church, being listed by the Council of Agde in 506 as one of that region's principal festivals, where it was a day of rest and, like Christmas, was celebrated with three Masses: a vigil, at dawn, and at midday.

The Nativity of St John the Baptist on June 24 comes three months after the celebration on March 25 of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel told Our Lady that her cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy,[1] and six months before the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus. The purpose of these festivals is not to celebrate the exact dates of these events, but simply to commemorate them in an interlinking way.

Link to the original source: John The Baptist



We will be studying this during the Wednesday evening service at Victory Baptist Church.

I will post the message tomorrow night.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 1 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Arminian Theology in View, Part 3

OK...in my daily reading (and hopefully your's too, Victory Baptist Church!) I came across a passage that was very appropriate to my recent readings in the Arminian Theology book I've recently commented on. When you read in 1 Kings 12 you find Solomon dead, the people asking for a reprieve of all the tasks...and his son Rehoboam listening to the competing counsel of his father's advisors and his own young, inexperienced strap-hanging friends. Rehoboam is not sure what to do...be lenient or harsher on the people. He decides the latter. Here is the passage:

  • 1 Kings 12:14-15- "And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat."
So...why did Rehoboam do what he did? Was it because he was evil and depraved...of course! But what is the ultimate reason why he did it according to the text? It was the Lord's sovereign will..."for the cause was from the LORD" that He would fulfill the prophecy from 1 Kings 11:31-36.

  • 1 Kings 11:31-36- "And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: 32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) 33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. 34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: 35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. 36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there."
According to Professor Olson's book God didn't want to do this...but because He loved Rehoboam he had to respect his free will and let him do it. How does this kind of logic explain that the passage in chapter 12:15 which says "Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat."

In verse 15 the Hebrew word means "turn of events/turn of affairs." This turn of events was of the Lord for His own glory and according to His all-wise and eternal, redemptive purposes. Personally I think we need to stop trying to get God "off the hook" and let His Word speak for itself.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Jim Leavenworth at 0 Comments Links to this post

Laugh!

Sorry folks! After reading the book I just posted on...this is what I feel like when I read about the Arminian/Reformed debate. Laugh!

























































































Bookmark and Share
> posted by Jim Leavenworth at 3 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Arminian Theology in View, Part 2

Still reading "Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities" by Roger E. Olson. This is supposed to be a scholarly review of Arminian theology that debunks all the myths that Calvinists (like myself) erroneously hold to. To be fair, I've learned a lot about what true, classical Arminianism holds to...and I'm better able to talk about those views now. The problem I have is the total lack of Scriptural support in the book. It's HORRIBLE!

I'm on page 123 right now in a 250 page book. So far he's referenced 17 scripture verses and mentioned 4 chapters (i.e. "if you look at Romans 9"). He did not do a single bit of exegesis on ANY of the passages. The verses are quoted as proof themselves without exegeting a single verse...this is extremely pitiful. I don't get this when I read anything by Reformed writers such as James White, John Piper or R.C. Sproul! Their books are packed with Scripture and exegesis! Is it because the non-reformed side tends to have fallacious arguments?

Here is food for thought. On pages 122-123 he says the following about Arminius' views on the sovereignty of God:

"This is why Scripture sometimes attributes evil deeds to God; because God concurs with them. God cooperates with the sinners who commit them. But that does not mean God is the efficacious cause of them or wills them, except according to his 'consequent will.' God allows them and cooperates with the unwillingly in order to preserve the sinners' liberty, without which sinners would not be responsible and repentant persons would not enter into a truly personal and loving relationship with God."

So here's the issue...Arminianism, according to the auther, is driven by the main idea of God's character. God is love and can only act according to His nature which is primarily defined by love (I'd disagree...I'd say it's His holiness!). Because He is loving He will not violate His creatures' freedom/liberty...and thus He allows them to sin.

This does not make sense to me. How can God be the loving God of Arminianism and allow Adam and Eve to rebel and fall and plunge the entire race in sin? Think of this illustration that I believe I hinted at in the last post; If you are a parent...would you look at your child about to play with a rattlesnake and say to yourself..."I must let them do it, if I violate his/her free will then I don't love him!" Rubbish! And another question popped into my mind when I read this...where's the beef?! Where are the Scripture references and exegesis to back this idea up? Non-existent in this book.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Jim Leavenworth at 0 Comments Links to this post

The End Is Coming in '2012'?






The book that started it all:
















2012 gained the patina of doom with the best-selling 1966 book "The Maya" by Harvard archeologist Michael D. Coe. He noted that the Mayan culture's famously complex "Long Count" calendar simply ends on 12/21/12, speculating that civilization might come crashing down on that date.

Here is the link to the book: Maya
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ten Reasons You Need to Study Theology

Five Reasons You Need to Study Theology
by Nathan W. Bingham on February 25, 2009

Words such as theology and doctrine come with negative connotations for many Christians. This is a great tragedy, as I firmly believe every Christian needs to study theology to some degree in their Christian walk. Along with Andrew’s series on the importance of Biblical doctrine, there are many reasons why Christian’s need to study theology. In no particular order here are five reasons you need to study theology, and hopefully some of these you won’t have considered before.

You’re a theologian already…
Why do you need to study theology? Because theology isn’t something only a Professor of Theology has–we all believe something about God and therefore are theologians in our own right. However, what needs to be asked is whether what you believe is correct, and the study of theology can help answer that question.
Your love for Jesus is intrinsically linked with your knowledge of His Word…
Why do you need to study theology? Because Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) I heard someone remark that a certain Christian may not have been that great theologically, but that was okay because they really loved Jesus. However, Jesus says that if we love Him, we will obey what He commands. How can we obey Him if we don’t go to His Word to rightly know His commands?

Your doctrine will determine how you live…
Why do you need to study theology? Because what you believe (your doctrine) will determine how you live (your practice). This can be seen in everyday life. If you believe something to be poisonous, you simply won’t drink it. Similarly, your beliefs about God and His Word determine how you live day to day. For example if you believe God only speaks through His Word then you will study it diligently, however if you believe God speaks through impressions and the like, then you’ll listen for that still small voice. The aforementioned example drastically changes how a person goes about determining God’s will for their lives, and illustrates why you need to study theology.

Your affections will determine what you study…
Why do you need to study theology? Because what your affections are placed upon will determine what you spend your time studying. If your hobby is photography you will want to study the subject to know how to improve your photographs and to increase your love and appreciation for that pass-time. Likewise, if you’re a Christian and your primary affection is upon God, why would you not want to study His Word to increase your love and appreciation for Him and His gospel?
Your humility depends on it…

Why do you need to study theology? Because without studying theology it is possible that you will think too highly of yourself, and not high enough of God. It is true that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1), however the Scriptures rightly understood and applied, will give you, for example, the knowledge of man’s utter depravity and wretchedness before God, and also of God’s magnificence, holiness, sovereignty and grace, which can only serve to send a true convert to his knees in humility.

May God be glorified as you study theology, humbly opening His Word with the desire to know more about His special revelation to man.




Your thinking will become less individualistic…

Why do you need to study theology? Because as you do, you will realise that you are not the first ever Christian. Great men of God have gone before you. Great minds, great theologians, men who have considered God to a depth that you will likely never achieve, have all gone before you. You will begin to realise that it isn’t all about ‘you’, nor is it all about the men of God who have gone before you. Ultimately, it’s all about your sovereign God, the One who is building His Church (Matthew 16:18).

Your discernment will be sharpened…
Why do you need to study theology? Because as you study theology you will better know the faith that ”was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3c) and consequently your discernment will be sharpened. Jude knows all to well that error abounded in his time, and would abound in yours, and the only way to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3b) as he commanded is to return to God’s Word and study. Without it, you won’t be sharp, being able to discern truth from error.
Your view of the Bible has changed…

Why do you need to study theology? Because your view of the Bible has changed. The Bible is no longer a book of stories and myths belonging to antiquity. You now see the Bible as the very Word of the living God, who condescended and graciously decided to reveal Himself to man. This understanding alone should be enough to drive you to the Word, to study it so as to know what God has said to the best of your ability.

Your defense of the faith depends on it…
Why do you need to study theology? Because we are commanded “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15) and unbelievers will have questions about what you believe; this is theology. Unfortunately, when Christians answer people’s questions they can give poor answers, confusing answers, or worse still, answers that aren’t Biblical; all because they haven’t taken the time to study theology. God will and does use you despite your frailty, however the gospel is an offense enough without you misrepresenting the One who sent you as an ambassador.

Your theology has likely been formed due to ‘where’ you heard the gospel…
Why do you need to study theology? Because most of what you believe has likely been formed due to ‘where’ you heard the gospel. For example, as I examine what I believe now in comparrison to what I did when I was first converted, my beliefs are vastly different! So why is it that you believe what you believe? Is it because that church where you first heard the gospel believed it, or is it because you have studied the Scriptures and studied theology for yourself?

May God be glorified as you study theology, humbly opening His Word with the desire to know more about His special revelation to man.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 1 Comments Links to this post

Why Study Theology?

Why Study Theology?

by Shane Rosenthal
Shane Rosenthal, M.A., Historical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary in CA,

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


American culture is arguably heading more and more in an entertainment oriented and anti-intellectual direction, and this approach is not without its effects on American Christianity. Too often Christians are put-off by theology and the deep reflection of the Bible's rich doctrines, yet these are the things that make up the most exciting and rewarding parts of the Christian life.

In his struggle against religious liberalism in the 1920's, J. Gresham Machen summarized the liberal approach to Christianity: "Theology, or the knowledge of God, it is said, is the death of religion; we should not seek to know God, but should merely feel his presence." With this approach, the Princeton apologist could not bring himself to agree; "it ought to be observed that if religion consists merely in feeling the presence of God, it is devoid of any moral quality whatsoever. . . Certainly it does make the greatest possible difference what we think about God; the knowledge of God is the very basis of religion." In other words, if feeling and experience is the essence of religion, then perhaps one could justify murder, theft, or even dabbling with the occult, simply because "it feels right." The founder of Christianity, however, had a different approach: 'You are really my disciples if you hold to my teaching" (Jn 8:31).

There is undeniably a doctrinal core to the Christian faith. We confess not merely the fact of Christ's death, but that his death was an atonement for sin. True faith, therefore, rests on the foundation of certain doctrinal claims: "I believe that Jesus died for my sins," etc. However, today it is common once again to hear Christians say for example: "I don't get into that theology stuff. I let my pastor handle all that because he went to seminary." Unfortunately, this is not true faith. True Christian faith rests in the finished work of Christ, whereas the person who makes this kind of statement is actually trusting in his or her pastor's faith. If you trust in your pastor's faith, what happens if your pastor runs off with the church secretary? If you leave theology to the so-called experts, how will you know if your church begins to teach false doctrine? (Eph 4:14). How will you share your faith with others? (1 Pet 3:15). What will keep you from joining a cult or a non-Christian religion? By acquiring an understanding of what you believe and why you believe it, you will be able deal with questions such as these.

The command to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength is a serious charge, and it suggests that our whole bodies are to be involved in the worship of God; yes, even our minds. Unfortunately contemporary American culture does not encourage us to use our minds. Often in the church this masquerades as spiritual superiority. "Why split hairs over theological subtleties, isn't the real important thing that we love and serve Jesus?" Whenever I hear questions like these, I usually respond with a few questions of my own: "Who is Jesus? Is He just a nice guy, a great teacher, or is He God in human flesh? What was significant about His death? Did it merely show us how much He loved us or did He satisfy God's wrath toward us? What does it mean to serve Him? Do we serve Him by taking drugs and having mystical experiences, by throwing young virgins into volcanoes, or by attempting to love our neighbors as ourselves?" You see, if theology is really irrelevant, it would make no difference whatsoever who Christ is or even how we are saved. As novelist Dorothy Sayers argued in her book Creed or Chaos, "It is the dogma that is the drama!" Christ is worth honoring and serving because of who he is and what he has accomplished, and that is what theology is all about!

Another phrase I hear often these days is this: "Well, my idea of God is. . . ." The problem is that your idea of God just might be idolatry if it is not based squarely upon the Word of God. Theology defines the boundaries of our thoughts concerning God; it takes into consideration all of the Scriptural data on a given subject, such as the attributes of God, the work of Christ, or the ramifications of sin. Theology attempts to give an account of how God has revealed Himself to His people in history. This is why theology is ultimately the most practical thing a Christian can be involved with, for what could be more practical than to know who God is, what He is like, what the basic message of the Bible is, etc. Ignoring God's own self revelation, and focusing on what Christ can do for us now (either in terms of experiences, or changed lives, etc.) is to lose the essence of Christianity which is centered on the historic gospel of Christ's death and resurrection. Again from Machen, "If the saving work of Christ were confined to what He does now for every Christian, there would be no such thing as a Christian gospel--an account of an event which put a new face on life. What we should have left would be simply mysticism, and mysticism is quite different from Christianity."

One of Paul's many prayers to the young and developing churches throughout the ancient world was that Christians would grow in wisdom and understanding of who God is: "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better" (Eph. 1:17). While Christians today do express interest in knowing God, they usually do so apart from any deep reflection about God. Yet Paul here clearly teaches that growth in wisdom, knowledge, and depth of insight about God will help us to know Him better. What's more, this was not just passing advice; this was something Paul often and earnestly prayed for. But, you might say, Paul also says that "knowledge puffs up" (1Cor 8:1). Yes, it is true, there is a danger of conceit when sinners aquire virtue, and thus when compared with love, which is what Paul is doing in 1 Cor 14, it is a lesser virtue. However, Paul is not thereby suggesting that we pursue or remain in ignorance, but continually urges us to "let the the Word of Christ dwell in [us] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom... (Col. 3:16).

Similarly, the Apostle Peter wrote, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him..." It is our knowledge of God, Peter is saying, that is the primary fuel for godliness. To avoid theology therefore, is to be "ungodly." It was this very apostle who was asked by Jesus himself, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matt. 16:15). Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven" (Matt. 16:16-17). Here Peter's view of Christ (theologically speaking--his "Christology") wins God's approval. But later on as Jesus was explaining that he must "go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed," Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" (Matt. 16:21-23). Here, Peter had an ungodly theology. In fact, it was so ungodly that it was as if Satan himself were talking to Jesus. But what was so bad about what Peter said? Well, briefly stated, he was focused on "the things of men" rather than Christ's mission of the cross. This is one of the biggest problems in the church today. In many pulpits across this country, you will hear passionate and exciting things, even very religious things. But many of them are ultimately focused on the things of men rather than on the centrality of the cross. If Peter could get sidetracked, so can your pastor, and so can you.

This is the heart of the matter for us today. Because we think that theology is irrelevant, we have been "conformed" to the world's way of thinking rather than being "transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Rom 12:2). Only if we resist the emphasis on personal experience, self indulgence, and the anti-intellectualism of our day, and begin to mine the rich resources of our Christian faith and heritage, then will we "no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming" (Eph. 4:14).



Relevant Bible Passages For Further Study:

Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: 2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?

Prov. 2:1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Isa. 56:10 Israel's watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.

Jer. 4:22 "My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good."

Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. v14 -- a people without understanding will come to ruin!

Mal. 2:7 "For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction --because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty.

John 6:56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Machen: ...The evil consists in the existence of the errors which cause the divisions and not at all in the recognition of those errors when once they exist.

John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Acts 6:9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) --Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. (John 4:23-24)

Rom. 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities --his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator --who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

Rom. 10:2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

Rom. 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is --his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Rom. 16:18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

1Cor. 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1Cor. 14:20 Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

2Cor. 4:6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2Cor. 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Eph. 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

Phil. 3:8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ --the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death...

Phil. 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable --if anything is excellent or praiseworthy --think about such things.

Col. 1:6 All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.

Col. 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Col. 2:2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Col. 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

2Ths. 2:13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

1Tim. 3:15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1Tim. 4:6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

1Tim. 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1Tim. 6:20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge...

2Tim. 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2Tim. 2:23 Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth...

2Tim. 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage --with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

1Pet. 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...

2Pet. 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

1John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true --even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. See also, Titus chapter 1.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post